The Great Hall hummed with it's usual drum of teen conversations, perhaps a few notches louder with the addition of the American students. Professor Alexandra (she absolutely despised being called Professor Tanit or Ms. Tanit) scanned the tables, noting many of her students easily chatting with their Hogwarts counterparts.
Her usual dining partner Professor Severus Snape was not present at this time. She frowned and swirled her wine telepathically. Nothing ruined her drink more than drinking alone.
"Perhaps another detention," she thought absent-mindedly. Glancing down the table, she noticed Dumbledore staring intently at his goblet, a millimeter of a frown creasing his already creased brow.
"Or a Death-Eater meeting," Alexandra concluded. She sighed and put her wine down. "Pity, I had hoped he would've been here tonight."
She turned her gaze to the Hall once more. Her eyes darted across the room until she found the students she required for today.
Jason, pack leader of the Animal tribe, paced near some werewolf students at the end of the Hufflepuff table. His Animagus tiger strips rippled in his long hair, but one of the werewolf girls seemed to be keeping him in check. He turned to glare at her every once and a while, his stripes disappearing momentarily when he did.
"Poor boy," Alexandra thought. "Always a worrier."
She then looked to the centre of the Ravenclaw table, where Catharina, mistress of Sorcery house, sat between her bickering lackeys. Serena and Cercie advised her on intrahouse decisions, small things like house bonding activities or themes for Quidditch matches, yet they never could stop arguing. Alexandra tuned her hearing to listen to their current argument.
"I swear it's going to be another Nudist's Day!" Serena whispered harshly.
"Oh pah-lease!" Cercie said. "You know as well as I do what happened last Nudist's Day. She'd never risk hosting another while at this school!"
"I think it will be a Transfer," Catharina interrupted.
Serena and Cercie both waved her off, ignoring their leader's prediction to continue their argument. Catharina glanced at her Headmistress, her face expressionless.
Alexandra smirked and looked to the Gryffindor table, where Bruno, head of the Dragon family, reclined easily. His right hand was ablaze and above it floated an slow cooking chicken leg. He grinned as the lovely ladies of the proud house 'oooh'-ed and 'ahh'-ed at his simply magic. As if he sensed her stare, Bruno glanced up at Alexandra, and his flirtatious front fell momentarily, revealing the worry all of his colleagues shared, before turning back to his current flames with a sinful smirk.
Alexandra chuckled and hoped these two girls wouldn't dump water on him. He never faired well after those breakups.
A robust laugh filled the Great Hall, drawing Alexandra's and everyone else's eyes to the Slytherin table. Marcus, one of the seven students placed in the Dementor house, was clutching his side as tears of laughter streamed down his face. The one who caused this laughter was in no better state, his blond head flat on the table and his shoulders heaving in futile attempts to breath.
Draco Malfoy was the first to sit up again but couldn't constrain his giggling as Marcus continued laughing absurdly.
Alexandra smiled at the scene. In the centuries of her life, she had seen too few of such genuinely happy couples (though she didn't dare call them that. Yet.) Marcus finally stopped laughing after a few minutes, and he quickly started talking to Draco. Draco listened, looking back and forth between his food and Marcus, sometimes leaving his food suspended in the air with a soft smile on his lips.
Alexandra stared intently at Draco. She needed his eye contact. She needed to tell him. It's time.
Draco glanced over to the table and caught her eyes.
"Draco!" she said via telekinesis. He started, his fork clattering on his plate. Draco's eyes widened in apprehension.
"I'm nervous," he finally communicated after a few moments of whirling emotions and thoughts.
"It's alright. I just wanted to warn you before we began," she said, slowly standing from her chair. "Any second thoughts?"
Draco looked away, breaking the connection and stared at his abandoned fork. The conversation only took about two seconds, slower than Alexandra was used to with Soul Speaking and long enough for Marcus to notice the change in Draco.
Draco ignored all of his friend's (?) attempts to talk with him, and Alexandra felt pity for her friend.
Marcus found her eyes and tried to communicate, but she looked the Hall again. She felt his worry and confusion, as all the Dementor students were feeling no doubt, however she had to focus on the Ceremony fast approaching. This spell was one even she could fuck up.
As she stepped out from behind the Professor's table, the doors to the Great Hall swung open, and a swarm of her students flooded the hall.
"Perfect," Alexandra thought. "The more witnesses, the better." Her eyes darted back to Draco. His face held no color, except a hint of green in his cheeks. "Well, maybe not for him."
With all of the Seri students in the Hall, the noise increased to deafening levels. Hogwarts students covered their ears in pain.Alexandra spotted Dumbledore standing and getting ready to call for silence.
