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 When she was told stories about the castle of her parents' childhood, they never were quite able to fully paint the vast size of the castle in her mind. The building, even from half a mile away, seemed to loom over her like a mountain. The twirling spires and shadows seemed like something one of the gothic muggle books she'd read before.

 "It's big, isn't it? Daunting, really."  

 Brogan turned her head towards Daniel, whom she'd sat with on the train for the entire journey.  His presence eased her worries as she sighed and nodded. She found herself counting every step she took as she glanced at the moon. They'd taken 191 steps to the castle and it was 24 days until the full moon. Her mother had often used counting to calm her when it was time for bed and it soon became a way of distracting herself when anxious.  

 "Are you okay, Brogan?" Daniel spoke up, placing a hand on her shoulder. "You look really pale." 

 She nodded. 

 "It's as you said..." She exhaled a breath she didn't realise she'd been holding in. "Just a bit daunting..." 

 Daniel didn't press on, instead deciding she didn't want to talk about it. He hushed for a while before speaking up once more. "So, um, what did you say the school houses were here again?" 

 Daniel and his parents were European Purebloods, though she wasn't entirely sure of whereabouts they were from. His family was still sheltered in many ways, having lived most of their lives in Europe. His parents had gone to Durmstrang and they knew very little about Hogwarts. He was seemed so interested to know that she couldn't help but answer his every question. 

 Making it to the castle took 500 steps from the train station and although she struggling, she continued to explain it to him.  

 "So, what house do you think you'll be in?" Daniel asked, climbing the steps as the candlelight lit up the first years round, chubby faces. "I think I'm Slytherin. I think that's the house my parents are keen for me to be in. I remember them speaking with some other pureblood families in England and I specifically remember that." 

 Brogan wasn't sure what house she would be in. She was from a family of inventors; Ravenclaws and Gryffindors allowed for a lot of creative ideas with a touch of bold courage, qualities which fostered her brother, King of crazy jinx and hex creation, her father, artist and inventor of medical spells used in St. Mungo's and her mother, a creator of beautiful jewellery bought by the general public.  

 And somehow, she had the dreadful feeling that she'd be different to them. She'd never been too creative or inventive. She was by no means stupid, but she was not an inventor or an artist.  She was, in comparison, rather boring. "I dunno." 

 "I think you'll be in Hufflepuff."  

 She raised an eyebrow. 

 "What makes you say so?" 

 "Because, well, from what you've described, you just seem to match that house." He shrugged. "You're kind and you didn't exclude me, even though my parents came across as snobbish and rude. I think that's what Hufflepuff's are about. Being kind when you don't see it anywhere else." 

 She shrugged. 

 If that was to be her fate, then she would have to make do. Hufflepuff wasn't really spoken about. It was usually the Brave Gryffindor Heroes and the Dastardly Slytherin Villains and the Wise Ravenclaw scholars. Who were the Hufflepuffs? The Village Idiots who tagged along with the heroes? The stupid minion of the villain? The student to the teachers?

"Hang on," Daniel spoke. "Didn't you say that something about some houses hating each other? I really can't be bothered with all of that, you know." 

 "Well, Gryffindor and Slytherin hate each other because they're quite similar really. That usually happens when people are similar, doesn't it? Especially those from houses like Slytherin and Gryffindor as both are usually quite stubborn and have very different values. Also, Slytherin gets quite the reputation after their founder left Hogwarts." Brogan explained, unaware of the tall girl in front the pair leering down at her. "Gryffindors admire chivalry while Slytherins admire ambition-" 

 The tall girl swung round, her long raven plait smacking Daniel in the face. She eyed the pair angrily as the vein in her forehead bulged with anger.  

 "Are you an idiot?!" She sneered at Brogan, who was cowering in her shadow. "Only someone who clearly has no idea what they're talking about would think they're similar! Slytherin is much better than Gryffindor!" 

