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The Muggleborn Slytherin

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"Dad, have you seen Priscilla's breakfast?" eleven-year-old Teddie Green called from the kitchen of the one-story house she shared with her parents and younger brother. "I could've sworn I left it on the side."

Robert Green, a tall red-headed man with green eyes and freckles entered the room. He was cleaning his glasses on his shirt as he considered his eldest child. "I moved them to the cupboard," he said, opening the door and taking out a bag of defrosted rodents.

"Oh," Teddie said. She grabbed the bag and rushed past her father, into the living room. "You should wear the red tie, Dad. Red means power."

Robert chuckled and looked down at the two ties over his arm. His wife, Rose, had taken his youngest child, Mason, to the doctors and was not home to help him pick out a tie. Today he had a meeting at work to discuss a possible promotion within the business.

"Do you think I can handle that much power?" Robert asked.

"Is that a trick question?" Teddie asked. She was stood in front of a large tank, within which a pale brown snake lay curled in a ball. The snake lifted its head and flickered its tongue against the glass. "Morning, baby, you hungry?"

The snake nodded its head and looked towards the lid.

"It's scary to think that she understands you," Robert said, fixing his tie as he watched his daughter open the tank and lower a rat inside. She dropped it with a thud, and immediately the snake swooped down on it.

Teddie grinned and re-closed the tank. "You said the same thing when I asked you for a pet," she teased.

"Yes, but it was an odd request," Robert defended. "Most children want a pet cat or dog, but not my daughter. No, my daughter asks for a snake."

"What? Snakes are easier to look after," Teddie said. "They're not overly expensive like cats and dogs, and they even find their own food. The only thing we have to make sure about is that they're blood and body temperature doesn't rise or drop. No big deal."

Robert shook his head, but couldn't help smile.

Teddie turned back to the tank just as Priscilla swallowed the rat. "Who's a good girl?" she cooed. The snake curled itself into a ball, and started to digest its breakfast.

"Are you sure you're going to be okay today?" Robert asked. "I can always ask Caroline to watch you, if you like?"

"I'll be okay, Dad," Teddie said. "I'm just going to finish feeding the snakes, and then probably hang out watching TV. Besides, Mum should be back soon with my new uniform." She scrunched up her nose, and then stopped. "Sorry."

Robert sighed and squatted down in front of his daughter. "Teddie, honey, I know you aren't excited about starting your new school, but it's the only one that your mother and I could find on such short notice," he said.

"I'm sorry about that, again," Teddie apologised.

"It's not your fault," Robert said, reassuringly. "The school was wrong to expel you. There is no way you could've caused that accident, so please stop blaming yourself."

Teddie stared into her father's eyes, and then nodded. Robert smiled, kissed her forehead, and then straightened up. His watch beeped and he checked the time.

"Good luck, Dad, you've got this in the bag," Teddie encouraged.

"Thanks, honey," Robert said. He took a deep breath and walked out of the room.

The hallway was nothing more than a narrow pathway with the front door at one end, and the stairway leading to the bedrooms. On one wall was a small wooden strip, where several coats hung, and opposite was a small table with a bowl on top. Inside the bowl was a set of car keys.

Teddie followed her father. "What time is your meeting?" she asked.

"Two hours," Robert answered.

"Will you be home tonight?"

"I hope so."

Teddie nodded and watched as her father shrugged into his jacket. "Dad? What if something bad happens at this new school? Will I be punished then?" she asked.

"No, Teddie, you will not be punished," Robert answered. "Remember what your mother and I told you. You've done nothing wrong. You're not at fault here."

"Then why do I keep getting expelled?"

Robert put his hand on her shoulder. "Because they don't understand you," he said. "You're special, Teddie, remember that."

Teddie nodded and Robert smiled. He reached for his briefcase, just as the doorbell rang.

"Who in the world could that be?" Robert asked. He reached for the door handle, and pulled the frame inwards revealing their visitor.

Teddie's eyes widened as their neighbour, Severus Snape, stood on the other side.

"Severus," Robert said, also surprised. "What do we owe the pleasure?"

"This isn't a social call," Snape said, his black glittering gaze sweeping from father to daughter. He reached into his jacket pocket and removed a parchment envelope from inside. He handed it to Robert, who, after checking the name, handed it to Teddie.

Teddie Green

1st Bedroom

15 Spinner's End

Cokeworth, England.

Teddie frowned and looked up at both men. "I never get mail," she said.

"Open it," said Robert, checking his watch again.

"Dad, you need to go," Teddie said, catching him. "This meeting is important to you. Mum will be back within an hour, I'll be fine until she returns."

"I have time, Teddie," Robert said. "Go on, open your letter."

Teddie looked down at the envelope and turned it over in her hands, revealing a red wax seal. "Whoa," she whispered, sliding her finger under the flap, and popping it open. She emptied the contents into her hands, and set the empty envelope on the table.

"What does it say?" Robert asked.

"Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry…" Teddie looked up at Snape. "Is this some kind of joke?"

"Do I look like the kind of man that makes jokes, Miss Green?" Snape asked.

Teddie glared at him before glancing back at the letter. Her gaze skimmed the contents of her acceptance letter, and she quickly turned to the second piece of parchment, revealing a list of books and other essentials.

"London?" Teddie asked, looking up for a third time. "The schools in London?"

"Scotland, actually," Snape corrected. "Diagon Alley, where you shall buy your supplies is located in London."

"Diagon Alley?" Robert repeated. "Is that even a real place?"

Teddie shrugged and looked back at her letter. "So, according to this, I'm a Witch?" she asked. She looked up at Snape. "Does that make you a Warlock?"

Robert snorted.

Snape glared at Teddie. "A Wizard, actually," he corrected.

"Witches and Wizards? Sounds like something out of one of the fantasy novels my brother reads," Teddie said.

"Wait a second, I'm still trying to wrap my head around all this," said Robert. "My daughter's a witch?"

Snape nodded. "You remember all those times she was sent home from school, or when she was expelled?" he asked.

"You're saying that was magic?" Robert asked.

"Precisely," Snape confirmed.

"So it was my fault?" Teddie asked. "All the people that got hurt during the last 'accident', that really was my fault?"

Robert squeezed her shoulder. "Of course not, Teddie, remember, you are special," he said. He turned to Snape and glared at the man.

"Your father is right, Miss Green, you are… special," Snape agreed. "Accidental magic is often seen in untrained witches and wizards. At Hogwarts you will be trained to control your source of power during highly emotional times."

Teddie's eyes skimmed the school supplies. "These look very expensive," she said, looking up at her dad. She wasn't about to ask him for money to let her go to a boarding school. Her parents could barely afford to send her and her brother to separate public schools.

"There are second-hand bookstores within Diagon Alley," Snape informed the father-daughter pair. "I used my fair share when I attended Hogwarts. They'll be half the price of the regular books."

Robert considered his daughter's letter and then looked to Teddie. "Ted, I -" he started.

"It's okay, Dad, I don't have to go," Teddie said, shaking her head.

"I was just about to say that I think you should," said Robert. "Hopefully with this promotion, I shall be able to afford it better than I can now."

Teddie's face lit up and she threw her arms around her father.

Robert chuckled and patted her head. "But I cannot come to London with you, I'm afraid," he apologised. "If I don't get to work -"

"Go," said Teddie. "I'll ask Mum to come with me."

"When does the school year start at Hogwarts?" Robert asked Snape.

"September 1st," Snape replied.

"That's in three days!" Teddie exclaimed. "That's not nearly enough time to get everything."

Snape considered her carefully. "If your father is willing, Miss Green, I shall offer my servitude and take you to Diagon Alley, myself," he said.

"Dad?" Teddie asked her father.

Robert hesitated, looking between the two. He had known Severus since he was a child. The two had gone to primary school together and had grown up opposite one another for years. But that didn't mean he trusted him entirely, especially not with his daughter.

"I'll be okay, Dad," Teddie assured her father.

"Leave a note for your mother," Robert said. "She'll panic if she comes home and neither one of us are here."

Teddie nodded and dashed into the living room.

Robert turned to Snape. "I'm warning you, Severus," he said. "She and Mason mean the world to me and Rose. If she comes back and there is one strand of hair out of place, so help me god."

"You have my word, Robert, she shall not be harmed," Snape promised.

"Ready," Teddie said, returning. She was pulling on a jacket and adjusting a black bracelet around her wrist. "I just told Mum that I was school shopping. I think it's best that we explain to her all this in person, she'll probably think I'm playing a prank or something."

"Good idea," Robert agreed. He ushered her out the door, behind Severus, and followed her closely. "Teddie, I'm only going to tell you this once."

"Listen to Mr Snape," Teddie said, nodding. "I know, and I will. I promise. Good luck at your meeting, Dad." She reached up to press a kiss to his cheek and then stepped away.

Robert kissed her forehead and then clambered into his beat up old Audi 80 Coupe. He waved and pulled off, disappearing down the battered road and disappearing at the corner.

Teddie watched him leave and then turned to Snape. "How are we getting to London?" she asked.

"Follow me," Snape said. "I'm going to teach you your first lesson of magical transportation."

Teddie followed Snape down the street to his house. She hesitated on the doorstep and then hurried inside. No one had been inside Snape's house, and many kids her age were afraid of him, often calling him 'Sneaky Snape' because of his tendencies to sneak around.

"Um, why are we in front of your fireplace?" Teddie asked, stepping through into his living room. It was designed exactly the same as her own, except it didn't have a huge snake tank next to the window.

"This is connected to the Floo Network," Snape said. "It's used to transport between different fireplaces, all of them connected together like a honeycomb."

"So, it's like a beehive?"

"In a way, yes," Snape nodded. He took a small pot from the mantle and opened the lid, revealing a grey glittering powder inside. "This is Floo Powder. We will use it to travel. Now, since this is your first time, we'll travel together. Here, step inside the grate."

"Excuse me?" Teddy asked, startled.

"Trust me," Snape said, offering her a pointed look.

Teddie bit her lip and stepped into the fireplace. Snape joined her, setting the pot back on the mantle and holding out his arm. "Hold on tight," he told her.

Teddie did as instructed and, with a shout of "Diagon Alley!" he dropped the powder from his palm onto the floor. Green flames whipped around the pair, and Teddie squeaked, closing her eyes and burying her face into Snape's arm.

~X~

Teddie felt herself stumbled forward as her feet met solid ground.

"Not bad," Snape said.

Teddie opened her eyes and looked around. "This is definitely not your living room," she said, her gaze sweeping from the lingering people sitting at wooden tables throughout the room.

"No. This is the Leaky Cauldron," Snape said. "It's one of the gateways between the Muggle and Wizarding world."

"One of the gateways?" Teddie asked.

"There are several gateways throughout the Muggle world," Severus said, leading Teddie through the pub. They reached the back door and stepped through into a rundown alley, blocked by a large cobbled wall.

Teddie frowned and looked around. "Um, I think this is a dead end," she said, stating the obvious.

"Remember what I just said," Snape told her. He reached in his jacket and this time pulled out a slender black stick.

Teddie watched him, fascinated.

Snape raised the stick and tapped the bricks before him. Three up and two across. He did this three times. On the third time, the brick wall opened up to reveal an archway.

Teddie gasped.

The archway lead through into a long, crooked, cobblestone road that twisted and turned out of sight. Has they stepped through, Teddie looked over her shoulder to see the archway disappear from sight.

Snape placed his hand on Teddie's shoulder and led her through the single street. Strangely dressed people hurried past them, each of them wearing weird clothes, but none of them paid any heed to Snape nor Teddie.

"Cauldron," Teddie said, stopping and pointing at a shop that had a sign reading Cauldrons - All Sizes - Copper, Brass, Pewter, Silver - Self-Stirring - Collapsible above the door.

"How do you intend to buy a cauldron with no money, Miss Green?" Snape asked.

Teddie turned and glared at the man. "Well, Mr Snape, where do we go first?" she asked.

"Gringotts, of course," Severus said, pointing at a large white building in the distance. "There is a vault within those walls where you'll find spending money."

"Money vault?" Teddie asked. "But I don't have a money vault in the Wizarding world."

"You'd be surprised what you have in this world," Snape said. He led her down the street and closer to the bank.

Teddie looked up as the building loomed into view. She was still wondering what Snape had meant when he had said 'you'd be surprised what you have in this world'. What did it mean?

"I'm still confused," Teddie said. "Who's vault am I going to take money out of?"

"It doesn't matter, and no, it's not stealing," Snape added, quickly. "Just, stay here. I'll be right back."

He left Teddie in a overly extravagant waiting room and approached an empty desk. Behind which sat several ugly looking men. Teddie watched them curiously, taking in their knobbly noses and beady eyes. All along the hall, these ugly creatures sat, each one weighing a different object on a gold scale on their desks.

One looked up as Teddie watched him. His beady eyes meeting her gaze. Teddie gasped and quickly looked away, her gaze landing on a set of double doors at the back of the hall. People poured in and out of these doors, including a overly large man with a messy beard. He was with a boy, around Teddie's age.

The boy looked up and smiled at Teddie as he passed. The two didn't have a chance to speak as the man passed through the doors and the boy followed. Teddie looked around to see if Snape was returning.

He was, walking straight towards her with a determined look upon his face. Once he reached her, he took out a small satchel from his pocket and offered it to her. "This should cover your expenses," said Snape. "Come. We have much to do."

Teddie followed him out into the morning sunshine.

~X~

After retrieving her books, parchment and quills, robes, and even a trunk to store everything inside. Teddie and Snape arrived outside the apothecary store. Teddie looked through the window at the many animals waiting to be bought.

"Um, I don't think this is such a good idea," Teddie said, looking up at Snape. "I have three snakes, one of which is a ball python. Priscilla often slithers around the house unattended, if she catches the toad, cat or owl, she's going to eat it."

Snape studied her closely. "Indeed, not a good idea," he agreed.

"Are they the only animals we are allowed to take to Hogwarts?" Teddie asked. "Two of my snakes are corn snakes. They only grow to be 4-5 feet long. Couldn't I just bring them with me? My parents and Mason can look after Priscilla, but Merlin and Morgana rarely leave my side."

"Students have been known to bring their own pets, nothing to exotic though," Snape informed her. "Occasionally a rat, but never a snake."

"Does that mean -?"

"As long as you do not intend to let them loose in the school," Snape warned.

"I don't let them loose in my own home," Teddie defended. "I'd never do it in a school."

Snape looked like he would regret the decision, but Teddie was glad with the outcome. She couldn't wait to get home and tell her parents the good news. While she did look after Priscilla the most out of her family, she was the family's python, Mason also liked being around her. Merlin and Morgana were Teddie's snakes.

"Now that's out of the way," said Teddie, looking down at her list. "All that's left is my wand."

"All young witches and wizards get their wands from Ollivanders," Snape said, pointing to the rundown shop on the opposite side of the road. He led her across and into the store. It was dark, and already occupied.

Teddie recognised the customer as the boy she had seen inside Gringotts. She smiled as he met her gaze. He had green eyes, just like hers, but where she had red hair, his was a messy, yet inky black. He also had glasses.

"Severus Snape," a soft, quiet voice, said from behind a bookshelf. Teddie jumped as an old, frail-looking man appeared, carrying an armful of rectangular boxes.

"Mr. Ollivander," Snape greeted. "We'll wait over here." He pointed Teddie to two chairs beside the door. They were out of the way, leaving the boy to test the wands that Ollivander had set on the front counter.

As Teddie settled onto a wooden stool she felt someone's gaze on her. She looked up and frowned as she met Ollivander's gaze. The look on his face gave her the impression that he had seen her before. Tearing her gaze away, Teddie looked up and Snape, and then over her shoulder, staring out of the window.

Ollivander turned his attention back to the boy. "Now, let's see," he opened a box and handed the boy a wand. "Maple and phoenix feather. Seven inches. Quite whippy. Try -"

Teddie watched as the boy waved the wand - but he had barely flicked it when it was snatched back.

"No, no - here, ebony and unicorn hair, eight and a half inches, springy. Go on, go on, try it out."

The boy tried. And tried.

Teddie yawned as, several wands later, the boy was still trying. "I'm confused," she said, leaning in close to Snape. "How hard is it to buy a wand?"

"Mr Ollivander will explain when it is your turn," Snape told her.

Teddie rolled her eyes and turned to look around the store.

"Here, try this," said Mr Ollivander.

Teddie looked back just in time to see the boy take hold of a black wand. Her eyes widened as she felt a warm wind sweep through the store. "What was that?" she asked, her voice echoing in the silence.

"Curious… very curious…" Ollivander murmured, seemingly not hearing Teddie. He put the boy's wand back into its box.

"Sorry, but what's curious?" the boy asked.

"I remember every wand I've ever sold, Mr Potter. Every single wand. It so happens that the phoenix whose tail feather resides in your wand gave another feather - just one other. It is very curious indeed that you should be destined for this wand when its brother - why, it's brother gave you that scar."

Teddie looked to Snape as the man stiffened beside her. She frowned up at her neighbour, but he refused to meet her gaze.

"Seven Galleons, Mr Potter," Ollivander said, suddenly changing his tune.

The boy paid and left the store. He met Teddie's gaze as he passed her, and then she was alone again.

"Now," said Ollivander, turning his full attention onto Teddie. "What's your name, young lady?"

"Teddie Green."

Ollivander smiled and beckoned her forward. "Which is your wand arm?" he asked.

"Well, I'm right-handed," Teddie replied.

"Hold out your arm. That's it," Ollivander took a measuring tape, tapped it with his own wand, and left it to measure to collect Teddie's measurements as he went to collect several more wand boxes. He whistled as he returned, and the tape measure stopped.

"Elm and unicorn tail. Six inches. Sturdy. Try -"

Teddie held up the wand, but Ollivander snatched it back. She frowned. "But, I -" she started.

"English Oak and phoenix feather. Five inches."

Teddie waved the wand and several glass bottles across the shelves exploded. She shrieked and put the wand down.

"Nope, no, definitely not," Ollivander said. He pursed his lips and disappeared behind the shelves again.

Teddie looked back at Snape as Ollivander failed to return for more than ten minutes. Her neighbour shook his head. Teddie rolled her eyes and turned back to counter, just as Ollivander returned.

"Try this," Ollivander said, opening a box and passing Teddie a black wand. "Elder and thestral tail hair. Seven inches. Powerful, Unstable."

As she took the wand in hand, Teddie felt the temperature in the room drop considerably, before a power blast of air whipped around her. She gasped as she felt a surge of power spread up her arm from the wand in her palm. Then, a burst of green sparks erupted from the tip of the wand.

"Excellent," Ollivander clapped. "Yes, very excellent indeed."

Teddie blinked and looked up at Ollivander. "What was that?" she asked.

"That was your wand choosing you," Ollivander explained. "The wand chooses the wizard, Miss Green, and your wand is destined to be undeniably powerful. Elder wood is extremely rare, and tricky to master. It contains powerful magic. Thestral tail hair is considered an unstable core type."

Teddie listened intently.

"You, my dear child, it would seem, is destined for great things."

"I don't… understand," Teddie admitted.

Ollivander smiled, knowingly, and took back her wand. He put it back in its box and wrapped it in brown paper. "You shall, my dear, in due course. That'll be seven galleons."

Teddie paid for the wand and turned to Snape. She slipped her wand into the shopping bag she had with her, and followed her neighbour from the shop. Before the door closed, Teddie looked back at Ollivander. He was watching her with a curious, yet worried, expression.

Chapter Text

The last three days before Teddie's summer was spent messing around with her friend's, staying out late, swimming, and sometimes venturing across the pond into enemy territories and breaking into their warehouses. While Teddie was a troublemaker, she wasn't a thief, she'd break into a place but she never stole anything, not even things of non-value.

If she wasn't out with her friends, getting into trouble, she was looking after her brother, Mason. He had a summer cold, and his allergies were playing havoc with him as the summer came to a close. It was around this time of year that Mason's hayfever always played holy hell. The doctors had given him antibiotics to try and help, but sometimes it was best to just stay indoors.

"I can't believe you're a witch," Mason said, curling up on one side of the sofa. He had a book that Teddie had bought in Diagon Alley propped up on his knees. She'd bought it as a present to him, especially since she wasn't going to be seeing it for a while.

"It does seem to explain a lot of things though," Teddie said from the other side of the room. She was feeding Priscilla again. The snake looked a lot better than she had done all month. There was some colour back on her scales, and her body temperature and returned to normal.

Mason murmured in agreement. "Yeah, like that time you blew up the coat rack at school," he said, looking up from the book.

Teddie winced as she remembered. Upton Cross Primary School had been the first school she ever attended, but after many incidents, including her blowing up the coat rack in her classroom after arguing with another student, she'd been expelled.

"And, that time at Kensington," Mason added, quickly.

"I'd rather forget that day," Teddie said. "But, yes, I get your point. A lot of weird stuff has happened to me over the years, and I guess magic can be to blame. Mr Snape called it 'accidental magic'."

Mason nodded and returned his attention to the book. "Do you think I could be a warlock?" he asked. "Wouldn't it be cool if we were both magical? Then I could come to school with you too."

"Apparently, boy's aren't called Warlocks," Teddie said. "They're called Wizards. But yes, it would be awesome if you were magical. At least, if you did come to school with me, I wouldn't feel like such a loser. I mean, this school is a prestige boarding school, who wants to bet all the kids going there know each other already? I suck at making new friends."

"Just look out for the ones that like to fight, and you should be fine."

Teddie rolled her eyes and threw the nearest object at him. It was a packet of Skittles.

Mason shrieked and dived under his blanket for safety. He laughed and resurfaced. "Maybe, in two years, I'll get a letter just like you," he said. "Then I can come to Hogwarts too. Hopefully, you'll have friends by then, but if you don't, we can just be together, like always."

Teddie smiled and closed Priscilla's tank. "Yeah, who needs new friends when I'll have my best friend, huh?" she asked.

"Thank you for the book, by the way," said Mason. "It's truly fascinating to learn about your world."

"I thought you may have liked it," said Teddie. She cleaned up the plastic bags that had once contained a dead rat and headed into the kitchen. "I'll tell you what," she called. "How about I make us some snacks, and then you can tell me all about the world I am heading into?"

Mason turned the page. "Sure. Sounds fun," he called back.

~X~

Mason awoke at 7 o'clock the next morning and was jumping up and down on Teddie's by 7:30. "Come on, come on, come on!" he wailed. "You're going to Hogwarts today. You have to get up and get ready."

Teddie groaned and rolled over, pulling her blankets over her head in an attempt to block out her brother's over-excited voice. One would have thought he was the one attending a magical school, not her.

"Teddie, come on!" Mason called again. He dropped to his knees with a bounce, took hold of the blanket, and pulled it down, revealing his disheveled and sleep-deprived sister beneath it. "Why aren't you excited?"

"Because it's too early to be awake," Teddie grumbled. She fumbled around, her eyes closed, looking for the blanket to pull back over her head. "Go back to bed and wake me in an hour."

Mason rolled his eyes and scooted closer, snuggling under the blankets and sitting on Teddie's hip. He leaned forward, bracing himself with one hand against the wall and leaned closer to her ear. "WAKE UP!" he yelled.

Teddie shrieked and sat up, knocking her head against Mason's.

"OW!" they both wailed, clutching their heads firmly.

"What in the blazin' is going on in here?" Robert asked, throwing open the door and striding inside. He looked from one child to the next, demanding an explanation.

Mason jumped up onto the bed again. "She's going to Hogwarts today, Dad!" he said, hopping up and down again.

"Will you tell him to bugger off?" Teddie asked, grasping the blanket again and tugging it over her head. "My train doesn't leave until eleven. I don't have to get up yet."

Robert shook his head and helped Mason down from the bed. "You should really get up, Teddie," he said. "You want to look presentable when you arrive at Kings Cross. Come on, shower and meet us downstairs for breakfast."

Teddie grumbled as her father left the room with Mason. But I want to sleep… she thought, dismally.

"Teddie, honey, are you awake?" Rose Green, Teddie and Mason's mother called from downstairs.

"No," Teddie called back.

"Then you best start to move," Rose said. "Come on. By the time you're ready, your father shall have cooked the bacon."

Teddie's eyes snapped open and she sat up straight. "Bacon?" she called. "Really? We only have bacon on special occasions." She threw back her bed covers and stumbled out onto the landing. She looked down the stairs at her mother, a grin on her lips. "How long do I have?"

"I'd say, ten minutes?"

"I'll be down in eight," Teddie said. She turned tail and run into the bathroom, slamming and locking the door behind her.

Rose chuckled and returned to the kitchen.

Exactly eight minutes later, Teddie hurried into the kitchen. She was dressed and looked like she'd been awake since five o'clock.

"Took you long enough," Mason teased. "I was just about to ask Dad if I could have your bacon."

"Keep your hands off my bacon," Teddie said. "Best friend or little brother, I'll fight you for the bacon."

Mason laughed and reached for the maple syrup as his mother set a tower of pancakes down in front of him. He drowned the pancakes with sugary goodness and reached for a knife and fork.

"Urgh!" Teddie said, scrunching her nose up. "How can you eat that?"

"Because it's gooooood!" Mason said through a mouthful of food.

Teddie stuck out her tongue and grinned as her father set a plate of bacon in front of her. He was just adding fried eggs to another plate when Teddy started to eat.

"Oh, slow down, pumpkin, you'll have a stomach ache and hiccups," Robert said.

"Sorry," Teddie apologised. She swallowed and reached for another strip of bacon. She loved bacon. It was her most favourite meat in the whole world. She'd eat it every day if she could. But bacon was expensive. Usually, her family only had it on special birthdays, and anniversaries.

Rose sat opposite her husband and picked up a knife and fork. "Have you packed everything, Teddie?" she asked.

Teddy nodded. "Double, triple checked everything last night," she said. "Even Mason checked for me."

"She has everything, Mum," Mason said, munching on a strip of bacon. He chewed and swallowed, reaching for a glass of orange juice.

Breakfast was a short affair, and then the Green family were off, preparing themselves for their trip to London. Once his family were sorted, and his daughter's school supplies were packed into his car, Robert Green drove them out of Spinner's End.

~X~

10:39.

Teddie looked around nervously as she navigated her way through the people at Kings Cross Station. Behind her, pushing a trolley with her things, were her parents, as Mason run up ahead. They were both searching high and low for the platform known as 9 ¾.

"See anything, Mason?" Teddie called.

Mason slowed to a halt and shook his head. "Nope. This is the last pillar with 9 and 10 written on it," he said, pointing at the stone wall ahead of them. "I don't think there is a 9 ¾, sis."

"There has to be!" Teddie said, She checked her ticket a fourth time, and looked up at her brother. "Maybe we could ask. Come on," she led him over to a Station Master. "Excuse me, Sir, I was wondering if you could point us in the direction of Platform 9 ¾?"

"9 ¾?" the man laughed. "Are you kidding me? Why don't you kids run along before I call security." He walked away, muttering under his breath about stupid kids.

Teddie's fists clenched at her side. "Who does he think he is calling us stupid kids?" she asked.

"I don't know," said Mason. "But you have to admit. It was an odd request. Come on," he grabbed her hand and tried to pull her back to their parents. "Don't let him make you angry. You don't want to blow up the station or something."

Teddie rolled her eyes and followed him back to their parents.

"Find anything?" Rose asked as her children returned.

Mason and Teddie rolled their eyes.

"Teddie, think hard," said Robert. "What exactly did Severus tell you about the magical world when he took you school shopping?"

Teddie shrugged. "He said that there were several gateways throughout this world that linked to the Wizarding world. Like, the Leaky Cauldron that leads to Diagon Alley. But he never told me where the other gateways where. I wish I had asked now, to be honest, then I wouldn't feel like such an idiot wandering around and asking station masters about a place that shouldn't exist."

"Did you just say Diagon Alley?" a voice from behind asked.

The Green's turned to a smart, well-dressed woman standing on the platform to their rear. It was obvious that she was rich. She had long blond hair, high cheekbones, and a hint of a friendly smile.

"Yes, we did," Rose answered. "I'm Rose Green. This is my husband, Robert, and our children, Teddie and Mason."

"You know about Diagon Alley?" Mason asked.

The woman surveyed the youngster and then nodded. "Yes, my name is Eleanor Nott," she said. "My son, Theodore." She placed her hand on the shoulder of a boy with short brown hair, He was tall, and wiry, and looked sullen and withdrawn. He smiled weakly at the introduction but didn't spare a word in communication.

"Do you know how to get onto the platform?" Teddie asked.

Eleanor nodded. "Muggleborn?" she asked.

Teddie cocked her head to the side and nodded. "Um, what?" she asked.

"Oh dear," Eleanor said, as Teddie confirmed her thoughts. "Do not worry, child, you'll get used to this world soon enough. Come along, we can go to the platform together." She strode past the family of four, leading them over to the last pillar and stopped again.

Mason frowned and looked around. "We were just here," he said. "There is no platform 9 ¾."

"Gateways between this world and the other are usually always invisible," Eleanor explained. "Either that or they are well protected with charms and enchantments that they cannot be seen. To get onto the platform, all you have to do is run at the wall between platforms nine and ten."

Rose's eyes widened. "I beg your pardon?" she asked, grasping Teddie's shoulders firmly. "Teddie, you will do no such thing."

Teddie considered the wall between the two platforms with great interest.

"Here, Theodore shall show you," Eleanor said. She motioned for her son to go ahead, and Theodore run, full speed at the wall.

Teddie closed her eyes, expecting to hear a crash. When she didn't, she opened her eyes just in time to see Theo disappear. "Holy -" she cut off and blinked.

"I want a turn!" Mason said, running at the wall.

"MASON!" Rose called. She reached out to grab her son, but he evaded her grasp and disappeared straight through the barrier.

Teddie looked up at her mother. "I'll get him," she said, running after her brother.

~X~

On the other side, Teddie found herself facing an enormously packed station. People bustled about here and there, friends rejoiced as they found one another amongst the crowds, and owls hooted, cats mewled, and toads croaked loudly over the ruckus. Teddie spotted the boy known as Theodore Nott standing a fair distance away from the other people and walked over to him.

"You haven't seen my little brother run by, have you?" Teddie asked.

Theodore looked surprised that she was talking to him. He shook his head and cast his gaze down at his feet.

Teddie frowned. "Are you okay?" she asked.

Theodore nodded.

"Um, okay, well, I'm going to go find my brother," Teddie said. "If I don't see you on the train, I guess I'll see you at Hogwarts." She walked around him and disappeared into the crowd, calling out Mason's name,

Pushing her way through the crowd, Teddie jostled and tripped as someone run into her. She hissed as she landed on her knees and looked up to see a boy who looked like a gorilla amble past. He didn't even stop to apologise or see if she was alright.

"Hey, watch where you're going, asshole!" Teddie snapped, pushing herself up.

The boy stopped short and turned around. "What did you say?" he asked, reaching for her.

"I said, watch where you're going!" Teddie growled, slapping his hand away. "It doesn't take a lot to open your eyes and be aware of others around you, and, if you do happen to walk into someone, or push them down, saying sorry wouldn't hurt either."

The boy sneered. "Do you have any idea who I am?" he asked.

"No, and to be quite honest, I really don't care," Teddie said. She pushed past him, striding off into the crowd and disappearing.

The boy glared after her.

"Someone giving you a run for your money, Warrington?" asked another boy.

Warrington sneered at him too. "What's it to you, Flint?" he asked.

The boy, Flint, laughed and shrugged. "Just finding it amusing that an eleven-year-old girl has the courage to stand up to you, that's all," he said. "Interesting times lay ahead at Hogwarts if that's the case."

"Shut up!" Warrington said, storming off.

Flint chuckled and turned to the crowd, His gaze found the girl in question and he made his way towards her. She looked to be searching for someone, or something. "Are you lost?" he asked, startling her.

Teddie whirled around. "Do I look lost?" she asked.

"Ooh, feisty," Flint said. "What's your name?"

"Why do you care?"

"Just trying to be friendly. I'm Marcus. Marcus Flint, and you?"

"Teddie Green."

Marcus looked confused. "You're not pureblood, are you?" he asked. "I've never heard of a pureblood Green family before."

"Does it matter?" Teddie asked. "Whether I'm pureblood or not?"

"No, I guess it doesn't," said Marcus. "Anyway. Are you lost? You look lost."

"I'm not lost, I'm just looking for someone who is lost."

"And who may that be?"

"My little brother, Mason," Teddie said. "He ran on to the platform after Theo, and I can't find him anywhere. My parents will be worried if they can't find him."

Marcus nodded and looked around. "What does your brother look like?" he asked.

"Like me, but with short red hair," Teddie described. "He has freckles on his nose and is a tad shorter than I am. He's only nine."

Marcus turned and reached into the crowd, pulling out another boy around his age. "Pucey, we're looking for a nine-year-old red-headed boy. His name's Mason Green. He's a muggleborn," he told the boy.

"So?" the boy, Pucey, said,

"Just find him and take him back to the gateway," Marcus said.

Teddie watched as the boy slipped back into the crowd. He didn't even glance at her, or say anything about the orders he had just been given. She paused and looked up at Marcus. "Why are you helping me?" she asked.

"Like I said, it's called being friendly." Marcus smiled, showing several crooked teeth. "As a Muggleborn, you're going to need to make friends fast in this world. Muggleborns are usually taken advantage of at Hogwarts because they don't know our customs. With friends, you're less likely to be a target."

"I can look after myself."

"Clearly," Marcus agreed. "Do you want to find your brother or not?"

Teddie nodded.

"Then follow me," Marcus said, leading her back into the crowd. They searched every inch of the platform. Marcus even recruited more of his friends and sent them onto the train in search of Mason, but they all came back empty-handed.

Teddie was starting to feel scared as the last boy came back, shaking his head at Flint. She was about to call quits when she heard a small voice call "Teddie!" from somewhere near the back of the crowd. She spun around and sighed in relief, as Mason pushed his way towards her,

"Teddie, you have to come see this!" Mason said, grasping her hand. "There's this kid, I think he said his name is Lee, and he has this tarantula in a box. It's amazing, Teddie. I told him that we kept snakes, and he wants to know more. I told him he had to meet you because you take care of Priscilla more than I do. Come on, he's back here."

"Mason!" Teddie shouted, pulling her brother to a halt. She wheeled him around and glared, Mason swallowed and looked down. "Do you have any idea how worried I have been? You can't just run off like that, especially here. What if we couldn't have found you? What if someone grabbed you? Bloody hell, Mason, don't you ever do that again, do you hear me?"

Mason nodded and hugged Teddie tightly.

Teddie sighed and hugged him back. She felt him shake and suddenly felt guilty for shouting at him. "Mason, I'm sorry, but you really scared me then," she apologised. "I bet Mum is hysterical. I know you want to show me the tarantula, but we should really go and find them."

"Oh, okay," Mason said. "I guess you might see Lee at Hogwarts. You can tell him about Priscilla then. Hey, wait, who are you?" he added, finally spotting Marcus over Teddie's shoulder.

Teddie looked at the older boy. "This is Marcus Flint, he's been helping me look for you," she said. "Him and his friends. What do you say?"

"Thank you, and sorry," Mason said.

Marcus shook his head and turned to Teddie. "The train leaves at exactly 11 o'clock," he said. "If you're going to find your parents, you'd better hurry. You don't have much time."

Teddie spied a clock on the far wall. It was 10:55. She had five minutes to find her parents and gets on the train. "Thank you," she said, tugging Mason back into the crowd. She weaved her way through and finally returned to the gateway. Her parents, Eleanor and Theodore were waiting there.

"Oh, Mason!" Rose cried, pulling her son into arms. "What have I told you about running off?"

"I already gave him a talking to, Mum," Teddie said. "He said he was sorry."

Rose wiped away the tears of fear from her face and looked up at her daughter. Teddie had always been overly protective of Mason, despite them being two years apart in age. They were more than siblings, they were best friends, and Teddie always did everything she could to make sure Mason was well looked after.

"Eleanor has been telling us about the Wizarding World," Rose said. "She says the train leaves at eleven. You should board now and find a seat. Don't worry about your trunk, your father's already handed it to the train master."

"What about Merlin and Morgana?" Teddie asked.

Robert held up a clear case and handed it to Teddie. "All safe," he assured her.

A whistle sounded.

Eleanor ushered her son over to the train, and Teddie turned to her parents. "I'm going to miss you," she said, hugging them tightly. "You too, Mason."

"You be good, Teddie," Robert said, hugging his daughter and kissing her forehead. "We don't want letters home about you fighting. Try to keep that temper of yours in check."

"I'll try, Dad," Teddie promised. She was thankful that they didn't know about her run-in with an older student already. They wouldn't have been pleased to hear she was fighting already.

Doors all along the train started to slam shut.

"Quickly, Teddie," Eleanor called from the last remaining open carriage. She held out her hand and Teddie run over, hopping aboard. The door slammed shut behind her and she leaned out, waving to her family as the train picked up speed.

Mason run alongside the train, keeping as far away from the edge of the platform as he could. He soon stopped and waved, calling out over the noise.

"Bye, Teddie, I miss you already!"

Chapter Text

As the sky outside the window turned an inky black, a voice echoed throughout the train: "We will be reaching Hogsmeade in five minutes' time. Please leave your luggage on the train, it will be taken to the school separately."

Teddie looked across at Theo. He had managed to secure an empty compartment when he had boarded the train and had allowed her to share with him when she arrived. They hadn't spoken much the entire train ride, but the silence was a comfortable one.

As the train started to slow down, Teddie and Theo joined the stream of students out in the hallway. People pushed their way towards the doors and disembarked onto a tiny, dark platform. Teddie shivered and pulled her cloak around her body. Then a lamp came bobbing over the heads of the students and a gruff voice shouted: "Firs'-years! Firs-years over here!"

Teddie looked around and her eyes widened at the man calling for first years. He was huge. "Is he a giant?" she asked Theo.

Theo shrugged and followed the crowd of first years towards the man.

"C'mon, follow me - any more firs'-years? Mind yer step, now! Firs'-years follow me!" the man called, waving a huge hand in his direction. Slipping and stumbling, they followed the man down what seemed to be a steep, narrow path.

Teddie stuck as close as she could to Theo. He glanced down at her and wordlessly grabbed her wrist so that they wouldn't get separated.

"Yeh'll get yer firs' sight o' Hogwarts in a sec," the man called over his shoulder, "jus' round this bend here."

There was a loud "Oooooh!"

The narrow path had opened suddenly on to the edge of a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side, its windows sparkling in the starry sky was a vast castle with many turrets and towers.

"Wow…" Teddie breathed.

"No more'n four to a boat!" the man called, pointing to a fleet of little boats sitting on the shore.

Teddie and Theo climbed into one and were followed by a blonde girl and a dark-skinned boy.

"Everyone in?" shouted the man. He had a boat to himself, due to his sheer size. "Right then - FORWARD!"

The boats lurched forward, gliding seamlessly across the water's surface. Teddie leaned over the side and smiled as her rippled reflection stared back at her.

"I wouldn't do that," the dark-skinned boy said.

Teddie pulled back and stared at him. "Why?" she asked.

"My mother told me a giant squid lived in the lake," the boy said. "It likes to play pranks on first years. She said that when she was a first year, it reached into one of the boats and pulled a student under the water."

"Fascinating," Teddie said, leaning back over the side of the boat.

Theo pulled her back. He didn't say a word but kept his hand on her wrist to prevent her from leaning away from him again.

"Heads down!" yelled the man as the boats reached the cliff. Teddie and those in her boat bent their heads and the little boat carried them through a curtain of ivy which hid a wide opening in the cliff. They were carried through a dark tunnel, which seemed to be taking them right underneath the castle until they reached a kind of underground harbour.

Theo helped Teddie climb out of the boat. She smiled her thanks and followed him along the stone corridor until they reached a set of stone steps. They climbed steadily upwards and finally came out on a smooth, damp grass right in the shadow of the castle.

"It's even beautiful up close," Teddie whispered to Theo.

Theo nodded.

"Everyone here?" the man called from the front of the group. He led them up the last set of stone steps and stopped in front of a huge, oak front door. He raised a massive fist and knocked three times.

~X~

The door swung open at once. A tall, black-haired witch in emerald green robes stood there. She had a very stern face and Teddie guessed she was not a woman to be crossed.

"The firs'-years, Professor McGonagall," the giant man said.

"Thank you, Hagrid. I will take it from here." She pulled the door open wide. The Entrance Hall was so big Teddie was sure she could fit her entire house inside. The stone walls were lit with flaming torches, the ceiling was too high to make out, and a magnificent marble staircase facing them led up to the upper floors.

They followed Professor McGonagall across the flagged stone floor into a small room just off the Great Hall, where Teddie could hear other voices. The rest of the students must have come up to the school via other means. The first years crowded into the room, jostling each other and carving out space for themselves and new friends,

Teddie and Theo stuck to the back wall with the blonde girl and dark-skinned boy.

"Welcome to Hogwarts," said Professor McGonagall. "The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly. But before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you will be sorted into your houses. The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be like your family. You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory and spend free time in your house common room."

Theo and Teddie exchanged looks.

"The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin," McGonagall explained. "Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding wizards and witches. While you are here at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your house points, while any rule-breaking will lose house points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the House Cup, a great honour. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever house becomes yours."

McGonagall's eyes flitted over the faces staring up at her. She spotted Teddie at the back of the room, her gaze lingering a second longer before she turned away again.

Teddie frowned. Finding the interaction strange.

"The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as you while you are waiting. I shall return when we are ready for you. Please wait quietly."

She left the chamber.

Teddie turned to the three beside her. She had figured a while back that they were Purebloods, and probably knew more about Hogwarts than she did. "Do you know what houses you want to be in?" she asked.

"My whole family has been in Slytherin," the blonde girl said. "Oh, I'm Daphne, by the way. Daphne Greengrass."

"Teddie Green. I bought my brother a book called Hogwarts: A History when I went to Diagon Alley," said Teddie. "He told me just last night about the houses. Slytherin sounds like the most interesting, plus, the book says he had a weird fascination with snakes, and that he could talk to them. I love Snakes, and I found myself identifying with Slytherin on so many levels. I hope I get his house, too,"

The dark-skinned boy eyed Teddie. "You're a Muggleborn, aren't you?" he asked.

Teddie nodded, although she did roll her eyes. What was it with these guys? What did it matter what blood status she was? She'd already had Mason tell her about the blood statuses in the Wizarding world. Apparently being a Muggleborn was a big deal, and Mason even worried about her safety. But then he remembered that Teddie wasn't someone that allowed others to push her around, no matter who they were.

"It's rare that a Muggleborn ends up in Slytherin," the boy said. "Slytherin was against Muggleborns being taught at Hogwarts."

"Yeah, my brother told me about that," Teddie said. She shrugged. "Maybe I'll be the change,"

The boy smirked. "Slytherin looked for ambition and determination," he said. "You'd fit right in with that skill. "I'm Blaise. Blaise Zabini."

"Nice to meet you," Teddie said. "What house do you want, Theo?" she added to the boy she'd met in London.

"Slytherin," Theo said.

Teddie grinned. "So, hopefully, if I make Slytherin, we'll all be together then?" she asked.

Daphne nodded.

A door opened at the end of the hall and Professor McGonagall returned. She called out to the first years, ordering them to form a line. Theo, Teddie, Daphne, and Blaise fell into line behind one another and followed the students ahead of them out of the chamber. They trailed across the Entrance Hall and through a second set of double doors.

The Great Hall was lit by thousands and thousands of candles that were floating in midair over four long tables. These tables were laid with glittering golden plates and goblets, and lined with hundreds of students all dressed in black robes. At the top of the hall stood another long table, behind which sat several adults. Teddie scanned the table, her gaze settling on Snape at the far end. He met her gaze, nodded once and then looked away.

Teddie caught Daphne's eye and shrugged as they came to a stop before a set of steps leading to the high table. The first years all crowded around a small three-legged rickety wooden stool as McGonagall stood nearby, holding a ratted old hat.

Silence hung heavy in the air, and then a rim appeared at the brim of the hat, and it started to sing.

"A singing hat?" Teddie whispered to Theo. "That wasn't in the book."

Theo cracked a smile and nudged her, shushing her.

After what felt like forever, the hat stopped singing and the whole hall burst into applause. As silence fell again, Professor McGonagall stepped forward holding a long roll of parchment. "When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted," she said. "Abbott, Hannah!"

A pink-faced girl with blonde pigtails stumbled out of the line, put on the hat, which fell down over her eyes, and sat on the stool. A moment's pause -

"HUFFLEPUFF!" the hat shouted.

The table on the right cheered and clapped as Hannah went to sit down at the Hufflepuff table.

"Bones, Susan!"

"HUFFLEPUFF!" the hat shouted for the second time.

"Boot, Terry!"

"RAVENCLAW!"

The table second from the left clapped this time; several Ravenclaws stood up to shake hands with Terry as he joined them.

"Brocklehurst, Mandy!"

"RAVENCLAW!"

"Brown, Lavender!"

"GRYFFINDOR!"

The table on the left exploded into cheers.

"Bulstrode, Millicent!"

"SLYTHERIN!"

The table on the far left of the hall erupted into cheers.

Teddie quickly scanned the Slytherin table, her gaze meeting the boy she knew to be Marcus Flint. He smirked at her and she turned her attention back to the Sorting. So he was a Slytherin, and he seemed to want to be her friend? She was liking the idea of being a Slytherin more and more.

"Finch-Fletchley Justin!"

"HUFFLEPUFF!"

Daphne leaned in close to Teddie. "Notice how the hat seems to take longer on some people?" she asked.

"Yeah," Teddie nodded.

"My mum told me once, if the hat takes longer than five minutes to decide, they call it a Hatstall," Daphne explained.

"Hatstall? What does that mean?"

"It's where the Hat can't decide where to put you," Daphne said. "My mum said that Hatstalls are rare, but there have been a few known ones."

Teddie swallowed and stared at the Hat. She was about to ask Daphne what would happen if the Hat couldn't decide where to put you when McGonagall called her name.

"Green, Teddie!"

Teddie froze. She felt a hand on her back and Theo pushed her forward. Taking a deep breath, Teddie climbed the steps to the stool and sat down. The last thing she saw before the hat covered her eyes were her new friends offering her encouraging smiles.

"Isn't this interesting?"

A surprised yelp escaped Teddie's lips and she heard a light chuckle around the hall.

"Don't be scared," the voice said. "I'm the Sorting Hat. I'm just going to look through your thoughts and try to figure out where to place you. You know, I always enjoy sorting Muggleborns. You have no common knowledge of the Wizarding World, and therefore do not beg to be placed in a specific house in order to uphold age-old family traditions. But what's this? You're no ordinary Muggleborn are you, Miss Green? No, I daresay you are not. Interesting place, your mind, very interesting indeed. You have powerful magic coursing through your veins - magic that would make most witches and wizards cower in fear."

The hat hummed to itself, sifting carefully through each and every thought that trickled through Teddie's mind.

Teddie swallowed as she listened; the hall was silent and she could see movement beneath the rim, so she was aware that everyone was still out there, watching and waiting with bated breaths for the Hat's decision. What would happen to her if it couldn't decide on a house? Would she be sent home? Would she be called a fraud? She'd kill Snape if this was some sick prank.

The Hat chuckled. "Aggressive," he said in her ear. "Professor Snape will have his hands full with you this year, that's a fact. I can tell that your life has been difficult, and I can't promise you that Hogwarts will be easier, but you're used to difficult, aren't you? I may even go as far as to say you'd welcome an even greater challenge of difficult, although you may not agree. You know, Miss Green, things are about to become very interesting for you, and there is only one house that I can put you - SLYTHERIN!"

Teddie removed the hat and looked around at the faces staring up at her. She smirked and made her way over to the table that had just stood to applaud her.

"Greengrass, Daphne!"

As she settled herself onto the wooden bench, Teddie looked up to see Daphne take the stool. The blonde looked so cool and composed as the hat covered her eyes. It didn't take long before the hat shouted "SLYTHERIN!

Teddie cheered as Daphne run over to sit beside her.

The Sorting continued through several more letters before finally reaching the M's.

"Malfoy, Draco!"

The Hat had barely brushed the boys head before shouting "SLYTHERIN!"

There weren't many people left now.

"Nott, Theodore!"

Teddie looked up as Theo took the stool. He met her gaze as the hat sat on his head and shouted "SLYTHERIN!" to the hall.

Theo took the empty space beside Teddie as Daphne slid down to make room for him. He smiled thankfully at the blonde girl and then turned to Teddie. For someone who didn't seem to want to be friendly, he was definitely warming up to her.

Pansy Parkinson became the next Slytherin, and soon McGonagall called a name that caused a whisper of surprise to flutter around them all. Teddie looked around, curious as to why people seemed to be craning their necks to get a good look at the boy she had met in Ollivanders a few days earlier.

"Hatstall?" Teddie asked Daphne as she leaned across Theo.

Daphne shrugged. "I doubt it," she said. "Both his parents were in Gryffindor, there's a high chance he'll be put there too. Besides, Harry Potter is famous in the Wizarding World. He destroyed a very Dark Lord when he was merely an infant. He'll become a Gryffindor for just that alone."

"Seems like a stupid reason, if you ask me," Teddie muttered, pulling back.

Soon the rip at the bottom of the hat opened wide and yelled: "GRYFFINDOR!"

The Gryffindor table erupted into cheers as Daphne caught Teddie's eye.

Professor McGonagall called for attention; she even had to use her wand to fire off a couple of loud fireworks to shut the cheering Gryffindor's up, before she could continue with the Sorting. After Harry Potter a Ronald Weasley also became a Gryffindor, leaving Blaise to take the stool last.

The hat sat for a second on top of Blaise's head before shouting "SLYTHERIN!"

Blaise joined his new friends at his new table.

"Welcome to the dark side, Green," Blaise teased as he sat opposite Teddie.

"Apparently all the fun stuff happens on the dark side," Teddie replied. "Besides" she added with a shrug. "According to the kids in my neighbourhood, the dark side has cookies."

Blaise smirked as Daphne and Theo chuckled.

Chapter Text

As Professor McGonagall cleared away the Sorting Hat and the stool, Teddie looked down at her empty plate. She marvelled at her reflection in the surface and placed a hand on her stomach as it grumbled. She hadn't realised how hungry she was. She could remember sharing sweets on the train with Theo, but they seemed hours ago.

"Hey," Theo whispered, nudging her gently.

Teddie looked up and Theo nodded towards the front of the hall. An older man, with a long white beard which was tucked into the front of his robes, and half-moon spectacles was standing behind the teacher's table. He smiled around at them all in a grandfatherly fashion.

"Welcome!" the man called, his voice booming in the silence. "Welcome to another year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!"

He sat back down. Everybody clapped and cheered.

Teddie exchanged an odd look with Theo.

"That was Professor Dumbledore," said a voice behind. Teddie turned to see Marcus Flint had swapped seats with the student that Teddie had originally been sitting next too. "Headmaster of Hogwarts."

"Is he always this… eccentric?" Teddie asked. She didn't want to say the Headmaster was 'mad', even though he came across a such.

Marcus chuckled. "In a way, yes," he said.

Teddie nodded slowly and looked back at her plate. Her eyes widened as, right before her eyes, mountains of food seemed to appear out of nowhere in the middle of the table. And not just anything type of food, but all types of food.

"Bacon!" Teddie squealed, diving for a golden plate. She blushed as those around her chuckled, and she ducked her head to avoid their gaze.

Marcus spooned a healthy helping of potatoes onto his plate and then handed the spoon to Teddie. "Why do I get the impression you aren't used to so much food?" he asked.

"There are some foods that I grow weary of, after eating them so often," Teddie explained. "But then there are some, like bacon, for example, that I could eat for the rest of my life. I'm sure, by the end of the year, I'll grow bored of it. But back home we can't afford bacon for everyday cooking. My brother and I usually only eat it on special occasions."

From across the table, Teddie noticed a pug-faced girl watching her. Her eyes narrowed as Teddie met her gaze. "How can you not afford something as ordinary as bacon?" the girl asked.

"I don't see how my personal life is any business of yours," Teddie snapped back.

If possible, the girl glared harder.

"No arguing at dinner," an authoritative voice cut through the tension. Teddie looked to the left of the girl and saw another, this time older, female, staring at them both. "Parkinson, stop probing, and Green, there is no need to be defensive."

Teddie wanted to argue, but one look from Marcus told her otherwise. Instead, she clamped her mouth shut and went back to her food.

"That's Sierra Waterstone," Marcus said, leaning closer to Teddie. "She's house prefect. The boy sitting next to her, Grayson Farley is also a house prefect. They'll show you to the Slytherin Common room once dinner is over."

Teddie nodded and went back to eating.

Once everyone had eaten their fill, the remains of the food disappeared, leaving them as sparkling clean as they had been before the food appeared. A moment later, they were filled once again, only this time with puddings and cakes.

"Please tell you've at least had pudding before," the girl, Parkinson, asked from across the table again.

Deciding to ignore her this time, Teddie reached for the nearest plate and plucked a jam doughnut from the mix. Beside her, Theo opted for a bowl of strawberry jelly and chocolate ice cream.

"My brother loves chocolate ice cream," Teddie said, breaking into the doughnut and relishing the sweet gooyness as it spread over her tongue.

"You don't?" Theo asked.

Teddie shrugged. "It's not my favourite," she said. "I prefer vanilla. My mother used to say that vanilla lovers are risk-takers. Which fit in perfectly with me given I never back down when challenged." She threw a look across to Parkinson.

The girl sniffed and turned back to talk to the blond haired boy Teddie remembered from the Sorting as Draco Malfoy. He looked up and met her gaze as Parkinson whispered in his ear. He smirked, and Teddie threw him a hard glare from across the apple pies.

"Got something to say, Green?" Malfoy asked.

"Several, actually," Teddie replied. "But I won't say them here."

Draco glared and Blaise snorted into his dessert.

"Do I need to repeat myself," Sierra Waterstone interrupted, eyeing the first years with a look of distaste.

Teddie looked away and reached for the ice cream. She scooped a spoonful of vanilla into a bowl and added a couple of strawberries, jelly, raspberries, bananas, and wafer biscuits.

"So, Green," said Malfoy, peering at Teddie. "Rumour has it you aren't of Pureblood status."

"Seriously, you want to do that now?" Teddie asked, swallowing a mouthful of ice cream. She shivered as it slid down her throat.

Malfoy shrugged. "I'm just curious if you aren't a Pureblood, how did you end up in Slytherin? Only those of noble families are sorted here," he said.

"Clearly, I'm not the only mistake that was made during tonight's Sorting," Teddie answered. "I mean, what could've possessed the Hat to even consider someone like you for such a noble house?"

Malfoy glared, a tinge of pink colouring his otherwise pale face.

"How dare you!" Parkinson shrieked. "My Drakey belongs to the noblest of houses. The Malfoy's."

Teddie snorted.

"Something funny, Green?" Malfoy asked.

"Obviously," said Teddie. "One, that she actually calls you 'Drakey', and two, the fact that you have no idea what constitutes a noble name."

Both Malfoy and Parkinson looked furious. But before they could retort, Sienna Waterstone leaned forward again.

"This is my third warning," Sierra said, shooting the three of them steely glares. "If I have to break you three up, one more time, the consequences will be dire. Do you understand me?"

Teddie, Malfoy, and Parkinson remained silent.

"Good, now finish up," Sienna said, leaning back in her seat. "Dinner ends soon."

With one final glare at one another, Teddie returned to her dessert.

From their seats, Theo, Blaise, and Daphne exchanged nerved looks.

At last, the pudding too disappeared and Professor Dumbledore got to his feet again.

The Hall fell silent.

"Ahem - just a few more words now we're all fed and watered. I have a few start-of-term announcements. First-years should note that the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. I have also been asked by Mr Filch, the caretaker, to remind you all that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors. Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of the term. Anyone interested in playing for their house teams should contact Madam Hooch, And finally, I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death."

Teddie looked to Theo as very few students around the hall laughed.

"He's joking, right?" Teddie asked Marcus.

Marcus shrugged. "Can't be," he said. "There's never been a place in this castle, other than the forbidden forest, that a student can't go. But what he's got up there, I don't know."

Teddie turned back to Dumbledore.

"And now, bedtime! Off you trot!"

Sierra Waterstone and Grayson Farley stood.

"First years," Sierra called, her steely grey gaze sweeping over Teddie and friends, as well as Malfoy, Parkinson, and another Slytherin girl, Millicent Bulstrode. "You will follow Grayson and me out of the hall. We'll take you to our common room." She strode away from the table.

The others followed and Teddie turned to Marcus. "Aren't you coming too?" she asked.

"Older students usually hang back to give first years the chance to reach the common room first," Marcus explained. "Go ahead. I'll see you downstairs."

Teddie nodded and left with Theo.

~X~

For the first five minutes, the Slytherin and Hufflepuff first years walked in silence along corridors, and downstairs, leading themselves further and further away from the interactions of the upper castle. Soon they parted, and the Hufflepuff's went on their own way down a right-hand corridor as the Slytherins continued on.

"Is it me, is it getting colder?" Teddie asked, wrapping her arms around herself. She shivered but trudged on.

"Didn't your brother tell you that the Slytherin dorms were in the dungeons?" Theo asked. "It's supposed to be cold down here. Plus, we're under the black lake."

Teddie's eyes widened at the revelation of information. "So you mean, if we look outside, we'll see creatures of the deep?" she asked.

"Supposedly, yes," Theo nodded.

"Wicked!"

Theo smiled and followed Daphne and Blaise, both of whom were ahead of himself and Teddie, down another flight of stairs. Suddenly they came to a halt, and over the heads of the other first years, Theo could see they'd stopped in front of a giant portrait.

"Miss Waterstone, Mr Farlay," the portrait said.

"Hello, Headmaster," Sierra replied. "First years," she turned to the eleven-year-olds, "this is Headmaster Slytherin. One of the founders of Hogwarts, and the protector of our dormitories. Every time you wish to enter, he will ask you for a password, this changes every two weeks so keep an eye on the common room noticeboard. For the next two weeks, the password will be Dasypeltis scabra."

Teddie smirked as she recognised the term, although she seemed to be the only first-year who did. "It's another word for snake," she whispered to Theo, Daphne, and Blaise.

Upon hearing the password, Salazar Slytherin swung open and the group filed inside.

The room beyond was lit by an emerald green glow. For a place that was located beneath a huge body of water, and deep within the remnants of the castle, a fire flickered to life in the grate and a warm glow bathed the room. Teddie felt warmer, and better as she followed Theo further inside.

"Everyone find a place to sit," Grayson called. "The other Slytherins and Professor Snape shall be joining us soon."

The first years all scrambled to sit on the black leather sofas. Daphne and Blaise claimed one as their own, saving two seats for Theo and Teddie, and shushing Parkinson and Malfoy away as they tried to sit down,

"Excuse me!" Parkinson shrieked as Teddie folded her legs beneath her, and settled comfortably into the corner of the sofa.

"Oh, I'm sorry," Teddie said, looking up. "How rude of me. Of course, you're excused."

Daphne, Blaise, and Theo scoffed with amusement as Parkinson looked ready to explode.

"What is the problem now?" Sierra asked, approaching. She did not look pleased that it was Parkinson and Teddie arguing again.

"She does not belong in that chair!" Parkinson said, pointing a slender finger in Teddie's face. "She barely belongs in this house. If she's going to insist staying here, the least she could do is show respect to those of us who do belong, and move."

Teddie's hands curled into fists. "Excuse you!" she snapped before Sierra could intervene. "Who is 'she' when she's at home? My name is Teddie, alright? If you can't have the decency to call me by my name, then please don't talk to me at all. Fact of the matter remains, is that I was chosen for this house, just like yourself, if you have a problem with that then take it up with the headmaster, or the Sorting Hat, but don't think, for one second, that just because I'm a Muggleborn that you can push me around."

The common room was silent. The first years were staring at both Parkinson and Teddie, Grayson looked unsure of how to proceed, and Sierra looked furious beyond belief. The portrait had opened for the second time, and the older students had started to file in, they too fell silent as they sensed the tension inside the common room.

"Not even here a day, Miss Green, and already picking fights," said a smooth, calculating voice.

Professor Snape had arrived.

"Of course not, Professor," said Teddie, her gaze remained locked in a glare with Parkinson. "Just refusing to let myself be pushed around by some privileged brat who thinks she owns the world."

A slight murmur broke the silence.

"Professor, I'm terribly sorry," Sierra said. "These two have been fighting since the feast. I have warned them several times. I -"

"I do not blame you, Miss Waterstone," Professor Snape said, cutting her off. "But if Miss Green and Miss Parkinson do not wish to find themselves in detention before even starting the school year, I must insist that they both sit down!"

One glare from Snape was all it took for Teddie to back down. She tore her gaze away from Parkinson and glared into the flickering flames of the fireplace.

"Now," said Professor Snape. He glided over to an empty armchair and sat down. The rest of the Slytherins pulled up chairs, tables, and some even took up vacant spots on the floor. "First and foremost, welcome first years to the Slytherin house. No matter how strange you believe the selection process to have been, the fact remains you were all chosen for a reason, be it determination, cunning, ambition, or even resourcefulness."

Teddie felt a glare burning into the side of her skull. She knew it was Parkinson, but she refused to look. She wasn't sure if she could keep herself quiet if she did meet the other girl's gaze again.

Feeling a hand on her wrist, Teddie looked at Theo and smiled weakly. His comfort was a welcomed force, especially since most of the first years hated her already. She just hoped that she would be able to keep his friendship, and not scare him off with her strong personality traits.

"It is true that the reputation of a Slytherin is hardly encouraging," Snape continued. "You will find that the other houses will try to steer clear of you, even take advantage. Trust in your housemates will prevent this. I do not care what problems you have whilst in the common rooms and dormitories, but once you step outside that door, you subjected to defending one another, am I clear?"

His gaze swept between Parkinson and Teddie.

"Yes, Professor Snape," the Slytherin's chorused.

Teddie finally met Parkinson's gaze, her eyes hardening into a steely glare. There was no way she was defending the pug-faced brat against outsiders, she didn't care how much trouble she got into, especially since it was clear that Parkinson had no intention of defending her.

"And finally, there is a curfew set at Hogwarts," Professor Snape said. "No student is to be outside of their common room after hours, no exceptions. However, inside this house, I have my own curfews. First-years are to be in bed by ten thirty, every evening. Second-Fourth years, by eleven, and Fifth-Sixth years eleven thirty, and Seventh-years midnight, at the latest. You will do well to respect and adhere to these rules. Punishment for breaking these rules can be quite severe, do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, Professor Snape," the students chorused again.

"Good. Miss Waterstone, Mr Farlay, I shall leave it to you."

As Snape swept from the room, Sierra turned back to the students. "It's now ten twenty-five," she said, checking her wristwatch. "First Years, if you'll follow me, I'll show you where you're sleeping. As for the rest of you, it's the first day of term tomorrow, it will do you all well to get some sleep."

Sierra filed out of the room, taking the first years with her. She led them through a door on the left and stopped at the foot of a staircase. "Boys dormitories on the first floor on the right," she said, pointing up. "Girls', same on your left. You'll find all your belongings have already been brought down."

"Can we pick and choose who we share a room with?" Parkinson asked.

"No, you cannot," Sierra said. "Whatever problems you have with any of your housemates, Miss Parkinson, will be dealt with now. After tonight, we're all part of the same family. We treat each other with the respect deserved."

"But -"

"Bed, now, all of you!" Sierra said, interrupting Parkinson. She swept past the small group and returned to the common room. She'd given her information and instructions, if they got lost in their own dormitories then it would be their own fault, not hers.

With a huff, Parkinson climbed the stairs with Millicent in tow. Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle also headed up to their room leaving Daphne, Theo, Blaise, and Teddie behind.

"You never told us you had a temper," Blaise said to Teddie.

"I was hoping to keep it hidden for as long as possible," Teddie admitted. "My temper often gets me in trouble, as you saw with Professor Snape. His threat of detention won't stay a threat for long, at least not with me."

"I don't think I've ever seen someone stand up to Pansy before," Daphne said. "I've definitely not seen anyone call her a privileged brat."

Blaise grinned. "You've got balls, Green, that's for sure," he agreed. "With personality traits like that, it's a wonder the Sorting Hat didn't stall between Slytherin and Gryffindor. Bravery is a Gryffindor trait, after all."

Teddie shrugged. "If given the choice, I'd probably have chosen Slytherin anyway," she said. "I didn't like the sound of Gryffindor's reputation when Mason told me about it. They seem like a bunch of heroes, and I don't believe in heroes."

Blaise chortled. "You're definitely in the right place," he grinned. "It's going to be an interesting year. On that note, I'm going to bed. Theo?"

"I'll be right up," Theo said.

Blaise nodded and headed up to his dorm room.

Daphne smiled at Teddie.

"I'm right behind you," Teddie said.

Daphne nodded and started upstairs.

Teddie turned to Theo. "Thanks," she said.

"What for?"

"For being my friend."

Theo smiled and shrugged. "Thanks for being mine," he said.

"Goodnight, Theo."

"Goodnight, Teddie."

The two parted ways and headed up their separate stairways to bed.

Chapter Text

"Eek!" Daphne squealed the next morning at breakfast. She was sitting opposite Theo and Teddie, and beside Blaise. The three looked up at their friend as she stared at Teddie with wide, frightened eyes.

"What?" Teddie asked, holding a spoon three-quarters of the way to her mouth.

"Correct me if I am wrong, Teddie, but is your hair moving?" Daphne asked, staring at her friend's red hair. It seemed that the black hair tie holding Teddie's hair up was revolving in a circle.

Teddie paused and then started to laugh.

Daphne pouted, folding her arms in mock anger. "It's not funny!" she said. "What is going on with your hair tie?"

Reaching up, Teddie hooked her fingers into the black band and carefully disentangled it from her ponytail. As she moved away, Theo, Blaise, and Daphne realised that the band wasn't a band at all, but a small black snake.

"Why do you have a snake in your hair?" Blaise asked. "Is that some muggle fashion?"

Teddie shook her head. "Guys, meet Morgana," she said, holding up the corn snake as it wound itself through her fingers. "She's one of three snakes that I own. Professor Snape said that it's not uncommon for students to bring their own pets to school, and I didn't really trust my snakes to buy myself a cat, owl, or toad."

"You own three snakes?" Daphne asked, leaning forward.

"Yeah - Priscilla is a Ball Python, she's too big to have brought to Hogwarts, this is Morgana, she's a corn snake, she only grows to about 4-5 feet in length, and her brother is Merlin," said Teddie.

"And where is Merlin, exactly?" Theo asked, glancing Teddie over to see if he could see any other black moving shapes.

Teddie smiled and shifted Morgana to her free hand. The snake instantly coiled through her fingers. "You see my wrist?" she asked, indicating to the second black band on her arm. "That's Merlin. He's a little shy around strangers and prefers to be around my wrist rather than in my hair. Morgana's a little more curious. Would you like to hold her?"

"Yeah," Theo grinned.

"Hold your hand flat," Teddie told him.

Theo did as she instructed and she brushed her knuckles against the side of his palm. Instantly, Morgana slithered out of Teddie's fingers and across Theo's hand. She weaved towards his thumb and coiled around it, her tail sliding between his other fingers.

"I think she likes you," Teddie said, smiling at Theo.

"She's really pretty," Daphne said. She reached across the table and run her finger down Morgana's back, feeling the rough scales under against her skin.

"Thanks," Teddie grinned. "Do you want to try and hold Merlin, Daph?"

Daphne nodded and pulled back from Morgana, Teddie held out her wrist and carefully pried Merlin from her arm, the snake hissed as he was disturbed and coiled himself around Teddie's fingers of her free hand.

"Merlin, be nice," Teddie said, stroking the snakes head. He relaxed under her touch and slithered out of her grasp, and into Daphne's.

Blaise frowned. "Did he just listen to you?" he asked.

"Strange, huh?" Teddie asked, leaning back in her seat. She wasn't nervous about Merlin and Morgana being out of her possession, she trusted Daphne and Theo enough to be gentle with them, and corn snakes were venomous at any costs, so even if they did bite, her friends were safe from harm.

"Strange," Blaise echoed.

Spooning more cereal into her bowl, Teddie smiled at Daphne as Merlin coiled around her wrist and tucked his head down near his tail. His appearance was now that of a simple black bracelet.

"Is that normal?" Daphne asked, slightly afraid.

"He's okay," Teddie said, shaking her head. "That's his way of telling you he is comfortable. I can take him back if you're unsure."

"No, it's okay," Daphne said. She smiled and returned to her breakfast. The slight pressure around her left wrist was strange, given that she wasn't used to wearing anything on her left hand, but it was oddly comforting at the same time.

Theo suddenly handed Morgana back to Teddie. "I think she's starting to get restless," he said, as Morgana tried to slither up his arm.

Teddie giggled and took back the female. She carefully lifted Morgana to her head, and her friends watched as the snake slithered back into her hair. Its scales clung to Teddie's red strands until Morgana coiled herself around her ponytail once more, and became motionless.

"That… was the strangest thing I have ever seen," Blaise said, staring at the snake. "But again, oddly intriguing. I remember you saying you had a fascination with snakes, but I never expected you to actually have snakes."

"You say you have a ball python at home?" Daphne asked.

"Yeah, Priscilla," Teddie answered.

"What's she like?"

Teddie shrugged. "She's my baby," she said. "She was the first snake I ever owned. She was feeling a little under the weather before I came to Hogwarts, I hope she's doing better. My parents and Mason will take care of her, but sometimes she'll only let me near her, especially if she's not feeling well."

"Does she understand you, too?" Blaise asked.

"What do you mean, do I talk to her like I do Morgana and Merlin?" Teddie asked. Blaise nodded. "Of course I talk to her."

"Does she listen to you?"

Teddie nodded. "My parents always said I was special because Priscilla always did what I said," she said. "They used to tease me about being the snake whisperer."

"You can talk to snakes?"

Teddie, Theo, Blaise, and Daphne looked up as Marcus Flint joined them. He was accompanied by several boys that Teddie recognised from Platform 9 ¾.

"They don't talk back if that's what you mean," said Teddie. "Take, Priscilla, for example. I'll ask her every morning if she's hungry and wants breakfast, and it's like she nods at me. Merlin's the same," she pointed at the snake around Daphne's wrist. "He was being very rude just now and I told him to stop and to be nice, and he then went straight to Daphne."

The boy behind Marcus, Teddie recognised him as the boy named 'Pucey' frowned and leaned forward, talking to Marcus in a low voice. "You don't think she -" he started.

"Think I'm what?" Teddie interrupted him. "If you're going to talk about me, please talk to my face. I don't appreciate being talked about behind my back."

The boy smirked. "I was just contemplating the idea that you may be a Parselmouth," he said.

"A what?"

"Parselmouth," Pucey repeated. "It's a rare magical ability that allows a person to communicate with snakes. Salazar Slytherin was a Parselmouth, he could talk to snakes. It's why our emblem is a snake."

Teddie furrowed her brow. "I doubt that I am," she said. "As I've already said, they don't talk back to me. I talk to them like I would any pet animal. If I had a cat or even an owl, I'd probably talk to them too. It's a human instinct to form connections with animals, it helps them to trust you and therefore bond with you."

As breakfast progress, Professor Snape swept down the Slytherin table and handed out timetables. Leaning closer together, Theo, Blaise, Daphne, and Teddie examined their lessons plan.

"History of Magic, Charms, Transfiguration, Defence Against the Dark Arts, and double Potions," Blaise said, sliding his finger across the parchment. "Most classes are with Gryffindors."

"I guess we're about to see first hand what Professor Snape meant about being targets at Hogwarts," Teddie said, flipping over her parchment. "Hey, look, it's a map!"

"The map's there to make sure you don't get lost," Marcus said. "It's quite nerve-wracking trying to navigate the castle on your first day, and the last thing you want to worry about his being late. I'd also consider giving yourselves a ten-minute head start, just so if you do take a wrong turning, you don't turn up too late for class."

The four first years nodded.

"Should we go get our History of Magic, Charms books, and Transfiguration things?" Daphne asked. "We can get our books and cauldron for double potions after lunch."

The others agreed, bid Marcus and his friends a good morning and goodbye, and headed out of the hall. As they were leaving, Parkinson and Malfoy were entering.

"Mudblood," Malfoy sneered as Teddie passed by.

Without warning, Teddie whipped around and slammed her fist into Malfoy's nose. The boy cried out in alarm and stumbled back, tripping over his robe and hitting the ground with a thud.

"Draco!" Pansy cried, kneeling beside him.

"I don't know what that means," Teddie snapped, standing over Malfoy. "But if you call me anything other than my first or last name, then you're going to get more than just a punch in the face."

"Miss Green!"

Daphne looked over her shoulder and saw Sierra Waterstone leaving the door leading to the corridor beyond the Entrance Hall, she was accompanied by Grayson Farley, and she looked furious.

"It wasn't Teddie's fault," Blaise said, jumping between Sierra and Teddie. "Malfoy called her a 'mudblood'."

Sierra's face turned purple with rage, even Grayson's eyes flashed with flames of anger. "Mr Malfoy, what do you have to say for yourself?" Sierra demanded. "Do either of you remember Professor Snape's rules from last night?"

Teddie and Draco remained silent, each glaring at one another.

"You're lucky that school has yet to start, and there are no emeralds in our hourglass," said Sierra. "I hate docking points from my own house, but I will if necessary. Mr Malfoy, that language is not something you hear in civilised conversations, especially when directed at a fellow Slytherin if I hear you calling Miss Green it again you will not like the consequences." She turned to Teddie. "Be as it may, physical violence is not tolerated against other students. If you're having trouble with anyone, Miss Green, please see a member of staff, a prefect, or the Head Boy and Girl. I will also punish you for any violence against another student. Do you understand?"

Teddie tore her gaze away from Malfoy and met Sierra's. "Yes," she said.

"Good. Now, get to class."

"We haven't had breakfast," Pansy said.

Sierra threw her a dark look. "I don't really care where you go, Miss Parkinson, but remove yourself from the Entrance Hall, now!" she snapped.

With one final glare at Teddie and friends, Parkinson and Malfoy entered the hall, Crabbe and Goyle trailing behind.

"And you four?" Grayson asked.

"We're going to get our school books," Daphne said.

"Then go, now," Grayson said.

Theo grabbed Teddie's wrist and pulled her across the Entrance Hall, Daphne and Blaise hurrying along in their wake.

~X~

The rest of the day seemed to pass without incident. Malfoy and Parkinson gave Teddie a wide berth after the interaction in the Entrance Hall, and Theo, Blaise, and Daphne made sure that Teddie had no contact with their housemates.

Their first lesson, History of Magic it seemed was easily the most boring lessons taught at Hogwarts. The teacher was a ghost, Professor Binns, who had fallen asleep in his chair several hundred years ago, got up to go to class and left his body behind.

Professor Binns didn't even notice that he had a class most of the time, as he droned on and on about ancient witches and wizards, expecting them all to just scribble down dates and names. Most of the time, Teddie and Daphne could be found playing with Morgana and Merlin as Theo and Blaise snoozed in their chairs.

History of Magic was, by far, the worst lesson to have first thing in the morning.

Charms, however, seemed a more promising lesson. It was taught by Professor Flitwick, a tiny little wizard that had to stand on a stack of books just to see over his desk, He took the register at the beginning of class, and toppled backwards when he reached a specific name.

"Harry Potter," he squeaked, before tumbling backwards.

All heads, including Teddie's, turned to find the boy in question. His face burned as the spotlight hit him, and he looked like a deer caught in headlights. Teddie still found it strange that this mere eleven-year-old was famous in the wizarding world. Daphne had told her some of the stories behind Harry Potter, but not all of it. She'd have to remember to ask later.

After Charms, the Slytherins had Transfiguration with Professor McGonagall, she was the Head of Gryffindor House, and the same witch that had greeted them in the Entrance Hall on the night of their arrival. If back then, Teddie hadn't have thought Professor McGonagall was a strict witch, she was definitely a firm believer now.

The minute they had taken their seats, Professor McGonagall began to lecture them on what she expected of them in her class.

"Transfiguration is some of the most complex and dangerous magic you will learn at Hogwarts," Professor McGonagall said. "Anyone messing around in my class will leave and not come back. You have been warned."

She then changed her desk into a pig and changed it back within a blink of an eye.

~X~

After Transfiguration was lunch. Teddie and friends entered the Great Hall to find most of the upper Slytherin students were already present at the table. They quickly took up four seats beside Marcus and his friends and fell into discussion easily with them.

"How's your first day been?" Marcus asked Teddie.

"It's been alright." Teddie nodded. "History of Magic is a bit of a bore, but otherwise everything else has gone fine."

"What happened after breakfast?" Adrian asked. Teddie had learned his first name from Daphne, apparently, their fathers were friends outside of school. "Sierra came in looking furious, muttering something about bloody first years."

Teddie averted his gaze.

"We saw Malfoy, too," said another of Marcus' friends. His name was Bole. Derrick Bole. "Grayson had to perform the Scourgify charm to clean up the blood on his uniform.

Marcus eyed Teddie. "Do you know what happened?" he asked.

"He called me a...Mudblood?" said Teddie, it was more of an uncertain question than a statement. She still didn't know what the word meant but it seemed her new friends did.

"If he called you that vulgar name?" Adrian asked.

"Yeah, so I punched him," Teddie replied. "I told him that I didn't know what he had called me, but if he called me anything other than my first and last names, I'd start throwing more than just punches. Sierra caught me and gave us both a scolding."

Marcus couldn't help but smirk.

Teddie furrowed her brow. "What?" she asked.

"Nothing," said Marcus. "I'm just thinking about me telling you Muggleborns are usually taken advantage of at Hogwarts. But, in all honesty, I don't think Hogwarts knows what's hit her since you've walked through her doors. You're definitely not a Muggleborn to pick a fight with."

Teddie grinned.

"That wasn't a compliment," Derrick said.

"I know," Teddie said. "But I'm going to take it as one."

The group laughed.

~X~

After lunch, the first year Slytherins had Defence Against the Dark Arts with Gryffindors, followed by double Potions. Teddie and Theo run down to the Slytherin common room to collect their afternoon supplies, and picked up Daphne and Blaise's too, before heading off to the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom on the second floor.

Everyone had been looking forward to this lesson all day, and therefore had turned up five minutes early in order to get a good seat. Daphne, Blaise, Theo, and Teddie didn't join the squabble to get a front seat and instead chose two desks in the middle of the classroom. They sat down and were in the middle of pulling out their books, notebooks, and quills when Quirrell entered the room.

Unfortunately, the class turned out to be a bit of a joke. The classroom smelled heavily of garlic, which Quirrell explained was to ward off a vampire he had met in Romania over the summer and was afraid would be coming back for him at some point. His turban, he added, had been given to him by an African prince as a thank you for getting rid of a troublesome zombie.

The stories seemed a little far-fetched, and Teddie wasn't sure if she believed them fully or not. Despite the comic relief of his stories, Teddie found Professor Quirrell to be rather strange. His stutter didn't seem to be natural, but forced, and often or not she would find him staring at her when the rest of the class were jotting down what he had put on the board.

Thankfully, he didn't give them homework.

"That was strange," said Teddie, as she and her friends left the classroom at the end of the lesson. "Am I the only one that gets a strange feeling from him?"

Daphne, Theo, and Blaise shook their heads.

"He seems to have a weird fascination with you, too, Ted," said Blaise. "I noticed him staring a few times. Wonder what that's about?"

"Thank god someone else noticed," Teddie said, sighing in relief. "I thought I was the only one. I wasn't going to say anything because I didn't want to sound paranoid."

Blaise shook his head. "Nah, you weren't the only one," he assured her.

"I suppose he's not going to come straight out and tell me why he was staring at me, is he?" Teddie asked.

"You'll be lucky," said Daphne.

"If it keeps happening, or if you feel uncomfortable with it, we can report it to Professor Snape," said Theo.

Teddie smiled at him and shook her head. "Nah, it's okay," she said. "Besides, he seems pretty harmless. I'm pretty sure I could take him."

"Do you think of anything other than fighting?"

"It's not fighting, it's self-defence!"

Blaise shook his head and led them through the door to the dungeons. Instead of continuing straight on towards the Slytherin common room, however, they turned right and headed down an unfamiliar corridor towards the Potions classrooms.

~X~

Professor Snape, like Flitwick, started the class with a register. He looked up at each person when they answered their names, although his gaze lingered a little longer on Harry Potter when he reached his name and proceeded to make a huge scene about his 'celebrity status', much to the amusement of Draco Malfoy and his cronies.

Once he was satisfied everyone was present, Snape put down his quill and looked out at his students. "You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making," he began, and Teddie realised, just like Professor McGonagall, Professor Snape had the ability to keep a room silent without effort. "As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses, I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death…"

Silence followed the lecture.

Then Professor Snape snapped at one student in particular.

"Potter," he said, his voice sharp as his gaze found the student in question. "What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"

Teddie leaned forward on her desk to stare across the room at the boy she knew to be Harry Potter if the look on his face was anything to go by, she was willing to bet he had no idea what Professor Snape was talking about.

A bushy-haired girl in front of Harry rocked in her seat as she thrust her hand into the air. She went unnoticed by Professor Snape.

"I don't know, sir," Harry said.

"Tut tut - fame clearly isn't everything, is it, Potter?" Snape asked, his lips curling into a sneer. "Let's try again. Where would you look if I told you to find me a bezoar?"

The bushy-haired girl forced her hand further into the air, but still, Snape ignored her.

Teddie noticed that Draco Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle were visibly shaking as they hid their sniggers behind their hands.

"I don't know, sir," said Harry.

"Thought you wouldn't open a book before coming, eh, Potter?" Snape asked. "What is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?"

The bushy-haired girl stood from her seat, her hand stretching towards the ceiling.

"I don't know," Harry said quietly, before quickly adding, "I think Hermione does though, why don't you ask her?"

A few people, Teddie noticed they were Gryffindors, laughed. Meanwhile, the Slytherin's stared at Harry with wide-eyes. Was he crazy or just plain stupid?

Professor Snape, however, did not look pleased.

"Sit down," Snape snapped at the bushy-haired girl. She took her seat, looking deeply hurt. "For your information, Potter, asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as the Draught of the Living Death. A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and will save you from most poisons. As for monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant, which also goes by the name of aconite."

He paused, looking around at the other students.

"Well?" Snape said, sneering. "Why aren't you all copying this down?"

Teddie scrambled for her quill, ink, and a scrap piece of parchment. She started to scribble down what Professor Snape had just said, doing her best to remember the words as they easily evaded her mind. It was at times like this she wished she had Mason's thought process.

Over the scratching of quills, Snape said: "Gryffindors, a point will be taken from your hourglass for your housemate's cheek."

Teddie glanced up to see him glaring at Harry. She ducked her head as he looked her way, and returned to her work.

~X~

Potions didn't get any better for the Gryffindors after their initial confrontation with Professor Snape. One boy, Neville Longbottom, seemed to have a panic attack and exploded his cauldron, covering himself in his potion and resulting in angry red boils blooming all over his arms and face.

Professor Snape ordered another boy, Seamus Finnigan, to take him to the hospital wing to see Madam Pomfrey. Professor Snape then proceeded to snap at Harry Potter for not helping Neville, a feat that even Teddie found unfair, seeing as Harry seemed to be struggling with his own potion, and shouldn't have needed to concern himself with Neville.

It was no doubt in Teddie's mind that the Gryffindors couldn't wait to get out of the dungeons, and her thoughts were confirmed when the final bell rang, and the Gryffindors, led by Harry and Ron, speed-walked from the classroom in one big group.

The Slytherins waited and then left in their own groups.

"Miss Green, a word, please," Professor Snape called as Teddie reached the door.

Teddie sighed and turned her friends. "I'll meet you in the common room," she said.

Theo, Blaise, and Daphne nodded and left the classroom. Teddie closed the door and turned back to her head of house.

"Miss Waterstone paid me a visit before lunch," Snape said without looking up, "She has informed me that you and Mr Malfoy were fighting this morning in the Entrance Hall."

"Did she tell you what he called me?" Teddie asked.

"She did."

"Then why isn't he being scolded, too?"

"I will speak with Mr Malfoy later," Snape said, looking up at her finally. "The fact of the matter remains, Miss Green, is that your disregard for the rules set out very clearly to you. Have you already forgotten what I said last night about unifying with your housemates outside of the Slytherin common room?"

Teddie clenched her hands into fists. "I don't see why I should feel the need to defend people who have no intention of defending me," she snapped. "Both Malfoy and Parkinson hate me, and I hate them. Parkinson made a huge fuss last night before me being a Muggleborn in Slytherin, and even went on to ask if she could sleep in a different room when she realised we would be sharing a dorm."

"I will be having a similar conversation with Miss Parkinson and Mr Malfoy about their actions today, I do understand that you are not completely at fault," said Professor Snape. "But since both Miss Waterstone and myself have had to remind you, several times, to stop fighting with your housemates, and your father has insisted that you keep your temper in check. If you cannot follow these simple rules, I must infuse a punishment."

"I can't promise that I can keep my temper in check," Teddie said, shaking her head, "or that I won't get into any more fights. That's like promising to get blood out of a stone - impossible! I can, however, promise to try and steer clear of Parkinson and Malfoy, when possible."

"I do trust that you do not want to be expelled from Hogwarts during your first year?"

Teddie shook her head.

"Then, you will do well to remember your promise," said Snape. "As I have said, I shall be speaking with Miss Parkinson and Mr Malfoy also. You may go."

Teddie left the classroom before Snape changed his mind about punishing her. She hurried down the corridor, took a sharp left, and continued on towards the Slytherin common room.

In her hurry, Teddie missed the figure watching her from a dark alcove.

 

Chapter Text

The weekend passed faster than Teddie would've liked. She had hoped of exploring the castle in more detail but between fights with Parkinson and Malfoy, much to the displeasure of Sierra and Professor Snape, and homework, Teddie barely saw outside of the common room and the library.

Over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Teddie's friendship with Theo, Blaise, and Daphne strengthened. The three purebloods defended her against Malfoy and his cronies, whilst teaching her as much about the Wizarding world as they could. In return, Teddie told them all about her life in the Muggle world, and what it was like to find out she was a witch.

On Sunday evening, Daphne and Teddie had been caught in a secluded corner of the library, feeding dead mice to Merlin and Morgana. Madam Pince, the school's librarian, was furious, not to mention mortified, and had kicked them out immediately.

Much to the displeasure of the two corn snakes who had to regurgitated their meal due to distress.

The following Monday, lessons started again. History of Magic was becoming worse by the second, and Teddie often found herself falling asleep against Theo's shoulder. He didn't seem to mind as he too was finding it difficult to pay attention to their droning Professor.

"The idea of him being a ghost is still exciting," Teddie said. "But the lesson itself?" She shook her head. "Mason would say that's a lot coming from me because I love History. Maybe I should just subject myself to checking out books from the library."

"I'm going to write to your brother and tell him you said that," Theo teased.

Teddie laughed. "I highly doubt he'll believe you," she said. "But you're welcome to try. I'm also not a complete stranger to checking out books, or to a library itself, you know? I do have a library card for back home. I just don't check out books often."

"What kind of books do you like, Ted?" Blaise asked.

"Historical, Mythological," Teddie answered. "Every year for my birthday, Mason gives me a book. Last year it was a book on The Greek Myths. I think I brought it with me to Hogwarts, it's probably at the bottom of my trunk."

"Greek Myths?" Daphne asked. "You mean like the Greek Gods?"

Teddie nodded. "And monsters, yeah," she said. "My favourite story is of Icarus. He was the son of a craftsman who was imprisoned in a Labyrinth. But the craftsman was determined not to suffer captivity and made two pairs of wings by adhering feathers to a wooden frame with wax. He gave one pair to his son and then cautioned him that flying too near the sun the max would melt. But Icarus is ecstatic with the ability to fly that he forgets his father's warning, and in doing so fell to his death in the sea when the feathers came loose during flight."

Blaise stared at Teddie in fascination. "There's a lot of messages you can take from that story," he said.

"My Mum tells me that story all the time," said Teddie. "Usually after I've done something that she told me not too. It's the whole "mum knows best" talk."

"Your mum sounds wise," Daphne said.

"And strict," Blaise added.

Teddie smiled. "She is, my dad can be strict too," she added. "But he's usually more fun-loving. He reminds me to keep my temper in check, but I could probably get away with murder with him."

"My dad's like that," Daphne agreed.

"I wish mine was," Theo admitted, quietly. "If I'm honest, my father's really scary at times."

Teddie grabbed his hand and squeezed it.

Theo met her gaze and smiled, squeezing back.

~X~

On Thursday morning, a noticed appeared on the Slytherin bulletin board in the common room. A notice that brought much excitement to many of the first years, including Draco Malfoy who immediately started bragging about how brilliant he was going to be. Today, the first years were to take part in their first flying lesson.

"I could play for a national team," Malfoy said loudly at the breakfast table. "Better than some national teams, to be honest."

Teddie rolled her eyes. "Even national players were learners once," she said, swallowing a mouthful of cereal.

"Please don't pick a fight with him this morning," Marcus said, helping himself to some toast and jam.

"I'm not," Teddie defended. "I'm just stating a fact."

"I know, but you know what Malfoy's like."

Teddie huffed and reached for a pitcher of milk. "Fine," she said. "I'll keep my comments to myself."

"Have you ever flown before, Green?" Derrick asked from the opposite side of the table. "Not a broom, obviously, but I mean in general?"

"Do you mean have I been on a plane?" Teddie asked.

Derrick nodded.

Teddie shook her head. "My parents can barely afford the essentials," she said. "What makes you think that they can afford four plane tickets?"

"So, you've never been out of the UK?" Adrian asked.

"Nope. The furthest I have ever been is Wales," said Teddie, "and that's only to see my grandparents."

"How did you get to Wales?"

"My father drives. Any money he earns from his job is rationed between the car and the house," Teddie explained. "Then my mother's earnings are rationed between me and Mason. My parents rarely get nice things, everything they earn is spent on making me and Mason comfortable."

Derrick studied Teddie with a sad look.

Teddie glared at him. "Don't look at me like that," she snapped. "I'm not broken goods just because I come from poverty. I just see the world differently."

"Would you change it, if you could?" Derrick asked.

"I doubt it," Teddie replied. "My parents always say that money can't buy happiness, you have to make your own, and for what it's worth, I agree with them."

The others exchanged looks as Teddie went back to her breakfast. They didn't know what it was like to come from a poor background, while most of them weren't beyond rich, they were also better off than Teddie described. They wanted for nothing, whereas Teddie seemed to struggle to even make ends meet most of the time.

"We should get going," Blaise said, breaking the silence. "I hear Madam Hooch is as strict as Professor McGonagall, especially when students are late."

Finishing their breakfast, Theo, Daphne, Teddie, and Blaise bid goodbye to Marcus and his friends and left the Great Hall.