Just then, six black specters swirled into the room, an icy wind following them and sucking the noise out of the students. One girl screamed, and Harry Potter (a nice young fellow in Alexandra's opinion, though Snape would disagree) raised his wand for the Patronus.
The six Dementors finished their little lap around the room and quickly rematerialized beside the Slytherins before the words escaped Mr. Potter's lips. The room was as silent as Death now.
The six other Dementors nodded to Alexandra, which she returned in gratitude. She watched Marcus join them momentarily when Dumbledore suddenly appeared beside her.
"I assume there is a sufficient explanation for this, Ms. Tanit," he said quietly.
Alexandra winced. "Yes, Albus," she said through her teeth, turning to him. "I have a very important announcement to make, and if you will kindly let me make it, I shall no longer interrupt your day."
She glared into his eyes, and he glared back before slowly releasing her arm. "Make it quick," he snapped. Dumbledore stalked out of the hall.
Alexandra took a deep breath and turned to her now captive audience.
"Students!" she exclaimed, her voice echoing to the corners of the Hall. Tails of the animal house flickered near the Hufflepuffs; fire escaped the Dragons' mouthes at Gryffindor.
"There comes a time when a choice is made. A choice that has called one for many years. A choice that can not be ignored," she said.
Hogwarts students began murmuring to one another, but the Seri listened closely, no one daring to speak among them.
Alexandra lifted her hands. "Our small family, though our physical home be gone, grows still," she said. Jason, Catharina, Bruno and Marcus all understood and stood with their hands clasped in front.
"And today, we welcome one more to our coven," Alexandra finished. She turned to Draco. He sat in his seat, still staring at his fork.
Alexandra relished the Magic of the Ceremony flowing in and around her body, but she forced her focus back to him. This was where she has fucked up before.
"Draco," she said, her voice booming in her head and possibly in the Hall.
She saw all of the head turn, except for his. Draco ignored all of the incredulous stares, all of the looks of betrayal from his house, and the look of hope beaming from Marcus. His fork was absolutely fascinating.
The Magic began circling and suffocating Alexandra, but she raised her hand to him. He looked up from under his bangs. Alexandra reached out for him, and his fear crashed in her mind.
"I can't," he sobbed in the connection.
"Draco," she whispered. The name flew through the invisible touch of the Magic, which only increased in its flurry and dance.
"It's always been your choice," she said in her thoughts. "None shall make your decision except you; none shall stop your decision except you."
Draco lifted his head, keeping the connection. Alexandra felt his doubt, his life-long instinct fighting every urge to choose this.
He stood and stepped past the students. The spell swirled around her outstretched arm, the power of the Ceremony growing as he neared her hand.
At last, what seemed an eternity for both of them, Draco reached her and clasped his hand in hers. The Magic flowed between them, as if they were one beating force. His grey eyes stared into her green ones, and their thoughts molded into one.
"I accept your invitation, Alexandra," he said.
All at once, the Spell dissipated. Alexandra and Draco dropped their arms as if they were filled with lead.
Alexandra stumbled back a little, her head spinning in the power of the Ceremony.
"But we aren't done yet," she muttered. She forced herself up right, ignoring how the world seemed to lose it's center for a moment.
Draco had fallen to the ground, gasping for breath. She stepped towards him and grasped his shoulder. He didn't seem to register her touch.
She looked to the rest of her students. All watched her with a hungry gaze.
"Who-" she gasped. She clutched her side and took a deep breath. "Who will welcome Draco Malfoy to our coven?"
Catharina's right palm flew into the air. "The Sorcerer's welcome Draco!" she screamed. Everyone around her jumped. Her other hand flew to her mouth, her cheeks flushing.
Jason leapt onto the Hufflepuff's table, right fist in the air. "The Pack welcomes Draco!" he howled, a few other hoots, barks and growls joining in agreement.
Bruno raised his right arm. "The Dragon Nest welcomes Draco!" he roared. A spit of fire spewed at the name.
Alexandra turned to the Dementors, all of whom lined up with Marcus at the center. They all placed their right fist on their chest and bowed low with their right leg pointed forward. "We welcome Draco Malfoy," Marcus said quietly.
Thunder rumbled above their heads, and lightening flashed behind the stained glass window.
Alexandra addressed the entire hall. "The Ceremony has begun!" she proclaimed. "All in the coven shall be present for the Choosing. I suggest you begin your preparations."
She kneeled beside Draco and embraced him. Her and his body dissipated into a seemingly white light, and they spirited out of the hall.
The room was silent.
And then it exploded.