 "O-Oh, I-I-I'm sorry!" Brogan stammered, her cheeks growing red and she felt herself shrinking, her heart beating like a ticking time bomb. "I-I promise I-I didn't mean anything by it-" 

 "Well, at least from my perspective, she hasn't said anything wrong!" Daniel spoke up, chest puffed out and back straight, taking a step in front of Brogan's lanky Stature, doing little to look big or menacing. "Why hate a house when you aren't part of one yet? What would do if you ended up in Gryffindor, huh?" 

 "I suppose you're going to be another annoying Gryffindor, huh?" She scoffed with a smile. "Sorry if I didn't quite get that right, you speak quite funny. It's difficult to understand you!" 

 Brogan's heart stopped as Daniel became tenser. She placed a hand on his shoulder in an attempt to calm him but retracted quickly as he stepped forward again, now taller than the girl.  

 "I will be in whatever house the Sorting Hat believes will further me as a wizard!" He snarled at her as she smirked at him. "No one house is more important than any other and thinking like that is more of a sign towards being an idiot than having an opinion on the houses!" 

 He shot her a triumphant smirk as he grabbed Brogan's arm from behind her and led her past the girl, glaring back every once in a while. When Professor McGonagall arrived to take the first years in, Brogan gasped in awe of the radiant light that hit them. The floating candles glowed and the tables were dark wood varnished in caramel and shining under the twinkling and the half moon. So many curious eyes stared at the young students making their way in. The smell of the hearth warmed her chest as she felt suddenly overwhelmed.

 She lost count of her steps.  

 With everything so new and unfamiliar, he 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, you'd still be my friend?" Her voice got quieter and quieter. "Even if our houses didn't like each other?" 

 He turned to her with a look of sincerity in his eyes and the colour seemed to become unnaturally.  A smile lit up his features.  

 "I meant what I said outside the hall." He sighed, as Brogan looked down sheepishly.  "House Pride means nothing to me if giving up what I believe in. I want to make a good reputation of my house, whichever I'm in.  My house will never define who my friends should be." 

 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 the hall as McGonagall, as she'd introduced herself, explained how the Sorting Ceremony would work. Brogan looked at the teacher's 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 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 into 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 and winking. Brogan contained a giggle as the girl gasped before she grimaced next to her. The Slytherin table cheered for the new student 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 was sure they were talking about how they didn't want her there. Talking about how strange she must've looked. She sat down on the stool and the hat began talking to her. 

 "Hmmm... interesting..."  

 She exhaled shakily as she heard its 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, or Leilah, was actually placed in Gryffindor and had now decided that she was going to deal with this latest blow to her pride by glaring at Brogan from across the hall. 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 bed dorm room. She was sharing a dorm with the blonde girl, or Hannah, and the red-haired girl, Susan and a tomboyish girl, Eira, who she hadn't spoken to yet.  

 Eira seemed to pretty nice but she had little time to gain an impression of her as she refused to speak after the feast when Leilah made a joke about her strong Welsh accent before the students separated out when heading to their dorms. Although Leilah saw it as a joke, Eira must've missed the same punch line as Brogan and she hadn't spoken to anyone since.  

 Her main qualm with the girls in her dorm was their inability to realise that although perfume and scented oils could go far, that was in small quantities.  Brogan found her nose burning as it edged closer to the moon. Eira was the only one who seemed to understand this fact.  

 She avoided her dorm mates as much as possible, though she was partnered with Eira in all of her lessons. They had yet to have a conversation though. 

 When she wasn't in the common room, she was spending time with Daniel. 

 They usually had to hide from the other Slytherins, who were keen to get to know Daniel apparently. Being 'exotic' was apparently enough of an interesting quality for them to want him as part of their group, however, Brogan believed that calling Daniel 'exotic' might've of their best move yet, as it meant Daniel avoided them at all costs and could spend more time in the library with her. 

 As they sat in the library as they did every evening before dinner, all Brogan could think about the dust clogging her respiratory system.  Daniel had offered to take her to Madame Pomfrey's after a Charms lesson where Eira dropped a book and the dust caused Brogan a severe coughing fit. And during Herbology, Eira had to help her to the nurse's office after fainting while potting a strongly scented plait.  