"Hey, Green -" Malfoy called as Teddie passed.

"Just ignore him," Theo said, grabbing Teddie's hand and leading her out into the Entrance Hall.

This time, Teddie did.

~X~

At three-thirty, once all lessons had promptly come to an end, The Slytherin first years headed out into the clear, breezy afternoon and marched down the grassy slope towards a smooth lawn on the opposite side of the grounds. Madam Hooch was waiting for them, and so were over a dozen rickety looking broomsticks.

Madam Hooch, Teddie noticed, looked somewhat like a hawk. She had short, grey hair and yellow eyes. She sniffed as they approached. "We'll just wait for the Gryffindors before we get started," she said. "While we wait, you may pick a broom and stand behind it."

Teddie followed her friends over to the brooms closest to the end. She found herself between Theo and Daphne and looked at the old broomstick on the ground. It looked like something out of one of Mason's fairytales. It had a slender handle with some chunks of wood missing, and even the twigs from its brush were sticking out at an odd angle.

"That doesn't look safe," Teddie said.

"Scared are we, Green?" drawled Malfoy.

Teddie sighed and shot him a look down the line. He was standing on the other side of Blaise. "What's it to you if I am, Malfoy?" she asked.

Malfoy smirked and turned quickly to Parkinson, she stood on his other side. He pointed over his shoulder with his thumb and said something. Teddie knew it was about her as Parkinson looked in her direction and laughed.

"Not so tough as you try to make out to be, huh, Green?" Parkinson asked.

"Maybe you two need to stop exaggerating," Teddie retorted. "I've never once said that I am or even acted, tough. It's not my fault that you're both easy to take down. But then, I guess that's why you were named Pansy, huh, Parkinson?"

Parkinson looked murderous but was cut off from arguing by the Gryffindors arrival.

Madam Hooch ordered the Gryffindors to pick a broomstick, just like she had done the Slytherins, and to stand behind it.

Teddie watched as Harry Potter and his friend Ronald Weasley chose the two broomsticks across from her and Theo. Harry met her gaze and she offered him a small smile, he returned it.

"Well, what are you all waiting for?" Madam Hooch barked. "I want you to all step up to the left side of your broomstick, and shout 'UP'!"

The students did as instructed.

Teddie held her hand over the broom and shouted "UP!".

The broom didn't move.

"Well, that was anticlimactic," Teddie muttered.

Theo sniggered and Teddie playfully glared at him.

"UP!" Harry shouted from the opposite side of the lawn. Immediately the broom flew into his outstretched hand.

"Show off," Blaise muttered.

Teddie shook her head with a grin and looked back at her broom. "UP!" she tried again, but the broom merely rolled around on the ground. "I hate you!"

A loud THWACK caught Teddie's attention, and she looked up just in time to see Ronald Weasley's broom leap into the air and smack him straight in the face.

Teddie snorted and Ron glared at her.

Once everyone had hold of their broomsticks, Daphne and Teddie had merely kicked up theirs when Madam Hooch wasn't looking, much to the amusement of Blaise and Theo. Madam Hooch then showed them all how to mount without slipping off their end.

Much to Teddie's pleasure, and Malfoy's displeasure, Madam Hooch corrected his grip and told him that he had been doing it wrong for years when he protested.

"Guess you aren't as perfect as you expect yourself to be now, are you, Malfoy?" Teddie said, her eyes flashing mischievously. She knew she was playing a dangerous game, and she was already on thin ice when it came to Draco, but she couldn't help herself.

Draco shot her a dark look.

"Now, when I blow my whistle, you will each kick off from the ground, hard," Madam Hooch was saying as she walked up and down between the students. "Keep your brooms steady, rise a few feet, and then come back down by leaning forwards slightly. Everyone ready? On my whistle - three - two -"

Across the lawn, a boy called Neville Longbottom, kicked off from the ground early and shot into the air like a bullet. Teddie just managed to see his white face plastered with terror before he whipped into the air.

"Come back down, boy!" Madam Hooch shouted.

"Someone help him!" shouted the bushy-haired Hermione Granger.

Daphne gasped and grabbed Teddie's arm painfully hard. Teddie looked at her friend and then up at Neville. The poor boy had slipped sideways off his broom and was plunging towards the ground. He landed with a heavy thud and a nasty crack.

"Is he -?"

Teddie didn't hear the end of the question as she threw herself forward. She landed on the grass beside Neville and leaned in close. Neville's face was wet with tears, and a flicker of pain cross his eyes as he looked up at her.

"Out of my way, out of my way!" Madam Hooch called, rushing over. She pushed Teddie aside and knelt beside the Gryffindor.

"I think it's a broken wrist, Professor," Teddie said, pointing at Neville's swollen right hand.

"Thank you, Miss Green, I'll take it from here," Madam Hooch said. She carefully helped Neville sit up, and then stand. Her arm around his broad shoulders as her free hand carefully held his broken wrist. She turned to the rest of the class. "None of you is to move while I take Mr Longbottom to the hospital wing! You leave those brooms where they are or you'll be out of Hogwarts before you can say 'Quidditch!'"

No sooner were they out of earshot than Malfoy burst into laughter. "Did you see his face, the great lump?" he said, loudly.

His cronies joined in.

"Shut up, Malfoy!" Daphne snapped.

"Ooh, sticking up for Longbottom?" said Parkinson. "Never thought you'd like fat little crybabies, Greengrass, but then, you've already proven yourself to be a Mudblood lover." Her eyes flickered to Teddie.

"Look!" said Malfoy, darting forward. He snatched something out of the grass and held it up into the sunlight. "It's that stupid thing Longbottom's gran sent him."

The sun glinted off a small glass ball in Malfoy's hand.

"Give it here, Malfoy!" Teddie snapped, taking a step closer.

Silence fell as everyone turned to the two Slytherins.

Malfoy's face darkened as he turned to face Teddie. "Remember what Professor Snape said, Green, or you'll be on the train home by the end of the week," he said, smirking nastily.

"And you'll be in the Hospital Wing for the next month," Teddie snarled.

"You know what, I think I'll give it back to Longbottom," said Malfoy. "Or maybe I'll leave it somewhere for him to find. How about the roof of the Astronomy Tower, Green, you think he can find it up there?"

Teddie was seething, her hands clenching tightly into fists.

Draco mounted his broom and hovered into the air. He hadn't gone very far when a hand gripped the bristles on the back of the broomstick and he jerked forward.

Startled, Teddie looked around to see Harry Potter holding fast.

"Oh, come to the rescue, have you, Potter?" Malfoy snarled. "Can't handle the spotlight being on someone else?"

Harry ignored him and tugged as hard as he could against the broom, trying to pull it back to the ground.

Malfoy laughed as he leaned forward, urging the broom to fly away.

Over Harry's shoulder, Teddie saw Crabbe and Goyle cracking their knuckles and take a step forward, they were stopped by Blaise, Daphne, and Theo, as each of them took out their wands and pointed them at the two goons.

Looking up, Teddie jumped and latched onto the handle of Malfoy's broomstick. She threw all her weight into it and then dropped like a stone, pulling the broom down with her. She landed with a stumble, but Malfoy came tumbling off the end of and rolled across the lawn.

He dropped the Remembrall in his descent, and Teddie scooped it up.

"Wait until my father hears about this," Malfoy sneered at Harry, "oh, and Professor Snape!" he added to Teddie.

Teddie rolled her eyes and pocketed the Remembrall.

"What's going on out here?" Madam Hooch asked, striding back across the school grounds. She'd returned from taking Neville to the Hospital Wing. Her yellow eyes looked at Teddie, Harry, and Malfoy, and then over to the rest of the class.

No one spoke or moved a muscle.

Madam Hooch sniffed and turned back to the three students nearest her. "Class dismissed," she said. "Go on, all of you, back to your common rooms."

The students hurried back to the castle.

"This isn't over, Potter," Draco said as he crossed the Entrance Hall. "I'll see you in the common room, Green," he added to Teddie.

Teddie rolled her eyes and turned to her friends. "I'm going to go give this back to Neville," she said, taking the Remembrall from her pocket.

"I'll come with you," said Theo.

"We'll meet you back in the common room, then," said Blaise.

Daphne nodded and followed Blaise across the Hall. Theo and Teddie watched them disappear down into the dungeons and then headed up the marble staircase after the Gryffindors.

~X~

Neville looked up as the Hospital Wing doors opened. He half expected to see a few Gryffindor first years there, checking up on him, but his eyes widened with fear as he saw two Slytherins entering and heading straight in his direction.

"Neville, right?" Teddie asked. "Don't be scared, we're not here to hurt you."

"Then why are you here?" Neville asked.

Teddie reached into her pocket and pulled out the Remembrall. "You dropped this," she said. "I thought you'd like it back."

Neville took the sphere, stunned.

"I hope you get better soon, Neville," Teddie said. She smiled and turned away with Theo, walking back towards the doors.

"Th-thank you," Neville called out.

Teddie smiled and waved to him as she passed through the doors.

Teddie and Theo walked for a few minutes in silence before Theo broke it. "Are you sure the Hat chose you for Slytherin?" he asked.

"Why?" Teddie asked.

"No reason, it's just most Slytherins wouldn't have been so kind as to defend a Gryffindor," Theo said.

"Most Slytherins are afraid to stand up to other Slytherins," Teddie said. "Besides, I don't see that much of a difference between the houses. We all look after our own, except for Malfoy, who hates everyone who isn't like him."

"He's always been like that."

Teddie stopped and stared up at Theo, her mouth ajar. "Wait, what? You know him outside school?" she asked.

Theo nodded. "My father and his father are old friends," he said. "You'll find most of Slytherin know one another outside school. We're all purebloods, and pureblood families are connected in more ways than one."

"You mean blood ties?"

"And marriage," said Theo. "Arranged marriages are common in Pureblood families."

"You're joking?"

Theo shook his head.

"Gross."

Theo chuckled.

"So, dearest Theo," Teddie said, pretending to swoon as she latched onto his arm. "Do you have a betrothed?"

Theo shook his head but an amused smile crept onto his lips. "At the moment, no," he said. "But if my father has his way, then yes, I'll have one before I turn seventeen."

Teddie frowned. "But you'll be underage," she pointed out. "Not that that matters in some cultures, but you know?" she shrugged.

"Seventeen is the legal age in the Wizarding World," Theo said. "Is it different in the Muggle world?"

"Yeah, a person doesn't become legal until their eighteen in the Muggle world."

"Don't let the likes of Malfoy hear that. He thinks Wizards are more superior as it is."

"Oh, don't worry, I don't intend to let Malfoy hear a word of this conversation," said Teddie.

They turned the corner and started down a flight of stairs.

"Are you nervous about Malfoy's comment about Professor Snape?"

Teddie shrugged. "I told Professor Snape last week that I can't promise I won't get into any more fights with Parkinson or Malfoy, but I'd avoid them when possible. Kind of hard to do when you're in class," she said. "Besides, he knows I can't stand back when I see someone being bullied."

Theo paused, pondering. "Wait, how would he know that?" he asked.

"Because he knows me, silly," Teddie giggled.

"How does he know you?"

"Oh wait, I haven't told you guys, have I?" Teddie asked, realising her mistake. "Professor Snape is my next door neighbour. We live on the same street."

Theo stared at Teddie and she giggled again. He smiled.

Suddenly, and without warning, the staircase shifted sending both Theo and Teddie stumbling into the banister. Teddie's eyes widened as she looked down to see a black pit staring up at her. She knew there was a bottom to it, but seeing it from high up made her gasp and pull back.

"What's happening?" Teddie asked.

"The staircases change, remember?" Theo asked. "We must've taken too long to get down them."

"We've only just stepped on them!" Teddie protested. "What do they expect us to do? Jump?!"

Soon the staircase stopped moving.

"Come on," said Theo. He grabbed her hand and pulled her the rest of the way down. "Before the staircase moves again."

The two hurried down the remaining steps, turned left and hurried down the last flight. When they reached the hallway below they realised they were lost.

"Let's try here," Teddie said, pointing to a nearby door.

Theo nodded and followed her to the door. He tried the handle but it wouldn't open.

"What is the point of a door that won't open?" Teddie asked. "I mean, what do they expect us to do, teleport our way out?"

Theo stared at her, confused.

"What?"

"Teleport?"

Teddie nodded. "Yeah, you know, disappear from one place and reappear in another," she said.

"Oh, you mean Apparition."

"App-what now?"

"Apparition, or rather Disapparition."

Teddie shook her head, still confused.

"Basically it's the same as teleporting. We'd disappear from here, that's Disapparition, and we'd appear someplace else, that's Apparition."

"Oh," said Teddie. "It sounds difficult."

"It's advanced magic. My father can do it, and it's rather an unpleasant feeling."

Teddie smiled and looked around. "Well, this door won't open, but maybe there's one down there?" she offered, pointing down the hall. "Come on, I don't want to be stuck standing here all night."

Theo nodded and followed her down the hall. They tried each door they passed before finally coming upon one that was open.

"Yes, finally!" Teddie rejoiced. The excitement was lost as the door opened up onto another dark corridor. "No!" she moaned.

Theo chuckled and held out his hand. "Come on, we'll just have to keep looking," he said.

"You're enjoying this way too much," Teddie grumbled, taking his hand and allowing him to pull her through the door.

They continued in silence for a few steps before stopping.

"Did you hear that?" Teddie asked.

Theo swallowed and nodded. "Come on, let's get out of here." He turned around and stopped short. Mrs Norris, Filch's cat was sitting in the path.

"Oh no," Teddie whispered. "What are we going to do?"

"If Filch finds us he can take us back to the main castle," said Theo, thinking rationally.

"What if he thinks we're up to no good?" Teddie asked. "You know he doesn't like students. He's not going to believe we got lost, even if it is the truth. Besides, I got a strange feeling that we're not supposed to be here."

Mrs Norris yowled, her voice echoing off the walls.

"She's calling for him! What do we do?"

"Run!" Teddie said. She turned and bolted down the hall, Theo keeping pace at her side. They turned the corner and reached a door, it rattled as they crashed into it.

"It's locked!" Theo said.

"It's not," said Teddie. "It's stuck. Look…" she pushed against the door. It opened slightly but then slammed shut again.

Mrs Norris' yowls disappeared, only to be replaced by the heavy wheezing of Flich.

"Help me!" Teddie said, shoving all her weight against the door. Theo did the same. Soon the door opened enough for them both to slip inside, it then crashed shut behind them.

Breathing heavily, Teddie and Theo rested against the door, listening hard for any signs of Filch on the other side.

"Come along, my sweet," Filch said. He was standing right outside the door. "If they're foolish enough to be in there then they're as good as dead, anyway." His footsteps disappeared back up the corridor and then they were gone.

Teddie let out a sigh of relief and looked up at Theo. "That was close," she said.

Theo nodded and pushed the door. "I wonder how this got stuck?" he asked, looking at the frame.

"It's an old door," Teddie shrugged. "It's probably worn and rustic."

"But it -" Theo broke off as he turned to face her, his eyes widening at something.

Teddie frowned and turned on the spot. She half expected to find a Professor standing at her rear, but instead found herself face-to-face with a giant, snarling, frothing at the mouth, three-headed dog.

The dog's thunderous roars echoed all throughout the room. The only reason it hadn't attacked them on the spot was that it seemed surprised to see them, just as they were surprised to see it. But it was quickly recovering from its state and advancing.

Teddie felt Theo grope around for her hand, and then he was pulling her backwards, out the door. They landed in a tangled heap as one of the dog's heads swooped towards the opening. Teddie jumped to her feet, grasped the door handle, and slammed it shut.

"Let's get out of here!" said Theo, running back down the corridor. Teddie followed him, if she had a choice between being expelled for being on a floor she wasn't supposed to be on, or being killed by a monstrous three-headed dog, she'd happily pack her bags and get on the train.

Soon they had reached the staircase and, much to their delight, found it prepared to move again. They raced up three steps just as it dislodged from the wall and sent them hurtling into the banister again when the stairs had stopped moving for the fourth time, Teddie and Theo raced back up, and down another corridor. They turned at the end and found themselves back in a hallway they recognised.

"We - we should -" Theo leaned against the wall, gasping for breath.

Teddie nodded. She didn't need him to finish his sentence to know what he was saying. "I'm going to die really quickly, and then we'll go back to the common room," she said, sliding down the wall beside him. She pulled her knees up and buried her head between them.

"What the hell was that thing?" Theo asked.

"It was a Cerberus," said Teddie. "The Legendary Hell Hound of the Underworld. But what the hell is it doing locked up in a school?"

"Remember when you said you had the feeling we shouldn't have been there?"

Teddie nodded.

"I think that was the third-floor corridor," said Theo. "We weren't supposed to be there because it's forbidden."

Teddie lay her head back against the stone wall and closed her eyes. Knowing the floor was forbidden to all students didn't really answer her question as to why a Cerberus was in one of the rooms.

"We should get out of here before someone finds us," said Theo. "It's going to be difficult to explain why we look, and sound, like we've just run a marathon. Especially when you consider if we tell them the truth, we'll be expelled."

"I'll take an expulsion over a horrible death with a side of bacon, please."

Theo cracked a smile and pushed himself up the wall. He pressed his hand to the smooth surface and then looked down at Teddie. "Come on," he said, holding out his hand. "You're not going to get expelled."

"You sound so sure," Teddie said, taking his hand and pulling herself up. "Malfoy's probably told Professor Snape all about our flying lesson and made it all seem like it was my fault by now. And," she stressed, "our fight was in front of Gryffindors. That's hardly living up to the 'unified force' rule now, is it?"

Theo shook his head. "Daphne, Blaise, and I were also there," he said. "We'll come with you to Professor Snape and tell him our side of the story. He can't punish you if our stories corroborate yours."

"You'd do that for me?"

"Of course, you're my friend."

Teddie beamed. "Thanks, Theo," she said.

"No problem."

~X~

When they reached the common room, Headmaster Slytherin permitted them entrance after giving the correct password. Inside they found Daphne and Blaise sitting in front of the fireplace with Marcus and the others; the whole group looked up as the two first years approached.

"Where the hell have you two been?" Blaise asked.

"Funny you should mention hell," said Teddie, glancing at Theo. "We've got something to tell you." She perched herself on the arm of the leather sofa Theo had just sat in and looked around at the others. "We know why Dumbledore has forbidden anyone from going to the third floor."

Marcus leaned forward. "What are you talking about?" he asked.

"We just got lost," said Teddie. "The staircase moved when we were coming back from the hospital wing, I wanted to give Neville back his Remembrall after Malfoy knicked it. Anyway, that's not the point," she shook her head. "The point is, on our way back down the staircase took us to the third floor and when we were trying to find a way out, we got caught by Mrs Norris."

"Filch, did he catch you?" Daphne asked.

Theo shook his head. "We hid in this room, the door was stuck but we managed to get it open enough to slip inside," he explained. "But I now wish we'd stayed to face Flich's wrath."

"Yeah, I don't think I would've had a mini heart attack if we'd just been taken to the Headmaster's office," Teddie agreed.

"Mini heart attack?" Adrian repeated. "What are you two talking about?"

"Yeah, you're not making any sense," Derrick agreed.

"There is a Cerberus on the third floor," Teddie said. "You know? A three-headed monstrous dog that I thought only existed in Greek Mythology."

The fire crackled in the silence that followed.

"Why would the Headmaster keep a three-headed dog in a room on the forbidden floor?" Derrick asked, breaking the silence.

Teddie and Theo shrugged.

"That's my question, too," said Teddie. "And I don't know about the rest of you, but I intend to find out."

Chapter Text

Teddie wasn't even sure how she hadn't have noticed, maybe it was because suddenly she had become extremely busy at Hogwarts, what with detention three times a week for fighting, and her extra homework on top of an already full workload, she had already been at Hogwarts for two months.

The castle was starting to feel more like home, but she did miss her family, especially Mason. She had made a habit of writing to him every week, and constantly dragged one of her friends, usually Theo, up to the Owlery before breakfast just to send him a letter. Professor Snape had permitted her to use his owl instead of one of the school's birds, at least then she'd be able to recognise it when it brought Mason's reply.

"Hey, Ted, isn't that Professor Snape's owl?" Daphne asked one morning at breakfast. She was sitting in her usual seat, opposite Teddie.

Teddie looked up and beamed as the familiar brown owl swooped through the high windows, amidst the other owls bringing packages to their owners.

"Morning, Zuni," Teddie greeted as the owl landed before her. Attached to its leg was a letter, and clutched between its talons was a rectangle box. Teddie fed the owl some bacon and then untied the packages.

Zuni flew off once free and disappeared back out of the windows.

"Mason wrote back already?" Derrick asked watching as Teddie ripped open the letter. "You only sent him a letter on Saturday."

"It's not just a letter," said Teddie. She looked back at the envelope and beamed.

"What's it say?" Daphne asked.

"Dearest Teddie," Teddie read, her eyes skimming the letter before her. "We're glad to hear you're having fun, although your father is disappointed by the letter received from Severus. We know it's hard, honey, but you need to mind your temper whenever possible, we don't want to see you get sent home."

"Professor Snape wrote to your parents?" Adrian asked.

"Yeah, because of all the fights I've been getting in too," Teddie said. "Apparently it was the procedure." She went back to her letter. "Regardless of your behaviour, I have, as always, baked your favourite cookies - birthday cake mix. I hope I've made enough for you to share with your friends."

Teddie put down the letter and picked up the rectangular shaped box. She eased her fingers under the lid and opened it, revealing medium-sized cookies mismatched with colourful smarties. She took one and offered the box to her friends.

"Are you sure?" Daphne asked.

"I wouldn't be offering if I weren't," said Teddie. As her friends each took a cookie, Teddie went back to her letter. "Mason misses you dearly, Teddie. He's always excited when he sees Zuni at the window and has asked me to remind you about Christmas. He wants to know if you'll be coming home. It'd be so nice to see you, but we'd also understand if you wish to stay at school."

"What are you doing for Christmas?" Blaise asked.

"I've already decided on going home," Teddie said. "I miss Mason too much to be away from him for Christmas, and I really want to see Mum and Dad."

"Even if you may get punished for fighting?"

"I'm being punished for fighting whether I go home or not," Teddie said. "I'm just used to it by now. Besides, the worst thing my dad can do is ground me, and it's Christmas, so I know he won't."

"Can I ask one thing," said Marcus. "Why is your mother making you birthday cake cookies?"

Teddie held up her letter. "I'm getting to that," she said. She looked back at the words, quickly found where she had left off, and started again. "Write back soon with your decision, and your father and I'll make plans to pick you up from the station. On that note, and while we're speaking of Holidays, today is a special day for you. Mason has included his gift, along with the cookies, he says he thinks you'll enjoy it. Especially since last years' gift hasn't left your side since you received it. Norse Mythology speaks of the Norse Gods, like Odin, Thor, and Loki, your father seems to think you and Loki would go hand-in-hand, and I'm inclined to agree."

Teddie giggled as she picked up the last package. She tore through the basic paper and run her fingers over the books cover. Inside she found another envelope and pulled it out, she tucked her fingers under the flap and opened it, revealing a basic piece of white card which had been folded down the middle.

On the front of the card was a hand-drawn picture of four people, and across the top in multicoloured crayon, were the words: Happy Birthday, Teddie.

"Wait, it's your birthday?" Theo asked.

Teddie nodded.

"Today?" Marcus asked.

Again, Teddie nodded.

"Why didn't you say anything?" Daphne asked.

"Because it's not that big of a deal," Teddie said. "I usually only celebrate it at home, and that's because my parents insist that Mason and I have, at least, one day in the year to look forward too."

"You still could've told us."

Teddie shook her head and looked back at the letter. "We hope you have an amazing birthday, honey, you deserve so much…" Teddie trailed off and looked around at her friends, she didn't have the desire to read the rest of the letter out loud, especially with her mother stating that she 'deserved so much more than they could afford', it always upset, and even angered Teddie, that her parents were hard on themselves for not making enough money to support their family.

"It's okay," Marcus said, placing a hand on her shoulders. "We get it."

"I wish my parents did," Teddie said, folding the letter. "They're always hard on themselves around this time of the year. They blame themselves for not being able to provide Mason and me for the holidays."

Marcus squeezed Teddie in a side hug.

"Well, what do we have here?" drawled a cold voice. Before Teddie could react, a hand swooped down and snatched the book from her grasp.

Teddie shot to her feet. "Hey!" she yelled, her voice ringing around the hall. People turned to see what was going on, even the teachers looked up at the commotion.

"Birthday card? Is it your birthday, Green?" Malfoy asked. He looked at the card and laughed, tossing it back onto the table. He looked at the book and scoffed, as he went to toss it onto the table too, he caught sight of the letter inside. His eyes lit with amusement and he pulled the slip free.

Teddie made to snatch at the letter, but Malfoy pulled back, stepping behind Crabbe and Goyle as they glared down at Teddie. "Give it back! It's not yours!" she said.

Malfoy opened the letter and skimmed the contents. His black eyes danced across each word, taking them in and grinning with each sentence. Soon he reached the part where Teddie had stopped and, much to her fury, started to laugh.

"You know, Green, I never thought I'd find someone that was poorer than the Weasley's," said Malfoy. "But then I met you. Do you really not receive anything for Christmas, and only cookies and, occasionally, a book, for your birthday? Not to mention a rubbish handmade card?"

"Stop it, Malfoy," Theo said, getting to his feet. "Leave her alone."

"What are you, Nott, her boyfriend?" Malfoy asked.

"I'm her friend, now leave her alone."

Malfoy snorted. He looked back at the letter and then up at Teddie. "You know, this would be kind of sad if it wasn't so amusing," he said. "Your mother sounds pretty upset about not being able to provide for you. I also didn't know you had a brother. Is he like you? Is he a Mud -"

Malfoy cut off as Teddie lunged for him. Her hands clutched his shoulders and she rammed him, hard, against the stone wall. He groaned as his head snapped back against the stone, and he dropped the letter to the floor.

"Teddie, stop!" Daphne yelled.

There was a scraping of stools as all students jumped to their feet. The Slytherins nearest to Malfoy and Teddie scrambled to pull them apart. Teddie's face twisted in rage as she sunk her fists into Malfoy's face, chest, and stomach.

Teddie punched, again and again, releasing all her pent up anger, fear, sadness, and wrath onto the unsuspecting boy beneath her. As she raised her fist to deliver another punch, she was stopped when a hand clamped down on her arm and forced her off a bleeding and beaten Malfoy.

Twisting around, Teddie glared up into the face of Severus Snape. She tried to tug her hand free, but he held her firmly, his dark eyes burning holes into her. For a split second, he looked fearful, but it was quickly replaced with anger and disapproval.

"Enough!" Snape said, his voice cold. The sound hit Teddie like a bullet train, but it also seemed to cool her senses, drawing her back to her surroundings. Breathing heavily from the rush of anger and adrenaline, Teddie looked around at her friends. They were staring at her in surprise and concern.

Teddie wrenched her arm from Professor Snape's grasp and fled the hall. The sea of Slytherin students parted to let her pass, and not one of them tried to stop her.

From the ground, Malfoy groaned. Pansy was on her knees beside him, shrieking loudly and trying to mop up the blood, but there was too much of it for her.

"Mr Crabbe, Mr Goyle, take Mr Malfoy to the hospital wing, immediately!" Professor Snape told his students.

Crabbe and Goyle seized Malfoy and carried him between them from the hall, Parkinson following after them at a brisk pace.

Snape looked around at the rest of his students. "As for the rest of you, get to class!" he snapped. His gaze landed on Teddie's friends. Theo had stooped to pick up Teddie's letter from home, and Daphne was holding a card and book in her hands. "I think it's best that you find Miss Green," he told them.

The trio nodded and, with Blaise packing up Teddie's cookies, they left the hall in search of their friend.

~X~

Teddie Green beating up Draco Malfoy was the talk of Hogwarts that Halloween. Everyone who had been in the Great Hall that morning was talking about, no one, save for her friends, knew exactly what the argument had been about, so the truth behind the rumours were few and far between.

"I heard he called her a Mudblood," Ronald Weasley whispered his Gryffindor friends in Charms class. "He called her it before, and she punched him them."

"Well, from what I saw, he was trying to steal her mail," Seamus Finnigan said.

"Wouldn't surprise me when it comes to Malfoy," said Harry. "I mean, look what he did when Neville got his Remembrall. He took that straight out of his hands."

Neville looked up at the mention of his name. "Teddie came to visit me in the hospital wing that day," he said, leaning over. "She gave me my Remembrall back."

"A Slytherin visited a Gryffindor?" Dean Thomas asked. "But, I thought they didn't care about anyone but themselves?"

"That's what everyone says," said Neville. "But she and that boy she's always with, I think his name is Nott. They came together."

"I overheard that Terry Boot from Ravenclaw say that Nott and Green were dating," Ron said. "Malfoy teased them about Nott being Green's boyfriend at breakfast. Do you think she snapped because of that?"

The boys shrugged. It seemed like a pretty stupid reason to lose one's temper over a little thing as dating, especially in the way Teddie had.

Harry shook his head. "I don't know Green all that well, only from what I've seen of her in lessons, and she seems pretty quiet," he said.

"Quiet, but deadly," Seamus laughed. "I mean, this isn't the first time she's gone up against Malfoy. You saw her in our first Flying lesson."

"She obviously doesn't care about who sees," said Ron. "Maybe she likes an audience? Maybe that's all it was. A clash over who's the bigger bully? Malfoy obviously likes the attention too,"

Neville shook his head. "I don't think she's a bully," he said. "She doesn't bully anyone, and it's usually self-defence when she's fighting against Malfoy."

"You call what happened in the Great Hall self-defence?" Ron echoed. "She pulverized Malfoy, and she probably wouldn't have stopped had someone not pulled her off."

"Look, we don't know what happened," said Harry, stepping in. "Malfoy must've said something awful to make her snap. But I agree with Neville, I don't think Green is a bully, at least not in the general sense."

Before any of the others could reply, Professor Flitwick called his Charms class to order.

~X~

The rest of the day passed without incident. Madam Pomfrey managed to clean Draco Malfoy up with a simple flick of her wand and he was back in class at 10 am. Teddie Green, on the other hand, hadn't been seen since breakfast, and neither had her friends.

After classes ended, the rest of the school prepared themselves for the Halloween feast that evening, and as they made their way up the Great Hall, Marcus Flint and friends found Daphne and Blaise coming down the Marble Staircase into the Entrance Hall.

"Oi, you two," Marcus called. "Where've you been all day? Where's Teddie, is she alright?"

"We found her crying on the second floor," Daphne answered. "She was more scared than angry, apparently she's been having violent outbursts since she was a child, and she's never been able to control them."

"Hasn't she been to see Healers?" Derrick asked. "She was downright scary this morning."

Adrian nodded in agreement.

"She has but they can't find anything," Blaise said.

"Where is she now?" Marcus asked.

"Still upstairs," said Daphne. "We tried to get her to come down to the feast, but she refuses. Theo said he'd stay with her while we come and get some food."

"I think she's afraid to face everyone," Blaise said.

"I don't blame her," said Adrian. "That outburst was witnessed by the whole school, everyone is talking about it."

"I'm not surprised," said Marcus. "I don't think you'll be able to take food out of the Great Hall. Maybe, if she's lucky, Headmaster Dumbledore will have a House Elf bring Teddie some food to Snape's office. But she has to face everyone sooner or later."

Daphne nodded in agreement. "I told her that, and she said that for the moment she just wants to be alone," she said. "But Theo refused to leave her."

"In the meantime, let's get you two something to eat," said Marcus. "You've been missing all day, and you missed lunch, so you must be starved too." He led the first years across the Entrance Hall and into the Great Hall.

Live bats fluttered down from the walls and ceiling, causing the candles to stutter. Daphne, Blaise, and the others strode past Malfoy and his goons and took their places at the Slytherin table. The desire to say something was strong, but they each knew they would be causing more harm than good if they so much as uttered a word in the blond's direction.

The feast appeared just as it had done at the start-of-term, and Daphne was in the middle of helping herself to a slice of pie when the doors at the back of the hall swung open. She looked up, half expecting to see Theo and Teddie striding down the aisle, but instead found Professor Quirrell sprinting towards the teacher's table, his turban askew on his head.

"TROLL IN THE DUNGEON!" Quirrell yelled, pointing over his shoulder. "TROLL IN THE DUNGEON!" Silence fell and Quirrell stared at Dumbledore, his face white with fear. "Thought you ought to know," he said, before collapsing into a heap on the floor.

There was uproar.

It took several purple firecrackers exploding from Professor Dumbledore's wand to bring silence. "Prefects," he rumbled, "lead your houses back to the dormitories, immediately!"

"But we're in the dungeons!" someone from Slytherin shouted. "That's where the troll is!"

"Alright, all houses, but Slytherin will return to their house dormitories immediately," Dumbledore ordered. "Teachers, you will follow me to the dungeons."

As the rest of the houses poured out of the Great Hall, Daphne turned quickly to the others. "Theo and Teddie!" she gasped. "They don't know about the troll. What if Theo manages to convince Teddie to come back to the common room? They could run into the troll."

"We need to go get them," Blaise said, nodding.

Marcus looked to his friends. "Adrian, Derrick, warn Professor Snape that we have two missing Slytherin first years," he said. "I'll accompany you two to get Theo and Teddie."

Adrian and Derrick nodded as Marcus, Blaise, and Daphne followed a line of Ravenclaws from the hall.

They hurried up the Marble Staircase, and disappeared down a side corridor, leading to the second floor.

~X~

Teddie and Theo sat in a comfortable silence with Teddie resting her head on Theo's shoulder. She had stopped crying a few hours ago and was now just contemplating her future at Hogwarts. The look in Professor Snape's eyes when she had looked at him was more than just anger, he was furious. He had already punished her for fighting with Draco, but would he punish her for beating him up, or would he just expel her and send her home?

"What's that smell?" Theo asked, breaking the silence. He looked around just as the sound of loud rumbling echoed from one end of the corridor.

Teddie lifted her head as the stench reached her senses too. "It sounds like a sewage pipe broke," she said, blocking her nose.

Slowly the two stood, their hands finding one another in the dimly lit corridor, and they turned in the direction the smell and sound were coming from. A low grunting and the shuffling of foot-falls. The two friends shrank back into the shadows and watched as the disturbance emerged into a patch of moonlight.

Teddie felt her breath catch in her throat. "Is that -?" she whispered.

"A troll," Theo nodded. "How the bloody hell did that get into the castle?"

The troll stopped near a doorway and peered inside. It waggled it's long ears and then stuck its small, coconut-like head through the gap. With a lot of effort, the troll then stuffed its entire stumpy body through the door and disappeared.

"The keys in the lock," Teddie whispered, pointing. "We could lock it in and go find a Professor."

Theo nodded and led her down the hallway. They threw themselves against the door, slamming it into its frame, and turn the lock.

Exchanging looks, Theo and Teddie turned to leave. They hadn't even reached the end of the corridor, however, when a high-pitched shrill scream echoed from the chamber.

Teddie's eyes widened. "Oh no, there's someone in there!" she said, turning back around.

"What do we do?" Theo asked.

"You go find a Professor or a Prefect," Teddie said. "I'll try and distract it."

"Are you crazy?" Theo asked, holding her back. "You can't face a Troll on your own, It's not like beating up Malfoy. It's a magical creature, and it takes a lot of magic to take one down. It could kill you, Teddie!"

"It's going to kill whoever is in there," Teddie said, pointing to the chamber. "We have to try something. If I do die, then you're just going to have to avenge me."

Theo shot her a dark look. "That's not funny," he said.

"Sorry. But, please? Go find someone. I can't leave whoever is in there alone."

Theo sighed and finally caved. "Alright," he said. "But be careful."

"I will," Teddie promised. She squeezed his hand and then run back to the chamber, she turned the key and threw herself inside. What she saw was total chaos. Hermione Granger, Gryffindor's brainiac, was crouched under a sink at the far corner of the room. The toilet stalls had been shattered, and only one sink remained intact.

The troll stood over Hermione, its club raised above its head, ready to strike.

Hermione screamed, burying her face in her shoulder and the wall.

"Oi, stupid!" Teddie shouted, seizing a broken piece of metal. She pulled back her arm and hurled the pipe at the troll. It hit the side of its head and bounced off.

The troll stopped, its arm and club dropping back to the floor with a crash, it then turned and, blinking stupidly, found Teddie standing behind it. It hesitated, then made for her instead, lifting its club as it went.

Teddie dived to the side and the club smashed into the wall behind her. A large chunk of concrete exploded over the room, covering Teddie in dust and debris. She coughed and quickly scrambled across the bathroom floor.

The troll spotted her and reached down to grab her. It's large fingers squeezed her foot and pulled her into the air.

Teddie screamed as she hung upside down. She gasped and looked up as the troll held her high into the air, its black beady eyes surveying her cautiously.

"Oy, pea-brain!"

Teddie looked back to the floor and saw Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley standing beside the broken wall. It was Ron that had spoken. In his hands he clutched another broken pipe and threw it at the troll, it narrowly missed Teddie, and hit the troll's shoulder.

"Hey!" Teddie yelled. "You're supposed to help save us, not kill us too!"

Ron glared at her.

As the troll lumbered towards Ron, Harry runaround it to Hermione. "C'mon, C'mon," he coaxed, trying to force her out from under the sink. But she was too scared to even move.

Kicking at the trolls fingers, Teddie managed to get it to drop her. She groaned as she landed amongst the destroyed bathroom and looked up to see the troll reaching for her again. She scrambled back to where Ron was standing and covered her head when she realised there was nowhere else to go.

"Stupefy!"

The troll stumbled as a jet stream of red light hit it. It wasn't enough to do much damage, but it distracted the troll enough for Teddie to look around.

Marcus, Daphne, Blaise, and Theo stood in the doorway to the chamber. Marcus had his wand out, and it was he who had cast the curse.

"Teddie!" Theo called, dashing over to her. He caught her under the arms and heaved her back to her feet. "Are you okay?"

"A little bruised, but I'm okay," Teddie said, shaking her head. It throbbed from where she had landed after the troll dropped her, but otherwise, she felt fine. "Did you find a teacher?"

"They're coming," said Theo. "In the meantime, I think we should get out of here."

Marcus nodded his agreement and looked around at the three Gryffindors. "You three," he said. "Move it!"

"Hermione won't move," said Harry. "She's terrified."

All the shouting and echoes seemed to be driving the troll mad. It swept around is several circles, unable to decide where to attack first. In the end, he decided to go for the closest three students, which happened to be Ron, Teddie, and Theo. They were also the only three with no viable escape route.

"What are you doing, Potter?" Marcus yelled.

Harry had only gone and taken a running jump at the troll. His arms wound around the troll's neck from behind, hoisting him up onto its shoulders. The troll flailed around, trying to dislodge the Gryffindor and, in the commotion, managed to stab himself in the nostril with Harry's wand.

Howling with pain, the troll twisted and flailed its club.

Hermione had sunk to her knees in fright, Teddie had seized a nearby broken pipe, but hesitated in throwing it in fear of hitting her fellow schoolmate, and even Marcus seemed nervous of firing off another spell, especially with Harry flinging around all over the place on the troll's shoulders.

"Wingardium Leviosa!"

The club flew suddenly out of the troll's hand, rose high, high up into the air, turned slowly over - and dropped, with a sickening crunch, on to its owners head. The troll swayed on the spot and then fell flat on the floor, with a thud that made the whole room tremble.

Silence.

Teddie turned to the sound of scrambling feet and saw Daphne and Blaise hurrying over to her and Theo. Daphne caught her in a tight grasp and hugged her, causing Teddie to wince.

"Oh, sorry," Daphne apologised, pulling back.

"Is it - dead?" Hermione asked.

"I don't think so," said Harry Potter, shaking his head. "Just knocked out." He bent down and pulled his wand out of the troll's nose. It was covered in lumpy grey glue.

"Urgh - troll bogies."

Harry wiped his wand on the troll's trousers.

A sudden slamming and loud footsteps made the students look around. They'd forgotten that the teachers had been alerted to the troll, and had probably come to investigate the noises after not being able to find Teddie and Theo on the second floor.

Professor McGonagall, Professor Snape, and Professor Quirrell came bursting into the room. Quirrell took one look at the troll, let out a faint whimper and sat quickly down on a toilet, clutching his heart.

"What on earth were you thinking?" Professor McGonagall asked, her voice cold with fury. She looked around at the students, most of which, she noted, were just first years. "You're very lucky you weren't killed. Why aren't you three -" she pointed at her Gryffindors, "in your dormitories, and you five -" she pointed at the Slytherins, "in the Great Hall?"

"Well, um, it's like this…" Teddie stammered. She'd never seen Professor McGonagall so angry, and she was twice as much afraid when Snape turned his piercing glare onto her as well.

Then a small voice came from the other side of the room.

"They were looking for me," said Hermione. All heads turned in her direction. "I went looking for the troll because I-I thought I could deal with it on my own - you know because I've read all about them."

Ronald Weasley dropped his wand, and even the Slytherins were staring at Hermione in surprise. Why was she lying?

"If Harry, Ron, and Teddie hadn't have come found me, I'd be dead now," Hermione said, "and if Teddie's friends hadn't come looking for her…" she broke off, shaking her head.

Teddie and Daphne shared a look from the corner of their eyes. Why was Hermione Granger, Gryffindor brainiac, defending them? Protecting them, even.

"Well - in that case…" said Professor McGonagall. "Miss Granger, you foolish girl, how could you think of tackling a mountain troll on your own?"

Hermione hung her head.

"Five points will be taken from Gryffindor, Miss Granger, for your serious lack of judgement," Professor McGonagall continued. She then looked around at the others. "As for the rest of you, I still say you were very lucky, not many students can say they took on a fully-grown mountain troll and lived to tell the tale. Ten points will be awarded to each of you, and Professor Dumbledore will be informed of this."

The two houses considered one another from around the room.

"Now, if you aren't hurt I suggest you return to your dormitories," Professor McGonagall said. "The rest students are finishing the feasts there, and the Slytherins have been given permission to return to the dungeons now that they are clear."

The students nodded and left.

At the end of the hallway, the group stopped and turned to one another. An awkward silence stretched on for what felt like hours, before Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Teddie mumbled "Thanks" to one another, and then parted ways.

Chapter Text

Now that Halloween had passed, Christmas was just around the corner. Teddie was excited about the big holidays because she got to go home. A week before the end of term, Professor McGonagall came around with two lists: Going Home and Staying at Hogwarts. She found Teddie and friends down on the Quidditch pitch with Marcus and friends, testing out proper brooms in replacement of the school ones.

Daphne had opted out of the chance, preferring to keep her feet safely on the ground. Theo and Blaise, who had been on broomsticks since they were old enough, were naturals while Teddie was a little unsure. She'd never flown before, not even in an Aeroplane, so she was unsure of how to do so with a broom. Sure, Madam Hooch had shown her the basics, but Marcus' broom was a lot stronger and more powerful than the simple school broom.

Teddie squeaked as Marcus hovered a few feet off the ground. She was sitting in front of him, clutching the broom handle for grim death.

"Open your eyes, Teddie," Marcus chuckled. "You're okay."

"No, Marcus, I don't like it," Teddie said, shaking her head. "Please, take me back down."

"Okay," Marcus said. He dipped forward slightly and shot back towards the ground.

Teddie sighed in relief as she slid from the broom and landed on her feet beside Daphne. If they had done this before the troll had got into Hogwarts, and dropped her from twelve feet, then maybe her reaction would've been a little different. But there was something about crashing twelve feet to the floor that made her really nervous about being up high.

"There you are!" Professor McGonagall called, striding onto the pitch. "I've been looking for you four all over the castle."

"Sorry, Professor," Teddie apologised.

Professor McGonagall waved her off, and then pulled the two rolls of parchment from inside her robes along with a quill. "Now, who is staying for the holidays, and who is going home?" she asked.

"I'm going home," Teddie said. "I've already made plans with my brother over the holidays."

Professor McGonagall nodded and added Teddie's name to the Going Home parchment. She then turned to the rest of Teddie's friends. By the time she had received all their answers, her Going Home list was almost full.

"There'll be hardly anyone left in the castle," said Daphne, as Professor McGonagall left. "I manage to catch a glimpse of Potter and Weasley's name on the staying parchment, but Malfoy is going home."

"I'd say that is a good thing," Teddie said. "It means Potter will have a quiet holiday. I noticed that Malfoy likes to pick on him too."

Daphne nodded in agreement.

Teddie shivered and looked up at the sky. Theo and Blaise flew overhead and she smiled, but in the distance, she could see clouds rolling in. She pointed this out to Daphne and they both clambered to their feet, wandering over to Marcus.

"We should get inside," Teddie said, shivering. "Those clouds don't look friendly."

Marcus agreed and called the two first years and his friends back to the ground. He may not have been a Prefect but he was a Quidditch Captain, and that was similar status as a Prefect. The only difference being that he couldn't dock points from other students.

Upon reaching the Entrance Hall, the friends found their path blocked by a giant fir tree. Teddie reached forward and stuck her head through the branches. "Hi," she grinned, looking up at Harry and Ron as they stood on the other side.

Ron jumped and Harry chuckled.

Withdrawing, Teddie and friends eased their way around the fir tree and found that Harry and Ron weren't alone in the Entrance Hall. Draco Malfoy, Pansy Parkinson, Crabbe, and Goyle were also present.

"Oh," Teddie moaned. "It's you lot."

Parkinson glared at Teddie. Choosing to ignore her, Teddie looked up at the giant fir tree and then across at Hagrid, the gamekeeper. "Do you need any help?" she asked.

"Nah, I'm all right, thanks," said Hagrid.

"Is that going to be Hogwarts' Christmas tree?" Teddie asked.

"One of them, yes," Hagrid said.

Teddie's eyes widened. "One of them?" she asked. "How many do you have?"

"Why don't you come with me an' see?" Hagrid asked, smiling. He carried the tree into the Great Hall and looked back as Teddie followed. He stepped aside, revealing the room to her.

Teddie gasped as she surveyed the Hall. It looked spectacular. Festoons of holly and mistletoe hung all over the walls and new fewer than twelve Christmas trees stood around the room, some were already sparkling with tiny icicles, while others glittered with hundreds of candles.

"Pretty, eh?" Hagrid asked, beaming at the magical look on Teddie's face.

"It's beautiful," Teddie whispered. She spotted Professor Flitwick and Professor McGonagall waving their wands, and hang up several different decorations all over the hall.

"Ah, Hagrid, the last tree - put it in the far corner, would you?" Professor McGonagall said, waving her hand in the direction that she wanted the tree. Hagrid nodded and shuffled away.

Teddie watched as Professor Flitwick followed him, his wand ready. She run after him and stopped short so that she wouldn't crash into him. "Professor," she said. "Can I help?"

Professor Flitwick looked surprised. "Help?" he asked. "You wish to help, Miss Green?"

"My brother and I always decorate our tree at home," Teddie said. "It's not nearly as big as this one, but we have a lot of fun. Most of our decorations are handmade, so we have a lot of trips down memory lane when we're sorting through boxes."

Professor Flitwick smiled at the first year. He waved his wand and several boxes full of decorations appeared in front of the tree. "If you need help, you let me know, Miss Green," he said.

"Thank you, Professor," Teddie said. She dived into the nearest box and pulled out a stream of silver tinsel.

"Have fun," Flitwick laughed. He turned and toddled away to help Professor McGonagall on the other side of the hall.

Teddie's friends approached her.

"You're going to decorate the whole tree?" Blaise asked. "Without magic?"

"Yeah, why, don't you decorate the tree at home?" Teddie asked.

Blaise shook his head. "That's what the house elves are for," he said. "They do it with magic. It's faster."

"Also boring," Teddie said. "Come on," she threw a garland of holly at him and grinned. "I'm going to show you how fun it is to do things the Muggle way." She turned to Harry and Ron. "Do you want to help?" she asked them.

Harry looked guilty. "We'd love to, but we're on our way to the library," he said.

"The library?" Daphne asked. "School's over for the holidays. Why do you need to go to the library?"

Harry hesitated and glanced at Ron. He was shaking his head, furiously.

"You don't have to tell us," said Teddie. "But, if you tell us your secret, we'll tell you ours."

"What could you know that we'd be interested in?" Ron asked.

Theo glared at him. "We know plenty about this castle that you probably don't," he retorted.

"It's okay, Theo," said Teddie, putting her hand on his arm. She looked at Ron. "For your information, Ronald, we happen to know what's being hidden on the third floor."

Harry's eyes widened and he leaned in close. "You know about Fluffy?" he asked.

"Fluffy?" Daphne repeated. "You're telling me that dog has a name?"

"Yeah, he's Hagrid's," Harry said, nodding. "How did you find out about Fluffy?"

"Theo and I stumbled across him the day of our first flying lesson," Teddie said. "We had just come from visiting your friend Neville in the Hospital Wing, and the stairs moved, We got into the room after Filch chased us down a corridor. It happened to be the room that Cerberus was in."

"We think he's guarding something," Harry said. "We don't know what it is, but we think it has something to do with the break-in at Gringotts a few months ago."

Teddie and her friends exchanged looks. They remembered the article in the Daily Prophet, but they hadn't thought too much about it, and they hadn't connected it to the Cerberus upstairs, either.

"So, what, you're going to the library to try and figure out what it's guarding?" Theo asked. "How do you propose you're going to do that? It could be anything."

"We know it has something to do with Nicholas Flamel," said Harry. "Hagrid let that much slip after the Quidditch match last month. But neither we nor Hermione know of this Nicholas Flamel, I've heard his name somewhere before, but I can't think of where."

"I really want to decorate this tree," Teddie said. "But I'll see if I can find anything in my books over Christmas. My brother loves to read, if I tell him I'm looking for something and I need his help, he'll jump at the chance to get his hands on my school books."

Harry nodded. "Hermione's going home for Christmas, Ron and I are staying, we're going to keep looking over the holidays," he said.

"I can check my parent's library," said Daphne. "There should be something there. My father has books on just about everything magical."

Harry grinned.

"Great. Can we go now?" Ron asked Harry.

Harry nodded and waved his goodbyes to the Slytherins, and left the Hall.

Teddie turned back to the Christmas Tree and grinned. "How about a Slytherin themed Christmas Tree?" she asked her friends.

They grinned and got to work.

~X~

The night before they were set to return home, Teddie sat with Theo in front of the Slytherin common room fireplace, opposite them sat Marcus and Adrian. Marcus and Theo had been playing a game called Wizard Chess for the last half hour, while Teddie and Adrian watched. Marcus was really good at chess, but Theo was just that little bit better.

"Checkmate," Theo said, ending the game.

Marcus stared at the board and then looked up at Theo. He couldn't believe he had lost to the first year. "How did you do that?" he asked. "I was sure I had you four plays ago."

"My uncle taught me how to play chess," Theo said, leaning back in his seat. Teddie curled up beside him, her head resting on his shoulder. "He taught me to always think four plays ahead."

"You should play Mason," said Teddie. "He's really good at chess."

"You have chess in the Muggle world?" Adrian asked.

Teddie nodded. "Yeah, but you have to manually move the pieces yourself," she said.

"Do you know how to play?" Theo asked.

"I know the basics but I could never get through a full game," Teddie answered. "Mason never asks me to play him anymore, he knows that I get bored halfway through."

Adrian leaned forward and grabbed the goblet of pumpkin juice from the table between him and the first years. "So, what does the great Teddie Green get up too when she's bored?" he asked.

"What, aside from fighting?" Teddie teased. She grinned as Adrian shot her a look. "I'm just kidding. I like swimming, climbing trees, skateboarding, and playing football."

Marcus, Theo, and Adrian exchanged confused looks.

"What were those last two?" Marcus asked.

"Skateboarding and Football," Teddie repeated. "Football is kind of like Quidditch, except there is one goal and one ball. There are two teams of eleven players, and they have to kick a black and white ball between themselves, protect it from the other team, and then score in the opposing teams net."

"What about the bludgers?" Adrian asked.

Teddie shook her head. "No bludgers," she said. "You just have to make sure that the opposing team doesn't get the ball from you, and score in your net. That's the job of the goalie."

"And you're on a team?" Theo asked.

"Yeah, there are two teams in Spinner's End - my team is the Spinner's End Hydra's - are named after the Hydra monster in Greek Mythology. Despite having many heads, it worked as one body to defeat its enemies, and even though it was tricked by Hercules who eventually killed it, the heads still worked as one, and that's what a good team does," Teddie explained. "It's not about one individual player, it's about working together as a team."

"What's the other team's name?" Adrian asked, intrigued.

"The Spinner's End Chimeras," Teddie answered. "They're named after the Greek Mythical creature, the Chimera, again they work together as a team, just like the many body parts of the chimaera, but they're a group of older boys and they often play roughly. I hate playing against them. I'm the smallest on my team, and they try to intimidate me all the time."

"Does Mason play?"

Teddie nodded. "There's a junior team, too," she said. "They don't play with the bigger kids and are called the Spinner's Kittens. They're a group made up of six to nine-year-olds, and are a mix of both boys and girls'."

"What about the skateboarding?" Theo asked.

"That's all about balance," Teddie explained. "It's a board about yay-big," she gestured with her hands, "and it has four wheels on each side. Basically, you stand on the board and use your body as balance, and just move around the streets with it. If you feel comfortable, you can do tricks too. There's this kid, John, in my street, he taught me how to ride a skateboard. It's fun, and it hurts when you hit someone with it."

"Teddie!"

Teddie fell back into the leather sofa, giggling.

~X~

That night, Teddie found herself staring at the canopy of her bed. She could hear her roommates light breathing all around her and she smiled, in a few hours, she was going to be seeing her brother again. Throwing back her covers she slipped out of bed, into her slippers, and padded across the room to the door.

The common room was quiet, not that she expected any different at two in the morning, but she was surprised to find that it wasn't empty.

"Hey," Teddie said quietly.

Theo looked up from the fireplace and smiled as she sat beside him. "What are you doing awake?" he asked.

"Couldn't sleep," Teddie answered. "You?"

"Same."

"What's keeping you awake?"

"Just thinking about tomorrow," Theo said. "I can't wait to see my mum, but I don't really want to see my dad. Is that bad?"

Teddie cocked her head to the side. She remembered when Theo had told her that his father could be scary at times, she hadn't pressed him at the time but now she couldn't help but feel curious as to why Theo would fear his father so bad.

"He won't be happy that we're friends, you know," said Theo. "My father believes in all the Pureblood supremacy. He won't like that you're a Muggleborn, that you're in Slytherin, or that I chose you as my friend."

"It's not for your father to choose," Teddie said.

"I know, but he'd expect me to be friends with people like Malfoy," said Theo. "He'd expect me to hate you, and call you things like mud -" he cut himself off, unable to let the word pass his lips.

Teddie took his hand and turned him to face her. "What do you think?" she asked.

"You're my friend, Teddie," Theo said. "I don't want to lose you."

"Then you won't lose me," Teddie said. "Despite what your father thinks, I'm not going to let you be sucked into that pureblood supremacy crap. If you want to be my friend, then you be my friend. Not your dad, not Malfoy, you."

Theo smiled and lay back on the sofa. "I'm glad I met you on the platform, Teddie," he said, "and let you sit with me on the train. I know I wasn't very welcoming, but you didn't turn away from me."

"I have a knack of getting under people's skin," Teddie said. "In both good and bad ways."

Theo chuckled.

Teddie smiled. "There's that smile I love," she said.

"Thanks, Teddie."

Teddie lay her head against his shoulder. "No problem," she said.

"I'm guessing you're awake because you can't wait to see Mason, huh?"

"Yeah," Teddie grinned. "I've missed him so much these past few months. I love getting letters from him, but I can't wait to hug him."

Silence enveloped them, it was broken only by their light breathing and the crackling of the flames in the fireplace.

"I'm going to miss you over the Holidays," Theo said.

"Why don't you come visit?" Teddie asked. "My parents won't mind. I would offer to come to you, but if your father isn't going to approve of our friendship, I don't think he'd approve of me being in your house."

Theo shook his head. "Do you really think your parents wouldn't mind?" he asked.

"Of course not!" Teddie said. "They'll be excited to meet my new friends. They only met you briefly on the platform. Tell you what, why don't we ask Blaise and Daphne to come, too? That way we'll all be together."

"Sounds fun," Theo said.

Teddie grinned and hugged him. "We should try and get some sleep, though," she said. "We don't want to sleep in tomorrow and miss the train back home."

Theo chuckled and nodded in agreement. He stood from the sofa and pulled Teddie by the hand. The two headed back to their dormitories and separated ways at the bottom of the staircase.

"Goodnight, Teddie,"

"Goodnight."

Chapter Text

"What are you doing?"

Teddie paused in her crafting and looked up. She was sitting on the Hogwarts Express heading back to London. Before boarding the train, she had stepped into a second-hand store in the small village of Hogsmeade and purchased a few things with the little money she had left.

"I'm making a felt crayon holder for Mason," Teddie answered. She looked back at her creation and added the last stitch to the corner. It was green in colour with red stitching around the sides. "Mum always says that the best gifts are made and not bought."

Daphne smiled and leaned over to see the holder. "It's very pretty," she said. "You're pretty good with a needle and thread."

"Practice makes perfect," Teddie said. "When I first started learning, I used to jab myself so many times, I'd be covered in blood. Then there was this one time, I left a pin on the item I was making and ended up jabbing myself a week later."

Her friends chuckled.

Teddie smiled and picked up a felt present. She stitched it onto the front of the holder and then flipped it open. On the inside of the lid, she stitched a piece of velcro, doing the same on the opposite lip. She then closed the holder, checking to make sure the velcro stuck.

Once she was satisfied, Teddie put away her needle and thread and held up the present. "Done!" she announced.

"It looks great," Daphne said.

A scoff from the door caused all four occupants to look around. "Great? Seriously, Greengrass, do you have no taste at all?" Parkinson asked.

"Oh, go away, Pansy," Daphne said. "It's Christmas."

"Clearly. Anyway, I'm only here to invite you over for New Years," said Parkinson. "Obviously not all of you," she eyed Teddie with distaste.

Teddie rolled her eyes. "Thank god," she said, loud enough for Pansy to hear. "I couldn't imagine a more boring New Year."

"I'll have you know my parents throw an amazing New Years party!" Pansy said, hotly.

"I'll take your word for it," Teddie said.

Daphne smiled at her friend and then look back at Pansy. "Sorry, but I already have plans for New Year," she said, declining the offer.

"You do?" Pansy asked, looking surprised. "What are you doing?"

"I'm going to Teddie's."

Teddie grinned at her only female Slytherin friend.

"Hmph!" Pansy said, leaving the compartment. She didn't bother asking Theo or Blaise, probably because she already knew Blaise was going to France with his mother, and Theo was Teddie's best friend. They were inseparable at Hogwarts, why should over the holidays be any different?

"Of course," said Daphne, as the door closed. "That's if you'll have me, and your parents agree."

"We'd be happy to have you, all of you!"

The four friends smiled at one another. So far the Holidays were looking amazing.

~X~

On Christmas morning, Teddie was awoken by Mason jumping on her bed. The last week had gone by in a blur. After getting off the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 ¾, Teddie had found her parents and little brother waiting for her along with Eleanor Nott. The exchange was, in a word, magical for Teddie, she knew she had missed her family over the months at Hogwarts, but she didn't fully realise how much until she saw them again.

All the way home, Mason asked questions about Hogwarts and Teddie answered them as detailed as possible. When they had reached Spinner's End, Teddie was greeted by her street friends and was allowed to go play for an hour while her parents prepared the house for Christmas week.

They'd already given permission for Teddie to have friends over for New Year.

But Teddie was just happy to be home. She had missed the mismatched cobbled streets of Spinner's End, and the people that were just so welcoming.

"Teddie, wake up! You're not going to believe it!" Mason cried, jumping higher and higher on the bed.

"Mason, I know it's Christmas morning but please, it's 6 am," Teddie whined. The normalcy of the situation was nostalgic.

Mason dropped to his knees and crawled up the bed. "But it snowed last night," he said, tugging at the bed covers. "Look!" he climbed over Teddie and peered out of the window.

Cracking one bleary eye open, Teddie watched as he leaned on her windowsill and stared out of the glass. She could see the white glow of the street from her pillow. With a sigh, Teddie pushed back her blankets and sat up, crawling towards Mason.

She pulled back the blind and, sure enough, at least a foot of snow lay on the ground outside. It was pristine and untouched. Virgin snow, her grandmother would call it.

"Can we go make snowmen?" Mason asked, eagerly.

"Sure," Teddie said, smiling. "Why not?"

"Yes!" Mason cheered. He jumped off the bed and dashed across the room. He and Teddie had been sharing a room for years. It was the biggest one on the house and had been split to accommodate both of them. Their parents had the smaller bedroom to the rear of the house, facing the back garden,

"Just make sure you dress up warm!" Teddie said, watching as her brother pulled out a pair of jeans and a thin t-shirt. "Put a jumper on over that, and don't forget your gloves, scarf and hat!"

Mason saluted and tore around the room looking for the rest of his things. Teddie watched him and then pulled herself from her bed. She shuffled out of the room and into the bathroom, before returning and started to get dressed.

Once they were both bundled up to the heavens, the two siblings raced downstairs, unlocked the front door, and rushed out into the snow. Flakes were still falling from the dark skies, and lampposts were alight all along the street, they cast an eerie, yet beautiful orange glow on the beautiful Christmas morning.

After a few hours play, the street lights had gone off and the dawn broke the frozen wonderland. Teddie and Mason were both red-faced and out of breath as they chased one another around the street, throwing snowballs. Sometimes they hit one another, other times they missed and the snowball exploded as it struck a wall or lamp post.

"Teddie, Mason," Rose Green called from the doorstep of their home. She was wearing her dressing gown and coat, but still, she shivered in the cold air. "Come inside, your father's made you both hot chocolate."

Mason's eyes widened and he dashed across the street towards his house.

"Hey!" Teddie called, chasing after him. Mason laughed and ducked around his mother, diving into the hallway and shaking off the snow that had collected on his shoulders.

Teddie and Rose followed him. They each shed their coats, gloves, scarves, and hats before heading into the kitchen. Robert Green sat at the table, sipping a steaming mug of hot cocoa. He looked up as they entered.

"Did you have fun?" Robert asked.

"Yeah," Mason said. "We made snowmen, snow angels, and had a snowball fight. But now I'm frozen."

"My little frosty pop," Teddie teased, ruffling his hair.

Mason stuck his tongue out and pulled his mug of hot cocoa across the table. He grabbed a handful of baby marshmallows from the centre of the table and added them to the cup. "Mhmm," he sighed, inhaling the scent. He felt warmer already.

Rose and Robert chuckled as Teddie tossed a marshmallow into the air, she opened her mouth to catch it but gasped when Mason snatched it mid-flight and popped it into his mouth all within a second.

"Hey!" Teddie whined.

Mason giggled.

"What time are your friends coming over, Teddie, dear?" Rose asked, drinking her coffee.

"Probably later this afternoon," Teddie answered. "I don't know if Daphne is coming over today, probably tomorrow or closer to the New Year, but Theo is coming, definitely. He sent me an owl last night to make sure it was still alright."

Rose smiled and nodded.

"How is he getting here?" Robert asked.

"Probably the Floo Network," Teddie answered. "He'll have to do it directly to Professor Snape's house, and then he'll probably bring him over."

Her parents nodded again, and then Rose stood.

"Now, who wants presents?" she asked.

Every year, despite not being able to afford many, Rose and Robert made sure that both their children had at least one present to open on Christmas morning.

"Me!" the two children said, excitedly.

"Okay, go and sit in the living room, then," said Rose. "We'll bring them to you."

Teddie and Mason scampered off and Rose took two boxes from the kitchen cupboard. She handed one to her husband, and they both headed into the living room.

~X~

At around three in the afternoon, Mason and Teddie were sat on the sofa watching The Grinch that Stole Christmas when the doorbell rang.

"I got it!" Robert called as he came down the stairs. He opened the door and smiled at his neighbour on the other side. "Severus, Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas, Robert," Snape replied. He placed a hand on the shoulder of the young boy accompanying him, "Mr Nott says he was invited over for Christmas."

"Of course," Robert said. "Teddie's already told us, and we've been expecting you. Come in, come in," he stepped aside and let the pair of them into his home. "Teddie, it's for you!"

"Coming, Dad!" Teddie called. She jumped up from the sofa and run into the hall, shrieking and throwing her arms around Theo as she spotted him. "You came! I was starting to wonder if you'd either forgotten or had been refused."

Theo shook his head and hugged her tightly. "Father's taken Mum to Italy for Christmas, they didn't leave until late, so I waited until I was sure before Flooing to Professor Snape's."

"Your parents went to Italy without you?" Robert asked, concerned.

"Father does it all the time," Theo said, shaking his head. "Mum didn't really want to go, but you don't say no to Father. I'm not really permitted on 'adult holidays', as he likes to call them."

"Ah," Robert said. He clapped Theo on the shoulder and smiled. "Well, you're welcome to stay here as long as you would like. Teddie, why don't you take Theo into the living room, get him some snacks."

"Okay, Dad," Teddie said. She grabbed Theo's hand and pulled him into the next room.

Once they were gone, Robert closed the adjoining door and turned his attention to Severus. "His father often leaves him alone?" he asked, repeating Theo's words.

"Things are done differently in Pureblood families," Severus said. "But are we any different? How often were we left alone as kids?"

"Our parents had to work just to make ends meet," Robert defended, hotly. "Do you think Rose and I enjoy leaving Teddie and Mason home alone, all the time? I assure you, we don't!"

Severus held up his hand. "I apologise," he said, nodding in understanding. "I remember Theo's father from school, he never cared about anything but himself, even then, When he married Eleanor, he did it because he was told too, not because he wanted too. Arranged marriages are a thing in our world."

"Sounds positively medieval," Robert said.

"You'd be surprised how much Muggle and Magical history is connected," Severus said. He turned to leave. "Just a small reminder, Teddie returns to Hogwarts on January 3rd, I hear she has planned for Miss Greengrass and Mr Nott to join her for New Year, here?"

Robert nodded.

"Very well," said Snape. "I shall monitor my Floo Network during the next few days." He left the house.

Robert closed the door, locking out the cold air, and turned to listen to his daughter, son, and their friend laughing together in the living room. He smiled and slowly made his way back upstairs.

~X~

Soon, much to Mason's displeasure, it was time for Teddie to return to Hogwarts. Teddie, too, was disappointed in having to leave her little brother again, coming home for Christmas had been both enjoyable and saddening. She had missed her brother in the months she had been away and had been looking forward to spending time with him, but now she had to say goodbye again.

"Come on, cheer up," Robert said, removing Teddie's trunk from the car boot. "These months will be over before you know it, and you'll be back home."

"We know, Dad," said Teddie.

Rose smiled and hugged her daughter from behind. "The first six months flew once we got adjusted," she said. "The same will happen this term. Besides, don't you have exams coming up?"

Teddie nodded.

"You see, you'll be so caught up studying and learning that you won't even realise that time is passing by."

Teddie smiled and hugged her mother.

"Alrighty then," said Robert, adding the trunk to a trolley. "Let's get you to the platform."

Teddie grinned, slipped her arm around Mason's shoulders, and led the way into the station. The family of four run through the barrier together, emerging on the other side.

A great scarlet engine stood patiently on the tracks, its steam filtered backwards from a huge pipe atop its head, filling the platform with an eerie disfigurement. Through the smoke, Teddie could make out families milling around.

"Oh, Teddie!" Blaise broke through the crowd and approached his friend. He hugged her tightly and then presented her with a gift wrapped in green paper. "I know you said you didn't want presents, but I couldn't resist when I saw this."

"Blaise!" Teddie whined.

"Oh hush," said Blaise. "Go on, open it."

Teddie sighed and opened the lid of the box. Her breath caught in her throat as she saw four books stacked on top of each other, she set the parcel carefully on the platform and squatted down to take the four books out. Upon closer inspection, she noticed that not all four books had her name on them, two did, but the other two had Mason.

"I figured I'd get your little brother something, too," said Blaise, smiling as Teddie looked up at him. He spotted the boy behind Teddie and held out his hand. "You must be Mason. Teddie's told me all about you."

Mason shyly took the boys hand.

"And you must be her parents," Blaise added to Rose and Robert. "Blaise Zabini, a pleasure to meet you."

Rose and Robert looked surprised but shook hands with the eleven-year-old nonetheless.

"A History of Magic?" Mason asked, reading the title of the book he had been given. "Is this like Hogwarts: A History?"

"Similar," said Blaise. "It details everything that has happened in the Wizarding World going back generations."

Mason smiled and looked at the second book. "An Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures," he read, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips. He looked up at Blaise. "Thank you!"

"Don't mention it," Blaise said, shaking his head. "After Teddie told me that you love to read, and you had been wanting to get your hands on her school books, it was the least I could do. Also, I'm sorry I couldn't join you over Christmas and New Year, I hear it was quite an enjoyment."

Teddie grinned at the memory of the last week. "Oh, yeah, if you find Daphne and Mason teaming up against me and Theo, and bombarding us with snowballs and nearly burying us in the snow, fun, then yes, it was a blast!"

Mason giggled and Teddie played pushed him away.

Blaise shook his head.

A shrill whistle cut through the air. It was the warning bell that the train was preparing to leave.

"I best go say goodbye to Mum," said Blaise. "I'll see you on the train, Ted, and it was a great pleasure to finally meet you, Mr and Mrs Green, you too, Mason." He waved and disappeared back into the crowd.

Mason blinked and looked up at Teddie. "Your friends gave me Christmas presents," he said. When Daphne had shown up at Spinner's End for New Year, she too had come bearing gifts. She had also bought Mason books: Magic Storybook and Fairy Tails.

In addition, Daphne had bought Teddie Wizarding World Mythology and A Guide to Medieval Sorcery.

"I told them not too," said Teddie. "I even told them not to buy for me, as I couldn't buy back. My friends just don't listen."

"I guess that's why you get along so well, then," Robert teased.

Teddie giggled and hugged her father, then her mother, and finally Mason. "I'll see you in a couple of months, but don't forget to write," she told her brother. "Let me know how you're getting on with the books, alright?"

"I will," Mason nodded. "Goodbye, Teddie."

"I love you, Mason," said Teddie. She kissed the side of his head and then run over to the train, just as the doors started to close. She boarded and leaned out of the window, waving as the train started to move.

Mason waved back yelling. "Love you, more!" over the sound of the engine.

Teddie blew him a kiss and then he was gone. With a sigh, Teddie withdrew from the door window and went in search of her friends.

~X~

Roughly around six o'clock, Teddie and Daphne kicked Theo and Blaise out of the compartment so that they could change into the school uniforms. The two girls' could hear them grumbling from outside the locked door, and exchanged amused grins as they set about digging around in their trunks. Once they were done, they switched places with their friends and stepped out into the hall.

"Did you manage to find anything on Nicolas Flamel?" Teddie asked her friend. "I meant to ask over New Year, but I forgot."

"I found a bit," Daphne said. "I don't know what Potter and Weasley have found at Hogwarts, but from the information I have found at home, Nicholas Flamel is a known alchemist, and he's famous for his creation of the Philosopher's Stone."

"Philosopher's Stone?" Teddie asked, looking confused. "Where have I heard that name before?" Her eyes suddenly widened and she turned back to the compartment, pulling open the door as Theo and Blaise yelled 'hey!' and rushed to cover themselves up.

Daphne smirked at the two boys and turned her back, watching as Teddie pulled down her backpack and started to rifle through it.

"What are you looking for?" Blaise asked, pulling his school jumper on over his head. He fixed his tie, and then shrugged on his robes.

"This," said Teddie, pulling free a copy of Ancient Greek Mythology. She flipped through the pages and then shoved it in Daphne's direction, showing a well-worn page. The title of the page read: Stone of the Philosophers.

Daphne's jaw dropped and she grabbed the book. "I'm betting there's no mention of Nicholas Flamel in here, is there?" she asked.

"No," Teddie said, shaking her head. "But this chapter lists names, properties, and even has a description of what the stone is supposed to look like. The only problem being, no two texts are the same. For example, one text says that the stone was white in colour, and was created for the purpose of making silver, while another says the stone was red and created for the purpose of making gold."

"Could there be more than one, you think?" Daphne asked.

Teddie shrugged. "It is possible. But the kicker of the Philosopher's Stone isn't its ability to turn metal into gold and silver, it's coveted more by the fact that it's supposed to grant immortal life."

"Immortal life?" Blaise and Theo repeated.

"It means you'll never die," Daphne answered.

"If Nicholas Flamel is a noted alchemist and he created a Philosopher's Stone, then there is a good chance that he is using it. He could be on the path to immortality."

Daphne sucked in a breath and then released it. "But in order to keep that immortality he would need to keep sustaining himself with the stone, right?" she asked,

Teddie nodded.

"Kind of hard to do when the, and if, the stone is actually at Hogwarts, don't you think?" Theo asked.

Teddie and Daphne paused.

"Do we really think that's what's under the trapdoor?" Daphne asked. "The Philosopher's Stone?"

"I do," Teddie said.

Theo and Blaise nodded.

Daphne sighed. "So what are we going to do about it?" she asked.

The four friends looked at each other in the silence. They had all this information, information that they weren't supposed to have, but what were they to do with it?

Chapter Text

"Ten weeks? Ten weeks? That's not nearly enough time!"

"That's plenty of time," said Marcus, tugging Teddie into her seat. They were in the Great Hall along with his friends and hers, each of them studying for their upcoming exams.

Teddie shook her head and reached for her goblet of orange juice. "Ten weeks to remember every little detail from every class that we've done this whole year is not enough time," she protested. "I can barely remember what I had for supper last night much less what Professor Bins said five months ago!"

"I'm surprised you remember that Professor Bins was even talking five months ago," Daphne said. "As I recall, we either played or slept during History of Magic."

Teddie threw back her head and groaned. "Has anyone ever passed a History of Magic exam?" she asked, curiously.

"Famous Historians?" Derrick offered, scribbling down a sentence to his Potions essay.

"Thanks, Derrick," Teddie said, sarcastically.

"Here to help."

Theo turned the page in his Transfiguration book, pointed his wand at the goblet and muttered "Flintifors" a white spark jetted from the tip of his wand and the goblet transformed into a matchbox.

"Nice one!" Teddie gasped. "At least we know someone will pass their practical examination."

Theo nudged her. "Come on, you try," he said.

Teddie groaned and pointed her wand at an empty goblet. "Flintifors," she muttered. The goblet shrunk and became rectangular, before shifting completely into a matchbox.

"See," Theo beamed. "Knew you could do it."

"I'm not worried about the practical side of the exams," Teddie said, shaking her head. "It's the written portion. I hate written portions. I nearly always fail."

"Nearly always, isn't always," said Blaise. "Keep thinking positive thoughts. You'll do fine."

Teddie rolled her eyes. "I'm trying to pass my exams, Blaise, not learn how to fly," she muttered.

"What?" Blaise asked.

"Never mind," Teddie sighed. She should've realised that her friends wouldn't have understood the Muggle reference.

~X~

Teddie wasn't sure how but ten weeks certainly didn't feel like ten weeks. If anything, they felt like a week and a half. But sooner rather than later, the exams were upon them, Teddie found that she barely had time to think about anything that didn't concern a small classroom, individual chairs and desks lined in a row with at least a meter in length between them, masses of spare parchments, workbooks, and anti-cheating quills.

It was a nightmare.

The first exam of the week was Charms. The written portion wasn't as bad as Teddie expected, and the practical was even better. Professor Flitwick called them into his office one-on-one and had them make a pineapple tap-dance across his desk.

Professor McGonagall, during the Transfiguration practical, watched them turn a mouse into a snuff-box - points were given for the appearance of the box, while points were taking away if it had whiskers, fur, or even a tail.

Teddie was sure she had passed the practical for Transfiguration, but she struggled big time on the written portion.

By the Wednesday, Teddie was ready to call quits.

"What do we have today?" Daphne asked at breakfast, peering at her exam timetable. She run her finger across the parchment to the column labelled Wednesday and tapped the paper. "Potions written this morning, and the practical is after lunch."

Teddie groaned and massaged her fingers into her temple. "Can I quit yet?" she asked.

"We're almost finished," Blaise said. "Today is the last of the practical exams. Then we only have three more written portions, and we're done."

"Yeah, you can make it two more days, Teddie," said Theo.

"Your optimism is annoying," Teddie said.

Her friends chuckled and finished their breakfast and hurried out of the Great Hall. Their Potion's written exam was to be taken at 10 am, after breakfast had been complete. They were to be assigned a seat and row number by an exam advisor. At 09:55, the exam rules were set in play and no one was allowed to speak. If they did, it was considered cheating and an automatic fail.

Wednesday afternoon saw the Potions practical. If Teddie had thought being in lessons with Professor Snape had been hard, she was not expecting the practical. Professor Snape strolled around the classroom, breathing down students necks as they tried to follow the instructions to a T. They were making a simple potion, but the threat of failing was high with their Professor right at their back.

Teddie had to will herself not to glare at Professor Snape as he stopped behind her. She was a nervous wreck as it was, she could've done without his questioning stare on the back of her head, or his judgemental glares as she moved from line to line, doing as the instructions ordered.

Thursday brought about the one exam that Teddie had been dreading above all others - History of Magic. It was only a written exam, but it meant being crammed inside a small classroom with the rest of the Hogwarts first years, the sweltering heat pouring from the high open windows making it nearly impossible to breathe, much less concentrate.

Teddie wiped her brow with the back of her hand as she looked up from her exam paper. She was sitting in row B and seat 3, a meter to her left sat Daphne, and her right was Blaise. Theo sat somewhere behind her, but she couldn't remember where exactly he had been placed. She wanted to look around, try and catch his eye. She always felt reassured whenever he was around. But she knew if she was caught then she'd be accused of cheating and the two of them would be punished.

Closing her eyes, Teddie took a deep breath and looked back at her paper. She re-read the question and ticked off an answer box. She was thankful that most of the questions were multiple choice or she would have struggled indefinitely. The good thing about multiple choice was that there was a one in four chance of the answer being right. It wasn't good odds, but it was better than having a single question and needing to think over eleven months worth of work for the answer.

After an hour, Professor Binns called for attention. The exam was over and they were free to go.

Teddie rose from her seat and rushed out of the classroom. She waited out in the hall and sighed as her friends joined her.

"One more," said Blaise, squeezing her in a side hug. "Think you can manage one more?"

"It's Defence," said Teddie. "I can handle Defence."

Blaise smiled and nodded.

"Let's hope Quirrell doesn't spend the whole hour staring at you, shall we?" Daphne asked.

Teddie shivered at the thought. During their last lot of lessons Professor Quirrell's fascination with her had become more erratic, he would stare at her now even while addressing the rest of the class.

It nerved not only Teddie but her friends as well.

"We should report him now," said Theo, his hand on Teddie's shoulder. "See if they can get another advisor to monitor the exam. They're nerve-wracking enough without a creepy Professor staring you down."

"It's too late now," said Teddie. "Besides, it's been months since this first started, they'll want to know why I waited so long before making a report."

"Easy! He's a Professor, you didn't want to accuse him without actual proof of his motives," said Theo. "The fact that it has become a reoccurring thing is enough to say he wants something. You're supposed to feel safe with the Professor, but you don't with Quirrell."

Teddie shook her head. "What if I'm wrong?" she asked. "I could ruin his career. I don't want to be known as the first year that accused a Professor of paedophilia."

"But, Teddie..."

"Just one more day, Theo," said Teddie. "One more day and we'll be free. We won't have to go anywhere near Professor Quirrell. We can spend our freedom anyway we like, you can drag me out into the grounds for the whole week if you so wish it."

Theo sighed and caved. "Okay, fine," he said. "But just remember you promised me."

Teddie reached for his hand and rested her head on his shoulder as they headed down to the Great Hall for Lunch.

On Friday, during the exam, Teddie felt the usual stare of her Defence Professor as she scratched away at her parchment. She'd glance up every now and again, and catch his gaze, but she was always the one to look away first, whereas he would continue to bore holes straight into her.

Her friends, who sat around her, would also catch Professor Quirrell's stare. He never paid any attention to them but saved all of it for Teddie. After the exam, once Quirrell had released them, Theo, Daphne, and Blaise pulled Teddie from the room before anyone could react or stop them.

"Where are we going?" Teddie asked as Theo pulled her across the Entrance Hall.

"Outside," Theo said. "We've finished our exams, and you promised that I could drag you outside. I don't trust Quirrell, and I don't understand why you won't let me report him."

"Theo's right, Teddie," said Daphne. "Maybe now is the right time. He didn't take his eyes off you for the whole hour today. There's definitely something creepy going on inside his head."

Blaise nodded. "We should go to Professor Snape right now," he agreed.

"He's conducting an exam right now," Teddie said, stepping out in the afternoon light. In the distance she could see Fred and George Weasley near the black lake, they were playing with the tentacles of the giant squid, and near the mouth of the Forbidden Forest, she could see Hagrid's hut with three figures heading towards it. She could only assume it was Potter, Granger, and Weasley.

"Then I suggest we go sit outside his office and wait," said Blaise.

Teddie sighed and looked from each of her friends to the next. "It's really bugging you, isn't it?" she asked.

"Yes!" the three of them answered.

"Okay, fine," Teddie said. "Let's go and wait for Professor Snape. We'll explain everything and see what he suggests."

Her friends looked relieved and led her back into the Entrance Hall. They stopped as they spotted Draco, Pansy, Crabbe, and Goyle waiting for them.

"How did you find that, Green?" Parkinson asked. "Do you think you'll be coming back next year, or did you fail badly that they won't bother asking? My money's on the second one."

Teddie rolled her eyes and pushed past the pug-faced girl. She wasn't in the mood for her today.

"Hey, it's rude to ignore people," Parkinson said, grabbing Teddie's hand.

Teddie whirled around and without thinking slapped Parkinson around the face. "It's also rude to grab people!" she snapped.

Parkinson immediately reached for her wand, but before she could cast a spell a voice called out to them from the top of the Marble Staircase.

"W-Wh-What's g-g-going o-on h-h-here?" Professor Quirrell stepped off the staircase and approached them. His eyes roamed over the small group and finally landed on Teddie.

"Nothing, Professor," said Theo, grabbing Teddie's hand. "We were just heading back to our common room. Come on, guys," he said forcibly to Blaise and Daphne.

The two nodded and followed.

Parkinson glared. "It's nothing!" she shrieked. "Teddie Green is a bully, and she just slapped me!"

"I'm the bully?" Teddie asked. "You've been picking on me all year."

"Teddie, don't," Theo pleaded, tugging at her hand. "Just walk away, please?"

Teddie looked at her friend and sighed. "Come on," she said, turning her back on Parkinson again.

"M-m-miss G-G-Green…" Professor Quirrell stammered. "I-I w-w-would l-l-like a w-w-word, if you w-will."

Theo froze, his hand gripping Teddie's tightly. Now, what were they going to do? They couldn't very well say no, and making up a lie on the spot required actual evidence to back it up. Saying that Teddie needed to see Snape wouldn't work if he was invigilating an exam.

"Yes, Professor?" Teddie asked, turning to face the Defence teacher.

"I-I-in p-p-private?"

Teddie glanced at Theo, Blaise and Daphne. They looked at a loss. She squeezed Theo's hand and walked back across the hall towards Professor Quirrell. He pointed to the Marble staircase and indicating for her to follow him.

As she climbed the stone steps, Teddie glanced back at her friends. They waited until she had reached the top and disappeared from view before quickly following after her. Unfortunately, when they reached the first-floor landing both Quirrell and Teddie were gone.

Theo panicked. "Now what do we do?" he asked, turning quickly to Blaise and Daphne.

"Now we have to inform a Professor," said Daphne.

"Let's split up," Blaise suggested. "One of us go and find a prefect, another tries to find a Professor, and the last will try and find Dumbledore. This is not good."

Theo and Daphne nodded and the trio split in different directions.

~X~

Teddie stared up at Quirrell. After turning off the marble staircase he had grabbed her hand firmly in his grasp and dragged her into a secret tunnel hidden behind a tapestry, one that she had no idea had even existed. Before she'd had a chance to scream, a chance to alert her friends to the immediate danger, the tapestry had closed sealing her in with the Defence Professor.

"Let me go!" Teddie said, struggling against his grip. "What do you want with me?"

"I've watched you all year, Teddie Green," said Quirrell. "All year. Then you went home for Christmas, and I knew as soon as you returned I would need to take immediate action. I believe you can be quite valuable to me, very valuable indeed."

"Valuable, how?"

"You know what is hidden in this school at the very moment, don't you, Miss Green?" asked Quirrell

"Your stutter," said Teddie. "I knew it was fake! You're a liar!"

Quirrell laughed and continued to tug her along the hidden corridor. "You're smarter than you give yourself credit for, Miss Green," he said.

"What do you want me to do for you?"

"Dumbledore was foolish to think he could hide it from me," said Quirrell. "Using the mirror was a good tactic, but I will get the stone. You will get the stone for me."

Mirror? What mirror?

Teddie tried to dig her heels into the ground. Her shoes hit a chink in the floor and Quirrell lost his grip. She fell backwards, groaning as she hit the ground with a thud. Without having a chance to worry about injury, Teddie sprang to her feet and run back down the hidden passage.

"Stop!" Quirrell yelled, his voice full of rage.

Teddie screamed as a jet of red hit the wall above her head. It exploded, showering her with debris and dust. She managed to avoid being hit with a chunk of stone and continued to run. If she could reach the end of the tunnel and find the tapestry, maybe she could get back to her friends, or maybe even a Professor.

Then she was falling forward. Her hands scraped against the stone floor, causing gashes to appear on her palms. She hissed in pain and yelped as Quirrell grabbed her by the hair. He forced her to her feet and glared down at her, his eyes danced with flames of fury.

"You foolish girl!" Quirrell growled. "Now look what you've done!" he gestured to the state of her uniform, including her cut hands and knees. "This is no way to make a first impression. But we don't have time to get you cleaned up. You will help me, or so help me!"

Teddie glared at him. "There's nothing you can do to me that will make me help you!" she snapped. "You may as well kill me right now. I will not get the stone for you."

Quirrell backhanded her and then reached into her robes. He plucked her wand from the inside pocket and stowed it inside of his own. "You won't be needing this," he said. "Now come along, or I'll be forced to use drastic measures."

"What if I scream?" Teddie asked. "The tapestry is just there. I'm sure someone will hear me and come investigate."

A flicker of fear crossed Quirrell's face as he looked up at the tapestry.

Teddie screwed up her face and opened her mouth.

"Silenco!"

No sound. Nothing. Not even a whimper. Teddie stared at Quirrell, fear striking her core. What had he done to her?

Quirrell smirked and, with one hand holding his wand, he pushed her ahead of him. "Walk," he instructed. "If you know what is good for you, you'll do exactly as I say."

Teddie glared even harder at Quirrell, then started to walk back down the passageway. There was nothing more she could do to help herself. She didn't have her wand, he'd taken her voice, and now he was threatening her with magic.

But there had to be something she could do. Anything.

Balling her hands into fists, Teddie took one last effort to escape. She whipped around and raised her hand.

Unfortunately, the Defence Professor was faster.

"Stupefy!" said Quirrell.

A jet of red hit Teddie squarely in the chest. Her eyes widened and then she slumped over onto the floor.

Quirrell stood over her and flicked his wand. "Locomotor Maximum!" he said. Teddie's body hovered above the ground, it's height depended on how high or low Quirrell held his wand. He lifted it so Teddie floated level with his chest and then motioned with his wand down the passage.

He would get what he wanted, even if he had to use force.

Chapter Text

Harry swallowed the potion in his hand and stepped through the black flames into the next chamber. Behind him he had left his friends, Ron and Hermione, to look after one another and get help from the school. When they had gone to Professor McGonagall with their findings, she had dismissed them and Dumbledore wasn't even in the school anymore.

For a few seconds all Harry saw were dark flames, and then he was standing in a deep chamber surrounded by steps. In the centre of the chamber stood the Mirror of Erised, and the figure that stood before it was not Professor Snape.

"You?" Harry asked, surprised.

Professor Quirrell turned and smirked. "Me," he said, calmly. "I wondered whether I'd be meeting you here, Potter. In all honesty, I was expecting the Slytherins or even Professor Snape."

"Why?" Harry asked.

With a long, slender finger, Professor Quirrell pointed to another figure curled up on the side of the room. Upon closer inspection, Harry saw that it was Teddie Green.

"What did you do to her?" Harry asked.

"She's valuable to us, Potter," Quirrell said. "She can help me get the stone from this mirror. But she can only do that when she's awake, and she should be waking up any minute now."

On cue, a whimper escaped the unconscious Slytherin. She moved ever so slightly, raising her hand to press against her head.

"I swear to god when I get my hands on Malfoy and Parkinson…" Teddie swore. She lifted her head and paused, looking around with wide eyes. Her gaze swept from Quirrell to Harry, and then back again, and the colour drained from her face as she remembered exactly what happened.

"Teddie?" Harry asked, taking a step towards her.

"No!" Quirrell snarled, throwing out his wand. A shield appeared between the two students, keeping them apart. "You, girl, come here at once!" he ordered.

Teddie met Harry's gaze and he shook his head.

"Use the spell…" a high-pitched hiss echoed. Harry winced as his scar burned.

Quirrell pointed his wand and Teddie and muttered: "Imperio!"

Immediately, before Harry's eyes, Teddie stood and sloped down the stone steps, towards the mirror. When she stopped a caught sight of her face. Her eyes were clouded over, and her face was blank. Almost like she was in a trance.

Quirrell released Teddie from his spell, gripped her shoulder, and forced her in front of the mirror. "Tell me, what do you see?" he asked.

Teddie frowned and stared at her reflection. She didn't know what he was talking about. "Nothing. I just see us," she said, her voice trembling.

Angrily, Quirrell yanked her head back by her hair and stared into her eyes.

"Let her go!" Harry shouted. He started down the steps but thick vines sprouted up out of the ground, winding themselves around his feet and causing him to trip. He hit the floor with a thud and the vines wrapped around his torso and legs like a rope.

"Tell the truth," Quirrell yelled at Teddie. "What do you see?!"

"I don't know what you want me to say…" Teddie cried. "I don't see anyone. Only us. Please, you're hurting me!"

Quirrell huffed and let her go, pushing her forcibly into the mirror. She reached up and braced herself against the glass, lifting her gaze to meet her reflections, she was pale and scared-looking. But a moment later. like her touch had activated something inside the mirror, her reflection moved, on its own, like it was part of a world that existed outside the one Teddie lived in.

Her reflection smiled and reached into her robe pocket, pulling out a blood-red stone. It winked and put the stone back - and as it did so, Teddie felt a weight in her own pocket. She fingered the lump with cut up right hand and gasped.

"What?" Quirrell asked, snapping his attention at her. He had been pacing behind her, muttering suggestions about getting the stone from the mirror. He could see himself inside the glass, presenting the stone to his master, but he wasn't able to get it out. For some reason, he had believed Teddie to be his key, and apparently, he had been right.

"Nothing," Teddie said. "I just thought…"

"Thought what?" Quirrell demanded.

Teddie stared up at Quirrell. He towered over her by several feet, and he looked angrier than she had ever seen him before.

"You're an interesting child, Teddie Green," Quirrell said. "First Muggleborn Slytherin in existence, did you know that? But there's something great about you. I can sense it, we can sense it. Your magic, it's not all as...clean."

Teddie frowned. What in the world did that mean?

Quirrell chuckled and the suddenly stiffened. He turned back to the mirror, staring into the depths of the glass. Slowly, Teddie edged backwards, away from the ornate frame and up the steps towards Harry. The shield that had once separated them was now gone and she was able to reach down and tug at the vines covering him.

"She lies… she lies… she has the stone…"

Quirrell flipped around and advanced on the two children. He once again seized Teddie and threw her across the room. She hit a pillar and groaned, landing on her stomach at the base. Her already cut hands burned again,

"Let me speak to her,"

"Master, you are not strong enough," Quirrell said, tapping his fingertips together.

"I have strength enough for this."

Quirrell nodded and reached up to unwrap his turban. His eyes bore holes into Teddie's as he kept a hold of her gaze. Teddie swallowed as the last of the turban fell away, revealing another face sticking out of the back of Quirrell's head.

"No way…" Teddie breathed.

Harry stopped struggling, his eyes wide. "Voldemort…" he whispered.

Voldemort's gaze met the boys, and he smirked. "Harry Potter…" he whispered. "See what I have become? Mere shadow and vapour… I have form only when I can share another's body… but there have always been those willing to let me into their hearts and minds."

Teddie's eyes met Harry's from across the room.

"There is something, however," Voldemort said. "Something that will give me my body back. Something that lies in your pocket, Teddie Green."

Quirrell rotated on the spot until Voldemort's face was staring down at Teddie. She wanted to scream, but the sound caught in her throat. Voldemort's face was hideous. He was awfully pale, his eyes glinted red, and he had slits for a nose.

"Give it to me," Voldemort said, holding out Quirrell's hand.

Teddie shook her head.

"You have much to show this world, Teddie Green, don't be foolish and die today," Voldemort spat. "I sense great magic inside you. Give me the Stone and I'll show you exactly how to harness that power. You could be great, you know?"

"You'll show me?" Teddie repeated. "You? The very person who despises my kind? As soon as I give you the Stone, you'll kill me."

Voldemort's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Fine," he spat. "If you will not give me the Stone, then I shall show you what I will do in order to obtain it. It's not just Magical folk I can possess, Miss Green, Muggles are also susceptible to my powers, however, they do not last long and eventually burn out from my magic."

He grabbed her by the tie and hauled her onto her knees. Teddie stared deep into his eyes, unable to look away.

"Teddie…" Harry stammered.

"Give me the stone…" Mason hissed, advancing on Teddie. The wand in his hand was pointed directly at her face. "Give me the stone and he shall not be harmed, fail to do so, and I'll kill him right before your eyes."

Lurching away from Voldemort, Teddie grabbed her head and screamed. "GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!"

Voldemort laughed.

"Leave her alone!" Harry yelled.

Voldemort turned his attention back to Harry. He snapped his fingers and the vines surrounding the boy disappeared.

Harry stood and faced Voldemort. "Stop what you're doing to her!" he demanded.

"Until I get what I want, Harry Potter, your friend will live out her greatest nightmares," Voldemort threatened. "All she needs to do is give me the stone, and it'll all be over."

"NEVER!" Harry yelled. It would never be over. Not if Voldemort got the stone. If he somehow managed to get his body back then he would come back and try to finish what he started ten years ago. Balling his hands into fists, Harry launched himself down the steps and at Quirrell.

The defence Professor held up his hands to stop Harry, and as soon as his palms came in contact with the boy's torso, a needle-sharp pain seared across his scar. He yelled, struggling with all his might, and to his surprise, Quirrell let go.

Harry watched has Quirrell stumbled back into the mirror, his hands and fingers blistering as if they'd been burnt by flames. Edging quietly away from the moaning Professor, Harry run over to Teddie and pulled her hands away from her head. "Teddie, are you alright?" he asked, concerned.

"They're gone," Teddie murmured, looking up. Her face was streaked with tears and fear glinted in her eyes. "The images… they're gone."

"Let's get out of here," Harry said. He hooked one arm around Teddie's shoulders and held her wrist with the other. He then supported her against him as they walked towards the door.

"SEIZE THEM!" Voldemort screeched.

Fire blazed to life all around the room. The two students stopped and turned back to Professor Quirrell. Despite his injuries, he was advancing on them. He lunged at the pair, knocking Teddie away and wrapping his hand around Harry's neck.

"Kill him..." Voldemort ordered.

"HEY!"

Quirrell, Harry, and Voldemort all looked to Teddie. She had regained her balance and was stood near a stone pillar, in her hand she held the Philosopher's Stone.

"Let him go!" Teddie said.

"Give me the Stone, girl," Voldemort said. His eyes glinting hungrily.

"Let him go first," Teddie demanded.

Quirrell shook his head.

"You're not in any position to be making demands, child," said Voldemort. "Just do what you're told, and hand over the Stone."

"How stupid do you think I am?" Teddie asked. "I'm not about to unleash terror on both the magical and muggle community by giving you the chance to get your body back. Now let him go!"

"Think of your family!"

In the mirror, Teddie saw her parents and little brother. They stared at her, longingly. Then, one by one, they each shook their heads and disappeared.

Teddie looked back to Voldemort, raised her hand above her head and said: "I am," before throwing the stone onto the floor.

Harry felt Quirrell's hand loosen from around his neck. He seized his chance and dug his fingers under his Professor's, prying his hand away.

Quirrell yelled in agonising pain. He stumbled away from Harry and stared down, horrified. "What is this magic?" he asked.

"Fool! Kill them! Kill them!"

Quirrell stumbled towards the two students as they found themselves once more in the chamber. Their hands clasped tightly as they made a dash for the door, but the flames were still there, and the potion Harry had used to come through was gone.

"I admire bravery," said Voldemort. "Your parents had it too, Potter, but too much bravery can also be deadly. Goodbye, Mudblood, and Boy-Who-Lived."

Teddie closed her eyes and buried her face into Harry's shoulder. This was it, this was the end. She'd had an amazing year, made awesome friends, but this was her end. She saw no way of escaping this chamber, and Voldemort was inches away from killing her.

Then, Quirrell screamed.

Teddie felt a force push itself between her, Harry and Quirrell. Almost like a forcefield. She felt the air on her neck stand on edge and goosebumps erupted all over her arms. She opened her eyes and looked down to see Quirrell rolling on the floor, painful screams coming from his mouth as flames rose higher and higher up his clothes, burning the fabric and material away, but also eating at his skin.

Harry gripped Teddie tighter as, by the time the flames had reached the top of Quirrell's head, he was silent and still. His body was gone. Nothing more than a mere skeleton.

"Wh-What was that?" Teddie asked.

"I-I don't know," Harry answered. "Maybe Vol - whoa, Teddie, are you okay?" he asked, holding her up as she slumped against him.

"I think I need to sit down," Teddie moaned. She felt weak. She sat on the edge of a step and leaned over, pressing her head down between her knees.

Harry sat beside her. "Are you going to be okay?" he asked.

"I think so," said Teddie. "Maybe I was a little light headed."

Harry nodded and looked around the room. He spotted Teddie's wand near the mirror and stood, stepping over Professor Quirrell and hurrying over to pick it up. "Here's your -" he cut off as a billow of black smoke rose up from Quirrell's body, circled the room and speared Teddie through the chest.

Teddie seized up, expelled the billow of smoke, and then collapsed onto the stone floor.

"What did you do to her?!" Harry yelled. He run over to the Slytherin, but the billow of smoke struck him too. He gasped, his insides felt like a ghost had just passed through him. Then he was falling. Down… down… down…

Someone was calling their names, Harry heard them just as he lost consciousness. Someone had come for him and Teddie, but they were too late.

It was over.

~X~

"Teddie, Teddie! Come on, it's time to wake up!"

"But I don't wanna…"

"It's late afternoon. Mum says you better be awake before she goes to work."

The bed dipped and Teddie groaned into her pillow. "Mason…" she whined, opening her bleary eyes and looking around. She frowned when she saw that she wasn't in her room but rather on a hospital ward. She sat up and looked around.

"Ah, good, you're awake."

Teddie looked down at the bottom of her bed and saw a woman dressed in a matron's outfit. She had an ankle-length brown dress, white petticoat, and a white hat.

"Hello," said Teddie.

"Hello, my name's Madam Pomfrey, dear, it's quite alright, you're safe now," the woman said, gently. "You're in the Hospital Wing."

Teddie nodded. "Yeah. I came here a few months ago to visit a friend," she said. She closed her eyes for a second and then opened them again. "How long have I been asleep?"

"Three days."

"Three days?" Teddie repeated. "But then that means tonight…"

Madam Pomfrey nodded. "Tonight is the end of term," she confirmed. "You've had the express permission of Professor Dumbledore to attend, although I did insist that you stay here one more night."

"But my trunk, I need to pack it!" Teddie said. She threw back her covers and climbed out of bed. Madam Pomfrey stopped her instantly.

"You must be careful, Miss Green, you've been through a lot of trauma," said Madam Pomfrey. "Please, get back to bed and rest."

"But -"

Madam Pomfrey shot her a stern look.

Teddie sighed and climbed back into bed. She pulled back her covers and rested her head on her pillow. She'd been in hospital before, only for overnight stays and never longer, but she could remember how boring it was and how badly she had wished she could go home.

"What about Harry?" Teddie asked the Matron. "Where is he?"

"Mr Potter was discharged this morning." Madam Pomfrey said. "He's doing well. He told us everything that happened down in the chamber. So you need not worry about that. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go inform Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape that you are awake."

Teddie watched her trot across the ward and disappear through her office door. The Slytherin then lay back against her pillow and stared at the ceiling. She was glad that Harry was alright, and that he had informed them about what had happened in the chamber with Quirrell because she could barely remember any of it.

"Is she gone?"

Teddie sat up and looked around the room. "Wh-who said that?" she asked.

"Hi, Teddie!"

Teddie's eyes widened as Theo, Blaise, Daphne, and Harry appeared at the bottom of her bed. "How'd you do that?" she asked.

"Invisibility Cloak," Harry said, holding up the bundle in his arms. "I got it for Christmas. It's pretty neat, huh?"

"I'll say," Teddie nodded. She peered at the raven-haired boy. "I just wanted to say thank you."

Harry shook his head. "I should be thanking you," he said. "You destroyed the Stone, you stop him from coming back."

"I stopped one way of him coming back," Teddie said. "If he's not completely gone then there are bound to be other ways for him to return."

"But you stop him this time," said Daphne.

"Yeah, I bet he wasn't expected to be thwarted by a Muggleborn," said Blaise.

Teddie grinned. Her gaze then landed on Theo. "Hi," she said.

"Are you okay?" Theo asked.

"I'm feeling better now," said Teddie.

"Teddie, I'm so sorry," Theo apologised. "I should've done something."

Teddie shook her head. "It wasn't your fault, Theo," she assured him. "Quirrell had me right where he wanted me the minute we stepped off the marble staircase, we just didn't see it coming. If there was any chance of helping me, I'm sure you would've."

"See, we told you she'd understand!" said Daphne. "Now maybe you can stop worrying about it."

"You were worried I'd blame you?" Teddie asked.

Theo nodded, his gaze adrift.

"Theo, you're my best friend, I'd never blame you."

Theo blinked, looking surprised. "I'm your best friend?" he asked.

"You'll have to share the spot with Mason, but yeah, " said Teddie, nodding.

For the first time, in what felt like days, Theo smiled.

Daphne wrinkled her nose. "Ew, you two are sweeter than treacle tart," she groaned.

Theo and Teddie blushed as Blaise and Harry chuckled.

~X~

After her friends had left her to get some rest, Teddie woke again in a few hours. This time, standing at the bottom of her bed, was none other than Professor Dumbledore. He met her gaze and smiled gently.

"Good afternoon, Miss Green," he said.

"Headmaster," Teddie squeaked.

Dumbledore held up his hand. "Calm yourself, Teddie, or Madam Pomfrey will surely kick me out," he said.

Teddie relaxed back against her pillows. "I think I owe you an apology, Professor," she said.

"You do, and why is that?" Dumbledore asked.

"Well, I destroyed the Philosopher's Stone."

Dumbledore smiled. "Yes, I believe you did," he nodded. "But you saved a lot of lives in the process. Therefore, I do not see why you need to apologise."

"But Nicholas Flamel," said Teddie. "I took his source of immortality. Surely, he shall be upset?"

"Oh, so you know about Nicholas?"

Teddie nodded.

"Well, I can assure you that I have explained the situation to Nicholas, and he does not blame you for destroying the Stone," said Dumbledore. "He understands the circumstances and believes you made the right choice. Do not worry, my dear, you will not be punished for basic survival instincts."

Teddie nodded again.

Dumbledore watched her in silence. "I feel there is more on your mind, Miss Green?" he said.

"I just…" Teddie hesitated, took a deep breath and then looked up. "I'm just wondering why Professor Quirrell thought I could help him. He kept asking me what I see in the mirror, and he didn't believe me when I said just us."

"Ah, yes," Dumbledore nodded, knowingly. "The Mirror of Erised. I genius idea on my part, if I do say so myself. As young Mr Potter learned fairly early on, Miss Green, the mirror shows us the deepest desires of our hearts."

"That's what Professor Quirrell meant when he said he saw himself presenting the stone to his master," said Teddie. "I didn't know how he could see that in the glass."

Dumbledore smiled. "What did you see when you looked into the mirror?" he asked.

Teddie shook her head. "I saw myself," she replied.

"And that is why Quirrell wanted to use you," Dumbledore explained. "For you see, Teddie, the happiest man on Earth could look into the mirror and see only himself. You, who have a loving family and friends are happy with what you have, and therefore only see yourself."

"I'm the happiest girl on Earth?" Teddie asked.

Dumbledore raised an eyebrow at her. "Do you not believe it?" he asked.

"I guess I just thought… it would feel different."

Dumbledore smiled and nodded.

"Is that how I was able to get the stone?" Teddie asked.

"Anyone who wanted to find the Stone, find it but not use it, would be able to get it," Dumbledore explained.

Teddie smiled and sighed, relaxing further into her pillows. She was starting to feel tired again.

Dumbledore smiled as he watched her fight to stay awake. "I shall take that as my cue," he said, raising from the bed. "Rest, my dear, and we shall see one another at the feast tonight."

"Professor," Teddie said, stopping the headmaster once more. "Thank you."

Dumbledore nodded once and Teddie closed her eyes for the second time that day.

Chapter Text

Later that evening, Teddie made her way down to the Great Hall for the end-of-term-feast alone. She had been held up by Madam Pomfrey's fussing about, insisting on giving her one last check-up, so the Great Hall was already full when she arrived.

A hushed silence fell when Teddie walked through the double doors, every head in the hall turned in her direction, and then everybody started talking again. Teddie took a deep breath and walked along the Slytherin table to her usual seat beside Theo.

"Welcome back," Daphne smiled.

"Thanks," Teddie replied.

"You look better, Green," said Blaise.

"I feel better," Teddie said.

"You still got something here though," said Theo, poking her cheek.

Teddie swatted his hand away with a laugh. "Ow," she chuckled, covering the bruise on her cheek.

Her friends laughed,

"Disappointing to see you survived, Green," said Parkinson. "Thought you were a goner for sure."

"Not that I'm not happy I survived, Parkinson, but knowing that it annoys you that much is a bonus," Teddie retorted. "Try not to be too upset, alright?"

Daphne smirked as Parkinson huffed.

Soon after Teddie arrived, so did Dumbledore. The hubbub that had filled the Hall during Teddie's entrance died away and Dumbledore surveyed his students.

"Another year has gone!" Dumbledore said cheerfully. "And I must trouble you with an old man's wheezing before we sink our teeth into our delicious feast. What a year it has been! Hopefully, your heads are all a little fuller than they were… you have the whole summer ahead to get them nice and empty before next year."

A light chuckle echoed through the Hall.

"Now, as I understand it, the House Cup needs awarding and the points stand thus: in fourth place Gryffindor, with three hundred and twelve points; in third, Hufflepuff, with three hundred and fifty-two points; Ravenclaw, with four hundred and twenty-six and Slytherin, four hundred and seventy-two."

A storm of cheering and stamping broke out from the Slytherin table.

"However, recent events must be taken into account," Dumbledore called over the celebrations.

The room went very still and the Slytherins' smiles faded a little.

"What's he doing?" Sierra Waterstone asked.

Teddie shook her head, unsure.

"Ahem," said Dumbledore. "I have a few last-minute points to dish out. Let me see, yes… First - to Mr Ronald Weasley…"

Teddie sighed and looked over at her house Prefect. "He's awarding them for saving the school," she said.

"Then you should be awarded too," said Sierra. "We still have a chance."

"I didn't exactly save the school," said Teddie, awkwardly.

"You were involved, weren't you?"

Teddie shrugged and turned back to Dumbledore.

"... for the best-played game of chess Hogwarts has seen in many years, I award Gryffindor house fifty points," said Dumbledore.

Gryffindor cheers nearly raised the bewitched ceiling; the stars overheard seemed to quiver.

Soon, silence fell again.

"Second - to Miss Hermione Granger… for the use of cool logic in the face of fire, I award Gryffindor House fifty points."

Teddie and Theo exchanged uneasy looks. Gryffindor was now a hundred points up.

"They're still in last place," said Daphne. "They only have four hundred and twelve. Hufflepuff is still ahead of them by forty points."

"Third - to Mr Harry Potter…" said Dumbledore. The room went deadly quiet. "... for pure nerve and outstanding courage, I award Gryffindor house sixty points!"

The Slytherins gasped. Gryffindor was now on par with them in terms of points. The rest of the hall, however, was in uproar. If only Dumbledore had given Harry one more point.

"Please stop," Sierra whispered, staring at Dumbledore. "Please don't…"

Dumbledore held up his hands and silence fell.

"There are all kinds of courage," said Dumbledore, smiling. "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but it takes a great deal more to stand up to our friends. I, therefore, award ten points to Mr Neville Longbottom."

The Hall exploded. Gryffindor had won the House Cup. Neville's ten points had pushed them ahead of Slytherin, securing them into first place.

"What exactly did you do in that Chamber, Green?" Malfoy demanded of Teddie, "Or was you as useless as you always are?"

Teddie ignored him, staring at Dumbledore. The Headmaster caught her gaze and winked, smiling.

Daphne frowned at her friend. "What was that about?" he asked.

"I don't know," Teddie said, shaking her head.

"Yes, yes, well done, Gryffindor," said Dumbledore. "Nevertheless, I would like to award Miss Teddie Green sixty points for her ability to put the lives of two worlds ahead of her own while in the face of certain death."

The Gryffindors that had been celebrating their first victory in over seven years looked crestfallen as, up and down the Slytherin table, students were standing and cheering. A Muggleborn Witch had just secured them the House Cup for the eighth year running.

Teddie felt a hand pat her hard on the back, knocking her into the table. She looked up at the second year beside her, she didn't recognise her or know her name, but she was grinning at her as the rest of the house cheered her name all along the table.

Theo, Blaise, and Daphne stood up to yell and cheer as Teddie buried her face in her hands. She wasn't a shy person, but the idea that she had brought around Slytherin's win was overwhelming, to say the least.

"Which means," Dumbledore called over the storm of applause of the Slytherins', "we need a little more colour." He clapped his hands. In an instant green and silver hangings appeared above all four tables, each one adoring the silver serpent that represented the Slytherins.

Teddie looked up to the teacher's table just as a huge banner appeared on the wall behind them. It had the house name embroidered in glittering silver with their house crest on either side.

Professor McGonagall didn't look impressed with the win, but Professor Snape passed Teddie a small smile and firm nod as he met her gaze. She grinned in returned and turned back to her friends. She caught Draco's gaze and smirked at him.

"That is what I was doing down in the chamber, Malfoy!" Teddie said.

"Looks like you aren't useless then, Green," said Parkinson.

Teddie shrugged and turned away from her.

~X~

The next morning at breakfast, the Slytherins were still reeling from their win the previous evening. Even more, so that many older Slytherins had wanted to sit with Teddie and friends in order to get to know their Muggleborn. Teddie finally learned that the second year she had sat by at the beginning of the year, and last night was named Marlene Wetherspoon.

"Are you looking forward to going home?" Marlene asked, helping herself to some toast.

"She gets to see her brother again," said Blaise, spreading some jam onto his toast.

Teddie threw a small piece of crust at her friend. It hit him in the forehead and he scowled at her. Teddie giggled and turned back to Marlene. "As annoying as it is that he can read me," she said. "He's right. I can't wait to see Mason."

"I feel the same about my little sister," Marlene said. "Her name is Jasmine. She's starting Hogwarts in two years."

"That's when I am hoping Mason will be starting," said Teddie. "Both of us have our fingers crossed that he's a Muggleborn, too."

Marlene smiled. "I'll cross my fingers for you too, then," she said.

Teddie beamed. "Thanks!" she said, helping herself to some more bacon.

Marlene nodded and then scooted away down the table as Marcus and his friends arrived.

"If it isn't our little Muggleborn," Derrick teased.

Teddie rolled her eyes. "Is that my new title?" she asked. "Because if it is, I prefer the old one."

Derrick chuckled and helped himself to breakfast. "I'm just teasing," he said. "But no one can believe that a simple Muggleborn helped us win for the eighth year running. You're pretty special right now."

"Given the fact that I could've died four days ago," said Teddie, "I'll enjoy being treated as special for a little longer."

Her friends chuckled and Teddie grinned.

"What are everyone's plans for the summer?" Adrian asked.

"France, again," said Blaise. He didn't sound happy with the idea. "Husband number four lives there, and Mum wants to visit him."

"How many husbands has your mother had?" Teddie asked.

"Too many," said Blaise, shaking his head. He scooped some porridge into his bowl.

Teddie caught Daphne's gaze and quirked a brow. Daphne shook her head and swallowed her pumpkin juice. "My parents are taking Astoria and me to Germany for the summer," she said.

"Don't forget to write," said Teddie.

"I wouldn't dream of it!" Daphne said.

Teddie smiled and turned to Theo. "What about you?" she asked. "Doing anything fun?"

"Father's taking Mum away to Italy again," said Theo. "Another 'adult' holiday. So, I'll probably just be at home."

"You could come to mine," Teddie offered. "You remember what my dad said. You're always welcome."

"So, you're not doing anything are you, Teddie?" Derrick asked.

Teddie shrugged. "Probably not," she said. "My mum and dad may take us to visit my grandparents, but you can come with us, Theo. My grandparents would love to meet you. No doubt Mum has told them all about you already, and Mason would love to catch up with you, too."

Theo smiled. "You sure?" he asked.

"Uh-huh," Teddie nodded. She licked her cereal spoon clean and grinned up at him. "What about you guys?" she added, turning to Marcus, Adrian, and Derrick.

"Visit relatives, probably," said Derrick. "My dad has a big family. It takes all summer to get around them all."

Adrian shrugged as he met Teddie's gaze. "Nothing extravagant," he said. "My cousin will probably come visit. We'll play Quidditch. She's been practising all year."

"How old is she?" Teddie asked.

"Fourteen. She goes to a school in North America," said Adrian.

Teddie's eyes widened. "Wait, you're telling me there are other schools of magic?" she asked.

Adrian chuckled. "Oh yeah, there's several of them worldwide," he said. "The one my cousin goes to is called Ilvermorny. I think I have a book on Wizarding schools at home, I'll find it and send it to you."

"Thank you!" Teddie said, happily. "Mason will love to give it a read too." She finally turned to Marcus. "That leaves you, what are you doing this summer?"

"Nothing major," said Marcus. "I was going to see if you all wanted to come over."

"Even me?" Teddie asked.

"Especially you," Marcus chuckled.

Teddie hesitated. "Um, wouldn't your parents disapprove of you being friends with a Muggleborn?" she asked. "I know a few Wizarding families that wouldn't approve."

"My parents don't care about that, Ted," said Marcus. "If you're a witch, that's all they'll care about. It doesn't matter if you have magical parents or muggle, they'd be happy just to get to meet you."

"Can I bring Mason?"

"Sure," Marcus said. "I'd love to meet him properly, you know, other than for a brief few seconds after searching for him on a busy platform."

Teddie chuckled and nodded. She glanced at Theo and smiled. "Sure, I guess I could come over at the beginning of the holidays," she told Marcus.

"Great," said Marcus.

Teddie grinned and went back to her breakfast.

~X~

When the time came board the Hogwarts Express back to London, the first years were led by Hagrid down to the black lake by Hagrid and crossed it in the same boats they had come to Hogwarts in a year ago. Daphne, Blaise, Theo, and Teddie had a boat to themselves and even managed to get a compartment on the train together.

They were joined by Marcus, Derrick, and Adrian when the older boys arrived.

"How'd you get here so fast?" Derrick complained, sinking into the seat beside the door. "Surely we should've been here first?"

Teddie shrugged and sat back in her seat. "The platform was deserted when we got here," she said. "We were spoilt for choice when it came to compartments. I'm not saying we didn't have a run-in with Malfoy and his lot, but hey, I managed to keep my temper."

"That's an improvement," said Adrian.

"Just don't expect it to last, Adrian," said Teddie. "Do remember I'm going home to a muggle neighbourhood that's known for getting into fights on the weekend. Not to mention the neighbouring village Mill Town."

"Who lives there?" Blaise asked.

"Your muggle counterparts," Teddie answered, somewhat unhappily. "They love to come into Cokeworth, that's the name of the town my village is near, and pick on us for not being better off like them. A lot of fights have happened because of the clash between Cokeworth and Mill Town, and it's guaranteed to happen this summer, too."

"Can't you just walk away?" Derrick asked.

"Why should we?" Teddie asked. "If they're attacking us then they deserve to get as good as they give. Besides, Spinner's End and Cokeworth are full of proud people, we don't care that we're from poverty, but we're also not going to stand back and be attacked for it. We didn't ask to be this way."

Derrick held his hands up in defence. "Sorry I said anything," he muttered.

Teddie took a deep breath and shook her head. "No, I'm sorry," she apologised. "I didn't mean to take it out on you. It's not your fault."

The train hurtled further and further south. At twelve, the trolley came around and the friends jumped up to buy as many sweets as they possibly could. Teddie didn't have much money was thankful that her friends were willing to share with her, and spent most of the next hour teaching her friends to catch Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans in their mouths after she had thrown them to them.

"Haha!" Teddie laughed catching a bean that Marcus had tossed in the air. "Ew! Ear wax!" she grimaced, spitting the bean out instantly.

Her friends laughed at her.

~X~

The train ride back seemed shorter than the one too Hogwarts, Teddie noticed. As the Hogwarts Express pulled into the station the sky outside was still light and clock read 4:40pm.

Teddie pulled on her jacket as she jumped off the train and turned to take the snake house from Derrick. "You guys okay in there?" she asked, holding up the house and peering in at Merlin and Morgana. "Not long now, okay, and we'll be home."

The two snakes slithered over one another as Teddie turned to Marcus. He had returned pulling both his and her trunk from the back of the train. "Thanks!" she said, taking the trunk and pulling it towards the barrier. Her friends followed behind her.

A wizened old guard stood at the barrier, letting the students go through the gate in twos and threes so they didn't attract attention by all bursting out of a solid wall at once and alarming the Muggles.

Teddie passed through with Marcus and Theo.

"TEDDIE!"

Teddie grinned and looked up as Mason barrelled into her. She laughed and hugged him tightly. "Mason!" she laughed. "It's good to see you!"

"I've missed you!"

"I missed you, too," said Teddie. She pulled back from her brother and spotted her parents nearby. They beamed and made their way through the crowd towards her. "Mum, Dad!" she said, hugging them both tightly.

"Teddie, honey, we're glad to see you're okay," said Rose. "When Severus wrote to tell us what had happened. I'm not happy that we can't come to this school of yours, what if something serious happens to you there?"

"Oh, mum," Teddie said. "I'm alright. Nothing I can't handle. I'm a lot tougher than I look, I assure you."

Rose smiled and gently kissed her daughter's head.

"Teddie."

Teddie turned to the sound of her name and waved as Daphne weaved her way through the crowds, pulling an older woman by the hand. The woman had long platinum blonde hair and looked just like Daphne.

"Mum, this is Teddie Green," Daphne said. "The Muggleborn Slytherin I was telling you about."

"It's a pleasure to finally put a name to the stories," the older woman said. She extended her hand and shook Teddie's. "Daphne has told my husband and me so much about you. I apologise that my husband couldn't be here to meet you today, Teddie, but I assure you that we'll be seeing one another very soon. Daphne shall send an owl with details."

"I'll keep an eye out for it," Teddie said. "It's also a pleasure to finally meet you, Mrs Greengrass."

"Call me Darla, dear," Mrs Greengrass said. "Mrs Greengrass makes me look for my mother-in-law."

Teddie chuckled and nodded. "Darla," she said, testing the name.

"We must go. Goodbye, for now, Teddie."

Daphne smiled and hugged Teddie tightly. "I'll write soon," she said.

"I look forward to it," Teddie said. "Bye, Daph!"

Daphne waved and disappeared with her mother back into the crowd. As she scanned the crowd, Teddie spotted Theo nearby. She excused herself from her parents and approached him, Mason running along beside her.

"Hey."

Theo smiled warmly at them. "I can't stay long," he said. He looked over his shoulder at his parents. Eleanor smiled longingly at Teddie but shook her head, glancing up at the man with her. He looked intimidating, to say the least.

"Father?" Teddie asked.

Theo nodded. "He knows about you, and he's not happy," he said.

"I don't care," Teddie said. She grabbed Theo's hand and forced him to look at her. She could see the fear in his eyes. "Theo, what is it? Why does he scare you so much?"

"There are things you don't know, Teddie," said Theo. "There are things I haven't told you about my father. He -"

"Theodore."

Theo winced and turned away from Teddie. He looked up at his father as he loomed over them. "Father, this is Teddie Green and her brother, Mason," he introduced.

"Pleasure to meet you, Mr Nott," said Teddie. She held out her hand but Mr Nott ignored her. His eyes narrowed and he sniffed, turning his attention to Theo.

"We're leaving," Mr Nott said. He grabbed Theo's arm and dragged him away.

Teddie stepped after them but was stopped by a hand on her shoulder. She looked back to see Marcus, shaking his head. She turned back to Theo and caught his eye before he disappeared with his parents. "Why did you stop me?" she asked, spinning around to face Marcus.

"Mr Nott isn't someone you want to cross, Teddie," said Marcus. "His own son and wife are afraid of him."

"What does he do to them?" Teddie asked. "Theo looked terrified. He was about to tell me something but his father interrupted us."

"No one knows exactly what goes on behind closed doors," said Marcus. "But Mr Nott's not always known to use magic as a punishment. He hates Muggles and Muggleborns, but he's not shy to their methods."

Teddie's eyes widened. "You mean he -?" she asked, cutting herself off for the sake of Mason's ears.

Marcus shrugged. "Like I said, no one knows what goes on behind closed doors," he said.

"Theo," Teddie sighed, turning back to the station. She knew she couldn't help her friend from here, but maybe knowing that she was there for him whenever he needed her would be a sense of comfort for Theo.

The End of Book One.

Chapter Text

 

It had been almost five weeks of the summer holidays and still, Teddie had heard no word from Theo. She'd been apprehensive since the day at Kings Cross Station, especially since Marcus had warned her that Mr Nott wasn't a man to be trifled with. But the look in Theo's eyes still nerved her and even haunted her dreams.

What was that man doing to her best friend?

"Teddie," Mason called, running into the room. He was waving a letter around excitedly. "Marcus' sent an owl."

"Thanks, Mason," Teddie said, although she didn't sound excited.

Mason frowned and stared at his sister. "You're thinking about him again, aren't you?" he asked.

Teddie nodded. "I'm worried, Mason. Theo's never gone this long without contacting me," she said. "I need to know he's alright. I need to know that his father hasn't punished him for being friends with a Muggleborn. I'll never forgive myself if something bad happens to him."

"Why don't you go see Professor Snape?" Mason suggested. "Maybe he can do something?"

"I've already asked Marcus to check in with Theo," said Teddie. "He'd have a better chance than me or Professor Snape. I mean, from what I know, Pureblood families are related somewhere along the line, and Marcus' parents know Theo's."

Mason clutched the letter tighter. "Maybe that's why he's wrote back?" he said. He held the envelope out. "Go on, read it."

Teddie heaved a sigh and took the letter. She ripped it open and unfolded the note, reading the words carefully but quickly.

"What's it say?" Mason asked.

"He's asking me to come visit," Teddie said. "But there's nothing about Theo."

"Maybe he can't put it in a letter? I mean, do Owls get intercepted while delivering mail?"

Teddie shrugged. "I don't know," she said. "I've never really asked."

"Maybe it's time you should."

Teddie looked up at her brother and smiled. "Maybe you're right," she said, nodding. "Do you want to come to Professor Snape's with me?"

"Sure. Can I also come to Marcus' with you?"

"He said I can bring you if I wish."

Mason grinned and run out of the room again.

Teddie laughed and followed after him.

It was one of those days where both their parents had been called into work. Robert Green worked for the factory at the far end of Cokeworth, and Rose Green worked at the Railview Hotel. Both parents worked long hours in order to provide a substantial amount of money to keep their family together.

As Teddie was pulling on her coat there came a knock at the front door. She opened it and gasped. Theo was on the other side.

"Hi,"

"Theo!" Teddie flung her arms around her best friend, hugging him tightly. He winced, an action that didn't go unnoticed by Teddie. "You're hurt! What happened?"

Theo shook his head, tears welling up in his eyes.

Teddie pulled him inside and shut the door. She led him through to the living room and sat him on the sofa. Mason, who had been looking for his shoes in the kitchen, came running in.

"Theo, you're here!" Mason said, surprised. "What's going on?"

"Mason, go get me the first aid kit."

Mason nodded and run back into the kitchen.

Teddie sat beside Theo, holding his hands between hers. She stared at his face, taking in the bruises, swollen eye, and busted upper lip. "He did this to you, didn't he?" she asked. She needn't mention no names, Theo's reaction was all the confirmation she needed.

His father had done this.

Mason returned and handed the first aid kit to Teddie, he then sat in his father's chair and waited for Teddie to finish cleaning up Theo. The boy winced as Teddie pressed a cotton bud against his cuts but he didn't move an inch to stop her.

"I haven't heard from you in weeks," said Teddie. "Has this been going on since the end of school?"

Theo nodded.

"What about your mother?"

Theo shook his head, tears sliding down his face.

Teddie felt her heart constrict. She put aside the first aid kit and wrapped her arms around Theo. He responded by doing the same and burying his face in her shoulder.

Mason met his sister's eye. "Shall I call mum?" he asked.

"Yes, please," Teddie said.

Mason nodded and run out of the room.

After a minute or two, the two Slytherins parted and stared at one another.

"I shouldn't have come here," said Theo, "but I didn't know where else to go."

"You had every right to come here," Teddie said, shaking her head.

"But if he finds me."

"I don't care! I've been scared these past few weeks. I've seen everyone, even Blaise, and he's in France. Everyone but you," said Teddie. She wiped the tears from his face. "Theo, where's your mother?"

Again, Theo tensed. He drew in a deep breath and exhaled. "She tried to stop him," he said. "But like I told you last Christmas. You don't say no to my father."

"Is she still at home?"

Theo shook his head.

"Then where is she?"

"He -"

The front door burst open and Mason screamed.

Teddie and Theo looked up, alarmed.

"Stay here," Teddie said. She stood and hurried into the hall. Mason lay near the stairs, and towering over him was the intimidating man that Teddie knew to be Mr Nott. "Hey! Get out of my house!"

Mr Nott sneered at her, his wand drawn. "Where's my son!" he demanded. "I know he came to this filthy hovel. You have no right to keep him from me."

"And you have no right to lay a hand on him," Teddie snapped. "You can't come in here, now get out or I'm calling the police."

Mr Nott laughed. "Your muggle enforcers can't do anything to me," he said. "I'm here for my son."

"Your son was invited here, you are breaking and entering," Teddie argued. "You're also an adult and we're kids under the age of sixteen. Who knows what your intentions are."

By now, Mason had picked himself up from the ground and was hiding behind his sister. He gripped her waist tightly and peered around her, terrified.

"You can't keep him from me," said Mr Nott.

"I can damn well try!"

Mr Nott sneered and reached for her. He was stopped by an invisible force as if someone had just put up a shield between him and Teddie. "What are you playing at, girl? You know you can't use magic outside of school," he hissed.

But Teddie wasn't even sure if she was doing anything. All she knew was that Mr Nott had reached for her but couldn't get to her because of some unknown reason.

"You'll find, Mr Nott, that you're trespassing in my house," said Teddie, "and I shall do everything and anything within my power to protect those inside. You've already harmed my best friend, and you're scaring my little brother. I've kindly asked you once to leave, I won't ask again, and if I do need to ask a second time, I won't be so nice."

"Foolish girl!" Mr Nott said, raising his wand. The spell was on his lips. He'd put the miserable Mudblood out of her misery, along with her brother and then take his son. No one needed to know he was here.

Teddie's eyes narrowed. "GET OUT!" she screamed.

The shield that had erected between the pair shimmered and flashed forward, hitting Mr Nott squarely in the chest. His eyes widened as he was hurled off his feet and through the front door. He landed with a crunch on the garden path as everyone around the street stopped and turned to see what was going on.

Teddie run to the front door. The door next to hers opened and Professor Snape stepped through.

"Miss Green, what is going on?" Professor Snape asked. He looked from his student to the older man.

"He tried to attack me!" Teddie said, pointing at Mr Nott. "He've abused Theo for weeks, and he just attacked me and Mason."

All around the street other parents and kids were coming closer. Mr Pole, the milkman, looked angry as he stepped into the garden and roughly dragged Mr Nott to his feet. The man may have been a wizard, but he was bound by wizarding law to not reveal the secret.

"My wife is in the process of calling the police," Mr Pole said. "How dare you enter a home that isn't your own and threaten children. It's not how things are done here."

Mr Nott sneered at him. "Unhand me, you fool!" he demanded.

"Save it for the police, buddy," Mr Pole said. He dragged Mr Nott out of the garden and forced him down onto the wall.

Satisfied that he wasn't going anywhere, Teddie turned to Professor Snape. "Please, you have to help Theo," she said. "I've cleaned him up the best I can, but he's terrified."

Professor Snape nodded, stepped into his house and returned minutes later carrying a small box under his arm. He left through his gate and entered through Teddie's, following her into the house.

"He's in there," said Teddie, pointing to the living room. She followed Professor Snape inside and found Theo still sat on the couch.

"Why did you do that?" Theo asked Teddie. "You shouldn't have crossed my father."

Teddie shook her head. "He hurt you and Mason, and he threatened me in my own house," she said. "I wasn't going to let him get away with that. The police will pick him up and, I don't know, hopefully, someone from the Wizarding World will learn about this and come get him. Point is, he can't hurt you here."

"I shall contact the Department of Magical Law Enforcement as soon as I am finished here," said Professor Snape. "I had heard rumours that your father was a bully, but I never expected this."

"Magical Law Enforcement?" Mason repeated. "Wait, you're telling me the Wizarding World as its own police force?"

"Yes, although we call them Aurors."

Teddie exchanged a stunned look with Mason. "Are you okay?" she asked, quickly remembering that he too had been hurt. She rushed to his side and looked him over for any injuries or bruises.

"I'm fine, I fell over because I was taken by surprise," Mason said, squirming out of her grasp. "What's going to happen to Mr Nott, now? What happens when the police turn up? Will we need to speak to them?"

"Probably," said Professor Snape. He took out his wand and tapped the box he had with him. It opened and revealed several compartments of tiny bottles. He reached for one and handed it to Teddie. "Apply this to his face, the cuts should heal in a few hours and the bruises a few minutes." He then turned back to Theo. "Do you have any other injuries?"

Theo nodded, timidly.

Professor Snape took another bottle of the same cream from the box and handed it to Theo. "Same instructions as Miss Green," he said. "But you'll have to apply this one yourself."

"You can use the upstairs bathroom," Teddie said. "Top of the stairs, first on your right."

Theo smiled and climbed the stairs, wincing with each movement. When the door shut, Professor Snape turned to Teddie.

"How did he get here?" he asked.

"I don't know," said Teddie. "I was just about to come to you, to see if you could find anything out for me when there was a knock on the door, and there he stood. I thought maybe he had come from your house."

"No one has passed through my house all summer," said Professor Snape. "Do you recognise anything out of the ordinary? Any items that do not belong, both inside and outside your house?"

Teddie looked around, unsure. "Not in here, and the only time I was outside was when Mr Nott went flying out the door," she said. "That reminds me. What happened to him? One minute he pulled his wand on me, and the next it was like an invisible force and struck him."

"It sounds like accidental magic," Professor Snape said.

"But I thought my magic was controlled now because I've been to Hogwarts."

"You're still eligible to uncontrolled spouts of magic," said Professor Snape. "Especially when you're emotions are high. How did you feel when you faced Mr Nott?"

"Angry, frightened," said Teddie. "I mostly wanted him out of the house."

Professor Snape nodded. "In that situation, your magical core would have reacted defensively in order to protect you," he explained. "You did nothing wrong, Miss Green, your actions were done in a legitimate cause of concern. Mr Nott entered your home with the intention to hurt you, or those under your roof, you protected yourself. The police, and Auror's will view that as self-defence."

Teddie released the breath she hadn't realised she was holding.

Theo shuffled back into the room. He was so skittish and nervous that it angered Teddie all the more. She would make Mr Nott pay for the damage he had inflicted.

"What's going to happen to me now?" Theo asked.

"You're going to stay with me," said Teddie.

"You'll need permission from his mother," said Professor Snape.

Teddie turned to Theo. He had been about to tell her where his mother was when his father had broken down her door. "Your mother's, okay, right?" she asked.

Theo dropped his gaze to his feet, sniffled and shook his head.

"She's not -?"

Again, Theo nodded.

"Oh! Oh, Theo!" Teddie said, throwing her arms around him.

Professor Snape pursed his lips. "I shall inform the Aurors immediately," he said. "They'll retrieve your mother from your home, and be around soon to take a statement. I'm sorry for your loss, Mr Nott."

Theo didn't reply as he sobbed into Teddie's shoulder. He was upset that his mother was gone but glad that his father couldn't get to him here.

For the first time in weeks, he felt safe.

Chapter Text

Mason squealed and made a grab for the slimy creature in the river behind his house. It was dark green in colour with small stubby toes and a long tail. It croaked as it tried to escape the ten-year-old's hands.

"Teddie, Teddie. I caught something!" Mason called, excitedly.

"Alright, I'm coming!" Teddie said, wandering over with Theo and another boy in tow. This boy was John Kyle. He was a boy who lived three doors away from Teddie. He too went to a boarding school and had returned home for the summer three days ago.

Mason carefully opened his hands to reveal the creature to Teddie. "What is it?" he asked.

"I think its a newt," John said, peering closely at the creature. "Maybe a Salamander."

"I thought Salamander's lived in fire?" Mason asked.

"You can get water salamanders, too," said John. "They aren't common in Britain, though."

Teddie held her hands out to Mason, taking the amphibian into her palm. Now that it was closer she could see the distinctive colouring on its underbelly and the spots all over it's back. "It's a Palmate Newt," she said.

"How do you know?" Theo asked.

"Whitethroat and a dark stripe through its eye," said Teddie, pointing to each section. "Plus, it was found near a boggy riverbed at the bottom of a garden. Palmate Newts are usually found in these places towards the end of the summer."

"But we've still got a week and a half left!" Mason protested.

"Summer is drawing to a close," said John.

Teddie nodded and knelt beside the river. "There you go, buddy," she said, releasing the newt back into the waters. She stood and turned to her friends.

"What are we going to do now?" Mason asked.

"We could go down to the lake," John suggested. "The others should be down there. Maybe play a game of football, Do you play, Theo?"

Theo shook his head. He had heard about football from Teddie and knew that there were three teams at Spinner's End that played. But he had never participated in a game that didn't involve broomsticks or a Quaffle.

"Hey, wait, how about skateboarding?" Teddie asked. "Theo's never seen or ridden a skateboard before. We could go over to the park and teach him."

John grinned. "That's not a bad idea," he said. "I'll run home and get my board. Meet you at the corner in ten?"

Teddie nodded and John hopped the fence, disappearing through the garden next door. Looking to her best friend and brother, Teddie smiled and climbed the small hill to stand beside them.

"I have no idea what a skateboard is," Theo said.

"That's okay," said Teddie. "We'll teach you. Mason is still learning, aren't you?"

Mason nodded and run up the garden path to his back door. He disappeared inside as Teddie and Theo followed him.

"What if I make a fool of myself?"

"So? I used to make a fool of myself all the time," said Teddie. "I broke my elbow and my wrist when I was learning. I also knocked out a few teeth when I made it to learning tricks."

Theo looked nervous.

Teddie grabbed his hand. "You won't be learning any tricks for a while," she said. "Let's get you through the basics first, and then we'll worry about tricks at a later date, alright?"

"Alright," Theo said, heaving a sigh. He followed Teddie into her house, the door closing with a snap behind him.

~X~

Later that night, Teddie sat on her bed composing a letter to Daphne when the door opened and Theo walked inside. He was dressed in the hand-me-down pyjamas that Teddie had loaned him, and his hair was a dark shade of blonde.

"Are you alright?" Teddie asked.

"A little sore."

Teddie grinned in amusement. "I told you it was all about balance," she said. "I also told you not to try any tricks until you had learned the basics."

"You also encouraged me."

"Well you weren't listening to me telling you not too," Teddie said. "Mum always says, if you're not going to listen to the word no, then you may as well find out the consequences for yourself."

Theo shook his and sat beside Teddie. "Is that to Daphne?" he asked.

"Yep. I'm just letting her know that you're alright."

"Have you told her everything?"

Teddie shook her head. "Not unless you wanted me too," she said.

"No, I'd rather do that myself."

Teddie nodded and looked up at Theo. "Are you going to tell them?" she asked. "I wouldn't be surprised if it'll be in the Daily Prophet that your dad was arrested by Muggle Policemen. The whole of Hogwarts will know by the time we go back."

"I know," Theo said. "But, I think I'd rather just our friends knowing for now. I don't want the whole school to know what he did to me."

"We can tell them on the train. Do you want Marcus, Adrian and Derrick to know too?"

Theo shrugged. "I suppose they could," he said. "They are our friends, after all."

Teddie smiled. "That's good," she said. "Because Marcus is worried about you. He wrote to me again, asking why I hadn't written him back. I just finished his letter," she pointed at the envelope on the windowsill, "telling him that I've heard and seen you. I haven't told him exactly what happened, just that you're safe."

"I don't know if I can ever thank you for all that you've done."

"You don't need to thank me," said Teddie. "I've done what I've done because I wanted too. You're my best friend, Theo. I'm not going to let anything or anyone hurt you, or take you away from me. I'd do the same for Daphne, Blaise, and the others, too."

"What about you, though?" Theo asked. "Who looks after you?"

Teddie shrugged. "Hopefully, you'd do the same for me," she said.

"You know I'd do anything for you."

Teddie smiled and scooted closer, resting her head on his shoulder. "We should get some sleep," she said.

"What about Mason?" Theo asked.

"He's probably asleep on the couch," said Teddie. "My dad will bring him up once he's ready."

Theo nodded and stood up. He stopped as Teddie caught his hand. "What's wrong?" he asked.

"Stay," Teddie said, patting the space beside her. Ever since Robert and Rose had allowed Theo to stay with them, the space was usually occupied by Mason, but Teddie wanted to be closer to Theo tonight.

"But your parents."

Teddie shook her head. "It'll be okay," she said.

"Alright," said Theo. He lay beside her, burrowing down under the heavy blanket and turning on his side, facing Teddie.

Teddie smiled as she met his gaze. "I've missed you."

"I've missed you, too."

~X~

The rest of the summer past without incident. After the interaction with Mr Nott, Teddie's parents rarely left their children alone without supervision. Their neighbour, Caroline was a registered babysitter and often spent her days watching the three children as they played in the streets outside her home. She noted how close Teddie and Theo were, even commenting to Rose one evening on how she predicted their future would be.

"There is definitely more than friendship brewing between them, Rose," Caroline said. "You may not see it yet, but you will one day soon. I won't be surprised if Teddie comes home one summer and say that she and Theo are official."

"Don't be silly, Caroline," Rose said, laughing. "Teddie's only a child, so is Theo. I highly doubt they're interested in anything other than being friends."

"They're children now, yes," said Caroline. "But they aren't going to be children forever. One day soon, your innocent daughter will be interested in boys."

Rose looked out at her children, smiling as they laughing chased one another around the street. She knew Caroline was telling the truth, but she couldn't bring herself to imagine an adult Teddie and Theo holding hands and kissing. She closed her eyes and shook the image into her subconscious.

Caroline smiled and placed a hand on her friend's shoulder. "I'll admit, that they would make a cute couple," she said. "But I always thought Teddie and John would've ended up together. He's always had a soft spot for her."

"Thank you, Caroline," said Rose.

Taking that as her cue to leave, Caroline made the short walk down to her house. She paused and turned back to the playing children. "Five minutes, John," she called. "You return to school in two days, we need to be sure you have everything ready."

"Got it, Mum!" John called back. He stumbled as Mason collided with him.

"Tag!" the ten-year-old exclaimed, running away.

John scoffed and run after him, diverting at the last second and tagging Teddie instead.

"No fair!" Teddie whined.

John shrugged and runoff. Teddie raced after him.

~X~

On August 31st, the day before Teddie and Theo were set to return to Hogwarts, the pair received their school letters. The owl arrived in the middle of breakfast. It flew in through the open window and perched itself on the back of Mason's chair.

For a few minutes, there was silence as the two Slytherins read through their letters. Teddie's reminded her to board the train at Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station in London. There was also a new set of school books that they would need for the year ahead.

"Do you think Daphne and Blaise have had their letters?" Theo asked.

Teddie nodded. "Aren't all letters sent out on the same day?" she asked. "Maybe she's wrote back and Zuni went straight home. Which would mean Professor Snape has my letter."

As she spoke, the doorbell rang. Rose got up to answer it, she returned minutes later with Severus in tow.

"Do you have bat hearing or something?" Teddie asked.

"I beg your pardon?"

"I was just talking about you," said Teddie.

Snape held up two letters. "Zuni tried to deliver these last night, but you must've already been asleep," he said.

"They'll be from Daphne and Marcus," said Teddie. She took letters, handed one to Theo, and ripped into the second. "Yep. It's from Marcus. He says that he's going to Diagon Alley this afternoon, he wants us to meet him there, if possible."

"Daphne says the same," said Theo, reading the letter in his hands. "She also says that Blaise will be meeting her at Flourish and Blotts."

Teddie looked up at her parents. "Can we go?" she asked.

"I don't see why not," said Rose. "Unfortunately, I have to work."

"As do I," Robert said.

Mason looked at his parents and sister. "Does that mean I can go to Diagon Alley?" he asked, looking excited.

"If Teddie doesn't mind taking you," said Rose.

Teddie grinned at her brother. "Go get dressed," she said. "We'll leave as soon as you're ready."

"Yes!" Mason cheered. He jumped from his seat and rushed upstairs.

Teddie giggled and looked at Professor Snape. "Could we use your Floo?" she asked.

"I suppose so," said Snape. "Come around when you're ready to leave. Also, Mr Nott, the Auror's have brought your trunk and wand from your home, and Miss Green, I secured this from Gringotts for you at the beginning of the week." He handed her a small pouch of coins.

Teddie took the pouch and looked up at Snape. "Is this from the vault that you can't tell me about?" she asked.

"Yes," said Snape. He left the house without a backward glance.

Rose stared at her daughter. "What vault that he can't tell you about?" she asked.

"I don't know," said Teddie. "He said there is a vault at Gringotts, the Wizard bank, that has money in it. He said I can use this money for as long as I need school supplies. He won't tell me much else, only that it's not stealing. He also gets mad when I ask him about it." She shrugged and reached for another piece of toast.

"Is everything alright, Theo?" Rose asked, noticing the young boys face.

Theo jumped and forced a smile. "Yes, sorry, I guess I'm just nervous about going back to the Wizarding World," he said. "Everyone is sure to know what happened with my father, by now, and I'm not sure I'm ready to face it all yet."

Swallowing her toast, Teddie took Theo's hand and squeezed it. "We'll face it together," she said. "Besides, it was me that attacked your father, not you. People need not know what he did, only that I felt threatened and reacted defensively."

Theo smiled and nodded.

Teddie lay her head on his shoulder.

Looking at them, Rose paused as Caroline's words echoed inside her head. They aren't going to be children for long. She shook her head as Mason returned.

"Ready!" the ten-year-old declared, happily.

~X~

The trio travelled to Diagon Alley together. Since Mason had never travelled via Floo Powder before he was wedged between the two 12-year-olds. He spun so fast that he was sure he was going to be sick, then his feet slammed into the solid ground and he stumbled forward.

"Gotcha!" Teddie said, grabbing Mason around the shoulders. She helped him out of the grate and into a run-down pub in the centre of London.

Opening his eyes, Mason coughed. "Is it always like that?" he asked.

"Apparently, this is my second time and I still don't like it," said Teddie.

"Shall we get going?" Theo asked.

"Can we wait until my organs catch up?" Mason asked.

Teddie smiled and Theo chuckled.

"Diagon Alley is just through the back door," Theo said.

Mason perked up and sprinted ahead. He burst out into the dank alleyway and paused, looking around. "This doesn't look magical at all," he complained.

"If you'd slow down for two seconds," said Teddie. She reached for her wand and stepped up to the wall.

Mason watched, fascinated, as Teddie tapped a few selective bricks. After she tapped the last brick, the wall opened up to reveal a brightly lit cobblestone path. "Wow," he breathed, stepping through.

Teddie and Theo exchanged smiles and followed him.

Mason took both their hands and walked between them down the path. He tried to take in as much as he could of the scenery, but they were jostled by other magical folk that he didn't have a chance to see everything.

"Where are we going first," Mason asked.

"I've got to visit Gringotts," said Theo.

"Okay," Teddie nodded. The group set off at a fast pace towards the end of the street where a giant gleaming white building sat. Mason's jaw dropped as he looked up at the bank, his eyes bulging as he tried to take it all in.

"Careful, Mason," said Teddie.

Mason stumbled as his toe stubbed the front step and he stumbled forward. The only reason he didn't fall was that Teddie and Theo were holding his hands. He looked down as he climbed the steps, his eyes darting between the Goblins on either side of the doors.

"Are they -?" Mason asked.

"Don't stare," said Theo. "They're very proud creatures."

"Oh," said Mason, nodding. He quickly averted his gaze and stepped through the gold doors into the foyer. Silver doors opened up ahead of him and he was then standing in a grand hall where hundreds of Goblins lined the walls. Each one counting strange coins, diamonds and jewels.

The trio walked up to an empty podium. The goblin behind it looked up. "Yes?" He asked.

"I need to enter my vault," said Theo. He handed over the small gold key Professor Snape had given him that morning.

The Goblin nodded and then called for another Goblin to come help.

"Follow me, please," the second Goblin said. He led them through the crowd towards a door at the back of the hall. Beyond it lay a rickety track and a small cart. It was no bigger than the boats that took first years to Hogwarts.

Teddie climbed into the cart with Mason and held him tightly as it shot off at lightning speed. Mason screamed in delight as they raced through the underground tunnels.

A flash of light caught Teddie's eye, but before she could get a better look, it was gone. "What was that?" she called.

"What was what?" Theo asked.

"Never mind," Teddie said, shaking her head. She'd ask again once they were back outside.

Soon the reached a vault which had the name 'Nott' etched over the top. The Goblin used Theo's key to open it, and Theo grabbed as much money as he needed for the year ahead.

~X~

One wild cart ride later, the trio stood on the steps overlooking Diagon Alley. Mason was still giddy from the cart ride and was grinning from ear to ear. "Can we go again?" he asked.

"If I go again, I'll be sick," said Teddie.

Mason sighed and then shrugged. "Alright, where to now?" he asked.

"I only need to get books," Teddie said. "I don't know about you," she added to Theo.

"I need new robes. My last lot are too short for me," said Theo.

"That's because you're turning into a giant!" teased a familiar voice.

Mason whipped around and squealed. "Daphne!" he said, running down the steps and hugging the blonde.

Daphne laughed and hugged him back. "Hey, Mason, have a good summer?" she asked.

Mason nodded and led Daphne back to Teddie and Theo. The friends reunited.

"Where's Blaise?" Theo asked, pulling out a hug.

"He said he would meet us at Flourish and Blotts," Daphne answered.

"Are you here alone?" Teddie asked.

Daphne shook her head. "Mum is with me. She's over in Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment getting me some ink, parchment and quills," she explained. "We're going to Madam Malkin's next. We could all go together."

"Okay," Teddie agreed. "Also, thinking about it, I could use some more parchment, ink, and quills. Why don't you two head over to Madam Malkins, while Mason and I go to Wiseacre's, we'll meet you once I've got what I need?"

Theo and Daphne exchange looks and nod.

"Alright," Daphne said. "See you in a bit."

"I won't be long," Teddie said. She smiled at Theo and turned to Mason. "Come on, this way." The brother and sister run down the stone steps and into the crowd, weaving their way through to the equipment shop.

~X~

No sooner has she bought her supplies, were Mason and Teddie making their way through the crowded streets towards Madam Malkin's. They had just reached the door when it opened and Draco Malfoy stepped out. He caught sight of Teddie and a grin spread across his face.

"Oh great," Teddie grumbled.

"Hello, Green," Malfoy said, stepping up close to his housemate. "Surprised to see you here. Especially after the results came back. Didn't think you'd show your face at Hogwarts again, not after a humiliating defeat."

Teddie rolled her eyes. "Last I checked, Draco, you weren't exactly in the Best Top Five, either," she retorted. "Hermione Granger, Terry Boot, Susan Bones, Daphne, and Theo have outsmarted you."

Draco's eyes narrowed. "Shut your mouth, Mudblood!" he sneered.

"Like that insult isn't losing its punch," Teddie said with a heavy sigh. "Now, please excuse us, we have shopping to finish." She seized her brother's hand and tried to push past Draco.

"Who's this?" Malfoy asked, grabbing Mason's arm.

Teddie whirled around and pointed her wand in Malfoy's face. "Unhand him!" she demanded.

"Is this your brother?" Malfoy asked. He let go of Mason and Teddie pushed the little boy behind her. "Is he like you? Does he start Hogwarts this year? Or is he just another stupid Muggle?"

"Shut your mouth!" Teddie hissed.

Malfoy grinned. His amusement shone in his stormy grey eyes, and Teddie suddenly had the urge to punch him straight in the mouth. Her hand had already balled into a fist, but before she could swing it a cane landed on Malfoy's shoulder, and he stiffened.

"Now, now, Draco, play nicely."

Teddie looked up into the face of an unfamiliar man with long platinum blonde hair. Although she didn't know his name, she knew that he had to be a relation of Malfoy's. The resemblance was striking.

"Sorry, Father," Malfoy apologised.

"I believe introductions are in order, don't you?" Mr Malfoy said, staring down at Teddie. He hefted his cane into the crook of his arm and held out his hand. "Lucius Malfoy."

"Teddie Green," Teddie introduced. She shook Mr Malfoy's hand.

"Ah, yes, the infamous Muggleborn Slytherin," Mr Malfoy said, almost snidely. "Draco's told me all about you. The Weasley's of the Muggle World I believe he called your family. My dear child, you must realise by now that he only speaks the truth."

Teddie snorted and withdrew her hand from Mr Malfoy's grasp. "The truth?" she repeated. "Is that how you justify his bullying."

"Well think about it, child," Mr Malfoy continued. "A Muggleborn in Slytherin? It's obviously a mistake. Muggleborns don't belong at Hogwarts, much less in a pureblood house. Surely, you see that?"

"Oh, I see something alright," said Teddie, nodding. "I now see where your son gets the outrageous idea that he is better than me and my kind. I see that Pureblood Supremacy starts, not with our generation, but the generations that have come before. I see that your son isn't going to accept change because his father refuses to accept it, too. I also see a bigot old man who thinks he knows better just because he is older."

Mr Malfoy sneered. "I'd watch the way you speak to your elders, child," he said, leaning forward. He cupped her chin and stared directly into her eyes. "That mouth of yours will one day get you into big trouble."

Teddie pulled herself free of his grasp and stepped back. "If you and your son are free to speak your truths, then I should be free to speak mine," she said. "If you don't like it, then leave us to our shopping. I didn't stop to talk to your son, he stopped to badger me."

Before Mr Malfoy could retort, the door to Madam Malkin's opened and Theo, Daphne, and Darla stepped out. The trio stopped short, taking in the scene before them.

"Does there seem to be a problem here?" Darla asked.

Theo and Daphne hurried to Teddie's side. She was stiff as a board and glaring heavily up at Mr Malfoy.

"We were just leaving," Mr Malfoy said. "Come, Draco." He nodded his head at Darla and walked away.

Draco sneered at Teddie. "See you at school," and followed his father into the crowd.

Once they were out of earshot, Darla looked to Teddie. "What was that all about?" she asked.

"Mr Malfoy was just throwing his weight around," Teddie said. She shook her head and turned to her friends. "Did you get your robes?"

Daphne nodded.

"Did you get your parchment?" Theo asked.

Teddie nodded and pointed to the cauldron that Mason was carrying.

"Great," said Darla. "I'm assuming all that is left now are your books?"

The three friends nodded.

"To Flourish and Blotts, then."

Teddie, Mason, Theo, and Daphne followed behind Darla as she led the way down the crowded streets towards the bookshop. They passed Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour on the way, and Theo bought a round of ice cream cones which he and his friends slurped up happily.

Outside Flourish and Blotts, the quartet paused to finish their ice cream, but also found their way blocked due to a large swarm of women and teenage girls'. Even Darla seemed to be primping herself as she stood in line.

"Mum, what's going on?" Daphne asked.

Darla pointed at the sign hanging over the front door.

GILDEROY LOCKHART

will be signing copies of his autobiography

MAGICAL ME

today 12:30 - 4:30pm.

Daphne gagged and peered up at her mother. "Is this why you agreed to accompany me?" she asked. "Just so you can meet this pompous old windbag?"

Teddie and Theo snickered.

"Daphne!" Darla shrieked.

"Well, he is!" Daphne defended.

Darla shook her head. "You know very well that I accompanied you so that I could get a proper introduction to your friends," she said. "If meeting Gilderoy happens to fall on the same day, then why not?"

Daphne huffed and shook her head. She finished her ice cream cone and shoved her way into the bookshop. Teddie, Theo, and Mason followed her.

A long queue wound right to the back of the shop where Gilderoy Lockhart was already signing books.

"Oi, Teddie."

Teddie looked up at her name and spotted Marcus and his friends overhead. Marcus was waving her to join him. "Come on," she said to her friends. "Let's head upstairs."

"Have a nice summer?" Marcus asked, wrapping Teddie in a hug as she reached the first-floor landing.

"It wasn't all bad," Teddie said, pulling away. She moved on to hug Derrick and Adrian next. "You?"

"It was alright," Marcus shrugged. "Disappointing that you didn't come visit."

Teddie offered him a sad smile. "Yeah, sorry about that," she apologised. "Trust me, it wasn't from the lack of trying. After a specific incident that freaked my parents out, they rarely let me or Mason out of their sight. We had a babysitter for most of the holidays."

Marcus nodded in understanding. "Maybe next year, then?" he offered. "Or maybe you could come over for New Year, this year?"

"We'll see," Teddie said. She leaned over the side, peering down into the masses below. "So what's the deal with this guy?" she asked.

"Gilderoy Lockhart," Daphne sniffed. "He's supposed to be a Defence Master extraordinaire. He's written a bunch of books about his adventures with certain magical creatures, and suddenly he's the most loved man in Britain."

Teddie considered the man in forget-me-not robes. "I don't see anything particularly fancy about him," she said.

"He's a celebrity," said Derrick. "Of course, women are going to be into him. Don't you have celebrities in the Muggle world, Ted?"

"Yeah, and most of them are better looking than him," said Teddie.

"Name one?"

"You wouldn't know them even if I did."

"I know. I just wanted to know who Teddie Green pines after."

Teddie rolled her eyes. "I don't pine after anyone," she said. "But if I had to choose it would probably be Luke Perry. He's on this show my mum watches, and he is to die for."

Derrick snickered.

"Hey, look, there's Blaise!" Daphne said suddenly. She leaned over the railing and waved towards the back of the store. Their dark-skinned friend beamed and climbed the stairs to the first-floor landing.

Teddie and Daphne rushed forwards, each one throwing their arms around Blaise and hugging him tightly.

"You made it!" Daphne said. "I didn't think you would. You were supposed to meet us here."

"I know, I'm sorry," Blaise apologised. "Mum wouldn't let me leave France alone, and she didn't leave until really late. I honestly thought I was going to miss you guys."

"Well, you're here now," said Teddie. "That's all that matters."

Blaise nodded and hugged them again. Over their shoulders, he spotted Mason and smiled. "Hello, Mason," he greeted.

"Hi," Mason said, waving.

"How are you finding the books from last year?"

"I've finished them," Mason answered. "They were fascinating. All of them," he added, turning to Daphne.

Daphne smiled and leaned against a bookshelf. "Looks like I'll need to find you some more reading material this year," she said.

"Oh, you don't have too," Mason said, shaking his head.

"Nonsense," Blaise said, waving his hand. "We want too."

Daphne nodded in agreement. "And we won't take no for an answer," she added to Teddie. "Let us spoil you."

"We don't need to be spoiled," Teddie said, flushing.

"You may not think you need to be," said Blaise. "But I enjoy spoiling my friends. Won't you agree, Daphne?"

Daphne nodded again.

Teddie rolled her eyes and returned to Marcus. Down below a man from the Daily Prophet was snapping pictures of Lockhart and Harry Potter, who seemed to be trying to escape. After a while, Lockhart let him go and Potter and friends made their way to the back of the store.

They were stopped as Draco Malfoy entered.

"Not him again," Teddie groaned.

"Again?" Adrian asked.

"Yeah, I just had a run in with him and his father," Teddie said. "The same old stuff," she added, seeing the burning question on her friend's faces. "How a Muggleborn doesn't belong at Hogwarts, much less in Slytherin. You know, he's starting to sound like a broken record."

Mason leaned his head against Teddie's arm. "He called us a Mudblood, too," he said. "What does that even mean, Ted?"

"It's a crude name for what we are," Teddie said. "But you don't have to worry about that."

"Do you think what he said is true?" Mason asked. "About me being just a Muggle? Do you think I could ever be like you?"

Teddie wrapped her arm around Mason's shoulders and hugged him to her. "What have I told you, Mason? You can be anything you want to be," she said.

"Yeah, but that's great thinking for when I say I want to be an astronaut or a best seller," said Mason. "But it's hardly practical for wanting to be a wizard. I mean, I can wish to be famous, but I can't wish for magic, can I?"

"Fair point," Teddie said.

"So, do you really think I could be like you next year?"

"Anything's possible," said Teddie, nodding. "But I really hope you are."

"Me too," Daphne agreed.

Theo and Blaise nodded.

"Yeah, you'd make a great addition to Hogwarts," Adrian said.

"I don't know about Slytherin, though," Derrick said. "Any house, in particular, you'd want to join?"

Mason looked thoughtful. As well as finishing reading the books Daphne and Blaise had got him last year for Christmas, he'd also read and reread Hogwarts: A History numerous times. "There are two houses I identify with the most," he said.

"Let me guess," said Derrick. "From what Teddie has told us already, you'd make an excellent Ravenclaw. You're very studious and you love to read."

Teddie winked at Mason as he glanced up at her.

"Maybe Gryffindor for the second," said Derrick. "You're very loyal to your sister."

"Loyalty isn't necessarily a lion's trait," Mason laughed. "A badger can be loyal too."

The group laughed.

Derrick nodded, looking amused. "So, you're going for Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff?" he asked.

Mason nodded. "I think I'd get along in either of those. What do you think, Ted?" he asked his sister.

"I think your biggest trait would be that you love to read," said Teddie. "Personally, I think you'd make a perfect Ravenclaw."

Mason grinned excitedly. He hoped that he had the chance to go to Hogwarts. Not just because he wanted to be special like Teddie, but because he wanted to experience her world for himself.

There was only so much he could learn from books, and stories of his sisters adventures.

Chapter Text

Mason looked around the living room. He had never been in Severus Snape's house before, and although he knew it wouldn't be any different to his own, he was still surprised. The living room was covered in so many books that the ten-year-old could lay his eyes too, he longed to just dive in and stay there for eternity reading.

"Miss Green," said Snape, entering the room with two people. They wore long robes of magenta and emerald. The woman had long blonde hair and blue eyes, whilst the man had short brown hair and matching eyes.

Teddie turned and eyed the pair curiously.

"Miss Green, meet Charlotte Jacobs and Cerberus Langarm," said Snape. "They work for The Department of Magical Law Enforcement as part of the Magical Law Enforcement Patrol."

"Um… hi?" Teddie said, unsure as to why Professor Snape was telling her this.

"They're going to be accompanying you to Kings Cross this morning," Snape said.

Teddie snapped her attention to her head of house. "But why?" she asked. "I'm sorry," she added quickly at the look on her head of house's face. "It's just..."

"After the incident at the beginning of the summer the Ministry is taking precautions to ensure that you, your family, and Mr Nott are safe, Miss Green," said Langarm.

"But we're going to a magical station. Who would be foolish enough to attack us when we're surrounded by adults and other magic folk?"

"You'd be surprised how many people are acquainted with Cyrus Nott," said Jacobs. "Not to mention afraid of him."

Teddie huffed and looked at Theo and Mason."Fine," she caved. "We'll go with you."

"Since you are returning to school, I see no reason for your brother to accompany us," said Jacobs.

Teddie looked at Mason. "He's always come with me," she said. "It's a tradition!"

"It's too dangerous," Jacobs said, shaking her head. "I'm sorry."

Teddie met Mason's eye.

Mason sighed. "You'll be home for Christmas, right?" he asked.

Teddie nodded.

"Then I'll be there to meet you off the train."

"I'm sorry, Mason," Teddie apologised.

Mason shook his head and engulfed his sister in a hug. "I love you!" he whispered.

"I love you more," Teddie replied. She pulled away and Mason hugged Theo.

Once everyone had said their goodbyes, and Mason had gone home, Teddie and Theo turned back to the Aurors.

"Good. Now, I think we should travel separately," said Jacob. She held her arm out to Theo. "Mr Nott, if you'll please," she said.

Theo glanced at Teddie. "I'm right behind you," she promised him. He nodded and took the Auror's arm.

There was a crack and they both disappeared.

Teddie looked at Langarm. He cleared his throat and held out his arm. "This is going to be a tad uncomfortable," he said. "Just remember to breathe."

Teddie swallowed nervously and took his arm. There was another crack and Teddie felt like she was being stuffed through a straw. Her chest compressed against her ribs and lungs, making it hard for her to breathe.

~X~

Then, she could breathe again.

"Are you alright?" Langarm asked.

Teddie shook her head. "Now I know what it's like to be sucked through a straw," she said, closing her eyes for a brief second. When she opened them she took in her surroundings, and the feeling of dread ebbed away at the familiarity of Platform 9 ¾.

Langarm smiled at the look on his charges' face. "I would ask if you're looking forward to going back," he said. "But I can see the answer in your eyes."

"This place takes my breath away," said Teddie.

The huge scarlet engine that was the Hogwarts Express sat on the rails, its steam billowing from the engine room and clouding the platform. Families of returning and new students lined the open area. Some hugged their children as they left to find friends, while others put their eleven-year-olds on the train, and even helped them find empty compartments.

"Come on, Charlotte's already on the train with young Mr Nott," said Langarm. He placed his hand on the square of Teddie's back and lead her through the crowds. They reached an empty door of the train as a hulking body stopped in their path.

Teddie looked up into the face of the gorilla she had met last year. If she remembered correctly, Marcus had called him Cassius Warrington.

"Excuse me," Langarm said, irritated.

Warrington ignored him, his eyes set on Teddie. "You're the Slytherin Mudblood," he said.

"Watch your mouth!" Langarm hissed, his hand tightening on Teddie's shoulder. "There's no need for such language."

Again, Warrington acted like he hadn't heard.

Teddie, however, was glaring up at the older Slytherin. "That insult is getting old," she said. "But if you don't want anything, step aside. You're in my way!"

"You don't belong here," Warrington said. "Especially not after what you did to Cyrus Nott. You and that blood traitor son of his better watch your backs this year." He then stormed away.

Teddie glared at him.

"Are you okay?" Langarm asked.

"Yeah, fine," Teddie said. "It's the pros and cons of being a Muggleborn in Slytherin, Don't worry, my friends won't let anything happen to me."

"Be as it may," Langarm said. "I shall be reporting this incident to my superior's and Professor Snape as soon as possible. Being a Slytherin means Severus is your Head of House, he'll be able to keep a lookout for any potential dangers to you and Mr Nott while you're at Hogwarts."

Teddie smiled, nodded, and climbed aboard the train. Langarm followed her and they quickly located Jacobs and Theo.

Charlotte looked relieved when her partner and Teddie arrived. "What took you so long?" she asked. "You were supposed to be right behind me."

"We were," Langarm said. "We run into a spot of trouble with an upper classmate. I've made a note to inform Professor Snape as soon as we get back to the office, and was just ensuring Teddie, here, that she'll be kept under a watchful eye whilst at school."

Theo looked at Teddie curiously. "What upper classmate?" he asked.

"Warrington," Teddie replied. She took her luggage out of her pocket and set it on the floor. With a flick of his wand, Langarm enlarged the suitcase and then levitated it into the storage rack. "I'll tell you about him later."

Theo nodded and turned his gaze back to the window.

"Right, well, you're all set in here," Jacobs said. "We'll stand guard out on the platform until the train is ready to leave. If you need us…"

"Thank you," Teddie said.

Jacobs nodded stiffly and left.

Langarm waited until she had disappeared out of view and then turned back to Teddie and Theo. "I overheard you saying to your brother that you'd be coming home for Christmas?" he asked.

Teddie nodded. "I couldn't go a whole year without seeing Mason," she said.

"In that case, if you just inform Professor Snape he'll contact the Magical Law Enforcement Patrol, and they'll assign two Auror's to be your escorts."

"Will it be you and Miss Jacobs?"

"It depends on your workload," Langarm said.

"Can I specifically ask for you?"

Langarm smiled fondly. "If you so wish, you may," he said.

Teddie beamed. "Great! I may see you at Christmas," she said.

"Have a wonderful year, Miss Green. Mr Nott," Langarm nodded at Theo and then left the train. He passed Blaise and Daphne as they passed the compartment, both of them frowning at their friends at an Auror's appearance on the train.

Daphne pointed over her shoulder as she faced Teddie. "Was that Cerberus Langarm?" she asked. "Of the Magical Law Enforcement Patrol?"

Teddie nodded.

"Blimey, what's he doing here?" Blaise asked.

"He and his partner, Charlotte Jacobs, brought me and Theo here," Teddie said.

"Why?"

Teddie glanced at Theo. It was because his father that they had just high-profile protection, and therefore it was up to him if he wanted to reveal it to his friends.

Theo sighed and turned his gaze away from the window. "I'll tell you all when Marcus and the others get here," he said. "I don't feel like repeating myself."

Daphne and Blaise nodded.

It was 10:50 when Marcus, Derrick, and Adrian finally arrived. They entered the compartment and sat down, with Derrick and Adrian close to the doors.

"We thought you'd got lost or something," Teddie teased. "We were just about to send out a search party."

Derrick gave a mocking laugh as he slouched in his seat. "That's the last time I spend the last day of my holidays with Uncle Mongoose and Aunt Sally," he complained, rubbing a hand over his tired face.

"Uncle Mongoose?" Teddie repeated, her eyes alight with amusement.

"His real name is Montgomery," Derrick explained. "But he got bit by a Mongoose when he was younger, and my cousin called him Montgomery Mongoose for so long, it just stuck."

"Oh, I don't know whether to laugh or feel sorry for him?" Teddie said.

Derrick shrugged. "My uncle doesn't care. If anything he's embraced the nickname," he said. "He often refers to himself as Montgomery Mongoose, and even teases that if he could transfigure himself into any animal, it would be a Mongoose."

Teddie beamed. "I like your uncle already," she said.

"Yes, he's one of my favourites, by far," Derrick said. "But I still refuse to stay at his on the last day of summer. He insisted since it was the last night, that we all stay up late and trade stories. I'm pretty sure it was 2:15 am when I went to bed."

"You're such a bad boy," Teddie teased.

Derrick stuck his tongue out and slouched even further in his seat.

The rest of the compartment laughed, each of them falling into the comfortable confinements of their last few hours of freedom.

~X~

An hour into their journey, Daphne turned to Teddie and Theo. "Are you two going to tell us why you had an Auror escort, now?" she asked.

"You had an Auror escort?" Adrian asked, leaning forward to stare at the two second-years.

Teddie nodded.

"How come?"

Teddie looked to Theo and offered him a small smile. They'd discussed his decision to tell their friends the truth about his father on the way to Hogwarts, on the promise that it would only be their small group that knew the full, truthful story.

Theo sighed, leaned back in his seat, and stared out of the compartment window. The room was silent for a few minutes before he finally broke. Spilling his whole summer to his friends. Once he had finished, an unsettling silence fell, and Teddie stared at Theo. She could tell that he already regretted his decision to speak.

"I don't know exactly what happened," said Teddie. "Professor Snape said it could've been accidental magic because I was highly emotional at the time, but all I remember is telling Mr Nott to get out of my house because he was scaring Mason, and then the next second he was blown back out the door. Like high winds had somehow hit him and blasted him into my front garden."

The others stared at Teddie in awe and surprise.

"He was arrested by Muggle Policemen for the attempted assault of three underage children, and Professor Snape told me that the Magical Law Enforcement Division found out and he was transferred and arrested on several accounts of child abuse, domestic abuse, and the murder of his wife," Teddie continued. "We don't know if he's been convicted yet or not, but until there comes a time Theo is staying with me at Spinner's End, and we're both under the protection of the Magical Law Enforcement Patrol."

When she finished speaking, the silence remained.

Derrick finally broke it. "My mother mentioned something about Cyrus Nott being arrested," he said. "The Daily Prophet didn't say why or how, only that he had."

Adrian and Marcus nodded in agreement. Their parents, too, had heard that Mr Nott had been arrested, but they never clarified as to why.

"Theo," said Daphne, placing her hand on his arm. "I'm sorry about your mother."

"Yeah, me too," Blaise nodded.

Theo offered them both a small smile but refused to meet their gaze.

"I really hate to carry on the subject," Teddie said, meeting Theo's gaze. "But, there's something else you should all know. You remember when Langarm told Jacobs that I had a run-in with an upper classmate?"

Theo nodded. "Yeah, you said something about Warrington," he said, quietly.

Marcus immediately gave Teddie his full attention, "What's that about Warrington?" he asked.

"He stopped me as I was getting on the train, earlier," Teddie said. "Apparently, I have a new title within Slytherin. I'm no longer the Muggleborn Slytherin, I'm now the Mudblood Slytherin."

Her friends went rigid, and Marcus' hand tightened into a fist.

"What else did he say?" Theo asked, sensing the drop in the atmosphere. He knew it would've been best to just steer the conversation out of dangerous waters, but there was no chance in hell that the others would let this go now.

Teddie shrugged and shook her head. "Only that he knew what I did over the summer to Cyrus, and that me and Cyrus's 'blood traitor son' had better watch our backs this year," she said. "He didn't exactly say it was a threat, but I'm taking it as one. Oh, and he also said that I don't belong at Hogwarts, but that's nothing new."

Derrick snorted and stared at Teddie. "How can you be taking this so calmly?" he asked. "Any other Muggleborn would be in a terrified fit, right now."

"Maybe because I'm not any ordinary Muggleborn," Teddie said. "Besides, Langarm said he'd be reporting the incident to his supervisor as soon as he gets back to the Ministry, and he's also informing Professor Snape who intends to keep a close eye on me while I'm at school. Warrington and I are both Slytherins, I'd like to see him do something outside the bounds of 'House Unity' with Snape breathing down our necks."

Her friends cracked amused smiles, and just like that, the atmosphere broke.

~X~

The remainder of the train ride was filled with laughter and making plans for the Christmas Holidays. Already, Marcus had invited Teddie and her friends, including Mason, over to his home for New Year's Eve, he'd also said that they could stay until they went back to school, but only if the Ministry approved it for Teddie and Theo.

But given that his father worked for the Magical Law Enforcement Division, Marcus didn't see any concerns as to why they would refuse.

Soon, the lights inside the train flickered to life, signalling their arrival at Hogsmeade station was imminent. Daphne and Teddie then decided it was time to kick the boys out so that they could change into the robes, before trading places. Once they were all set, the train started to slow down as it approached the Hogsmeade Platform.

"Students are reminded to leave all luggage on board, it will be transferred up to the school and await your arrival," the conductor's voice sounded throughout the corridors and compartments.

"Come on," said Derrick. He opened the door and led the way down the corridor, and out onto the platform. They were one of the first groups off, closely followed by several other upper classmates, from various houses, and the first years.

"Firs' Years, over here!" shouted the familiar voice of Hagrid the Gamekeeper. He waved a pan-size hand in the air, beckoning the tiny and terrified eleven-year-olds in his direction.

Blaise looked over at the tiny first years, and then back at his friends. "Surely we weren't that small last year?" he asked.

"What do you mean 'last year'?" Daphne asked. "We're still that small!"

"Were we that nervous?" Theo asked, noticing the pale look on a nearby first years' face.

"Probably," Teddie said. "I remember you never said anything, but you also didn't leave me go. Especially when we were in the boats, and I was leaning over the side."

"I thought you might've fallen in," Theo said. "I had to be careful."

"Yeah, especially when Blaise decided to inform us that the Giant Squid liked to pull students under the water as a prank," Daphne said, grinning at the Italian boy.

Blaise rolled his eyes. "How was I supposed to know it was a fake story?" he asked. "When you're a kid you'll believe anything!"

His friends laughed before Marcus, Adrian, and Derrick herded the second years towards several carriages that awaited at the bottom of the hill. In the distance, Teddie could faintly make out the silhouette of the Hogwarts Castle.

"So, what's pulling these, then?" Blaise asked, approaching a nearby carriage.

"Nothing," said Adrian. "They pull themselves."

But Teddie frowned at the explanation. "Very funny, Adrian," she said.

"What are you talking about, Ted?" Adrian asked, turning to her. "I wasn't making a joke."

Teddie pointed at the front of the carriage. "If they pull themselves then what is that?" she asked.

Adrian followed her indication and saw nothing. "Are you feeling alright?" he asked, reaching out to touch her head. "You haven't hit your head, have you?"

"I'm not the one with the head injury," Teddie said, ducking out of his reach. "You are. There's clearly a black-winged horse pulling the carriages. Are you seriously telling me you can't see it?"

Again, Adrian looked to the front of the carriage and then back at Teddie. He shook his head. "I assure you, Teddie, nothing pulls the carriages. They pull themselves, like always," he told her.

Now Teddie was confused. Why could she see the huge, skeletal black-winged horse, but Adrian couldn't. Turning on the spot, Teddie stared up at Marcus and Derrick, waiting for them to back her up. But they too seemed just as confused as Adrian.

"You two, too?" Teddie asked. "You can't see them, either?"

"Sorry," Derrick said, shaking his head.

"Daph, Blaise?"

Daphne and Blaise shook their heads.

"I can," Theo said, also staring at the place Teddie and indicated too. "They look like malnourished horses with wings."

Marcus suddenly gasped. "Oh! There is an animal that only certain people can see, I think they call it a Thesteral," he said.

"A Thesteral?" the group echoed.

"Yes, if I remember correctly it can only be seen by people who have seen death -" Marcus broke off, but the damage had already been done.

Teddie and Theo shared a look and quickly climbed into the empty carriage. They sat with their backs to the horses, and their gazes fell to their laps.

Marcus sighed and climbed in beside Teddie. "I'm sorry," he apologised.

"It's alright," Teddie said, shaking her head.

"No, Teddie it's not," said Marcus. "I shouldn't have been so tactless. I should've realised that last year, and the beginning of the summer would still play heavily on both your minds."

This time, Theo shook his head. "There was no other way to explain it," he said. "Besides, if someone else had tried to explain it, someone who didn't understand or know the truth, the results probably would've been a lot worse."

Teddie nodded in agreement. "We now know why we can see these creatures, and you lot can't," she said. "It's no big deal."

But Marcus seemed unable to forgive himself.

As the others climbed aboard, the carriage door closed with a snap and lurched forward, starting the long journey up the steep hill towards the castle gates.

Chapter Text

The next morning, while looking over her school timetable, Teddie was joined by Marcus. She paused in her reading and look up at him.

"What?" Teddie asked, noting his pleasant demeanour.

"I had a chat with Warrington last night," Marcus said. "After you went to bed, of course."

Teddie quirked a curious eyebrow. "And what did he say?" she asked.

"He denied everything, obviously," said Marcus, reaching for a pitcher of orange juice. "Kept saying that a Muggleborn was a liar, and I shouldn't believe everything you say."

"Obviously," Teddie muttered. She finished her cereal and watched as the remains of the milk drained from her bowl. She then reached for a piece of toast, some butter, and blueberry jam.

Marcus piled a small portion of bacon, eggs, and sausage onto his plate. "I reminded him that it was in the nature of a Slytherin to be devious," he continued. "I then warned him to stay away from you, and if I learned of his involvement in any plot to harm you, or Theo, he'd answer to me."

"Aw, my hero," Teddie teased, laying her head on his shoulder.

"Bugger off," Marcus chuckled. He shrugged his shoulder and Teddie lifted her head, giggling.

Their banter ended with the arrival of their friends.

"We're divided between each house this year," Teddie said, handing over three timetables to Blaise, Daphne, and Theo. "Transfiguration and Defence with Gryffindor, Charms and Potions with Hufflepuff, Herbology and History of Magic with Ravenclaw."

"Astronomy?" Blaise asked, searching his timetable. He found the lesson on Thursday evening.

"Apparently all four houses take it together this year," Teddie answered. She stabbed a sausage with her fork, jumping as Derrick let out a painful yelp.

Everyone looked up at the Slytherin chaser. Derrick grinned at Teddie and she threw the sausage across the table at him.

"That wasn't funny!" Teddie said.

"The look on your face was priceless!" Derrick howled.

Teddie shook her head but smiled nonetheless.

Just then, a loud rushing of wings came from the high windows. Teddie looked up as hundreds upon hundreds of owls swooped into the hall, dropping off packages and letters to their respective owners and flying off again.

Adrian, Marcus, Daphne, and Blaise all received mail from home. But it was a thick grey owl that seemed to have trouble flying, that had caught Teddie's attention. The owl in question was flying low along the Gryffindor table and crashed into a pitcher of milk beside Ron Weasley.

A howl of amusement came from Draco Malfoy as he too noticed the owl.

"Look, everyone," came the voice of Seamus Finnigan. He was grinning amusedly at his fellow Gryffindor as he drew the whole hall's attention to the Gryffindor table. "Weasley's got himself a Howler."

The Hall burst into laughter.

Teddie frowned. "What's a Howler?" she asked her friends.

"It's a -" said Daphne.

"Shh! Shh!" said Blaise, shushing his friend. "Let her see for herself."

Daphne shrugged and turned in her seat. Teddie peered closely over the heads of those in front of her. She could barely make out the letter, but if Weasley's face was anything to go by, then a Howler wasn't something she wished to endure personally.

A split second later, a roar of sound filled the Hall.

"...STEALING THAT CAR, I WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN SURPRISED IF THEY'D EXPELLED YOU, YOU WAIT UNTIL I GET A HOLD OF YOU. I DON'T SUPPOSE YOU STOPPED TO THINK WHAT YOUR FATHER AND I WENT THROUGH WHEN WE SAW IT HAD GONE."

The voice of whom Teddie could only guess was Weasley's mother, echoed loudly around the silent hall.

"LETTER FROM DUMBLEDORE LAST NIGHT, I THOUGHT YOUR FATHER WOULD DIE OF SHAME, WE DIDN'T BRING YOU UP TO BEHAVE LIKE THIS, YOU AND HARRY COULD BOTH HAVE DIED..."

From the corner of her eye, Teddie could see her friends grinning and smirking, but she didn't find the situation amusing at all. Sure, she believed in the age-old saying 'actions have consequences' but embarrassing your child in front of a Hall full of students hardly constituted as a punishment.

"... ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTED, YOUR FATHER'S FACING AN INQUIRY AT WORK, AND IT'S ENTIRELY YOUR FAULT! IF YOU PUT ANOTHER TOE OUT OF LINE, WE'LL BRING YOU STRAIGHT HOME!"

A ringing silence followed. A few people, mostly Slytherins, laughed, and soon the hubbub of talk returned to the Hall.

Teddie felt as if she'd gone deaf. She rubbed her ears and whined, trying to ease some feeling back into them.

"That was a Howler," said Blaise. "What did you think?"

"I won't deny that actions have consequences, but to embarrass your child in front of a room full of people, isn't fair," Teddie said. "Mrs Weasley should've had more tact when it comes to her son's emotional state."

"Aw, come on, Ted, seeing Weasley suffer is amusing," Adrian said, piercing a fried egg.

Teddie shook her head and stuffed her timetable into her backpack. "And taking pleasure in someone else's suffering is what makes a bully." She stood and left the Hall.

~X~

Daphne, Theo, and Blaise found Teddie sitting outside Charms, scribbling in her diary. She didn't look up as they approached, but she did close the diary as they slid down the wall beside her.

"Adrian thinks you're mad at him," Daphne said, laying her head on Teddie's shoulder.

"Good. So he should," said Teddie.

"He didn't mean -"

"Yes, Blaise, he did!" Teddie replied, hotly. "He found amusement in someone else's suffering. Do you have any idea how many people suffer because of bullies? How far they're willing to go to avoid being bullied? I know many people in the muggle world that have considered suicide to get out from underneath their bullies."

Her friends remained silent.