 Dumbledore had given her permission to leave a lesson whenever she felt ill, though Professor Snape so far had been very reluctant to allow her. It took a screaming match between Eira and Professor Snape before she was allowed to leave. He was suspicious of her, but that didn't stop him making her Wolfbane potion which she'd been taking for the past five days. He would make her wait for hours in the morning to take her potion and she'd have to get there at 6 o'clock in the morning if she wanted it at all. He also would tell her how bone idle and selfish she was and how she should be grateful and not yawning all the time.  

 "Brogan, I feel like I should take you to Madam Pomfrey again."  

 She looked up from her Herbology notebook at him staring at her in concern from across the table, picking up his bag and getting ready to leave.  

 "I'm fine, just my asthma makes me kind of weak sometimes." 

 "You look like you're going to either puke or faint and I would rather you didn't blow chunks across the table if you don't mind." 

 She chuckled. 

 "You know if I had felt like I was going to vomit, that imagery alone would've set me off." She giggled before going back to her book. "Don't worry about it. It really is just my asthma. I promise." 

 He still looked concerned but didn't speak. 

 "Have you made any friends in your house then?" She asked, writing out flashcards and Daniel read them upside down. "I see Draco following you around and stuff but I don't see many other Slytherins speaking to you." 

 Draco had become somewhat infamous around the school for hexing other students and spouting vitriol at anyone unwilling to listen. She had yet to properly encounter him but occasionally she noticed him and his friends glancing at her and snickering. Daniel 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. 

 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!" 

 With the full moon coming up, she couldn't risk becoming ill again. She and Daniel left the library to Madame Pomfrey's after a particularly bad coughing fit. 

 


 

 

 A couple of nights later, 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 Eira. She cursed mentally at not noticing her earlier. 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 were 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 Eira'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 Eira 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 led 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 was much scarier than when she'd seen it during the day. And with her heightened senses, it overwhelmed her. It creaked and groaned loudly and she could hear mice and rats scuttling along, looking for food. She quickly lay on the bed, waiting for the light to hit her. 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 bathed her and her screams, slicing through the cold Autumn air, echoed before transforming into the whimper of a canine... 

  

 

  

 

Chapter Text

 

 After hearing of Brogan's hospitalization from a reluctant Professor Snape, Daniel struggled to concentrate as much as he was usually able. Maybe a coughing fit had gotten worse? He wasn't sure what was wrong with her but guessed it might her lungs. Though, he did notice the scars that trailed across her arms and the deep gouge across one of her collarbones. Theorising on the possible accidents that might've caused this, he began research in the library. If there was something he could do, he had to try, right?

 She was very kind and he was sure she didn't deserve something like this. After all, she became very ill in most lessons, especially recently, and yet she refused to ask for help or medical treatment. She treated herself much more like a burden than someone who needed the help.

 So he was going to do something nice for her.

 Yes, he was.

 Daniel had made his connections in the school already in all houses. Being charming and seeming genuinely kind could be used to his advantage - especially when getting something he wanted. Giving money to two Gryffindors in an older year, he got an array of sweets from Honeydukes. She always got an extra dessert in evening and she often saw her sneaking out cakes and biscuits when she thought nobody had noticed.

 Thinking about it made him chuckle as he looked at the library's reference section for any medical knowledge he could find. If he had any hope of helping out Brogan, he was sure to find it here. He'd been looking for hours and with great difficulty, avoiding the speeding ladders that flew off to the user's location and flying books that he swore were aimed at him specifically. And at last he had found it: "Ailments and Cures - A Medical Journal - Winifred Anesth". He pulled the book from the shelf, hoping not to lose his balance on the flimsy looking ladders. He jumped down before the last few steps, sighing in relief.

 The doors to the library flew open, with the hinges clicking and a group of students entered.

 "Ugh! Stupid mudblood!" Draco Malfoy's voice echoed upon entering. "Father won't be happy hearing she got away with it!"

 Daniel jumped behind the bookcase, looking between the small gaps of the novels as Malfoy and his friends swanned around the library.

 If Draco spotted him, he'd dragged into a two-hour long discussion about their parents and that was not on Daniel list of things he could be bothered to deal with.