Teddie shook her head and looked back at the diary in her lap. "Voldemort was a bully and he terrorised the Wizarding World for years. Everyone sees Slytherin has the 'bad' house, they see us as bullies, and by enjoying Weasley's suffering you're just proving them right."

Theo and Blaise shared a look.

"In the Muggle world, I'm bullied for being because I'm poor, and in school, I was bullied because I was different. Before I found out that I was a witch, I was called a freak and weirdo because strange things always happened to me," said Teddie. "And even here at Hogwarts, I get bullied for the same reasons. I'm a Muggleborn in Slytherin so that makes me different. One would argue it makes me unique," she shook her head. "But it doesn't, it makes a freak."

Daphne wound her arm around Teddie's shoulders and hugged her tightly. The young Slytherin wasn't crying, exactly, but her voice did break as she tried to convey her message. She knew that she owed Adrian an apology for blowing up at him, but given her own experiences with bullies, Teddie felt that she couldn't deal with them this year.

~X~

Charms passed without incident.

Malfoy and Parkinson did try to get a rise out of Teddie, but she chose to ignore them than lose her temper, like she usually did. It also helped that Daphne, Blaise, and Theo were there to hide her from the two bullies that terrorised her.

Professor Flitwick started the lesson with a quick recap of the levitation spell he had taught them the previous year. Despite not remembering much from year one, and not being able to practice over the summer, Teddie still managed to get her feather to hover several feet off the ground.

Once he was happy, Professor Flitwick went on to explain that in second year they would be learning a number of different charms. Starting with the Repairing Charm - Reparo.

"For those of you that are unaware, the Repairing Charm allows you to repair objects such as backpacks, I've seen many students use this charm on bulging backpacks, glasses, robes, anything that requires it. Animals and other humans are not particularly suitable under this charm," he added.

Teddie found it strange that he should need to warn them about animal and human experimentation using the repairing charm, but she could've easily guessed that some slow-minded student had probably tried it before - with disastrous results.

"Alright, first, we shall practice the wand movements," Professor Flitwick. "Just like the Levitation Spell, wand movement is essential for this charm. Now, what me closely," he held up his wand and moved it in the required movement. He did this several more times before passing the mantle to the class to practice themselves.

Out of many of her classes, Teddie found that she thoroughly enjoyed Charms. She was consciously aware that next year that could choose elective subjects, and she had already decided that she wished to continue with Charms. She wasn't sure what her friends had decided, or whether they had any ideas what to choose, but she could always discuss it with them at lunch.

Charms that morning was a double lesson, much to Teddie's pleasure. After one hour of practising the wand movements, Professor Flitwick had them put down their wands and enunciate the Charm, correcting them on their pronunciation if needed. He wouldn't allow them to try the charm until they had managed to enunciate properly.

Charms, Teddie realised, was just as dangerous as Transfiguration. One false move with the wand, or a wrong move with the pronunciation, and havoc could be unleashed.

"Well done!" Professor Flitwick squeaked at the end of the second hour. "Next week we'll attempt combining both the pronunciation and the wand movements. We'll then see about trying the charm. You may leave."

The Ravenclaws and Slytherins filed out of the room and headed off to their third lesson of the day.

For Slytherins, it was Transfiguration with the Gryffindors.

~X~

Transfiguration was an hour long and was spent trying to turn beetles into buttons. To say she struggled massively would've been an understatement, but Teddie was thankful that she wasn't the only one that had failed. Draco Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle, also struggled miserably and failed to produce any buttons by the end of the lesson.

When the lunch bell sounded, the two houses headed down to the Great Hall. Teddie found Adrian sitting in his usual seat and, as she sat opposite him, he looked up and smiled, lightly.

"I wanted to say I was sorry," Adrian said.

"I'm sorry, too," Teddie replied. "I'm still learning to reign in my temper. I need to remember not to unleash it on my friends."

"I need to remember that you have a temper," Adrian said. "You look so small and innocent all the time. It's tough to remember that you can be deadly."

Teddie grinned. "A lot of deadly things come in small packages," she teased.

"Now that's out of the way," said Derrick, spearing a steak and kidney pie with his fork. "What lesson have you just come from?"

"Transfiguration," Daphne answered.

"So you haven't had Defence, yet?"

The second-years shook their heads.

"Why?" Teddie asked, noting the grin on Derrick's face.

"No reason," Derrick said, going back to his lunch. "You're in for a surprise."

Teddie narrowed her eyes. "I don't like the sound of that," she said. "Do you like the sound of that?" she turned to her friends.

Daphne, Blaise, and Theo shook their heads.

"What's he talking about?" Teddie asked Marcus.

The Quidditch Captain held up his hands and shook his head. "I'm not saying anything," he said.

"You're no fun," Teddie said, poking his shoulder.

"You have Defence this afternoon, right?" Marcus asked,

Teddie nodded. "After lunch, yeah," she said.

"Then you won't need to wait long for the surprise," said Marcus.

"Fair warning, it's not as much of a 'happy' surprise as it is a 'you've-got-to-be-kidding-me' surprise," said Adrian. "I almost walked out when I realised."

Teddie frowned and looked at Daphne. "Now I'm intrigued," she said.

"Me too," Daphne nodded. She checked her watch, sighing as she realised they still had half an hour of Lunch to go before they found out what their friends meant.

Just before the end of lunch, Marcus stopped Teddie and her friends from leaving to give them one last announcement. "Quidditch tryouts," he said. "Wednesday night, on the field. Since Higgs graduated last year we need a new Seeker. You should come down."

"What, even if we don't want to try out?" Teddie asked. She caught the look Marcus was giving her and rapidly shook her head. "Don't look at me like that, I am not getting on a broomstick."

"Aw come on, Ted," Derrick said. "It'll be fun. You've definitely got a Seeker's build. You're small, and that'll make you fast."

"Did you forget that I fell twelve feet after being picked up around the ankles by a troll?" Teddie asked. "I was lucky to get out of that unscratched. Falling fifty feet from a broomstick? I'd be lucky to not die from suffocation before I hit the ground."

Derrick rolled his eyes. "Why'd you always look at the morbid side?" he asked.

"If being morbid keeps me alive, then morbid I shall be," Teddie said with a shrug. "But you guys should definitely try out," she added, turning to Theo and Blaise.

Blaise held up his hands, shook his head and backed away from the table. "Oh, no thank you," he said. "I like riding a broomstick, but I'm not Quidditch player."

"How about you Daph?" Adrian asked.

"Same reason as Teddie," Daphne said. "I don't like heights."

All eyes turned to Theo.

"That leaves you," Teddie said, smiling.

Theo looked at them all. It was common knowledge that he loved Quidditch, and often or not, Teddie found him with Adrian and Derrick discussing Quidditch plays in the common room while doing Homework or playing Chess.

"On one condition," Theo said, looking to Teddie. "You come down to the pitch with me."

"If you want moral support then I will come with you," Teddie said.

"Yeah, we all will," Daphne agreed. "I may not be trying out, but it'll be good to see who does."

Blaise nodded in agreement.

"Alright. We'll be there," Teddie said to Marcus.

"Great. If you meet us in the common room at five too, we'll walk down together," Marcus said.

Adrian and Derrick nodded.

"Great. Well, see you later," Teddie said.

The four second-years waved their goodbyes and left the hall.

~X~

Defence Against the Dark Arts was, by far, a favourite lesson by many students at Hogwarts School. But for someone like Teddie Green, a student that had been targeted by the previous Defence professor, being trapped inside the little classroom with barely any room to escape, was a living nightmare.

The young Slytherin sat at the very back of the room, on the left-hand side, with Theo on her right. She was trembling as she unloaded her backpack off all seven books, and even jumped when Theo seized her hand, squeezing it reassuringly.

"It's okay," Theo whispered. "Nothing's going to happen to you. If this Professor turns out to be as creepy as Quirrell, we'll report him or her, straight away."

Teddie smiled, gratefully and nodded. She flickered her eyes to the desk in front and found Blaise and Daphne looking at her. They both nodded reassuringly and turned back to face the front.

Still holding hands, Theo and Teddie managed to fill their desk with the seven required books, parchment, inkwells, and quills. They weren't sure who their professor was this year, but they realised they had an infatuation with Gilderoy Lockhart, as all seven books were written by, and about him.

"Must be a giggling fangirl," said Theo.

"Or boy," Teddie said, looking up at the front of the classroom. Standing on the staircase, overlooking the room, wearing golden robes was Gilderoy Lockhart, himself.

A note landed on the desk in front of Teddie. She seized it and opened it, showing Daphne's scrawled writing to Theo.

"I now realise what Adrian meant when he said 'you've-got-to-be-kidding,"

Picking up her quill, Teddie scribbled back. "Derrick said we'd be surprised, I think he was right," She folded up the parchment and carefully aimed it at the desk in front. It landed between Daphne and Blaise, and the blonde grabbed it as Lockhart started speaking.

"Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin, Third Class, Honorary Member of the Dark Force Defence League and five times winner of Witch Weekly's Most-Charming-Smile Award," he grinned at them, showing pearly white teeth. "But I don't talk about that. I didn't get rid of the Bandon Banshee by smiling at her!"

He waited for them to laugh. A few people smiled weakly, while others exchanged unconvinced looks. Dumbledore hadn't seriously hired this guy as their new teacher, had he?

"I see you've all bought a complete set of my books - well done," Lockhart continued. "I thought we'd start today with a little quiz. Nothing to worry about - just to check out how well you've read them, how much you've taken in…"

Teddie and Theo shared a look as he handed them their parchment. They both leaned closer and inspected the questions together.

What is Gilderoy Lockhart's favourite colour?

What is Gilderoy Lockhart's secret ambition?

What, in your opinion, is Gilderoy Lockhart's greatest achievement to date?"

The list seemed endless.

"How many questions are there?" Theo asked, running his finger down the side. He turned the page over, but the questions kept going. Two pages later he reached the end.

"How many?" Teddie asked.

"Thirty-four."

"And they're all about him?"

Theo nodded.

"He's definitely a fanboy."

After handing out the last parchment, Lockhart returned to his desk and looked out at the class. "You have thirty minutes," he said. "Start - now."

Having not read all seven books, Teddie and Theo struggled somewhat through the thirty-four questions. Most answers they guessed, others they were sure were right, and more or less they were incorrect.

At the end of the thirty minutes, Lockhart collected in the tests and examined them at his desk. He reclined in his chair, kicking his feet up and sighing as he looked over the answers.

"Tut, tut - hardly any of you remembered that my favourite colour is lilac," Lockhart complained. "I say so in Year with the Yeti. And a few of you need to re-read Wanderings with Werewolves more carefully - I clearly state in chapter twelve my ideal birthday gift would be harmony between all magical and non-magic peoples - though I wouldn't say no to a large bottle of Ogden's Old Firewhisky!"

Daphne turned subtly in her seat and caught Teddie's eye. The Muggleborn shrugged, looking bored, and turned to look at Theo, he was staring at Lockhart with a look of utter contempt on his face.

"... but Miss Hermione Granger knew that my secret ambition is to rid the world of evil and market my own range of hair-care potions - good girl! In fact -" he flipped through the two sheets of parchment, reading each answer, in turn, his grin becoming more larger with every question, "Full marks! Where is Miss Hermione Granger?"

Timidly, the bushy-haired Gryffindor in the front row raised a trembling hand.

"Excellent! Quite excellent! Take ten points for Gryffindors!"

The Gryffindors beamed as Hermione blushed.

Teddie saw Blaise roll his eyes and had to contain a snort of amusement. Theo, however, was smirking at his friend.

"Now, onto business…" Lockhart said. He put down the test papers and reached under his desk, withdrawing a large dome-shaped cage. It was covered with a gold sheet, hiding its contents from the class. "Now - be warned! It is my job to arm you against the foulest creatures known to wizardkind! You may find yourselves facing your very fears in this room. Know only that no harm can befall you whilst I am here. All I ask is that you remain calm."

Theo and Teddie exchanged uneasy and nervous looks as Lockhart seized the cloth at the top of the cage. Whatever he had inside the metal grate had to have been something deadly dangerous.

"I must ask you not to scream," Lockhart continued in a low voice. "It might provoke them!" He ripped off the cover and several people laughed at the small, pointy-eared, sharp-clawed blue creatures fluttering around behind a small locked door.

Teddie felt Theo relax beside her.

"Cornish Pixies?" Seamus Finnigan asked.

"Yes," Lockhart said, dramatically. "Freshly caught Cornish Pixies."

More and more students started to laugh. Teddie noticed it was mostly those of Pureblood or Halfblood status that was laughing. Although Hermione Granger had a strange look of foreboding on her face.

"Pixies are devilish tricky little blighters," Lockhart said, adding more fuel to the ever-growing amusement fire. "Let's see what you make of them!" he opened the cage door and, in an instant, the Pixies fled into the room.

Pandemonium.

Students screamed and ducked beneath their desks. Stools fell over backwards, crashing against the floor with thundering cracks, whilst the Pixies flew overhead, zooming around the room, seizing paintings and portraits from the walls, smashing windows and ripping open books and parchments as they landed on students desks.

Theo threw back his stool and hid beneath the table, dragging Teddie down with him. Ahead of them, they could see Blaise and Daphne doing the same.

"Come on now, round them up, round them up, they're only pixies…" Lockhart shouted over the chaos.

Teddie turned to Theo. "What do we do?" she asked.

"I don't know," Theo said, unsure.

"We could try to imbolise them," Blaise suggested.

"How do we do that?" Daphne asked.

Blaise looked at his friends. "There's a charm my mum taught me - a Freezing Charm - it completely immobilises a target, long enough to either get away or take them down. We could use it on the Pixies and then put them back in their cage."

"It's Lockhart's job to protect us!" Teddie said. "Why should we do his job for him?"

"Because the incompetent fool is hiding behind his desk," Daphne said, spying the Defence Professor. "He's got no clue what he's doing."

Teddie shared an uneasy look with Theo.

"What's the spell?" Theo asked Blaise.

"Point your wand at a Pixie and say - Immobulus," said Blaise, drawing his wand. He jumped up from behind his desk, flourished his wand in the direction of two pixies and shouted the incantation. Instantly the pixies stopped, mid-flight, their eyes blinking as they floated through the air.

Blaise flicked his wand towards the cage and muttered "Wingardium Leviosa!" and the Pixies re-entered the cage.

Unfortunately, there were more than two pixies in the classroom, and upon seeing two of their brethren captured, the others speared on to cause more chaos. Several bombarded Blaise, forcing him to retreat under his desk again, as others seized abandoned inkwells and started spraying them all over the room.

Teddie pointed her wand at four pixies nearby and nudged Theo with her elbow. In the scenario that she missed even one, she wanted to know that he was there to back up her up. "Immobulus," she muttered.

The spell hit the four pixies and, with a flick of her wand and a mutter of the levitation charm, Teddie sent the four back to their cage.

Now six of the Pixies had been caught.

All over the classroom, students had started to catch on to the four Slytherin's plans, and one-by-one had drawn their own wands.

Hermione Granger clambered out from under her desk, pointed her wand into the air and said "Immobulus" and managed to hit several pixies at once.

"Wingardium Leviosa!" Daphne and Theo said, flicking their wand from the Pixies and towards the cage. One by one, the electric blue creatures flew through the open door and then it slammed shut behind them.

Finally, all pixies had been caught, and the students were saved. Although the classroom was not.

Lockhart peered out from over his desk. "Excellent!" he beamed, pulling himself up to his full height. "Who's idea was that?"

Teddie pointed at Blaise.

"Well done, Mr Zabini! Ten points to Slytherin!" said Lockhart.

The bell rang and there was a mad dash towards the exit. Teddie and friends seized their bags and left before Lockhart could volunteer them to clean up the rest of the mess.

Outside in the corridor, Hermione Granger caught up with the four Slytherins and offered them her congratulations on their quick thinking before heading off to her next class with Harry Potter and Ron Weasley.

Chapter Text

Teddie yawned as she followed Daphne into the Slytherin common room. They'd just come from the Owlery where Daphne had been sending a letter home to her parents, and Teddie had received a letter from Mason.

"Is that from Mason?" Blaise asked, noticing the envelope. "What's it say?"

"Give me a chance," Teddie said, wedging herself between Theo and Marcus on the sofa. She ripped open the envelope and read her mother's handwriting in silence.

Blaise huffed and leaned forward. "Oh come on, hearing from Mason is way more interesting than History of Magic," he said.

"You'd think he was your brother and not mine."

"I don't mind sharing," said Blaise with a shrug. "I mean, you can't keep him all to yourself, you know, at least not for long."

"Watch me," Teddie said with a grin. She returned her attention to the letter and smiled. "He doesn't say much. Only that he misses me, and he wishes he was here - that's a change, normally he wants me to go home."

"You know, if he doesn't receive his Hogwarts letter next year, then I'm going to try and find a way to bring him here," said Blaise.

Teddie smiled. "To be honest, Blaise, I don't think that would satisfy Mason's hunger," she said. "Seeing all this, experiencing it, finding out that I was a witch? That's what made it all magical for me, and I didn't believe in Magic until I came here."

Her friends looked surprised.

"Mason did. Actually, Mason still does," Teddie answered. "If he's unable to experience it the same way, then he'd rather not experience it at all. I know seeing Platform 9 ¾ and Diagon Alley is possible for Muggles that come there with witches and wizards, but seeing Hogwarts? That's a feat I can only imagine showing Mason."

"Do you think he's a wizard?" Blaise asked.

Teddie shrugged. "He's never shown signs of accidental magic like I did," she said. "But I'm not completely 100% sure if you need it. Do you?" she looked around at the rest of her friends.

"Your accidental magic showed itself through your temper," said Adrian. "Mason's pretty chilled and laid back. It's a chance that he may not have any."

"You mean he could have magic, but we don't realise it?" Teddie asked.

Adrian nodded. "When's his birthday?" he asked.

"New Years Day."

"Seriously? How do you balance that?" Derrick asked.

Teddie shrugged. "We spend New Year's Eve together, as a family, and then we celebrate his birthday the day after," she explained. "He really enjoyed his birthday last year." She turned to Theo and Daphne with a grin. "Although, I still don't appreciate being buried in the snow."

Daphne giggled.

"What else does he say?" Blaise asked, nodding at the letter. The conversation had drifted so far away from his original curiosity that he was eager to bring it back.

"He said thank you for the books and he'll let you know how he gets on with them," Teddie continued, looking back at the letter. "Adrian, he also says that the Wizarding Schools book is very interesting and that he's almost finished it."

"How fast can that kid read?" Adrian asked, amazed. "That book is a tomb. How can he almost be finished?"

Teddie smiled. "Once my brother sinks his teeth into something that's it," she said, shaking her head. "He's even learned to walk without looking, so he doesn't need to put his book down."

"That's dedication," Derrick said. "He's definitely Ravenclaw material."

Teddie nodded in agreement. "He adds, Adrian, that he should be finished with the book by next week, and he'll return it to you with his next letter," she said.

Adrian shook his head. "Let him keep it," he said.

"What, are you sure?"

"Yeah. If he finds it that interesting, he's welcomed too it."

"What about your parents? Won't they mind that you're giving away books?"

Adrian shook his head. "Nah, there are so many books at home that my parents won't even notice," he said. "Even if they do, I'll just tell them it went to an enthusiastic ten-year-old with a thirst for knowledge. They'd be so intrigued that they'll be asking to meet him."

"I think he'd like that," Teddie said. "It's hard for him to find people, much less make friends, that understand his desire to read. A lot of kids back home can't stand the sight of books."

"I want him here even more," said Blaise. "You and your family seem to good for that life. I wish there was something I could do."

Teddie smiled and shook her head. "We're all born into this world with nothing, and we'll leave it just the same way. Death doesn't discriminate between riches and rags."

As Teddie went back to her letter, her friends shared similar looks. Up until that moment, they hadn't really considered the differences between themselves and muggles, and while they didn't share in the pureblood supremacy of many of their kind, they had, at some point, thought themselves better off than many others.

But Teddie was right - Death didn't discriminate. So why should they?

~X~

Wednesday night soon arrived, and Marcus sat at the fireplace waiting for Teddie and her friends to return from the library. He'd sent Adrian and Derrick down to the field to assess those trying out. He wasn't sure how many people were Quidditch fanatics, but he needed a team this year that was worthy of beating the Gryffindors.

He didn't give much thought to the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw teams, he knew that Slytherin was better than them. But Gryffindor was different. They were Slytherin's most hated rivals, and Oliver Wood was a person that Marcus couldn't stand. He wasn't sure why by there was something about the Gryffindor Quidditch Captain that irked him.

"I think he's broken."

Marcus blinked and looked up into the face of Teddie. "Uh - did you say something?" he asked.

"He's not broken," Teddie giggled. "Welcome back. You were far away then," she said. "I was waving my hand in front of your face for about five minutes. You didn't even flinch."

"Sorry, just thinking," said Marcus, shaking his head. He looked around to see the rest of her friends were also present. "You ready to go?"

Teddie nodded and hoisted her backpack up onto both shoulders. "Theo's got his broomstick, and despite looking nervous, he's ready," she said, smiling at her best friend.

"You'll do fine," Marcus assured Theo. "We made sure to do the tryouts at night. This way no other students will feel the need to spy on us."

"Is it really that much of a secret on who makes the house teams?" Teddie asked.

"Not really, no," said Marcus. "But I do like to keep the element of surprise, especially from the Gryffindors. There are rumours going around that Potter made the Gryffindor team, but I haven't been able to confirm it yet."

"They aren't rumours if they're true," said Teddie. "Wood made the announcement yesterday after Transfiguration. He personally came to congratulate Harry after class."

Marcus grunted and led the quartet out of the school doors.

Teddie shivered and pulled her jacket closer around her shoulders. Summer had definitely ended and Autumn was on its way. It would soon be October, and Halloween - her birthday. She smiled. The idea of having a proper birthday at the castle, without anyone ruining it was enticing.

"What are you smiling about?" Daphne asked, looping her arm with Teddie's as they walked.

"Nothing major," said Teddie. "Only that it'll be my birthday next month."

"Ah, yes, last year was spoiled by a certain ferret, wasn't it?"

Teddie nodded. "Here's hoping he doesn't ruin it this year," she said.

"He won't," said Marcus. "We'll make sure you have, at least one Halloween birthday at Hogwarts."

"Thanks, guys," Teddie said, smiling around at them. She rested her head against Daphne's as the blonde lay hers against Teddie's shoulder, and carried on their way to the Quidditch Pitch.

The field was full of expectant players hoping to make the Quidditch team that year. All students from years two to seven were placidly waiting for the arrival of Quidditch Captain and Chaser, Marcus Flint. The rest of the team were already present, and no one could understand why Marcus wasn't there yet.

Although, when he did arrive, everything fell into place.

"What are they doing here?" fifth-year student, Warrington sneered.

Teddie cocked her head to the side. "We're here to support our friend, as well as our home team," she said.

Warrington sneered at her but chose not to comment.

Marcus turned his back on the fifth year and looked over at Teddie. "Why don't you, Blaise, and Daphne go wait in the stands?" he suggested. "You'll see everything from there, and Theo can join you once he's finished."

Daphne and Blaise nodded, retreating to the outskirts of the field.

Teddie stayed put, staring at Warrington. It was a staring contest that she knew she shouldn't have entered. Especially since she was now baiting Warrington to say or do something against her, which would only infuriate Marcus and the others.

"Ted…"

Adrian's voice snapped Teddie back to reality. She broke eye contact with Warrington and looked up at her friend.

"Sorry, what did you say?" Teddie asked.

"Marcus said to go sit in the stands," Adrian said, nodding across the pitch too where Daphne and Blaise had gone. "We'll come join you once we're done."

"Right, sorry," said Teddie, shaking her head. She stepped away from Adrian and turned to Theo, reaching up to kiss his cheek. "Good luck," she said, smiling.

"Thanks," Theo murmured. He resisted the urge to touch his cheek and merely watched as his best friend run across the field, and into the stands. He blinked and turned back to the others, ducking his head to avoid the flush rising in his cheeks as he found Adrian and Derrick grinning at him.

Marcus turned to the other participants. "Right," he called, his voice loud over the whole stadium. "Normally we'd practice with the actual Snitch, but considering how dark it is, I don't think any of us would want to face Madam Hooch if we lost it."

There was a murmur of agreement. Madam Hooch was scary at the best of times, one could only imagine what she would be like when confronted with the idea that they'd lost the only Snitch.

"Therefore, we're going to improvise," said Marcus, drawing his wand. He waved it through the air and produced a small bag of golden balls. "Adrian, Derrick, and I are going to levitate these through the air, the speed depends on us, and you'll try to catch them. The player that catches the most balls at the end will be the new Slytherin Seeker."

The players shared apprehensive looks. Each one hoping to do better than the other.

"When you're ready, take to the skies!" Marcus called.

One-by-one, players kicked off from the ground.

Theo shot off into the air, hovering not that far away from Draco Malfoy.

"Do you really think you stand a chance, blood traitor?" Malfoy sneered at Theo. "You're an embarrassment to your kind. Befriending a Mudblood."

Theo clenched his jaw, his hands tightening around his broomstick. He knew Malfoy was trying to get a rise out of him by using Teddie as bait. But he wouldn't give in. He'd wait. Wait for the perfect opportunity to strike, and then he'd show Malfoy.

"Ready - GO!" Marcus shouted. He flourished his wand and the bag of balls and several of them shot into the air.

Leaning close against his broomstick handle, Theo shot off into the dark.

~X~

"I swear, if they don't hurry up then I am going to freeze to my seat," Daphne said, clutching her jacket closer to her shivering frame. She had her hood up, too, her blonde hair fluttering in the nightly breeze as it flowed over her shoulders.

Above her, still catching golden balls, were the final two participants of Marcus' Quidditch exercise - Theo Nott and Draco Malfoy. The other participants had either returned to the castle or were sitting in the stands, watching and waiting.

"They're almost done," Blaise said, draping the extra cloak he had with him over her. "If Theo catches this next ball, he wins."

"He's doing really well," Teddie said, smiling. "Even with Malfoy playing dirty."

"That doesn't really surprise me," said Blaise. "He's known for dirty tactics. Especially if he can't get his own way."

Teddie shook her head. "He's such a narcissistic spoilt brat," she said.

Blaise and Daphne smirked.

"Your blood traitor pal hasn't got what it takes to take on Malfoy," said a snide from the back of the stands.

Teddie turned in her seat to see it was Warrington. She rolled her eyes and turned back to face the field.

"Malfoy always gets what he wants, you know," Warrington continued. "If he wants to be Seeker, he'll find a way. Even if he has to turn to his father for help."

"Marcus would never take a bribe," Teddie defended. "

Warrington guffawed. "You clearly don't know Flint, Green," he said. "Marcus doesn't give a shit about how his players make the team, as long as they guarantee him a win."

"I don't remember asking for your opinion," said Teddie, standing and turning to face the older boy. "So why don't you just keep it to yourself."

"Ooh, defensive," Warrington teased. "What's the matter, Green, don't like people speaking out against your secret lover?"

By now, Daphne and Blaise had also stood and turned to face Warrington.

"What are you talking about?" Blaise asked.

"Don't act like you don't know," Warrington accused. "You've both got eyes, you've both seen how she and Flint are together. You've got him eating out of your hand. Telling him stories about how other Slytherins are threatening you and the blood traitor, especially when you know he'll jump at the chance to play your knight in shining armour."

"I didn't tell him any story!" Teddie growled. "You stopped me at Platform 9 ¾, you openly threatened me in front of an Auror."

Warrington stood. He towered over Teddie so much that she had to crane her neck to see his face. But he didn't scare her. She stood her ground, her hands clenched into fists at her sides. She'd taken down bigger fools than Warrington.

"Oi, what's going on up there?!"

"Oh, here he comes now," Warrington said. "Just remember, Green, you may think you know Flint, you may think he's this protector type." He shook his head and edged towards the stairs. "He doesn't care about you. You're just another conquest to him, another notch on his belt."

He slipped out of sight as Marcus, Adrian, Derrick, and Theo joined the three second years.

"What's going on?" Derrick asked. He placed a hand on Teddie's shoulder. She was rigid but shaking. He wasn't sure if it was from the cold air or from anger. The look on her face told him it was quite probably the latter.

Adrian looked over at Blaise and Daphne. "What was that all about?" he asked.

Blaise and Daphne exchanged looks and then turned to Teddie,

"Ted…?" Marcus asked, nervous.

Teddie shook her head and turned to her friends. Her mind was still reeling from Warrington's words, and she needed time to work through them before she could give a solid answer. In truth, she wasn't sure what exactly had transpired between her and Warrington; first, they had been arguing about Draco and Theo, and somehow it had transpired into a fight about Marcus.

"Nothing," Teddie said, finally. She met Blaise and Daphne's gazes and slowly shook her head, turning to fully face her friends. "It was nothing."

"It didn't look like nothing," Adrian said. "And you don't look alright. What did he say?"

"Just spouting nonsense, as usual," Teddie shrugged. "I'm actually quite surprised he can string more than three words together, form a sentence, and have a proper conversation."

Derrick and Adrian smirked, but Marcus still looked unconvinced.

"Are we finished?" Daphne asked, changing the topic. She was still freezing, despite the confrontation with the upper Slytherin.

Marcus nodded, his gaze still fully trained on Teddie, "Yeah, let's head back to the castle," he said.

"Great! I call dibs on the chair nearest the fire!" Daphne declared, running for the stairs.

"Hey, no fair!" Theo called, chasing after her.

Teddie and Blaise exchanged looks and followed them, leaving Marcus, Adrian and Derrick to follow.

~X~

Over the course of the next two weeks, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff had their Quidditch tryouts, and still, Marcus had yet to declare who the new Slytherin Seeker was. Teddie was vaguely aware that Draco had tried to buy his way onto the team, bribing Marcus with whole team broomsticks if he gave him the position, but Marcus had refused.

When Teddie had learned of the bribe, and Marcus' reaction, she had remembered what Warrington said down on the Quidditch pitch. What had he meant when he had said Marcus saw her as 'his next conquest' surely Marcus didn't see her as some object to catch, dominate and then throw aside like she was nothing.

"Hey, snap out of it!" Daphne said, shaking Teddie.

Teddie blinked and looked around at her friends. She had filled Theo in on the confrontation with Warrington and made him promise not to tell Marcus and the others, especially when she knew Marcus had already warned Warrington about threatening her. She understood that he hadn't outrightly threatened her the night of the Slytherin tryouts, but she wasn't completely sure Marcus would see it her way.

"What he said is really playing on you, isn't it?" Blaise asked, scratching away at his Transfiguration essay.

"I'd be lying if I said no," Teddie said. She put down her quill and rubbed her eyes.

Theo shook his head. "I think Warrington just wants to rattle your cage," he said, adding a few more words to his Potions essay. "Don't let him get under your skin."

"That's easy for you to say," Teddie said. "His words weren't aimed at you."

"From what you've told me, they weren't really aimed at you either."

"They weren't aimed at anyone," said Teddie. "But I still feel like there was some underlying message that I was supposed to have gotten. I mean, why else would he bring up mine and Marcus' friendship? Why call us 'secret lovers', I don't get that!"

"You and Marcus are close," Blaise said.

"So are we," Teddie pointed out. "So are Adrian and I. Derrick, and Theo, I'm close with all of you guys. Does that mean we are secret lovers, too?"

"No, of course not," said Blaise. "But our friendship isn't as closely knit as yours and Marcus', is it? I mean, yes, you're my best friend, but who do you turn to the most when you need help with something? Other than Theo, obviously?"

Teddie sighed, realising his point.

Blaise nodded. "See? You have to understand how you and Marcus sometimes come across to other people," he said. "You have to give them a little credit, Ted, you guys aren't exactly subtle in your actions, and others don't know the extent of your relationship."

"Alright, I see what you mean," Teddie said.

Daphne put down her quill and stretched, cracking her knuckles above her head. "I think that executing Theo's suggestion of not letting Warrington get under your skin, is a good tactic," she said. "If he can see that he is getting to you then he is going to keep targeting you. He's already got to you through Theo, and now he knows you'll be ready for him in that way, so he's gone through Marcus."

"Daphne brings up a good point," Blaise agreed. "Warrington threatened you that day on the Platform, yeah?"

Teddie nodded.

"And Marcus told him to back off and leave you alone."

Again, Teddie nodded.

"Well, by targeting you through your friends, Warrington isn't outwardly threatening you, therefore he's got no reason to bring Marcus down on him," said Blaise. "And the more you react, and show that his words are getting to you, the more you're giving him what he wants."

"It's just hard!"

"We know," Blaise agreed. "But sometimes it's easier to just ignore someone than it is to confront them. The more he sees that he isn't getting to you, the bored he will get and in turn, he'll leave you alone."

Teddie sighed. It was a much more relaxed way of dealing with a bully, whereas, if she were to do it her way, she'd happily punch Warrington square in the jaw and be done with the whole situation. But maybe this time, she could follow her friends' advice and not give in to her anger.


 

 

Chapter Text

"Teddie, guess what?"

Teddie blinked and looked up from her Charms essay. Theo, Marcus, Adrian and Derrick were returning from Quidditch practice, - Marcus had chosen him, much to Malfoy's displeasure as the new Slytherin Seeker - they were soaked through and covered in mud from head-to-toe, but they were grinning.

"You're going to go shower?" Teddie asked.

"No, well, yes, but no!" said Adrian. He was so excited that he couldn't seem to think straight.

"Alright, well, spill," said Daphne, looking up from her essay. "You're obviously dying too."

Teddie and Blaise nodded in agreement.

"The first Quidditch Match of the season falls on Halloween weekend," Derrick said, almost giddy with excitement. "Your birthday, Teddie!"

"I know when my birthday is, Derrick, thank you," Teddie replied.

"You're not excited?" Theo asked, deflating slightly.

Teddie looked at him and smiled. "No, of course, I am!" she said. "I can't wait to see you guys play, it's just I'm not all that optimistic about my birthday - I know you guys said that you'd make it so I have at least one good birthday at the castle, but I've learned not to get my hopes up."

"You're such a pessimist!" Derrick said, shaking his head.

"I'm not," Teddie said, laughing lightly. She could always count on Derrick for mindless banter. "I just… know not to set my heart on anything. I usually end up disappointed. But the first match is going to be amazing! That I will set my heart too… now, please, go shower!"

The boys rolled their eyes and headed off to their respective dorm rooms.

~X~

On the morning of her birthday, Teddie awoke to a small pile of presents at the bottom of her bed. She smiled, threw back her covers and crawled to the end, sitting cross-legged as she reached for the first box. From the scrawled lettering of her name, she knew it was from Derrick.

Ripping open the paper that covered the book, Teddie smiled as she run her fingers across the silver title - The Book of Charms & Spells.

A few nights ago she had revealed to her friends that she had wanted to pursue Charms at a higher level, the conversation had obviously prompted Derrick to buy her this book.

Setting the book aside, Teddie opened the rest of her presents. All of them were books, although she wasn't too surprised by the revelation, as she had made the others promise to not buy her anything other than books, or she'd be rather upset.

Daphne had bought her The Decline of Pagan Magic by Bathilda Bagshot. While Blaise had added to her ever-growing collection of mythological books by giving her World Mythology - a book containing both Muggle and Magical mythological stories from around the world.

Theo, on the other hand, had gone in the opposite directions of his friends, and provided Teddie with books on the science of magic, most particular, Alchemy and Potions - Alchemy, Ancient Art and Science and Asiatic Anti-Venoms - she made a mental note to remind him of the 'one book per person' rule later that morning.

Adrian, meanwhile, had bought her A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. A Muggle author of whom Teddie was already very familiar. She had looked up to Stephen Hawking since she had been old enough to read.

Then, finally, came Marcus' book. As she ripped open the silver wrapping paper, she wasn't all the surprised to find a Quidditch book laying in her lap. Over the course of the last few weeks, ever since he had told her that the first match of the season was going to be on her birthday, Marcus had been trying to teach her as much about Quidditch as he possibly could.

Falling back onto the bed, amidst the books, Teddie smiled up at the canopy. "Happy Birthday, Teddie," she whispered.

~X~

Breakfast that morning was enjoyable, as usual. Both Gryffindor and Slytherin were excited for the first match of the season, even though a few players had a bad case of the nerves - Theo and Harry Potter, mostly. Teddie watched from her seat as Potter's friends tried to get him to eat, while Theo looked a pale green.

"You're going to do fine!" Daphne assured him. "Marcus wouldn't have chosen you as Seeker if he didn't think you could survive your first game."

"Yeah, plus you've practised every night for the last month, almost!" Blaise said. "That's got to mean something, right?"

But neither pep talk seemed to be working. If anything, Theo looked even sicker.

"Hey," Teddie said softly, putting down her piece of toast. She seized Theo's hand and forced him to look at her. "Everything's going to be fine, you'll see."

"I don't know, Ted, I don't think I can do this," Theo said, swallowing the lump in his throat. "What if I mess up? What if we lose?"

"Then we lose."

Blaise and Daphne looked up quickly.

"Ah, Ted, I'm not sure that's not how a pep talk is supposed to go," said Blaise.

"Yeah, you're supposed to be cheering him up," Daphne agreed.

Teddie ignored them. She only had eyes for Theo right now.

"Theo, listen to me," Teddie said, maintaining eye contact. "Any game, be it football or Quidditch, isn't about winning or losing, it's about having fun. As long as you have fun today, then you're a winner."

"Marcus wants us to win because it's your birthday."

Teddie rolled her eyes. "Marcus needs to stop setting the bar so high," she said. "We all want Slytherin to win, Marcus is just using my birthday as a motivational speech. He doesn't want me to be disappointed, but I'd rather lose than see you push yourself to your limits."

"But I want to win for you too," Theo said. "I'm just -"

"Look, I'll be happy today for just seeing you on the field," Teddie said. "I'll have fun knowing you are having fun, and I'll be happy because I know you'll be happy. I don't care whether we win or lose, Theo, I just like seeing you smile."

Theo beamed at her words, and Teddie laughed.

Daphne and Blaise shared a look from the other side of the table. They both smirked and went back to the breakfast.

"Tell you what, how about I walk down to the Slytherin changing rooms with you?" Teddie offered. "I can tell Marcus to stop pushing you guys in my name then."

Theo nodded. "Alright," he said. As they both stood, he grabbed a piece of toast and turned to Daphne and Blaise.

"You guys go on ahead," Daphne said. "We'll meet you in the stands, Ted."

"Okay. See you in a few," said Teddie.

As the two left, Daphne turned to Blaise and scoffed. "They're so oblivious!" she said.

"Agreed," Blaise nodded.

~X~

Inside the Slytherin changing rooms, Marcus paced up and down looking worried. The game was set to start in less than 30 minutes and all but his Seeker was present.

"Theo looked a bit peaky at breakfast," said Slytherin beater, Garrett Elkins.

"He's fine," said Adrian, defensively.

"As long as he doesn't cost us the match, I don't care," said second beater, Christopher Harris.

"Don't listen to them, Theo," said Teddie, walking in and catching the last comment.

The team looked up as the two second years stepped through the door leading from the outside. Already they could hear crowds of people coming down from the school and heading for the stands.

"What are you doing in here?" Derrick asked, jumping to his feet.

"You weren't at breakfast," said Teddie. She turned to Theo and nodded. "Go change. I'll be here when you get back."

Theo smiled and headed into the changing area on the far side of the room. Once he was out of sight, Teddie turned on Marcus.

"And you," said Teddie, stalking towards the Captain. He took a hesitant step backwards. "Stop telling him, actually, stop telling all of them, that they have to win for me."

"But it's your birthday!" Marcus protested. "If we win, it'll be the best day for you, especially after last year."

"You still don't get it!" Teddie said. "It's not about what you give me, or do for me that makes my birthday the best at this school. It's the fact that you're there!"

Marcus paused.

"Don't you see? It's you, Marcus, it's all of you. My friends on my birthday with me. That's the best gift I could ask for."

Marcus sighed. "But this game -"

"Look, I'm not saying I don't want you to win because I do," said Teddie. "But I don't want you to think that you have to win for me. It's great that this game falls on my birthday, but that's no excuse for how you play. I won't be disappointed if you lose. As long as you have fun, I'm good."

"That's all it takes to please you?" Christopher asked. "A little fun?"

Teddie nodded.

"Simple minded Muggle," Garrett muttered.

Teddie pushed her hand against Marcus' chest as he pushed past her, heading for Garrett. He had heard his mutter clear. "Leave it," she warned.

"Watch your mouth, Elkins," Marcus warned his Beater.

Garrett glared at his Captain.

"Marcus, please, not now," Teddie pleaded.

Marcus looked down at her and stepped back, falling into line beside her again. He reached for her hand which was against his chest and squeezed it before giving her his full attention.

Teddie smiled up at him seconds before her attention drifted to the back of the room. Theo had finished changing and had started to make his way back.

"You look great!" Teddie grinned, running over to her best friend and throwing her arms around him. "Not that I haven't seen you in this uniform before, but today you look really great."

"Thanks," Theo muttered, fighting off the blush that crept into his cheeks. He was sure that it be easy to see given how pale he looked that morning. "Are you sure I can do this?"

"You can do anything you put your mind too," Teddie assured him. "And I'll be in the stands cheering for you. If you need any reassurance, you just find me."

Feeling better, Theo smiled and nodded.

"You know," said Teddie, looking around at the others. "There's this old muggle saying that my father always tells me before a football match - "It doesn't matter whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game." - good luck."

She pressed a kiss to Theo's cheek and left the changing room.

~X~

Marcus placed a hand no Theo's shoulder as he led him out onto the pitch. A roar of noise greeted them from the stands. The Seeker looked up at his Captain, offered a small smile, and then scanned the crowd for his friends. He spotted them in the front row of the Slytherin stands.

Theo grinned as he saw Teddie leaning on the stands, bouncing up and down excitedly as she cheered for him.

"Found your cheerleader, yet?" Garrett asked, nudging Theo as Marcus approached Oliver Wood, the Gryffindor team Captain, and shook hands. "Hope she's enough."

Adrian shoved Garrett away with a glare. "Back off, Elkins," he said.

"Don't listen to them, Theo," Derrick told his friends.

Theo offered both Adrian and Derrick a small smile and then kicked off from the ground at the sound of Madam Hooch's whistle. He zoomed around the pitch once, before settling in above the other players to search for the Snitch. From his vantage point, Theo could see everything, including the Bludger that seemed to follow Harry Potter all over the stadium.

Theo tilted his head to the side as he watched with keen interest. The bludgers were never meant to target one specific player, their job was to unseat as many players as possible. What made Potter so special?

As he sat contemplating his thoughts, and looking for the Snitch, Theo failed to notice the soaring black ball heading towards him.

"THEO!"

Teddie's voice rang loudly from the stands. Theo turned to search for her, ducking as the bludger barrelled overhead. He felt his heart pound in his chest and looked down, trying to find his friend again. He met her gaze, she looked relieved.

As the game progressed, it started to rain. Slytherin was already sixty points ahead. At least an hour into the game, Madam Hooch blew her whistle, calling all players back to the field.

"What's going on?" Theo asked, landing beside Derrick.

"Gryffindor's called for a timeout," Derrick replied. "Quick, get under here." He pushed the second year under a large umbrella along with the other players.

"Potter's got himself a rogue bludger," Adrian said.

"You mean someone's tampered with it?" Theo asked.

Adrian nodded.

"Excellent!" Christopher said, grinning.

"How is it excellent?" Theo asked.

"Because if he gets hurt then it leaves you open to catching the Snitch," said Garrett. "I don't care what your little cheerleader says about winning and losing, Nott, winning is all that matters,"

Theo glared at the older boy. "Stop calling Teddie that," he said.

Garrett smirked, "Alright, maybe I'll call her -" he cut off as Madam Hooch's whistle cut through the air. The game had resumed.

"Just ignore him," Adrian said, patting Theo on the shoulder. "He's big pals with Warrington. They're just trying to throw you off your game."

Theo sighed and nodded. It would've been nice to know that one of his fellow teammates was close friends with an upper Slytherin that had it in for him and his best friend. But there was nothing he could do about it now.

"Theo, come on!" Derrick called, flying off into the air.

Theo followed, passing Derrick and Adrian as they hovered beside Marcus. They were waiting for Madam Hooch to release the Quaffle for the second time. Once she did, the game resumed play.

Down in the Slytherin stands, Teddie huddled under a large umbrella with Blaise, Daphne, and third-year student Marlene Wetherspoon, the same girl she usually sat next to during the Welcome and Goodbye Feasts.

"Someone's tampered with that bludger," Marlene said.

"Someone can do that?" Teddie asked.

Marlene nodded. "Yeah. But they've been locked in Madam Hooch's office," she said. "They're only taken out for practice or game day. Whoever tampered with it must've done it recently."

"But why is it targeting Potter?" Teddie asked.

"Someone wants to cause him harm."

"Or knock him out of the match," Blaise said. "It didn't occur to me until now, but Potter's a pretty decent flyer."

"Rooting for the opposing team, Zabini?" sneered Draco, three seats behind. "You should be ashamed."

Blaise rolled his eyes.

"Nothing wrong with admiring a decent player, Malfoy," said Marlene.

Draco opened his mouth to retort but was cut off by a loud cheer from the Gryffindor stands. The Slytherins looked down onto the pitch to see Harry laying in the mud, the glittering golden Snitch clenched tightly between his fingers.

"Great!" a Slytherin fifth year complained. "Gryffindor wins!"

"The Slytherin Seeker didn't even try!" another student, this time a fourth year, complained. "Flint really screwed up this year."

"We all know why he -"

Teddie turned to Blaise and Daphne as she heard Warrington's voice join the complaints. "I'll meet you in the common room," she said.

Blaise and Daphne nodded, and Teddie left the stands.

~X~

Slytherin may have lost the match, but that didn't mean it had been a disaster. Theo had played his best and so had the others, Teddie couldn't be more proud of her friends, even if they didn't feel the same.

"You had fun and there's always next match," Teddie had told them in the changing rooms. The only two people who didn't agree with her sentiment were the Beaters, but after learning they were friends with Warrington, Teddie wasn't all that surprised. Warrington wouldn't have agreed with her sentiment either.

After seeing her friends, Teddie left them in the changing rooms and made her way back to the Slytherin common room. She knew they wouldn't be long behind her, and she didn't want to overstep her boundaries by imposing her beliefs onto the team, so she left them to it. She had hoped that she'd be walking back with at least Theo, but he was now a Quidditch player and needed to remain with the team while they worked things out.

She'd see him later, along with Marcus, Adrian, and Derrick. Especially when they had let slip that her birthday celebrations were far from over. She couldn't help but feel curious as to what they meant, but she hadn't pushed the topic. They weren't going to change their minds, even if she tried to change them anyway.

"Forever Pure," Teddie said to Salazar Slytherin.

The portrait head nodded and swung open.

Teddie climbed through and emerged into the emerald green glow of the common room. She spotted Daphne and Blaise in their usual seats by the fire, and this time they were joined by Marlene and her friends, Susan and Judy. The four looked up as Teddie returned, but there was something wrong.

"What, what is it?" Teddie asked, stopping behind the sofa.

"The mudblood returns, finally."

Teddie sighed as Draco Malfoy's voice reached her ears. She turned slowly on the spot and faced him.

"I just remembered, Mudblood," Malfoy sneered. He was flanked, as per usual, by Crabbe and Goyle. "It's Halloween, isn't it? Today's your birthday."

"Wow, you actually remembered something that doesn't pertain to yourself," Teddie said with her usual level of sarcasm. "I'm impressed, Malfoy."

Malfoy's face twisted in anger. "Shut up, Mudblood," he spat.

"Don't you think that insult's getting a little old?"

"Is it still bothering you?"

Teddie looked thoughtful, and for a split second Malfoy thought he had won, he looked happy, but the feeling disappeared as Teddie smirked and shook her head.

"Actually," said Teddie. "No. The longer you say something, like a word or phrase, it tends to lose all meaning. You've been calling me a Mudblood for the last year and a half. It's time to find some new material."

The group behind Teddie chuckled. Even a few other Slytherins that Teddie had no idea existed, smirked. Most of the house may have disliked her, but none of them could deny her balls to stand up for herself. Her self-preservation was a strong trait, and something they admired greatly.

"Are we done?" Teddie asked. "Because, as you pointed out, it is my birthday, and I'd rather it not be tainted than it already is by spending another second with you." She turned her back and approached the sofas, taking a seat beside Daphne.

Malfoy bit back a growl and leaned over the sofa behind Marlene. "How does your blood traitor best friend feel after his performance today?" he asked. "Has he finally decided that he doesn't belong on the field and stepped down?"

"Theo did his best," Teddie defended.

"His best wasn't good enough," Malfoy said. "He gave the game to the Gryffindors."

"How would you know? You weren't even watching the match towards the end!"

Malfoy smirked as Teddie rose to her feet again.

"Remember what I said, Ted," Blaise said.

Teddie did remember. She remembered everything Blaise had said about Malfoy and Warrington, about how they were targeting her through her friends because it kept Marcus off their backs.

"Don't let them get him under your skin," said Daphne, her voice cool in Teddie's ear. "It's what they want. Remember?"

But the look of triumph on Malfoy's face wasn't something Teddie could ignore. She knew her friends were trying to help, but never once in all her years, had she been able to reign in her temper. It always got the better of her. And Malfoy knew exactly what buttons to press.

"Theo's not going to step down," Teddie said.

"Oh, and why's that?" Malfoy asked. "Wait, let me guess. Is it because he doesn't want to disappoint you?"

Crabbe and Goyle smirked, and Parkinson laughed.

"I mean, we wouldn't want that, would we?" Malfoy continued. "We can't have the Slytherin Mudblood upset, can we?"

Teddie balled her hands into fists.

"We all know he doesn't belong on the team," Malfoy said. "And the only reason he's there is that of you. Did you bribe Flint, or maybe you threatened to end things unless he chose Theo."

Blaise and Daphne stood so that they flanked Teddie on either side.

"Watch it, Malfoy," Blaise warned. "You know, as well as we do, that there's nothing but friendship between Marcus and Teddie."

"Do we though, Zabini?"

"Teddie's not the one that tried to bribe Marcus," Daphne said. "You were. You bribed him with new team broomsticks if he let you be Seeker."

Malfoy smirked. "You're right," he said. "But at least then I would've made the team on my terms, and not because the Captain's in love with my best friend."

Daphne and Blaise felt Teddie tense and her eyes narrowed. The air between her and Malfoy seemed to shimmer and suddenly Malfoy was lifted off of his feet, thrown over Crabbe and Goyle, and landed in a tangled mess on the floor near the steps leading to the portrait.

The Slytherin common room was silent. All students were on their feet, some had their wands out, several were staring from Teddie to Draco, while the rest only had eyes for Teddie.

Then, all hell broke loose.

Parkinson screamed and rushed to Draco's side. Teddie felt someone grab her arm, but she twisted out of their grasp and run for the portrait hole, it opened before she had reached it and the Slytherin Quidditch team walked in.

"Ted?" Derrick asked, noticing her first. But Teddie didn't stop and pushed past, sliding between him and Adrian, and disappearing into the corridor.

"Someone stop her!" a seventh year Slytherin shouted.

But Teddie was gone.

Chapter Text

"What exactly happened, Miss Greengrass?"

Daphne looked at her Head of House. She, along with Blaise, Theo, Marcus, Adrian, and Derrick had been detained in the Slytherin Common Room for questioning whilst the rest of their house went to the Halloween feast. Draco had been taken to the Hospital Wing and treated for a concussion whilst the rest of the Slytherins were talking about what had transpired that afternoon between the two second years.

"Teddie had just come back from the Quidditch stadium when Malfoy started on her about today being her birthday," Daphne said. "When she refused to listen to him, he started going on about how Theo only made Seeker because of her."

"Because of her?" Theo asked. "How does he make that one out?"

Daphne and Blaise hesitated, sharing unsure looks between them.

"If either of you knows anything, now's the time to speak up," Professor Snape said.

"It just... "

"Warrington," Theo sighed.

Professor Snape glanced in Theo's direction. "What has Mr Warrington have to do with this?" he asked.

"We have to tell him," Blaise said to Daphne and Theo.

"Teddie doesn't want us, too," Daphne argued.

Marcus, Adrian, and Derrick shared a look.

"This is about the night we had Seeker tryouts, isn't it?" Derrick asked.

Daphne and Blaise hesitated.

"I understand your need to protect your friend, Miss Greengrass," said Professor Snape. "But Teddie is already under the protection of the Ministry because of incidents over the summer. Whilst at Hogwarts she is under my protection, if she's in trouble then you need to tell me."

"But Teddie -"

"Malfoy and Warrington have this insane idea that Theo only made the team because Marcus is in love with Teddie!" Blaise said.

Daphne glared at him.

Professor Snape looked to Marcus. The older boy looked stunned at the confession. "But what happened here in the common room this afternoon?"

"I don't know!" Daphne protested. "It all happened so fast. One minute Malfoy was rabbiting on about today being her birthday, and then when she didn't rise to his bait, he turned his attention to Theo and Quidditch. He accused Teddie of bribing Marcus to put Theo on the team,"

"What happened after that?" Marcus asked.

"I told him that Teddie wasn't the one who tried to bribe anyone," Daphne said. "That's when he made the accusation that Theo's only on the team because you're in love with Teddie. Then…" she shook her head, unsure of how to proceed.

Blaise put his hand on Daphne's shoulder. "Then Teddie went rigid, and it was like the air between us and Malfoy shimmered, it was like looking through frosted glass. After that it was like the gates to hell had opened up, I'd never felt such magic, not in one person that's for sure."

Professor Snape looked silently around at his students before he stood. "Alright, I'll deal with Mr Malfoy and Mr Warrington, accordingly," he said. "In the meantime, we must find Miss Green. Mr Pucey, Mr Bole, you will find Miss Green and bring her to me. The rest of you are to stay here, I'll have a House Elf bring you something to eat."

"But sir -" started Theo.

"I won't repeat myself, Mr Nott," said Professor Snape. "You, Miss Greengrass, Mr Zabini, and Mr Flint will stay here."

Theo sighed. He waited until Professor Snape had left the Common Room before turning to the rest of his friends. "We're not just going to stay here, are we?" he asked.

"Merlin's beard, no," said Daphne. "Teddie's our friend, and if the roles were reversed she'd be out there looking for us. We're going to do the same."

The others nodded and left the room. In the Entrance Hall, they parted ways. Marcus, Adrian, and Derrick left through the double doors to check the grounds, while Daphne, Theo, and Blaise headed up the Marble Staircase,

"I know we did the right thing," said Daphne. "But why do I feel like we've just betrayed Teddie."

"We made a promise and we broke it," Theo said.

"Teddie was in trouble. She won't blame us for helping her."

"I'm pretty sure Marcus is going to kill Warrington," said Theo.

"He can't," said Blaise. "Going after Warrington puts Teddie in more hot water. Besides, he was in the common room when Teddie attacked Malfoy. He knows what happens when people get on the wrong side of our little Muggleborn,"

Daphne nodded in agreement.

"Anyone else starting to get the feeling that Teddie is right about her birthday?" Daphne asked.

Blaise and Theo nodded.

~X~

On the floor at the base of steps leading from the first-floor landing to the second, Teddie sat huddled. Her tear-streaked face buried in her arms as she tried to assure herself that what had happened hadn't have been her fault. It was accidental magic, she'd done it at the beginning of the summer to Mr Nott.

But Mr Nott had trespassed in her home and openly threatened her, her brother, and best friend. Mr Nott's attack had been self-defence. Malfoy may have been arguing with her, but he hadn't openly attacked her. He'd said a few things that she had allowed to get under her skin, and she had retaliated with force.

She couldn't claim self-defence with Malfoy. She had attacked another student, another Slytherin, surely the punishment for that was expulsion.

As her heart started to sink, Teddie heard footsteps and the sound of whispered voices. It was too early for the feast to have ended, so there shouldn't have been anyone in the corridors just yet.

Lifting her head, Teddie stared at the corner adjacent to her position. She could see shadows cast across the wall by the torches. The group of people heading in her direction was small, three individuals at least. They had to be students, probably Gryffindors or Ravenclaws, why else would they be up here?

"It sounds like it's coming from down here!"

Teddie stood. She recognised that voice. It was Harry Potter.

Pounding footsteps rounded the corner, and before either Harry or Teddie could do or say anything, they collided.

"Harry…" Hermione Granger panted as she caught up with Ron Weasley. The latter pulled the raven-haired boy off the Muggleborn and the four of them stared at one another.

"Green," Weasley said as Hermione helped her stand. "What are you doing up here?"

"I could ask you the same thing," Teddie replied. "Why are you running around the castle at night? Shouldn't you be at the feast?"

"Shouldn't you?"

Teddie glared at him.

"Teddie, did you just hear a voice?" Harry asked. He looked urgent, desperate even.

Teddie turned her attention to him. She cocked her head to the side, thinking hard. "The only voice I heard was you," she said.

"No, not mine," Harry said, shaking his head. "This one sounds cold, a lot colder. I was heading in this direction. Are you sure you didn't hear or see anything?"

Teddie shook her head. "I'm sorry, Harry, but I've been here pretty much all afternoon," she said. "No one and nothing has come by."

Harry paused, staring transfixed at the Slytherin. "Have you… have you been crying?" he asked.

"It's nothing," Teddie said, rubbing her face on her sleeve. "Just a stupid misunderstanding, that's all."

"Do you want us to take you to Professor Snape?"

Weasley made a sharp intake of breath, but he remained silent as Granger glared at him.

Teddie shook her head. "Nah, you're alright," she said. "I'm going to stay here a little longer, and then head back to my common room. I'm assuming that's where you're all heading, huh?"

"We were heading to the Feast," said Ron, mournfully. "They should be starting pudding right now."

"Then Harry heard that voice he was talking about," said Granger.

Teddie nodded. "Well, I assure you, there's only been me here," she said.

Harry sighed and looked around. He looked confused.

"I should get going," Teddie said. "If pudding has just started then it won't be long before the feast is over. I want to beat the other Slytherins back the common room. I'm sorry I couldn't have been more helpful." She smiled tiredly at the three Gryffindors and headed off down the hallway,

Weasley watched her disappear from sight. "Do you think she was lying about not hearing or seeing anything?" he asked.

"Why would she lie?" Granger asked.

Weasley shrugged. "She's a Slytherin. Not known for being openly honest, are they?" he asked.

"I believe her when she said she didn't see or hear anything," Harry said. "But I do think something has happened to make her so upset. I mean, why would she be up here alone, and where are her friends?"

The trio shared a look and then continued on their way. The voice had disappeared, and Harry couldn't help but feel downtrodden about not finding out where it had come from or lead too. But this had been the second time he had heard the voice, maybe, if he was lucky, he'd hear it a third.

~X~

As she strolled back along the corridor, Teddie paused and lifted her head. She could hear the faint whispers of voices again, but this time there was no one around but her.

"... so hungry..."

Turning on the spot, Teddie drew her wand from inside her sleeve and gripped it tightly. If this was some kind of sick joke she was ready for the jokester should they come out of hiding.

"Who's there?" Teddie called. "Show yourself!"

"...want to rip...want to tear… want to kill..."

The voice was growing louder and louder. It sounded almost like it was coming from the floor below and rising upwards.

Teddie felt her breathing hitch and goosebumps spread all over her body. The voice sounded so much closer now, but she still couldn't see anything.

"...master will be disgusted by the stench of Mudbloods in his school…"

"Mudbloods?" Teddie whispered.

"...yes, mudbloods..."

Teddie frowned and looked around. Wait, had the voice just heard and answered her?

"Who are you?"

"...I have no name… I do my master's bidding… who are you?"

"My name's Teddie, I'm a student at this school."

"...you are not pure..." the voice hissed. "Yet not quite stained...either….what are you?"

What did that mean?

Teddie turned on the spot again. She still couldn't see anything or anyone, yet here she stood in the middle of an empty corridor talking to some voice. "Where are you?" she asked.

"...where am I? I am here… with you."

Well, that was helpful.

"Are you a ghost?"

"...a ghost? No."

"Okay. Are you a person?"

"...No…"

"An...animal?"

Silence.

"Hello?" Teddie asked. But the voice didn't reply. Instead she heard, what she thought, sounded like a body being dragged across the floor, but still, she was alone on the corridor. "Where'd you go?"

"...time to go..."

"No, wait!" Teddie called. She strained to hear. The sound was growing fainter, like whoever she had been talking to was heading down the corridor, back towards the staircase. Biting her lip, Teddie glanced over her shoulder towards the Marble Staircase, she should go and get help… but help for what? All she had was an invisible voice.

"...must go… must try again..."

"Teddie!"

Teddie looked up at the sound of her name. Running towards her from the opposite hallway were her friends. But the voice was getting away. Wanting to put a face to the voice, Teddie followed after it, running back down the corridor she had just come and rounded the corner at high speeds.

"Teddie, wait, you're not in any trouble!" Daphne called.

But Teddie didn't stop or falter in her step. She reached the first-floor staircase and took the steps two at a time, reaching the top and following the sound down its corridor, towards the end.

She stopped seconds before crashing into a body that seemed to rise up out of the shadows.

"Potter!" Teddie gasped. "I heard it...I heard a voice."

"Me too," Harry said. "But we found something, too,"

Teddie cocked her head to the side. "What did you find?" she asked.

Harry pointed behind him. "Mrs Norris," he said, indicating to the object hanging by its tail from an empty torch bracket.

"Teddie!" Daphne gasped as she Theo and Blaise finally caught up. "Why did you run? You're not in any trouble over what happened."

"What I did doesn't matter," said Teddie. "We've got bigger problems."

"Bigger problems, like what?" Blaise asked.

Teddie pointed at Mrs Norris.

Her friends gasped.

"Wait, what's that above her?" Theo asked, noticing a shining on the wall. The seven second years approached, slowly, squinting through the darkness. Foot-high words had been daubed on the wall between two windows.

"The Chamber of Secrets has been opened.

Enemies of the Heir, Beware."

Teddie swallowed. "It's written in blood," she said.

"We should get out of here," said Weasley, his voice cracking with nerves.

"We should go get help," said Granger.

But Weasley was shaking his head.

"I can't believe I am saying this, but Weasley's right," said Blaise. "This is the last place we want to be right now. Especially you, Ted. Not after everything that's already happened today."

Teddie frowned at her friend. "What do you mean?" she asked.

"Trust me, this is really really bad!" Blaise stressed. "We need to get out of here."

"Blaise is right, Ted," said Daphne. "We should go back to the common room while we still have time. If we're caught here…" she broke off as the sound of distant thunder rumbled from below.

They were too late. The Feast had ended and students were making their way from the Great Hall back to their common rooms. They had less than 60 seconds to get off this hallway before they were overrun with Gryffindor and Ravenclaw students.

But where did they go?

Chapter Text

Before the second years could assemble a plan the corridor was filled with happy, well-fed students. The chatter, the bustle, the noise died suddenly as the people in the front grew closer and spotted the hanging cat above the seven students.

"Enemies of the heir, beware?"

Teddie felt her friends press closer to her, hiding her behind them as Warrington pushed his way to the front of the crowd. His cold eyes found Teddie and a smirk snaked onto his lips.

Teddie swallowed her fear. She didn't like that look one bit.

"You'll be next, Green," Warrington said, grinning.

"Shut up, Warrington!"

Warrington turned his gaze to Theo, but before he could retort the sound of wheezing came from inside the crowd. Seconds later Argus Filch shouldered his way through.

"What's going on here?" Filch demanded. "What's going -" he broke off as his gaze found Mrs Norris. All colour drained from his face and he clutched at his chest in horror. "My cat… what happened to my cat!"

Filch swung around wildly. His eyes glaring from each student to the next until he found the seven students in the middle of the corridor, separated from the rest of the crowd. "You!" he screeched, pointing at them. "What did you do?! You murdered my cat!"

"No!" Teddie cried.

"Argus!"

Teddie felt a touch of relief as Professor Dumbledore emerged from the crowd, followed by a number of other teachers, including Professor Snape. In seconds, the headmaster swept past the group and detached Mrs Norris from the torch bracket.

"Come with me, Argus," said Professor Dumbledore. "As well as you seven." He looked over at the students.

Lockhart stepped forward eagerly. "My office is nearest, Headmaster - just upstairs - please feel free," he said, giddy.

"Thank you, Gilderoy," said Dumbledore.

The crowd parted to let them pass. Teddie kept her head low to avoid the gazes of the Slytherin students as they were dotted here and there. At the very back of the crowd, looking confused and alarmed were Marcus, Adrian and Derrick,

"Teddie…" Derrick said as she emerged, clinging to Theo's arm.

"What's going on?" Marcus asked, reaching out for her. He stopped as Professor Snape clamped his hand down on Teddie's shoulder and steered her away.

"You can speak with Miss Green once she's returned to the common room, Mr Flint," Snape said.

Teddie looked back at Marcus as she walked away. She offered him a small, weak smile, and then disappeared around the corner with the others.

Marcus sighed and turned to the others.

"This isn't good," Adrian murmured.

~X~

As they entered the Defence Against the Dark Arts office, Professor Lockhart ignited some candles on the desk, he shuffled aside some paperwork, making room for Dumbledore to set down the cat and begin a thorough examination.

The second-year students stood together near the door, watching tensely. Professor Dumbledore would tell them if Mrs Norris was dead or not.

"She's not dead," Daphne whispered as Lockhart bounced around, muttering suggestions about how he could've saved her if he had been there. "She can't be dead. Please don't let her be dead."

Blaise reached his arm around Daphne and held her closer. "Can't someone shut him up?" he asked.

Teddie looked up at Professor Snape. He was standing just in front of his students, almost hiding them from view. He must've heard Blaise's comment because the side of his lips twitched upwards into an almost smile.

"She's not dead," said Dumbledore, at last. He straightened up, but his eyes remained on the cat.

Daphne sighed in relief.

Lockhart stopped abruptly.

"Not dead?" Filch choked.

"No," said Dumbledore softly. "She's been Petrified. But how, I cannot say…"

"Ask them," shrieked Filch, pointing at the students. "They were there. They must've seen… or done something!"

"It's not true!" Teddie cried. "We didn't see or touch Mrs Norris."

"Rubbish!"

Teddie narrowed her eyes at the caretaker. He may not have been the friendliest person in the whole school, but that didn't mean she or her friends, would've purposely gone out of their way to harm him or his cat.

"I assure you, Argus, that no second-year could have done this," said Dumbledore, firmly. "It would take incredible Dark Magic of the most advanced -"

"They had something to do with it!" Flich roared. "You saw what they wrote on the wall."

Teddie shook her head furiously. She could feel Theo slipping his hand into hers, squeezing it tightly as Daphne and Blaise pressed against her from behind and to the side. They were trying to keep her calm.

"If I may, Headmaster," said Professor Snape, coolly. "Teddie and her friends may have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Teddie felt a sigh of relief escape her. Professor Snape was on their side, of course, he was, he knew that neither she nor her friends would've attacked Mrs Norris, at least not without cause.

"Be as it may, Severus," said Professor McGonagall. "While your snakes may not have caused harm to Mrs Norris, it does beg the question as to why they were on that corridor in the first place."

"I got into a fight with another Slytherin," Teddie said, instantly. "I ran off to cool down. I didn't want to go to the Feast because I was afraid of what I might've done or said when confronted by the Slytherin I had fought with, so I just wandered around the castle for a bit. I was coming back down to the common room when I stumbled across the corridor, there was water on the floor and I thought maybe someone had flooded the bathroom so I went to check. My friends found me there, and then we found Mrs Norris and the writing on the wall."

It wasn't a total lie, but it also wasn't the honest truth, either.

"And you three?" Professor Dumbledore asked his gaze on the Gryffindor trio.

"They were going back to their common room," Teddie said. "Just before Daphne, Blaise and Theo found me. I was telling them what I had found and was in the middle of asking one of them to go and get help. But it was too late, the other students had started to come up from the Great Hall."

Harry, Ron and Hermione shared a look. Why would Teddie lie to protect them?

Professor Snape, Professor Dumbledore, and Professor McGonagall stared at Teddie. She could tell by the looks on their faces that they were trying to find the lie in her story. There was one, but as long as they didn't know about it then she was safe.

"Innocent until proven guilty," Professor Dumbledore said, finally.

Filch, on the other hand, looked furious. "My cat has been Petrified!" He screeched. "I want to see some punishment."

"We will be able to cure her, Argus," Dumbledore assured him. "Madam Sprout recently managed to procure some Mandrakes. As soon as they have reached full size, I will have a potion made which will revive Mrs Norris."

"I'll make it," Lockhart butted in. "I must have done it a hundred times. I could whip up a Mandrake Restorative Draught in my sleep -"

"Excuse me," said Snape icily, "but I believe I am the Potions master at this school."

Lockhart looked nervous as Snape glared down at him.

"Severus, you may escort your students back to their common room," Dumbledore said, nodding at the quartet. "Minerve, the same."

Snape grabbed Teddie by the arm and hauled her from the office. Daphne, Blaise, and Theo followed after them quickly.

~X~

"Can you let go? You're hurting me," said Teddie, struggling to get out of her Head of House's grasp. Snape held firm, leading the quartet down to the Entrance Hall. Once off the Marble Staircase, he let go of Teddie.

"Your little story may have convinced the others, Miss Green, but what exactly where you doing in that corridor?" Snape asked. "As for you three," he rounded on the others. "I specifically told you to stay inside the common room. What were you hoping to achieve by disobeying a direct order?"

Theo, Blaise and Daphne hesitated.

"They were looking for me!" Teddie said.

"I had sent Mr Bole and Mr Pucey to search for you."

"Does it matter?" Teddie asked. "Honestly? Even if Derrick and Adrian had been the ones to have found me, it still would be three Slytherins caught up in this mess. It just so happened to be us four, why it's always us four, I don't know. But they were being good friends. If you want to punish them for that then you'll need to punish me first. If I hadn't have attacked Malfoy then none of us would've been on that corridor."

Snape eyed Teddie coolly. "Be as it may, Miss Green, they still disobeyed a direct order," he said. "Five points will be taken from Slytherin. As for you, Miss Green, we shall be having a chat about your attack on Mr Malfoy."

"In my defence -"

"We shall speak after I have spoken to Mr Malfoy and Mr Warrington," Snape interrupted her. He pushed open the door leading to the dungeons. "Now, come, I have requested a House Elf bring you some food from the kitchens. Mr Flint, Mr Pucey, and Mr Bole will join you in my office. After which, you shall return to your dormitories. Do you understand?"

The quartet exchanged looks and nodded.

"Yes, Professor Snape," they said.

~X~

Later that evening, after Teddie and friends had been dismissed to their common room, they were sitting in front of the fire when Marlene and her friends joined them.

"Did you get into much trouble?" Judy asked.

Teddie shook her head, staring into the crackling flames.

"Seriously? Attacking another student, a Slytherin no less, is a capital offence to Snape," said Judy.

"She hasn't spoken to Professor Snape about that yet," said Daphne. "He wants to speak with Malfoy and Warrington first. Probably get their side of the stories."

Susan paused, looking confused. "Why would he want to speak with Warrington?" she asked. "He wasn't involved."

"Maybe not. But Warrington was the one who told Teddie that she needed to watch her back this year," said Theo. "Malfoy is just a means to an end. Warrington hasn't even started yet."

Tearing her gaze away from the fireplace, Teddie looked to her friends. "I'm not worried about Warrington, right now," she said. "After today he's not going to do anything drastic. He'll talk with Professor Snape, and then he'll wait until everything has died down before trying again."

"Why do you think he'll do that?" Judy asked.

"Because it's what I would do," Teddie said.

Her friends shared a look.

"And you're not afraid of that?" Marlene asked.

Teddie shook her head. "No, because this time I'll be anticipating it," she said. "I don't know when he's going to come for me, only that he will."

"I don't know whether to call you brave or foolish," Judy said, shaking her head. "Warrington's not someone you want to trifle with, Green."

"Yeah, well, I've heard that one before," said Teddie, glancing at Theo. She smirked as he rolled his eyes, and shook his head. "Anyway, back to what's really bothering me - the writing on the wall - the Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the Heir, beware - what does it mean?"

"It means that someone is trying to cleanse this school of the filth that walks its halls," said Parkinson, wandering over. She sneered down at Teddie, although there was a glint of amusement in her eyes.

Teddie cocked her head to the side. "Parkinson, it's not healthy to talk about yourself like that," she retorted.

"I meant you," Parkinson sneered. "Someone is trying to get rid of you."

"They should try harder."

Her friends smirked.

Teddie rolled her eyes and looked around the room. "Does someone with more comprehension than a child want to explain to me what the Chamber of Secrets is?" she asked.

"It's a Hogwarts legend," said a fourth year Slytherin. Teddie believed her name was Larika, "Some would even call it a myth."

"I know a lot of people that would call myths and legends the same thing," Teddie said. "They're both just stories based on fact. What's this story?"

Larika looked around at her fellow Slytherins. "The story goes that Salazar Slytherin built a hidden chamber in the castle, of which the other founders knew nothing. Slytherin, according to the legend, sealed the Chamber of Secrets so that none would be able to open it until his own true heir arrived at the school. The heir of alone would be able to unseal the Chamber, unleash the horror within, and use it to purge the school of all who were unworthy to study magic."

There was silence as Larika finished, and Teddie noted the unease amongst most students. She watched as they shared looks behind each other's backs, but not all of them did. Most of them were watching her, probably trying to judge her reaction. She blinked and turned her attention back to Larika.

"As anyone actually ever tried to find this thing?" Teddie asked.

"Of course," Larika said. "Many times. A lot of people just believe it to be a fairytale."

"There are a lot of things that people think are fairy tales but they turn out to be real," said Teddie. "Philosopher Stone, for example."

Larika smirked. "Fair point," she agreed.

"What exactly do you mean by the 'horror within' the Chamber?"

"It is said to be some kind of monster," Larika answered. "A monster which only the heir of Slytherin can control."

"The heir could be anyone?"

"Anyone that is a direct descendant of Salazar," Larika nodded. "But his line died out years ago."

Teddie looked thoughtful. "Or maybe they just changed names," she said.

"Either way, I'd sleep with a wand," said Parkinson.

"Maybe you should," Teddie agreed.

"Your facade won't last long, Green," Parkinson said, walking closer to Teddie. She stopped when she was less than a breath away. "Your days at this school are numbered."

Chapter Text

For the next few days, all Hogwarts talked about was the attack on Mrs Norris. Teddie and her friends found themselves to be the subject of many stares and whispers as they walked the corridors between classes, and on weekends. But the four had realised fairly early on that they'd be interesting parties after being discovered on the corridor with three Gryffindors.

Sometimes, Teddie would find Harry and his friends in the library. They hadn't spoken since that night, and merely exchanged small smiles when they caught one another's gazes. But Teddie knew that she needed to speak with Potter, at the very least. They had both heard a weird voice right before they had found Mrs Norris. What if it had been connected to the attack? They needed to decide whether they were to tell a Professor or keep it to themselves.

"I don't know what he is expecting to find on that corridor, now," Adrian complained, stealing a chair from a nearby table and pulling it back to the one he shared with his friends. He set his books down and pulled his Potions essay from inside his backpack, prepared to finish it before dinner.

"Filch?" Blaise asked.

Adrian nodded. "We've just seen him staking out the second-floor corridor," he said. "Marlene said she saw him earlier trying to clean the writing off the wall with All-Purpose-Magical-Mess but apparently it won't budge."

"A strong Sticking Charm has been placed on that writing," said Derrick. "It has to be some sort of charm, jinx or curse for All Purple Magical Mess not to work."

Adrian nodded his agreement.

"He's hoping to catch the culprit," Teddie said, returning with Theo from the History section of the library. She set two books of the same text on the table and pushed one across the desk towards Daphne. The blonde smiled and opened the book, searching its contents for the reference page.

"But does he really think that the attacker is just going to randomly turn up and admit that he did it?" Adrian asked.

"How do you know it's a 'he'?" Teddie challenged.

"Or she," Adrian shrugged.

Teddie smiled and looked back at her book. "He doesn't, but he's desperate," she said. "But I can't say I blame him, either. Mrs Norris meant everything to him. He's probably feeling a little lost without her."

"I feel sorry for him, really, I do," said Theo, "but I don't miss that cat sneaking up on me randomly."

"As long as you're not doing anything wrong, I don't see how it's a problem," said Blaise, grinning at his best mate.

Theo glared at the Italian-boy.

Teddie shared a confused look with Daphne.

"I don't want to know," said Daphne, going back to her search. "Hey, here's something!" she announced a second later, dropping the book onto the table and showing its contents to her friends. "According to this, the Chamber of Secrets had been opened only once in the history of Hogwarts."

Derrick frowned. "I don't remember reading that in Hogwarts: A History," he said.

"Maybe Mason could -?" Adrian started, glancing at Teddie.

"We already sent the letter," Teddie said. "I hate dragging him into school issues, but he's the only person I know with a copy of Hogwarts: A History handy. Ever since the attack on Mrs Norris, the book has surprisingly become very popular."

"Everyone wants to know as much about the Chamber as possible, probably," said Marcus. "You did."

"Yeah, I can't say I'm particularly happy with what I learned," Teddie said.

"You shouldn't take what Parkinson says to heart," said Blaise. "You know she's just trying to freak you out."

Teddie shook her head. "I don't care what Parkinson says," she said. "If she wants the threaten me, then let her. I've had worse threats than 'your days are numbered'." She paused and looked up at Daphne. "Does it say when the Chamber was opened, or maybe what happened, exactly?"

Daphne scanned the page and shook her head. "No, unfortunately," she said. "It just says that Hogwarts very nearly closed many years after it opened following an incident involving a student - it also doesn't say if the student were Muggleborn or not."

"That was a waste," Adrian muttered.

"Not necessarily," said Blaise. "It proves that the Chamber exists. You can't open something that's not real, now, can you?"

"It also proves that it does hold a monster," said Theo. He glanced uneasily at Teddie.

Teddie stared at her best friend. "Don't look at me like that," she said.

"I'm just scared for you," said Theo.

"We all are!" Blaise agreed. "You're the one who's at risk here, Ted."

"You don't know that!" Teddie argued. "We don't know anything about the Chamber of Secrets only that it's been open once, and a student was involved. We don't know if that student was killed or Petrified, or whatever. Until we get more solid proof of what we're dealing with, I'd say I'm doing pretty damn fine!"

Her friends shared a look as Teddie turned her attention back to the book in front of her. She took a deep breath and turned to Marcus. "You know how at the beginning of the term you said that Theo and I could see the Thestrals because we had witnessed death?" she asked.

Marcus nodded.

"Is there a creature out there that only certain magical folk can hear?"

"Hear?" Marcus repeated.

Teddie nodded.

Marcus looked thoughtful. "Not that I'm aware of," he said. "Why?"

"It's probably nothing," said Teddie, shaking her head. "But, the night Mrs Norris was attacked, I heard a voice. It was after I had my initial run-in with Potter, Granger and Weasley. I was coming back down to the common room and I could hear this voice, only there was no one in the hallway except for me."

"Are you sure you weren't imagining it?" Derrick asked.

Teddie shot him a look. "I'm positive, Derrick," she said. "I heard a voice. What's stranger is the fact that Potter had asked me seconds before if I had heard anything, and I hadn't."

"What was the voice saying?" Marcus asked.

Teddie took a deep breath and told them exactly what the voice had said. "It seemed confused about me," she said. "Like, I wasn't what it was expecting. Then when I started to try and guess what manner of creature it was, it took off. Kept saying that it had to go and try again."

"That's why you ran," said Daphne.

Teddie nodded. "I wasn't running because I thought I was in trouble, I wanted to put a face to the voice," she said. "That's when I run into Potter and his friends, and they told me about Mrs Norris."

"That does sound strange," Marcus said. "But I can't think of a creature off the top of my head. I can check my Care of Magical Creatures book later this evening if it'll make you feel better?"

"You're okay," said Teddie, shaking her head, "Like I said, it's probably nothing."

But Adrian looked deeply concerned. "Or it could be something," he said. "You remember how I queried last year that maybe you were a Parseltongue?"

Teddie nodded.

"Well, if you have the ability to speak to snakes then you'd be able to hear snake talking, whereas no one else would," Adrian said. "This voice, you said that only you and Potter could hear it?"

Again, Teddie nodded.

Derrick turned to his friend. "You can't possibly be thinking both Potter and Teddie are parselmouths?" he asked. "It's an incredibly rare ability. For even one witch to have it is minimal, much less two."

"I know," Adrian said. "But it makes sense why they're the only two that can hear this voice."

"There's only one way to find out for sure," said Derrick. He looked to Teddie. "Where are Merlin and Morgana?"

Teddie furrowed her brow. "In my dormitory, why?" she asked.

"Maybe its time we found out if you really are parselmouth," said Derrick.

"You want me to go get Merlin and Morgana and bring them back here, so you can experiment with them?" Teddie asked.

Derrick shook his head. "When you put it like that it sounds so bad," he said. "No. I want you to bring them back here so we can determine whether you can really talk to Snakes, and not in the sense you would pet animals."

Teddie considered her options and then sighed. "Fine," she said. "I'll go get them."

"I'll come with you," said Theo.

Teddie smiled at him and the two stood. They left the library, passing Harry Potter and his friends as they entered.

Harry and Teddie shared a small smile as they passed one another. But no words were passed between them.

"Shouldn't we tell him what we're about to do?" Teddie asked. "I mean if I can talk to snakes…"

"We don't know what the creature was that you heard," said Theo. "Let's figure out what you can do first, and if it turns out that you can talk to Snakes, then we'll figure out if Potter is the same."

Teddie nodded. "If it turns out that we both can talk to snakes, then I think we've just figured out Slytherin's monster," she said.

Theo nodded in agreement.

~X~

No less than half an hour later, Teddie and Theo returned. Daphne smiled and instantly reached across the table, holding out her palm as Teddie transferred Morgana to the blonde. The snake curved its way around Daphne's palm, down her arm and wound its small body around her wrist.

"Hey, Morgana," Daphne cooed, petting the black snake. "Your such a good girl."

"If that snake starts talking to you, Daph, I'm calling for an intervention," Adrian teased. The others laughed as Daphne scowled at the older boy.

Shielding Morgana away, Daphne leaned closer to her hand and whispered. "Don't listen to him, Morgana, just ignore the horrible boy."

"Hey!" Adrian whined.

Daphne grinned as the others shook their heads.

"Where do you want to start?" Teddie asked Adrian.

Adrian shrugged. "Pick a snake and, I don't know, start talking," he shrugged.

"I see you put a lot of thought into that plan, Adrian," Teddie said, sarcastically.

Adrian stuck his tongue out.

Teddie grinned and looked back at Daphne and Morgana. "Well, I did kind of wake Morgana up, so she's not exactly my friend right now," she said. She looked at her wrist to where Merlin was, coiled around her wrist. "Guess that leaves you, buddy," she said, untangling Merlin from his place.

The snake hissed in agitation and slithered over Teddie's fingers. Teddie handled him carefully so that he was eye-level with her, Merlin's tiny head reared up into the air, and his tail flicked out, tasting the air.

"I know, you aren't used to this much activity, are you?" Teddie asked. "Just a couple more minutes, alright?"

"Anything?" Derrick asked, curiously.

"Yeah, annoyance," Teddie replied. "Shush!"

Derrick rolled his eyes and slumped back in his chair. He watched Teddie interact with Merlin from across the table, but nothing seemed to be happening. Teddie was talking English to him, and the snake was only responding to her voice.

"What is supposed to happen, exactly?" Teddie asked, looking to Adrian. "I mean, how do you know if I'm talking to him or not?"

"From what I know about Parselmouths," said Adrian. "If you can talk to snakes, then your language changes to that of the snakes. So, your voice should come out like a hiss. At least, it should sound like a hiss to us."

"And to me?"

"It'll sound like normal English."

Teddie looked back to Merlin and cocked her head to the side. Merlin copied her actions.

Teddie blinked. Merlin blinked.

Teddie gasped at the action. Merlin had just blinked at her.

"What?" Adrian asked, lifting his head slightly. "What happened?"

"N-nothing," Teddie said, shaking her head. "This isn't working!"

"But Teddie, you said that when you talk to your snakes, they listen to you!" Adrian protested.

"Because we have a bond!" Teddie argued. "That doesn't mean -"

"It's strange!"

Teddie scoffed and closed her hands over Merlin. "Adrian, just because you want something to be real, doesn't mean that it is!" she said.

"Please, Teddie, just try again," Adrian pleaded.

"I…"

Adrian stared, pleadingly at his friend. Teddie sighed and looked away. She felt stupid just staring at Merlin waiting for something to happen. She knew how important it was to Adrian that she be something he thought she was, but it was clear that she wasn't what he wanted her to be. She could speak to Merlin and Morgana, and yes, it seemed like they could understand her, but that didn't mean she could understand them.

Teddie looked back at Merlin. He untangled himself from her fingers and slithered up her arm, over her shoulder and towards the curve of her neck. Teddie closed her eyes as she felt his tongue flick over the pulse in her neck, her breathing slowed and she froze.

The last time Merlin had done this was after she had found him and Morgana. John had told her that Merlin was tasting her pulse, probably testing her emotions.

"Teddie… scared?"

Teddie's snapped open and she looked across the table at Daphne. "What did you say?" she asked.

"Nothing," Daphne said, shaking her head.

"Someone just asked me if I was afraid," Teddie said. "It was a girl's voice, and you're the only girl, other than me here."

Out of the corner of her eye, Teddie saw Adrian and Derrick share a look.

"Teddie, I swear to you, I didn't say anything," Daphne said.

"Teddie, scared of Merlin?"

Upon hearing the voice again, Teddie lowered her gaze from Daphne's and onto Morgana. The snake was curled up in Daphne's arm, her head reared up into the air, her black beady eyes trained on her human.

"Oh… my… god!" Teddie whispered, her eyes wide. She looked to Adrian, he was staring at her with a look of anticipation. Almost like he knew what she was experiencing.

"She understands us…" said a male voice.

Teddie squeaked and looked down. Merlin had slithered back to her hand and curled himself around her fingers again.

"Finally! We've been trying to communicate with you for years!"

Teddie looked back to Morgana. The snake struggled in Daphne's grasp and then slithered onto the table. She moved fluidly across its surface and up into Teddie's palm as the young girl turned her hand over.

"Teddie?" Adrian said, softly. "Are you okay?"

"This can't be happening…"

Teddie heard her friends gasp from around her. From the corner of her eyes, she could see each of them exchange looks around the table. She could only guess that she had just proven Adrian right.

"It is happening, Teddie, you're talking to us at last!" Morgana said. She sounded excited.

"Priscilla is going to be so mad when she finds out that you spoke to us first," Merlin chuckled. "She's been trying to get your attention for years, but you weren't receptive until now."

Teddie frowned at the siblings. "You were in competition with Priscilla?" she asked.

Merlin and Morgana both nodded.

"Is it really that much of a big deal that I understand you?"

"Oh yes," said Morgana. "It was really frustrating not being able to talk with you. Especially when it was clear that we could understand you."

Teddie shook her head. "I had no idea," she said. "I'm… sorry?"

"It doesn't matter now," said Merlin.

"He's right. All that matters is you can now," Morgana agreed.

Teddie giggled and nodded.

"Does that mean you're not afraid of us?" Merlin asked.

Teddie shook her head. "I've never been afraid of you," she said.

The two snakes stared at her for a little while longer, and Teddie could've sworn she saw them smile. They then turned and slithered back to their places around her wrists.

Teddie squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head as if clearing her head of all thoughts. When she opened her eyes again, she found her friends grinning at her.

"I guess I owe you another apology, huh?" Teddie asked Adrian.

But Adrian was too excited to care about apologies. "Do you know what this means?" he asked, his eyes ablaze.

Teddie shook her head.

"It means you're no ordinary Muggleborn, Teddie," said Adrian. "You're pretty special."

Teddie looked at each of her friends to the next and then turned her attention to the two snakes around her wrists. Was this the reason why she had wanted snakes for pets instead of a dog or cat? Was her strange obsession with the reptiles really because she was, in Adrian's words, special?

"Ted?" Marcus asked.

"I don't want to be special," Teddie murmured, staring at the table top. "I just want to be Teddie."

"Why?" Adrian asked, stunned.

"Because, in my experience, being special means being different, and being different means people turning against you," Teddie said. "I don't need any more reasons to turn people against me. If they find out that I'm a Parselmouth, or whatever you call it, then my days at this school really will be numbered."

Adrian deflated. He couldn't deny that she had a point. Being a parselmouth was considered a mark of Dark Witches and Wizards. If the rest of Hogwarts knew about Teddie's unique talents there'd be uproar.

"I'm sorry, Teddie," Adrian apologised.

Teddie shook her head, her eyes gliding over the two sleek black snakes around her wrists. She was a Parselmouth. She could speak to snakes. Did that mean Harry Potter was too? And if so, did that mean the monster instead the Chamber of Secrets was a serpent?

Chapter Text

Since the disastrous episode of the pixies, Professor Lockhart had not brought live creatures to class. Instead, he read passages from his book to them, and sometimes even re-enacted some of the more dramatic bits. Students like Hermione Granger and Pansy Parkinson hung onto Lockhart's every word, whilst others like Harry Potter and Teddie Green spent most of the lesson trying very hard to stay awake.

"I thought I would never find a more boring lesson outside History of Magic," Teddie whined as she followed Blaise and Daphne into the Slytherin common room. "Lockhart's seriously got to be the worst Defence teacher ever. I mean, I'm not a fan of Quirrell, especially after last year, but at least we learned things from him."

Daphne nodded in agreement and took her usual place on the sofa near the fireplace. "You know, apparently, the Defence position is cursed," she said. "I heard Sierra and Larika talking the other night. They don't like Lockhart either, he's boring in their lessons too, apparently. Anyway, if the rumour of Defence being cursed, hopefully, he'll be gone next year."

"Fingers crossed Dumbledore screens the next Professor a little better," said Blaise.

"In what department?" Theo asked. "Narcissism or general?"

"Both," Blaise said. "Lockhart is as sane as a back of rocks."

Daphne, Theo, and Teddie chuckled.

As she was pulling out the potion books she had received for her birthday, Teddie felt the sofa dip to her left and looked around to see Warrington sit down. He met her gaze and smirked. Feeling uncomfortable, Teddie slid closer to Theo.

"What's the matter, Green?" Warrington asked. "One would think that you wouldn't want to be near me."

"I don't," Teddie said. "Professor Snape has advised that I stay as far away from you as possible."

"Kind of hard to do when we're both in the same house, don't you think?" Warrington asked.

"Not unless we intentionally go out of our way to be near the other," Teddie said. "Which, as you very well know, I wouldn't do.

Warrington chuckled.

"Why are you trying to be nice?" Blaise asked. He and Daphne, who sat opposite Theo and Teddie, stood, and swapped seats with the pair, putting them opposite Warrington rather than beside him.

"Just following the Slytherin code," Warrington shrugged.

Daphne snorted. "Right. You only follow the rules when you want something," she said. "Whatever it is, Teddie doesn't have it. So why don't you just leave her alone?"

"Wow! It takes a special kind of witch or wizard to cast such a powerful controlling charm as the one you've cast on these four, huh, Green?" Warrington asked.

Teddie tensed, her eyes locked on the book in her lap.

Immediately, Theo wrapped his arm around Teddie and glared up at Warrington. "Just go away, Warrington!" he snapped. "You're overstepping the boundaries that Professor Snape specifically put in place to keep you away from us."

"Well, you've definitely got him wrapped around your finger, haven't you?" Warrington chuckled. "Maybe you're not a Muggleborn. Maybe you're a Halfblood? You definitely aren't a Pureblood; we'd be able to find that out easily enough."

"Shut up!" Teddie snapped, her hands curling around her book tightly.

"What was that?"

"I said shut up!" Teddie growled. She looked up at Warrington, her eyes narrowing as they met his gaze. "Just go away before you make me do something I'll regret later."

Warrington laughed. "That little 'party trick' you did on Malfoy may have scared everyone else, Green, but you don't scare me," he said. He stood and towered over her. "Besides, I now know what you are, what you're capable of."

"I don't know what you're talking about," Teddie said, feigning innocence.

"Sure you don't," Warrington scoffed. He stared at Teddie, but when her expression didn't change, he shrugged. "Whatever. Feign innocence. We all know the truth here. We all know what you are. Let's see how long you can keep this little secret, shall we?"

He stood and strode away, passing Marcus, Adrian and Derrick as they returned from their last class.

Marcus turned to glare after Warrington as his friends sat in their usual chairs around the second years.

"What did he want?" Marcus asked, finally taking a seat beside Teddie. "And please don't tell me it was nothing."

Teddie looked up at Marcus. "He was just trying to scare me," she said.

"Scare you, how?" Derrick asked. "Did he threaten you?"

Teddie shook her head.

"Ted," said Blaise, shaking his head softly. "You promised, remember? No more lies."

Teddie sighed and looked down at her book. She took a deep breath and looked up at Adrian, Marcus and Derrick.

"Was it about you playing Marcus and Theo again?" Adrian asked.

"No, I think he's moved on from that, actually," said Teddie. "He said that 'it takes a special kind of person' to cast a strong controlling charm like I have'."

Marcus tensed as Adrian and Derrick shared a look.

"You think he knows?" Derrick asked.

Teddie shrugged and looked at her friends.

"It sounded that way to me," said Daphne.

"He's trying to get under your skin," said Blaise. He was staring intensely at Teddie.

Teddie met his gaze. "It's working," she said.

"You can't let it," said Derrick. "It's what he wants."

"They're right, Ted," said Theo. "Warrington wants power over you. He wants you to be scared of him. You can't let him think he can control you, the second he thinks that then he won't let go."

Teddie heaved a heavy sigh, slid back into the couch and brought her knees up to her chest. She buried her head in her arms and hid away from her friends. She hated thinking that Warrington could control her, but if he knew her biggest, darkest secret, then he had all the control in the world.

He now possessed the ammunition to turn the whole school against her.

~X~

By the end of November, the Chamber of Secrets felt like a bad dream. No other animals had been attacked since Halloween, and so far it seemed the voice that Teddie had heard was nothing but the figment of her imagination.

Things seemed to be looking up until Professor Snape burst into the Slytherin common room on Thursday evening and called for an emergency meeting. He looked paler than usual, and his gaze swept around his students before landing on Teddie, The minute their gazes met, Teddie felt her heart drop into her stomach.

"There's been another attack," Professor Snape said, addressing the Slytherins. "This time it was a student. A first year Muggleborn by the name of Colin Creevey."

Teddie looked down at her homework. She didn't know Colin personally, but she had seen him around the school. He reminded her of Mason, quite a lot. He was bubbly and energetic, always taking pictures with his camera and getting them developed in magical oils so that the images would move.

On the few occasions she had been able to talk to him, Teddie had learned that he sent the pictures home to his family, to prove that everything at Hogwarts existed. Apparently, they were sceptical that he really had gone to a school of magic. He, just like her, had a younger brother that he was hoping was magical. Just like Teddie wanted Mason to come to Hogwarts, Colin wanted his brother Dennis to do the same.

"He was found on the seventh-floor corridor," Professor Snape said, snapping Teddie from her thoughts. "There was speculation that he had managed to take a picture of his attacker, but the film was burnt inside his camera. The other teachers do not wish for me to tell you this information, but I feel you had the right to know. Whatever is plaguing this school has now moved onto students, and it seems nothing can stop it."

Feeling eyes on her, Teddie looked up and glared at a grinning Parkinson across the common room. The pug-faced girl looked excited at the idea of a Muggleborn being attacked, even if she was clearly disappointed that the Muggleborn hadn't been Teddie, her warning was, slowly becoming true.

"Now, I understand that many of you in this house have distrust in one another," Snape continued, his gaze sweeping over Teddie and her friends to Malfoy and his own, and finally over to Warrington and his. "But, in this moment of uncertainty, I cannot stress our house rules enough. No matter the issues you have with your housemates, house unity has never been more needed. You must, and will, set aside your differences and protect your own. The rest of school already think we are somehow behind these attacks, let's not give them any more reasons to paint us as the bad ones. Do I make myself clear?"

Snape looked purposefully at the three groups in question. He knew, out of all Slytherins, these three would have a harder time trusting one another than anyone else. Especially Teddie, Draco, and Warrington.

"Yes, Sir," the house echoed.

"Good. Miss Waterstone, Mr Farley, I wish for a curfew to be set in place effective immediately," Snape said, turning to the two sixth-year Prefects. "Everyone must be in this common room by seven o'clock every evening, at least until the culprit behind these attacks are caught."

Sierra and Grayson nodded.

"Yes, Professor," Sierra said.

Snape glanced once more around the room and then left through the portrait hole. The second he was out of sight, did Parkinson start.

"You hear that, Green? Slytherins monster has started to attack your kind," Parkinson laughed. "It's actually a shame that it wasn't you, actually, but you know, it won't be long. You can't hide from it forever."

Teddie glared hatefully at Parkinson.

"Shut up, Pansy!" said Tracey Davies. She was in the same year as Parkinson and Teddie and had shared a dormitory with them since the first year. She hadn't really interacted much with the girls' in her dorm, especially since they always seemed to be fighting. She was pretty much a solitary person, and never got involved with fights unless she absolutely saw a reason too.

Teddie looked quickly to the usual quiet girl. Why was she defending her?

Even Parkinson looked surprised. "Got something to say, Davies?" she sneered.

"I said for you to leave Teddie alone," Tracey said. "Don't you think she has enough to worry about? If this thing really is targeting Muggleborns then the last thing she needs is the people who should be protecting her, turning against her."

Parkinson sneered. "She doesn't deserve our protection!" she shrieked. "She's the reason this place is going to the dogs. Any true Slytherin would agree with me when I say she needs to go."

"Whoever told you that clearly needs their head checked out at St Mungo's," Tracey said. "A true Slytherin stands by their own. They don't turn their backs on them, especially in times like these."

"I thought you were better than the Mudblood lovers at this school, Davies," Parkinson scoffed. "Clearly not."

Tracey shrugged. "Not everyone in this house is a Pureblood, you know? And even then, not all Purebloods care about blood status," she said. "You'll also find that not everyone in this house is ashamed of Teddie's blood status either. They're just afraid to let themselves be known. It's actually kind of sad. We're supposed to be the noblest house of them all, and yet most of us only care about themselves. I understand that Slytherin prized self-preservation as one of his traits, but that doesn't mean we all have to follow in his footsteps. If we did, the magical world would've died off years ago."

Parkinson sneered and turned away, going back to her friends.

Teddie looked at Tracey. "Thank you," she said with a small smile.

Tracey nodded and went back to her corner of the common room. She settled herself back under her blanket, picked up her book and turned the page.

A babble of talk broke out all over the common room as students went back to their previous conversations, others started to discuss the new attack, while others conversed about what had just happened between Tracey and Parkinson.

"That was interesting," Derrick said, looking back at his friends.

"Very," Adrian agreed.

"Looks like you've got more support than you think, Ted," said Theo.

Teddie tore her gaze away from Tracey and smiled at her friends. "It's nice to know that I'm not alone in all this," she said.

"You, alone?" Marcus asked, winding his arm around her. "Never!"

The friends laughed and Teddie laid her head on Marcus' shoulder. She could feel eyes on the back of her head but chose to ignore them. Knowing that she wasn't alone in Slytherin anymore, made her feel more in control than she had ever felt before.

She had friends.

She had silent defenders.

She felt protected.

Nothing could touch her now.

Chapter Text

"You should just come stay for Christmas."

Teddie rolled her eyes and looked up Marcus. They had less than three weeks before they went home for the holidays, and he was pestering her about staying with him for the whole two weeks instead of just New Year.

"You can bring Mason," Marcus said, quickly. "I wouldn't leave him out, you'd never let me."

Teddie grinned. Her reputation for including her brother preceded her. "I would like to see my own parents at some point over Christmas, you know," she said.

"They're invited too," Marcus said.

"You haven't even asked your parents!"

"I actually had this conversation with my father before we came back to school in September," Marcus countered. "I expressed how disappointed I was you couldn't come visit during the summer, and that I wanted you over for New Year. He was actually the person who suggested you stay for the whole two weeks."

"Yeah, I think he may have meant just me."

Marcus shook his head. "I think his words were: "Why don't you ask Teddie and her family over for Christmas. We'll make a party of it." Plus, you'd get to experience a real magical Christmas, your parents can meet your friends and their families, and Mason would have an awesome time just learning as much about our world as he possibly can in a short amount of time. We could introduce him to Quidditch before he comes to Hogwarts."

Teddie stared at Marcus, smiled and shook her head. "How long have you been planning this pitch?" she asked.

"Please, Teddie?"

"I wouldn't even know how to act around your parents," Teddie said. "I can be relaxed with you because you're my friend. I don't think I could hack two weeks of trying to be traditional. We're from two different worlds, things are done a hell of a lot differently."

Marcus scoffed and rolled his eyes. "Derrick's right, you're such a pessimist," he said, chuckling. "How many times do I have to tell you that my parents don't care about all that traditional stuff? If we did, they would've stopped our friendship a long time ago."

Teddie held Marcus' pleading gaze for a few seconds before sighing. Marcus grinned and swooped forward, pressing a kiss to her cheek.

"I'm going to go write home, let my parents know of the arrangements," Marcus said, standing. He didn't notice Teddie's blush as he left the common room.

Looking up from his book, Blaise smirked at Teddie.

"Shut up," Teddie mumbled. She grabbed a nearby cushion and buried her face in it.

From beside his best friend, Theo glared at the text in his book.

~X~

In the third week of December, Professor McGonagall came around, as usual, collecting names of those who would be either staying at Hogwarts for the Holidays or going home. She found Teddie and her friends heading down to the Great Hall and wasn't surprised when the whole group immediately signed the going home list.

"Miss Green, normally I would send this out on his birthday," said Professor McGonagall, reaching into her robe pocket and producing a thick envelope. Teddie recognised it immediately and her heart raced with excitement. "But, if you would so kindly give this to your brother and let him know that we're looking forward to seeing him on September 1st."

Teddie could barely contain her excitement as she took the envelope and inspected the front. Indeed, it was addressed to:

Mr Mason Green

1st Bedroom

15 Spinners End

Cokeworth, England

"I will, Professor," Teddie said, looking up at McGonagall. "Thank you!"

Professor McGonagall nodded and departed. Leaving Teddie and her friends to celebrate Mason's soon-to-be-addition to their Hogwarts group.

"This is even more of a reason for you to come spend Christmas with us," said Marcus, hugging Teddie. "Mason can learn so much over the holidays that he'll be prepared for September."

"He's going to be so stoked!" Teddie grinned.

"You are excited," Daphne laughed. "He's going to be over the moon."

Teddie drew her lower lip into her mouth and grinned. "I can't wait to see him," she said, happily. "It's going to be torture not being able to tell him until his birthday."

"Give it to him when you see him," Derrick said. "It won't hurt."

"But, I thought they could only be received on their 11th birthday?" Teddie asked.

Derrick nodded. "Normally, yes," he agreed. "But did you get yours on your 11th birthday?"

Teddie shook her head.

"They didn't persecute you for having your letter late, why should they punish Mason for having his early."

"Besides, think about how excited he will be," said Adrian. "If you want, you could keep it as a Christmas gift for him."

Teddie looked down at the envelope and smiled. "Alright. I'll give it to him Christmas morning," she said.

"Then we can take him flying," Marcus said.

"You guys are seriously trying to steal my brother," Teddie accused, teasingly.

"I told you, Ted, you can't keep him forever," Blaise teased.

Teddie playfully stuck her tongue out, and as she slipped Mason's envelope into her backpack, she couldn't help but feel that Christmas had come early. They finally had proof that her brother was a wizard.

As they reached the Great Hall, the group noticed a small knot of students gathering around the notice board.

"Hey, what's going on?" Daphne asked. She pushed her way to the front, dragging Teddie alongside her. The two girls' paused as they stared at the piece of parchment pinned to the centre.

"What's it say?" Blaise asked.

"They're starting a Duelling Club," Teddie replied.

"Wicked!" Ron Weasley grinned, leaning closer to the notice-board. "I'd love to learn to duel. It could come in handy someday."

"Sure, if the Slytherin monster knows how to duel," Daphne muttered.

Teddie grinned as Weasley glared at them both.

"When's the first meeting," Harry Potter asked. "Hi, Teddie," he added, seeing the Muggleborn.

Teddie smiled back. "Hiya, Harry," she replied. "Oh, the first meeting is tonight," she added, pointing at the parchment. She run her finger across the date and time. "Great Hall at eight o'clock."

"Isn't that when the curfew is set?" Hermione Granger asked.

"They wouldn't start a duelling club unless it's supervised by Professors," said Blaise. He removed himself from the ever-growing crowd of students and made his way back across the Entrance Hall.

Linking arms, Teddie and Daphne squeezed their way out of the crowd and followed their friend.

"So, are we going?" Derrick asked.

Teddie shrugged. "I'm game if you guys are," she said.

"Same," Daphne agreed.

"Alright then," Adrian said. "Meet in the common room at 7:45, shall we?"

The friends nodded and went to dinner.

~X~

At eight o'clock, Teddie followed Theo and Marcus into the Great Hall. The four tables had disappeared and were replaced by one long podium. It was elevated slightly in the middle of the room and was lit by thousands of candles floating overhead.

Students mingled amongst themselves around the hall. Teddie spotted Harry Potter and his Gryffindor friends on the far side of the hall, the two met gazes and smiled as Teddie turned back to her own friends.

"Who do you think will be teaching us?" Daphne asked.

"Anyone is better than Lockhart," Theo said.

"You mean Professor-I'm-Best-At-Everything?" Teddie asked, pointing over the head of the other students. Professor Lockhart had just stepped up onto the stage and was smiling around at them all.

Several students groaned.

"His ego is way to big," Derrick muttered.

"He's also a compulsive liar," said Teddie. "There's no way he's done all these things. He's not old enough!"

"Unless he's a time traveller," said Adrian.

Teddie turned to her friend. "Seriously?" she asked.

"Well, it has to be a ministry approved reason to time travel," Adrian explained. "You can't just do it for the sake of it. But yeah, it's a possibility."

"When I thought I had heard it all," said Teddie, turning back to Lockhart. He was calling for everyone's attention as he walked up and down the stage.

Lockhart grinned. "Now, Professor Dumbledore has agreed to allow me to start this little Duelling Club, to train you all up in case you ever need to defend yourselves as I myself have done on countless occasions - for full details, see my published works," he said.

"Free publicity," Daphne muttered.

Teddie rolled her eyes as a cluster of nearby Ravenclaw girls, sighed dreamily. "What is that they see in this guy?" she whispered.

"He's famous," Derrick shrugged.

"Please don't start that again."

Teddie raised her hand into the air.

Lockhart grinned as he pointed her out. "Yes, Miss Green?" he asked.

"Doesn't duelling require more than one person?" Teddie asked. "I mean, you can't really duel yourself, can you? Unless you're facing your reflection or even your shadow, and even then…" she trailed off with a shrug.

"Indeed, my dear," Lockhart said, unsure of whether to take her seriously or not. "Allow me to introduce my assistant - Professor Snape."

Teddie's eyes widened and she looked at the end of the stage as her Potions Professor climbed up.

"He tells me he knows about duelling himself, not as much as myself, of course, but he's agreed to be a good sport and show you a demonstration," Lockhart said. "Now, I don't want any of you, youngsters, to worry, you'll still have your Potions master when I'm through with him, never fear."

Adrian leaned in closer to Teddie. "One galleon - Snape beats him," he whispered.

"Not a chance. That's an easy win," Teddie replied, shaking her head.

"Aw, come on, Ted," Adrian whined.

"How gullible do you think I am?"

Adrian smirked and shrugged.

Teddie shoved him away and turned back to the stage. She could hear Adrian chuckling as he caught his footing and stepped back into line beside Marcus and Derrick.

Lockhart and Snape were now facing one another. They bowed.

Teddie turned to Marcus. A question of 'why' on her face.

"Bowing is common courtesy," Marcus answered.

"Oh," Teddie murmured, her eyes still locked on the two Professors. She watched as they each raised their wands in front of them, like swords.

"As you see, we are holding our wands in the accepted combative position," Lockhart called. "On the count of three, we will cast our first spells."

As Lockhart finished his explanation, Teddie leaned in close to her friends and murmured, "I think I'd rather throw a punch. It's faster and much less complicated."

Her friends smirked and scoffed just as a dazzling flash of scarlet light hit Lockhart, and blasted him off his feet. He flew backwards off the stage, smashed into the wall and slid down it to sprawl on the floor.

Many students laughed.

Grunting, Lockhart stood and shook his head. He grabbed his wand as it lay beside him on the floor and looked around. He grinned at the worried faces, holding his arms wide to show that he was alright.

Snape sneered from the stage.

"Damn! I thought Professor Snape had hit him harder," Blaise muttered.

His friends chuckled.

"Excellent idea to show them that, Professor Snape, but if I had wanted to stop you it would've been too easy," Lockhart said, climbing back onto the stage. "But yes, students, that was a Disarming Charm."

"Maybe, Professor, it would be prudent to teach them how to block unfriendly spells?" Professor Snape suggested.

Lockhart hesitated, his mouth opening and closing like fish gasping for air.

"I never thought I'd see the day where Lockhart was speechless," said Theo.

Teddie grinned.

"An excellent idea, Professor Snape," Lockhart suddenly beamed. "I was just about to suggest it, myself. How about this?" He looked out at the students. "I'm going to walk amongst you, putting you into pairs and we'll practice together - Professor Snape, why don't you help me?"

Lockhart jumped from the stage and started pairing off students,

Teddie turned to her friends and instantly gravitated towards Theo. The boy smiled and reached for her hand, as Blaise and Daphne paired together.

"How about we make this fair?" Lockhart asked, wandering over. "Mr Zabini and Mr Nott, you two shall practice together." He said.

"But, sir," Teddie protested. "Theo and I always practice together."

"Precisely, you know each other's skills," Lockhart said. "It's hardly a fair fight."

"We're not supposed to be fighting, though, it's just a demonstration!"

Lockhart did not look impressed by the retaliation. "Miss Greengrass, you shall be paired with Miss Parkinson," he nodded at Pansy. "And Miss Green, you and Miss Davies, I believe should be a good mix."

Teddie looked at the girl that had defended her a few nights ago. She smiled.

Tracey nodded at Teddie's approach.

Lockhart looked around the hall ."Everyone have a partner?" he called. "Excellent! Now, wands at the ready!"

Teddie removed her wand from her sleeve, as Tracey followed suit. They both held their wands up like swords and stared at one another.

"Cast your charms to disarm your opponent only," Lockhart called. "We don't want any accidents here! Ready - one, two, three!"

The room exploded into colour. Spells and charms whizzed across the air, some hitting their targets, others hitting shields, one or two completely missed and hit other students in the backs, and poor Neville Longbottom wasn't able to defend or protect himself as Seamus Finnigan's spell hit him square in the chest.

"I didn't get the chance to thank you for the other night," said Teddie, blocking Tracey's spell and sending another one back.

"Actually you did," Tracey said. She waved her wand and a blue shield spilt from her wand.

"I mean properly," said Teddie. "You're one of the few people that have actually stood up for me. Can I ask why?"

Tracey shrugged. "I don't know, can you?" she smirked.

Teddie laughed. "Alright. May I ask why?" she repeated.

"It isn't just Muggleborns that are in danger of Slytherin's monster," Tracey explained. "All manner of witches and wizards are. Pureblood supremacists have clouded the true facts of the story with their own crazy ideas because they believe that Slytherin would never harm them because of their blood status, when in truth, Slytherin would harm anyone that got in his way."

"I take it you aren't one of those Purebloods?"

"Technically, I'm not a Pureblood," Tracey explained. "My mother was a Muggleborn. Granted she was a Ravenclaw whilst at school, but my father loved her."

Teddie stared at Tracey with a saddened look. "I'm sorry," she apologised.

Realising what she had said, Tracey forced herself to smile. "Thank you," she accepted. "But it was a long time ago. I don't even remember it."

"Still," Teddie said, offering her support.

Tracey nodded once and then looked around as Lockhart called for everyone's attention once more.

"Superb!" Lockhart said, happily. "You all have the makings of expert duellists. Do remember it was I that taught you, should anyone ask." He chuckled to himself and then became deadly serious again. "Now, who would like to lead us in a demonstration? A little show and tell, if you may?"

He looked around at the students, becoming increasingly disappointed when no one volunteered.

"Come now, come now, does no one wish to take the spotlight?"

"We're not all as vain as you," Tracey muttered.

Teddie laughed causing Lockhart to look in her direction.

"Miss Green, how about you?" Lockhart asked.

"How about no?" Teddie asked.

"Come now, Miss Green, there's no need to be shy."

"I'm not," said Teddie, shaking her head. "But I still stand by my earlier comment that throwing a punch would be faster than duelling."

Lockhart looked aghast and turned his attention away from Teddie. The young Slytherin exchanged a smug look with her friends as Lockhart found a new target.

"A bad idea, Professor Lockhart," said Snape. "Weasley's wand causes devastation with the simplest of spells, we'd be sending Potter to the Hospital Wing in a matchbox. May I suggest someone from my own house? Malfoy, perhaps?"

"This should be interesting," Tracey commented. "Malfoy hates Potter almost as much as he does you, Green."

"Should I be thankful for that?" Teddie asked.

Tracey shrugged.

Up on the stage, Harry and Malfoy approached one another and held up their wands like swords.

"Scared, Potter?" Malfoy taunted.

"You wish," Harry replied.

"On the count of three cast your charms to disarm your opponents, only to disarm, we don't want any accidents here!" Lockhart reminded the pair. "One - two -!"

With other plans in mind, Malfoy swung his wand over his shoulder and bellowed, "Serpensortia!"

Teddie watched as a long black snake shot out of Malfoy's wand. It hissed as it landed on the stage between the two boys, and then rose three-thirds of its body off the ground, ready to strike.

Malfoy looked pleased with himself.

"Don't move, Potter," said Snape, lazily. He stepped onto the stage and approached the angry snake. "I'll get rid of it for you."

"Allow me, Professor Snape!" Lockhart called. He stepped up behind Harry, brandished his wand at the snake and, with a loud bang sent it hurtling ten feet into the air.

The snake hissed as it landed with a thump back on the stage.

Those nearest and backed up. Teddie, however, forced her way between the students and looked upon the snake with fascination.

"Teddie, don't!" Marcus said, grabbing her shoulder and trying to pull her back to the others. "Not here. You don't want to expose yourself like this!"

"I'm not going to do that," Teddie said. "But that thing is a black cobra. It doesn't take much to agitate it and cause it to strike. After what Lockhart just did to it? It's going to be looking for a target."

"You don't have to be that target!"

"I wasn't planning on it."

"Then what do you intend to do?"

Teddie reached into her robe pocket and pulled out two frozen rodents. "I was saving these for Morgana and Merlin, but I'm sure I can sacrifice one to keep that thing happy. At least long enough until we can get rid of it," she said.

"Teddie, Marcus, lookout!" Adrian called from somewhere in the crowd.

Marcus looked up and instantly pulled Teddie into his arms. Whilst they had been plotting the snake had slithered straight towards them, hissing furiously. Its forked-tongue flickered in and out rapidly, tasting the air, and its fangs were exposed as it locked eyes with the two students.

Teddie felt all thoughts leave her head as the snake's gaze bore into hers. She heard it's voice change from a hiss to plain English - "Prey…"

"No!" Teddie called. But her voice was muffled by an order of "Leave them!"coming from the far end of the stage. The snake stared at Teddie for a few seconds and turned to the second voice. Teddie followed its gaze and saw Harry staring down at the snake, a blank look on his face.

Soon, Harry blinked and the faraway look on his face disappeared. He lifted his head, his gaze meeting Teddie's and shock settled upon his features. Teddie could only imagine the thoughts racing through his head. Maybe he had expected her to be grateful to him, thankful that he had stopped the snake from attacking her and Marcus, but if her face showed her true feelings than the only expression she could have was that of shock.

Harry Potter could talk to snakes, too.

He was just like her.

He was a Parselmouth.

Chapter Text

Soon it was the Christmas holidays, and Teddie found herself sitting on the Hogwarts train heading home. She couldn't believe how excited she was to be leaving the castle. Granted she loved the idea of seeing Mason again, but the last four months had been total hell, even for her, and she was glad to be putting it behind her for two weeks.

"My father is going to be meeting us on the Platform," Marcus told Teddie as she stared out of the window. She hadn't said much since boarding the train, choosing to remain with her thoughts than interacting with her friends. Theo and Adrian were playing Wizard's chess near the door, while Daphne, Blaise, and Derrick were discussing their favourite Christmas tradition.

Teddie glanced at Marcus and nodded.

"He wrote to me yesterday to let me know that he would be picking Mason up before coming to collect us," Marcus added. "So, you'll get to see your brother before reaching mine."

Teddie smiled. The prospect of seeing Mason made her feel loads better. She could feel Marcus' eyes on her and sighed as she met his gaze. "Sorry, I know I'm not much company right now," she said. "I'm just thinking about Harry."

It had been a week since Hogwarts had discovered Harry Potter was a Parseltongue. Teddie's friends couldn't have been more happy, at least with Potter being a Parseltongue it would take suspicion off of Teddie. But the young female couldn't help but feel more scared. In the last week she had seen how the whole school had turned against Harry, what would they do when they learned she could speak to snakes too?

"You're not going to be alone," Marcus said, reassuringly. "Half the school could turn against you, but we won't. I won't."

Teddie considered him for a few seconds, her gaze unwavering from his. She then smiled. "Thank you," she said.

Marcus nodded once and sat back in his seat.

~X~

"Teddie! Teddie!"

At the sound of her brother's voice, Teddie smiled and looked up. She spotted Mason pushing his way through the crowd. He struggled for a second and then was finally able to throw his arms around her.

"Mason, it's great to see you!" Teddie sighed, wrapping her arms tightly around him. She hugged him tightly, feeling lighter than she had done in the last few months. As they parted, Teddie spotted an elder man approaching, he looked so much like Marcus that it was impossible to deny any relations.

"Father," Marcus said. "This is Teddie Green. Teddie, this is my father - Mortimer Flint."

"Pleasure to finally meet you, young lady," said Mortimer. "And, please, call me Mo."

"Same," Teddie nodded. "Thank you for having us for Christmas."

Mo waved his hand, dismissively. "Your parents, I'm saddened to say, won't be joining us," he said.

Teddie nodded. "I know. They let me know this morning," she said. She looked down at Mason and hugged him close to her again. "Thank you for bringing Mason."

"Of course," Mo said, nodding. He finally looked around at the others in their group. It was obvious from the look on his face that he recognised them. Why wouldn't he have? Only she and Mason were indistinguishable in the Wizarding World given their Muggle status.

"Well, I should go find mum," said Blaise. He turned to Teddie and hugged her. "I'll send your Christmas gifts in the next few days - and don't try to argue, you know you won't change my mind."

Teddie sighed and closed her mouth. "I hate you," she grumbled.

Blaise grinned as he pulled away. "Of course you do," he teased. "Bye Mason. Happy Christmas."

"Bye, Blaise," Mason said. He smiled and waved as Blaise departed the group.

Mo watched as the young lad disappeared through the barrier and then turned back to the kids left behind. "Miss Greengrass, your parents have already informed me that they'll be attending our annual Christmas party," he said. "You're welcome to join us at the manor this evening or tomorrow with your parents."

"Oh," Daphne said, her eyes wide at the proposal. She looked at her friends and then back at Mo. "Um, may I join you this evening?" she asked.

Mo nodded and took out his wand. He waved it over the collective of trunks beside the group, shrinking them down to size. He then collected them and shoved them into his pocket. "Since we're a rather large group, we'll have to split - Langarm," he called behind him.

Teddie looked up as Cerberus Langarm approached from out of nowhere. He met her gaze and smiled.

"Hello again, Miss Green," Langarm greeted.

"Hi," Teddie smiled.

"Did you have a good first term?"

Teddie shrugged. "It could've been better," she said.

Langarm furrowed his brow as he considered the teenager before him. At the beginning of the year she couldn't wait to return to Hogwarts, and suddenly she didn't seem at all happy. It was completely opposite to the image he had envisioned.

"Right, Langarm, if you will take Marcus, Mr Pucey, and Mr Bole on ahead to the Manor, I'll follow behind with Mr Nott, Mr and Miss Green, and Miss Greengrass."

"Of course, sir," Langarm nodded. He gathered Derrick, Adrian, and Marcus together and disappeared.

Once they were gone, Mo turned to the underage students left. "I take it you've all disapparated before?" he asked.

"Theo and I have," Teddie said. "Mason hasn't. Daph?"

Daphne nodded.

"Okay. Miss Green, it is important that you keep a firm grip on your brother," said Mo.

Teddie nodded and looked at Mason, drawing him in and winding her arms tightly around him. "This is going to be a bit uncomfortable," she said. "Just hold on, alright?"

Nervously, Mason wound his arms around Teddie's waist and buried his face into her chest. Teddie felt Mr Flint grip her shoulder firmly, and then all the air left her lungs.

~X~

Flint Manor was directly in the heart of the English countryside. Teddie had never seen any place so spacious before, and she had spent much of her life growing up on a farm in South Wales, but her grandparents land was nothing compared to Marcus'.

The little farm cottage was a dollhouse in contrast to Marcus' home. The house itself had three floors, with fifteen bedrooms and bathrooms, a master bedroom and an ensuite. Mason had almost choked when he realised he was getting his own bedroom for the holidays.

"This is going to be strange," the ten-year-old had said.

"Don't worry," Marcus had assured him. "Teddie is right next door. So you're not a world away."

Teddie merely smiled and hugged her brother. Their close-knit relationship was something her friends envied more than anything, she was sure.

"This is the parlour," Marcus said, continuing the tour. They had started on the third floor and were not finally on the ground. "Through here is the family room, then we have the grand ballroom."

"Your father said something about a Christmas Ball," said Teddie. "Is that compulsory?"

"Why, don't like dances, Green?" Derrick asked.

Teddie made a face.

"She can't dance," Mason said, ducking Teddie's hand as she took a swipe, all the while gawking at him.

Derrick snorted.

"Sue me. I traded my ballgowns when I was old enough to realise that we live in a society overrun by the male ego," Teddie said.

"Ouch," the boys gasped.

Teddie rolled her eyes as Daphne laughed.

"Anyway, sadly, yes, the Christmas Ball is compulsory," Marcus said. "My parents are throwing it in your honour this year."

"Can't you tell them not too?"

Marcus shot her a look.

"What? I don't want a Christmas party in my honour," Teddie defended. "I'm used to a quiet Christmas with my parents and Mason, and occasionally snowball fighting in the street. Why can't I just have that with you?"

Adrian, who had been silently watching the conversation, perked up. "I'm up for a snowball fight," he announced.

"Me too," Derrick agreed.

"Me three!" Mason grinned. His eyes alight with excitement. "I call dibs on Daphne as my partner."

Teddie shook her head and grabbed Theo's arm. "I found my partner," she said.

Adrian and Derrick shared a look and paired up, leaving Marcus alone.

"We're at a serious disadvantage," Marcus grumbled.

Teddie laughed and grabbed his arm. "You can join us," she said.

"That's not fair," Derrick protested. "How come you get to be a trio?"

"Because you were to slow in the selecting ceremony," Teddie said. "You can have him if you like. It'll be more fun when we beat you."

"How do you work that one out?" Adrian asked as Marcus joined his best mates, instead. "There's three of us."

Teddie's eyes gleamed with excitement and a grin spread across her lips. "Three's a crowd," she said. "Mason, you know the rules. Since you're the youngest, you get a ten-second head start to get to higher ground. Ten...Nine...Eight...Seven..."

"Come on!" Mason squealed. He grabbed Daphne's hand and tugged her from the room.

Theo laughed as the pair disappeared.

Derrick frowned. "How come they get a headstart?" he asked.

"I always give Mason a ten-second headstart because he's younger and smaller than me," Teddie said. "Unfortunately, for you three, you're older and much bigger than me, so you don't get the same advantages. But don't worry, even time means an even chance of winning."

Derrick smirked and stepped up to Teddie, holding out his hand. "Care to wager on that?" he asked.

"What's the deal?" Teddie asked, curiously.

"If we win," Derrick said. "You have to spare a dance with each of us at the party."

"And what if I win?"

"If you win -"

"If you win, you don't have to attend, at all," Marcus interrupted.

Teddie looked at him, quickly. She smirked and shook hands with Derrick. "Deal! Come on, Theo, we've got a war to win." She grabbed his hand and pulled him from the room.

Adrian smirked as he looked at Derrick and Marcus. "Let the battle commence," he announced.

~X~

Derrick breathed heavily as he ducked behind the makeshift fort he, Marcus, and Adrian had managed to construct. It wasn't much, but it was protecting them from Theo, Teddie. Daphne, and Mason. Using their ten-second head start to their advantage, Daphne and Mason had managed to get to higher ground and construct a snow castle, out of which they were unleashing torrents of snowballs.

"I think we've underestimated our enemies," Adrian said, ducking as another two snowballs flew overhead.

"I knew I didn't like that glint in Teddie's eyes," Marcus said. He ducked another snowball and then straightened up, throwing the perfectly shaped sphere of snow in his hand. It splattered against the tree trunk that Teddie had been hiding behind.

As the snow exploded he spotted the redhead peeking around the trunk. She raised her hand and threw a medium-sized snowball in his direction. He ducked seconds before the ball flew overhead.

"Geez, her aim is on point," Marcus complained. "If she wasn't so afraid of flying I'd have her try out for Chaser."

"Hey!" Derrick and Adrian exclaimed. There were only three Chaser positions on any Quidditch team, and they occupied two.

Marcus rolled his eyes. "Obviously after we graduate," he assured them.

"If her aim is that good she should try out for Beater," Derrick said.

Adrian shook his head. "Anyone else find it unfair that she'd be perfect for every Quidditch position?" he asked. He raised his head and quickly dived for cover as another snowball sailed overhead. This time it came from on high. He looked up and saw Mason dive behind his fort.

Derrick had also spotted Daphne and Mason. "Anyone else get the feeling that we're outnumbered?" he asked.

Adrian shot him an obvious look.

"No, I mean, do you get the feeling that we've been teamed up against," Derrick said.

"I do," Marcus nodded. "There's like some unspoken alliance between them four."

"That's so unfair," Adrian said. "Although, it makes sense. Teddie and Mason aren't really going to want to attack one another, and Teddie is too soft on her brother, she'd willingly throw the battle if it meant he got a safe win."

Derrick and Marcus agreed.

"We need an advantage," said Marcus. He carefully peered over the top of the fort, peering around carefully for any sign of the others. It was quiet.

Adrian stopped, listening intently.

"Where'd they go?" Derrick asked, also peering over the top of the fort. The area was deserted.

"I don't like this," Adrian said, fear creeping into his voice.

"I agree," Marcus nodded. He scooped up a handful of snow and rolled it into a ball. Adrian and Derrick copied him and, with unsure glances, the three straightened up.

The area was dead. There was no sign of Theo or Teddie anywhere, even up high Daphne and Mason were silent… and missing.

"Did they quit?" Adrian asked.

"There's no white flag," Derrick said, shaking his head.

"Stay on your guard," Marcus warned. "This could be a trap."

The trio nodded and crept out from behind their fort. Their boots crunched on the snow, meaning they stopped and started several times, but still no one jumped out on them or attacked.

"Did they seriously abandon us?" Adrian asked. He dropped his arm to his side and looked around.

SPLAT!

Derrick and Marcus whipped around just in time to see a snowball smash into the side of Adrian's face, exploding into a flurry of snow chunks.

Ahead, running full speed from behind a half-constructed snow mound was Daphne and Mason, they were wildly throwing Snowballs, hitting everything and everyone within the vicinity.

"RETREAT!" Derrick shouted. Both he and Marcus grabbed Adrian and made a mad dash back to their fort. They stopped in their tracks as they were greeted by Theo and Teddie, each one standing in front of the fort, and holding four snowballs between them.

"Oh shit!" Marcus said.

Teddie smirked. "Do you surrender?" she asked.

Derrick glanced behind him as Daphne and Mason blocked off their backend. They two were holding more snowballs. "Not a chance!" he said.

"Have it your way," Theo said. He held up a snowball, Teddie, Daphne, and Mason copied him.

Derrick raised his own snowball and took aim.

Marcus did the same.

"ATTACK!" Teddie yelled. She threw her snowball as hard as she could at the pair of boys, it exploded against Derrick's chest, causing him to stumble back. His foot hit a submerged rock and he fell over, landing with a crunch in the snow.

Marcus and Adrian looked around and then at each other. They were surrounded and severely outnumbered.

Looking back at Teddie. Marcus dropped his snowball and held his hands up in defeat. "You win," he told her.

Teddie grinned and folded her arms. "Did I forget to mention that I'm unstoppable when it comes to snowball fights?" she asked.

"You may have forgotten to mention the alliance between you and your brother," Adrian said. "It would've been nice to know beforehand."

Mason grinned. "We were at a disadvantage," he said. "What with your group being much bigger and older. It was only fair."

"I agree," Daphne nodded.

"All's fair in love and war," Theo said, throwing his arm around Teddie's shoulders. Teddie rested her head against his shoulder.

"Guess that means you win the bet, too, huh?" Adrian asked Teddie.

Teddie shrugged. "Who knows," she said. "Maybe I'll give you the benefit of doubt and attend anyway."

"In that case," said Derrick, straightening up and brushing the snow from his shoulders. "We need to teach you a few things."

"You'll also need to dress the part," said Daphne. "Come on, I'll write to mum and see if she can take us shopping. You too, Mason, you'll also need dress robes."

Teddie groaned. "I take it back," she grumbled. "I don't want to go."

The boys laughed.


 

Chapter Text

Daphne squealed as Teddie stepped out from behind the shade. She was wearing the knee-length silver cocktail dress with a sweetheart neckline that her grandmother had bought her for Christmas last year. Daphne wasn't particularly fond of the dress herself, but she found that it looked absolutely beautiful on Teddie.

"What do you think?" Teddie asked, shyly. She run her hand over the skirt, trying her hardest make it longer than possible.

"You look amazing!" Daphne said. "Silver really suits you."

Teddie blushed.

"Mum!" Daphne called, whirling around and striding towards the bedroom door. She opened it a crack and stuck her head outside. "Mum, can you come here? We need your help."

The door opened and Teddie looked up to see Darla Greengrass enter the room. She was wearing a stunning floor-length, off-the-shoulder lilac dress with silver flower trimmings around the neckline.

"Oh, Teddie, you look absolutely beautiful!" Darla cooed.

Teddie lowered her head, avoiding the gaze of her best friend's mother. "Thanks," she mumbled, quietly.

Darla laughed lightly. "Now, sweetheart," she said, tapping her finger against Teddie's chin and lifting her head. "I know why Daphne has asked me here. Let us finish this look with a stylish updo, shall we?" She glanced at her daughter an smiled, assuringly. "Daphne, why don't you go dress while I finish off Teddie's attire."

"Yes, Mum," Daphne nodded. She took the bag containing her dress and disappeared behind the shade.

Darla ushered Teddie into the chair before the mirror. She withdrew her wand from her hair, her long blonde locks curling down around her shoulders. She smiled at the amazement on Teddie's face. "Trust me, Teddie, you'll look even better than I, tonight."

"I doubt that," Teddie said.

Darla leaned down and hugged Teddie, resting her chin on her the young girl's shoulder. "I love Daphne, you know that, but I am sure you are going to be Belle of tonight's Ball," she smiled.

Teddie blushed, again.

Darla chuckled and straightened up. "Now, what do you think of a twisted braid crown?" she asked.

Teddie shrugged. She'd never been much for fashion, make-up, or even fashionable hair-dos. "I trust you," she said. It was all she could say. She would accept Darla's decision.

"Let's see," Darla said. She moved her wand silently and flawlessly through the air, running it easily through Teddie's red locks. She twirled the tip through each strand individually as white streaks spirited from the end, each one twinning and twisting Teddie's hair up into a braided crown, whilst the rest hung down behind her shoulders, curling slightly at the ends.

Teddie stared, slack-jawed at her reflection.

Darla smiled. "I wouldn't be surprised if the others don't recognise you," she said, fondly. "What do you think, Daphne? Is she unrecognisable yet?"

Darla spun Teddie around on the stool and presented the finished teenager to her daughter. Daphne was wearing a knee-length satin dress, similar to Teddie's, but instead of silver, it was green.

"Oh, definitely," Daphne agreed. "You're going to make the adults blush."

Teddie couldn't help but giggle.

Darla smiled and helped Teddie down from the stool. "And now for you, Daphne, dear," she said, holding her hand out to her daughter. "How does a mermaid braid sound?"

"Sounds fabulous, Mum," Daphne said, settling herself in front of the mirror.

Teddie stood close by, watching as Darla set to work. She had to agree with Daphne and Darla. If she couldn't recognise her own reflection, how were the boys' going to react?

~X~

Ursula Flint smiled as she spotted her son arrive, as per usual, he looked positively handsome in his dress robes. She watched closely as he spotted his friends and made his way over, he must've said something because both Adrian and Derrick shook their heads.

"Excuse me," Ursula said, excusing herself from her husband and company. She carefully made her way through the mingling guests and placed her hand on Marcus' shoulder. "Looking for someone?" she asked.

"We were looking for Teddie," Marcus said. "I know she's not fond of balls. I was just curious as to if she upheld her end of the deal, or did she bail at the last second? I wouldn't be surprised if she did, I did say she didn't have to come since she won the snowball fight."

Ursula chuckled. "Maybe your young Slytherin is closer than you think," she said.

Derrick and Adrian exchanged looks. What did that mean?

"Have you or father announced her yet?" Marcus asked. If he had missed Teddie's entrance he wouldn't forgive himself. He hadn't seen Teddie since earlier that evening. Once the Greengrass' had arrived, Darla had whisked Teddie and Daphne off to one of the ensuites to help them get ready for the dance.

Ursula shook her head. "No, but your father says they are next," she assured her son.

A clink echoed from the other side of the ballroom, and a hushed silence fell. Ursula turned quickly, locating her husband at the front of the crowd, he stood near the long staircase leading from the first-floor landing into the into the wide, and empty, Entrance Hall.

"Ladies and Gentleman," Mo Flint called. "It was the greatest pleasure that my wife and I welcome you to our annual Christmas Ball. We will admit that this year we were aiming for a quiet family affair, but, in honour of our special guests, we've decided to go ahead with the festivities. Now, I would like to ask you all to join me in welcoming Miss Teddie Green, and her younger brother, Master Mason Green."

The whole room applauded, but Marcus' attention was drawn to the top of the staircase. His eyes widened and he gulped as he watched the thirteen-year-old female that he knew to be Teddie, run her hand down the rail whilst holding her brother's shoulder. She looked unmissable in her silver dress, and if his father hadn't have announced her by name, he would never have recognised her.

"Wow," Derrick said, also unable to believe his eyes. "We need to force her to attend these things more often."

"I think she'd kill us," said Adrian. "But she does clean up rather well."

"I'm glad I'm not the only one who seems to think so," said Daphne, weaving her way through the crowd with Blaise and Theo. "Just don't stare too long, Teddie seems to be very self-conscious about her appearance. She wouldn't stop blushing upstairs."

Once Teddie and Mason had stepped into the Entrance Hall the gathered crowd dispersed, returning to their conversations before the interruption. Mason quickly took Teddie's hand and scanned the room. The siblings looked, and felt, like fish out of water as they desperately tried to find someone they knew.

"Teddie, dear, you look positively radiant," Ursula said, swooping down on the pair, "and Mason, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you were of Pureblood status. Of course," she added quickly, "that means nothing in this house. You and your sister are welcome here anytime."

Teddie smiled and felt Mason squeeze her hand. "Thank you, Mrs Flint, we're happy to be here," she said.

"Please, dear, call me Ursula," said the matriarch. She spotted her son and friends making their way through the crowd and smiled. "If you need anything, please don't hesitate to ask. Have a good night and Happy Christmas."

Wishing their host a Merry Christmas, Teddie and Mason watched as she walked away before their attention was stolen by their friends.

~X~

As the party wore on, Teddie lost track of time as she awkwardly accepted compliments from her friends and many couples that had attended the party. Some couples, like the Boles' and Puceys', were warm and inviting, but others, like Aileen and Taurus Warrington weren't.

"You're the filthy mudblood that my son speaks of, I see," Taurus said, sweeping Teddie out onto the dance floor. In normal situations, he wouldn't have been caught dead touching someone of her status, but this seemed the best opportunity to talk. Cornering her on the side of the dance floor would surely cause more of a scene than a dance.

Teddie's grip tightened on the older man's hand.

Taurus chuckled. "If you were of a more pure status, I'd say you'd be a perfect match for my son," he said. "As the circumstances are, I will not tolerate a mere friendship between you."

"It's a good thing he and I aren't friends, then, isn't it?" Teddie snapped.

"Indeed. Unlike some," Taurus hissed, his glare vanishing into the crowd and seeking out Teddie's friends. "My son has more sense when it comes to his companions."

Abruptly, Teddie stopped dancing. The suddenness caused Taurus to return his attention to her.

"Say what you want about me and my blood status," Teddie snapped, stepping back. Her glare hardened as she met Taurus'. "But leave my friends out of it! They're old enough to make their own choices, and not everyone in this world is as prejudice as you are."

"Prejudice?" Taurus laughed. "Oh no, dear child, prejudice is the deep-rooted preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. My experience with your kind is short-lived, thankfully. I see no reason for why you exist."

"In which case, I pity you, Mr Warrington," she said. "You live in a one-dimensional world with no idea that there is a whole other existence out there. Muggles and Muggleborns may seem beneath you, but if it weren't for us your world wouldn't have thrived for as long as it has. So, go ahead, judge us, pity us, even, but do not, for one second underestimate us. You'd be surprised at what we mere muggleborns are truly capable of."

With one final glare, Teddie turned toe and strode back into the crowd. She quickly located her friends and took a deep, calming breath as she reached them.

"Uh-oh," said Derrick, taking in Teddie's appearance. "I'm guessing that dance wasn't just a dance, huh?"

"It would seem that Malfoy isn't the only person that gets his hatred for me and my kind from his father," Teddie said. "Mr Warrington practically told me exactly what Mr Malfoy did - that I don't belong here. Although his actual words were "I see no reason for why you exist'."

"I take it by the glare he is giving you," said Marcus, spotting Mr Warrington from across the room. "You had something to say in return?"

Teddie shrugged. "I didn't say anything that wasn't true," she defended. "You'd think Warrington would've told his father of how outspoken I am, I mean, he seems to tell him everything else about me."

"That's creepy," Daphne said, shuddering. "I'm going to need to bleach my mind after this, but if I didn't know any better, I'd say Warrington is crushing on you given the amount of time and effort he puts into tormenting you."

"Ew!" Teddie groaned. "Thanks a lot, Daph, now I'm going to have nightmares for the rest of my life."

"At least you'll be in good company," said Theo, also disgusted.

The others nodded in agreement.

"Sorry," said Daphne, smiling apologetically.

~X~

Soon, without anyone even realising, the clock struck midnight.

Teddie, who was now dancing with Theo, jumped and looked around as large gong seemed to echo from someone inside the house.

Theo chuckled as they continued to move slowly in a revolving circle, around the room. "At least I know you haven't fallen asleep on me," he teased.

"You'd have to be extremely boring for me to fall asleep on you," said Teddie. "Thankfully, you aren't."

"Thanks," Theo said, fighting back a blush.

Teddie smiled and glanced around. The hall looked a lot less full than it had all night. Many couples had already started to take their leave, whilst many remained, lingering and talking the night away with their friends and hosts. Dancing nearby, Teddie spotted Blaise and Daphne, the pair seemed lost in conversation, but due to the space between them, Teddie couldn't hear what was being said.

"Am I the only one that thinks they're oblivious?" Theo asked, following his best friend's gaze.

"No, I think it, too," said Teddie. "How long have you known Daphne and Blaise?"

"Most of my life," Theo said. "We've never been as close as we are now, though." He paused. "I guess we have you to thank for that, though, huh?"

Teddie shrugged. "I'm not so sure about that," she said. "I mean, I didn't exactly do much."

"You brought us together, Teddie," said Theo. "I didn't exactly have 'friends' before I met you. Sure, I knew people from other pureblood families, but I wouldn't have called them friends. Daphne and Blaise were more like acquaintances back then."

Teddie smiled and shook her head. "From what I know of you when we first met, I'd have said you were a loner growing up," she said. "Shy, timid, quiet… I guess you needed someone who was willing to take the time and break down those walls of yours."

"I'm glad it was you, to be honest," Theo admitted.

"Me too," Teddie agreed. The pair fell silent for a little while before Teddie tilted her head and looked up at Theo. "Do you believe in fate?" she asked.

Theo shrugged. "In what definition?" he asked.

"In the definition that maybe we were meant to have met that day in Kings Cross?" Teddie asked. "I could have met anyone of you - Blaise, Daphne, even Marcus, but it happened to be you and your mother that helped me onto the platform. It's almost like something, somewhere, knew that we needed each other."

Theo considered her words carefully, a small smile coming to his face as they sunk in. "I don't know," he said. "But whatever the reason, can you imagine what it would be like if we hadn't have met?"

"I probably would've been expelled from Hogwarts by now," Teddie laughed. "Honestly, Theo, you really calm me down. You're like the water to my fire. Sure, it doesn't work all of the time, but most of the time."

Theo smiled and, taking her hand, twirled her in a circle.

Teddie laughed as she spun under his arm, and finally back into them. "Merry Christmas, Theo," she whispered, winding her arms around his neck and resting her head on his shoulder.

"Merry Christmas, Teddie," Theo replied, sliding his around her waist.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Teddie awoke to her bed dipping. She knew, without needing to open her eyes, that it was Mason. It was Christmas morning, and despite the late night they had had the previous evening because of the big Christmas Ball, the age-old tradition the siblings had of playing in the morning snow was still something that went ahead.

"Teddie," Mason whispered, crawling up the bed. He pulled back the covers and, grinning, shook her shoulder. "Come on, Ted, it's Christmas! I want to play in the snow."

"We aren't at home, though," Teddie said, rolling over and sitting up. She rubbed her eyes and yawned. "Can't we skip it, just once?"

Mason looked scandalised.

Teddie giggled and shook her head. "Fine," she sighed. "Go get dressed, and remember to dress warm and to be quiet! It's still early. We don't want to wake the others."

"Got it," Mason said. He clambered down from the four-poster bed and scampered off into his bedroom. The two bedrooms were separated by a single door on the far side of the room. Teddie was thankful to Marcus for making sure she and Mason were so close together. It wasn't the same as sharing a bedroom, but at least she knew he was close by if they needed each other.

Stretching, Teddie checked the magical clock on her bedside table and bit back a yawn. She'd only been asleep for five hours, according to that. But tradition was tradition, and she and Mason had a snowball fight every Christmas morning at dawn. Just because they weren't at their own house shouldn't have changed that.

Once she was dressed, Teddie wandered into Mason's bedroom just as he was pulling on a woollen hat and gloves. He was decked in his warmest clothes, some of which Daphne had bought him as an early birthday present, and his face was already red from the heat he was packing.

"Let's get you outside before you overheat," Teddie said, biting back a laugh.

Mason caught his reflection in the mirror and snorted. "I look like a rosy posy," he teased.

Teddie laughed quietly and opened his bedroom door. It led out onto the first-floor landing, Daphne, Blaise, and Theo also had rooms on this floor, as well as Marcus, Adrian, and Derrick. Ursula and her husband were on the second floor, while Daphne's parents occupied a guest room on the third floor.

Pressing a finger to lips, Teddie ushered Mason passed the door labelled 'Marcus' and down the stairs. They crept, as quietly as possible, hoping that there were no creaking steps and into the grand entrance hall. It looked just as empty as it had done the previous night after they had been announced by Mo Flint.

"Oi, where are you going?" Teddie whispered urgently to Mason. "The door is this way!" she pointed to the massive set of double doors to her left.

"Hang on a sec," Mason said, stepping towards a slightly ajar door to his right. He pushed it open a bit more and carefully peered inside.

"Mason!" Teddie hissed.

Mason disappeared into the room and, after a couple of seconds, Teddie followed him. Her intent was to scold him for snooping around in someone else's house, but her scold became lost on her tongue as she realised the room they had stepped into was the library. It was almost as big as the rest of the house, with hundreds up hundreds of books stacked high in tall bookcases.

"Holy -" Mason said, his eyes as big as saucers as he looked up and down.

Teddie rolled her eyes. "So much for the snowball fight," she said, untying her scarf.

"There's time for that later," Mason said, hurrying over to the nearest bookcase. He unravelled his scarf from his neck and dropped it over a nearby chair. "Do you think they'll mind if I look through these?" he asked.

"I don't know, Mason, it's wrong to snoop through other people's things," Teddie said. "Mum and Dad won't be happy, and Mr and Mrs Flint have been good to us. Maybe we should wait, and then ask when everyone is awake later? It's only courtiers."

Mason pouted and looked up at the rows of books. He wanted so badly to just dive straight in.

"Have at it, Mason."

Teddie and Mason jumped and whirled around in alarm. Marcus stood in the library doorway. He was clad in a pair of pyjama bottoms and a thin quidditch t-shirt, and his short hair stood at odd angles, a clear sign that he had just woken up.

"Sorry," Teddie apologised, quickly. "We didn't mean to wake you. I thought we were quieter. We definitely weren't snooping. We were heading outside, but Mason found this place and got distracted, and -"

Marcus chuckled. "Stop apologising," he said, shaking his head, "and you didn't wake me. Snoopy did. He said that he'd seen you coming down the stairs, and was concerned that something was wrong. He didn't want to startle you, so he came and got me instead."

Teddie blushed and looked down. "Sorry," she mumbled. She felt terribly guilty for waking him, even though she hadn't done it personally.

"Seriously, Ted, it's fine," Marcus said. "Theo told me about how you and Mason have a snowball fight every Christmas morning before dawn. I'm not that surprised that you'd continue the tradition this year, despite not being at home."

"You're welcome to join us," Teddie said. She looked around at the sound of a squeak and saw Mason climbing a ladder. He took a book from the fourth shelf and climbed back down, settling himself into an armchair and propping the book open on his lap. She rolled her eyes and turned back to Marcus. "Or rather me," she added. "I don't think he's going to be moving anytime soon."

Marcus chuckled again and met her gaze. "Let me go change," he said. "I'll meet you back here in ten minutes."

Teddie nodded and waited as he left the room, she then turned to Mason. "Reading anything interesting?" she asked.

"Most Macabre Monstrosities," Mason answered.

"Magical monsters?" Teddie asked.

Mason smiled. "You have your weird quirks, I have mine," he said.

"Just don't give yourself nightmares," Teddie said. "I'm going back to school next week, I don't want Mum writing to me and saying that you're not sleeping because of something you've read."

"Scouts honour," Mason said, saluting his sister.

Teddie ruffled his hair and looked around as the door opened. Marcus shuffled inside. He was fully clothed and tucking his scarf inside his jacket when he pushed the door open.

"I did try to wake Adrian and Derrick," Marcus said. "But they'd sleep through an explosion." He chuckled.

Teddie cracked a smile. "It's okay," she said, shaking her head. "I don't think they could handle another defeat. I'm actually quite surprised that you're accepting another challenge."

"You caught me off guard last time," Marcus said. "It won't happen again."

"We'll see," said Teddie, her eyes glinting mischievously. "Have fun, Mason, and remember, stay here!"

Mason traced a cross over his heart, although his eyes never left the pages of his book. "Good luck, Marcus," he said. "You'll need it."

Teddie chuckled and left the library, heading towards the double doors.

"Any advice, Mason?" Marcus asked. "I mean, have you or anyone ever beat your sister in a snowball fight?"

"I'm usually always on her side," Mason said. "But, I will tell you to watch your six, Teddie is known for being very sneaky. She'll wait and watch as you tire yourself out, and then she'll move in for the final attack."

Marcus considered his words and then nodded. "Thanks, mate," he said, leaving the room. He followed Teddie across the hall and opened front doors.

The cold air hit them and they both shivered.

"Are we making another deal?" Marcus asked.

"Nope," said Teddie. "This isn't a competition, it's just for fun." She turned to Marcus and held out her hand. "Although I will say, let the best snake win."

Marcus gripped her hand and shook it. "To the best snake," he echoed.

Teddie grinned and, like a flash, run off into the frozen morning.

~X~

Later that morning, Teddie and Marcus returned to the house. Neither of them had won the snowball fight, even though Marcus did realise what Mason had meant when he said Teddie was sneaky in her tactics. Many times he found himself wearing down as he tried to catch Teddie out, but she never seemed to miss him.

"It's actually quite easy," Teddie said, ridding herself of her scarf and hat. "Getting someone else to defeat themselves. All you have to do is strike, and then hold back. Many snakes do it, ironically."

Marcus chuckled and shut the door on the icy winds. He was pink-faced, and so was Teddie, but neither was sure if it was because of the cold outside or from laughing.

"There you two are!"

Teddie and Marcus looked up to see Adrian and Daphne coming towards them.

"Where've you been?" Daphne asked. "Everyone's been looking for you."

"Well, you didn't look far," said Teddie. "We were only outside."

"You had a snowball fight without us?" Adrian asked.

"Hey, I tried to wake you!" Marcus defended. "You and Derrick were dead to the world."

Teddie laughed. "Besides, you can't blame Marcus, initially it was meant to be just me and Mason," she explained. "It's a Christmas tradition for us to have a snowball fight every Christmas morning before dawn."

"Let me guess, Mason discovered the library before you could get him outside?" Daphne asked, smiling.

"Got it in one," Teddie nodded. "Is he still in there, the library, I mean?"

Daphne shook her head. "He's in the dining room with the others," she said. "We're waiting on you pair so we can have breakfast."

"Then we're opening gifts," Adrian added. "You can give Mason his presents, Ted, and we can then figure out a trip to Diagon Alley."

"The only thing Mason really needs his a wand," Teddie said. "He's going to be using my books from last year. My parents can't afford new books, so, unfortunately, Mason gets my old ones. Not that he doesn't probably know them all from memory, anyway," she added with a soft chuckle.

Adrian, Daphne, and Marcus forced smiles. It was easy to forget that Teddie and Mason came from very little money. Especially because it didn't seem to bother the siblings. They rarely mentioned living in poverty, and always seemed to be happy with where they came from.

"Well, we can plan his trip to Ollivanders," Adrian said. "Come on, he needs his letter first."

"Alright. we're coming," Teddie said. She shrugged out of her cold, and slightly damp jacket, and followed Adrian and Daphne back down the hall.

Breakfast was a short affair. After it, Mo and Ursula Black dismissed the friends to the family room where they sat in front of a giant Christmas Tree decorated mostly in gold and silver tinsel and baubles. Mason had to crane his neck in an attempt to even see the top of the tree.

"How big is it, exactly?" Mason asked Marcus.

Marcus shrugged. "I don't know," he said. "It's definitely a lot bigger than last year, that's for sure."

"Let me guess," said Teddie, exasperatedly. "Because of me?"

Marcus smiled sheepishly as the others laughed.

"You need to tell your parents that I don't deserve special treatment," said Teddie.

"That's easier said than done," said Marcus. "Especially when it comes to my mother. She really seems to like you, and telling her not to spoil you is going to be difficult. She's always wanted a daughter."

"Why doesn't she try for one?" Mason asked.

Teddie shoved him, wrinkling her nose. Mason giggled.

Marcus shook his head, although he couldn't help but smile. "Trust me, she and dad have tried," he said. "Mum can't carry girls'."

"Oh," said Mason, apologetically. "Sorry."

"It's okay," Marcus shrugged.

Teddie shuffled closer to her friend and rested her head on his shoulder. "She could always adopt a daughter," she suggested. "I'm assuming the Wizarding world has an adoption agency?"

"It does," Adrian said. "But it's a lot harder to adopt a child here. The system is really confusing."

"How do you -" Mason started. He cut himself off and then shook his head. "Never mind. Not my business."

Teddie sighed and looked back at the tree. "Okay, changing the subject," she said, reaching for the first neatly wrapped box under the tree. "Presents!" she read the name and tossed it across the group at Derrick.

"That's my mother's handwriting," Derrick said, inspecting the name card.

"Well, what are you waiting for?" Teddie asked. "Open it."

Derrick saluted, much to Teddie's amusement, and tore into the wrapping paper. He opened the box and pulled out a brand new pair of Quidditch gloves.

"Considering your last pair are trashed," Adrian said. "These will come in handy for the rest of the season."

"Especially when you consider the fact that I didn't trash my last pair," Derrick shot back.

Adrian glared at his friend.

Teddie laughed and shook her head.

"Alright, next up," said Marcus, reaching for the next box. It was wrapped in brown paper with the name 'Mason' wrote on the card. But what caught Marcus' attention were the air holes in the lid.

Teddie caught Marcus' eye and reached for the box. "That's my gift," she said, pulling the box towards her.

"Why are there holes in the lid?" Marcus asked.

"Because what's inside needs oxygen to survive," Teddie said, sarcastically. She stuck her tongue out at Marcus and slid the box, carefully, across the floor to her brother. "Here. Merry Christmas."

Just like Marcus, Mason too was confused by the air holes. "Um…" he said, carefully tearing the paper and lifting the lid. He gasped and reached inside, pulling out a small pale green and white toad. "Oh! He's so adorable!"

Teddie grinned as she watched her brother coo over the toad. She figured the creature would be a perfect companion for Mason whilst he was at Hogwarts.

"But, I don't understand," Mason said. "We can't have any more animals at home. Your snakes prevent it."

"Luckily, Morgana, Merlin, and Priscilla don't eat toads," Teddie said. "He's not toxic, I checked, so he can be handled. Plus, he's only going to be at home for a couple of weeks during the summer."

Mason frowned at his sister. "Huh?" he asked. "What do you mean? Where's he going to be the rest of the time?"

Looking around at her friends, Teddie saw each of them sharing identical grins. She reached into her jumper pocket and pulled out an envelope. "Well, I was thinking you could bring him to school with you," she said, presenting the letter to her brother.

"School?" Mason repeated. He took the envelope and inspected the curvy writing on the front. Silence enveloped the group as Mason took in the inscription, his eyes growing wide with each word. When he had finished, he looked up at Teddie, checking to make sure this wasn't a joke.

"I'm serious," Teddie said. "McGonagall gave me the letter before I -" she broke off as Mason launched himself across the circle at her, his arms winding tightly around her neck and knocking her over backwards.

Teddie laughed and hugged her brother back.

He was a wizard.

He was going to Hogwarts.

Chapter Text

"Teddie, Teddie!"

Teddie looked up as Mason burst into the family room at Flint Manor. She was sitting beneath the Christmas Tree with the rest of her friends, feeding Morgana and Merlin. "Shhh!" she said, pressing a finger to her lips.

"Sorry," Mason said, sliding to a stop. He was clutching a book in his hands, and from the cover, Teddie could see the title - Most Macabre Monstrosities.

Teddie pulled a small cloth from her jacket pocket and placed it over the top of the tank, concealing the two snakes from view. Normally, whilst feeding, Morgana and Merlin preferred to do it in the dark, where no one else could see.

"What's up?" Teddie asked, looking back at her brother.

"What do you know about Basilisks?" Mason asked.

Basilisk?" Teddie asked. "Not much. I know it's a species native to both Central and South America, it can be found near rivers and streams in rainforests, and it can run on the surface of the water."

Mason looked confused.

Teddie rolled her eyes. "A Common basilisk is a lizard."

"Not a common basilisk," said Mason, shaking his head. "A magical basilisk."

"A magical basilisk?" Teddie asked. "Never heard of it."

"According to Most Macabre Monstrosities," said Mason, holding up the book. "It's a fifty-foot serpent, known as the King of Serpents."

Getting to her feet, Teddie followed Mason over to the coffee table and inspected the page he had opened the book too. The title read "Serpent King - Basilisk."

"Listen to this," Mason said, dropping his finger to the inscription. "Of the many fearsome beasts and monsters that roam our land, there is none more curious or more deadly than the Basilisk, known also as the King of Serpents. This snake, which may reach gigantic size, and live for many hundreds of years, is born from a chicken's egg, hatched beneath a toad. Its method of killing are most wondrous, for aside from its deadly and venomous fangs, the Basilisk has a murderous stare, and all who are fixed with the beam of its eye shall suffer instant death. Spiders flee before the Basilisk, for it's their mortal enemy, and the Basilisk flees only from the crowing of the rooster, which is fatal to it - Didn't you say you could talk to snakes?"

Teddie nodded. "Yeah, but-?" she started.

"What if this is the creature you can hear at school?" Mason asked, looking excited. "A basilisk. I mean, its a snake, you can talk to snakes, and they talk to you. It all fits."

"Except for the fact that a Basilisk kills their victims," said Teddie. "The other students have been petrified."

Mason grinned, a look that Teddie found disturbing.

"Read…" Mason scanned the book and then pointed to a short paragraph three-quarters of the way down, "...that." he said.

Scooping up the book, Teddie silently read the paragraph, her eyes widening as with each word. "Holy…" she whispered.

"What?" the others asked.

"Looking a Basilisk directly in the eye will immediately kill the victim," Teddie said, re-reading the book. "But indirect contact will merely render them Petrified."

The others gasped.

Could this be true? Could the creature in the Chamber of Secrets truly be a Basilisk? If it was, there was one question that needed to be answered.

"Teddie, didn't you say that you were alone when you heard the voice?" Blaise asked.

Teddie nodded. "Yeah. I thought I was going crazy," she said. "I mean, hearing voices in both worlds is not a good sign."

Her friends cracked a grin.

"So, it begs the question," Blaise continued. "If this is the creature inside the Chamber, how is it managing to get around the school? A giant snake, someone would've seen it."

"Someone did see it," Daphne said. "They just didn't get away in time."

"Daphne!" Teddie said, knocking her friend's shoulder.

"Sorry," Daphne said, realising how insensitive her comment sounded. "But, it is true."

Teddie rolled her eyes. It was the truth. She couldn't fault Daphne for that.

"Hang on, if the Basilisk kills by looking people in the eye, how is it no one is dead?" Adrian asked.

Silence fell amongst the group, each one thinking hard about the last two attacks. They had seen Mrs Norris after her attack, but the student, which had been identified as Colin Creevey, had been found by Peeves. What was more disturbing about Colin's attack was the Gryffindor Ghost, Nearly Headless Nick, had also been found Petrified.

"The water," Theo murmured.

"What water?" Derrick asked.

"Of course!" Teddie said, snapping her fingers. "There was water on the floor the night Mrs Norris was attacked. It could've acted like a mirror in the sense that she only saw the Basilisk's reflection."

"And Creevey?" Marcus asked.

"He was found with Sir Nicholas," said Teddie, shaking her head. "Colin must've seen the Basilisk through him, again, like a reflection. Nick got the full blast of it, but he's a ghost, he can't die again."

The others nodded in agreement. Everything was starting to fall into place.

"So the legend is true," said Adrian. "The Chamber of Secrets is real, it has been opened, and there is a monster living inside. A monster that wants to purge the school of Muggleborns."

"Hang on," said Mason, turning the page. "There's something in here about Basilisk classification." He quickly scanned the pages, and then nodded, pressing his finger to the last section of the chapter. "The Basilisk has a level-five creature classification, which means it is a known wizard-killer that cannot be domesticated due to its immense powers."

"But because it is a serpent it can be controlled by a Parselmouth," said Marcus.

"Depending on the relationship, but yeah," Mason said, nodding.

"Headmaster Slytherin's Basilisk and his true Heir," said Adrian. "I'd say that's a pretty big relationship."

"And the Heir has to be a Parselmouth," said Derrick.

"Then it's got to be Potter," said Blaise. "Parselmouth is a rare ability, even rarer for a Muggleborn to possess. But Potter is a Halfblood. Besides, Teddie has rarely been out of sight since the attacks started."

Teddie bit her lower lip as she stared at the Most Macabre Monstrosities book. Her mind was clouded like she was reliving a memory of a not-so-distant past. "I don't think it's Harry," she whispered.

"What do you mean, Teddie?" Theo asked, slipping his hand into hers.

"Harry may be a Parselmouth but I don't think he's the Heir of Slytherin," said Teddie, shaking her head.

"Well, it can't be you," said Marcus. "You're not of Magical descent."

"You think there could be a third Parselmouth at school?" Derrick asked. "We're stepping into the extremely rare territory, now."

Teddie shook her head and swallowed hard. "I don't think so," she said, rejecting Derrick's idea. She took a deep breath and turned to face the others. "I haven't been completely honest with all of you. There have been a few times where I have been out of sight, and attacks have happened."

"When?" Blaise asked, confused.

"Mrs Norris," Teddie said. "Her attack happened after I ran off from my fight with Malfoy. Colin was attacked after I got into a fight with Warrington in the library, remember?" She looked imploringly at Daphne. "I stopped in the girls' bathroom on the second floor; Daphne, you wanted to wait for me but I said that I would be alright."

"Yeah, but, Ted, you'd remember doing all this, wouldn't you?" Daphne asked.

Teddie shrugged.

"Not if you did it during a blackout," said Mason, quietly. "You've always been prone to them. Remember the summer of '88? We were in South Wales with grandma and grandpa, and we went to the nearby town farmers market. Remember that kid, the one you punched and broke his nose, all because he was picking on me. You couldn't remember doing it at the time, you said your mind went completely blank and you lashed out."

Theo looked from Mason to Teddie, the latter was staring at the table-top, lost in thought.

"Every time you've lashed out in anger or fear its been during a blackout, Ted," Mason continued. "You've never been able to remember what you did until someone told you. It's why Mum and Dad took you to specialists, but no one could ever find a reason for the blackouts."

"It's also why dad reminds me to mind my temper," Teddie said, quietly. "Because when I lose it, I lose all control of myself, too." She shuddered, her hands cupping her mouth. "Oh no… it is me…" she rounded on her friends, her eyes wide with horror. "You guys, I'm the one attacking people!"

Chapter Text

After learning the truth about the Chamber of Secrets, Teddie's desire to return to school was minimal. She had very little eagerness to return to a place where she was already an outsider, and finding out that she was the person attacking other students made her feel even worse.

"You didn't know what you were doing," Daphne stressed. "You've said it yourself, when you're in a blackout, you can't control your actions."

"This is different," Teddie argued. "This isn't just a stupid fight with another student, the attacks are the result of a stupid fight with another student. If I go back then those fights aren't going to stop, and neither are the attacks."

"We'll just have to keep you, Malfoy, Parkinson, and Warrington away from one another," said Blaise.

"That's going to be hard to do when we all share the same house," said Teddie. "You can't keep us apart indefinitely. Something is going to happen."

Theo seized Teddie's hand. "You've never been one to run away from a problem," he said. "Why start now? If you don't come back, and the attacks stop, everyone is going to know that it is you. You'll never be able to return to the Wizarding world."

"Maybe that's not such a bad idea," Teddie sighed. "Other than meeting you, all of you," she added, looking around at her friends, "my time in the Wizarding world has been nothing but a disaster."

"Exactly why you need to come back," said Daphne. "There are things about you that can only be answered in our world. Teddie, please, don't leave. You're needed at Hogwarts."

Teddie hesitated.

"She's right, Ted," said Mason, perking up. "As much as I would love to have you at home for the next six months, I know you can't. You're needed at Hogwarts. Sure, you may be the one doing all this bad stuff, but how do we know that's not a sign for something? Mum and Dad have always said there was something about you that didn't seem right, and I think its more than just being a Witch. Maybe there's something waiting for you in Wizarding World."

"Like what?" Teddie asked.

Mason shrugged. "I don't know," he said. "But don't you owe it to yourself to find out?"

Teddie sighed and looked around at her friends. "What if I blackout again?" she asked. "What if…" she hesitated. "What if I attack another student?"

"We'll just have to be extra vigilant on when you're left alone," said Marcus.

"Buddy system," Mason said.

"Being constantly by my side could put you all in danger," said Teddie. "If I blackout and open the Chamber when you're with me, then you could be Petrified, or worse."

"We'll just carry a reflective surface with us," said Derrick, teasingly.

Teddie shoved him. "It's not funny, Derrick!" she cried.

Despite his chuckle, Derrick apologised and rubbed his ribs. "But, seriously," he said. "We'll keep an eye on you. You can't open the Chamber if you're being watched, right?"

"I suppose…" said Teddie.

Theo squeezed Teddie's hand and gave her a longing look.

"Fine!" Teddie caved. "Fine! I'll come back."

"Great," said Marcus as Theo hugged Teddie tightly. "Then we should get ready to leave. Dad's already sending a message to Langarm to come and help us. Have you packed everything?"

Mason jumped to his feet and darted out of the room.

"Where's he going?" Blaise asked.

"To make sure that my trunk has been packed," Teddie said, following her brother from the room. "I've doubled checked it, and everything is there. But Mason likes to check it too. It's been thoroughly checked once Mason's gone through it."

"Maybe he should check ours, too?" Adrian teased.

"Write him a list of what should be in your trunk, and he'll make sure," Teddie said. "But stop trying to steal my brother from me."

Her friends laughed as they climbed the stairs to the first-floor landing.

~X~

Mo Flint and Cerberus Langarm escorted the students to Platform 9 ¾ on January 1st. Mason was also present, even though he was attending Hogwarts until the following autumn.

"We'll see you in June, mate," said Blaise, patting Mason on the shoulder. "We'll set a date for Diagon Alley and go get your wand and books, alright?"

Mason nodded. The excitement of attending Hogwarts was still thick and fresh in the youngester's mind, and he couldn't wait to board the train with his sister and new friends. His adventure was a long way from starting, but he knew it would be ready sooner than he expected.

"Be good," Teddie said, embracing her brother. "Tell Mum and Dad I love them."

"I promise," Mason said. "Try not to get into any fights."

Teddie forced a smile and nodded. "I'll try not to close the school before you get a chance to see it," she said.

"I'd rather miss the chance of seeing Hogwarts than visit you in jail for killing students," said Mason.

"Thank Merlin I haven't killed anyone then, huh?" Teddie asked. "I think the only thing that can happen to me is expulsion, and that's if I get caught."

"You always were good at keeping a low profile," Mason chuckled. He hugged his sister tightly again, squeezing with every ounce of strength he had. "I love you, Teddie."

Teddie buried her face into the side of Mason's neck, his hair brushing against her cheek. "I love you, too, Mason," she murmured.

"Oi, snake whisperer," Derrick called, sticking his head out of the train door. "You're going to be left behind. Let's move!"

"Can I kill him?" Teddie asked.

Mason chuckled and shook his head. "You'd miss him too much," he said.

"Sadly true," Teddie agreed. She untangled herself from her brother and approached the carriage door. Mason followed behind, although he stopped as Teddie climbed aboard the magnificent scarlet steam engine and the door snapped shut behind her.

"I miss you already," Mason said with a smile.

Teddie blew him a kiss from the carriage door. "Keep a look out for Zuri," she said.

Mason nodded.

A loud whistle sliced through the air, and the train rumbled to life. It was time to leave.

"Goodbye, Mason," Teddie called, as the train started moving.

"Bye, Teddie!" Mason called, waving. The train started to pick up speed, and soon it turned the corner out of the station and disappeared.

Mason sighed and looked back as Langarm appeared behind him.

"Come, Master Mason, let us get you home," said Langarm. He placed a hand on Mason's shoulder, turned on the spot, and disappeared with a pop.

~X~

The ride to Hogwarts always seemed longer than the ride home. By the time the returning students had reached Hogsmeade, it was late evening, 10:00 pm if the clock on the station was right. The carriages were waiting to take them up to the castle, and the Entrance Hall was ablaze with its usual torches. The heat was a welcoming gesture from the cold night outside the double oak doors.

"Dinner should be starting soon," said Derrick, leading his friends into the hall. He stopped and turned to them, "Should we go put our things away and then come back up, or just leave them here for the House Elves?"

"I need to feed Morgana and Merlin before dinner," said Teddie. "So, I'm going to head downstairs, first."

"I'll come with you," said Daphne. "Buddy system, remember?"

Teddie smiled and nodded.

"I'll come too," said Theo. "Blaise?"

Blaise shook his head. "How about I go reserve our seats at the Slytherin table?" he asked.

"Alright," said Teddie. "We won't be late. I'll just drop two mice in for Morgana and Merlin, we can sort our things out later, right, Daph?"

Daphne nodded.

"In that case, I'll put our stuff in our dorms," said Marcus, holding his hand out for Adrian and Derrick's bags. They hadn't taken their trunks home for Christmas, only stuffed a few things, plus presents, into a backpack.

Adrian and Derrick nodded and followed Blaise into the hall, as Marcus, Daphne, Teddie, and Theo headed down to the dungeons.

Teddie shivered as she walked the familiar path to the Slytherin Common room. "I always forget how cold it is down here in the winter," she said. "Not that it is ever warm down here, you know?"

"Yeah, they could at least put some torches down here," said Theo. "Even if it's just to light our way."

"Lumos," Marcus muttered and a small beam of light appeared from the tip of his wand.

Teddie stared, wide-eyed at her friend. "How did you do that?" she asked.

"You learn it in your third year," Marcus said. "It comes in handy when there's no light to be found."

"What's the spell?" Teddie asked.

"Lumos," said Marcus. "Lumos Maximus for an even bigger source."

Twirling her wand, Teddie pointed it out ahead of her and muttered: "Lumos" a small flicker of light appeared at the end of her wand, shuddered for a moment, and then extinguished.

"Ooh, close," said Marcus. "But practice makes perfect, you know?"

Teddie nodded and tucked her wand back into her sleeve. Despite having failed to conjure a ball of light, she had at least tried. She would've tried again, had they not reached the portrait of Salazar Slytherin, behind which was the hidden opening to the Slytherin Common room.

"Good evening," said Headmaster Slytherin. "Have a nice Christmas?"

"It was… eventful," said Marcus. "Pureblood." He added.

Headmaster Slytherin bowed his head and swung open, revealing the emerald green glow of the fireplace inside. The group of four clambered through and disappeared up their respective staircases to their dorms.

"Do you want me to get the mice from your trunk?" Daphne asked, dumping her backpack of clothes on her bed.

"Yes, please," said Teddie. "They should be in the side compartment." She rounded her bed and set her snake tank on the bedside table. "Hey guys, you ready for a snack?"

The snakes slithered up to the side of the glass, each one flicking its tongue in anticipation.

"Hey, Ted, what's this?" Daphne asked.

Teddie turned and saw her friend standing beside her open trunk, a bag of mice in one hand and a black book in the other.

"It's just a diary," said Teddie, taking the mice from Daphne. She opened it and fished out two dead mice, dropping each of them into the tank with a light thump.

Instantly Morgana and Merlin slithered over the mice, clamping down on them with the small fangs just inside their mouths.

Teddie seized the cloth from inside her backpack and covered the tank, allowing her pets to dine in peace. Resealing the dead mice, Teddie turned back to Daphne.

"Isn't this the diary you've been writing in all year?" Daphne asked.

"Yeah, so?" said Teddie, dropping the mice back into her trunk. She took the diary from Daphne and put it away, too.

"It's just there's nothing in that book," Daphne said. "If you've been writing in it, where are the words?"

"You peaked?" Teddie asked, slightly annoyed but also alarmed.

"Not intentionally," Daphne said. She sounded apologetic. "I accidentally pulled it loose when I was searching for the mice. It fell open when it hit the floor."

Teddie took a deep, steady breath, and then shook her head. "I found the diary in my things at the beginning of last year," she explained. "I must've bought it without realising in Diagon Alley."

"That doesn't explain why there are no entries if you've been writing in it all year," said Daphne.

"It's a special kind of diary, I'm assuming," said Teddie with a shrug. "Besides, what does it matter if the entries stick or not? I don't want to re-read any of them. I just want to be able to write down what I am feeling at the end of the day, and be done with it. The diary allows me to do that. It takes in my feelings, my concerns, and worries, and then gets rid of them. I don't see any problem with that."

Daphne stared at the diary as Teddie closed the lid of her trunk. She wasn't sure what to make of the diary, but she knew there was something off about it. She'd had diaries before now, tons of them, but none of them had been as 'magical' as Teddie had described hers. Was it possible to have a diary that could erase your entries after you've closed it?

"Are we ready to go?" Teddie asked, turning back to Daphne. "Or do you want to investigate my diary further?"

"No," said Daphne. "Just be careful."

Teddie nodded. "I will, but seriously, Daph," she said, heading for the door. "It's just a diary."

But Daphne wasn't convinced.

Chapter Text

Christmas passed and soon Hogwarts found themselves entering February. Hermione Granger, a Muggleborn Gryffindor, that had been missing since the start of the second term, returned to the school halls, quelling the rumours that she had been attacked over the school holidays. She was welcomed back by her friends and house and seemed determined to jump into the new term feet first.

"Hi Hermione," said Teddie one evening in the library. "Good to have you back."

"Thanks, Teddie," Hermione replied with a smile. "Did you have a nice Christmas?"

Teddie shrugged. "Sure. My brother received his Hogwarts letter," she said, happily.

"Oh, congratulations, Teddie," Hermione said, beaming. "I bet he's excited."

"Totally," Teddie grinned. "But then so am I." She pulled a book from the shelf beside her and inspected the front cover. "Oh, could you get a message to Harry for me? Can you tell him that the monster inside the Chamber is a Basilisk?"

Hermione blinked.

Teddie smiled. "I know you three are researching the Chamber of Secrets," she said. "I mean, why wouldn't you be? You're in as much danger as I am."

"Fair point," Hermione nodded. "How are you dealing with all that, by chance? Have the Slytherins turned on you yet?"

"A few have," Teddie nodded. "But I have my friends. They've promised to watch my back."

"You're lucky. A lot of students thought you were a goner for sure after your sorting."

Teddie smiled. "Yeah, I'm aware," she confirmed. "But I'm not easily beaten, and not all Slytherins are monsters, or evil, for that matter. My friends are some of the best people you'll find in Slytherin."

"They seem like it," Hermione said. "They definitely care about you."

"Will you tell Harry for me?" Teddie asked.

Hermione nodded and took her own book from the shelf. "Of course," she said, tucking the book under her arm. "Good luck, Teddie."

"You too, Hermione," Teddie said. She waved as the Gryffindor walked away and then returned to her own table. Waiting for her, pouring over his own books, was Marcus.

Marcus looked as Teddie sat opposite him. "How long does it take to find a book?" he asked.

"I met Hermione Granger," said Teddie. "I asked her to pass on a message to Harry for me."

"What kind of message?"

"I want him to know that we're dealing with a Basilisk, that's all."

"You didn't tell him about you?"

Teddie shook her head. "I trust Harry, I really do," she said. "But I don't know what he'd do if I told him it was me, you know," she dropped her voice to a whisper, "attacking people. I mean, I want to believe that he wouldn't turn me in, but I attacked two Gryffindors."

"He wouldn't dare turn you in," Marcus swore.

"I appreciate your protection," Teddie said, setting the book she had retrieved on the desk. She flipped it open to the contents page and found the chapter she needed.

Marcus watched her closely for a few seconds, before going back to his own essay.

~X~

The sun had now begun to rise weakly on Hogwarts again. The mood inside the castle had become more cheerful and hopeful. One morning, during breakfast, Professor Dumbledore announced that Madam Pomfrey was pleased to report that the Mandrakes were becoming moody and secretive, meaning that they were fast leaving childhood.

Many students thought that the Heir of Slytherin had grown tired, restless even, and found it riskier and riskier to open the Chamber now that the school was on full alert. But a small group of Slytherins were the only ones that knew the truth.

So far the buddy system was working. Teddie had been kept as far away from Warrington, Malfoy, and Parkinson as possible, her temper had been kept in check, and she hadn't gone off on her own or blacked out. The result was denying, there had been no attacks since before Christmas, but it also confirmed that Teddie was the one doing the attacking.

Gilderoy Lockhart seemed to think that he himself had made the attacks stop. Teddie and Theo overheard him telling Madam Pince, the librarian, so while they were checking books out one afternoon. "I don't think there'll be any more trouble, my dear," he said, tapping his nose and winking. "I think the Chamber has been locked for good this time. The culprit must have known it was only a matter of time before I caught them. Rather sensible to stop now, before I came down hard on them."

Theo and Teddie exchanged amused looks as they placed their books on the front desk, ready for Madam Pince to check them out.

"You know, what the school needs now is a morale-booster," Lockhart continued, acting as if the two second-years were not there at all. "Something to wash away the memories of last term! I won't say any more just now, but I think I know just the thing…" He scurried out of the library, a scheming look on his face.

"Suddenly I feel that the Chamber being opened is the least of our worries," Theo said.

Teddie nodded and took her books from Madam Pince.

"March," Madam Pince said, releasing the books into the student's possessions. She then disappeared out from behind her desk, and into the library. Probably to catch unsuspecting students with her precious books.

"She scares me," Teddie said, following Theo out of the library.

"You and me both," Theo agreed.

Lockhart's idea of a morale-booster became clear at breakfast time on February fourteenth. Teddie hadn't slept much the night before due to nightmares and hurried into the Great Hall slightly late. She stopped trying to get her arm into her robe sleeve as she crossed the threshold and was hit in the face by a piece of pink confetti.

"What the -?" Teddie murmured, looking around. The pink confetti was falling from the ceiling, and if that wasn't enough, the walls were covered with large, lurid pink flowers. Teddie went to her seat at the Slytherin table, where all of her friends looked sickened.

"I think we found out what Lockhart was scheming," said Theo, picking a heart-shaped confetti from his cereal bowl. He looked to Teddie as she sat down. "Are you okay? You look like you haven't slept."

"She hasn't," Daphne said before Teddie had a chance.

Teddie rolled her eyes and reached for the spoon in the cereal bowl. "I had a nightmare," she told Daphne. "Nothing to fret over. We all have them."

"Yes, but not everyone has recurring nightmares," said Daphne, "and you've been having them for the last three nights."

"But you looked well-rested yesterday," said Blaise.

"She slept a good few hours night before last," said Daphne. "But last night she tossed, turned and cried out. The only reason I know is because I don't sleep with a silencing charm on my bed," she added as Teddie frowned.

Teddie shook her head and added milk to her cereal.

"Happy Valentines' Day!" Professor Lockhart suddenly shouted from the teachers' table. He was wearing a lurid pink robe to match the decorations. The teacher's on either side of him were looking stony-faced. Professor McGonagall's cheeks twitched, while Professor Snape looked as though someone had just fed him a large beaker of Pepperup Potion, minus the steaming ears.

"I hate Valentines' Day," Parkinson murmured into her breakfast.

For once, Teddie found, that she couldn't disagree with her tormentor. She, too, couldn't stand Valentines' Day.

"I would like to thank the forty-six people who have so far sent me cards!" Lockhart continued. "Yes, I have taken the liberty of arranging this little surprise for you all - and it doesn't end here!"

Lockhart clapped his hands and through the doors to the Entrance Hall marched a dozen surly-looking dwarfs. Not just any dwarfs, however, Lockhart had them all wearing golden wings and carrying harps.

"My friendly, card-carrying cupids!" Lockhart beamed. "They will be moving around the school today delivering your Valentines! And the fun doesn't stop here! I'm sure my colleagues will want to enter into the spirit of the occasion! Why not ask Professor Snape to show you how to whip up a Love Potion! And while you're at it, Professor Flitwick knows more about Entrancing Enchantments than any wizard I've ever met, the sly old dog!"

"Professor Snape looks like he'd rather murder the person who asks him how to create a Love Potion," said Marlene from beside Derrick. "Don't you think?"

Teddie nodded slowly.

"Why couldn't the Heir of Slytherin taken him out before he decided on go on hiatus?" Judy asked as she left the hall with the rest of her house.

"There's still time," Susan said. "To be honest, I don't think even the Heir of Slytherin can stand this morale-booster. Maybe he'll come off hibernation just to take out Lockhart and then go back under his rock?"

Marlene shook her head. "Don't tempt fate, girls'," she said. "Be thankful that the attacks have stopped. I don't think Hogwarts would've lasted much longer if they had continued."

"True," Judy agreed.

"One can dream though," said Susan. "But I'm being serious when I say that if one of those card-carrying cupids comes anywhere near me today, Lockhart's going to wish that the Heir of Slytherin had him."

Teddie laughed and then left for Herbology with her friends.

~X~

All day long, the dwarfs kept barging into their classes to deliver Valentines, to the annoyance of the teachers. Professor Snape cursed two dwarfs that dared enter his potions classroom during the Gryffindor and Slytherin double lesson that afternoon. But, much to Harry Potter's unlucky charm, one of the Dwarfs caught up with him later that day as he conversed with Teddie outside the Great Hall after lunch.

"I got your message from Hermione," Harry said. "How do you know it's a Basilisk?"

"I found some information over Christmas," Teddie explained. "Or, more like my brother did, but the point is, the monster is a snake, that's how we can hear it speaking."

Harry nodded. Ever since the Duelling Club the whole school had found out he was a Parselmouth and turned against him, everyone except his friends and Teddie, that was. "Can I ask how you're -" he started, but broke off as a gruff voice called his name from the top of the marble staircase.

"Oy, you! 'Arry Potter!" shouted the grim-looking dwarf.