 He didn't understand why Draco wanted him around so much anyway. They clearly didn't think the same way anyway. Harry Potter didn't have this much damn trouble trying to get him to leave him alone, he was sure of it! Ever since they'd met, Draco had followed him around. He was lucky Draco didn't find him on the train to Hogwarts.

 He was too annoying and, after spotting him hexing lots of students in their year, too cruel for Daniel even consider him an acquaintance.

 It was lucky he always had a disguise on him as he made sure no one was around.

 The light blue flash from behind the bookcase prompted Draco to look over to that section.

 "Crabbe? Goyle? Did you see that!?" When both shook their heads, Draco sighed dramatically. With a stomp, he threw his hands in the direction of the light from before. "It was right there! Are you both thick in the head or something?!"

 When they looked back at him puzzled, he sighed once more.

 "Never mind, don't answer that!"

 He became suspicious upon seeing a figure duck down behind the bookcase. Recognising the dark hair and bright blue eyes, Draco sped over to with Crabbe and Goyle trailing dumbly behind him. As Draco walked around the corner, instead of Daniel - as he'd expected, he was met with the sight of a small pale girl in Slytherin colours with blonde hair in pigtails.

 Draco just stared down at her for a while, raising an eyebrow and trying to look behind her.

 "Are you okay?"

 The girl praying to any deity out there that Draco didn't catch on to her accent as she coughed, changing the dialect. He was lucky his normal voice was high for now. Draco spluttered, his brows furrowing and his face growing redder than a toadstool. Flipping a pigtail behind her, the girl sighed before speaking, in a much more feminine voice than before.

 "Do you need something?"

 Draco's chest swelled with indignation but he refused to say anything, the girl spotted him looking at her badge and her tie colour, and without uttering a word, stormed off.

 When the coast was clear, Daniel as himself again, grabbing a couple medical books and looking through them, looked for any of the symptoms Brogan was suffering. After hours and hours of researching and reaching the letter 'M', he found 'Maledictions'. Reading more and more about them, he thought it might prove useful to take it out.

 And it was better than saying it was just simple asthma.

 This was the wizarding world.

 Asthma was a curable ailment and Madame Pomfrey would've fixed her in no time at all. Taking out the book with Madam Pince, he swiftly ran over to the infirmary where Brogan was, with the sweets in his bag. When he arrived, he spotted a boy sat by her bed talking to her. He recognized him as the girl's brother from when they sat together in the cabin on the train. He never did quite get his name and he had seemed like a loud, sociable and eccentric boy, who seemed very interested in spell-creation and loved Arithmancy - fanatic about it when Daniel thought back. He was very different from Brogan and when sat with each other, they shared very little resemblance apart from the same hazel eye colour.

 But unlike his usual demeanour, Brogan's brother had a serious expression hanging on his features. The aura of the room, dimly lit with the blinds closed to allow the sick patients some calm. With the grey drizzle pattering against the window and the grey beams streaming through, Brogan looked more sick than she'd been the other day.

 When Brogan smiled, it failed to cheer the boy up and as he stood up, he held onto her hand for a while, holding it tightly before letting it go and smiling a broken smile before leaving. When his eyes caught Daniel's, he grinned and waved at him.

 The man walked past him, his long hair tied up and the bags under his eyes clearly evident. His suit of armour clunking around him and helmet under arm, light glinting and glaring into his eyes, making the scene before him feel foggy, he grinned at him and waved a little at Daniel. Daniel, although a little confused as to why he was suddenly older, lifted his staff in respect with a smile before looking toward Brogan's bed, next to which was an array of medieval looking potions and bottles.

 And the room became normal once more.

 Although he'd had visions of the future often before, nothing like that had happened since the other day - and before that, at the train station when he met Brogan. They'd started since he'd met Brogan and her brother. 

 Shaking his head, Daniel began walking up to Brogan's bed, candy in hand with a smirk on his face.

 "Did you miss me?"

 Brogan looked up with a kind smile.

 "Not in the slightest." She raised her eyebrow. "Why do you have pigtails in?"