Seeing the heat rising on Harry's face, Teddie grabbed his arm and pulled him through the throng of students loitering around the Hall. She could see her friends near the dungeon doors, and if only she could get to them before the dwarf reached her and Harry then she was sure they would curse the creature before it had a chance to speak.

But the dwarf was relentless. He elbowed people out of his way and lunged for Harry, sinking his clawed-fingers into Harry's backpack and tugging at it, hard.

"I've got a musical message to deliver to 'Arry Potter in person," the dwarf said. He plucked at his harp threateningly.

Teddie tried to pull Harry towards her, which only resulted in his backpack splitting at the seams. His contents, which consisted of Harry's books, parchment and quill slipped onto the floor and his ink bottle smashed over the lot.

Harry scrambled to pick everything up before the dwarf started singing.

"What's going on here?" came the cold, drawling voice of Draco Malfoy.

Teddie seized Harry's shoulders and pushed him away from the mess. "Go," she told him, shaking her head. "Just go. I'll get this back to you. Go, now!"

Looking relieved, Harry tried to run but the dwarf seized him around the knees and brought him crashing to the floor.

"Hey!" Teddie yelled.

"What's all this commotion?" said another familiar voice, as Percy Weasley arrived. Sierra Waterstone not that far behind him.

The dwarf grunted as he struggled against Harry's kicking, and managed to pull himself up to sit on the Gryffindor's ankles. "Right," he said, "here is your singing Valentine. -

"His eyes are green as a fresh pickled toad,

His hair is as dark as a blackboard.

I wish he was mine, he's really divine,

The hero that conquered the Dark Lord."

The silence that had fallen throughout the Entrance Hall was broken by the sound of loud laughter as those who had heard the singing Valentine broke into hysterics. Harry scrambled to his feet, trying his hardest to laugh valiantly along with everyone else, but the embarrassment was evident as he flushed scarlet.

Teddie offered him a small smile as she collected the rest of his belongings and seized his destroyed backpack. She was in the processes of repairing it with the Reparo charm she had learned in class when a hand shot out and tugged a book from her grasp.

"Hey!" Teddie snapped, drawing everyone's attention to her. She stood, glaring at Malfoy, as he held the book up in front of him. Now that it was in the light, Teddie felt the colour drain from her face as she realised it was her diary - the diary that Daphne had found, and the one she had disposed of weeks ago.

"What?" Malfoy snapped.

"That's not yours," Teddie said, trying to regain her composure. "Or don't you remember from last year what happens to people who take things that don't belong to them?"

Malfoy sneered. "Last I checked, Green, this wasn't yours!" he said.

"It's not yours, either," said Harry, coming to Teddie's aid. "Give it back!"

"What you got written in here then, Potter?" Malfoy asked, thumbing the cover dangerously. "Maybe I'll flip it open and give it a read?"

"Stop it, Malfoy," said Percy Weasley. "Hand it over."

"Once I've had a look," Malfoy said, nodding. He eyed both Harry and Teddie as he stuck his finger under the cover and started to open it.

But before Malfoy had a chance to spy the inside pages, the book was snatched from his grasp by Sierra. "Five points from Slytherin, Mr Malfoy," she said, handing the book to Percy. "As for the rest of you," she looked around at the lingering students, each one waiting to see what would happen next, "get to class!"

Malfoy sneered once more at Teddie and Harry before storming away with his friends in tow.

Percy returned the diary to Harry. "That goes for you pair, too," he said to Harry and Teddie. "Get to class."

The pair nodded and runoff, disappearing around the corner at the top of the marble staircase. Once out of sight, they stopped and Teddie tapped Harry's backpack muttering: "Reparo!" the seams stitched themselves and Harry dropped his ink-soaked things back inside.

"Thanks," Harry said, sealing the bag and looking at Teddie.

"It's okay," Teddie said. "I'm sorry I couldn't do more, especially about the dwarf."

Harry blushed at the memory and Teddie couldn't help the small giggle that past her lips.

"Where did you get that book?" Teddie asked, referring to the diary that Malfoy had taken.

"It's just a diary," Harry said with a meaningless shrug.

"You didn't strike me as the type to carry a diary," said Teddie. "What secrets does the great Harry Potter hide, I wonder?" she giggled again.

Harry shook his head. "It's not mine," he said. "I found it, actually."

"If it's not yours, why do you still have it?"

Harry shrugged. "I don't know, to be honest," he admitted. "I just feel that there's something important about it, you know? Like, I don't know, maybe it's connected to this whole Heir of Slytherin and Chamber of Secrets thing."

"Why would you think that?" Teddie asked quickly. She appeared to be startled.

"Dunno. Ron reckons he's heard the name before."

Teddie frowned. "Name? What name?" she asked.

"The name inside the diary," Harry said. He opened his bag and pulled out the book in question, rifling through the pages to the title page. He then showed it to Teddie.

Property of T.M. Riddle.

"T.M. Riddle?" Teddie questioned.

"I don't know," Harry said. "I've never heard of the name, and neither has Hermione. But Riddle bought the diary at Vauxhall Road, London, so he must've been a Halfblood, at least."

Teddie nodded in agreement, although she was staring at the book longingly. This had to be her book. Although she hadn't seen the title page or name until now, she was one hundred percent sure that this was the book she had ditched several weeks before.

"Well, I better get to Charms," said Harry, stowing the book back inside his backpack. "See you later, Teddie, and thanks again for the help."

"Yeah, no problem," Teddie replied, watching as he strode away. She had to get that book back, her life depended on it.

Chapter Text

By the time Easter had arrived, the second-years were given something entirely new to think about. The time had come for them to choose their subjects for the third year, a matter that, according to Marlene, was seriously important.

"It could determine your entire future," Marlene said as Teddie and company poured over their subjects list. "I remember last year when I chose mine."

"You chose Divination," said Judy, "and now you hate it."

"That's inadmissible," Marlene said, waving her friend off. "My great-grandmother was said to be a Seer, apparently she wasn't a very good one because she told me the future was easy to read."

Teddie giggled and looked back over her electives. "So, basically, what we're doing is adding two more subjects to our workload?" she asked.

"Or more," Adrian nodded. "Like Marlene I chose Divination, and I chose Care of Magical Creatures, too."

"Did you like Divination?" Teddie asked.

Adrian shook his head. "No, Professor Trelawney's a quack," he said. "I dropped the subject last year."

"You can drop in the sixth year?" Marlene asked.

Adrian nodded.

"Brilliant!" Marlene grinned. "I'm substituting Divination for Ancient Runes."

"You'll have classes with me then," Susan said.

"Disappointing I have to stick with Divination for two years, though," Marlene groaned. "But I guess that's what I get for believing in stupid family history."

Teddie turned back to her subjects list. There were two pages - on the first was a list of their core subjects, followed by five electives, and on the second page was the electives with a brief description of each one.

Divination:  A branch of magic that involves attempting to foresee the future, or gather insights into future events, through various rituals and tools.

Arithmancy: A magical discipline that studies the magical properties of numbers, including predicting the future with numbers and numerology.

Ancient Runes:  A mostly theoretical subject that studies the ancient runic scripts of magic. Ancient runes are a form of writing which witches and wizards used hundreds of years ago.

Muggle Studies: The study of the daily lives of Muggles and how they cope with not being magical, such as electricity, technology, and science.

Care of Magical Creatures:  Students are taught about feeding, maintaining, breeding, and proper treatment of various magical creatures.

Running her quill down the list, Teddie quickly checked one of her boxes.

"Muggle Studies?" Marcus asked, reading over her shoulder. "But you're a Muggleborn?"

"Exactly! I already know about Muggles from a Muggleborn perspective," said Teddie. "Now I want to learn about them from a Wizarding one. Plus, this is my chance to educate other wizards about my kind."

Marcus shrugged, half-heartedly. "Fair point," he said, going back to his homework.

"I don't see why you're bothering to fill out elective forms, anyway, Green," sneered the familiar voice of Pansy Parkinson. Teddie sighed inwardly and looked up at the fellow second-year. "You may not even be here next year."

Teddie shrugged. "Maybe," she agreed. "But, you never know, I got lucky last year, I may get lucky again."

"Fingers crossed your lucky streak ended as soon as it began last year," Parkinson said. "Besides, who wants to learn about your filthy kind, anyway?"

"I do," said Daphne, ticking the Muggle Studies box, also. "The last two Christmases I have spent with Mason and you, Teddie, has got me interested in finding out what else your kind has to offer."

Susan smirked and nodded. "When you put it like that, Daph, I'll even replace one of my subjects in the sixth year and replace it with Muggle Studies," she said.

Teddie grinned as Parkinson sniffed and slunk away towards Draco. "Thanks, guys," she said, looking at both Susan and Daphne.

"You'd think by now she'd get fed up of being outmatched, wouldn't you?" Susan asked. "But I was serious about considering Muggle Studies as an elective in the sixth year."

"And I'm taking it next year," said Daphne, showing the tick in the box next to her third-year elective. "Looks like we're subject buddies."

Teddie giggled and nodded. "Can't wait," she said.

After an hour of discussing their electives, and talking about the lessons with students that had already chosen and were currently studying, like Marcus, Adrian, Derrick, Marlene, Susan, and Judy. the second years finally had decided on their third-year subjects.

Blaise and Daphne had come to the agreement that they would both take Divination, despite what Marlene and Adrian said. They would take it together, and decide for themselves what they thought of it. If they didn't like it, they could always drop in two years time.

Theo and Blaise were taking Arithmancy together.

Theo had managed to talk Teddie into taking Ancient Runes with him, although she had protested to the high heavens that she'd fail miserably. "Ancient Runes is rather easy, Ted. I'll help you. Please?" he had said, and unable to deny her best friend, Teddie had reluctantly agreed.

As per her promise, Daphne was taking Muggle Studies with Teddie, and she couldn't have been more excited.

While all four of them had decided that they would each take Care of Magical Creatures. At least this way, they each got to participate in a new elective, and take a class where they would be together.

"All new books will be included on your school lists at the end of the summer," said Professor Snape, later that evening as he swept around the Slytherin common room, collecting the elective lists. "I hope you all chose wisely."

~X~

Not only did April bring around the third year electives, it also brought the next Quidditch Match of the season. Slytherin wasn't playing this time, so Teddie had the chance to experience an actual game with Theo and Marcus in the stands. The game itself was Gryffindor vs. Hufflepuff, and while most of her house would be rooting for Hufflepuff, she herself would be rooting for Gryffindor. She knew it was a dangerous line to tread given the Slytherin/Gryffindor feud, but Gryffindor had been nothing but nice to her, and she was rooting for Harry, who just so happened to be a good friend.

The day before the match, Teddie found herself being tracked down by Harry Potter as she studied with Theo, Blaise, and Daphne in the library. Apparently, he had found information concerning the Chamber of Secrets and had wanted to fill her in.

"I think I may know who the Heir of Slytherin is," said Harry.

Teddie froze and her friends exchanged looks from across the table. Was it possible that Harry had figured out Teddie's secret?

"Who do you think it is?" Teddie asked, trying to keep her voice steady.

"Hagrid."

The Slytherins let out a collective sigh of relief.

"Hagrid?" Blaise repeated. "Why would you suspect him? I thought he was your friend?"

"He is," Harry said. "But I… read somewhere that he was expelled around the time it was opened the first time."

"That's not much of a theory, Potter," said Blaise. "He could've been expelled for any reason."

Harry nodded. "True. But Hagrid's always had a thing for dangerous creatures," he said. "From what I've learned, he was expelled for hiding a dangerous creature within the castle."

"But a Basilisk is a dangerous dark creature," said Teddie. "Do you really think Hagrid is capable of raising such a creature, not to mention controlling it? I mean, for what I have read on Basilisks, you have to be a Parselmouth. Is Hagrid one?"

"I don't think so…" said Harry, unsure.

Teddie forced a smile. "I think you need to be 100% sure before you go making accusations like that, Harry," she said. "You wouldn't want to ruin things for Hagrid, only to be proven wrong later, do you?"

Hagrid shook his head.

"Why don't you ask Hagrid?" Daphne suggested. "If he's your friend, wouldn't he tell you?"

Harry shrugged. "Maybe. I'll suggest it to Ron and Hermione, see what they think," he said. "I just thought you'd like to know. See you, Teddie." He waved and walked away.

"Bye, Harry," Teddie said, waving.

Once Harry had disappeared, the four Slytherins put their heads together.

"Hagrid the Heir of Slytherin?" Blaise whispered. "Not bloody likely."

"Well, we already know that he's not," said Teddie. "I'm the one opening the chamber, after all. But does that really make me the Heir?"

"I don't know, Ted," said Theo. "There's a lot of mystery around Slytherin's family line. If you are related to him, then his descendants married into the Muggle line at some point. Magic could've skipped several generations, which is why you're considered a Muggleborn instead of a Halfblood."

Teddie blinked and rubbed her head.

"I'll settle for knowing how you're managing to access the chamber while in a blackout," said Daphne. "I mean, is a blackout like a possession or something? My dad told me about demon possessions once, and he said that the victim couldn't remember a lot about what had happened. It was like a complete memory wipe."

Teddie shrugged. "Like Mason said over Christmas. I've suffered from blackouts for most of my life," she said. "Usually happens when I am angry. Which is why the attacks have always happened after a fight with Malfoy or Warrington."

"Do you think you become a different person when you're in a blackout?" Theo suggested.

"You mean like a split-personality?"

Theo nodded.

"It is possible," Teddie said. "Both bipolar and schizophrenia deal with split personality. But I'm too young to be even considered to have schizophrenia. The symptoms usually present themselves in early-late 20s."

"What's bipolar?" Blaise asked.

"It's an illness that produces dramatic swings in mood. A person with bipolar will alternate between periods of mania, which is an elevated mood, and depression, feelings of intense sadness. But, in between these two extremes, a person with bipolar can also have periods of normal moods," Teddie explained. "It was ruled out a long time ago that I don't have bipolar."

"And schizophrenia?" Daphne asked.

Teddie shrugged. "Well, put it this way, if I went home to my specialists and told them I can hear voices in my head," she said. "They'd immediately lock me up in a psych ward. Schizophrenia is a type of psychosis, and hearing voices is one of the symptoms."

"I think it's best we keep this information to ourselves," said Theo.

"Agreed," Blaise and Daphne nodded.

Teddie smiled and looked back at her homework. If Harry had information concerning the Chamber of Secrets, mainly the Heir of Slytherin, then did that mean he had it from the diary? It was a long shot, she knew, but he had said he had 'read it somewhere', and she and her friends had checked every book at Hogwarts, there was no information concerning the Chamber within any of them,

That just meant he had figured out how to work the diary. It was suddenly important that she get the diary back, now. She couldn't waste any more time.

~X~

The next morning was, in Marcus' words, "perfect Quidditch conditions".

The sun was shining brightly and a light breeze was in the air. The school was energetic as they anticipated the next few hours down in the Quidditch stadium watching Gryffindor vs Hufflepuff.

Many at the Slytherin table booed as the Gryffindor team entered, decked out in their gold and scarlet uniform, while Teddie and friends kept to themselves.

"Are you seriously considering taking that into the Slytherin stands?" Judy asked Teddie as the young girl added the finishing touches to her 'Go Gryffindor' banner.

"Yep," Teddie said without taking her eyes off the strip of cloth.

"You do realise you'll be subjected to whispers of hate and evil looks?"

"When am I ever not subjected to whispers of hate and evil looks by others in my house?" Teddie asked. She tapped the lion she had drawn with her wand, muttered the spell Marcus' had taught her, and grinned as the lion roared to life and started to chase the Honey Badger around the banner.

Susan shook her head, although she couldn't help but smile.

"Well, I'm cheering for Hufflepuff," said Judy, producing her own banner. It was yellow and black with a Honey Badger in the centre with the words "Go Hufflepuff!" written across the top.

Susan scrutinised her friends banner and then shook her head. "I prefer Teddie's," she said.

"You do?" Teddie asked, looking up. She looked from Susan to her banner, and then to Judy and hers. "But Judy's looks professionally crafted. It's a hundred times better than mine."

"A lot of thought and hard work went into yours," said Susan. "It's more personal. Gryffindor is lucky to have you cheering for them, Teddie."

Teddie smiled and looked back at her banner. "Thank you," she said, quietly.

Susan winked and went back to her breakfast.

"Hey, don't worry, Teddie," said Marlene. "If Judy wasn't crushing on Diggory, she wouldn't be rooting for Hufflepuff."

"Hey!" Judy exclaimed.

The others laughed.

~X~

As she left the Great Hall, Teddie stopped dead as she heard the dreaded hissing of a cold, deadly voice - "Kill this time… let me rip… tear..."

"Oh no," Teddie whimpered, clutching her banner tightly.

"What?" Daphne asked, looking around. She half expected to see Warrington, or Malfoy and Parkinson nearby, probably waiting to tease Teddie for her Gryffindor banner. But she found none of them in sight.

"What is it, Ted?" Blaise asked.

Teddie turned to her friends. "Have I been out of your sight at all today?" she asked, genuine concern written on her face.

"Today has only just started, Ted," said Adrian.

"Then I must've done it sometime last night," said Teddie.

"Done what?" Theo asked. He grabbed Teddie's arms and forced her to face him. "What's going on?"

Teddie licked her lips and looked over to Marlene, Judy, and Susan. They were standing a fair distance away, deep in discussion about something, but she didn't want to risk them overhearing her.

"The Chamber," said Teddie, dropping her voice to a whisper. The others had to press in closer, surrounding Teddie in a smothering circle in order to hear her. "I must've opened it last night when you were all sleeping. The Basilisk, I can hear it. It's on the loose!"

The others exchanged looks.

"Where's it heading?" Derrick asked.

Teddie strained to listen.

"Kill…. Rip… Tear..."

"It's heading upstairs," said Teddie. "The voice is getting distant." She took off without warning, taking the marble staircase two at a time.

"Oi, Teddie!" Marcus shouted. He run after her, much to the confusion of Marlene, Susan, and Judy.

"What's going on?" Judy asked Adrian as Theo, Blaise, and Daphne run off after their friend.

Adrian shook his head. "I don't know," he said. "Head down to the match. We'll catch up."

"Is Teddie okay?" Marlene asked.

"She's fine," Derrick said. "Come on, we'll join you in the stands. Marcus and the others will get Teddie and bring her down."

Marlene looked unconvinced. But without any reason to mistrust Adrian and Derrick, and also the fact that she wasn't as close to Teddie as the two boys, she left with her friends

Derrick looked at Adrian.

"Don't say it," Adrian interrupted. "Just don't say it."

Without a word, the two boys followed the girls' out into the school grounds.

Chapter Text

Teddie stared at Grayson Farley from across the Common Room. Professor Snape had just left after informing them of another attack, although this time Teddie had been the one to find the body.

After hearing the voice of the Basilisk before the Quidditch match earlier that morning, Teddie had followed it up the castle and towards the Gryffindor tower, where, much to her surprise and shock, she found fifth-year Slytherin prefect Sierra Waterstone completely frozen, clutching a hand mirror to her chest.

Once Marcus had caught up, and realised exactly what had happened, he whisked Teddie back to the Slytherin common room with her friends and then reported the incident himself. He had been in Professor Snape's office giving his story and had returned with the Head of House who had new school rules that needed to be followed, immediately.

  1. All students will return to their house common rooms by six o'clock in the evening.
  2. No student is to leave the dormitories after six o'clock. No exceptions.
  3. All students will be escorted to and from lessons by a teacher,
  4. No student is to use the bathroom unaccompanied by a teacher.
  5. All further Quidditch training and matches are to postponed.
  6. There will be no evening activities.

Professor Snape had pinned the new rule post to the Slytherin notice board and then left the common room.

Teddie slunk down in her seat, burying her head in her arms as chatter broke out all over the room. No one seemed able to comprehend that a Slytherin - a pureblood no less, had been attacked.

"Whoever this guy is, they've got a lot of nerve!" Warrington said, loudly. "Attacking a Pureblood! The whole point of Salazar's monster is to wipe out the Muggle filth! We purebloods are supposed to be safe."

"Obviously we're not!" Marcus snapped back. "It just goes to prove that we're not that much different. At the end of the day, we're all disposable."

Warrington scoffed. "Figured you'd jump at the chance to defend the Mudblood line," he hissed. "Especially considering…" his eyes trailed to Teddie.

"Leave Teddie out of it!" Marcus growled. His fists shook at his side.

"Or what, Flint?" Warrington asked. He didn't seem to care that Marcus was two years older than him.

Marcus opened his mouth to argue but cut off as Teddie spoke.

"Stop it, both of you!" Teddie said. She had jumped to her feet and was glaring at them both, unshed tears glistened in her eyes. "Just stop it! This isn't about you, or me! This is about Sierra!" she turned her glare onto Warrington. "If she was a Muggleborn then you wouldn't care that she was caught, you're only angry because you thought you were safe!"

Surprisingly, Warrington backed down.

"None of you wanted to believe that Slytherin's monster would attack a Pureblood," Teddie continued, "and now that it has, you're all starting to realise that you're in as much danger as I am, and rather than admit you were wrong, and quick to judge, you're just lashing out in anger and fear."

"This is your fault!" Parkinson shrieked. "If you and your filthy kind weren't here, Sierra wouldn't have been caught."

Teddie shook her head and turned to Parkinson. "If you're looking for someone to blame, then go ahead, blame me," she said. "I don't care anymore." Her voice broke and, without looking at her friends, run upstairs to her room.

Daphne quickly followed her.

"Ted?" Daphne asked, pushing open the door to the second-years dormitory. She found Teddie sitting on the window ledge, gazing out at the array of magical creatures that swam passed. The blonde sat beside her friend.

"I'm going to turn myself in," Teddie said.

"What?"

Teddie sighed and turned to meet Daphne's gaze. "It's the only way that this will all stop," she said. "Once everyone's gone to bed, I'm going to go to Professor Snape and tell him everything."

"You can't," Daphne said. "Teddie, you'll be expelled."

"But everyone else will be safe. Madam Pomfrey, Professor Sprout, and Professor Snape will revive everyone with the Petrification Potion," said Teddie. "The other students will be saved, and I can leave knowing I did the right thing. At least being Petrified means that I just get expelled, and not arrested."

Daphne studied Teddie's face as the other girl looked away. "What about Mason?" she asked. "He's coming here next year, don't you want to experience Hogwarts with him?"

"I'm also doing this for him," Teddie said. "I was more than excited when Professor McGonagall gave me his letter, it was all I ever wanted after finding out about myself. Just before I boarded the train after Christmas, I promised Mason that the school would remain open long enough for him to come here. That's never going to happen if I'm not stopped." She sighed and looked down. "I'd love to experience Hogwarts life with my brother at my side, but that's obviously not going to happen if I keep attacking students."

Tears splattered against Teddie's knees.

"Teddie, please, there has to be another way," said Daphne. "What if we tried to close the Chamber ourselves? Or maybe, we could trick you into another blackout and then follow you to the entrance? Once we know where it is, we can tell the Professors, and they can deal with the creature."

"How are you going to explain how you knew where to look?" Teddie asked. "Both scenarios are good ones, but each one leads with me being found out, me being expelled. There's no way out, Daph, I have to leave Hogwarts."

Daphne was silent as she stared out at the murky waters of the Black Lake. She could've sworn she saw a tentacle of the giant squid but the creature itself didn't make an appearance, and even if it had, Daphne doubted she would be able to enjoy it, not with her mind occupied with Teddie's confession and plan.

Her best girl-friend was going to be expelled unless she managed to do something about it.

~X~

Later that night, after everyone had gone to bed, Teddie pulled on her shoes, grabbed her wand, and headed downstairs to the common room. She stopped as she found her friends waiting beside the fireplace.

"Where do you think you're going?" Adrian asked. "No one's allowed outside their dormitories after six, remember?"

Teddie ignored him and walked towards the portrait hole.

"What exactly are you hoping to achieve from all this?" Derrick asked.

Again, Teddie ignored him.

"Teddie!"

Teddie stopped as Theo called her name.

"Remember when you didn't want to come back after Christmas?" Theo asked. "Remember what we said? If you don't come back and the attacks stop, people are going to know it's you. You'll never be welcomed back into the Wizarding world."

Although she didn't acknowledge him, Theo knew she was listening.

"The same thing is going to happen now," Theo continued. "You'll turn yourself in, be expelled, and the attacks will stop. Everyone will know that it was you. Mason will be targeted for being your brother, everyone will think that he's just like you. He won't be allowed at Hogwarts in fear that he will open the Chamber himself, is that what you want?"

Teddie lowered her gaze. She hadn't considered the repercussions her expulsion could have on Mason. "I'm scared, Theo," she admitted, tears welling in her eyes again. She turned back to face her friends and found Daphne had followed her down from upstairs. "Even with you guys watching my every move, I still managed to open the Chamber, I still attacked someone."

"Teddie, there has to be another way to deal with this," said Theo. He crossed the room and pulled her into a hug. "Turning yourself in is not going to help matters. You won't be welcomed back here, we'll never see you again, and Mason will never come to Hogwarts."

The group were silent. The only sound was Teddie's fearful sobs as she cried into Theo's shoulder. She was terrified of what she was capable, especially since she had no control over how she was doing it.

"Why was Sierra even up at Gryffindor tower?" Derrick asked. "Why wasn't she down at the match?"

"And what was with the mirror?" Daphne asked.

"The what?" Adrian asked.

"Sierra was found clutching a mirror," Daphne answered. She paused and met Teddie's gaze. "You don't think she knew, do you?"

"Knew what?" Blaise asked.

"Knew what the creature was," Daphne answered. "Teddie, you said that the creature wanted to kill, right?"

Teddie nodded.

"But Sierra was Petrified, not killed," Daphne continued. "She was found alone, and with a mirror."

"You think she saw the Basilisk's reflection inside the mirror," said Teddie, quietly.

Daphne nodded. "I do," she agreed. "I also don't think we're the only ones trying to figure out this whole mystery. We already know Potter and his friends are," she added. "Who is to say Sierra didn't have a theory, too?"

"Sierra is pretty smart," Derrick said. "I overheard her telling Grayson in their first year that the Sorting Hat considered putting her in Ravenclaw. She claimed that her parents would've disowned her if she had made any house but Slytherin, so it put her here instead."

Teddie rolled her eyes. She was still laying against Theo, her arms wound tightly around his back as he held her around the shoulders.

"If Sierra had figured out that the monster was a Basilisk, it would explain why she was found with a mirror," said Daphne. "The mirror would've shown the Basilisk's reflection, hence why she was only Petrified and not killed."

"Still doesn't explain why she was up at Gryffindor Tower," said Derrick.

Daphne shrugged. "Personally, I don't think that's any of our business," she said. "Sierra has friends in other houses, including Gryffindor. Maybe she was up there for one of them or something."

Looking away from Daphne, Adrian set his gaze on Theo and Teddie. "What about you, Ted?" he asked. "Do you still want to turn yourself in?"

"Part of me does," Teddie whispered.

"And the other part?" Marcus asked.

"The other part is telling me to stop being foolish," Teddie replied. "To suck it up, and to finish solving the mystery." She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Alright. Stupid plans aside, if I am going to be expelled or forced out, there is one thing that I want to know before I go."

"What's that?" Blaise asked, looking intrigued.

"Why is it always me?"

~X~

Summer was creeping over the grounds around the castle; sky and lake alike turned periwinkle blue and flowers large as cabbages burst into bloom in the greenhouses. But, there was one thing Teddie had noticed wrong with the picture - the gamekeeper, Hagrid, hadn't been seen walking the grounds since yesterday.

When she voiced her concerns to her friends that afternoon, the reply she got wasn't one she was expecting.

"You haven't heard?" Judy asked. She was sitting with Marlene, Susan, and the four second-years in the Great Hall during study period. "He got arrested last night. Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge came to the school for him."

"Arrested, why?" Teddie asked.

"There's speculation that he's involved with the Chamber of Secrets," Judy answered.

"Hagrid? No way!" Teddie exclaimed. "He always seemed so harmless and friendly. Why would he want to attack anyone?"

Judy shrugged. "Boredom, I guess," she said. "I mean, he's not exactly well-liked by a lot of people here. He's always the butt of jokes, especially about his size, and there's only so far a person can be pushed before they snap."

But Teddie was shaking her head. She knew Hagrid had been falsely arrested. Catching Theo's gaze, Teddie sighed and looked back at her essay. If she had turned herself in the previous evening then Hagrid wouldn't be rotting away in a prison cell right now.

"Where've they taken him?" Teddie asked. "What kind of prisons do you have in the magical world?"

"There's only one prison," said Judy. "It's called Azkaban. It's the worst of the worst places on earth."

"I highly doubt that," Teddie said. "There's a few bad prisons in my world - Alcatraz, for example."

"Alca-who?" Judy repeated.

"Alcatraz," said Teddie. "It's an island just off the coast of San Francisco, California. The prison, a Federal Penitentiary was a maximum high-security building on a rock."

"Was?" Judy asked.

Teddie nodded. "It shut down years ago," she explained. "A lot of people think that it shut down because several high risk and dangerous criminals escaped, but that's not true. It just became to expensive to keep it open. Mason and I have always wanted to visit Alcatraz, but it costs too much for my parents, so we just watch it on TV and read about it in books."

Judy nodded and shrugged, scratching a few extra sentences on her Potions essay. "Well, Azkaban isn't that much different," she said. "It's a high-security prison in the North Sea where the worst of the worst are locked away. A lot of the Dark Lord's followers were imprisoned there after the first Wizarding World War."

"Mason would love to learn about the Magical counterparts of Muggle landmarks," said Teddie.

"If I remember correctly, there is a book you can take out of the library, or even buy at Flourish and Blotts - it's called Muggle or Magic: Landmarks - I may have a spare copy at home," said Judy. "I'll tell you what. I'll dig it out this summer and send it to you, Mason can then have his own copy."

Teddie forced a smile. "Thanks, Judy," she said.

"Always happy to help," Judy grinned.

Teddie shook her head and returned to her own essay.

A comfortable silence fell over the table, one that was interrupted by Adrian as he arrived with Derrick and Marcus.

"Did you guys hear?" Adrian asked.

"Hear what?" Judy asked.

"Dumbledore was removed from the school last night," said Adrian.

"What?"

Adrian nodded. "Lucius Malfoy turned up last night with a signed letter from the school board stating that Dumbledore had 'lost his touch' and was to step down as headmaster, effective immediately," he said.

"How do you know this?" Blaise asked.

"We've just heard Malfoy laughing about it in the common room," Derrick said. "His father wrote to him earlier."

Susan shook her head. "Great! The one person that we all thought could protect us from this disastrous year has now been removed," she complained. "What does Mr Malfoy hope to achieve by removing Dumbledore from the school?"

"Wide school panic?" Daphne offered.

"She's got a point," Marlene said. "I'm sure Mr Malfoy hopes that there'll either be an attack a day or a killing now that Dumbledore's gone. I bet he's still living under the impression that the Basilisk will kill Muggleborns."

"Do you think he knows about Sierra?" Judy asked.

"I'm sure Draco would've omitted that little detail in his letters," said Blaise. "You know what he's like, he'll weave a web of lies in order to suit his twisted fantasies."

"He and Parkinson are still hoping that Teddie's next on the Heir's list," said Derrick. "Well, Parkinson wants Teddie out of the way, and Malfoy wants Granger gone."

Teddie rolled her eyes. "They should try harder," she muttered, scratching at her parchment.

The bell rang, and the four teachers that had been overseeing the Study Period split the students into four groups, according to age, and led them from the Hall. Teddie waved to Marcus as she followed Theo upstairs to Defense Against the Dark Arts.

~X~

Just as the Gryffindors and Slytherins were finding their seats, Lockhart bounded into the room causing the class to stare at him. Every other teacher at the castle was looking grimmer than usual, but Lockhart looked positively buoyant. "Come now," he cried, beaming around. "Why all these long faces?"

Teddie exchanged an exasperated look with Theo. Was this guy for real?

"Don't you people realise," said Lockhart. "The danger has passed! The culprit has been taken away."

"Says who?" Muggleborn Gryffindor, Dean Thomas asked.

"My dear young man, the Minister of Magic wouldn't have taken Hagrid if he hadn't been one hundred percent sure that he was guilty," said Lockhart.

"Yes, he would," defended Ron, loudly.

"I flatter myself by saying that I know a touch more about Hagrid's situation that you do, Mr Weasley," said Lockhart.

"If Hagrid is the culprit then why did he only decide to open the Chamber this year?" Teddie asked, unable to take the cheeriness. It was irritating and annoying. "Why wouldn't he have opened it last year, or the year before?"

All over the classroom, heads were nodding.

Lockhart tutted and shook his own head. "Come now, my dear," he said, staring imploringly at Teddie. "The answer is quite obvious, isn't it?"

"If he says it because of him then I'll throw my book at his head," Daphne muttered.

Lockhart grinned a bright, award-winning smile. "Me," he said.

A copy of Gadding with Ghouls sailed straight over Lockhart's head and hit the wall with a loud smack.

Lockhart blinked and looked around at his students.

"Sorry, Professor," Daphne said, smiling innocently. "But I thought I saw a spider."

The class snickered.

Chapter Text

Summer was creeping into the grounds. The weather was getting warmer, the skies were much clearer, and the students of Hogwarts were preparing themselves for their exams. Three days before, however, Professor McGonagall made an announcement at breakfast.

"I have good news," she said, and the Great Hall, instead of falling silent, erupted.

"Dumbledore's coming back!" several people yelled joyfully.

"You've caught the Heir of Slytherin!" squealed a girl on the Ravenclaw table.

"Not bloody likely," Adrian said, stabbing his fried egg with a fork. "She's not easily caught." He grinned across the table at Teddie.

The second-year gave a weak smile.

"Quidditch matches are back on!" roared Oliver Wood from the Gryffindor table.

Theo rolled his eyes. "And they say Slytherin's have no feelings," he said.

His friends smirked.

Once the hubbub had subsided, Professor McGonagall said, "Professor Sprout has informed me that the Mandrakes are ready for cutting at last. Tonight, we will be able to revive those people who have been Petrified. I need hardly remind you all that one of them may well be able to tell us who, or what attacked them. I am hopeful that this dreadful year will end with our catching the culprit."

There was an explosion of cheers.

Teddie swallowed hard and her body trembled. She was twelve hours away from being caught out. She had to do something to salvage her involvement. Without actual proof that she had been blacking out, no one was going to believe that her involvement was purely against her will.

After the last attack on Sierra Waterstone, Madam Pomfrey had closed the doors to the Hospital Wing in fear that the Heir of Slytherin would come and finish her patients off, even the teachers were sticking by the rules and escorting students two and from classes.

Every morning, after Breakfast, the teachers would separate their houses into groups assigned by years, and walk them to their respective classrooms. Teddie and her second-year companions were usually always headed by Professor Snape, but this morning they had Professor Lockhart.

For someone who had so often assured them that all danger had passed, only to be proven wrong straight away, Lockhart was now wholeheartedly convinced that it was hardly worth the trouble to see the students down corridors.

"Mark my words," Lockhart said, ushering them around a corner, "the first words out of those poor Petrified people's mouths will be, 'It was Hagrid'. Frankly, I'm astonished that Professor McGonagall thinks all these security measures are necessary."

"I agree, sir," said Harry Potter. From beside him, Ron Weasley dropped his books, clearly in surprise.

Teddie exchanged an unsure glance with Theo. What was Harry playing at?

But Lockhart didn't seem to have noticed Ron's reaction, or maybe he just didn't care. He was too busy mumbling to himself about being up all night patrolling the corridors. "Thank you, Harry," he said.

So he had heard Harry, at the very least.

"We teachers have quite enough to be getting on with, without walking students to classes and standing guard all night," Lockhart continued.

"That's right," said Ron, nodding a little too enthusiastically. "Why don't you leave us here, Professor? We've only got one more corridor to go."

"You know, Weasley, I think I will," said Lockhart. "I really should go and prepare my next class."

He hurried off.

"Prepare his class," Ron scoffed. "Gone to curl his hair, more like."

"Ron!" Hermione said, sounding affronted.

Teddie glanced back to see the bookworm slap Ron on the shoulder with her History of Magic book. The trio then darted off down a side corridor. Without a second thought, Teddie grabbed Theo's hand and pulled him after them, leaving Daphne and Blaise to continue on ahead.

"What are we -?" Theo started.

"Harry!" Teddie called, catching up to the three Gryffindors.

"What do you want?" Ron snapped.

Hermione nudged him in the ribs.

Teddie ignored him and fixed her gaze upon Harry's. "What are you doing?" she asked.

"You're going back to the scene were Mrs Norris was attacked," said Theo, noticing the side passage led to the second-floor corridor. "Why? What do you possibly hope to find?"

Ron opened his mouth, probably to spew his usual prejudice slander, but Harry beat him to it by saying, "We think, actually, we know that the Chamber of Secrets was opened once before."

"Yeah, we figured that out months ago," Teddie said. "We also know that there was an incident involving a student, but we don't know if the student died or was just Petrified."

"She died," Harry confirmed.

"She?" Theo and Teddie repeated.

Harry nodded. "We've been told that the girl was Moaning Myrtle."

Theo and Teddie exchanged confused looks.

"She haunts the second-floor girls' bathroom," Hermione answered. "That's where we're going. We're going to talk to her, or at least try too."

"Do you really think she'll remember anything?" Teddie asked. "I mean, it was fifty years ago, wasn't it?"

Harry shrugged. "It's worth a shot," he said. "If she can remember how she died then maybe she can tell us where the entrance to Chamber is," he said.

"That seems like a long shot," said Theo.

"At least it's a shot," Ron snapped. "What exactly have you done to figure out this mystery? You only probably care now because the last attack was on a Pureblood Slytherin."

Teddie felt Theo's hand tighten around her own. "If you didn't already realise, Weasley," she snapped before Theo had a chance. "Slytherin have their own problems, namely me. I'm not a Pureblood, I'm a Muggleborn, and the main focus of the Basilisk's attacks. Theo has done nothing but worry about me since the first attack happened last Halloween, so don't accuse him, or any other Slytherin for that matter, for not caring until Sierra was Petrified."

Ron made a scoffing sound and turned to Harry. "We should get going before a Professor comes along and catches us," he said. He strode away without so much as a backwards glance.

"Your friend's a prat, Potter," Theo said, glaring after the red-headed.

Hermione offered both Theo and Teddie an apologetic look and hurried after Ron.

Teddie squeezed Theo's hand and turned back to Harry. "I'm sorry about Colin," she said.

"Thanks," Harry said with a small nod. "But Ron's right. I should go, so should you. We don't want to get caught."

Teddie nodded and turned away from Harry. "Wait, Harry, if you do happen to find the entrance to the Chamber, you'll let me know, right?" she asked.

Harry smiled and nodded. "Sure, Teddie," he agreed.

They separated.

~X~

"It's in the girls' bathroom on the second floor," said Teddie, "It has to be."

"Why does it have to be?" Theo asked. "Just because the one person the Basilisk killed resides there, doesn't mean that the entrance is there, too."

"Theo, think about it," said Teddie, lowering her voice and glancing around. They were sitting in the back of History of Magic with Daphne and Blaise. The pair had been disgruntled that Teddie and Theo had run off without them, but they were willing to let it go given the information Teddie had.

"I am thinking about, Ted," Theo protested.

Teddie sighed and rubbed her forehead. "The Basilisk must've killed Myrtle in that bathroom, which is why she haunts its. It's her place of residence," she explained. "Most places that ghosts haunt are their places of death."

"But why didn't she just move on?" Blaise asked. "Surely the afterlife is a better place than sticking around the living?"

"Maybe she can't move on," Daphne suggested. "Maybe she's bound to stay here until this whole Chamber business is dealt with completely. Potter may be right, Ted, she could know where the entrance is. Maybe that's what she is waiting for."

"What, for someone to figure out the mystery of how she died so that she can move on?" Theo asked.

Daphne nodded.

"That's a little far-fetched, don't you think?" Blaise asked.

"I don't see you coming up with any good ideas," Daphne snapped.

Blaise narrowed his eyes.

Teddie glanced up at the front of the class. Professor Binns was still droning on and on about 18th-century magic, while most of the class was dozing in their seats, or scribbling on spare parchment. She turned back to her friends, just as Blaise was about to speak.

"How exactly are we going to prove any of this, anyway?" Blaise asked. "I know Potter said that he would tell Teddie if he managed to find the Chamber, although I don't understand why you want to know, Ted," he turned to his friend.

Teddie shrugged. "I just want to know where I go when I black out," she said. "I want to go there, see if I can remember anything. You know, like maybe something seeped into my subconscious and can only be retrieved with a trigger."

"We could do our own investigation into the bathroom," said Daphne.

Teddie looked quickly at her friend.

"You want to go talk to Myrtle yourself?" Theo asked.

"Obviously not by myself, no," said Daphne. "If the entrance is in that bathroom, I'd rather not take the risk of it opening and the Basilisk getting me."

"Then what do you suggest?" Blaise asked.

Daphne met Teddie's gaze and smirked. "Buddy system," she said. "What do say, Ted, up for a little recon?"

Teddie laughed loudly.

"Is everything alright, Miss Fairweather?" Professor Binns asked, looking up from his book with a startled expression.

Teddie smiled, sheepishly and shook her head. "Sorry, Professor," she apologised. From the corner of her eye, Teddie saw Theo, Blaise, and Daphne snigger. She glared at them.

Professor Binns eyed her curiously, and then returned to his reading.

Sighing heavily, Teddie turned back to her friends. "You've been hanging around Mason for too long," she said to Daphne. "You're starting to sound like a right proper Muggle."

Daphne shrugged. "Regardless, what do you say?" she asked.

"I say let's do it," Teddie agreed. "We have a break next. Let's do it then."

Blaise and Theo exchanged looks.

"What about us?" Theo asked.

"Go find Marcus, Derrick, and Adrian," said Teddie. "Fill them in on what we're doing. Just so they don't get worried."

The boys nodded.

~X~

When History of Magic let out, the Slytherin quartet headed down a floor to the hallway where Mrs Norris was attacked. The bloody writing was still on the wall, despite the efforts of the Professors and Filch trying to remove it.

Checking the coast was clear, Daphne pushed open the door to the bathroom and looked back at Teddie. "Come on, before anyone sees us," she said, slipping silently inside.

Teddie turned to the Blaise and Theo. "We'll meet you in the common room later," she said, following Daphne. She closed the door on the two boys and they headed off to find the older Slytherins.

The second-floor bathroom was the same as all the rest. A large round plinth, split into four segments, stood in the centre of the room, just beside a large paned mosaic window. Each segment of marble had its own assigned basin with two taps, one for hot water and the other for cold.

Running along the walls, other either side, were eight wooden stalls. Inside each one was a basic toilet system with pipes leading up the walls to even more, and bigger pipes which lined the ceilings.

"It's very Muggle-esque," Teddie said, looking around.

Daphne nodded and walked over to the basins. She run her finger over one of the taps, tracing the outline of an Eagle etched into the metal. "This is new," she said, peering closer. "They don't have engravings on any other bathroom taps. Why are these so special?"

Teddie shrugged and walked around the plinth, running her hand over each of the taps in turn - a Lion, a Badger, a Snake.

"Who's there?" a voice asked.

Daphne looked around as a silvery-transparent girl rose high above one of the stalls nearest to her. The girl was had shoulder-length dark hair, which was probably brown when she was alive, an assortment of pimples and freckles over her face and nose, and thick glasses.

The ghost narrowed her eyes at Daphne. "What do you want?" she asked, unhappily. "Come to make fun of me?"

"Uh, no," Daphne said, shaking her head. She had come to talk with Myrtle, but having never seen her before, she was dumbfounded to learn that she only looked to be about seventeen. Eyeing her attire, Daphne gasped as she spotted the familiar Eagle on the ghost's robes. "You're a Ravenclaw!"

"I was a Ravenclaw," Myrtle said, her eyes dropped to Daphne's emblem. "You're a Slytherin."

Daphne nodded.

Myrtle seemed to bristle, angrily. "What do you want?" she repeated. "Why are you here?"

"We wanted to know if you remember anything from Halloween last year?" Daphne asked. "When the cat, Mrs Norris, was attacked just outside your door."

"I remember," Myrtle said. "But I don't recall anything… strange."

"Oh," said Daphne, defeated. "Well, um, do you - do you remember anything from, you know, when you… died?" She trailed off awkwardly. From stories, she was aware that asking certain ghosts how they died was fatal.

But, instead of looking offended, Myrtle seemed to look elated and excited. It only lasted a second, however. "Why do you care?" she asked, peering closer at Daphne. "It was one of you that killed me."

Daphne frowned and looked around at Teddie, but the second female was nowhere to be found. "Teddie?" she asked, her voice rebounding in the bathroom. Looking back at Myrtle, Daphne stepped towards the plinth but stopped at the sound of a faint 'hiss'

Following the hiss came a loud grinding sound. The whole plinth seemed to quake and Daphne looked back at Myrtle, quickly. The ghost's face, if possible, became whiter, and a look of sheer panic took hold.

"It comes! She calls it!" Myrtle wailed, tears sliding fast and thick, down her cheeks. "No one is safe now!"

"Teddie!" Daphne yelled, racing around the plinth. She stopped dead as she saw Teddie standing in front of a gaping black hole in the floor. This was it. This was the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets, and Teddie had found it.

Tearing her gaze away from the floor, Daphne looked up at her friend and her blood ran cold. Teddie was staring at her, a twisted grin of pure enjoyment settled on her lips, and her eyes had turned from their usual friendly green to a deep dark brown.

"Teddie…?" Daphne asked, her voice trailing away.

The ground shifted and Daphne watched as a great scaly head rose up out of the floor, it was followed by a black body with a pale green underside. Its eyes - Daphne averted her gaze before they could settle on her completely - this was the Basilisk that everyone was afraid of.

Hissss

Daphne kept her gaze low as the Basilisk slithered completely out of the floor, its bulky body taking up most of the room.

"No," Teddie answered. She was speaking English - human English - but still the Basilisk seemed to understand her. "I want her alive."

Her? Wait, she means me, Daphne thought. The Basilisk wanted to kill her, but Teddie was ordering it to spare her. Why?

Hisss….

"She's useful to me," Teddie replied. Her voice didn't sound monotone or different. She sounded like the same old Teddie Green that Daphne had grown close too.

Hiss…

"He'll get what he wants!" Teddie snapped. "But the last time you killed someone, the Professors didn't find her for hours. We can't afford to wait that long!"

Hisss….

"I don't care. You have one more job to finish before you return," said Teddie. "By which point I will have sent my message. Now, go!"

Yessss Missstresss….

Daphne closed her eyes and listened as the snake slithered past her. It's smooth scales brushed against her body once or twice, but she didn't dare open her eyes until she was sure it had gone. Peering through her lashes, Daphne watched as the great Basilisk slithered up into a hole in the wall, disappearing into the water system of Hogwarts.

Then a shadow fell over her, and Daphne looked up to see Teddie standing over her. Only, this time, it wasn't just her eyes that had changed - her entireappearance was different. Where Teddie Green usually supported red-hair and green eyes, the person before her now had long black hair and brown eyes.

But her face was the same.

It was still Teddie's face.

"Hello, Daphne," the girl said, holding out her hand. Daphne refused to take it and stood up herself. The girl nodded and stepped back.

"You didn't let it kill me," said Daphne, peering at the girl. "Why?"

"Didn't you hear me?" the girl asked. "I need you alive."

"But why?"

"Because you're important."

Daphne scoffed and the girl's smile grew.

"Don't worry, it's okay if you don't believe me," she said, shaking her head. "But the fact remains that I still need your help." There was a heavy silence, and then the mysterious girl started speaking again, "I need you to get a message to Harry Potter for me."

"Potter?" Daphne repeated. "What makes you think I know who he is?"

The girl smirked. "I assure you, Daphne, I know quite a lot about you and who you know," she said. "I'll make you a deal. You find deliver my message to Harry Potter, and I'll make sure you see your precious Mudblood again, how does that sound?"

Daphne's eyes widened. "Is this some kind of Polyjuice Potion, trick?" she asked, her voice quiet.

"No, Daphne, this isn't a Polyjuice Potion trick," the girl said. "The body you see before you does belong to the one you know as Teddie Green, but it also belongs to me. If anything, it belonged to be first and she's…" she paused, thinking of the appropriate term, "let's say...like a parasite, shall we? She feeds off me, or maybe, I feed off her, no one really knows."

Daphne shook her head. This was all very confusing.

The mysterious girl laughed and placed her hand on Daphne's shoulder. "I assure you, Daphne, once you deliver my message, and this is all over, I'll bring Teddie back to you and your friends. To be honest, she's not really the person my master is after."

"Your master?"

"That's not up for discussion," the girl said, shaking her head. "We don't have much time. So, what do you say? Will you accept my offer, or does Teddie not mean all that much to you?"

Daphne looked considerate. This mysterious girl was offering her a 'deal with the devil' offer - Teddie's life in place of Harry Potter's, or so it would seem.

But Harry has saved Teddie before.

You're right. Maybe he can do it again.

And if he can't?

Daphne sighed and pushed aside her internal voice. This wasn't a decision she should've made lightly, but she knew that she was on the clock. The Basilisk would be back soon, and maybe this mysterious girl would have it kill her for not picking a side.

"What's your message?"

The girl grinned, her eyes alight with amusement. "Good girl," she said, her voice smooth. "Tell, Harry Potter he must come to the Chamber, tonight. Tell him that he must come alone and that if he does not, more than just his life will be taken."

Daphne swallowed and watched as the girl walked around her, back towards the gaping hole in the floor. "Wait, what's your name?" she asked.

"That's of no importance," said the girl. "What is important is my message, and that it is delivered promptly. Do not disappoint me, Daphne, you know the consequences if you do."

Chapter Text

It was probably one of the worst days of her life.

Daphne had just delivered her message to Professor Snape and not Harry Potter like she had been supposed to do. But after agreeing to pass on the mystery girls' message, Daphne had seemingly had a change of heart.

How could she prioritise Teddie's life over Potter's? They were both equally important to different people, and while she wanted more than anything for Teddie to be returned to her and her friends, she also knew that she couldn't put Potter's life on the line.

Teddie would never have agreed to sacrifice someone else in her name, or anyone else's, or that matter. Daphne knew that Teddie would've understood her need to tell Professor Snape. Especially since Professor Snape had the ability to tell the other Professors what he knew, and then they could formulate a plan to save both Potter and Teddie from the clutches of the Chamber.

But that still didn't mean that Daphne couldn't feel devastated. Her best girl-friend had been snatched and taken into the Chamber. Sure, she may have left out some crucial points when relaying her story to Professor Snape, but he didn't need to know every single detail, only the basics, which were that Teddie was in trouble down in the Chamber.

She wasn't sure how exactly Professor Snape was going to help Teddie, but she had made sure that he knew that the entrance to the Chamber was inside the girl's bathroom on the second floor. Maybe Snape would tell McGonagall, who in turn would contact Dumbledore. The Headmaster was surely supposed to know how to save one of his students in a time of great peril.

"What exactly happened, Daph?"

Daphne blinked and looked up. She was sitting in a secluded corner of the Slytherin common room with friends. Marcus had cast the Muffliato charm on them so that no one would be able to hear their conversation, and she could describe her encounter in the bathroom in great detail without fear of someone eavesdropping.

"It sounds crazy," said Daphne, taking a deep breath. "Even trying to remember it feels like a dream. I remember talking to Myrtle, and trading comments about being in Slytherin and Ravenclaw - I'm pretty sure she said that a Slytherin student was responsible for her death."

"The Heir of Slytherin," said Derrick. "We already know that. They opened the Chamber fifty years ago and she got caught in the cross-fire."

"But if the Heir of Slytherin isn't Teddie," said Adrian. "Why are they using her now? I mean, why not finish the job yourself?"

"Maybe they can't," Blaise suggested. "Maybe using a student is a better opportunity. If a said student gets caught then it'll be their responsibility for their actions, plus, if all students had the same reaction as Teddie, and couldn't remember what they had done…" he trailed off, unsurely.

But his friends' agreed that the point was a good one.

Marcus fixed Daphne with a look. "What happened after that?" he asked, hoping for more insight into the story.

"I heard a noise," said Daphne. "Then Myrtle started freaking out about how 'she had called it' and that 'it was coming', I could only assume she meant the Basilisk. I quickly found Teddie, she was standing in front of what had once been a water basin, but was now a black hole in the floor."

"The entrance," Derrick murmured.

Daphne nodded. "It was all a trick," she said. "A trick to get into the bathroom and open the Chamber one last time."

"How do we know it's the last time?" Marcus asked.

"Teddie said so," Daphne answered. "I averted my gaze when the Basilisk came into the open - we all guessed how big that creature actually was, but its bigger than any of us could've guessed. Anyway, Teddie kept telling it to leave me alive, that it had one last job to do, and that it screwed up the last time it had killed someone." She paused, rattling her brain to draw more information.

"Did she say anything of relevance, other than just confirming that she's linked to this whole Heir business?" Adrian asked.

"She mentioned a master," Daphne said. "And then she told me that she wanted me to pass on a message to Potter - the same message I passed on to Professor Snape, just with a light editing."

Theo looked glumly at Daphne. "You said she changed - that Teddie changed," he said, feeling lost. "What did you mean?"

Daphne shrugged. "I mean exactly what I say," she answered. "Appearance-wise, Teddie changed. Her red hair and green eyes disappeared and were replaced with dark hair and brown eyes, her face stayed the same, but everything else about her was different. She also didn't radiate the same feelings and emotions that Teddie did, normally Teddie is stubborn and proud…" she shook her head, "but this girl was none of that. She was just… intimidating."

"Did she give a name?"

"No, but I did ask, and she said it was of no importance," said Daphne. "The only thing that mattered was that Potter got my message and went down into the Chamber tonight, alone, to meet her Master. If he complied with her orders than she'd bring Teddie back to us."

Adrian sighed and run a hand through his hair. "I'm confused," he said. "So, we're saying that this 'mystery girl' is living inside Teddie?"

"Seems like it, yes," Daphne said. "She called Teddie a parasite. Claimed that Teddie was feeding off her, or maybe she was feeding off Teddie, it was all very confusing and hard to follow."

Theo gasped. "Remember what Teddie said at the end of last year?" he asked Blaise and Daphne. "That He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named referred to living off of Quirrel has been like a parasite? You don't think this whole thing with Teddie and this mystery person is similar to that, do you?"

"It could be," Blaise said with a shrug. "It could be where her extra magic is coming from, too," he added, thinking quickly. "All her rage and anger. Remember when I said I had never felt such power inside one person? Maybe it's because of this other person?"

Derrick frowned. "Wait a minute, are you seriously considering the idea that Teddie, our Teddie, has a split personality?" he asked.

"It is possible," said Blaise. "She did say she had been tested as a child for possible signs of Schizophrenia - it's a muggle mental disorder. Teddie once explained it to us and Marlene, she said that the symptoms, when the illness is active, include delusions, hallucinations, trouble thinking, and concentrating, and a lack of motivation."

Adrian shook his head. "I'd hardly say she has that, then," he said. "She's hardly lacked motivation this year. Keeping up appearance as two different people - one who's trying to make her way as a Muggleborn Slytherin, and the other that is trying to murder everyone else. That's tiring work, and needs high levels of concentration."

"Fair point," Blaise agreed.

"She's also not delusional or having hallucinations," said Marcus. "We all know the Chamber exists, and the Basilisk has been seen."

Blaise shrugged. "I wasn't one who considered her to be schizophrenic," he defended. "Her healers did."

Marcus sighed and looked down. He hadn't meant to sound aggressive in his defence of Teddie. He was just worried about her.

"This is all speculation anyway," said Daphne. "Teddie is the only person that can prove us right or wrong, and she's not here." She hiccuped and choked back a sob at the same time.

Blaise reached for Daphne and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. She shuddered as the tears fell, thick and fast down her cheeks, and she buried her face in her hands. She understood that her friends felt the exact same way as she did, but she also didn't think that trying to justify Teddie's actions was going to bring her back to them.

If what this mystery girl said was true, there was only one person that could save Teddie now - and that was Harry Potter.

Daphne just hoped the rumours of Potter were true, and that he would investigate the Chamber, regardless of whether she had passed on her message or not.

~X~

Harry looked around himself in awe. He couldn't believe he was actually standing in what many people deemed a "legend".

The Chamber of Secrets was a dimly lit chamber with towering stone pillars entwined with carved serpents, rising up to support a ceiling that was lost in darkness.

It was rather chilling, to say the least. Especially with the long black shadows, and greenish gloom that seemed to come from nowhere.

Harry could feel his heart racing. Could the Basilisk be lurking in the shadows? Waiting for the ample opportunity to strike? And where was Teddie? He had learned earlier this morning that the young Slytherin had been taken by the monster, and he was determined to save her. He wasn't sure why he had decided he needed to be the one to save her, but there was something about Teddie that told him, if the situation were reversed, she'd have been the first down the rabbit hole.

His footsteps echoed loudly around the chamber as he reached the last pillar in the long line, and a large statue loomed down upon him from up high. He could only guess that it was a marble version of Salazar Slytherin, himself. But it wasn't the statue that intrigued him, it was the figure leaning against the stone.

"Teddie?" Harry asked, drawing nearer. He stopped when he realised the person he was speaking too wasn't, in fact, Teddie, despite how badly she looked like her in the face.

The girl met his gaze as she looked up, a smile forming on her lips. "Hello, Harry," she greeted. "Welcome to the Chamber of Secrets."

"Who are you?"

The girl chuckled and pushed away from the stone. "Funny, Daphne Greengrass asked me the same thing," she said. "But, like I told her, it's not important. What is important is your presence here in the Chamber."

"Why do you care about me being here?" Harry asked.

"Why are you here, Harry?" the girl asked, circling him. "Why did you come here tonight?"

"I came to save my friend."

The girl nodded. "Teddie," she said.

Harry nodded. "Where is she?" he asked.

"Right here," the girl said, spreading her arms. "Don't you recognise her?"

"You're not her, you just look like her."

The girl chuckled. "You're adorable," she teased. "But like I told Daphne, I am Teddie, just as much as Teddie is me. I know," she added. "It's all confusing, trust me, I'm still trying to figure it all out. One minute I am me, and the next I have this whole other life inside my head, a life that I can see very clearly, isn't mine." She shook her head as if trying to shake away memories that she didn't want to see. "Anyway, back to the matter at hand…"

"Who are?" Harry repeated.

"Again, not important," the girl reminded him. "My master would like a few words with you, Harry Potter. He's very interested in your story."

"Your master?"

The girl smiled again, her eyes alight with amusement. "Oh yes, my master, very interesting person, if I do say so myself," she said. "Shall I call him?" She removed a worn book from inside her robes, and Harry recognised it immediately.

"Hey, that's mine!" Harry exclaimed. "How'd you get it?"

"Oh, that's a rather entertaining tale, Harry Potter," the girl said. "Breaking into Gryffindor Common room was easy, but then, I did have an unwilling inside person. It's just too bad she went and got herself Petrified, I guess you have Teddie's unwavering caring nature for that. She must've influenced me just enough to provide a reflective surface to protect my insider. But, hey, I got my diary back in the end."

"Your diary?"

"Well, my master's diary," the girl corrected. Her smile turned into a grin as she watched the realisation dawn on Harry's face. "Yes, Harry Potter, it was I who opened the Chamber of Secrets, I with the help of Muggleborn Slytherin, Teddie Green. We opened the Chamber, we set the Basilisk on the Mudbloods and Filch's Cat, we who wrote the frightening messages on the walls."

Harry shook his head, vigorously. "You're lying!" he accused. "Teddie would never do that."

"True, you're very true," the girl agreed. "I guess, in a sense, you can say that Teddie was an unwilling participant in the whole affair. I just needed her body and mind. She is alright, you know?" she added, her tone a tad softer than it had been. "She's sleeping right now. She won't feel rested, if and when she wakes up, but she's not a bother to me right now."

Harry glared at the person before him. The way she spoke about Teddie as if she were just some plaything that she could use whenever she felt like it. "Teddie's my friend!" he snapped. "And you're setting her up to be the scapegoat for your actions. You're getting her in trouble."

"Oh, don't worry, Harry," the girl said, reassuringly. "Teddie won't take the fall for this, neither of us will. I mean, why would I want to get my own body removed from this school? There is so much I need to learn, so much that I have missed, not to mention people I need to find. Once I have completed my agenda, I shall decide what happens to Teddie, you never know, we may live a harmonious life together, where the both of us can thrive."

Harry felt his temper flare. "Who are you?" he repeated for the third time. He was determined to find out who was impersonating his friend.

"You're right, how silly of me to get off track," the girl said, shaking her head again. She looked down at the diary and opened it to the centre. It was equally balanced on either side by the number of sheets within, and Harry knew that this was the heart of the book.

"What are you doing?" Harry asked, nervously.

"Calling my master, of course," the girl said. "You may want to step back."

"Wait, what do you -?" Harry broke off as the girl tapped the book with her wand, and instantly a cold air filled the room. The girl's eyes slid out of focus and then she collapsed. Harry's eyes widened and he took an involuntary step forward, this girl may have been cold and intimidating, but she looked like his friend, and he had come here to save Teddie.

But Harry stopped as a flicker of silver mist rose out of the book, circled around him, and the materialised at the top of Teddie's head. The figure was that of a tall black-haired boy, no older than sixteen or seventeen, he wore Slytherin robes.

Harry blinked a few times as he surveyed this person he had seen only once before, only there was something different about him this time. He seemed to shimmer like it was looking at him through a frosted window.

"Tom - Tom Riddle?"

Tom looked up at Harry and smiled, nodding.

"But how-how is this possible?" Harry stammered. "Are you a ghost?"

"A memory," Riddle replied. "Preserved in the diary for fifty years."

Harry's gaze moved from Riddle to Teddie's body. "Is she -?" he broke off, unable to fathom the words in his head.

"She's still alive," Riddle answered. "But only just. You see Harry, Teddie is a very interesting person. She's not just a Muggleborn who happened to get sorted into the great house of Salazar Slytherin, she has a whole other life inside of her, one that I can identify with. It's strange, there's never really been another person I have felt such closeness too. I wouldn't call it love," he spat the word, as if it were poison on his tongue, "but more… a mutual understanding."

But Harry was shaking his head. He didn't care about the mystery girl or Riddle's feelings towards her. He cared about the fact that Teddie was somehow still alive, she may have been buried beneath this other girl, but there was a chance that if he could get her back up to Hogwarts, they could save her.

"Listen, you've got to help me, Tom," Harry said, speaking fast. "We've got to get her out of here. There's a Basilisk… I don't know where it is, but it could be here any moment. Please, help me…"

Riddle didn't move.

Harry didn't understand. He stared at Riddle and Riddle stared straight back. "Didn't you hear me?" Harry asked. "You have to help me save her!"

"I'm afraid I can't do that, Harry," Riddle said. "You see, as poor Teddie's body gets weaker, I get stronger."

"Weaker?" Harry repeated. "But, she said that Teddie was just sleeping."

"Sleeping, dying, is there really a difference?" Riddle asked. "All you need to know is your friend is in no pain."

"What? No! We can't let her die," Harry argued. "She has a family, friends, they're all waiting for her. I'm sure they're devastated that she's gone. Especially with all the time, they spent trying to protect her."

"They should've tried harder," Riddle mocked. "But then, no one can really match my powers of persuasion. Since the beginning of last year, Teddie has been writing to me every night, telling me all her problems, her fears - of how she's afraid of what to do when Warrington comes for her - you see, she's very brave and reckless when she's in front of her friends, she spins webs of lies and deceit, but when it comes to the sanctuary of her own mind, she's just a terrified little mudblood."

Harry felt his blood boil. Riddle didn't care for Teddie, despite the mutual understanding he seemed to share with the girl that resided within her. Teddie was just another tool to him, and object that he could control and use for his own personal desires.

Riddle smirked as if reading Harry's mind.

"You care about her," Riddle said, staring at Harry. "What does she mean to you, Harry Potter?"

"Teddie's my friend," Harry answered. "I won't let you hurt her."

"Hurt her? Never," Riddle said, shaking his head. "I never hurt Teddie, I merely encouraged her. She didn't need much persuasion to stand up to those bullies, you know? But then, all I did was unlock her true self. This 'mystery girl' has all the magic inside her that Teddie needed to match her fight. Her power could be great if trained properly. If she survives what is happening to her, then she can start a fresh new life inside the body that was always meant to be hers."

"What are you talking about?" Harry asked.

"Teddie isn't who you think she is, Harry Potter," Riddle said. "She's not real. She's just a name, given to her by two filthy muggles that tried to change her. They took her away from her real home, robbed her of her name, and renamed her Teddie Green."

Harry's eyes lingered on the body of his Slytherin friend. What did Riddle mean? Who was Teddie if she wasn't Teddie at all?

"Did she," Riddle pointed a thin finger at Teddie's body, "tell you why you were asked to come here tonight, Harry?" he asked.

"She said you wanted to meet me."

"Indeed I did," Riddle nodded.

"Why?"

"Well, you see, Teddie had already told me about your fascinating history," Riddle answered. "I knew I must find out more about you, talk to you if I could. So I decided to show you my capture of that brainless oaf Hagrid, to gain your trust."

"Hagrid's my friend!" Harry shouted, his voice rebounding off the high ceiling, "and you betrayed him, didn't you?"

Riddle's thin lips formed an almost perfect smile.

"It was my word against Hagrid's," Riddle said, chuckling. "You can imagine how it looked to old Armando Dippet. On the one hand, Tom Riddle, poor but brilliant, parentless but so brave, school Prefect, model student; on the other hand, big, blundering Hagrid, in trouble every other week, trying to raise werewolf cubs under his bed, sneaking off to the Forbidden Forest to wrestle trolls."

"Your plan obviously failed as Hagrid is still here!" Harry said, a growl settling in his chest.

Riddle smirked. "Only because of Dumbledore," he said. "But then, Dumbledore never did seem to like me, not like the other Professors."

"I bet Dumbledore saw right through you," said Harry, almost snidely.

"Well, he certainly kept an annoyingly close watch on me after Hagrid was expelled," said Riddle, carelessly. "I knew it wouldn't be safe to open the Chamber while I was still at school. But I wasn't going to waste those long years I'd spent searching for it. I decided to leave behind the diary, preserving my sixteen-year-old self in its pages, so that one day, with luck, I would be able to lead another in my footsteps, and finish Salazar Slytherin's noble work."

"You haven't finished it this time," Harry said, almost with a smirk of justice. "Teddie didn't kill anyone. She only Petrified them."

Riddle shrugged. "Doesn't matter," he said. "Killing Mudbloods doesn't matter to me anymore. For months now, my only target has been you."

"But why me?"

"I have questions for you, Harry Potter, questions that only you can give me answers too."

"Questions like what?"

"Well, how is it that a baby with no extraordinary magical talent managed to escape the greatest wizard of all time? How did you escape with nothing but a scar when Lord Voldemort's powers were destroyed?"

There was an odd sort of red gleam in Riddle's eyes.

"Why do you care that I escaped?" Harry asked, slowly. "Voldemort was after your time."

"Voldemort," said Riddle, softly. "My past, present, and future, Harry Potter…"

He pulled out his wand and began to trace it through the air, writing three shimmering words -

TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE

Then he waved the wand once, and the letters rearranged themselves.

I AM LORD VOLDEMORT

Chapter Text

Harry swallowed, hard. This boy would grow into the man that had tried to kill him eleven years ago.

"You surely didn't think that I was going to keep my filthy Muggle father's name?" Riddle asked, his voice full of anger. "No, with the help of my closest ally, I fashioned myself a new name. A name that one day, everyone, everywhere, would fear to speak, as I became the greatest sorcerer in the world."

"Albus Dumbledore is the greatest sorcerer in the world!" Harry argued, his temper getting the better of him.

Riddle scoffed. "Dumbledore has been driven out of this castle by the mere memory of me!" he snarled.

"He'll never be gone," Harry said, shaking his head. "Not while those who remain are loyal to him."

Riddle opened his mouth but froze. He could hear the music.

Harry could also hear it. It was coming from nowhere, somewhere, everywhere. It filled him up, to the point where he could hear it inside his heart. He looked around, his eyes scanning the darkness for the source of the sound, but he found nothing.

And then he saw it, and so had Riddle. At the top of the closest pillar a flicker of red, orange and yellow. A flame. It grew bigger and the music became louder. Then, with a burst of light and warmth, a bird appeared. It swooped down over the two boys, circled the room and swept towards Harry.

In its claws, it clutched something old and ragged.

Swooping overhead, the bird dropped the item and Harry caught it with ease. He looked down and unfurled the item - it was the Sorting Hat.

Riddle laughed as he too realised what Harry was holding. "This is what Dumbledore sends his great defender?" he mocked. "A songbird and an old hat." He turned away from Harry, approaching the massive statue of Salazar Slytherin.

Harry run his fingers over the hat, feeling the patchworked leather under his touch. What was the Sorting Hat going to do to for him down here? And Fawkes? What did Dumbledore think was going to happen? How could a Phoenix help him against the king of serpents?

"Speak to me, Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts four."

Harry looked up as Riddle spoke, his voice had changed from its usual language to that of the snakes. To anyone who wasn't a Parselmouth it would have sounded like a hiss, but to him, it was as clear English.

The stone face of Salazar Slytherin was moving. Its mouth opened wide and a head of black scales crawled out. Harry watched, horrified, as the giant snake that had terrorised the school for the last year, slumped onto the floor ahead of him. It was bigger than he had imagined.

Averting his gaze, Harry strained to listen. He couldn't afford to be killed by this snake. He had come to save Teddie, and he couldn't have very well done that if he were dead.

Spying the young Slytherin's body, Harry noticed that her appearance had returned to normal. She was no more the dark-haired mystery girl that had met him a mere few minutes ago, but the usual red-head he had grown accustomed to over the last two years.

Then Harry heard Riddle's cold hiss: "Kill him!"

~X~

Professor Snape paused as he picked up his quill. He had just addressed the Slytherins of the situation at hand, to say they were relieved or distraught was difficult. Many, like Teddie's friends, were visibly upset, disappointed, even angry that the school was sending them home tomorrow, and nothing was apparently being done to try and help their friend.

He understood their anger. Over the years he had watched Teddie Green grow from a sparkling young child to a high-spirited teenager. She was a stubborn and proud individual, that embraced her life as a Spinner-End poverty-ridden child with little to no effort. Even he, himself, had struggled growing up in such a rundown neighbourhood, being picked on by people who deemed themselves better.

There were so many times he tried to pretend that he was not from poverty, so many times that he wished he could have a different life. But not Teddie, they were cut from the same cloth, yet she loved her life at Spinner's End. She saw the true beauty in coming from nothing, and she enjoyed every minute of life, including its hardships.

Then, there were the students that disliked Teddie for who she was, and what they believed she represented. To them, Teddie was nothing more than a Muggleborn witch - a Mudblood, they called her. But she even rose above that insult. Challenging it, and the views of the Wizarding system.

Just like he knew she would.

But now came the time to inform her parents. Snape wasn't sure which was harder - informing the friends of a victim or their family. They were both equally daunting tasks, and each had the same outcome. Heartache. It was all too much to handle, but it needed to be done, and, as much as he didn't want to be the bearer of bad news, he knew he had no choice.

Dipping the tip of his quill into the ink bottle, Snape poised it against the parchment and started to write.

"Robert, I regret to inform you…"

Snape stopped. How could he do this? How could he write out an impersonal letter like this? Robert and Rose were going to be devastated, and so was Mason. This small family that thrived on their love for one another, was going to be ripped apart by one single batch of bad news.

He wanted to be impartial, and he knew that he needed to be. But he had grown up with Robert and Rose. He knew them personally. They were close, and he wouldn't consider them personal friends, but they were friends of a sort. They were nice to him, always had been.

With a sigh, Snape put down his quill and stood. He brushed of invisible lint from his robes and strode around his desk, towards the fireplace. This was the type of news that, despite how hard it was, deserved to be delivered in person.

Snape took a handful of Floo Powder from its bowl on top of the mantle, threw it into the fire and, as the flames turned green, he stepped into them and shouted - "Sixteen Spinner's End, Cokeworth!"

~X~

"Get away, bird! GET AWAY FROM HER!"

Harry tried to open his eyes.

He had just fought and destroyed the Basilisk. His fight with it had gone south the minute Riddle had ordered it to focus its sense of smell onto Harry, and to forget about the distraction Fawkes was trying to provide.

Harry looked down at his arm. There was a gushing wound on the forearm of his left arm. It had happened after a fang from the Basilisk had pierced the skin just after Harry had stabbed the sword of Gryffindor through its head.

The white-hot pain was spreading slowly, but surely, through his veins, and even as he dropped the fang with a clatter, he could feel his own blood seeping out onto his robes, soaking them and weighing them down. His vision was gradually getting foggier, the Chamber dissolving in a whirl of dull colour.

He could faintly make out Teddie's body and a patch of vibrant orange perched delicately next to her. Fawkes' head rested against Teddie's, and Harry could hear and feel the soft music that the phoenix emitted inside his chest.

Riddle, on the other hand, was furious with the gesture.

"I said get away from her!" Riddle snarled, brandishing his wand.

Fawkes screeched and took flight, circling the chamber and landing for the second time beside Harry. While the boy couldn't see the bird clearly, he could still feel him. He felt the beautiful bird lay its head on the spot where the serpent's fang had pierced.

"You're dead, Harry Potter," said Riddle, abandoning Teddie and approaching Harry. He towered over the twelve-year-old, an evil sneer curled on his lips. "Dead. Even this stupid bird knows it. Do you see what he is doing, Potter? He's crying."

Harry tried to glare at Riddle, but his head was too heavy for him to even lift it. All he could feel was Fawkes' glistening tears running into the wound. Oddly, enough, it felt good.

"I'm going to sit here and watch you die, Harry Potter. Take your time. I'm in no hurry," said Riddle.

Harry felt drowsy. Everything around him seemed to be spinning.

"So ends the famous Harry Potter," said Riddle, again. He sounded distant. "Alone in the Chamber of Secrets, forsaken by his friends, defeated at last by the Dark Lord he so unwisely challenged. You'll be back with your Mudblood mother soon, Harry…"

"You know? I really hate that word."

Riddle wheeled around, his eyes narrowing as he saw Teddie standing behind him. She looked disorientated, and she swayed as she tried to remain upright. He almost laughed at the sight of her. She didn't look at all intimidating, not now. Not while she was still fighting for control with her inner demon.

"You know what else I also hate?" Teddie asked, holding up the diary she had written in for the last year. "People using me for their own personal agendas. I am not a plaything!"

Riddle's eyes spied the diary and then flickered back to Teddie. "What do you think you are doing, girl?" he demanded. "Sit down before you hurt yourself."

"Oh, I'm about to hurt someone," Teddie said, nodding. She bit back a groan as her head felt like it was about to split in two. "But it's not going to be me." She squeezed her hand around the spine of the book, her fingers digging into the leather-bound fabric.

Then, with a shimmer of power, the book burst into flames, ink drizzled from its pages, all over her hand and down her arm, dripping with a faint patter onto the Chamber floor.

There was a long, dreadful, piercing scream. Riddle clutched his chest and his face, as his whole body writhed and twisted, his voice rebounding off the walls and ceiling as he tried to escape the pain that now filled his body.

And then… he was gone.

There was silence in the chamber, a silence that was only broken by the dripping of the ink still oozing from the diary. Teddie dropped it with a thump as her legs caved in, and she hit the floor on her knees. She moaned, burying her head in her arms as the dwarf that was using a jackhammer against her skull amped it up a notch.

"Teddie," Harry called, his voice and body still shaking. He dragged himself to his knees and crawled the short distance between himself and the Slytherin. He touched her hand, tugging it away from her face. "Teddie, look at me, please?" he pleaded.

Teddie lifted her gaze to him. Her eyes were back to their usual green, although he could see flecks of brown in them, a colour he hadn't really noticed until now. "Harry… I-I'm sorry," she said, her lower lip quivering. "I'm so sorry… I didn't - I didn't want this to happen. What happened? Where's the Basilisk? The last thing I remember is going to the bathroom with Daphne to question Myrtle, and then I woke up here." She looked around, her eyes landing on the body of the Basilisk not that far away.

"It's all right," said Harry. "You were being controlled. It was out of your hands."

"Oh god, I'm going to be expelled!" Teddie cried. "I know I wanted to turn myself in a few months ago, but I thought that if I could find the Chamber, I'd have proof that I wasn't doing it willingly. But how can I get out this? Riddle isn't real! He's just a stupid enchantment inside my diary…" she lowered her gaze to the half-charred book at her feet.

She kicked it away in anger.

Harry squeezed her hand and stood, pulling her up with him. "I'll stand by you," he said. "I saw Riddle controlling you. I'll explain to the teachers," he shook his head. "I won't let them expel you."

Teddie forced a smile. She knew he was trying to help, but she couldn't see how he could help her in this situation. She was going to be expelled for sure once they got back to the castle.

"C'mon, Teddie, let's get you back to your friends," said Harry. "I'm sure once you see them, you'll feel loads better."

Tears streamed down Teddie's face as Harry led her over to where Fawkes was waiting for them. They passed out of the gloom of the chamber, and back into the darkness of the tunnel.

Behind them, the door closed with a soft hiss.

Chapter Text

Teddie stared at Dumbledore.

Either side of her, equally as nervous, stood Ron Weasley and Harry Potter. They had just returned from the Chamber and, led by Fawkes, reached Professor Dumbledore's office on the seventh floor. Inside the room, waiting patiently for them had been Professor McGonagall and the Headmaster. After a brief explanation of what had happened, with Harry trying to explain without dropping Teddie in the middle of it, only for the young girl to explain the whole situation with as much honesty as she could muster, Professor McGonagall had left to inform Professor Snape of the sudden turn of events.

"I seem to remember telling you both that I would have to expel you if you broke any more school rules," said Dumbledore, staring intently at Harry and Ron. Both boys looked equally horrified.

Playing with her hands, Teddie stepped up to the desk. "Professor, if I may," she said, her voice quiet. She swallowed hard and looked up at her Headmaster. "If there is anyone who deserves to be expelled, it's me. I'm the one who attacked people this year. Harry and Ron were only doing what they believed to be the right thing by coming to save me. Please don't punish them for my mistake."

Ron exchanged a look with Harry. He still didn't understand why Teddie, a Slytherin no less, was defending them.

"Be as it may, Miss Green," said Dumbledore. "Their actions, as valiant as they were, are still their own."

Teddie lowered her gaze and nodded. She should've guessed that taking the full blame wouldn't have worked. Even if she was the sole person to blame.

"Nevertheless," said Dumbledore, speaking again. "Your actions saved the life of an innocent that had been caught up in another scheme by Lord Voldemort -" Ron winced at the name, while Teddie and Harry exchanged unsure glances. What was Dumbledore playing at? "In that case, you will both receive Special Awards for Services to the School and - let me see - yes, I think, two hundred points apiece for Gryffindor."

Ron blushed so darkly it clashed with his hair.

Dumbledore beamed at the three of them. "Now, Mr Weasley, would you kindly wait outside," he said, turning to Ron. "I'd like a few more words with Mr Potter and Miss Green."

Casting an unsure glance at Harry, Ron left the office. The door closed softly behind him.

Teddie felt her heart drop. Was Dumbledore going to expel her now that Ron was out of the room? Maybe he knew of the distrust that the young Weasley harboured for her, and to save her from being humiliated in front of him, he preferred to expel her in private.

If he wanted to expel you in private, he wouldn't have asked Potter to stay. Calm down!

Teddie took a deep breath and looked back at the Headmaster. He was watching her with a calm expression.

"Do not worry, Miss Green, you are not in trouble," Dumbledore said, easily.

"I'm not?" Teddie blinked.

Dumbledore shook his head. "No. I understand your situation," he said. "Tom Riddle's powers of persuasion aren't the easiest things to fight, even for someone as strong-minded as yourself. You aren't the first person to fall under his false sense of security."

Teddie looked down. "I'm sorry for the trouble I caused this year, Professor," she apologised. "I know that words aren't enough, but it's the best I can do."

"Nonsense, child, it is not you who should be apologising," said Dumbledore, waving her off. "It is the person who slipped you the diary. Do you have any ideas as to who may have wanted to be the subject of Riddle's possession this year?"

Teddie thought long and hard. She then shook her head, looking disappointed. "I have many enemies at Hogwarts, Professor," she said. "It could be any one of them or even their families. I have… angered… a lot of Pureblood families in my last two years, I'm afraid, and there are a few who would love to see me dead at the hands of Lord Voldemort."

"I'm sure there are, Miss Green," Dumbledore nodded. "But I sense the matter of the diary is not the only thing bothering you."

"No," Teddie said, shaking her head.

"Then speak, child," Dumbledore encouraged.

Teddie took a deep breath and looked up at her Professor, meeting his gaze. "Why me?" she asked. "I can understand Voldemort wanting to target Harry, no offence," she added to the boy beside her, "but why me? Harry defeated Voldemort when he was just a baby, that makes them enemies, but what why would Voldemort target me? I'm just a lowly muggleborn to him. Someone who isn't worth his time."

Dumbledore's eyes twinkled, almost knowingly, as they surveyed Teddie. "I'm not sure I'm the best person to tell you this, Miss Green," he said. "But, I do believe there is something intriguing about you that has caught Voldemort's attention. Something inside you, perhaps, a strong personality that can match his own."

"You mean to say that there is a hidden part of me that he identifies with?" Teddie asked. She paused, trying to sort her jumbled thoughts.

"Identifies, feels threatened by," said Dumbledore. "I'm sure you've heard this many times before now, Miss Green, but you are a very special girl, and you will one day soon realise just how special you are."

Teddie frowned. What did that mean?

"Now, is there anything else?" Dumbledore asked, pushing the conversation along.

Teddie shook her head. "No…" she paused. "Yes…"

Dumbledore smiled, patiently.

"May I be excused?" Teddie asked.

"Of course," Dumbledore agreed.

Teddie turned away from the table, offered Harry a supportive smile, and hurried across the room to the door.

"Oh, Miss Green, please do pay a visit to the Hospital Wing," said Professor Dumbledore. "Just to allow Madam Pomfrey the chance to examine you for any lasting damage. I don't think your parents would approve if I sent you home with threatening injuries."

"Yes, Professor," Teddie promised. She pulled open the door and slipped out, dashing past Ron as he sat silently outside.

~X~

The Slytherin Common room was abuzz with students ready to head home. Their trunks had been packed, and they had all gathered in the common room awaiting the arrival of Professor Snape to escort them to the carriages that would take them home.

"This is Green's fault," Parkinson sneered. "Why must the rest of us be sent home just because she was stupid to go and get caught?"

"I thought you wanted her to get caught!" Daphne snapped, unable to help herself.

"Not at the expense of the rest of the school," Parkinson argued. "Why should we Purebloods be punished for a stupid Mudblood."

Daphne opened her mouth to argue, but the words that came out were not her own.

"Didn't think you'd care, Parkinson."

Parkinson scoffed and rolled her eyes. "Shut up, Green!" she snapped.

Silence fell in the common room. One-by-one, eyes turned to the portrait hole. Teddie Green, their Muggleborn, stood looking tired, filthy, and rumpled, overlooking the room. Her gaze swept over the arguing girls' and landed on the one person she honestly thought she'd never see again.

"Theo…" Teddie whispered, a smile breaking out on her lips. She jolted forward, her legs carrying her across the room to where her best friend stood. He seemed confused, and slightly nervous, almost like what he was witnessing was too good to be true.

Tentatively, Theo reached out a hand and wrapped it around Teddie's shoulder. She was solid. As if that was all the confirmation he needed, Theo pulled Teddie close and hugged her as tight as he could. She laughed, winding her arms around his neck and squeezing him back.

Blaise and Daphne exchanged looks, as did Marcus, Adrian, and Derrick. As much as they all were glad to see Teddie alive, and wanted to reunite with her, they knew that both Teddie and Theo needed this more than them.

Slowly, but surely, Slytherins all around the room stood and started to clap. Seventh year Slytherins, like Matthew Richards and Gemma Sharp, whistled and cheered, followed by fourth-year Slytherins Larika Nightingale and Stephen Wilkins.

Teddie pulled away from Theo and looked around at her house. Students she thought that hated her, were now giving her a standing ovation, although she was unsure as to why? She hardly deserved it. She had caused nothing but misery and harm this last year.

"Welcome back, Green," Grayson Farley said, appearing behind Teddie and patting her on the back.

"Thanks, Grayson," Teddie said, beaming. "Has Sierra been awoken yet?"

Grayson nodded. "They're administering the potion now," he said. "She should be back with us by the time the feast arrives. She'll be happy to see you, too, especially after I tell her what happened. Don't scare us like that again, alright?"

"I make no promises," Teddie said, shaking her head.

Grayson smiled and walked away.

Teddie grinned and turned back to her friends. The other students were still cheering and clapping, but Teddie could barely hear them as she wound her arms, once again, around Theo, and buried her face into the crook of his neck. She breathed deeply, feeling the rest of her group of friends pressing in on her from all sides.

Neither of them knew what the future would bring, but if there was one thing that they were more than happy about right now, it was that they had Teddie back, and no one was going to take her from them. Not again.

The End of Book Two

Chapter Text

Teddie squealed with delight as she caught the rope tightly in her hands and swung high up towards the trees. Once she was high enough she let go, and plummeted towards the water, sinking through the surface with an almighty splash.

Breaking the surface of the lake, Teddie looked up the bank to where her friends, Theo Nott, John Kyle, and her brother Mason stood, watching her with amused expressions.

"What you waiting for?" Teddie called.

"The water's filthy!" Theo called back. "All I can see is your head above the surface."

"I can't help that," Teddie replied. "But it's cooler in here than it is up there! Come on, John."

John grinned and disappeared away from the bank, then a split second later he was swinging high up towards the branches of the trees. He then, just like Teddie, let go, landing in the water with a splash.

Teddie shrieked and turned away as the result of John's descent flowed over her head. "I said come on in, not drown me!" she cried, splashing the older boy.

"Hey!" John said, splashing her back. The pair laughed and continued their minor water fight as Theo and Mason watched from the safety of the bank.

Mason shook his head and retreated to the safety of a nearby tree, he slid down the bark and propped a book up against his knees, opening it to the first page. It was a book that he had received from one of Teddie's friends from school.

"Aren't you going in?" Theo asked, following him.

"No. I can't swim," Mason answered, "and the last time I went in that lake I nearly drowned, so I tend to stay away from it."

Theo looked confused.

"A few years back, a couple of kids from Mill town came into Cokeworth while Teddie, John, myself, and a few other kids were playing down here," Mason explained. "A fight broke out and two of the kids held me under the water while as 'punishment'."

"I bet Teddie didn't react nicely to that," said Theo. He knew how full well how protective his best friend was of her little brother, and it was never a good idea to pick on Mason unless you wanted Teddie's fist in your face.

Mason shook his head. "No, she declared war," he said. "But war never happened, thankfully."

Theo opened his mouth and then paused.

"Around here 'declaring war' just means challenging someone to a fight," Mason said, laughing lightly. "Teddie challenged the 'leader' of the Mill town kids to a fight, but he denied. She called him a coward and then told him to leave Cokeworth."

Theo nodded in understanding. "Have those kids ever come back since?" he asked.

"Once or twice, yeah," Mason nodded. "Usually they do it at night when most adults are in bed."

"What's the point in that?"

"They just spray graffiti everywhere," Mason said. "It's usual nonsense about how they are better than us, and that we'll never amount to much. We in Cokeworth are used to it, by now, though, so we don't pay much attention anymore."

Theo shook his head. "Don't you try to get back at them?" he asked.

"Sometimes," Mason said. "If things get too out of hand, John and Teddie lead a small group into Mill town and mess up a few things. Before her first year at Hogwarts, Teddie and John almost got caught breaking into Mill town warehouses, they never stole anything," he added quickly, "but it was in retaliation for the spray paint on John's house."

Theo nodded in understanding and looked back at the lake. He could hear Teddie's laughter, but couldn't see her.

"You can go join them if you like," Mason said. "The water may not look nice, but Teddie's not lying when she says it's cooler down there than up here."

"I'm alright for a bit," Theo said, shaking his head. He slumped against the tree trunk and closed his eyes, listening to the sounds around him.

Mason shrugged and returned his attention to his book. In less than two days he would be going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the first time, and to say he was excited would have been an understatement.

But first he needed to visit Diagon Alley and get his wand, the trip was scheduled for tomorrow. Teddie was waiting on a message from her friend Blaise, who was off on another grand adventure visiting his mother's lover, to say he was back in the UK and ready to go school shopping.

Turning the page of the book, Mason became lost in the words as he took in all that he could about the magical world, and how it mirrored non-magical landmarks all over the planet.

~X~

Later that evening, after dinner and making sure everything was prepared for the next day, Teddie and Theo sat on the floor in front of the TV finishing up their summer homework, behind them, immersed in the newest running of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers which had aired the previous month, sat Mason.

"I hate History of Magic," Teddie grumbled, opening her textbook and scanning the contents.

Theo smirked and glanced at her essay. "At least Professor Binns isn't droning in our ears right now," he said. "We'd never get any work done if he were."

"True. But this isn't helping much, either," said Teddie, holding up her textbook. "It's like Professor Binns wrote it himself, back when he was alive, I mean. It really captures his docile tones."

Theo chuckled.

"I can't wait to be taught by a ghost," Mason said, grinning with excitement.

Teddie resisted the urge to roll her eyes, and merely smiled over her shoulder. "I have no doubt that you will excel in all your subjects, especially History of Magic."

"Given the number of times he has read all our school books," said Theo. "I wouldn't be surprised if you could teach most classes, Mason. Especially History."

"He'd probably bring more life to it, too," Teddie agreed.

Theo nodded.

Mason grinned. "Maybe I can read your year three books after tomorrow, and I can help you with future History homework, then," he offered.

"Would that be considered as taking advantage of my little brother?" Teddie asked Theo.

"I think it would," Theo nodded.

"Damn!"

The trio laughed.

Calming down, Mason looked back at the TV and became immersed once again in the explosions on the screen.

"When do we find out our new classes?" Teddie asked Theo. "I mean, we haven't seen Professor Snape all summer to ask him."

"According to Marcus they update our letters with the additional books needed," said Theo. "So we should know tomorrow morning."

Teddie nodded and looked back at her History of Magic essay.

"You're nervous about Ancient Runes, aren't you?" Theo asked.

Teddie nodded.

"It'll be okay," said Theo. "I'll help you as much as I can. You never know, you may find it fun."

"I highly doubt that."

"Ancient Runes, is that like Hieroglyphics?" Mason asked.

"Close enough."

"I'll help you, Ted!" Mason grinned. "I love transcribing ancient texts."

Teddie sighed and shook her head. "I'm starting to feel outnumbered," she grumbled.