 Daniel reached up to his hair and felt the hair ties holding his short black hair up in two pigtails. Hastily pulling the hair ties out, he began flattening his curls down. Brogan struggled to contain her giggling and Daniel felt a heat rise to his cheeks in embarrassment.

 "Aww!" Brogan laughed. "It was a good look!"

 Daniel chuckled, handing her the chocolate. When she reached out, she winced a little, sitting up slightly and looking through the assortment of sweets. Her eyes lit up with glee as she pulled Daniel into a hug.

 "Thank you! This is one of the nicest things anyone's done for me! Thank you...." Daniel raised an eyebrow as her voice grew quiet. "These are from Honeydukes, aren't they? How did you get these?"

 Daniel scanned the sweets to see that they still had Honeyduke's price stamps on. He mentally sighed before smiling as if she hadn't mentioned anything. "My parent's sent me them-"

 "Daniel, you told me on the train that your parents struggle to speak English let alone be familiar with Honeydukes enough to go buy sweets," Brogan spoke flatly, rolling her eyes at him. "Daniel, how did you get these sweets? Did you sneak out?!"

 He looked towards her, prepared to lie to her.

 No.

 He already promised he'd never lie to anyone again.

 "No! No. Of course not." He exclaimed. "I paid some older years to buy them for me."

 Brogan looked satisfied with his answer before looking at him sternly.

 "Don't get yourself in trouble for someone like me, Daniel," Brogan spoke calmly. "I'm not worth that. Not by a long shot."

 Daniel nodded in agreement.

 Brogan smiled like normal, opening the packet and throwing a gobstopper into her mouth before handing the packet to Daniel for him to take one. Daniel shook his head, handing them back. "Don't like sweets, Brogan."

 "Heathen!" Brogan hissed. "So, other than illegally acquiring sweets, how's your week been? Got an underground gang now too?"

 Daniel told her about the Hufflepuff that was her partner in all her lessons that had put that git, Malfoy, in his place while she was in the infirmary. Brogan looked as shocked as he had been at the time. It was a magnificent sight to behold, he had to say. For such a small girl, that Hufflepuff packed a bite just as, if not more, powerful as her bark. And she had some bark! 

 "Hmm, that's a surprise..." Brogan said, furrowing her eyebrows. "I should really have expected that. In Potions, she tends to have arguments with Snape that last half an hour. At, it feels like half an hour..."

 When it was coming close to the end of visiting hours, Daniel wished her luck and headed off to the dorm room. He sat in the common room and opened up the book to look into Maledictions. Maledictions were a form of a curse which could run in the family. As he didn't know a lot about her family, it was possible - 

 An obnoxious cackle came from where Malfoy and his friends were sitting.

 Daniel shook his head while continuing to read on. There was nothing about cures, mostly magic to alleviate symptoms. The most common form was blood maledictions as it was apparently the easiest. Ones that were impossible to relieve of symptoms was the brain and the eyes, the brain being the most deadly-

 "Hey! Daniel! Come listen to this!"

 It was Draco.

 Daniel continued to read, sighing.

 Maledictions as far as the world could see were in no way curable. Maybe the magic used to relieve the symptoms could be used to cure it in the magic became available.

 "Daniel!"

 Daniel slammed the book shut, sounding a resounding thud.

 "Yes?"

 "Come here!" He laughed with Pansy. "As I was just telling Pansy here, Crabbe and Goyle and I were making a plan to get back at that mudblood Hufflepuff who tried to start a fight with me, want to help put her in her place?"

 Rolling his eyes and turning to smile at Draco, in the most sincere voice he could muster, spoke. "Sorry Malfoy, I'm really busy with a project right now. Got to do extra to keep on top, right?" He shrugged, grinning widely. "Otherwise it won't go in right. Such a shame. Goodnight!"

 And with that, he took off downstairs and into the dorm room, lying across his bed and shutting the curtains.

 With Malfoy trying to hang around him so much, he was never going to get any peace and quiet. Not unless Malfoy kept his nose down for a bit. Possibly on a goose chase for something else.