"Wait until you get to Hogwarts," Theo teased, nudging her shoulder. "Then you'll be severely outnumbered."

Teddie stuck her tongue out at her best friend.

~X~

The next morning, during breakfast, Teddie and Theo received their returning school letters while Mason received his first-year supplies list.

"I just hope Professor Snape is there today," said Teddie, sitting on the bottom step to pull on her sneakers. "It will be kind of difficult to get to London from Cokeworth without a Floo Network."

Theo nodded in agreement as he slipped on his jacket.

Over the summer, he had received word that his father had been sent to Azkaban for two accounts of domestic abuse, an account of breaking and entering a Muggle home and threatening its occupants, and a life-sentence for the murder of his wife.

After the trial, which Theo had been present for, along with Teddie, the pair had gone back to Theo's home in Northern England, escorted by Mo Flint and Cerberus Langarm, and packed the rest of Theo's belongings, moving them to Teddie's home in Spinner's End.

"I am ready!" Mason declared, thundering down the stairs. He had a backpack on his shoulders and a light jacket threaded through the strap between his left arm and chest. His excitement was contagious and both Theo and Teddie felt more than ready to return to the Wizarding World.

"Then let's go see if Professor Snape is a) home and b) awake," said Teddie. She wrote a quick message to her parents, both of who had returned late from work the previous evening and gone back very early this morning.

Theo picked up the door key from the hook behind the door and handed it to Teddie as he and Mason headed outside. The two waited for Teddie to lock up securely and then clambered over the wall into Professor Snape's front garden.

Mason peered through the front windows. "Why does he always keep his curtains closed?" he asked, trying to see through the minor cracks. He couldn't.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he had a potion bubbling from time to time in the living room," said Teddie. "Or even the kitchen."

"It could also remind him of the dungeons at school," said Theo. "His chambers can't be anymore glum than them."

"Fair point," Teddie nodded. She raised her fist and hammered the front door.

There was a few minutes pause, and Teddie raised her fist a second time when the door swung open to reveal Professor Snape in his usual black robes. He peered at them in the early morning sunlight.

Teddie grinned as innocently as possible. "Good morning, Professor Snape," she greeted.

"I shall be the judge of that, Miss Green," said Professor Snape.

"Mr Grouch!" Teddie muttered. She shook her head and tried to bypass her Professor, only to stop short as he caught hold of her collar and hauled her back. "Hey!"

"Where exactly do you think you are going?" Professor Snape asked.

"Uh, Diagon Alley?"

"Did I extend an invitation to you to use my Floo?"

Teddie cocked her head to the side. "I left a note in the letterbox at the beginning of the week," she said. She looked at the floor, hoping to find her note, but it wasn't there. "The others are meeting us at the Three Broomsticks in 30 minutes. We're going shopping."

Professor Snape released his student. He had received a note from her explaining such arrangements, but that didn't mean he liked her intrusion into his home without permission. "It would do you well to wait for an invitation next time, Miss Green," he said, turning and striding indoors. "Manners go a long way."

Teddie wrinkled her nose. "You're starting to sound like my parents," she said, following after him.

Professor Snape led the three youngsters into his living room and took the box of Floo Powder from his bookshelf. "I secured this from Gringotts for you, Miss Green," he said, handing over a satchel of coins to Teddie. "There is also a few extra should you wish to purchase new books for your brother."

"Thank you, Professor Snape," said Teddie. She dropped the satchel into her pocket and stepped into the fireplace. Theo and Mason followed her, as Professor Snape extended the box to them once they were settled.

"Do you know what time you shall be returning?" Professor Snape asked. "I have an appointment with the Headmaster this afternoon."

Teddie shrugged. "I'm not sure if Mo and Ursula are going to be there today," she said. "If they are, I can ask Mo to drop us back using Apparition, even though I hate it, or you could leave a spare key just so we can lock up. I'll make sure to you get it back either before or after I return to school."

Professor Snape looked considerate, set down the Floo box and disappeared into the kitchen. The trio exchanged looks as they heard him tinkering around with plates before he returning, his fingers wrapped tightly around a small single silver front door key.

"I trust you to guard this with your life," Professor Snape said, handing the key over.

Teddie saluted and dropped the key into her bag. "I shall post it through your letterbox after we have locked up," she promised.

Professor Snape nodded and picked the Floo powder box back up. He offered it to Teddie, who took a large handful and held it out in front of her.

"Thank you, Professor Snape," said Theo and Mason.

Seconds later, a bright green flame wrapped around the trio as Teddie dropped the powder and shouted - "DIAGON ALLEY" at the top of her lungs. As the flames cleared, the trio was gone.

Chapter Text

"I caution you, Darla, dear," said Mrs Greengrass. "You watch those granddaughters of mine. There is no knowing what Black is capable of now that he has lost most of his sanity."

"Mother, please," Darla said, glancing around hopelessly. Her mother-in-law never was one to keep her voice down, especially in public. "Sirius Black isn't going to randomly appear in Diagon Alley, not with half the Ministry looking for him. It's no sanctuary for an escaped convict. The girls' will be just fine."

Mrs Greengrass pursed her lips and looked over to where both Astoria and Daphne were sitting. The eldest of the two were chatting away with three older girls', all of whom were wearing Slytherin robes. "It's good that Daphne has made friends in Slytherin," she said, nodding in approval.

"Mother," Darla hissed.

"I know you don't agree with me and Alfred, dear, but you cannot deny the riff-raff that the other houses let in," Mrs Greengrass said, shaking her head. "I understand there are not many Pureblooded Slytherins, but a Halfblood friend is better than a Muggleborn or none at all."

Darla shook her head. She was thankful that her mother-in-law hadn't met Teddie Green yet, while many of Daphne's friend's families had accepted Teddie's blood status as what it was, and so had she, she knew full well that her in-laws would disapprove. Blood supremacy stuck with a lot of older generations, and unfortunately, her husband's parents were one of them.

"Teddie!"

Darla and Mrs Greengrass looked up as Daphne's excited shrieks echoed from across the room. Both women watched as the Daphne jumped from her seat, and threw her arms around the redhead that had stepped out of the Leaky Cauldron fireplace.

Teddie squeaked and caught hold of Theo's arm as Daphne's momentum propelled them both backward, into the fireplace. "Aren't I glad this is a solid wall and not an actual lit flame?" she laughed, hugging the blonde once she had regained her footing.

"Sorry," Daphne apologised. "It's good to see you, though. I'm sorry we could only correspond by letters this summer. I really wanted to see you."

"It's okay," Teddie said, shaking her head. "It would've been nice to blow off steam with friends, especially at the beginning of the summer." She smiled at Theo.

"I heard," Daphne nodded. "But, he can't hurt you anymore, right?"

Theo nodded. "You're right. He can't," he agreed.

"Hey, can we get a hug in now?"

Teddie laughed and weaved around Daphne, and hugging Marlene, Judy, and Susan in turn. Over the summer she had managed to see the trio, at one point, especially since Marlene had invited her, Theo, and Mason to attend her birthday bash at the beginning of August.

"It's great to see you, Ted, thank you again for my Birthday presents," said Marlene, pulling away from the younger student.

Teddie blushed. "I'm sorry it couldn't have been more," she apologised.

"Don't you dare start doing that again, Teddie Green," Marlene warned. "I told you, I'll take any book offered to me. Even Muggle books. The one you gave me, the Muggle fairy tales, was definitely an interesting read. I especially liked the one about Matilda, Mason, so thank you."

Mason beamed. Matilda had been a favourite of his growing up, so when he had got the chance to share the story with someone else, especially someone who had never set eyes or heard about it before, he had been beyond excited.

"Marlene lent me the book once she had finished it," said Judy. "Tell me Matilda was a Muggleborn witch?"

"I don't know," Mason said with a shrug. "Given what I know now compared to what I knew when I first read it, it is definitely a possibility. But the book's settings in England and it's only a few years outside its publication date, so it could be set within that year, which was 1988… wouldn't she have gone to Hogwarts if she were a witch?"

Judy looked considerate. "Yes, there is a chance she would've got her Hogwarts letter," she agreed. "Unless those parents of hers took it away and sent her to that Muggle school instead."

"She also had good control over her powers," said Susan. She too had read the book, after Judy, of course. "We could always check the library at school for any information on a Matilda, or maybe I could get Daddy to check the directory at the Ministry. He'd be able to tell me if there was a Muggleborn Witch called Matilda."

Teddie smirked and looked at Theo as Mason became immersed in the conversation. He looked pleasantly excited to find out whether or not his favourite book character had been an actual person, and not just a figment of his imagination.

"Looks like you're on the verge of losing your little brother," Theo teased.

"Best reign in the rope," Daphne said, poking Teddie's shoulder.

Teddie scowled at the pair of them.

Then, over her friends' heads, Teddie spotted Darla Greengrass. "Who is that with your mother?" she asked Daphne.

"That's my grandmother," said Daphne. "Word of advice, she's not all fussed on Muggleborns and Muggles."

"Oh," Teddie said, biting her lower lip. "Does she know about me or us, for that matter?"

"She knows about you being my friend, yes," Daphne nodded. "But she doesn't know you're a Muggleborn."

"So, keep it to myself?"

"Please."

Teddie smiled, nodded, and followed Daphne towards the older women. She spotted Astoria at her mother's side and smiled brightly at the youngster. "Hello, Astoria, have a nice summer?" she asked.

"It was pleasant," said Astoria. "I missed getting to meet you before Hogwarts."

"We'll have plenty of time on the train tomorrow," said Teddie. "Not to mention all year."

Astoria looked excited.

"My brother Mason is also starting this year," Teddie added, pointing over her shoulder. "He's hoping to make Ravenclaw. Do you have a house in mind?"

"Slytherin, obviously," Mrs Greengrass interrupted, looking stricken. "The entire Greengrass family has been in Slytherin, for centuries."

Teddie bit her cheek and then smiled, holding out her hand. "My apologies Ma'dam," she said, curtseying. The etiquette she had picked up from her friends over the last three years was finally paying off. "I don't believe we have met. My name is Teddie, and you must be Mrs Pamela Greengrass, it is a pleasure finally meet you.."

Pamela looked surprised. "Ah, manners," she said, smiling. She took Teddie's hand and shook it. "Your parents raised you right, child. It is a pleasure to meet you, too."

Teddie met Darla's gaze and smiled. "Darla, it's great to see you again," she said, continuing her act.

"Indeed it is, Teddie," Darla said, smiling in return. The urge to reach forward and hug the Muggleborn was strong, but she forced it down. She would need to wait until her mother-in-law was not present before she could shower Teddie in the affection she believed the young girl deserved.

With the introductions out of the way, Darla and Pamela left the children alone, but only after a stern warning to not leave the Leaky Cauldron for Muggle London and to stay within Diagon Alley.

"You always were one for the theatrics," Daphne teased, hanging her arm off Teddie's shoulder. "Luckily for you, so is Grandma."

"What? Did I come on a little too strongly?" Teddie asked, although she already knew the answer.

"Not so much strong as the thickness," Theo said, smiling with amusement.

Teddie threw her hands up in the air in mock annoyance. "Well, I never," she said, striding away. She threw a look at Daphne and Theo from over her shoulder, then giggled and run for the door leading to the backyard.

Her friends chased after her.

~X~

"Just come out … prototype …" a square-jawed wizard told his long-haired companion. They were both standing outside the window of the Quality Quidditch Supplies shop.

"It's the fastest broom in the world, isn't it, Dad?" squeaked a small boy, as he swung from his father's arm.

"Irish International Side's just put in an order for seven of these beauties," said the shop owner. "And they're favourites for the World Cup."

Marcus Flint, Adrian Pucey, and Derrick Bole exchanged almost smitten looks at the idea of their favourite team winning the World Cup next summer.

"I'm bettin' on them now," said Derrick. "The other teams aren't going to get in a look in when the Irish get these babies,"

Unbeknownst to the trio, the rest of their group of friends had spotted them through the crowd and made their way over.

"It's just a broomstick," said Teddie, poking her head between Derrick and Adrian, and spying the object of her friends desire.

The boys jumped, surprised at her appearance, and then looked aghast as her words processed in their heads.

"Just a broomstick?" Derrick repeated. "JUST A BROOMSTICK?!"

Teddie bit the inside of her lip to keep from grinning. By now she was aware of her friend's love for Quidditch and knew better than to criticise a broomstick in front of them. But the fact that she and Derrick had been bantering about everything and anything since the beginning of her first year, she couldn't resist getting a rise out of him.

"That is not just a broomstick, Teddie," said Derrick. He grabbed her arm and hauled her to the front of the group, stopping in front of a large sign near the edge of the window. "It's a Firebolt - fastest broom in the world!"

Leaning closer, Teddie inspected the small print on the sign:

THE FIREBOLT

This state-of-the-art racing broom sports a streamlined, super-fine handle of ash, treated with a diamond-hard polish and hand-numbered with its own registration number. Each individually selected birch twig in the broomtail has been honed to aerodynamic perfection, giving the Firebolt unsurpassable balance and pinpoint precision. The Firebolt has an acceleration of 0-150 miles an hour in ten seconds and incorporates an unbreakable braking charm.

Price on request.

"Price on request?" Teddie asked, looking up at the shop owner. "That's a lot of gold."

"Indeed it is, little lady," the ageing man said, smiling handsomely. He reminded Teddie of her grandfather. "Which is why, for the next six months, they're only being sold to professional Quidditch players."

Teddie looked up at Derrick. "You're a good Quidditch player," she said, "But you're not that good, not yet anyway."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence," Derrick said, huffing. He turned and pushed his way back through the crowd.

Teddie turned back to the shop owner smiled, waved, and followed after Derrick. "I still say it's just a broomstick," she added, stopping between Derrick and Marcus.

"You're insufferable!" Derrick grumbled.

Teddie giggled and Mason pressed closer to the window as the group around them dispersed. "I can't wait to see Quidditch in real time," he said, remembering the games he had watched Marcus and the others play over the past two summers.

Derrick perked up and grinned at Mason. "Take her," he said, lightly pushing Teddie into Marcus. "This one," he pointed at Mason. "This one's mine."

"Hey!" Teddie laughed, extracting herself from Marcus and playfully glaring at Derrick. "We agreed. No stealing my brother!"

"I don't remember agreeing to that," Derrick said, shaking his head. "I remember agreeing to share your brother."

"But you're not sharing him," Teddie said, pointing her finger at Derrick. "You're trying to keep him all to yourself, that's stealing."

"Meh, po-ta-to, pa-ta-oh!" Derrick said, waving her off. He turned to Mason. "What do you say, kid, do you want to head inside," he pointed at the Quidditch shop over his shoulder. "First years aren't necessarily allowed their own brooms or Quidditch supplies, but I am more than happy to point out a few for you."

"Sure," Mason said, his eyes alight with excitement,

Derrick grinned in triumph at Teddie.

Stepping closer, Teddie poked her finger into Derrick's chest. "Don't forget I know where to find you," she warned. "I'm trusting you with Mason, look after him."

Derrick swallowed and nodded. He knew better than most how protective Teddie was of Mason, and although he was only teasing her about taking him away, even if it were only for half an hour, he knew her threat was real. "You have my word, I won't let any harm come to him," he promised.

Teddie looked to Mason. "I'm going to go to Gringotts with Theo, alright?" she asked. "I'll meet you back here in 30. Stay with the guys, don't go wandering off."

"I promise," Mason said, stepping closer and hugging Teddie. He could understand her concern for his safety, although Diagon Alley wasn't a new place no more, it was still full of adults, other children, and people that had it in for Teddie.

Teddie pressed a kiss to Mason's head and then watched as he followed Derrick into Quality Quidditch Supplies.

"Don't worry, we'll look out for him," said Adrian, patting Teddie on the shoulder as he passed. He, too, disappeared into the shop.

"Hey," said Marcus, placing his hand on Teddie's shoulder.

"I know," Teddie nodded, before sighing. "But Warrington hasn't made good on his threat from last year, yet. I'm just feeling a little cautious."

"Don't worry about Warrington," said Marcus, reassuringly. "He's not stupid enough to go after Mason, he knows how protective you are of him."

"I know, but still…"

"Mason is safe with us," Marcus said. "Trust me."

Teddie smiled and nodded. "I do," she said.

"Good."

"Hey," Teddie called, stopping Marcus before he could disappear into the shop. "No spoiling him. I mean, it Marcus," she added as he grinned.

"I know you do," Marcus said. "And I wouldn't dream of going against you,"

He stepped into the shop before Teddie could rebuff him.

"I am so going to regret this," Teddie groaned.

Daphne giggled and put her arm around Teddie's shoulders, steering her away from the Quidditch shop. "Most definitely," she agreed. "Most definitely, indeed."

~X~

With his hand on Mason's shoulder, Derrick led the youngster out of the Quidditch shop and back onto the busy street of Diagon Alley. Through the crowd, he could see Daphne, Theo, and Teddie returning from Gringotts.

"You were so born a generation or two too late," Derrick said to Mason. "I'd give anything to be at Hogwarts with you next year."

"Aren't you graduating this year?" Mason asked.

Derrick nodded.

"You could always fail and come back next year," Adrian teased, nudging Derrick's shoulder. "I don't think your mother would approve if you did it intentionally, though."

Derrick's paled at the idea. "Are you kidding?! She'd murder me!" he yelled.

"I guess you can't fail then, can you."

With a shake of his head, Derrick looked back to Mason. "You'll just have to write to me next year," he said. "Let me know if you make the team. I'll even come to your first game."

Mason grinned in anticipation.

Teddie frowned and looked up at Derrick. She had just caught the end of his comment as she returned from Gringotts. "You're more likely to see Blaise on the Slytherin team than you're Mason on the Ravenclaw."

"Why do you say that?" Derrick asked.

"Because Mason is afraid of heights," answered Theo.

"What?" Derrick yelped. He looked from Theo to Teddie, to Mason, and back again. "Oh come on! Why didn't you say anything?" he asked Mason.

"Because you were so excited to show me around, I didn't want to disappoint you," Mason answered.

Teddie shared a look with Daphne and Theo.

"You knew, why didn't you tell me?" Derrick asked Teddie.

"You didn't exactly give me a chance!" Teddie rebuffed. "One minute he is saying he can't wait to see Quidditch in real time, and the next you're dragging him into the shop. How am I supposed to get a word in about his fears in that time span?"

Derrick sighed, shook his head and mumbled something about 'being insufferable'

"Yeah, we get it," Teddie said, grinning. She wound her arm around Mason's shoulders as he returned to her side, and looked up at Derrick. "We bug you. But you make it so easy, and always come back for more."

"I'm seriously starting to question our friendship," Derrick said, running a hand over his face.

Teddie and Mason laughed.

With a smirk, Marcus looked around at the group. "Now that Teddie has ruined Derrick's day," he said. "Where to first?"

"I just need to pick up my books," said Daphne, "and stopping by the apothecary isn't going to do much harm. I could always need some more potions ingredients."

Theo nodded. "I need new robes and books," he said.

"Oh, that reminds me," said Teddie, glancing back at her best friend. "Please stop growing."

"It's not like I have any control over it," Theo chuckled.

"We eat roughly the same things, and you grow twice as fast as I go," Teddie protested.

"Does that mean you don't need new robes this year?" Daphne asked.

"No, I do, but this is the first year I have needed new robes," said Teddie. "Theo needed them last year, too."

"It's part of the compromise," said Daphne with a mischievous grin.

Teddie grinned and cocked her head to the side. "Oh yeah, and what compromise is that?" she asked.

"Well, I mean, girls' mature faster than boys, right," said Daphne, winding her arm through Teddie's and walking her away through the crowd. "So, I guess it's only fair that they get to grow faster than us."

"Hey!" the boys shouted.

The girls' giggled and carried on walking down the cobbled-stone path.

~X~

An hour later, after Theo, Daphne, Teddie, and Mason had finished in Madam Malkin's' Robes for All Occasions, the group met back up with Marlene, Judy, and Susan who had gone off to do their own shopping. Weighed down with shopping bags, the group grabbed two tables outside Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour, and Marcus, Teddie, Theo, and Adrian went inside to order everyone's ice cream.

"Are you excited, Mason?" Marlene asked.

"Yes," Mason said, bouncing in his seat. "Teddie said you had a little sister starting this year. Is she here?"

"Jasmine," Marlene nodded. "And no, she's sick today. Mum and Dad brought her shopping yesterday, and I think she's got food poisoning from the Leaky Cauldron."

"I didn't think that was possible," said Daphne. She looked up as Teddie and the boys returned, carrying a tray of ice cream between them.

Mason's eyes widened at the size of the ice cream and reached for a chocolate and banana split with whipped cream and sprinkles. "This is bigger than my head," he said, raising his spoon and trying to decide where to start.

"If you manage to finish that I will not be surprised if you're sick tonight," said Teddie.

Scooping a spoonful of chocolate and banana ice-cream topped with whipped cream into his mouth, Mason groaned and closed his eyes in pleasure.

The two tables laughed and dug in themselves.

"Have you got your books yet?" Judy asked Teddie from across the table. "You're taking Muggle Studies, right?"

Teddie nodded. "Yes, I am and no, I haven't," she said, laughing lightly.

Judy chuckled. "Are you taking Care of Magical Creatures, too?" she asked.

"Yeah, we all are," said Teddie. "Why?"

"No reason, except I don't think Mr Blott is going to be particularly pleased if you all go in together," said Judy. "The Monster Book of Monsters isn't a regular book, he was nearly crying when we went in and asked for three."

Teddie shared a look with her friends.

"What do you mean?" Daphne asked, setting down her spoon.

"She means the book is practically alive," said Susan.

"What do you mean 'practically'?" Judy repeated. "The book is alive! After we got our copies, two other books grabbed a third and started ripping it apart."

Teddie paled and looked at Marcus beside her. "Do you have that book?" she asked.

"No, but I need it this year," said Marcus, consulting his book list. "Must be a new professor."

Mentally counting how many people needed the Monster book, Teddie bit her lower lip. "Maybe we all shouldn't go in at once then?" she asked, realising the number was pretty high.

"But wouldn't it be easier to get it all at once?" Daphne asked. "It would save Mr Blott the hassle."

Teddie shrugged. "I don't think I could bear to see the hopelessness in his eye when we ask for five," she said. "Especially if he was nearly crying when asked for three."

"Up to you," said Daphne. "I still say asking for five is better than asking individually. Plus, we're all there on hand if he needs assistance, then."

"She has a point," said Mason, licking the melting ice cream from his spoon.

Teddie hesitated and shared a look with Theo. "What do you think?" she asked.

"I think we should get them all at once," said Theo. "It would be easier, and, if it were me, I'd rather do it all at the same time."

"Alright then," said Teddie. "We'll do it your way, Daph."

Daphne nodded and pierced her ice cream with her spoon. "Do we need anything else other than our books and Mason's wand?" she asked.

Teddie shook her head as she spooned another helping of vanilla ice cream into her mouth.

"Me either," said Theo.

"Great. When everyone's finished we'll go to Flourish and Blotts," said Adrian.

Teddie spied Mason from the corner of her eye. He had just spooned another large scoop of ice cream into his mouth, and almost immediately his face turned green, he was even having difficulty swallowing.

"You okay?" Teddie asked.

Mason looked startled and smiled. "Yeah, why?" he asked quickly.

"You don't have to finish it."

Mason looked at his ice cream and then back at his sister. "Mum and Dad don't like a waste," he said quietly.

Teddie reached across the table and pulled the half-eaten bowl away from Mason. "I'd rather you leave it than make yourself sick trying to finish it," she said. "You're going to have a stomach ache."

"But mum and dad -"

"Would agree with me!"

Mason sighed and sunk down in his chair. He felt guilty that he had wasted money on an ice cream he couldn't finish, but also relieved that Teddie wasn't going to force him to eat it.

Once everyone had finished, and the ice creams had been paid for, the group headed off in the general direction of Flourish and Blotts.

Half an hour later, they returned to the Diagon Alley with their purchases.

"It's getting late, I best head back to the Leaky Cauldron," said Marlene. "Dad should be there already."

"Same here," said Judy and Susan.

Teddie nodded and hugged the three of them. "See you tomorrow?" she asked.

"Yep. We'll come find you on the train, alright?" Marlene asked. "You can meet my sister Jasmine then. I've told her all about you, she's really excited."

"I look forward to it," Teddie grinned. "Bye."

The three girls' waved back and then headed down the cobbled-stoned path towards the pub. As they disappeared from view, Teddie turned back to her friends.

"Daph, what time is your mother expecting you back?" Teddie asked.

"She didn't give a specific time limit," said Daphne. "What about you? Is Professor Snape waiting in for you?"

Teddie shook her head. "He's giving us a spare key so we can let ourselves out," she explained. "I just have to remember to either post the key back in once I've locked up, or give it to him at Hogwarts tomorrow evening."

"He actually trusts you with the key to his home?" Derrick asked.

"Why wouldn't he?" Teddie asked. "I'm not that bad of a hooligan, am I?"

Derrick looked considerate. "It's a debatable issue, can I get back to you?"

Teddie gaped and playfully shoved the older boy.

Mason grinned. Teddie and Derrick's relationship was almost identical to the one he shared with her.

Spying Mason, Theo nudged Teddie and nodded in the youngster's general direction. "Come to think of it, I don't think we have anything else to get today," he said. "What do you think, Ted?"

"I think you're right," said Teddie. She took her supply list from her pocket and checked it, running her finger down the books. "Nope. We've pretty much got everything." She looked to the rest of her friends, her eyes shining with amusement as she caught the confused looks on their faces. "What about you guys?"

"I dunno," said Adrian, catching on quickly. The look on Mason's face was enough to tell him what Teddie and Theo were playing at. "I'm pretty sure there is something we're missing."

Mason suddenly looked relieved.

"Really? Do you know what?" Theo asked.

"It's on the tip of my tongue," said Adrian. He looked at Mason. "What do you think? You're the brains. Are we missing something?"

Mason scowled at the three of them. "Only my wand!" he said.

"Oh yeah!" Teddie said. She looked at Theo and grinned. "Silly us!"

"I hate you," Mason said. He lay his head on Daphne's side as she wound her arm around his shoulders.

Teddie grinned and shook her head. "Do you think I would let you leave without visiting Ollivander's?" she asked. "Please, you'd have me back here later tonight."

"Or early tomorrow morning," said Theo.

"Exactly," Teddie agreed. She held her hand out to Mason and grinned as he took it. "What are you waiting for? Let's go get your wand."

Chapter Text

On the morning of September 1st, Teddie was awoken in the usual manner of being jumped on. Mason, who was starting Hogwarts this year, was in a state of hyper-overdrive and had yet to relax, despite being awake since 6am continuously checking he had packed everything for his first term.

"I swear to god you check that trunk one more time!" Teddie warned, walking into the bedroom after breakfast and caught her brother peering into his trunk with a curious expression.

"But what if I have forgotten something?" Mason asked. "What if it's one of my books? What if it's my robes? Or my wand?"

Teddie rolled her eyes. "1. I have your wand and robes in my backpack, along with my own," she said, "and 2. If you forget any books mum and dad can just send them to you with Zuri. I don't think Professor Snape is going to stop us from using his owl just because you're coming to school this year."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, I am sure."

Mason sighed in relief and looked back at his trunk. "But what if -?" he started.

"Mason quit it!" Teddie snapped. She instantly regretted it and sighed. "Sorry. But please, you're making me nervous."

"Sorry," Mason said quietly. He closed his trunk and sat on its edge, staring at the floor.

Teddie cocked her head to the side as she stared at him. "This is more than just forgetting something," she said, walking over and sitting beside him. "What's the matter?"

"I'm scared."

"About what?"

"What if the letter was wrong?" Mason asked. He looked up and Teddie could see the terror in his eyes. "What if I am not a wizard? What if they made a mistake?"

"They didn't," said Teddie. "Remember when we went to Adrian's over the summer?"

Mason nodded.

"Well, his cousin, Kiera told me that only people with magic can get through magical barriers, all Muggles, like mum and dad, need the assistance of a witch or wizard," said Teddie, wrapping her arm around her brother. "You managed to get onto Platform 9 ¾ all on your own three years ago. I'd say that was pretty magical to me."

Teddie smiled as Mason's face lit up with hope.

"Thanks, Teddie," Mason said, wrapping his arms around her and hugging tightly. "I love you."

"I love you too, Mason," said Teddie, pressing a kiss to his forehead. "Now come on, we're going to miss the train."

Mason grinned, his eyes alight with its usual excitement, and jumped to his feet. He grabbed one end of his trunk as Teddie grabbed the other, and between them, they managed to get it downstairs and out into the front garden where their father was loading the car.

~X~

They reached Kings Cross with 30 minutes to spare and found Daphne and her family waiting for them at the platform barrier. Being careful not to attract the attention of the Muggles around them, Teddie passed through the barrier with Mason and Astoria with Theo and Daphne following behind.

After the kids had passed through Darla, her husband, David, Rose and Robert came toppled through the barrier.

"Let's get you kids on the train," said Darla, leading Astoria towards an open door. She held her youngest daughter up and led her into an empty compartment at the very back of the train. The others followed and quickly stowed their backpacks on the racks overhead.

"Come on, Mason, let's go spend time with mum and dad," said Teddie, leading her brother back out onto the platform.

Robert and Rose looked visibly upset that both their children were going away to school, but they also looked genuinely happy. They both knew that they didn't have to worry about Mason at school, as Teddie would look after him, but Teddie's record was far from spotless.

Between getting into fights with the house and schoolmates, and her near-death experiences two years running, Rose and Robert were concerned with the new year ahead and what trouble she would be getting into without their supervision.

"I'll try not to get myself killed," Teddie promised.

"Trying isn't your forte, Teddie," said Rose, wrapping her daughter in a hug. "Neither is keeping promises. Just be good, okay? If you see a situation turning south, please walk away, and ignore those kids that like to pick on you, your life will much simpler."

"It's not that easy, Mum!" Teddie protested. "Malfoy, Parkinson, and Warrington have it in for me, I swear it. I don't go looking for trouble with them, they usually find me."

"Then make yourself scarce when they're near," said Rose. "They can't do anything then, can they?"

Teddie bit the inside of her lip. It was better to not argue with her mother, but she also couldn't agree, either. She had never been one to walk away from a fight, and when it came to arguing she had always been a biter as opposed to an ignorer. It was difficult for her to walk away, despite her trying to in the past.

Meanwhile, Robert was trying to get Mason to calm down.

"I'm pretty sure you've snuck trill into your breakfast," said Robert, hands on his son's shoulders. "Teddie wasn't half as excited as this her first year."

"Teddie was half asleep her first year," Teddie quipped. "And half frustrated at the lack of help."

"Yeah, but that lack of help led you to meet Theo," said Mason. "Without whom you'd be lost."

"Shut up," Teddie said, lightly pushing her brother's head away from her. The look on his face was a teasing grin.

As the clock overheard ticked towards 11am, Rose pulled her children into another suffocating hug and kissed both of them on the cheeks. "Do take care of yourselves this year, please?" she begged.

"Alright, Mum," said Teddie. She knew her mother meant well, and why she couldn't promise to not get into fights, she could at least promise to look after herself and Mason, mostly Mason.

"Good," said Rose. She spotted Theo hovering awkwardly nearby and smiled, pulling him into a natural hug. Teddie watched as her best friend tensed and then relaxed. "You be good, too, Theo."

"I will," Theo promised. "Thank you again for letting me stay with you."

"It's no problem, son," Robert said, also hugging Theo. "You became part of this family the day you befriended Teddie. It's the invisible clause, I'm afraid."

Theo grinned as Teddie linked her arm through his.

The clock chimed and the train whistle blew.

"We best get on board or we're going to get left behind," said Teddie. She caught Mason's hand, kissed her parent's goodbye once more, and then tugged her younger brother towards the steam engine.

Mason clambered aboard behind Theo and Teddie followed, the door snapping shut behind them in the process. Leaning out of the window, Mason blew a kiss to his mother and waved goodbye to his father, as the train started to move rapidly out of the station.

~X~

"Do you reckon they've found a new Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor, yet?"

"They had to have, haven't they? I mean, we got new books."

Teddie looked up as the door to their compartment opened and the rest of her group piled inside. "Took you long enough," she said, shuffling closer to Theo in order to make room for Marcus and Adrian on the bench.

"Hey, you're the ones that chose a compartment at the very back of the train," Derrick protested, sitting opposite with Astoria, Daphne, and Mason.

"Actually, my Mum chose the compartment," said Daphne. "It was the first one available."

Teddie grinned at Derrick and he stuck his tongue out at her in return. "Why are you worried about Defence?" she asked, turning her attention to Marcus instead.

"Not so much worried, as you say," said Marcus, "but more concerned about who the new teacher is. Our last two haven't exactly been up to par, have they?"

"I am pretty bias towards the first one has he did try to kill me," said Teddie with a shrug. "The second one was just…" she trailed off, unsure of the word to use. Idiot seemed like a good choice, but Lockhart had been more than just a common fool.

Marcus grinned and Teddie nudged him.

Leaning forward, Adrian nudged Mason's knee with the back of his hand. "On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, how excited are you this morning?" he asked.

Teddie snorted as Mason grinned.

"Eleven," Mason answered.

Adrian smirked and leaned back.

"Eleven?" Teddie repeated. "Eleven? Try infinity and beyond."

Mason laughed whilst the reference, as per usual, flew over her friends' heads.

"The kid has been awake since 6am!" Teddie protested. "Packing, unpacking, and repacking his trunk. I caught him trying to do it again after breakfast."

"Yeah, and she threatened me by saying she'd lock me in it if I tried one more time," said Mason.

"I did not!" Teddie argued. "Although, now that I think about it that's not such a bad idea."

Mason gaped at his sister as the others laughed. "Meanie," he said.

Teddie grinned and blew a kiss across the compartment. "I love you, too," she teased.

As the train barrelled further north, and her friends collapsed into a comfortable lull filled with summer stories and pointless conversations, Teddie noticed that they were still one person short. Her brow furrowed as she also remembered not seeing Blaise in Diagon Alley, despite him saying he would be there.

"Here's something to be concerned about," said Teddie, earning herself everyone's attention. "Blaise? Am I the only one worried that we haven't seen him yet?"

"You didn't get his letter?" Daphne asked.

Teddie looked to Theo. "What letter?" they both asked.

Rummaging around inside her backpack, Daphne pulled out an envelope and handed it over. "His mother got remarried over the summer," she said. "He's been in America for most of the six weeks. He also said he's sorry he couldn't make Diagon Alley, and he'll see us at the castle this year. Apparently, his mother wants him to spend as much time as possible with his new step-siblings before they go back to school."

"Where do they go to school?" Mason asked.

"Salem, if I recall," said Daphne. "But they don't start back until tomorrow."

Teddie gave the letter the once over and then handed it back. "Will we see him at the feast, do you think?" she asked.

Daphne shrugged. "He doesn't say," she answered. "But he does say he'll be at school. We can ask him when we see him."

"I didn't think you could keep someone out of school without a proper reason," said Mason. "Does that happen often?"

"I'm guessing for Blaise's mother, quite often," said Derrick. "She's famous for her black widow prowess. "

The compartment broke into another fit of laughter.

As the laughter died down, Marcus turned to Teddie. "Did you get your parents to sign your Hogsmeade form?"

"Did you think I'd forget?" Teddie asked, digging the permission slip out of the side pocket of her backpack. They even signed Theo's for him."

"They can do that?" Adrian asked. "I thought it had to be Parent or Guardian?"

"They're acting as guardians," Teddie answered. "I already checked with Professor Snape beforehand. I was going to ask him, but he couldn't."

"Yeah, it's called unnecessary bias," said Adrian.

Teddie rolled her eyes. "It sucks," she replied. "We all know that Theo's father would probably purposely refuse him to go to Hogsmeade even if it was just to spite him because of me."

"Then it's a good thing he can't do that anymore," said Adrian.

Teddie nodded and lay her head on Theo's shoulder.

"What do you know about Hogsmeade?" Marcus asked. "Other than it's a village near Hogwarts, and you've passed through there once or twice to get to the train."

Teddie smirked and racked her brains. "I know that it's made entirely of witches and wizards," she said.

"So not much then," said Derrick, smirking.

Teddie glared at him.

Derrick snickered and turned to Mason. "What do you know about Hogsmeade?" he asked.

"Well, according to the book Sites of Historical Sorcery that Blaise gave me last year for Christmas, I know that there is an inn called the Three Broomsticks and it was the headquarters for the goblin rebellion in 1612, and I know there is a building called the Shrieking Shack, which is actually a lot newer than most places there, is supposed to be the most haunted building in Britain -"

"Most Haunted?" Teddie asked, perking up with a grin.

"I knew that would catch your attention," said Mason, chuckling. "Let me guess, you want to visit?"

"No!" Teddie protested.

Mason smirked and Teddie relented.

"Fine," Teddie caved. "Yes. I want to visit. I like haunted things."

"Yes, I know you do," said Mason. "You like them a little too much."

Daphne cocked her head to the side as Marcus, Adrian, and Derrick looked curiously between the siblings.

"Are we missing something here?" Adrian asked.

"Maybe," said Teddie.

"That's a definite," said Derrick. "Come on, spit it out."

Teddie smirked and shrugged. "Alright. There's this old house, not that far from Cokeworth, the story is that the man who lived there owned the factory that my father works at. Anyway, a couple of years ago, the guy sold the factory and then mysteriously disappeared," she explained.

"That doesn't sound scary," said Derrick. "Maybe he just packed up and moved away?"

"That's what a few people think," Teddie nodded. "Although, I know different. I know that none of the rooms is empty. I know that all his belongings and furniture is still inside the house. The only thing that is missing is the old man."

Derrick paused, thinking.

"How do you know all his stuff is still there?" Astoria asked.

"A couple of local kids dared Teddie and our friend John to go inside the house," said Mason. "A lot of people think its haunted, and they always dare each other to go inside. Teddie and John are the only two brave enough to go through with the dare."

"Brave or foolish," said Adrian.

Teddie stuck her tongue out at him. "I like to think it's the latter," she said, seemingly proud of her actions. "Regardless, there is no indication that the man ever left Cokeworth. There's no forwarding address for all his mail, his belongings are still in the house, and although agents have tried, the estate just won't sell. It's been dubbed haunted ever since."

"How many times have you been in this house?" Marcus asked.

"A few," Teddie answered. "John and I had a dare once to camp out in the living room all night, but we couldn't pull it off because the police caught us and took us home."

"You got arrested?" Daphne asked, shocked.

Teddie shook her head. "It was a stupid misdemeanour," she said. "No charges were pressed and we were just dubbed stupid kids chasing a ghost. Our parents weren't exactly happy, and we did get grounded for a few days, but nothing serious."

"You remember that question on whether you were a bad hooligan or not?" Derrick asked, referring to the question proposed the previous day in Diagon Alley.

"Yeah?"

"I think the verdict just came in."

Teddie shook her head but grinned nonetheless. "Is this your way of telling me you won't come inside the Shrieking Shack?" she asked.

"I wouldn't go in there even if you paid me," said Derrick.

"Scaredy cat," Teddie muttered.

"Hooligan."

Teddie stuck her tongue out again.

"I'm going to cut that tongue out one day," Derrick warned.

"Try it," Teddie teased.

~X~

Several hours after they had left Kings Cross Station, the scenery outside the window changed from bright to glum. Torrential rain lashed against the windows, and dark clouds blocked out the light of the sun, causing the lights inside the train to turn on.

"There goes the last of our summer," said Astoria, looking up at the water-logged window pane.

"We can't complain," said Derrick. "We could have easily had a washout this year. We were lucky to have six weeks of sun."

"I'm honestly glad for a bit of rain," said Mason, honestly. "At least hayfever season has passed."

Teddie smiled at him. "Your hayfever wasn't that bad this year," she said. "You were hardly inside the house this summer. Same as last year."

"True. The summer before your first year was really bad, though," said Mason. "I couldn't go anywhere!"

"But we made our own fun then."

Mason grinned in agreement.

"What exactly do Muggleborns do when they can't go outside?" Derrick asked. He seemed genuinely intrigued to know.

Teddie and Mason exchanged grins.

"We can't speak for all Muggleborns because we're all different," said Teddie. "But Mason and I to a number of things. First and foremost, we make a pillow fort with blankets and pillows."

"Inside our fort, we then open our boxes of fun," said Mason. "They're just empty shoe boxes that we've filled with paints, colouring crayons, pencils, paper, you know, just general arts and crafts things. We make paper aeroplanes, homemade cards, we even created our own story books one year."

Teddie giggled. "I remember when we were younger, Mason was only about four or five," she said. "Mum had gone to work and left Dad at home with us. While he was cleaning out the shed, I painted mine and Mason's hands in different colours and we decorated the living room walls with our handprints."

"I bet your dad wasn't very impressed, huh?" said Theo.

"Not really, neither was mum," Teddie replied. "But, if I am honest, they scrubbed all but one handprint each off. Even to this day, Mum says it's our way of making our mark on our home. Kind of like a signature. It was our way of saying 'this is our house'."

Derrick grinned. "Sounds fun," he said.

"It is a lot of fun," Teddie nodded. "What do you do on a rainy day?"

"Not a lot," Derrick said with a shrug. "But, we have magic at home, so it's a different kind of play."

Teddie nodded in understanding.

"We also go play in the rain sometimes," said Mason. "I like puddle splashing, and it's fun to have a mud war with the other kids on our street."

"A mud war?" Marcus asked.

"It's exactly what it -" Teddie broke off as the train screeched to a grinding halt.

As the train stopped moving, the sound of the engine died away and the howling wind and lashing rain echoed chillingly throughout the compartment.

Mason shivered and pulled his jacket tighter around his shoulders.

"What's going on?" Astoria asked. "Are we there?"

"We can't be," said Theo, checking his watch. "We've still got another hour."

"Then why have we stopped?"

Being nearest to the door, Derrick stood and stuck his head out into the corridor, looking down the passage. Other students seemed to have the same idea as they were looking around with equal confused expressions.

"What's going on?"

"Why have we stopped?"

"Are we there yet?"

Suddenly, and without warning, all the lamps both inside and outside the compartments, went out with a snap.

Astoria screamed as they were plunged into darkness.

"It's okay, Tori," Daphne soothed, reaching for her sister's hand. She squeezed it tightly.

Teddie looked up as Derrick slid the door closed and fumbled his way back to his seat. "D'you reckon we've broken down?" she asked.

"There's something moving out there," said Mason, using his sleeve to wipe away some of the condensation on the windows. "Hang on, I think someone's coming aboard - but we're in the middle of nowhere and there's no station."

"Who'd be coming aboard out here?" Daphne asked. "We've never stopped here before."

Adrian turned to where he assumed Teddie was sitting. He hadn't moved, and last he checked neither had she, so she should've still been on Marcus' other side. "Spooky enough for you yet, Teddie?" he asked her.

"No," Teddie replied, simply. "What's that spell you used last year, Marcus? The one that created a ball of light from the tip of your wand?"

"Lumos."

A single spark of light appeared and Teddie was just about able to make out her friends' faces. Astoria was paler than normal and her fear shone in her eyes, Mason sat with his nose pressed to the window, his eyes searching desperately in the dark for signs of who would be coming aboard in the middle of nowhere.

Daphne was clinging to Astoria and trying to soothe her, while Theo sat impassively in the corner, although his hand twitched a few times in his lap.

Two more sparks of light joined the first and Teddie saw that Adrian and Derrick had used the Lumos spell too, she had attempted to do it last year, but failed and resigned to waiting to learn it in Charms before attempting to do it again.

Suddenly the train bucked hard to the left.

"Ouch!" Mason yelped as he head butted the window. He fell back into his seat, rubbing his forehead.

"What the -?" Derrick murmured.

Teddie turned quickly to her friend. He was staring out of the glass window pane inside the door panel.

A hooded figure stood just outside their compartment, and several more were passing down the corridor behind it. The latch lifted up.

Teddie felt Theo seize up beside her, and she instantly reached for his hand.

Then the door started to slide open.

"What is that thing?" Mason whispered. He had backed as far as he could into the corner of the compartment.

Instinctively, Teddie shot to her feet and reached out for Mason in the darkness. Her fingers had barely brushed his hand when she heard a slow rattling sound and her head turned towards the creature in the doorway, she couldn't see what was beneath its hood, but she could tell that it was staring at her.

The creature raised evenly into the air, looming high over Teddie, and she realised that the rattling sound was its breath. It was breathing in, slowly and deliberately, and she became even more aware that the air inside the compartment was becoming colder and colder by the second.

Ice spread like wildfire across the windowpane, it creaked loudly as the condensation froze solid.

Astoria squeaked in fear.

Teddie gasped, her hands flying to her chest as she felt the ice inside her. Her breath seemed to freeze inside her lungs, and her eyes widened as felt the floor of the compartment rise up to meet her.

Then, she heard a voice…

"Go, now!"

Chapter Text

"Teddie? Teddie, can you hear me?"

Teddie groaned and opened her eyes. The ground beneath her hummed and shifted, letting her know that the train was once again moving.

"Oh thank Merlin," Theo gasped. He was kneeling beside Teddie on the compartment floor as the others stood overhead, each one looked relieved to see that she was awake.

"What happened?" Teddie asked. She pushed herself into a sitting position, resting against the wall beneath the window. She spied the doorway behind her friends, but the creature that had once stood there was now gone.

Derrick looked behind him. "It was a Dementor," he answered.

"A Dementor?" Teddie repeated.

"It guards the Wizarding prison, Azkaban."

"I thought Azkaban was in the North sea?" Teddie asked.

Derrick nodded. "Don't you get the Daily Prophet over the summer?" he asked.

Teddie shook her head.

"There was an escape from Azkaban," said Derrick. "No one escapes Azkaban. But this prisoner managed too. The Dementors are searching for him, along with the Ministry of Magic."

"Why would they think he is on the Hogwarts Express?" Daphne asked. "I mean, why would an escaped convict want to board a train full of students?"

Derrick shrugged. "Who knows what Black is thinking," he said. "He's been locked up in Azkaban for years, he's bound to have gone crazy by now."

Teddie looked down and closed her eyes.

"How are you feeling?" Mason asked his sister, sitting beside her. "You look pale." He touched her hand. "And you're clammy."

"I feel scared," Teddie answered. "Like, my heart is racing a mile a minute…"

Opening a chocolate frog, Adrian tapped it with his wand, freezing it solid, and offered it to Teddie. "Here, eat this," he said.

"I don't really feel hungry," said Teddie, pushing the frog away.

"It's not for hunger," Adrian said, taking Teddie's hand and placing the frog in her palm. "The Dementor causes feelings of fear. Chocolate will take that edge off."

Teddie hesitated, staring at the frog and then up at her friend. She trusted him to know what he was talking about, and he did know more about the Dementors than she did. With a nod, Teddie bit off the head of the frog, chewed and then swallowed.

A warmth spread through her whole body, stopping at the tips of her fingers.

"Feel better?" Adrian asked.

"Loads," Teddie answered.

Adrian smiled and pulled back. The others did the same as Marcus and Theo helped Teddie back to her feet, and into a chair.

"We should be at Hogwarts soon," Marcus said. "There is a Professor on board, he came around while you were out to make sure that everyone was okay. He said another student had been affected by the Dementor too, and that he was sending a message to the school, explaining the situation."

Teddie groaned. The last thing she needed was the Professors fussing over her before the year even started.

"So much for staying out of dangerous situations, huh?" Mason asked.

Despite the situation, Teddie smiled. "Mum will be disappointed that I am not listening again," she said.

"I think she is used to it by now," said Mason.

Teddie giggled and wrapped her arm around her brother. "I think you may be right," she agreed.

Mason smiled and rested his head on Teddie's shoulder, as the rest of their friends settled down around them.

They would be at Hogwarts soon and as far away from the Dementors as possible.

~X~

As the Hogwarts Express pulled into Hogsmeade station, the students disembarked and Mason looked around him. He was mere minutes away from being sorted and he could barely contain his excitement.

"What happens now?" Mason asked.

"You go with Hagrid," Teddie said, pointing over the heads of the other students. The gamekeeper was calling for first years to follow him.

"Then what?"

Teddie smiled. "Then we see you in the Great Hall," she answered.

"You're not coming with me?"

Teddie shook her head. "The first years cross the lake," she explained. "You'll be fine. It's a chance for you to meet your future house and classmates. It's how I met Blaise and Daphne."

Mason nodded and looked to Astoria.

"Come on," Astoria said, holding out her hand. "We'll stick together."

Teddie and Daphne shared a smile.

"I love you," Mason told Teddie.

Teddie kissed his cheek and smiled. "I'll see you soon," she said. "I love you, too."

Walking away with Astoria, Mason glanced back and waved to Teddie and the others before they were swallowed up by the rest of the crowd.

Marcus put his hand on Teddie's shoulder. "I don't know who is more nervous," he said. "You or Mason."

"I think it's a combination of both," Teddie said. She turned away from the station and allowed the sea of students heading for the carriages to sweep her up.

Marcus nodded and led her over to a carriage where their friends were waiting. "You feeling okay?" he asked.

"I'm not sure," Teddie replied.

"What's wrong?" Adrian asked,

Teddie shook her head. "It's hard to explain…" she said.

"Try," said Daphne.

Teddie took a deep breath. "Back on the train, with the Dementor…" she hesitated. "I heard a voice…"

"Mason called your name," said Theo, sitting beside her.

"No, it wasn't Mason," said Teddie, shaking her head. "Whoever it was, they didn't say a name. They were talking to someone, they were telling them to go."

"Go? Go where?" Marcus asked.

Teddie shrugged. "I don't know."

"Could you have been hallucinating?" Adrian asked.

Again, Teddie shrugged,

Sliding his arm around her shoulder, Theo pulled Teddie close. "What does it matter, now?" he asked. "It's over."

"Is it really?" Daphne asked. She looked between Theo and Teddie. "I'm just saying, every year we learn something new about you, Teddie. First year it was you were a Muggleborn Slytherin, Second year it's you're a Parselmouth, and now you're having visions?"

"I don't think it was a vision," said Teddie, looking confused. "Maybe a...memory?"

"One that wasn't your own?" Derrick asked. "Is that possible?"

No one answered.

Teddie sighed and looked out the window as the carriage started to move uphill, towards the castle. Daphne was right about one thing, every year, since starting Hogwarts, she had learned something new about herself. But what did it mean?

~X~

"Potter! Granger! Green!"

Teddie looked around at the sound of her name and saw Professor McGonagall was calling out over the heads of the other students. She was a stern-looking witch wearing emerald green robes, while her hair was pulled back into a tight bun and her sharp eyes surveyed them through square spectacles.

"There's no need to look so worried," Professor McGonagall said, noticing their expressions. "You aren't in trouble. Move along there, Weasley, Nott."

Ron and Theo shared a look before moving off into the Great Hall. Teddie cast a glance at Harry and Hermione as she shuffled over towards McGonagall.

"This is about what happened on the train, isn't it?" Teddie asked.

Harry and Hermione turned quickly to her.

McGonagall nodded. "Professor Snape is awaiting you in his office, Miss Green," she said. "Potter, Granger, come with me. We shall talk in mine."

Teddie smiled at Harry and Hermione and hurried off towards the dungeons. She should've guessed that her Head of House would want to see her after the Dementor attack.

The dungeons were, as per usual, cold, dark and damp. Teddie pulled her robes closer to her body as she hurried along the corridor until she reached her destination. She knocked and waited until she was called from the other side.

"I see you do have some manners," Professor Snape remarked. He sat behind his desk and was watching her as she approached.

Teddie shrugged. "You seem displeased yesterday," she said.

"Indeed," Professor Snape said.

Teddie dug into her pocket and pulled out a small silver key, "I didn't know if you would be back at Spinners End considering yesterday was the last day of summer," she said, sliding the key across the table. "So I brought it with me to school."

"Thank you," Professor Snape nodded. He took the key and dropped it into his desk drawer.

Silence fell.

"Professor McGonagall said you wanted to see me," said Teddie.

"Indeed I do. I received an owl about an incident on the train," said Professor Snape. "Your name was included. Do you want to tell me what happened?"

"I wasn't fighting if that's what you think," said Teddie, defensively.

"Did I say you were?"

Teddie shook her head. "You didn't have too," she replied. "A load of Dementors boarded the train. One came into our compartment and, I don't know what exactly happened, but I felt like I couldn't breathe and then I was waking up to the others crowding around me. They said I had fainted,"

Much to her surprise, Professor Snape nodded. "Given your history, I am not surprised they found you an appetizing target," he said. "Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them."

"Sounds fun," Teddie muttered.

"If you get too near a Dementor, every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on your long enough to reduce you to something like itself," Snape continued. "Soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life."

Teddie swallowed and stared wide-eyed at her Head of House. If his one goal that evening was to make sure she never slept for the rest of her life, he had succeeded.

"How do you feel now?" Snape asked, abruptly.

"A little clammy," Teddie said. "Adrian gave me some chocolate on the train, he said it would take the edge off, and it did."

Snape nodded. "It is reassuring to know that Mr Pucey isn't a complete idiot," he muttered. "I would highly recommend that you get a good night's rest, but I know you wish to see your brother's sorting."

Teddie nodded. She had just been about to protest.

"Then you may leave," said Professor Snape.

"Thank you, Professor," said Teddie. She hurried from the office and headed back up to the Entrance Hall. It was empty by now as all the other students had taken their places in the Great Hall.

~X~

Slipping in through the doors, Teddie hurried to the empty space beside Theo at the Slytherin table. She had barely taken her seat when the doors at the back of the Hall opened and the first year students entered, led by Professor Sprout.

"Where's McGonagall?" Daphne asked.

"She wanted to see Harry and Hermione," said Teddie. "They must still be up in her office."

The Hall was silent as the first years crowded around the steps leading to the staff table. Teddie grinned as she found Mason amongst the others, he was standing with Astoria and two other girls'. She didn't know their names, nor recognise them.

"When I call your name," Professor Sprout told the first years. "You will come up here and sit on the stool, I will then place the Sorting Hat on your head, and you will be sorted into your houses."

She unfurled the scroll of names and called -

"Adams, Mackenzie."

A small girl with brown hair stumbled up to the stool. She sat down, and Professor Sprout put the hat on her head.

There was a pregnant pause.

"HUFFLEPUFF!"

The table on the far side of the Hall exploded and Mackenzie run off to join them.

"Diaz, Amber."

A girl with blonde hair skipped up to the stool.

"HUFFLEPUFF!"

The Hufflepuff table cheered for the second time.

"Delvalle, Davina"

A girl with short auburn hair strode up to the stool, her head held high. She took a seat and the hat was placed on her head.

"SLYTHERIN!"

Along with the other Slytherins, Teddie cheered as Davina took her seat at the bottom of the table.

"Do you know her?" Teddie asked her friends.

"We know of her," Daphne answered.

"Friend or -?"

"I wouldn't get your hopes up on adding her to your alliance, Green," Parkinson sneered. "Delvalle's family were in league with You-Know-Who. She'll hate you as much as the rest of us."

Teddie half glanced at Parkinson. The girl had tormented her since the first day they had met. "Did you hear something?" she asked Theo.

Theo smirked and shook his head.

"Didn't think so," Teddie said. She turned her attention back to the Sorting as Parkinson fumed opposite her.

Professor Sprout had moved on to the surnames beginning with a 'G'.

"Giger, Octavia."

A boy with long black hair sat on the stool.

"SLYTHERIN!"

Again, the Slytherin table cheered.

"Green, Mason."

As the Hall fell silent, Teddie rose slightly out of her chair, her breath catching in the back of her throat as she watched her brother take the stool.

Mason caught her gaze as the hat covered his eyes.

There was a long pause. People started whispering amongst themselves, and Teddie could only assume they were questioning the reason why a simple Muggleborn could bring about a Hatstall.

Worriedly, Teddie shared a look with Theo.

"Mason belongs here," Theo assured her.

Teddie nodded.

Suddenly, the brim at the bottom of the hat opened and yelled - "RAVENCLAW!"

"YES!" Teddie cheered, much to the amusement of her friends. She grinned as Mason met her gaze and took his place at the cheering Ravenclaw table.

As the cheering ceased, and Teddie retook her seat, Professor Sprout called the next name.

"Greengrass, Astoria."

Just like Teddie had done, Daphne rose out of her seat as her sister took to the stool. However, unlike Mason, the Sorting Hat didn't take longer than five minutes to sort Astoria.

"RAVENCLAW!"

There was a gasp from the Slytherin table as the Ravenclaws cheered at their newest first year.

Teddie met Daphne's gaze. "That was unexpected," she said.

"Indeed," Daphne agreed.

"Are you okay?"

Daphne nodded. "Grandma isn't going to be," she said. "But hey, tradition isn't always what it is."

Teddie giggled. "Astoria will make a great Ravenclaw," she said.

"And Mason already knows her," Daphne added. "At least they aren't alone."

Teddie nodded.

The Sorting continued through the remainder of names before Professor Sprout reached one that caused Teddie to sit up straighter.

"Warrington, Cassie."

Daphne, Theo, and Blaise shared a look.

"I didn't know he had a sister," Teddie whispered.

"Neither did I," said Daphne, shaking her head.

Theo nodded. "I did. But she wasn't supposed to be going to Hogwarts," he said. "Rumour has it her mother wanted to send her to Beauxbatons."

"Do you think she'll be a Slytherin like her brother?" Teddie asked.

"We're about to find out," said Blaise, nodding to the front of the Hall.

The hat opened its brim and shouted - "RAVENCLAW!"

Teddie sighed deeply. She wasn't sure why she was thankful that Cassie Warrington wasn't in Slytherin, but she was.

"She doesn't look as intimidating as her brother," said Daphne, watching as the girl took a seat beside Mason at the Ravenclaw table. She smiled at the boy and then at Astoria.

"She looks friendly enough," Blaise agreed. "Mason doesn't seem intimidated by her, at least."

Teddie eyed her brother and his new friend warily. "Maybe," she said.

"Wetherspoon, Jasmine!" Professor Sprout called.

Beside Teddie, Marlene fidgeted excitedly.

The Hat covered Jasmine's eyes and paused.

"Another Hatstall?" Teddie asked. She looked around at her friends, and then finally turned to Marlene. "Does your sister have more than one house trait?"

"She's rather naive," Marlene said. "Mum always said she'd make a great Hufflepuff, but she is also rather witty and smart, so she'd make an excellent Ravenclaw, too."

Teddie nodded and turned back to the Sorting. Jasmine sounded like a female version of Mason.

Finally, the Hat reached its decision. The brim opened wide and it shouted - "RAVENCLAW!"

Jasmine removed the hat and took a seat beside Astoria.

"That was interesting," Theo said, looking around at his friends.

"I can't believe Mason was a Hatstall," said Blaise. "Although, I'm not really surprised, either. That kid has more layers than an onion."

Teddie giggled even though she had to agree. "He's here," she said. "That's all I care about."

"Just what this place needs," Parkinson sneered. "More filth."

"Pansy, how many times do I have to tell you," said Teddie, turning quickly to her housemates. "It's not healthy to talk about yourself like that."

Teddie smiled sweetly as Parkinson shot her a furious glare.

The pair only looked away as the booming voice of Albus Dumbledore echoed around the Hall,

The Headmaster stood behind the plinth in front of the Staff Table. The Sorting stool and Hat had been removed, and Professor Sprout had retaken her seat.

"Welcome to another year at Hogwarts," Dumbledore called. "I have a few things to say to you all, and as one of them is very serious, I think it best to get it out of the way before you become befuddled by our excellent feast…"

Dumbledore cleared his throat and students all over the Hall shared anxious looks. "As you will all be aware after their search of the Hogwarts Express, our school is presently playing host to some of the Dementors of Azkaban, who are here on Ministry of Magic business."

Dumbledore paused. He didn't look remotely happy about the situation. Teddie couldn't blame him, she wasn't happy with the news either.

"They are stationed at every entrance to the grounds," Dumbledore went on, "and while they are with us, I must make it plain that nobody is to leave school without permission. Dementors are not to be fooled by tricks or disguises - or even Invisibility Cloaks," he added blandly.

Teddie and her friends shared a look.

"It is not in the nature of a Dementor to be forgiving," said Dumbledore. "They do not understand pleads or excuses. I, therefore, warn each and every one of you to give them no reason to harm you. I look to the Prefects, and our Head Boy and Girl, to make sure that no student runs afoul of the Dementors."

A few seats away from Teddie sat Sierra Waterstone. She sat up straighter at the mentor of 'Head Girl' and Teddie could vaguely make out a badge on her chest. It was different to her usual Prefect badge.

"Sierra was made Head Girl this year," Marlene whispered.

Teddie nodded and turned back to Dumbledore.

"On a happier note," Dumbledore added. "I am pleased to welcome two new teachers to our ranks this year. Firstly, Professor Lupin, who has kindly consented to fill the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts."

There was a scattered applause.

"Professor Snape does not look happy," said Blaise.

Teddie found her Head of House and, sure enough, he was glaring down the table at Lupin. "He's always wanted the Defence position," she said. "It must suck to be passed over again."

"I wonder why Dumbledore doesn't give him a chance?" Daphne asked. "He's got to be a better teacher than the ones we have had so far."

Her friends nodded in agreement.

"Let's see how Lupin fares this year," said Blaise.

Again, his friends agreed.

"As to our second appointment," Dumbledore continued, "well, I am sorry to tell you that Professor Kettleburn, our Care of Magical Creatures teacher, retired at the end of last year in order to enjoy more time with his remaining limbs."

Teddie and her friends shared anxious looks. They had agreed to take Care of Magical Creatures together, but that did not sound promising.

"However, I am delighted to say that his place will be filled by none other than Rubeus Hagrid, who has agreed to take on his teaching job in addition to his gamekeeping duties," said Dumbledore.

The Hall cheered. The Gryffindor table seemed to be louder than the other three.

"Should have seen that one coming," said Blaise. "I mean, who assigns a book that rips others apart?"

As the cheering died away, Dumbledore spoke again. "Well, I think that's everything of importance," he said. "Let the feast begin!"

All over the Hall, the golden plates and goblets filled suddenly with food and drink.

Chapter Text

The next morning at breakfast, Teddie found Mason at the Ravenclaw table with Astoria, Jasmine, and Cassie. She smiled at the four of them, taking extra care to not show unlikeable bias towards Cassie. Just because the young girl's brother hated her, didn't mean Cassie would.

"How was your night?" Teddie asked Mason.

"Awesome! My roommates are amazing!" Mason grinned. "There are five of us, including me, in a circle room in the highest tower of the castle. Our common room is lined with bookshelves, and there are more books than I can count on them."

"Sounds like heaven," Teddie smiled.

Mason nodded and grabbed a piece of bacon from the table. "I was actually afraid that I would wake up this morning, and last night would've been a dream," he admitted.

"I know the feeling," said Teddie, ruffling her brother's hair. "I had the same notion in my first year."

"You did?"

Teddie nodded.

Mason grinned, feeling better.

"Anyway, have you had your timetables yet?" Teddie asked.

"No, Professor Flitwick mentioned last night that he would bring them around after breakfast," said Astoria.

Teddie checked the watch on her wrist. "That's in ten minutes," she said. "Tell you what, come by the Slytherin table once you have your timetable," she added to Mason. "I have something for you."

"Alright," Mason nodded.

Teddie kissed Mason's cheek and hurried back to her own table. She took her seat beside Theo and reached instantly for the plate of bacon.

"You tired of that yet?" Derrick asked.

"Nope."

Derrick grinned and added an extra sausage to his plate.

"How's Mason this morning?" Adrian asked.

"Excited," Teddie replied. "Also nervous."

"Nervous?" Marcus asked.

"He thought when he woke up this morning that last night was going to be a dream," Teddie replied. "But I had the same feeling when it was my first day, too."

"First day jitters," Derrick said. "Everyone has them."

Teddie nodded.

"Third year time tables," said Daphne, passing Theo and Teddie theirs.

"We're starting some new subjects today," said Blaise, setting aside his timetable. "Daphne and I have Divination straight after breakfast."

Theo glanced over his morning subjects. "We have Ancient Runes first, Ted," he said, glancing at his best friend.

Teddie felt her stomach drop.

"You'll be okay," Theo said, quickly. "I doubt we will do too much today."

"Yeah," Teddie nodded in agreement, although she still felt virtually sick.

"We have Transfiguration second," Daphne said.

Blaise nodded. "So, you ready?" he asked his friends.

Theo and Daphne nodded.

"I told Mason to come here after breakfast," said Teddie. "I want to see what he has first, and I kept the map we had in our first year, I'm not sure if the other houses get them, I know Gryffindor doesn't, but I don't want Mason to get lost on his first day."

Blaise nodded.

"You guys can go on ahead, if you like," said Teddie.

"Are you sure?" Daphne asked.

Teddie nodded. "Yeah. Go on, I'll see you later," she said.

"Alright. Tell Mason we said good luck," said Blaise.

"And we'll see him later," Daphne added.

"Will do," Teddie promised. She watched as Daphne and Blaise left the Great Hall, and reached for a piece of toast.

When breakfast ended, Mason and Astoria sat down opposite Teddie and Theo.

"Daphne and Blaise have Divination," said Teddie. "They said they would see you later, and told me to wish you luck."

"I saw Daphne before breakfast," Astoria said. "She said we could join you here for lunch, if we wanted."

Teddie nodded. "You should, it is fun," she grinned.

"What about Cassie and Jasmine?" Mason asked. "Can they come too?"

Teddie and Theo exchanged looks.

Both Cassie and Jasmine had siblings in Slytherin, just like Mason and Astoria did.

"I don't see why not," said Theo.

"Great!" Astoria and Mason grinned.

Teddie smiled.

"You said you had something to give me," said Mason, looking at his sister.

"Yeah, but first I want to see your timetable," said Teddie, holding out her hand.

Mason handed it over, and Teddie skimmed the first column. "Transfiguration and Charms before breakfast," she said. "I love Charms. It's one of my better subjects. Defence and Potions after Lunch, and your first Flying lesson later."

"I'm nervous about that," Mason admitted. "I don't like heights."

"I suppose, if you told Madam Hooch that, she'd let you off," said Teddie. "Besides, you hardly fly to high on your first lesson."

Theo agreed.

Handing Mason back his timetable, Teddie reached into the front of her backpack and pulled out a small slip of paper. "On our first day, we have maps of the castle to make sure we didn't get lost," said Teddie, passing the map to her brother. "I kept mine."

Unfolding the map, Astoria and Mason looked at it.

"Great!" Astoria grinned.

"Do you have one every year?" Mason asked.

Theo shook his head. "We didn't last year," he said. "But year 2 classes aren't that much different to year 1."

"And this year?" Astoria asked.

"We have new subjects this year," said Theo, holding up a second map.

"I'll save mine again," said Teddie. "You have it then when you start year 3."

Mason grinned. "Thanks, Teddie!" he said.

Checking her watch, Teddie sighed. "But we should get going," she said. "All of us. It's nearly nine. We're all going to be late."

In the Great Hall, Teddie hugged Mason, wished him luck, and then headed up the sixth floor with Theo for Ancient Runes.

~X~

The Ancient Runes classroom was situated on the sixth floor corridor behind the door labelled 6A, inside were several desks, a few bookcases, and a lectern.

Teddie and Theo chose a desk in the middle of the room, parallel to a bookcase, and were in the middle removing their textbooks, parchment and ink wells when Professor Bathsheda Babbling entered the room and set her things down on the lectern.

"Good morning, class," Professor Babbling said, looking around at her students. There weren't many. "I hope you all had a good summer."

Teddie and Theo shared a look. Their summer had been an interesting one, to say the least.

"But summer is now over," Professor Babbling continued. "Now it is time for us to learn some interesting runes. I am not going to lie and say that this course is easy…"

Teddie groaned and Theo grasped her hand, squeezing tightly.

"But, if you persevere," Professor Babbling added, "then you will be benefited with the ability and knowledge of an ancient language. Let us begin…"

For the first hour, Professor Babbling instructed them to search the book labelled Spellman's Syllabary for a rune that they identified with, translate it, and to write a short essay on why and how they had come to choose it.

For someone who didn't understand Ancient Runes, Teddie found the task to be meaningless, at least until she found a rune that practically leapt out of the book at her.

"Berkano," Teddie said.

Theo looked to his best friend. "Its literal translation is 'Birch Goddess'," he said. "Mason and I read this book cover to cover the night we came back from Diagon Alley," he added as Teddie shot him a look.

Teddie shook her head and run her finger down the page. "The Rune of continued growth and continual rebirth or renewal in all things. The rune of becoming," she read. "Sounds like a Phoenix."

"You're not a Phoenix, are you?" Theo teased.

"The was once a time I wouldn't have considered myself a witch," said Teddie. "But, then, being an animal is different to being a human, right?"

"Unless you're an Animagus."

"A what?"

"Animagus," Theo repeated. "It's a person who can transform into an animal. It's advanced Transfiguration."

Teddie nodded and looked back at her book. "I can do a lot of things, apparently, but I don't think I can turn into an animal at will," she said.

"You never know unless you try," said Theo.

"I'm not going to even attempt!"

Theo smiled and shrugged. "What else does it say?" he asked, leaning closer.

"Rebirth in the spirit strengthens the power of secrecy. Works of concealment and protection, to contain and hold other powers together. Realisation of stillness, the Now-ness of all things, and bringing ideas to fruition in the creative process."

Theo and Teddie shared a look.

"I can sort of see why this one jumped out at you," said Theo, lowering his voice. "Strengthens the power of secrecy, works of protection, and holds other powers together - that sounds like -"

"My shield," said Teddie.

"But not just that," said Theo.

Teddie stared unwaveringly at her book. She knew what he was edging towards. 'Strengthens the power of Secrecy' reminded her of the 'hidden identity' that Daphne had seen last year. They were still nowhere near figuring out who the mystery girl was, or why she seemed to be hiding inside Teddie, hell, they weren't even sure if she was even real, or just a trick of some magic that Teddie had yet to unlock.

"You have half an hour left," Professor Babbling called from the front of the class. "Any and all unfinished works must be completed by our next lesson."

Shaking her head, Teddie turned to Theo. "I think I'll write the second portion of this task tonight," she said. "I don't think I can think of something relevant right now, anyway."

"Alright. In that case, I'll do the same," said Theo. "But first, I need to find a Rune."

"Want some help?" Teddie offered.

Theo smiled and nodded.

Pulling her book towards her, Teddie started to flip through the pages, searching for a Rune that represented her best friend perfectly.

~X~

At twelve, after leaving the Transfiguration classroom, Teddie and her friends headed down to the Great Hall for lunch. They took their usual places at the Slytherin table and were joined shortly by Marcus, Derrick, Adrian, Marlene, Judy, and Susan.

"How was Divination?" Adrian asked Daphne and Blaise.

"Surprisingly, not as bad as you made it out," said Daphne. "I don't think I can see myself continuing in two years, but it wasn't completely boring."

Blaise nodded. "Trelawney does seem like she has a few screws missing, though," he said. "How often does she make actual predictions?"

Adrian shrugged. "I've never actually heard of making one," he said. "But then, prophecies and predictions are usually only made for specific people, and only those people can know what they're about. Like, say, there was a prophecy out there about Teddie, only she would be permitted to hear it and know who created it."

Teddie shook her head. "It depends on if you actually believe in all that," she said. "I don't. I believe that we control our future, and it changes depending on the decisions we make in the present."

"So you don't think the future is already written for some people?" Marlene asked.

"Nope. The future is unknown, that is why it is called 'the future'," said Teddie. "No one knows what is going to happen a few minutes from now."

"Actually, we do," said Derrick. "In a few minutes I am going to pour myself a goblet of pumpkin juice and eat my lunch." He grabbed the pitcher of juice.

Teddie rolled her eyes and grinned. "That doesn't count as seeing the future," she said, shaking her head. "You made that future real by making the choice beforehand."

"Alright, alright," Derrick said, laughing. He took a long drink of juice, and then looked to Teddie and Theo. "How was Ancient Runes?" he asked.

Theo grinned.

"What?" Daphne asked, looking between the pair.

Teddie shoved Theo and shook her head.

"Go on, Ted, tell them," Theo encouraged.

"What happened?" Marcus asked.

"Nothing bad," said Theo. "Only, Teddie was so paranoid that she wouldn't like Ancient Runes that she actually ate her own words."

"Wait, you actually liked it?" Blaise asked.

Teddie blushed. "I didn't say I liked it, exactly," she said. "I said it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. But, today was an easy lesson, we didn't do much, and even Professor Babbling said that it's not the easiest of subjects."

Theo chuckled and dug into his meal.

"What do you have next?" Marlene asked.

"Care of Magical Creatures," Teddie replied. She spotted Mason enter the hall with his new friends, and waved to him.

Mason grinned as he approached. He took a seat between his sister and Marcus, as Astoria sat opposite, between Daphne and Adrian.

"How was your first day?" Teddie asked as an empty play appeared before Mason.

Mason's face ignited with excitement. "It was unbelievable!" he gushed. "I now get why you love Charms so much, but Transfiguration was mesmerizing. Professor McGonagall said she has seen many witches and wizards pass through her class, but none of them were as sharp as me, especially for a first year."

"I'd say," said Blaise, grinning. "You put the Gryffindor Hermione Granger to shame."

"Isn't that the girl who is friends with Harry Potter?" Astoria asked.

Daphne nodded. "Yeah, she's the brightest witch in our year," she said.

"Looks like Mason is vivving for the top spot," said Blaise.

Mason shook his head. "I don't want to be the brightest," he said. "Now, the smartest, that's a different story."

The group laughed.

~X~

"At least it's not raining," said Blaise, leading his friends down the slope towards the edge of the Forbidden Forest.

He was right. Yesterday's rain had cleared. The sky was a pale grey, but clear of all clouds, and the grass was springy and damp.

"I can't believe they allowed this Oaf to teach classes!" sneered the voice of Draco Malfoy.

Teddie rolled her eyes and looked over her shoulder. The blonde Slytherin was walking just a foot away with Crabbe, Goyle, and Parkinson.

"I bet you had something to do with this, didn't you, Green?" Parkinson sneered, catching Teddie's gaze.

"Contrary to popular belief, Parkinson, I don't have any sway over who Dumbledore appoints as Professors," Teddie replied. "But, given what I do know about Hagrid, we'll learn a lot about magical creatures."

Teddie looked away and stopped as she finally reached Hagrid's hut. The gamekeeper was waiting at the door of his hut. He stood in a moleskin overcoat, with a boarhound at his heels. He looked impatient.

"C'mon, now, get a move on!" Hagrid called, as the rest of the class approached. "Got a real treat fer yeh today! Great lesson comin' up! Everyone here? Right, follow me!"

Hagrid strode away from the hut towards the Forbidden Forest. Teddie shared an hesitated glance with her friends. The glance turned to relief as Hagrid detoured at the last second and led the class around the edge of the trees and over to a paddock.

However, the paddock was empty.

"Everyone gather round the fence here!" Hagrid called. "That's it - make sure yeh can see. Now, firs' thing yeh'll want ter do is open yer books -"

"How?" Malfoy drawled.

"Eh?" said Hagrid.

"Ow do we open our books?" Malfoy repeated. He took out his copy of The Monsters book of Monsters, which he had bound with a length of rope. Other people started to take out their own, too; some, like Malfoy, had bound their book with rope, whereas others had belts tightened, and others had used bull clips.

"Hasn' - hasn't anyone bin able ter open their books?" said Hagrid, looking crestfallen.

Blaise raised his hand with an air of confidence.

Teddie, Daphne, and Theo stared, surprised, at their friend.

"My new step-father studied Magi-Zoology in Higher Education," Blaise shrugged. "He warned me about the book before I even bought it. Said that you needed to stroke the spine in order to calm it enough to open it."

Hagrid beamed at Blaise. "Exactly!" he said.

Teddie looked back at her book. After they had bought their books in Diagon Alley, she, Theo, and Daphne had immobilised them in order to keep them from tearing the rest of their things apart.

Running her fingers down the spine, Teddie felt the book shivered and fell open, laying still in her hands.

"Oh, how silly we've all been!" Malfoy sneered. "We should have stroked then! Why didn't we guess?"

"I… I thought they were funny," Hagrid said, somewhat uncertainty.

"Oh, tremendously funny!" said Malfoy. "Really witty, giving us books that try to rip our hands off!"

"Shut up, Malfoy!" said Harry.

Malfoy turned his sneer onto Harry, and opened his mouth to retort.

"Righ' then," said Hagrid, who seemed to have lost his thread. "So… so yeh've got yer books an'... an'... now yeh need the Magical Creatures. Yeah. So I'll go an; get em. Hang on…."

He strode away into the Forest and out of sight.

"God, this place is really going to the dogs," said Malfoy, loudly. "Wait until my father hears about this."

"Malfoy, the only thing your father cares about is his money and his image," Teddie snapped.

"Shut your mouth, Green," Malfoy sneered. "You don't understand what it's like to be richer than anyone. It's exhausting."

Teddie rolled her eyes. "You're right," she nodded. "I don't know what it is like to come from riches. But I do know that it looks totally boring! I mean, what is the point in having silly money when you've got nothing to do with it? At least I know the true meaning of happiness, and I know that my father loves me."

Malfoy turned red as his face screwed up in anger.

"Ooooooh!" squealed Lavender Brown, a third year Gryffindor. She was pointing towards the back of the paddock.

Teddie turned away from Malfoy.

Trotting towards them were a dozen bizarre creatures. They had the bodies, hind legs and tails of a horse, but the front legs, wings and heads of a giant eagle, with cruel, steel-coloured beaks and large, brilliantly orange eyes. The talons on their front legs were half a foot long and deadly-looking.

"Wow…" Theo and Blaise breathed.

"They're beautiful!" Daphne whispered. Teddie nodded in agreement.

The class took a step back as Hagrid bought the creatures closer, tying the chains in his hands to the fence. The chains were attached to a thick black collar which was around each animal's neck.

"Hippogriffs!" Hagrid roared happily. "Beau'iful, aren' they?"

Teddie nodded, almost hypnotised by the beauty of the creatures before her. Their coats were gleaming, and changed effortlessly from feathers to hair. Each creature was a different colour: stormy grey, bronze, pinkish roan, gleaming chestnut, and inky black.

"So," said Hagrid. "Firs' thing yeh gotta know abou' Hippogriffs is they're proud, and easily offended. Don't never insult one, 'cause it might be the last thing yeh do."

"That's Malfoy out then," Daphne whispered to Teddie.

Teddie giggled and looked behind her at the blonde. He wasn't listening to the lesson, and instead was talking in hushed whispers to Crabbe and Goyle.

"Yeh always with fer the Hippogriff ter make the firs' move," Hagrid continued. "It's polite, see? Yeh walk towards him, and yeh bow, an' yeh wait. If he bows back, yeh're allowed ter touch him. If he doesn' bow, then get away from him sharpish, 'cause those talons hurt."

Daphne and Teddie shared a look.

"Right - who wants ter go first?"

As he backed away, Theo caught Teddie's wrist and pulled her with him.

"No one?" asked Hagrid, with a pleading look.

"I'll do it," said Harry.

There was an intake of breath and another Gryffindor girl, Parvati, whispered, "Oooh, no, Harry, remember your tea leave!"

Teddie frowned and looked to Daphne. "Tea Leaves?" she asked. "You're in Divination with Harry?"

Daphne nodded. "Trelawney predicted that Potter would die at some point this year," she said. "Apparently there was a Grim in the bottom of his tea cup."

"Grim, as in Grim Reaper?" Teddie asked.

"A what?" Blaise asked.

"Grim Reaper," Teddie repeated. "It's death, basically, in human form."

Blaise and Daphne shared a look, and then shook their heads.

"No, not that," said Daphne. "Although, it is to do with Death. The Grim is an omen of death that takes the shape of a Dog."

Teddie paused and then shrugged. "Sure, why not?" she asked. "The Muggle world portrays death as human, why shouldn't the Magical world portray him as a dog?"

"Well, as long as Potter hasn't seen the Grim then he's save," said Blaise.

Teddie watched as Harry approached the fence and climbed into the paddock.

"Good man, Harry!" roared Hagrid. "Right then - let's see how yeh get on with Buckbeak."

Hagrid untied one of the chains, pulled the grey Hippogriff away from his fellows and slipped off his leather collar.

"Easy now, Harry," said Hagrid, quietly. "Yeh've got eye contact, now try not ter blink - Hippogriffs don't trust yeh if yeh blink too much…"

"That's me out," Tracy Davis teased. She was stood just behind Teddie and the others.

Teddie glanced back at her housemate and smiled. "Once someone tells me not to do something, the more I am inclined to do it," she said.

Tracy nodded.

"Tha's it," said Hagrid. "Tha's it, Harry… now, bow…"

Teddie cocked her head to the side as Harry bowed. But Buckbeak didn't budge. "That can't be good…" she whispered.

"Ah," said Hagrid, sounding worried. "Right - back away, now, Harry, easy does it -"

But then, to everyone's surprise, Buckbeak suddenly bent his scaly front knees, and sank into what was an unmistakable bow.

"Well done, Harry!" said Hagrid, ecstatic. "Right - yeh can touch him! Pat his beak, go on!"

As Harry patted his beak, the Hippogriff closed his eyes lazily and shuddered. It was clearly enjoying the attention and petting.

The class broke into an applause and, emboldened by Harry's success, surged towards the paddock, climbing over the fence in a frenzy to do well, too.

Teddie smiled and bowed to an inky black Hippogriff. Looking through her eyelashes she saw the magnificent creature pause and then bend into a short bow opposite.

"Show off," Daphne muttered.

Teddie stuck her tongue out and approached the animal. She held out her hand, palm up, and waited for the Hippogriff head to nudge her. Only then did she pet the animal's beak, her fingers stretching up and smoothing the feathers on its face.

The Hippogriff cooed against her touch.

"I think he likes you, Ted," said Theo.

"I like him, too," said Teddie.

Ambling over, Hagrid beamed at Teddie. "Well done, Teddie," he said.

"What's his name, Hagrid?" Teddie asked.

"Her name is Escuro," Hagrid replied.

Teddie looked back at the creature and smiled. "Escuro," she said, testing the name. "Suiting."

Escuro nudged Teddie's hand again, and the young Slytherin resumed her petting.

Suddenly, a yell from the opposite side of the paddock, caused everyone to turn around. Malfoy was on the floor, shrieking, and clutching his arm whilst Buckbeak reared up onto its legs, brandishing its talons menacingly.

"Buckbeak!" Hagrid yelled. He rushed across the paddock and wrestled the Hippogriff away from Malfoy, struggling to get his collar around its collar.

Meanwhile, Malfoy was still wailing. "I'm dying! I'm dying! Look at me, it's killed me."

"Maybe Trelawney mixed up Malfoy and Harry's cups this morning?" Teddie asked her friends.

Daphne, Blaise and Theo smirked.

"Yer not dying!" said Hagrid. "Someone help me - gotta get him outta here -"

Hermione Granger ran to open the paddock gate while Hagrid lifted Malfoy easily. As they passed, Teddie caught a glimpse of Malfoy's arm, there was a long, deep gash running down his forearm and blood had splattered all over his shirt sleeve.

"Class dismissed!" Hagrid called as he ran up the slope towards the castle.

~X~

That night, in the Slytherin common room, Teddie sat with her usual band of friends. She had her Ancient Runes book open in front of her and was doing her best to think of a suitable story which reflected the rune she had chosen in class that morning.

"The most obvious Truth is hidden deep within, and only you will ever know it," Marcus read aloud. He looked to Teddie. "Do I want to know?"

Teddie smiled and shrugged. "In Ancient Runes we had to choose a rune that stood out to us," she said. "I chose this one," she showed him the 'B' rune. "It means 'Berkano' and according to Spellman's' that's the translation."

"So, what are you writing?" Adrian asked.

"Professor Babbling wants us to write a short story on why these runes mean something to us," said Theo. "It's just hard to think…"

Daphne nodded. "Trelawney gave us homework, too," she said. "But I can't focus because all I can think about is Malfoy."

Teddie half glanced at her friend.

"It was Malfoy's own fault that he got hurt," said Blaise, dipping his quill into an ink well. "I overheard Crabbe and Goyle talking at dinner, Malfoy called Buckbeak a 'great ugly brute', an insult, and we all remember what Hagrid said about Hippogriffs, about how proud and prone to insults they are."

Teddie, Theo, and Daphne nodded.

"Be as it may," said Derrick, looking up from his essay. "Mr Malfoy isn't going to be impressed when he learns about this."

Teddie rolled her eyes. "When is Mr Malfoy ever impressed by anything that goes on in this school?" she asked. "Before we went home last year, Harry told me that Mr Malfoy arrived at Dumbledore's office after I had left, and he was outraged that Dumbledore was back in the Headmaster's position."

"My father told me about that over the summer," said Marcus. "Mr Malfoy threatened several school governors that he would curse their families if they didn't agree to suspend Dumbledore in the first place."

"Isn't your father on the school board?" Adrian asked his mate.

Marcus nodded. "Malfoy wouldn't dare threaten my father," he said. "Dad knows a few dark secrets about Malfoy that Malfoy wouldn't like getting out."

Teddie cocked her head to the side. "Dark secrets? Like what?" she asked.

"Trust me," said Marcus, shaking his head. "You're better off not knowing."

Considering her friends words, Teddie shrugged and went back to her essay. "I just hope Hagrid doesn't get into too much trouble," she said. "Despite what happened, I really enjoyed Care of Magical Creatures. Neither Buckbeak nor Escuro seemed dangerous to me."

"You treated them with respect, by the sounds of it," said Adrian.

Blaise nodded and added the final touches to his essay. "The arrogant little ferret had it coming today," he said.

"Unfortunately, Mr Malfoy isn't going to see it that way," said Daphne with a sigh.

Teddie paused in her writing as an unpleasant feeling settled in her stomach.

Chapter Text

"Didn't you have Muggle Studies this morning?" Derrick asked Teddie as he sat opposite her for Lunch. "How was it? Learn anything."

Teddie smiled and shrugged. "I learned that the Wizarding World is very outdated when it comes to Muggles," she said. "Take electricity, for example, according to Professor Burbage, electricity was founded in the 1800s with the invention of the light bulb. But, in the 17th century they had electric generators. So, how come something that runs of electricity exist if its main component hasn't been discovered yet?"

"Okay…" said Derrick slowly.

"I was confused at first, too," said Daphne. "But I have a great study partner."

Teddie blushed and shook her head.

"Did you learn anything that wasn't confusing?" Adrian asked.

"Oh, we learnt about Muggle games," Daphne said. "Ted, what was that one with the zeros and crosses?"

"Noughts-and-crosses," Teddie answered, swallowing a mouthful of orange juice.

"Who's and what's?" Adrian asked.

Teddie grinned and dug deep into her backpack. "Here," she said, pushing aside her plate and drawing a grid on a spare piece of parchment. "The object of the game is to win three in a row with either a nought or a cross - You can go in either direction, but you also have to beat your opponent. I'll go first."

Placing a cross in the top left corner, Teddie offered the parchment and quill to Adrian. "Place an 'X' anywhere on that grid." she said.

Adrian did as advised and passed the parchment back.

For a few tense minutes, Teddie and Adrian passed the parchment back and forth before finally, Teddie added her final nought and drew a line through the grid. "I win!" she declared.

Adrian stared, slack-jawed at the parchment. "How did you do that?" he asked. "I didn't even see it!"

"Noughts-and-crosses is kinda like chess," Teddie explained. "It's all about strategy, you've got to be at least two steps ahead of your opponent at all times."

"You also have an advantage," said Adrian. "You've probably played this countless of times before."

"Fair point," Teddie agreed. "I will admit that noughts-and-crosses is a game frequently played between me and Mason. He's really good at it."

"What other games do you like to play?" Marcus asked.

Teddie shrugged. "There's hangman, crosswords, word searches, dominoes, rock-paper-scissors," she listed. "These types can be played inside during rainy days, but there are also a few games we play outside when it's not so wet."

"Other than football, you mean?"

Teddie nodded.

"Like?"

"Hopscotch, Jump rope, double Dutch," Teddie answered. "There is a fun game that we play with the kids from Cokeworth, believe it or not. It's called Capture the Flag. Basically, there are two teams, two individual flags are then hidden - one in Cokeworth, one in Spinners End - then both teams have to enter enemy territory and 'capture the flag' without being caught."

"That actually does sound fun," said Derrick. "Maybe we could adapt it to fit us."

"Yeah, Capture the Flag: Hogwarts Edition," Teddie joked.

Her friends grinned.

"Sounds like Muggle Studies is worth studying," said Judy. She, Marlene and Susan had finally arrived at the table.

"I agree," said Susan.

Marlene nodded. "I'm definitely replacing Divination with Muggle Studies in sixth year," she said. "In the meantime, you can teach us your games beforehand, if you like. I wouldn't mind learning more."

"Same," Judy and Susan agreed.

"There are some games that both worlds have," said Teddie. "Like, Snap, for example, the only difference being, in this world the cards explode when they're identical, in my world you have to say the word 'snap". Chess, is another game we have in common, again, only difference being your chess pieces move and ours don't. I think the only game in both worlds that is the same, with no differences, except the name, obviously is Marbles - you call it Gobstones?"

Marlene nodded. "Jasmine loves Gobstones," she said. "She always beats me."

"She and Mason should play," Teddie said. "He used to be really good."

"Used to be?" Marlene asked.

"Yeah, Mum and Dad won't let us play with Marbles anymore."

"How come?"

Teddie grimaced.

"Uh oh," said Derrick. "That look says it all. What did you do?"

"Nearly killed my Dad," Teddie answered, wincing.

Her friends stared at her.

"Not intentionally I hope," said Derrick.

Teddie shot him a look. "Of course not!" she exclaimed. "It was an accident!"

"What happened?" Daphne asked.

"Mason and I were playing Marbles outside our bedroom," said Teddie. "Why we weren't playing inside, I don't know, but, anyway, we just upped and left the game after a while, and forgot to clean up the balls. My dad came home from work, went upstairs to take a shower, stood on our abandoned game and fell backwards down the stairs."

The others winced.

"Sounds painful," said Derrick.

"Yeah, Mum wasn't happy," said Teddie. "Dad was bed bound for a whole month, plus he couldn't work for a long time after. So, yeah, that's why Mason and I aren't allowed to play Marbles anymore."

"Yikes."

Teddie pursed her lips and nodded.

"How did your dad react?" Adrian asked. "Was he mad?"

Teddie's father had always seemed so mellow and laid back, but he had the feeling that being out of work for a long time was enough to crack his shell.

"He wasn't exactly pleased," said Teddie. "I don't blame him. But he wasn't, you know, furious."

"I'm guessing you got punished?" Judy asked.

"I did," Teddie nodded. "I told Mum and Dad that it was my fault. I told them that I had got up to make Mason a snack and forgot to go back and clean up the marbles."