 With an evil giggle bubbling in his throat, he began making notes.

 

Chapter Text


 Eira had never imagined that her time at Hogwarts would feel so lonely; she couldn't remember a time she'd felt so isolated as this, not in her whole life, and yet it felt similar in her normal- muggle school. All the words and vocabulary, all the culture - everything was so different and it was taking a while to sink in. She was still such an outcast no matter where she went.

 She'd discovered the new insult for people like her: people with muggle parents. It didn't take long for her to hear it and honestly, she wasn't sure whether they hurt her or not. It didn't sound as bad as words like "freak" or "subnormal" yet they were still just as painful as little as she'd heard it

 The first time she heard it was while she was on the train.

 She was in a cabin by herself and a couple students walked by, obviously looking for a cabin. She stood to let them know they could sit with her but their sharp stare as they looked at her clothes halted her. They scowled before loudly proclaiming they wouldn't be caught dead sitting with a "mudblood".

 She, for a few minutes, believed it was just a stupid name they'd made up.

 What was wrong with her clothes? She knew they were different in comparison but was it that much of a problem? Besides, her clothes were normal compared to theirs anyway - yet another thing she'd noticed about the wizarding community. Their normal attire was like something she expected to read about in a fantasy novel or see on The Storyteller when she was younger. Long robes that reached the floor and medieval looking dresses with gothic fashion mixed in. Apparently in front of muggles though, they had to wear muggle clothes. And the number of wizards she'd seen with flower power from the 60's mixed with hairstyles from the 40's and petticoats from the 1800's was enough to prove that if she blended in with the norma- muggle crowd, then she was sure to be an outsider here.

 When she'd been sorted and sat at the table, she finally felt normal when meeting Justin, another muggleborn like her. They had a lot in common and became fast friends, and soon Ernie Macmillan joined the table and she found she could talk to him also, despite him being a full wizard or "pureblood". However, when more girls began arriving, she began to find it difficult to talk to them, especially when a girl with crow-like features began imitating her accent for laughs during some of her lessons and in the corridor. Leilah, or the crow-bitch as Eira referred to her in her head, had picked up on the Welsh in her accent and decided that it was funny. When the other bubbled with laughter at her comments, she decided not to get angry. They saw it as a joke and she was sure they meant no harm, especially Justin, who, after all, was like her and knew how she felt.

 The first weeks, she only spoke to Justin and Ernie. Ernie taught them about Quidditch and Wizards Chess and Exploding Snap and all sorts of different games they could play in the common room and about the different subjects.

 Though she spoke to them, they weren't exactly her friends. They had their other friends they spoke to and that they were close with and spent very little time with her so she spent a lot of time alone the dorm.

 She was still intrigued by the nice girl in her dorm, who she later found out was called Brogan through Leilah's teasing about her scars and her scruffy appearance behind her back, calling her poor. Eira ended up making Leilah an enemy after yelling at her that she shouldn't talk about people like that.

 She wondered why Brogan was so ill. Maybe it was from the desserts and sweets she was constantly eating. Maybe there was something wrong with her. Or maybe her parents weren't that nice. However, she soon found out when the girl came storming into the dorm in the afternoon, throwing clothes into a small purse that had to be bigger on the inside. Th slam of the door had made her jump three feet from the bed. She seemed in a hurry.

 "Hey!" Eira called to her, The girl swung round, her hair flipping and hitting her in the face as Eira hung lazily off the canopy bed like a sloth. Eira wafted the hair from her face.

 Brogan looked shifty, hiding the bag behind her back. "Why you packin' a bag for? You goin' somewhere?"

 Brogan's darted away from Eira's, more interested in what was going on outside as she calmly answered her. "Oh, I'm going home for a couple nights. My mum's pretty sick right now so she needs me back home."

 Boy did that sound familiar to Eira. A wave of guilt and sadness washed away her curiosity as she sat up straight. "Oh..." Eira spoke, pained. "Okay..."

 She turned back to her book that she'd been reading, unable to concentrate on any particular paragraph or sentence or word anymore. Her mind was focused on saying something more to Brogan. She had to say something, didn't she? She knew how she must've been feeling. To not say anything would be an injustice. As the dark haired girl hurried away towards the door, Eira found it within herself to speak up.

 "I hope she gets better..." She called as the girl stood with the door open, her hands shaking, making the handle clank. "Your mum, I mean." The girl vaguely nodding. "I suppose I'll see you when you get back?"

 "I suppose so yeah..."

 Her mind was so wracked with worry that even when Leilah arrived to make fun of her, she couldn't even hear it. It was all she thought about as she stayed up, listening to the howl of a wolf in the distance and staring up at the moon. She couldn't even eat at breakfast the next morning and had to be shaken by Justin when her owl flew down with post from home.

 "You okay, Eira?" He patted her shoulder as she looked up, dazed and confused. "This is your owl, isn't it?"

 His question was answered when the owl nuzzled her hand before she untied the post from her leg and she flew off to the owlery.

 She began opening her parcel to see it with filled with boxes of bright candy, including her favourites, flying saucers with a note written her little brother's handwriting with the smudged ink of a purple gel pen.

 

Dear Sissy
I heard you can't go to the shops!
Feel sorry for you, not gonna lie. Dad's let the cleaning go a bit
and the bathroom's buzzing! He want's me to clean it!
Eurgh!
Miss you already and I'm sure Dad does too, seeing as your his favourite!
P.S. Dad proper screamed when the owl arrived! How funny is that!?
Kit xxx

 

 Eira chuckled at the letter and made a mental note to write him a letter back, and remind him that Dad didn't have a favourite and if he did, it'd be him. Justin spotted a Dip Dab and was in awe of the amount of candy in the parcel. After being coaxed into handing it over along with some cola cubes, she began to have a brilliant idea. That evening she ran back to the dorm to wrap the sweets again neater than her younger brother would be able to achieve and hid it under the bed. She made a promise to herself to remember to give it to her when she next saw her. Although her brother packed them for her, she was sure he wouldn't mind her giving them away for good reason.

 "So what did you say each of the balls were for again?" She asked, pulling on her gloves to protect her from the biting cold that hung on the pitch that Saturday morning. Ernie chuckled at her, having once again forgotten the rules. "Shut up, prat! Just answer the question!"

 "Right, you better make an effort to actually remember this though, deal?" Eira nodded and Ernie continued on, once again droning the rules like he'd read them straight off of a manual. "And once the snitch is caught, it's game over. The one with the most points wins."

 Eira was more and more curious about this game. It looked exhilarating to her and she'd always been a fan of sports. It was like the football of wizarding world and if she could learn to play and be a part of this, maybe she'd feel a little closer to home. On their way out of the stadium, a tall boy shoved against Eira's arm and she whipped around to yell at him.

 "Watch where you're going!" He snapped at her before she could speak. He turned back to his group of friends who snickered. "You'd think mudbloods were taught to respect their superiors but clearly they're as savage as Father says."

 Ernie tried to hold her back but with little to no use. He'd misjudged her physical strength and was thrown back by her potent rage as she stormed forward. She'd just about had it! "Oi! Daddy's boy!" She yelled shoving him into the group. "Next time, learn some common decency and watch where you're going for once! You're no one's superior, let alone mine! You'd do well to remember that!"

 The boy stood up, smoothing his almost white hair down flat against his head and straightening his robe. He spun around on his heel, throwing his robe tails behind him dramatically as he pulled out his wand and stepped toward her. "What did you say to me, mudblood?" He snarled as his friends grinned at her. She remembered spotting the boy behind his friends in the library with Brogan, though he seemed standoffish when he'd seen her. She didn't expect him to stick up for her as Ernie began slinking further back away from this, telling her to just leave it. "Your boyfriend is cowering away!" He laughed heartily."You should do the same!"

 "Eira!" Ernie chuckled nervously as people began gathering around them as he tried to usher her away. "We're gonna be late to go meet Justin, remember?"

 "I think Justin can wait a few more minutes. I'm sure he won't mind." She muttered pulled out her wand and aiming it at the boy. She'd never been in a duel before, though she'd read about it before, she'd memorised all of the etiquette and lots of defensive spells. It was something her father had advised after she'd sought guidance on bullies and what to do if in a fight. After his helpful comment to "beat the shit out of them, you stupid girl!", she decided at least knowing some spells would help her. She and the bear circled around each other like lions, staring each other down. "Besides, I have a point to prove about people like me and Justin..." She spoke as they stopped. "We're no less than anybody else here! We deserve to be here just as much as any witch or wizard and we are just as talented as purebloods!"

 Though the crowd had not yet attracted the attention of teachers, older students began egging the two on. She could see one of Draco's crew looking particularly curiously at her out of the corner of her eye. A glint of something in his expression she couldn't place made her smirk wider. However, she did hear one of the blonde brute's friends call him by name. "Go on, Draco!"

 "Draco, is it?" She snickered. "Weird name, isn't it? I mean, it's a good warning, isn't it? Tells everyone you meet that you're a scaly, fire-breathing lizard!"

 He took a step forward, not following the etiquette of a duel and Eira panicked for but a second. He was ready to hit her with a spell, flourishing his wand and throwing his robe back as Eira yelled an incantation.

 "Flipendo!"

 With a flash of blue light, Draco flew backwards, coughing harshly as he hit the grass behind him. Eira smiled at her correct use of the jinx, proud she was able to achieve it. She often practised the wand movements and the incantation but had never used it. He sat up, glaring daggers at her as the crowd cheered for her. He was pulled up by his friends and he dusted himself off before attempting to send a jinx her way but before he could speak, she sent yet another.

 "Locomotor Mortis!"

 Instead of falling back to his friends, he fell back at the feet of a tall dark man Eira recognised all too well and her stomach sank in dread as he glided toward her with an evil look in his eyes. "Miss Llewelynn, although at Hogwarts we ask that students perfect their spells, we do not prohibit the use of jinxes against other students." Professor Snape sneered at her as he muttered the counter curse, releasing Draco for him to scramble back up over to his friends. "50 points will be taken from Hufflepuff house and just to make sure another incident like this does not reoccur, I believe a months detention may be necessary to teach you the rules of this school. My office at 7 o'clock tomorrow morning."

 The crowd dispersed, Draco muttering insults under his breath as he and his friends left. Apart from one.

 "Nice Leg-Lock Jinx." Draco's friend smirked. Eira rolled her eyes and began skulking off, hearing him speeding behind her. She recognised him from the few times she'd seen him and Brogan studying together in the library. "I'm Daniel. Daniel Karga. You're Eira, yeah?"

 She nodded uneasily.

 "Yeah, you're Brogan's and Draco's friend," Eira stated before taking note of the disgusted face he pulled before miming vomiting.

 "Friends with Draco?! God no!" He exclaimed in a joking manner. "I'm frankly disgusted you would think such a thing of me. He only wants me around because I'm a pureblood from somewhere else, which makes a new and exciting addition to his lackeys. I'm just friends with Brogan."

 Eira chuckled a little, feeling better about having to go to detention with Snape, an idea that nauseated her. "So, how's Brogan then?"

 "And I thought I was introducing myself here."

 "Sorry," She laughed. "Sorry, I'm just worried about her, you know. Having a sick parent didn't work out for me so I wanted to make sure she was okay. Nice to meet you, Dan!"

 "Dan?"

 "I'm calling you Dan, Dan. Deal with it."

 He seemed quieter after she said about having a sick parent. She became sheepish. Maybe she made him uncomfortable.

 "She's fine." He smiled. "Her mum's getting better, I think. Mentioned that she seemed like she was going to be okay now hopefully."

 Eira sighed in relief, a warm feeling spreading through her chest and a weight lifting from her shoulders allowing her to smile, genuinely. "Good. That's good." She beamed.

 "You seem like a good friend, Dan. Though I would recommend that around the school, you would do well to keep better company than Ferret-face." She laughed, referencing his bleached hair and pointed face.

 "Aha! Ferret-face!" Dan held his stomach. "I gotta use that one at some point!"