"So, you took the blame?" Susan asked. "All of it?"

Teddie nodded.

"Why?"

"Mason was only six," said Teddie. "And he was really worried. I think the fall scared him, a lot, because he kept crying to me about how Dad could've died. I didn't want upset him more by him getting into trouble, so I took all the blame."

"You're a good sister, Ted, fair play," said Marlene. "Most siblings try to blame each other in order to get out of trouble."

Teddie shrugged. "My family means the world to me," she said. "Besides, what do I get out of getting Mason into trouble?"

"Fair point," Marlene nodded.

As Teddie went back to her lunch, Draco Malfoy arrived at the table. He hadn't been seen since their Care of Magical Creatures lesson the previous day, and now he was supporting his arm in a bandage.

Malfoy met Teddie's gaze as he sat beside Parkinson and smirked.

"Does it hurt, Draco?" Parkinson asked. She lightly run her fingers over Draco's hand.

"Only a little," Malfoy answered. "Can't fault Madam Pomfrey. A few seconds later and I could've lost my arm."

Teddie rolled her eyes. "Pity," she murmured.

"What was that, Green?" Malfoy asked. "Come on, speak up."

"I said, pity," Teddie repeated.

"For once, I agree," Malfoy said. "It is a pity that I ended up like this."

"No, I mean pity has in you didn't lose your arm," said Teddie. "Given your actions, it's not like you wouldn't have deserved it."

Malfoy narrowed his eyes. "You watch your mouth, Green," he warned.

"Or what, Draco?" Teddie asked. It was a rarity that she ever referred to Malfoy by his given name. Usually when she did, it was in passive-aggression or sarcasm. "Going to go running to Daddy Dearest? I mean, that is what you're good at, isn't it? Hiding behind those bigger than you."

Malfoy choked as his eyes burned furiously into Teddie's. "Whatever, Green," he said, much to the surprise of everyone else. "I'll have the last laugh at the end of all this. Especially when you consider that my father isn't too happy with this," he held up his arm. "That oaf you call a friend won't be a teacher for much longer. Not if I have anything about it."

"Yes, because your word carries a lot of weight, doesn't it," said Teddie. "What happens to your argument if someone decides to stand against you? Tell everyone exactly what happened? You can boast about how perfect you are at everything, but we both know that you're anything but, especially in Care of Magical Creatures."

"You don't know anything," said Malfoy, his voice getting low.

"I know what you did yesterday," said Teddie. "What you said to cause Buckbeak to attack you. Right now, you're only defence is that not everyone knows; but what happens if I decide to start talking?"

"You'll regret it," said Parkinson.

Teddie rolled her eyes. "I've been threatened by people who are far more intimidating than you two," she said. "What makes you think I am afraid of you?"

"You should be, Green," said Malfoy. "I can make your life hell. You'll learn to fear me."

Teddie scoffed. "Give it your best shot, Malfoy," she said, shaking her head. "I'd love to see what you come up with."

With one final glare, Malfoy turned his attention away.

Teddie rolled her eyes and turned back to her friends.

"You have a death wish, don't you?" Derrick asked.

"What do you mean?" Teddie asked.

"You're the only person that I know that would willingly challenge a Malfoy, no matter what generation they are," said Derrick.

Teddie shrugged. "I thought you had learned by now that I don't like bullies," she said. "Besides, Malfoy has been trying for the last three years to make my life a living hell, he hasn't succeeded yet."

"Doesn't mean he won't, Ted," said Marcus. "Sometimes you just need to walk away."

"I will never back down to people like Malfoy." said Teddie. "They're always used to getting what they want, and they think that they can walk all over those of us who, they believe, are inferior to them. The only people who have control over me are my parents, and, while at school, the Professors and Headmaster."

With shared looks, her friends shook their heads. As Purebloods, they'd never met a Muggleborn more opinionated than Teddie Green.

~X~

Later that afternoon, Teddie and the rest of the Slytherin students entered the Defence classroom for their first Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson of the year. Professor Lupin wasn't present when they first entered and arrived somewhat five minutes after they did. He strode between the desks to the front of the class and turned, smiling, to face them.

"Good afternoon," Lupin greeted.

Teddie noted that Professor Lupin looked as shabby and put together as most kids at Spinner's End. She knew everyone that lived on her street, and she was positively sure that Professor Lupin didn't, even though he would've fitted in with no problems.

"Would you please put your books back in your bags," Professor Lupin continued. "Today's lesson will be a practical one. You will only need your wands."

Teddie, Theo, Daphne, and Blaise exchanged small looks as, all over the classroom, many students stowed their books back into their bags.

"If he brings out a cage of pixies, I'm out of here!" said Blaise in a low voice.

Teddie. Theo and Daphne smirked.

Last year, their Defence Professor Gilderoy Lockhart had decided on a practical lesson with Cornish Pixies. Needless to say, the lesson had not gone as planned and the pixies ran amok throughout the classroom.

"At least we know how to deal with Cornish Pixies," said Daphne, nudging her friend.

Blaise grinned proudly.

"Right then," said Lupin, "if you would kindly follow me."

He led the way out of the classroom, along the deserted corridor, around the corner, down a flight of stairs, and across another corridor before stopping outside the school staff room.

"Ah, the plot thickens," Gryffindor student, Dean Thomas said.

Teddie, as well as many other Muggleborns and Halfbloods that recognised the reference, laughed.

"Inside, please," said Professor Lupin, opening the door.

The students hurried inside.

The staff room was a long panelled room full of old, mismatched chairs, and was empty apart from one teacher.

"Professor Snape!" Teddie said, spotting her Head of House first.

Snape's eyes slid over his student and then flickered to Professor Lupin as he entered, closing the door behind him. "Leave it open, Lupin," he instructed. "I'd rather not witness this." He got to his feet and strode past the class, pausing in the doorway and looking back. "Possibly no one has told you, Lupin, but this class contains Neville Longbottom. I would advise you not to entrust him with anything difficult. Not unless Miss Granger is hissing instructions in his ear."

Teddie stared, sadly, at Neville as he turned a beetroot red. While, on many occasions, she respected her Head of House greatly, it was times like this that she thoroughly hated him.

"Oh?" said Professor Lupin, raising his eyebrows. "I was hoping that Neville would assist me with the first stage of the operation, and I am sure he will perform it admirably."

Snape's lip curled and, before he left, he met Teddie's gaze. He looked like he wanted to say something else, but, at the last minute, decided against it, and left the room.

The door closed with a snap.

"Now then," said Professor Lupin, walking to the front of the class. He approached a large ornate wardrobe, where Teddie guessed the teachers kept their spare robes and cloaks.

"Something tells me that is more than just a wardrobe," said Daphne, quietly.

Suddenly, the wardrobe lurched forward and then, as if pulled by invisible chains, thudded back against the wall.

Instinctively, the class stepped back.

"Nothing to worry about," said Professor Lupin, calmly. "There's a Boggart in there."

Teddie turned to Theo has he took a small intake of breath. "What's a Boggart?" she asked, curiously.

"That's a good question, Miss Green," said Lupin. For a few seconds he stared at Teddie, and then looked away. "Does anyone know the answer?"

"It's a shapeshifter," said Hermione Granger. "It can take the shape of whatever it thinks will frighten us the most."

"Couldn't have put it better myself," Lupin said, nodding.

"Oh boy," Teddie whimpered. Less than an hour ago, she had mouthed off to Malfoy about trying his hardest to make her life a living hell, if he found out her deepest darkest fear then he'd have all the ammunition he needed to do just that.

"Boggarts like dark, enclosed spaces," Professor Lupin continued. "Wardrobes, the gap beneath beds, the cupboards under sinks - I once met one that had lodged itself in a grandfather clock. This one moved in yesterday afternoon, and I asked the Headmaster if the staff would leave it to give my third-years some practice."

Teddie bit her lip and took a cautious step backward. She felt Theo's hand brush against hers and looked up at him. He smiled, reassuringly, and linked his fingers with her own, squeezing gently.

"The Boggart sitting in the darkness within has not yet assumed a form. He does not yet know what will frighten the person on the other side of the door. Nobody knows what a Boggart looks like when he is alone, but when I let him out, he will immediately become whatever each of us most fears."

Neville made a small squeak of fear.

"But, we have a huge advantage over it already," added Professor Lupin. "Do you see it yet, Harry?"

Teddie looked around.

"Er - because there are so many of us, it won't know what shape it should be?" Harry answered.

"Precisely," Lupin said.

Teddie smiled as Harry met her gaze. He blushed and looked away.

"The spell that repels a Boggart is simple, yet it requires force of mind. You see, the thing that really finishes a Boggart is laughter. What you need to do is force it to assume a shape that you find amusing."

Daphne met Teddie's eyes. Something amusing? That was tricky when facing your deepest fears.

"We will practice the charm, without wands, first. After me, Riddikulus."

"Riddikulus!"

"Good," Lupin beamed. "Very good, indeed. But that was the easy part. The word alone, I am afraid, is not enough, and this is where you come in, Neville…"

The wardrobe shook again.

Neville shuffled forward.

"So, Neville, what would you say is your biggest fear?" Lupin answered.

That's easy, thought Teddie.

"Professor Snape," Neville answered, confirming Teddie's thoughts.

Lupin chuckled, as did many more of the class.

"And I believe you live with your grandmother?" Lupin asked.

"Yes, and I don't want that Boggart to turn into her, either," said Neville, quickly.

Teddie smiled. Neville's grandmother sounded a bit like her mother. Not someone you wanted to cross.

"It won't," Lupin assured Neville. "Now, when I open that door, the Boggart is going to come out, and here is what I want you to do." He stepped closer to Neville and leaned down, whispering something into his ear.

Teddie cocked her head to the side. Neville's whole body had stiffened, possibly in anticipation of what he was about to encounter, and also in embarrassment that this was happening in front of a class of his peers.

"Can you do that for me?" Lupin asked.

Neville nodded, timidly.

Lupin stood behind Neville, waved his wand at the wardrobe, and the doors flew open.

Teddie watched, with keen curiosity, as her Head of House stepped out of the wardrobe. He looked the spitting image of the real person, and if Teddie didn't know any better she would've said that the creature before her was Severus Snape, or even his identical twin.

Neville stepped back in alarm. His face had gone white and his whole body was wound tight. Teddie felt the urge to step forward, take Neville's hand in hers, and tell him that it would all be okay. But her own fear kept her rooted to the spot. What would the Boggart do if he sensed her fear? Would he, as Lupin described, try to create her greatest fear on top of Neville's?

Teddie almost laughed at the idea of Professor Snape and Professor Quirrell in one body, but her laughter died as she shivered. Quirrell had had Voldemort living out of the back of his head for over a year when she had first encountered him. She shook her head, while she was physically afraid of Professor Quirrell; she couldn't deny that him housing Voldemort was a terrifying thought.

"Careful, Neville," Lupin coached. "Picture what I said… and let it happen."

"R-r-riddikulus!" Neville squeaked.

There was a whip-like crack and the Boggart changed. Instead of Professor Snape in his flowing black robes, and it became Professor Snape in long green robes, with a wide hat atop which was a large stuffed vulture, and a huge crimson handbag swinging from his hand.

Teddie laughed, despite herself. As did the rest of the class.

The boggart paused, clearly confused.

"Parvati! Forward!" Lupin shouted.

The Boggart rounded on her and, with another crack, turned into a blood-stained., bandaged mummy.

"Riddikulus!" cried Parvati.

A bandage unravelled at the mummy's feet; it became tangled and fell forwards.

"Seamus!"

Seamus darted forward.

Crack!

A woman rose up from the floor. Her was black as night and she had a skeletal, green-tinged face. A banshee.

"Riddikulus!"

The banshee made a rasping sound as she tried to scream, but her voice had gone, leaving her screechless.

"Teddie!"

Theo felt Teddie stiffen beside him.

"Teddie, come on," said Lupin, encouragingly. His voice was warm, although his eyes did hold a look of concern.

Stepping forward, Teddie stopped as Theo put his hand on her shoulder. "I'll go next, Professor," he said.

Teddie turned, confused, to Theo. His fear was an obvious one, at least of all to her. Why would he feel the need to let everyone know it?

Isn't that obvious? said the voice in her head. He's doing it to protect you.

The banshee reared back and glared down at Theo. It then charged forward, changing mid-stride into a man with short dark hair, and evil-looking eyes. From inside his robes he drew a wand, his lips parted.

Theo froze.

The man raised the wand above his head, his lips moving as his voice sounded the words "Cru-"

"Hey!" Teddie yelled, darting forward. Up until then she had been terrified of facing the Boggart, of exposing her deepest darkest fears to Malfoy and his cronies, but seeing Theo ready to face down his father, put her own fear into perspective.

Especially when he was only facing his fears so she wouldn't have too.

The Boggart rounded on Teddie, with a crack in changed into the image of Professor Quirrell. His eyes held Teddie's gaze and the smirk on his lips made her skin crawl. She held her wand out in front of her.

"Riddikulus!" Teddie said.

Quirrell turned into a tiger. It looked up at Teddie, it's green slit-like eyes surveying her, it then opened its jaws and let out a tiny meow.

Teddie giggled.

Theo glanced at Teddie and smiled. Teddie returned it and the pair stepped back into the crowd of students.

Crack.

The tiger became a rat - that chased its tail.

Crack.

A rattlesnake.

Crack.

A single, bloodied eye-ball.

Crack.

A Thunderbird - Teddie remembered reading about them in one of Marcus' Care of Magical Creatures books.

Crack.

"It's confused!" Lupin shouted. "We're getting there!"

The crowd thinned as each student either took their turn, or opted out. Lupin didn't seem at all bothered that some students desired not to face their fears, and probably understood completely that it wasn't an easy task.

Those who had faced the Boggart stood in a small cluster on the left side of the room. Teddie hung off Theo's arm as she watched the Boggart change time and time again into something scary and then amusing,

Then, has Ron Weasley's spider lost all its legs and rolled across the floor, stopping at the feet of Harry Potter, Professor Lupin jumped forward, calling out for the Boggart's attention.

It whirled around, sparing Harry no glance, and quickly whirled up into a large white circle. It shone as bright as the moon in an all-black sky.

"Riddikulus!" Lupin said, lazily waving his wand at the orb.

The Boggart exploded.

"Excellent!" Lupin said, smiling at the class. "Well done, everyone. Let me see… five points to everyone, who faced or attempted to face the Boggart - ten for Teddie because, although she didn't want to do it, did it to help her friend -"

Teddie looked up at Theo, beamed and rested her head against his shoulder.

"And five each to Hermione and Harry," Lupin added, beaming at the pair. "Very well, everyone, an excellent lesson. Homework, kindly read the chapter on Boggarts and summarise it for me… to be handed in on Monday. That will be all."

Talking excitedly, the class filed out of the staff room.

Chapter Text

"What did you do?"

Teddie looked around as Derrick's voice sounded from behind her. He, Marcus, Adrian, and Theo were clad in their Quidditch robes having just returned from practice. "What makes you think I did anything?" she asked.

"You're grinning," Derrick teased. "It's an evil grin."

Teddie playfully stuck out her tongue. "I'll have you know, I've been rather good this evening," she defended. "I even avoided the likes of Malfoy and Parkinson when I was in the library with Mason."

"How is Mason?" Adrian asked.

"He's doing great!" Teddie grinned. "He's still top of his class, which he loves, obviously."

"Obviously," Adrian repeated. He sat on the empty armchair near the fire, shivering as the warmth from the flames washed over him.

Derrick rolled his eyes and sat on the sofa beside Daphne and Blaise. "Stop changing the subject," he said, pointing a finger at Teddie.

"I swear, I haven't done anything," Teddie giggled. "Ask them," she nodded at Daphne and Blaise. "They've been with me all evening."

"She's telling the truth," Blaise said, adding the final edit to his Divination essay. "But, there is a reason for her happiness."

"I knew it!" Derrick declared. "What is it?"

Daphne pointed at the noticeboard. "They posted the first Hogsmeade trip," she said, dipping her quill into her inkwell. She had been doing her Muggle Studies homework.

"Oh! When is it?" Derrick asked. He jumped to his feet and dashed across the room. He paused, and then let out a whoop of laughter. "Ha! That's why you're so happy!"

Teddie laughed.

Theo, Marcus, and Adrian exchanged looks.

"When is it?" Adrian asked.

"Halloween weekend," said Derrick, returning. "31st, to be exact. More commonly known as…"

"Teddie's birthday," said Theo, nudging his best friend.

Teddie grinned. Every year, for the last three years, her friends had tried and failed to make her birthday at the castle an amazing one. But something or someone always seemed to be there, ready to ruin it. First year it was Malfoy, second year it was the Chamber of Secrets, and Malfoy, by extension.

Hopefully this year, she could have a birthday where no one and nothing would spoil.

"So, have you planned on where you intend to go?" Adrian asked Teddie.

"Not really," Teddie said. "Mason and I were talking about in the library earlier. He pointed out that I couldn't go to Hogsmeade and not go to the Shrieking Shack, and it would be a hard pass to disagree. Like I said on the train, I love haunted houses."

"Oh, since it's your birthday," said Derrick. "I'm daring you to go inside."

Teddie's eyes light up with mischief.

"Are you sure you want to make that dare, Derrick?" Daphne asked. "You remember the Christmas bet last year? She wiped the floor with you."

"We do not speak of that day!" Derrick declared. "It was made under false pretences."

"It was most certainly not!" Teddie cried.

"Yes, it was!" Derrick argued. "Adrian, Marcus, and I had no idea what we were signing up for. You could have given us fair warning."

"Where's the fun in that?" Teddie asked. "Besides, Marcus and I had a snowball fight the morning after, and he knew what to expect. He still fought me."

"Then he is a sucker for punishment," Derrick muttered.

Tilting her head back, Teddie looked up at Marcus. "Are you a sucker for punishment?" she asked.

"Apparently," Marcus agreed.

The group laughed.

~X~

On Halloween morning, Teddie entered the Great Hall with her friends in high spirits. Today was, not only her birthday, but the first trip she would ever take to Hogsmeade town. She had passed through it before, but never long enough to get a good look around. To say she was excited would have been an understatement.

But first, she had to get through breakfast.

"Teddie!"

Teddie beamed as she heard Mason's voice. He was rushing towards her, an excited grin on his face. As he got closer, Mason threw his arms around his sister and hugged her tightly.

"Happy Birthday!" Mason exclaimed.

"Thanks, Mason!" Teddie grinned.

"I had Mum and Dad send me your gift closer to today," said Mason, handing her a parcel. "It arrived last night. I also made you this," he handed her an envelope. "Roger Davies helped me enchant it for you. I hope you like it."

Teddie grinned and hugged her brother tightly again. "Mason, I love everything you give me," she said. "It doesn't have to be made with magic for it to be magic to me, you know that."

"I know," said Mason. "But I wanted to do something different, and this seemed like the perfect time to try."

Leading her brother over to the Slytherin table, Teddie sat in her usual seat with Theo on her right and Marcus on her left. Mason squeezed in beside her and Marcus, his face alight with excitement as Teddie opened her card.

The front of the card was designed in a Halloween theme with a silver banner with the words 'Happy Birthday, Teddie' written in green. Beneath that, was an image - a moving image - of her parents standing around a birthday cake.

"Oh…" Teddie breathed, her eyes wide.

"Caroline made the cake and took the picture," said Mason. "It's your own little personal Happy Birthday from Spinner's End. I wanted to do something like this for a while, but never had the means until now. Do you like it?"

Teddie threw her arms around her brother and hugged him, tightly. "Like it? Mason, I love it!" she cried. "Thank you!"

Mason laughed and hugged his sister tightly. "You're welcome!" he said. "Now open your present!"

Ripping open the parcel, Teddie giggled as a book on Celtic Mythology sat on the table in front of her.

"I figured," said Mason. "You have just about everything on Norse and Greek Mythology. How about something a little closer to home? And, I know how much you love the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table."

"And Merlin," said Teddie. "Can't forget the greatest sorcerer of all time."

"How could I?" Mason asked. "You never let me!"

Teddie smiled and kissed the side of her brother's head. "Thanks, Mason, I love them," she said.

"I knew you would," Mason replied. "I best get back to my own table. Have fun in Hogsmeade, I'll see you later. I love you."

"I love you more," Teddie said.

Mason smiled and jumped up, running back across the hall to the Ravenclaw table where he joined Astoria, Jasmine, and Cassie.

"Today is starting out pretty damn well, wouldn't you say?" Derrick asked, watching as Teddie tucked her card and book inside her backpack. She had yet to stop smiling, and he couldn't help but grin himself. Seeing Teddie smiled was always contagious.

Still smiling, Teddie loaded her plate with breakfast, and jumped straight into the discussion her friends were having on where they planned to go first once they got to Hogsmeade.

~X~

"I still say we go to the Three Broomsticks first," said Adrian. "It's on the High Street, we could then circle around to the Shrieking Shack."

"The Three Broomsticks is going to be packed this early," Derrick said. "I say we hit Honeydukes first, stuff ourselves with sugary goodness, check out the Shack, I'm still betting on Teddie going inside, and then finish off at the Three Broomsticks once it's quietened down."

Teddie glanced at Marcus as Adrian and Derrick continued to bicker. "Are they always like this?" she asked.

"Yep," Marcus nodded.

"Do you intend to get Mason anything while you're down here, Ted?" Daphne asked.

Teddie nodded. "Mason never passes on the chance to get sweets," she said. "I promised him I'd bring him some back. What about Astoria?"

"She's asked for some Droobles and Cauldron Cakes," Daphne answered.

"See! Even better reason to go to Honeydukes," said Derrick.

Adrian shook his head. "It's better to do Honeydukes last," he defended. "Especially with Cauldron Cakes, they'll be fresh by the time we return to the castle."

"Don't you think Teddie should decide where we go first?" Blaise interrupted. "I mean, it is her birthday, after all."

Teddie's eyes widened. "Oh no, please don't put that kind of pressure on me," she begged.

"You're the birthday girl," said Blaise. "Where is the one place, other than the Shrieking Shack, that you really want to check out?"

"Or, better yet," said Marcus. "How did you picture your first trip here? Where do you want to go first."

"If you want to go to the Shrieking Shack first, we don't mind," said Theo.

Teddie sighed and looked around at her friends. "Well, I agree with Adrian," she said. "We should leave Honeydukes until last."

"Thank you!" Adrian said, grinning.

Derrick sulked.

"But," Teddie added. "I also don't like the idea of squeezing ourselves into an overcrowded building."

Derrick grinned.

"So?" Blaise asked.

"Can we go to the Shrieking Shack first?" Teddie asked. "I can put Derrick in his place, again, and then we can come back here and decide what to do next."

Derrick smirked. "I often wonder if you were miss-sorted, Teddie," he said. "Your fearlessness and bravery puts you right at home with the Gryffindors."

Teddie made a face. "I am brave but not stupid," she said, shaking her head. "Now, show me where this supposed 'Most Haunted Building in Britain' is."

"Alright, you asked for it," said Derrick. He wound an arm around her shoulders and led her away from the group. "You're going to regret challenging me, one day."

"I'm still waiting for you to learn not to challenge me," Teddie teased.

With a chuckle, Derrick playfully pushed her. "You're lucky we're friends," he said.

"Yes, I am, I have enough enemies without adding more," said Teddie.

"Uncle Mongoose always says that having enemies is a good thing," said Derrick. "It means that you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."

Teddie giggled. "I still love that name," she admitted. "And, I guess that is one way of looking at it."

Derrick smiled. "Uncle Mongoose would really like you," he said, "You'll have to come visit one summer."

"I'd really like that!" Teddie said, excitedly.

"Great! We'll work out the details later."

The group rounded a corner, leading to a slop that ended at a fence overlooking a vast area, at the end of which, atop a small hill, stood an old-rundown rickety and juddering building.

It stood like a tower, with several panels missing from the slanting roof. Its windows were all boarded up, and it looked like a strong wind could easily have blown it over.

"That is the most haunted building in Britain?" Teddie asked, sceptical. "It doesn't look that scary."

"It's not the house itself that is scary," said Adrian. "It's the noises that people have heard coming from inside."

"Well, it seems quiet to me," said Teddie. She reached the fence and leaned forward, looking for a sign on trespassing. When she didn't find one, she hopped the fence and turned to her friends. "So, who's coming inside with me?" she asked.

"This is your Birthday dare," said Derrick, shaking his head.

Teddie shrugged and turned her back on her friends. "Fine, stay here you big babies," she said, striding off towards the house. "I won't be long."

"Shouldn't someone go with her?" Theo asked. He was shifting nervously from foot to foot as his best friend disappeared beyond the hill.

"Go on then," said Adrian. "If you're brave enough."

Before Theo had a chance to retort, a scream echoed from the Shrieking Shack. It was Teddie.

Without hesitation, the group jumped the fence and hurried along the dirt road leading to the shack. They couldn't see Teddie anywhere, and as they reached the building they noticed the front door was hanging off its hinges.

"Ted -?" Daphne called, timidly. She pushed open the door and squinted into the dusty front hallway.

"RAWR!" Teddie shrieked, jumping out from behind the door. She cackled as her friends jumped in alarm.

Marcus shook his head, recovering first. "That wasn't funny, Ted!" he scolded. "We thought something had happened to you."

"It was a little funny," Teddie said. "I mean, you guys are so gullible."

"I think I just had a heart attack," said Adrian, pressing a hand to his chest.

Teddie rolled her eyes. "Well, as you can see, I am perfectly fine," she said. "So, you can either go back to the fence and wait for me, or we can finish exploring?"

Teddie didn't wait for an answer as she took off deeper into the house. The others heard her shuffling around in one of the other rooms adjacent to the front hall, and shared equally nerved looks.

"This was your bet," said Daphne, prodding Derrick in the arm. "You should be in here with her."

"But she is Theo's best friend," said Derrick.

"I second Derrick's proposal," Adrian nodded. "Plus, you were worried about her back at the fence," he added to Theo.

"Oh, like you weren't," Theo protested.

Adrian shrugged indifferently.

Re-emerging from the door she had disappeared behind, Teddie spotted her friends still hovering in the front door. "Still undecided on this place, huh?" she asked.

"Maybe we're not as foolish as you," said Derrick.

"Or maybe you're quick to judge a book by its cover," said Teddie. "There are myths and legends about a hundred other places that are considered haunted, guys, just because some people hear strange noises coming from this place doesn't mean it's a ghosts stomping grounds."

"It's not just moans people hear, Ted," said Derrick. "It's growls, snarls, and howls."

"So a wild animal seeks refuge here," said Teddie, deflecting the idea. "Point of the matter is, you dared me to check this place out, and so far my verdict is = not haunted."

Adrian shook his head. "Whatever. You've had your inspection, and you made Derrick eat his words, can we head back now?" he asked. "Regardless of whether you find this place haunted or not, it still gives me the creeps."

"Fine," Teddie said with an exaggerated groan. "Let's head back." She shuffled out of the house, closing the rickety door in her wake, and followed her friends back to the fence.

"Just so you know, Ted," said Derrick, prodding her shoulder. "Payback's a witch."

"The bet was that I go into the Shrieking Shack alone," Teddie remind him. "You didn't say anything about what I could and couldn't do once I was in there."

"Giving us all heart attacks was definitely on the not-to-do list."

"Are you hurt?" Teddie asked.

"No."

"Are you still alive?"

"Obviously."

"Then hush up!"

"You're so lucky it is your birthday," Derrick grumbled.

Teddie merely grinned.

Chapter Text

With all of Hogsmeade discovered, Teddie and her friends stepped into Honeydukes. The warmth caused the group to shiver and the sweet smell of sugar filled the air.

"Oh! I feel like a piece of bread in a toaster," said Teddie, shivering. She closed her eyes for a few seconds and then looked around at the others. "If I wasn't so eager to see Mason, I'd suggest we stay in here."

Derrick laughed and hugged Teddie to him. "You, my friend, are a girl after my own heart," he said.

"Is this why you wanted to come in here first?" Teddie asked.

"Yep," said Derrick. He released her and disappeared across the room.

Teddie shook her head and looked around at the others. They had disappeared to the four corners of the shop, leaving only Marcus behind her. "Why am I not surprised they've all gone?" she asked. "They're literally kids in a sweet shop."

"Do you feel like anything?" Marcus asked.

"Chocolate frogs sound nice right about now," said Teddie. She turned on the spot and carved her way through the crowd towards the chocolates. Marcus followed her.

"I'll get these," said Marcus, taking the chocolate frogs.

"No, it's okay," said Teddie, shaking her head. "Professor Snape gave me extra money at the end of the summer."

But Marcus refused to hand the frogs back.

"Marcus!" Teddie laughed.

"It's your birthday," said Marcus. "You get Mason what he wants, and I'll get these for you as a birthday treat."

Teddie shook her head. "You've already got me a present," she said. "You know the rules."

"This isn't a present," said Marcus. "It's a treat, and you can argue with me as much as you want. I'm still getting it for you." He walked away before she could protest more.

Teddie huffed and turned back to the shelves.

"Finally realising that you aren't important, Green?" sneered an all-too-familiar voice.

With a sigh, Teddie turned on the spot and found Warrington standing behind her. He was holding a golden chalice in his hand, but his eyes were trained on her. "What do you want, Warrington?" she asked.

"Wanted to wish you Happy Birthday," said Warrington. "Offer you a gift." He held out the chalice.

"Not interested," Teddie said, shaking her head.

Warrington shrugged and tossed the chalice aside. "Funny, you'll take gifts from most Slytherin's but not me," he said. "If I didn't find you so disgusting, I would be upset."

"I don't care if you're upset by my refusal to accept anything from you," said Teddie. "You're not my friend, and therefore I don't trust you. So, why would I accept anything from you?"

"You try to do something nice," said Warrington.

"You don't do nice," said Teddie. "You do something to get something in return. What could I possibly have that you could want?"

Warrington grinned. "I'm sure we could think of something," he said.

"I highly doubt that," said Teddie. She spotted Derrick and Adrian behind Warrington and forced a smile. "Now, if you'll excuse me." She walked past him, only to stop as he caught her arm.

Catching Derrick's eye, Teddie shook her head as he started in her general direction. He stopped and she turned her attention back to Warrington.

"I still haven't forgotten about Cyrus Nott," said Warrington, his voice dropping to a whisper.

"Neither have I," said Teddie. "I haven't forgotten what he did to my best friend, and I won't ever forget what he did to his wife. The best place for Mr Nott is where he is. Now release me before things get worse for you."

Looking around, Warrington spotted Teddie's friends - Derrick and Adrian were the closest and watching with keen interest. Marcus was near the door, obviously waiting for the group, while Daphne, Blaise, and Theo were being served.

"Wouldn't want to cause a scene," said Teddie. "I highly doubt Professor Snape would be all too thrilled if we, of all Slytherins, caused a problem in Hogsmeade. He may even revoke our permission to attend future trips."

Warrington released Teddie, huffed and walked away. He pushed exchanged a glare with Marcus on his way out, but no words were passed between them.

Taking a deep breath, Teddie looked around as Derrick and Adrian joined her.

"Are you okay?" Adrian asked.

Teddie nodded.

"What did he want?" Derrick asked.

"Tried offering me a birthday gift," said Teddie. "I refused it, and then he mentioned Cyrus Nott and how he hadn't forgotten what I did at the beginning of summer, last year."

Derrick placed a hand on Teddie's shoulder. "He must be planning something big," he said. "Especially if he is still holding onto a grudge that's not his to hold."

Adrian nodded in agreement. "Maybe we should go back to the castle?" he suggested. "There are only a few hours until the Halloween feast, we can go hang out with Mason and Astoria until then. Do you have everything you need, Ted?"

"Almost," said Teddie. "Marcus got me Chocolate Frogs as a birthday treat, but I still want to get some things for Mason. He likes Cauldron Cakes, but he did ask me to look for something new. Any suggestions?"

Derrick paused and then dragged Teddie across the shop to a shelf lined with different packaged sweets. In front of the shelves were several large round bowls, filled to the brim with sweet drops. "Liquorice Wands," he said, grabbing a sample.

Teddie made a face and pushed the wand away. "We have liquorice in the muggle world," she said. "Mason hates the taste."

"Too sweet?" Adrian asked.

Teddie nodded.

"Alright," said Derrick. He shoved the sample into his mouth and turned to the shelf above him. "He likes chocolate, so how about chocoballs? These are my mum's favourites!"

Teddie leaned forward and inspected the inscription on the shelf. "Strawberry mousse and clotted cream?" she asked. It didn't sound like a good combination.

"Try it," said Derrick. He offered her a single ball.

Teddie hesitated and then popped the ball into her mouth. "Mhmm…" she moaned as she bit into the ball.

Derrick laughed and added a handful of balls to an empty sweet bag. "Even if Mason doesn't like them," he said. "I am sure you'll finish them off."

"Definitely," said Teddie. She popped another sample into her mouth as she browsed the shelves again. "Oh! Sugar quills!" she exclaimed, reaching for a quill. She added it to the bag and turned to Adrian. "Any suggestions?" she asked.

"Do you like pineapple?" Adrian asked.

Teddie shook her head. "Mason likes it on pizza but not so much on its own," she said. "Why, do you like pineapple?"

Adrian shrugged. "It's not an absolute favourite," he said. "You could try cockroach clusters if you're feeling adventurous."

"Cockroach clusters?" Teddie repeated.

"They're actual cockroaches," said Derrick. "But they look like peanuts."

Teddie's eyes widened and she shook her head. "Gross!" she cried.

Adrian laughed and turned her away from the shelves. "Come here," he said, leading over to the other side of the shop. "If you think Cockroach Clusters are gross, check these out," he pointed to a lollipop on the top shelf.

"Strawberry flavour?" Teddie asked. Judging by the colour.

"Nope," said Adrian.

"Raspberry?"

Adrian shook his head. "Blood," he answered.

"Blood?!"

"Great for vampires," said Adrian.

"Do they actually taste like blood?" Teddie asked.

Derrick laughed and shook his head. "Nah, they're just really sweet and they turn your mouth blood red," he explained.

Teddie released a breath and considered the lollipops. "I'll take two," she said, reaching for the sweets. She added them to the bag Derrick was holding. "Uh, okay, one more item," she said, looking around.

"Jelly slugs," said Adrian, pointing at a large stand.

"Are they real slugs?" Teddie asked.

Adrian chuckled and shook his head. "No," he said. "These are gummies. Here," he selected a sample and handed it to Teddie.

Teddie glanced up at her friend. She nibbled the tip of the slug and then swallowed.

"Verdict?" Adrian asked.

Teddie grinned and added four slugs to her bag. Two each for her and Mason.

"Now I'm done," said Teddie. She led the way to the register and paid for her items, before joining the rest of her friends at the door.

"Ready?" Marcus asked.

Teddie nodded and the group left the shop.

~X~

Before entering the Great Hall that evening, Teddie stopped on the threshold and took in her surroundings. This was the first year that she had attended the Halloween feast, every other year before now she had shared a private dinner in Professor Snape's quarters with her friends, considering she usually ended up running off hours before it.

Thankfully, this year, nobody had annoyed her to the point where she had done something foolish and/or stupid, and runoff. There was no Malfoy to tease her about her blood status or question her relationship with her friends. There was no deadly creature stalking the halls, waiting for unsuspecting students to cross its path.

This year, she could enjoy an eventful Halloween/Birthday with her friends.

"Oh, wow…" Teddie breathed in amazement. Her eyes sweeping from wall-to-wall of the Great Hall. It had been decorated in hundreds of candle-filled pumpkins, orange and black streamers that lazily fluttered across the air, above them the enchanted ceiling glittered as the sun died down beyond the horizon, replacing the sky with hundreds of stars.

As the sun disappears, the black streams popped, showering the hall in fluttering live bats, each of which swooped down on students, and skimmed the four tables before taking flight back into the air.

Teddie laughed as a bat hovered directly in front of her. Its reflection shimmered in her empty golden plate. She held out her finger and the bat's claws clamped down and the little creature toppled forward, hanging upside down as it cleaned its wings.

"That's scary," said Adrian. Normally, he, Marcus, and Derrick would sit with the rest of the seventh years at the end of the table, but given it was Teddie's birthday, they had decided to sit with her. This also put a short distance between Teddie, and anyone, particularly Malfoy and Parkinson, who would've loved to cause her trouble.

Teddie smiled at the bat, carefully petted it with another finger, and then, after it had crawled into her open palm, carefully threw it back into the air. The bat squawked and flew off.

"Is there anything you're afraid of?" Derrick asked. "Other than the obvious, of course."

"I don't particularly like butterflies," Teddie answered.

"Butterflies?" Daphne asked. Teddie nodded. "How come?"

Teddie shrugged. "I dunno," she answered. "I mean, I'm not what you would call 'afraid' of them, I don't freak out when I see them, but I don't actually like them, either."

"What if there was one on this table right now?" Adrian asked.

"I'd probably ask one of you to pick it up and put it outside," said Teddie.

"You wouldn't want it dead?"

Teddie shook her head. "No, that's just mean," she said. "The things not hurting me, so why would I want to hurt it?"

Adrian shrugged. "So, there isn't any particular creature you're afraid of?" he asked.

Teddie sighed deeply. "How wide is the spectrum?" she asked. "Are we talking 'normal-everyday' kind of creatures, or do you mean creatures that I could've seen on TV and such?"

"You tell me," said Adrian. "Out of all the creatures in the world, which would you say freaks you out the most?"

"Oh, definitely Jellyfish," Teddie answered. "Those little buggers are scary!"

"You know it's literally just a bag of jelly, right?" Derrick asked. "There's nothing scary about them."

"They sting!" Teddie exclaimed. "From what I have seen, it looks like it hurts. I wouldn't want to be stung by one."

Adrian chuckled. "Okay, so on a wide spectrum, you fear Jellyfish," he said. "What about on the short spectrum? Every day animals, which do you fear most?"

Teddie thought long and hard.

"How about anything with wings?" Blaise asked. "Butterflies, Moths, Dragonflies…" he broke off, shuddering. "Those things are nasty!"

"Yeah, but normal dragons have wings," said Theo, "and they're kind of cool."

Teddie pointed at her best friend and nodded. "He's got a point," she said.

"But Dragons and Dragonflies aren't the same things!" Blaise argued.

"How do you know?" Theo asked. He helped himself to as much food as he could possibly stomach, as it appeared on the table before him.

"I'd settle for knowing how they got their names in general," said Daphne. She bit into a chicken leg.

Teddie looked up from her plate. "If you remember to ask Mason tomorrow, I am pretty sure he could give you an answer," she said.

"You're probably right," Daphne agreed.

"What are you afraid of, Daph?" Teddie asked. "Other than the obvious."

Daphne shrugged. "Spiders, insects in general, my mother," she giggled.

Teddie laughed. While she and the others had been thinking of creatures in the sense of animals, Daphne had gone in the opposite direction and associated the term with humans.

"If we're going down that road," said Teddie, nodding. "I'm afraid of my mum, too."

"It must be in the mum's job description to be both loving and scary at the same time," said Blaise. "My mother isn't someone you'd want to trifle with, either."

"Same," said Marcus.

Teddie smiled and lay her head against Marcus' shoulder. "From what I have seen so far, your mum gives a whole new meaning to the term 'mama bear'," she said.

Marcus grinned.

The feast disappeared after a while and was replaced with dessert.

"Pumpkin pie, Ted?" Derrick asked.

Teddie shook her head and reached for a bat-shaped cookie. She bit into and moaned as the flavours burst to life on her tongue.

~X~

Soon, the dessert disappeared and the feast ended with entertainment provided by the Hogwarts ghosts. As she watched Nearly Headless Nick reenact his botched beheading, Teddie found herself heavily sedated from eating so much, and drifting off to sleep on Theo's shoulder.

"Hey," Theo said, quietly jostling Teddie awake. "Feasts over. We're heading back to the common room."

"Tired," Teddie whined.

Theo laughed and wound an arm around Teddie as she lay against him, her eyes closing as she walked. "If you don't go straight to bed when we get back, you'll be sleeping on the couch," he teased.

"Mmkay," Teddie said, sleepily.

Theo shook his head and carefully led Teddie across the Entrance Hall, and down the steps to the dungeons. In front of them walked the others, each one glancing back now and again and shaking their heads at Teddie.

"So much for a late birthday," Derrick laughed.

"I'm actually quite surprised she's lasted this long," said Adrian.

"You guys forget, she falls asleep quickly every year after the Halloween feast," said Blaise. "This year she is packed full of sweets and chocolate from Hogsmeade, too."

Daphne nodded. "True," she agreed. "Do you think this years birthday beats any other she's had at the castle?"

"I'd say so," said Marcus.

"Yeah, at least this year she got to actually celebrate her birthday," Derrick agreed. "Plus, Mason was here. How many times as she complained about not being able to see Mason on her birthday since she started Hogwarts?"

The answer was too many.

The long queue of Slytherins started to slow as those in the front finally reached the portrait hole. Grayson Farley, who was at the front of Sierra, gave the password and slowly, but surely, the students scrambled through into their common room.

"Ted, Teddie…" said Theo, lightly shaking his best friend. "You need to wake up to get into the common room."

Teddie moaned and buried her face in his shoulder.

Theo smiled and shook his head. "You're not far away now," he said. "Just a couple more seconds and you can go to bed. Come on, Marcus is waiting for you on the other side."

With a groan, Teddie forced her eyes open and scrambled through the portrait hole. As promised, Marcus was waiting for her on the other side. He wound an arm around her waist and held her close, half-carrying, half-walking her into the common room.

"I got it from here," said Daphne. She took Teddie's arm and guided her towards the staircase that split off to the separate dormitories.

If the stairs leading to the girls' dorms allowed boys to walk them, Daphne would've had either Marcus or Theo help her with Teddie, but the stairs turned into a slide if any of the Slytherin males stepped foot on them, sending whoever would be on them at the time, sliding back to the bottom.

Daphne had barely pushed open the door separating the dormitories from the common room when Professor Snape waltzed in.

"There's been an attempted break-in," said Professor Snape, looking around at his students. "Headmaster Dumbledore has requested all houses to return to the Great Hall."

~X~

"Attempted break-in?" Sierra repeated as she led the Slytherins back to the Great Hall. "Who'd be foolish enough to try and break into Hogwarts?"

"Do you think it's Black?" asked a scared-looking first year.

Now fully awake, Teddie shared a look with Daphne as the pair walked side-by-side.

They breached the Entrance Hall at the same time as the Hufflepuffs and the two houses entered the Great Hall to find the Gryffindors and Ravenclaws waiting for them.

"Teddie!"

Teddie looked around as she heard Mason and then spotted him through the crowd, she pushed forward, shoving people aside as she made a beeline for her brother. Astoria was right behind him, both of them looked terrified.

"Teddie, what's happening?" Mason asked.

"I don't know," Teddie answered. "Professor Snape said there had been an attempted break-in, but he didn't say any more." She looked around for her Head of House, but he was nowhere to be found.

A small murmur had broken out throughout the hall. The four houses mingled amongst themselves, finding their friends in different houses, each discussing the turn of events that had taken place a mere few moments ago.

The only house that seemed to have a clear understanding as to why they were all back in the Great Hall, was the Gryffindors.

"Yeah, that's right," said a nearby Gryffindor first year. He was talking with a first year Hufflepuff. "Sirius Black. At least, that is what the Fat Lady said."

Teddie turned her back on the two eleven-year-olds and looked to her friends. She could tell by the looks on their faces that they had heard.

"It doesn't make sense," said Adrian. "If Black did try to break-in to Hogwarts, how come the Gryffindors would know first? They're way up on the seventh floor, surely he would go for someone closer to the main doors?"

"Unless there is something up on the seventh floor that he was after," said Blaise. "But how did he get past all the security details, and the Dementors?"

"He got past them once, didn't he?" Theo asked. "Who's to say he can't do it again?"

Teddie let her gaze drift. She was still paying attention to her friends, but she was also looking for one Gryffindor in particular - Harry.

Harry was standing with Ron and Hermione on the far side of the Great Hall, near the wall. As if sensing someone watching him, Harry looked up and met Teddie's gaze; instantly, he stepped away from his two best friends and started towards her.

"Where are you going?" Marcus asked.

"I'll be right back," said Teddie, heading towards Harry, also.

Mason followed her, clinging to her arm.

Teddie was the first to speak when she and Harry reached one another. "What's going on?" she asked. "I overheard a Gryffindor first year saying it was Black."

"That's what the Fat Lady said," Harry nodded. "She says that he tried to get into Gryffindor tower, her portrait is all shredded, and she's terrified."

"Why would he try to get into Gryffindor tower?"

Harry shrugged. "We don't know," he said. "Professor Dumbledore turned up not long after and ordered us all back here."

"He sent the other Heads of Houses to collect their students, too, by the looks of things," said Teddie. "Professor Snape came and got us just as I was heading up to bed."

"Speaking of the Headmaster," said Mason. He nodded toward the front of the Hall.

Professor Dumbledore stood on the threshold of the Great Hall doors. He was accompanied by Professor Snape and Professor McGonagall.

"The teachers and I need to conduct a thorough search of the castle," said Dumbledore, addressing his students. "I'm afraid that, for your own safety, you will have to spend the night here. I want the Prefects to stand guard over the entrances to the Hall, and I am leaving the Head Boy and Girl in charge."

Teddie looked around and spotted Sierra and Percy in the crowd. They were standing close together, off to the side of the Hall. They were so close that she could've sworn they were holding hands.

"Any disturbances should be reported to me immediately," Dumbledore said to Percy and Sierra. "Send word with one of the ghosts."

"Yes, Headmaster," Sierra nodded.

Professor Dumbledore turned to leave, paused, and turned back. "Oh, yes, you'll be needing…" he casually flicked his wand and over a hundred sleeping bags and pillows appeared in the middle of the Hall, as the four tables flew up against the walls.

"Sleep well," said Dumbledore. He left the Great Hall with Snape and McGonagall, closing the door in their wake.

Teddie looked back at Harry. "I guess that's that," she said.

"Yeah," Harry nodded. He spied Teddie's friends over her shoulder. "I think your friends are waiting on you," he said.

Teddie glanced back and nodded. "I think yours are waiting on you," she said, spying Hermione and Ron, hovering nearby. "Goodnight, Harry."

"Goodnight, Teddie," Harry said. "Oh, and Happy Birthday."

"I'm starting to think my Birthday is cursed," Teddie laughed. She waved goodnight and returned to her friends, winding an arm around Mason as they weaved their way through the crowd.

While Marcus, Derrick, Adrian, Theo, and Blaise grabbed sleeping bags and pillows, Teddie and Daphne, led Mason and Astoria off to an empty side of the Hall.

"Do you really think Black could still be in the castle?" Astoria asked.

"Dumbledore seems to think so," said Blaise.

Teddie nudged his shoulder as Astoria's face grew pale with fear. "If he's foolish enough to stick around," she said, trying to sound reassuring. "Then he deserves to be caught."

"He hasn't been caught yet," said Adrian.

"That just goes to prove that he isn't foolish," said Teddie. She looked to Astoria. "Which means he's probably fled the minute the Fat Lady started shrieking."

Marcus passed Mason a sleeping bag and pillow. "What did Potter have to say?" he asked.

"Nothing much," said Teddie. She took a sleeping bag and pillow from Theo as he settled in beside her. "Just confirmed what we had guessed, already. Black tried breaking into Gryffindor Tower, he doesn't know why, only that he got angry and slashed the Fat Lady's portrait when she refused to let him in."

Adrian looked up from his sleeping bag. "What's so special about Gryffindor Tower, then?" he asked. "There were much closer common rooms to try and break into if he was just looking for a place to lay low."

"Maybe there is something in Gryffindor Tower that he needs?" Daphne asked. "I mean, wasn't he a Gryffindor while he was at school?"

"I don't think there is something he is looking for," said Teddie. "I think it may be a someone."

Her friends looked at her.

"Someone?" Blaise repeated. "Like who? Black has no kids."

"Well, think about it," said Teddie. "Why go through all the trouble of climbing seven floors, knowing that you could possibly get caught, for something that is probably worthless now? I mean, he's a mass murderer, right? What could he have hidden in a school that could be remotely useful to him?"

Her friends fell silent. Each one thinking long and hard about what she had said.

"Alright," said Derrick, breaking the silence first. "But who is he after?"

"Potter, maybe?" Blaise asked. "Black was said to be one of You-Know-Who's fanatics. Maybe he thinks that he can do Potter in, now that the Dark Lord has been destroyed?"

"He could be looking to do Potter in because Potter destroyed the Dark Lord," said Adrian.

"But Harry didn't destroy him completely," said Teddie. "He's still out there, somewhere. He's weak, yes, and I only stopped one way of him restoring himself to his former glory. He's not entirely dead, and he's still a threat."

Daphne bit her lower lip. "Do you think he is hoping to kidnap Potter?" she asked. "Maybe he knows where You-Know-Who is and has promised to deliver Potter straight to him?"

Teddie looked over to where she knew Harry to be with Hermione and Ron. "I hope not," she murmured.

Chapter Text

Sirius Black was the talk of the school for days, and theories were growing more and more absurd by the second. Many students had their own theories on how Black had managed to break into the castle, many of them seemed plausible, while others were just funny and some downright idiotic.

"Did you hear about the theory where Black can supposedly turn into a flowering shrub?" Judy asked, one morning at breakfast. "Like, how thick can someone be in order to believe that?"

Teddie cut into her sausage. "People are scared," she said. "They're willing to believe anything that remotely makes sense, right now."

"I know, but come on, Ted, a flowering shrub?" Judy asked. "How is that even remotely dangerous?"

"Depends on what kind of shrub it was," said Teddie, grinning.

Judy rolled her eyes. "Oh, I get it, you're making fun of me," she said.

"Sorry. That was just too much of an opportunity to pass over," said Teddie, giggling.

Judy shook her head and went back to her breakfast.

Aiden looked up. "Do you have a theory, Ted?" he asked.

"Nope," said Teddie, shaking her head.

"Why do you sound like you don't care, either?" Blaise asked.

"Maybe cause I don't."

"A mass murderer breaks into Hogwarts and you don't care?" Adrian asked.

Teddie shrugged.

"You're not real!" said Adrian. "This is the biggest news that has affected our world since… well… since…."

"Since Harry Potter destroyed Voldemort as a baby?" Teddie offered.

Her friends shivered at the name.

"Don't say his name," Marcus scolded.

Teddie rolled her eyes and pushed away her empty breakfast plate. She reached for a jug of milk and poured it into her goblet. "Why does it matter how he got into the castle, anyway?" she asked. "He didn't stick around. You heard Dumbledore, they searched every inch of the school and found nothing."

"Exactly why it is so mysterious!" said Derrick. "If he can get in and out without being detected then how is he doing it? Does he have an invisibility cloak? Is he using magic?"

"Don't most wizards need a wand for magic?" Teddie asked.

Derrick nodded.

"And Black's would've been snapped when he was arrested," said Teddie.

Again, Derrick nodded.

"Is there any form of magic that doesn't require a wand?"

Derrick paused, thinking.

"Animagus?"

Teddie jumped and looked behind her at Mason. "Merlin's beard, Mason!" she cried, playing pushing her brother. "Don't do that!"

Mason grinned and slid into the space Marcus had just made for him at the Slytherin table. He was carrying a book under his arm.

"Where's Astoria?" Daphne asked.

"She, Jasmine, and Cassie went to get their books from the tower," said Mason.

Teddie poured her brother a goblet of milk, eyeing the book suspiciously as she set the cup in front of him. "What you got there?" she asked. "Light reading?"

"Something like that," said Mason. He pushed aside the plate that had appeared for him and set the book down on the table. The title read: Wandless Magic.

"Wandless magic?" Teddie asked. "Please don't tell you've been practising?"

"Why? Jealous that you won't be the only person with wandless magic for much longer?" Mason teased.

Teddie ruffled his hair.

Mason laughed. "Nah, Cassie had a theory on how Black could've got into the castle," he said. "I decided to see if there are any possibilities to it."

"And?" Derrick asked.

"Well, there is a form of magic that he could've possibly used in order to get past Dementors, and sneak into the school undetected," said Mason. He opened the book to a marked page.

Marcus glanced over Mason's shoulder. "Animagi?" he asked.

"Yeah," Mason nodded. "It's the ability to transform into an animal at will. Animals have a different aura in comparisons to humans, plus they can go undetected and even blend into their surroundings, making it seem that they are meant to be there, or here, even."

"What kind of animals are we talking?" Teddie asked.

Theo looked up from his breakfast. "You don't get to choose your animal form," he said. "It's determined on your personality and inner traits.

"For example, Ted, you could become a Snake," said Blaise.

Teddie looked around quickly. "Why am I a snake?" she asked, defensively. "Other than the fact that I love them, do I show snake qualities and traits to you guys?"

"Well, you are cunning, decent, powerful, dangerous, effective, " Adrian listed.

"As are many people on this table," said Teddie. "Resulting in you being sorted into Slytherin."

"You can also be suspicious," said Daphne.

Teddie gaped at her best friend. "Hey, you're supposed to be on my side!" she protested.

"Poor Teddie, all alone," said Derrick, mockingly.

Stealing a grape from the middle of the table, Teddie threw it at Derrick. It hit him between the eyes and bounced into his cereal bowl.

"Ow! Let's add mean to the never ending list of snake traits," said Derrick.

Teddie threw another grape for good measure.

Derrick opened his mouth and snatched the grape in mid-air.

The group laughed.

"You could be a butterfly," said Mason.

Teddie's widened and she swiftly shook her head. "I'd rather be a snake!" she said.

Mason chuckled.

"Why would you think she'd make a great butterfly?" Adrian asked. "Aren't they small and flighty?"

"Yeah, Teddie may be small -" started Derrick.

"Hey!" Teddie protested.

"- but she's not flighty," Derrick finished. "She's usually the first to start a fight, but she can also end one, even if it's not her own."

Teddie stuck her tongue out at him.

"True," Mason agreed. "But butterflies symbolise powerful transformations and even show traits of being playful and light. Teddie's always been playful and light, but her biggest transformation happened when she found out she was a witch."

"That, in itself, is a transformation," added Blaise. "Thinking you're a Muggle one minute and then finding out you have magic the next."

Mason nodded in agreement.

Teddie shivered. "Can you image turning into an animal that you either hate or afraid of?" she asked. "I don't think I'd want to use my ability if I were a butterfly, that's just too much anxiety to deal with every transformation."

"Don't worry, Ted, the process of becoming an Animagi is difficult," said Marcus. "It takes a month, and there are a lot of steps to be taken."

"Yeah, and if you screw up one step, even right at the very end, you have to start all over again," Mason said, nodding.

"I'm happy being human," said Teddie.

"Thought you might be," said Mason, grinning. "Anyway, back to Cassie's theory. She seems to think Black could be an unregistered Animagus and that's how he is managing to get around undetected."

The Slytherins fell silent, each one processing the new information.

"He could be a cat," said Adrian.

"Or an owl," said Derrick.

"That's what Astoria and Jasmine suggested," said Mason. "They're the only two animals, other than a toad, that could blend in around here. No one would think twice if they saw a cat or an owl somewhere in the castle. Especially since they're meant to be there."

The older students nodded.

"How does he get past the Dementors in animal form?" Daphne asked. "Wouldn't they detect an animal like they do humans?"

Mason shrugged. "I haven't checked that out yet," he said. "But it is next on my list." He quickly checked his wristwatch. "I have Potions first this morning, so I better go get my things. I'll see you later."

"Promise me you won't go reading too much into this Black business," said Teddie, getting up and hugging her brother. "I don't want you getting into too much trouble."

"Promise," said Mason, pulling out of the hug. "I love you."

"I love you more."

Mason grinned and runoff.

~X~

Soon the Quidditch season was upon them.

Marcus, Adrian, Theo, and Derrick were spending more nights down at the field practising, and since the first game, which was in a less than three days, was against Gryffindor, Teddie could understand why.

Looking away from the high windows in the Slytherin common room, Teddie looked around at Daphne. They were sitting at a table in the far corner of the room, finishing off homework with Blaise.

"Sorry, did you say something?" Teddie asked.

"I asked if you were alright," said Daphne."You were far away then."

Teddie blinked and shook her head. "I was just wondering if the weather was going to keep for the match on Saturday," she said. "The only problem is, we're so far beneath the lake that it is hard to determine what the skies are like. If we were a little closer to the surface, maybe we could guess in terms of water patterns on the surface due to wind exposure, but down here…?" she shakes her head.

Blaise grinned. "You know way too much about weather patterns," he teased.

"I'm not even sure what I was saying," said Teddie. "I'm just remembering some things I've seen on TV."

"Ah, so you were hoping to sound more intelligent, eh?" Blaise asked. "The mask has fallen, Daphne, she's not as smart as led to believe."

Teddie laughed and stuck her tongue out. "I never claimed to be smart," she said. "That's Mason's territory."

"Damn straight it is," Blaise said.

The portrait hole swung open and the Quidditch team piled inside. Theo, Marcus, Adrian, and Derrick joined their friends, smattering the other three with droplets of water.

"HEY!" Blaise, Daphne, and Teddie cried covering their essays quickly. The ink was still wet, and the chances of it running were high.

The four boys pulled away from the table.

"I take it that it is raining," said Teddie.

"Nah, whatever gave you that idea?" Derrick asked. He removed his wand from inside his robes and waved it from head to toe. Instantly, he dried.

Adrian and Marcus did the same, with Marcus helping Theo in turn.

"What you working on?" Adrian asked.

"Homework."

Adrian rolled his eyes. "Obviously," he quipped.

Teddie grinned. "Daphne and I had Muggle Studies homework to finish," she said, "and I just finished the last of my Potions questions, not to mention the essay Professor Lupin set us."

"Wow, you really made progress," said Derrick. "How many essays do you have left?"

"Two."

"Two of five, not bad."

Teddie smirked and pushed her Potions essay up the table. She set it beside Daphne's to dry and closed the book on her left. "How was practice?" she asked.

"Wet," said Derrick.

"We would've stayed longer," said Marcus. "But Madam Hooch came and kicked us out after the storm clouds started rolling in."

Teddie looked back at him. "Can you blame her?" she asked. "Do you have a death wish? You could've frozen out there!"

"Ever the morbid dramatic," said Derrick. "But she does have a point. We could've frozen to our brooms."

"At least we wouldn't need to play on Saturday if that were the case," Marcus muttered. He groaned as Teddie thumped him in the shoulder. "What was that for?!"

Teddie shook her head. "Intentionally getting yourself sick just so you can get out of playing a game in this weather," she said. "I may not like the rain, and I'll admit, if you weren't playing, I probably wouldn't be considering going to watch the match, but that's low. It's not like this is the first time you've played in bad weather."

"Yeah, but -"

Teddie turned her head away. "Nope," she said.

"Ted -"

"I can't hear you!" Teddie declared, covering her ears with her hands.

Marcus sighed and threw up his hands. "I give up!" he complained.

His friends laughed.

"Actually," said Teddie, lowering her hands. "I change my mind. If you decided not to play because of the rain, I'd drag you down to watch Gryffindor beat either Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw, just out of spite of seeing you in the rain."

"This is why you're a snake."

Teasingly, Teddie stuck out her tongue and hissed.

~X~

On the Friday before Saturday's match, Teddie was sitting in her last class of the day which happened to be Defence Against the Dark Arts, when the door opened and Professor Snape strolled to the front of the room.

Both Gryffindor and Slytherin students present paused in their chatter and shared confused looks. Why was their Potions Master taking their defence lesson, and where was Professor Lupin?

"I am afraid Professor Lupin has not left any relevant information on what you have learned in this lesson, thus far," Snape said. "Therefore, I instruct you all to turn to page 394."

Teddie pulled her book towards her, flipped it open to page 390, and was in the process of thumbing through the remaining pages when the door opened for the second time.

"Sorry I'm late, Professor Lupin, I -"

It was Harry Potter. He stopped talking when he saw Snape, and a look of confusion crossed his face.

"Ten points from Gryffindor, Mr Potter," said Snape.

"What for?" Harry asked.

"Tardiness," Snape answered. "Sit down."

Harry didn't move.

"Where's Professor Lupin?" Harry asked.

"He says he is feeling too ill to teach today," said Snape, twistedly. "I believe I told you to sit down!"

But Harry stayed put.

"What's wrong with him?"

Snape's black eyes glittered. "Nothing life-threatening," he said. "Five more points from Gryffindor, and if I have to ask you to sit down again, it will be fifty."

Harry walked slowly to his seat and sat down.

Tearing his gaze from Harry, Snape looked around at the class. "As I was saying before Potter interrupted. 394 is the topic of today's class. Since I have no idea what you have learnt with Professor Lupin, I -"

"Please, sir," Hermione Granger interrupted. "We've done Boggarts, Red Caps, Kappas and Grindylow. We are about to start -"

"Be quiet!" said Snape coldly. "I did not ask for information, I was merely pointing out Professor Lupin's lack of organisation."

"He's the best Defence Professor we've had," said Dean Thomas.

Teddie shared a side glance with Theo. She knew her friends liked to tease her about having a 'Gryffindor' streak, but there was no way she was as reckless as them in a classroom. It was obvious Snape didn't like Lupin, and there was no way she was comfortable with sticking her neck out for him to chew on. She was brave, but not foolish.

"You're easily pleased," said Snape. "I would expect first years to know how to deal with Red Caps and Grindylows. Today, however, we shall be discussing werewolves."

"But sir," said Hermione, again. Either she had a hard time restraining herself, or she simply didn't care. "We're not supposed to start werewolves for weeks! We're due to start Hinkypunks -"

"Miss Granger," said Snape, in a voice of deadly calm. "I was under the impression that I was taking this lesson, not you. And I am telling you all to turn to page 394. All of you! Now!"

Those who hadn't already opened their books did so with sullen looks and under-their-breath mutterings.

"Which of you can tell me how we distinguish between the werewolf and the true wolf?" Snape asked.

Everyone sat in motionless silence, everyone except for Hermione.

"No one?" Snape drawled. "I'm disappointed."

"Please, sir," said Hermione, insistently. "The werewolf differs from the true wolf in several small ways."

"That is the second time you've spoken out of turn, Miss Granger," said Professor Snape. "Do you even try to restrain yourself or do you take pride in being an insufferable know-it-all? Five points from Gryffindor."

From her seat, Teddie could see tears appear in the corner of Hermione's eyes. Her heart sank and she raised her hand into the air.

"Yes, Miss Green?" Professor Snape asked. His voice was a lot softer than it had been while talking to Hermione.

"With all due respect, Professor," said Teddie. "She knows the answer to your question. I don't see how her answering it should cause her to lose house points."

Teddie could hear the intake of breath around the room. Many were staring at her as if she had gone mad, her own friends included, while many others, like Malfoy and Parkinson, were smirking, possibly awaiting the berating she would surely get from Professor Snape.

"Don't you, Miss Green?" Professor Snape asked. "Tell, me how would you handle this type of situation?"

Teddie shrugged. "I would probably explain that while I did ask a question, I wasn't actually looking for an answer," she said.

Snape's lip curled into a twisted half grin. "Thank you, Miss Green," he said, smoothly. "Although, I shall be taking five points from Slytherin for your unwarranted defence."

Teddie stared long and hard at her Professor before finally breaking contact and looking away.

"Now, as I was saying," said Professor Snape.

As Professor Snape rattled off facts about the differences between Werewolves and true wolves, Teddie chanced a look towards the other side of the room. She caught Hermione's gaze and smiled, earning herself one in return.

~X~

Thunder boomed loudly as rain lashed against the highest windows in the Great Hall. It was Saturday morning, and the first Quidditch match of the season between Gryffindor and Slytherin was due to take place after breakfast.

Both side's players were looking disheartened to be playing in such conditions, except one. Oliver Wood looked like nothing could keep him from this match. Teddie could only guess that the reason he was determined to keep the match going was that of his desire to win the Championship this year.

"He puts all Captains to shame," said Teddie, watching as Wood paced up and down the Gryffindor table, sprouting pep talks to his teammates as they ate breakfast.

"He is a little obsessed," said Daphne, agreeing. She glanced over her shoulder and laughed as one of the Weasley twins, she couldn't be sure which, tossed a piece of sausage at Oliver, causing him to stop pacing and scowl.

Teddie bit the inside of her lip to keep from laughing, too. "Obsessed, isn't the word I would use," she said, shaking her head. "Ambitious, maybe. Determined to the point of recklessness? Definitely."

Daphne grinned and took a long drink from her goblet.

"Good morning," Marcus grunted, sliding into the seat beside Teddie. Derrick and Adrian sat opposite him, each one looking as glum as the other.

Teddie rolled her eyes. "Cheer up, guys, you never know, today could be your lucky day!" she said.

"The only way today could get better is if McGonagall or Dumbledore stood up right now and says the match is cancelled due to the foul weather," said Adrian, filling his plate.

Derrick nodded. "I have never seen a worse day to play Quidditch," he complained. "Are you sure we can put it off?"

"It's too late now," said Teddie.

"So, what, you're saying if we had more time we could've put it off?" Derrick asked. "But, you said -?"

"I know what I said," said Teddie. "And I stand by it. If you had got out of playing today, I would drag you down to watch Gryffindor and Hufflepuff."

Derrick groaned. "Why are you so mean?" he asked.

"Because you're only doing it to get out the rain," said Teddie.

"But isn't forfeiting the match and being forced to watch it anyway, defeating the purpose?" Marcus asked.

"Yes, but it's also punishment," said Teddie.

"For what?" Adrian asked. "For wanting to stay dry? Not to mention increasing our chances of actually beating Gryffindor on a less wet day."

Teddie rolled her eyes. "Come on, we both know that no one can beat Harry on a broomstick, no offence, Theo," she added quickly to her best friend.

"None taken, I think…" said Theo, blinking. He looked to Blaise, shrugged, and went back to his breakfast.

"You're mean," said Adrian, sulking.

"I know," said Teddie. "But you'll thank me for it one day."

"I highly doubt that."

Five minutes before Breakfast ended, both Slytherin and Gryffindor left the Great Hall and headed down to the Quidditch pitch. Teddie hugged Theo tightly before he left, and wished both him, and Marcus, Adrian, and Derrick luck.

Out in the Entrance Hall, Mason latched onto Teddie's arm after she had wrapped an extra thick robe around his shoulders. It was almost a size too big for him, and she had explained Marcus had given it to her to keep her warm.

"Normally, I love the rain," said Mason. "But this is ridiculous!"

Teddie nodded her agreement, not trusting herself to speak over the raging winds. She wrapped an arm around Mason as the followed the crowds of students down the sloping lawns and up into the stands.

"Are you sitting with us?" Teddie asked her brother.

Mason nodded. He and his whole group of friends had siblings in Slytherin, and since their own house wasn't playing, they had decided to support the snakes in their venture against Gryffindor.

Allowing her brother to head up the spiralling staircase first, Teddie followed close behind, before reaching the top of the stands. Most of the seats were already packed with Slytherin students, but the last row was almost empty.

Mason, Teddie, Blaise, Daphne, Astoria, Jasmine, Marlene, Susan, and Judy quickly secured their seats. Behind them, sitting near her brother, was Cassie. Teddie quickly avoided Warrington's gaze as he looked up. She didn't need another confrontation today.

The shrill sound of Madam Hooch's whistle echoed from somewhere down on the pitch. Teddie leaned forward over the railing, hoping to catch a glimpse of her friends as they stepped out onto the field, but she could barely see anything through the rain.

Madam Hooch's whistle echoed for a second time, and Teddie felt a rush as something flew over her head. She ducked and looked around wildly as a Bludger flew around the outside of the stands, and back onto the field.

"Are you okay?" Marlene called.

"Yeah," Teddie replied. She pulled back, placed an arm around Mason, and did the best she could to cheer on her friends.

~X~

The game progressed.

Mason shivered as the wind continued to lash against the stands. Every now and then the rain would ease off, but the clouds remained. On the chance they had a break from the rain, Teddie could see how the game was going. So far, Slytherin was in the lead in terms of points, and no one had yet to see the Snitch.

Teddie had given up on trying to find either Harry or Theo, she could only guess that they were on the opposite side of the field. She sort of felt bad for them, with their only job being to find the Snitch, they clearly had not much else to do but to sit and get wet and cold.

Teddie felt a twinge of regret for not letting her friends skip the match, but it was quickly replaced with determination. They weren't cowards, her friends, they could play the best of any game, regardless of the weather, she was sure of it.

"I wish the rain would hold off until the end of the match," said Marlene. "At least then we could see what is happening!"

Susan and Judy nodded in agreement.

Mason sniffed and Teddie turned to him, ducking her head so it was resting against his own.

"Are you okay?" Teddie asked.

"I'm cold," Mason whined.

Teddie wound both her arms around her brother and held him close. The robe he had one squished against her chest, and she felt the water it had collected run down her own robes, but she didn't care, she was more focused on keeping her brother warm than anything else.

Pulling the robe firmer around his head, Mason lay into his sister's embrace. Teddie could feel him shivering, despite how tight she was holding him. Now she definitely regretted her decision to coming. If she had swallowed her pride and just gone along with her friends, even if it were just this once, then Mason wouldn't be half frozen.

Then, as if someone had doused her in ice water, Teddie stiffened. Her grip relaxed on her brother and Mason looked up.

"You okay, Ted?" Mason asked.

But Teddie didn't reply. Instead, her eyes were drawn to the air surrounding the field. She could barely make them out - black cloaks, hovering inches away from the stand. She tried to scream, but her voice caught in her throat.

Then, the skies cleared, and they became visible to everyone. Over a hundred Dementors had swarmed into the Stadium. Several of them were chasing something through the air, others crowded around the field below, staring up, while one or two hovered directly in front of Teddie in the stands.

Their grubby skeleton hands reached out towards the young Slytherin, clutching and grasping at thin air, but causing a horrible rattling sound to escape them as if they were sucking air through a straw.

Teddie felt her breath catch, her eyes widened, and suddenly darkness started to creep in on her vision. She felt her world spin and something hard hit her head.

Chapter Text

"Take this."

"What is it?"

"It explains everything that has happened, and what will happen in the future."

"Are you sure you want her to know?"

"She deserves to know, but only when she is ready. Before then, she will not understand."

"But, mum -"

"Now, go. Go!"

~X~

Mason looked up as a groan came from the bed beside him. He was sat in the Hospital Wing after the Slytherin vs. Gryffindor Quidditch match. Outside the window, the rain still lashed, but he didn't care at this point. His attention was more focused on his semi-conscious sister that had been attacked, again, by a Dementor.

"Ted?"

Teddie opened her eyes and then closed them again. She felt a slight pressure behind them, and even though the Hospital Wing was dimly lit, it didn't seem to be helping.

After a few minutes, Teddie opened her eyes again.

Mason sighed in relief and instantly threw himself at Teddie, hugging her. "Oh, thank Merlin…" he cried.

"It's okay, Mason," Teddie said, reassuringly. She winced as Mason squeezed her, but she pushed it aside as she hugged Mason back.

The two parted as Madam Pomfrey arrived.

"Welcome back," the nurse said, smiling. She swept around to Teddie's left side and placed a bottle on the bedside table, along with an empty tumbler.

Teddie forced a smile and tried to sit up.

"Careful, Miss Green," Madam Pomfrey said, putting a hand on Teddie's shoulder and pushing her back down. "You've taken a rather bad hit to the head. Here, drink this…"

She pushed the tumbler into Teddie's hands and helped her raise it to her lips. Bracing herself for the worst, Teddie tipped the liquid back into her mouth, grimaced, but swallowed quickly.

"Good girl," Madam Pomfrey praised. "I'll be back to check on you in a while." She paused in her leaving and turned to Teddie's friends. "Do not overexert her. She needs her rest."

The group nodded.

Once Madam Pomfrey had left them, Teddie sighed and looked around at the others. "I'm going to take a guess and say Dementor attack," she said.

"Yeah, which is a surprise, really," said Daphne.

"Why do you say that?" Teddie asked.

"Because they aren't allowed to come inside the grounds," said Daphne. "Dumbledore was furious as he sent them off."

"You should have seen his face when he realised two students had been attacked," said Blaise. "If looks could kill, or even if Dementors could be killed, that is."

Teddie furrowed her brow in confusion. "Two students?" she repeated. "Who else was attacked?"

"Potter," said Theo. "He was attacked mid-flight."

It was then Teddie realised Theo was shaking. Gingerly, she reached over and took his hand, squeezing it.

"I saw it," said Theo. "Potter was right in front of me. He was reaching for the Snitch when a black mass knocked him straight from his broom. I tried to grab onto him, but he slipped from my grasp."

"It's not your fault, Theo," said Teddie. "You tried that's the main thing. Harry will understand, so will the rest of Gryffindor."

Theo took a deep breath and squeezed Teddie's hand back.

"What happened to the match?" Teddie asked. "I'm assuming since the Dementors knocked Harry from his broom, and Theo tried to help him, neither of them caught the Snitch?"

Marcus nodded. "The game's been postponed until next weekend," he said. "Hopefully the weather will be better, then."

Teddie nodded and looked down. "I'm sorry," she apologised.

"For what?" Derrick asked.

"You wanted to get out of playing," said Teddie. "I was the one who forced you to stay in. If I just listened to you, then maybe none of this would've happened."

Adrian shook his head. "Nothing would've changed, Ted," he said. "You said yourself if we didn't play, you were still going to watch the match. You and Potter still would've ended up here."

"He's right," said Mason. "It was just one of those circumstances that couldn't be avoided."

Teddie sighed and nodded, slowly. Her head still hurt, but the pressure behind her eyes had subsided. It wasn't completely gone, but it didn't hurt as much as it had when she first regained consciousness.

"Right, Miss Green," said Madam Pomfrey as she returned. "Given the circumstances of your accident, I wish to keep you under close observation for the time being, which is why I insist that you remain here for tonight."

"I figured you'd say that," said Teddie,

Mason smiled and squeezed his sister's hand. "Teddie has had concussions before," he told the nurse. "She knows the drill fluently."

"I'd roll my eyes but it hurts," said Teddie.

Mason chuckled and lay his head against Teddie's shoulder. "You know I love you," he said. "But it is true."

Teddie smiled and rested her cheek atop his head.

~X~

The morning of her release from the hospital wing, Teddie was a little surprised to find most of her friends waiting for her beyond the curtain. Since it was still the weekend, Daphne had brought regular clothes up from the Slytherin dormitories for Teddie to change into.

"Not that I'm not grateful," said Teddie as she walked between Theo and Mason. "But why are you all here? I'm pretty sure I could've made this walk alone."

"We wanted to make sure you were okay," said Derrick. "Can't we be concerned for our friend?"

Teddie eyed him curiously. He sounded genuine. But she also knew better than to take anything for face value. "What happened?" she asked. "Or should I say who happened?"

"Nothing, and no one," said Derrick.

"You're a bad liar," Teddie accused.

Derrick threw his hands up in defeat. "Someone talk sense into her, please?" he asked of the others.

With a roll of her eyes, Daphne shoved Derrick hard. "She's right, you are a bad liar," she said.

"I told you she wouldn't fall for it," said Theo.

"So something did happen?" Teddie asked. She looked around at her friends and sighed. "You may as well tell me. I'm going to find out sooner or later."

"Malfoy was making fun of Harry falling from his broomstick," said Mason.

Teddie frowned. Draco Malfoy bullying Harry Potter wasn't anything new. But what did that have to do with her?

"Warrington then started on about you," Mason added. "After you passed out, Marlene sent Judy and Susan to get Professor Snape, and Warrington started shouting from the back of the stands that Dementors only attack people who have true terrors in their lives."

"Oh," said Teddie. "So, you think he is trying to convince others of his suspicions of me?"

Derrick sighed but nodded. "Sorry, Ted, he just seems to have this vendetta against you," he said. "I wish I knew why. I mean, you haven't actually done anything to him to make him come after you, have you?"

Teddie shook her head.

"You don't think it has anything to do with summer last year, do you?" Theo asked. "I mean, he threatened you in front of Langarm, remember?"

"Yeah, but that was on behalf of your father," said Teddie. "Unless he is the one pulling the strings, and orchestrating all this from his cell at Azkaban, I'd rule him out as a suspect."

Theo nodded.

"Other than what happened with Cyrus," said Adrian. "Warrington's got no reason to come after you. So why is he?"

Teddie shrugged and shook her head. "I don't know," she said.

~X~

Despite the ominous threat of Warrington looming, Teddie didn't have to worry about any more dangers since the first Slytherin vs. Gryffindor match. The match itself had been postponed a week and when it arrived the weather was just as bad. Deciding to brave the second event, Teddie followed her friends to the event and two hours later, she was glad that she did.

Against all odds, Theo managed to catch the Snitch before Harry, securing Slytherin their first win against Gryffindor since Harry Potter had joined the team. To say the Slytherins were excited at the outcome would have been an understatement. The celebration run late into the night, and only stopped when Slytherin Prefects Sierra Waterstone and Grayson Farley ordered everyone to bed before they started deducting points and handing out detentions.

Everyone in Slytherin knew better than to argue with Sierra, as she wasn't the type of person to discriminate between houses.

One thing Teddie was also grateful for was since their initial attack back in November, there was no hint of the Dementors crossing their boundaries and entering the school grounds. Teddie could only guess that it was Dumbledore's anger that was keeping them at bay.

"What's everyone doing for Christmas?" Adrian asked. There were only two weeks left before the end of the term, and everyone was excited for the festivities that loomed on the horizon.

"You can guess where I am off too," said Blaise. He sounded almost disappointed at the prospect of visiting his step-father, and family.

Daphne patted Blaise's shoulder sympathetically. "Normally Mum and Dad take us away for Christmas," she said. "But this year we're staying home. Why don't you come to visit?" she offered.

Blaise brightened up at the idea.

"What about you, Ted?" Adrian asked.

"Mum and Dad are taking us to South Wales," said Teddie. "We're going to spend Christmas Eve and Day with our grandparents."

"What about New Year?" Derrick asked.

Teddie shrugged. "Probably spend it at Spinner's End," she said. "What about you?"

"For once, the family is coming to us," Derrick answered. "Why don't you, Theo, and Mason come over for New Years Day? I know it's Mason's birthday, but you could come around the in the afternoon."

"I'd have to ask Mum and Dad, first," said Teddie. "Not to mention Mason."

"You do that, and let me know, alright?"

Teddie grinned and nodded. The idea of meeting more of Derrick's family, especially is Uncle Mongoose, was an opportunity she would die for. She also knew her parents wouldn't mind her going, but she felt better asking them first.

~X~

Exactly two days before the end of the term, a second Hogsmeade trip had been planned for third-seventh years to attend the village before Christmas. Many were going in order to finish Christmas shopping, others were going to start, but Teddie and her friends had opted out and decided to stay at the castle with Mason and Astoria.

The atmosphere outside was one of glorious wonder. The grounds were completely submerged under a heavy blanket of snow, and Mason, who had awoken early that Saturday morning was practically bouncing around the Great Hall when Teddie entered for breakfast.

"Teddie!" Mason cried, running over to the Slytherin table. "Have you seen outside?"

Teddie grinned at Theo. "Can I have breakfast first?" she asked Mason.

Mason beamed and hugged Teddie. "I'm going to go put some warmer clothes on," he said, racing from the hall.

"He's way too excited," said Derrick, sitting down at the Slytherin table.

"He loves the snow," said Teddie, she piled her plate with eggs, hash browns, beans, and as much bacon as she could muster. "It's not just Christmas morning that we have snowball fights. Besides, this will be his first snowball fight at Hogwarts."

"Are we teaming up again this year?" Adrian asked.

Teddie grinned. "Sure, if you want," she said.

"I call dibs on you," Adrian said, quickly.

Teddie laughed. "Just because I am on your team, doesn't mean we'll win," she said.

"We stand a better chance of winning with you," said Adrian. "I will never forget last year. I still feel cheated."

With a smile, Teddie went back to her breakfast.

Once everyone had had their fill, and Mason had returned fully clothed in his warmer gear, the friends headed outside into the fresh morning air. The snow glistened in the low sunlight, and footsteps leading off into the distance already weaved through the white grounds.

"Hey, Teddie," Harry Potter called as he passed. He had been waving Hermione and Ron off to Hogsmeade and was now heading back into the castle.

"Hey, Harry," Teddie waved. "We're having a snowball fight if you want to join in. You can join mine and Adrian's team."

Harry forced a smile and then shook his head. "No thanks, I'm just going to head back to the Gryffindor common room," he said.

"Alright. If you change your mind, we aren't going to Hogsmeade," said Teddie, "feel free to join us later."

"Will do. Thanks, Teddie." Harry waved and continued on his way into the castle.

Teddie watched him go and then turned back to her friends. "Alright, you all know the rules," she said. "Are we doing team-on-team or we picking partners?"

"There are eleven of us," said Derrick. "There'll be two teams of four and one of three, that's not fair."

"Well, if we pick partners, there's one team of three," said Adrian.

"I'm good with that," said Teddie. "Everyone pick a partner. Whoever is left out will just have to join a pair."

Quickly the friends scrambled to find a friend. Adrian had already claimed Teddie, meaning Theo either had the choice to join one of the others or become a trio with them. In the end, he chose Blaise.

Soon, only Daphne was left without a team.

"I want Daphne!" said Mason, jumping up and down. "She can join me and Astoria."

Teddie and Daphne exchanged looks.

"Sure," said Teddie, shrugging. "Right. Now that we're all paired up. Mason, do you want to explain our rules to your friends?"

Mason grinned and turned to Astoria, Cassie, and Jasmine. "Because we're the youngest, and the smallest, we get a ten-second head start. I usually use this time to find higher ground or to gain an advantage over everyone else. We can also form alliances with other groups, but the alliance can be broken at any time during the battle."

"Teddie and Mason are notorious for making alliances with one another," said Marcus. "It's how they win."

Teddie stuck her tongue out. "We proved last year that I don't need the alliance to beat you and Derrick," she teased.

There was a collective "Ooh!" around the group as Marcus tossed half a snowball at Teddie. She ducked and it hit the ground behind her.

"We'll settle last year on the battlefield," said Marcus.

"Looking forward to it," said Teddie. She looked around at the others. "Is everyone ready?"

They all nodded.

"Go," Teddie said to Mason.

Without missing a beat, Mason, Astoria, Cassie, Jasmine, and Daphne disappeared across the grounds.

Teddie turned to the others. "Good luck, Blaise," she said. He was the only person out of her friends that she had never faced in a snowball fight. She had no idea how good he was, or how bad he was. She'd have to wait and see.

"Same to you," Blaise nodded.

"Remember, Teddie," said Marcus. "All's fair in love and war."

"May the best man win," Derrick said.

Teddie grinned at the pair of them. "Oh, she will," she said.

~X~

Since they were still at Hogwarts, the rules were slightly altered. Magic had and was being used to erect forts and fire snowballs over large distances. Teddie and Adrian had managed to get cover not that far from the Forbidden Forest and were using the outer trees as cover while their ammunition was being built behind their fort.

Invisible hands picked up snow and rolled it into balls, before placing them delicately on the ground at each Slytherin's feet They seemed to be the only two out of the others that hadn't formed an alliance, yet.

"Give up, Teddie!" Marcus shouted. "We have you surrounded."

"Never!" Teddie called back. "I either go down fighting, or I don't go down at all. If you want me, you're going to have to come to get me."

She leaned around the tree and threw another snowball out into the field. She ducked behind the tree again, missing the chance to see if she hit anybody.

Marcus and Derrick had teamed up with Theo and Blaise, while Mason, Astoria, and Daphne had teamed up with Cassie and Jasmine. Since their team was a lot bigger than the others, they had tricked them into thinking they were still two factions.

"Hey, boys," Daphne called, running into the open.

Theo and Blaise turned, posing themselves for a striking finish.

"Gotcha!" Daphne grinned.

"Wha -?" Blaise cut off as a snowball hit him in the back of the head. He turned, glancing over his shoulder as he saw Adrian lean out from behind his tree, grinning.

"Oh, you've got to be kidding," said Derrick. He looked around as, from all sides, the others came out of hiding. Each one holding two snowballs in each hand.

Marcus groaned and met Teddie's gaze. "You truly are a snake," he said.

"And I embrace it," said Teddie, raising her arm. "Ready…" she called.

"Aim…" said Daphne.

"FIRE!"

Several snowballs, from every direction, hit Marcus, Derrick, Theo, and Blaise, smothering them from head-to-toe in the snow. Once the barrage was over, they looked more like snowmen than anything else.

"Remember, all's fair in love and war," Adrian chuckled.

Mason doubled over with laughter, as Teddie winked at Marcus after catching his eye.

This was turning out to be an awesome day so far

Chapter Text

Mason laughed as he charged through the snow surrounding the barn. He and his family had arrived in Abergavenny, South Wales for the Christmas holidays. Their visit was limited to only a couple of days, and Mason was determined to make the most of it.

"Come on, Teddie!" Mason called as he burst through the open gate on the opposite side of the garden. The gate led out into the meadow where their grandfather allowed the horses and cows to graze in the spring and summer months.

Teddie waved at her brother and turned back to the shed. She had been searching through the cubby hole for her sled. The plan for this afternoon was to take Mason sledding at Blorenge hill, and teach Theo how to do it at the same time.

"Are these them?" Theo asked, pulling a wooden sled out of the shed.

"Yes!" Teddie said, taking a sled from Theo. She pulled off a cobweb or two and set it down on the ground.

Theo set the second sled beside the other. "They don't look very safe," he said. The sled was three small planks of wood held together, atop two steel metal runners, and a flimsy pull-rope.

"They're fine," said Teddie. "Mason and I have ridden these many times in the past. We're still here."

"If you're sure," said Theo. He was still unsure, but he trusted Teddie's judgement. "Where exactly are we going?" he asked.

"Dad's taking us to Blorenge Hill," Teddie said. "It's a prominent hill overlooking the valley. We usually get some decent sledding there."

The door to the farm cottage opened as Robert Green walked out. He was pulling on his thick gloves and woollen hat and smiled as he saw the two teenagers. "Aw, hey, you found the sleds!" he grinned. "Good job!"

Teddie laughed and high-fived her father.

"Where's your brother?" Robert asked, looking around.

"He's in the meadow," Teddie said, pointing. "I think he's excited."

"He always is when it comes to sledding," said Robert. "So, then, shall we go?"

Theo and Teddie nodded and, grabbing a sled each, followed Robert out into the meadow. Mason was ahead of them, rolling snow into a ball. He looked up as they approached.

"Took you long enough!" Mason said, grinning. "I started making a snowman."

"If you want to get some sledding in now, we can come back and finish the snowman before dinner," said Robert.

"Yes!" Mason said, punching the air. "I bet mamma has some bits and pieces that we could use."

"I'm sure she does," Robert nodded. He pulled Mason's hat down to cover his ears, and the patted his youngest on the back, urging him onwards through the snow.

Teddie glanced at Theo as they followed behind, dragging the sleds in their wake. "You alright?" she asked.

Theo grinned and nodded. "You don't realise how lucky you are, Teddie," he said.

"How come?"

"Your father actually takes time out of his day to play with you," said Theo. "My father never did that for me, even when I was a child. As you know, I never really had friends growing up, so my Christmases were spent around an empty house, or alone in my room."

Shifting the sled rope to her other hand, Teddie moved closer to Theo and looped her arm through his. "You know, there are different meanings for words. Cyrus Nott was your father, but he wasn't your dad."

Theo frowned. "What do you mean?" he asked.

"A father is someone that fathers a child," said Teddie. "You get all your genetics from a father - your hair colour, eye colour, and half of your DNA. But a dad? A dad is someone who raises their child. Someone who makes their life worth living. Someone who will go out of their way to put their child first, to make sure they have fun."

Theo glanced sideways and met Teddie's gaze.

"You didn't have a dad, Theo," said Teddie. "But it's not too late. You don't have to be biologically related to someone for them to be family. You, Marcus, and the others, you're all more than just my friends, you're my family. I love you as much as I love Mason and my parents."

"What's that got to do with my father?" Theo asked.

Teddie shrugged. "If all you want is a father, then the choice is yours," she said. "But if you want a dad, an actual real dad," he nodded at her own father. "Then you have one right there."

Theo smiled shyly and squeezed Teddie's hand. "I still don't know what I did to deserve you," he said.

"Funny," said Teddie with a smile of her own. "I think the same thing about you."

~X~

Theo looked down the hill and gulped. "Are we really going to slide down that?" he asked.

"You don't have to if you don't want too," said Robert, setting a reassuring hand on Theo's shoulder. "You and I can head down before these two and wait for them at the bottom."

Theo glanced at Teddie and Mason as they set up their sleds. Both were sitting precariously on the edge of the hill, and both had a look of excitement on their faces. "I want to try it but I don't want to do it alone," he said.

"You don't have to do it alone," said Robert, shaking his head. "You can share with Teddie if that would make you feel more comfortable."

"Will the sled hold the two of us?"

"Good gracious, yes," Robert said, chuckling. "That sled would hold me and I'm not as young or as light as you three."

"He's trying to say he's not fat," Teddie teased.

"Watch it," Robert said, although the grin on his face betrayed him.

Teddie giggled and lay on her sled on her stomach. Theo felt his stomach coil nervously as the sled teetered dangerously over the hill.

"There!" Teddie announced. "I am ready!" she jumped off the sled and turned to Mason. He was doing the same as she had just done, and it became obviously aware that they were lining up the sleds for maximum advantage in their descent.

Mason grinned and jumped up. "Me too. Can we go now?" he asked.

Robert turned to Theo. "What do you think Theo?" he asked. "You ready to test it? Remember, no one is going to judge you if you opt out."

Theo hesitated and glanced at Teddie.

"You can ride behind me until you feel you're ready to take the helm," said Teddie. She held out her hand to him.

Tentatively, Theo took her hand and curled his fingers around hers. He smiled through his nervous and allowed her to led him to her sled.

"Here, I'll get on first," said Teddie, She took a seat at the front of the sled, tucking her feet into the small foot haul and gripping the helm tightly.

Theo gasped as the board slipped forward as he stepped onto it.

"You're alright," said Robert, encouragingly. He placed his foot against the sled, stopping it from sliding down the hill prematurely.

Reassured that he was safe, and the sled wasn't going anywhere, Theo took a seat behind Teddie and held on tightly to her waist.

"You're so rigid," Teddie said, reaching back. She took his hands and pulled them around her. "Calm down, it'll be more fun if you relax."

"Easy for you to say," Theo said. His hot breath tickled her ear and Teddie shuddered. "You okay?"

Teddie nodded and reach back to rub her ear with her gloved hand. "Yeah, just a slight shiver, I'm good." she smiled back at him. "You ready?"

"As I'll ever be," Theo nodded.

Teddie nodded and glanced at Mason. "Ready?" she asked.

"Yes!" Mason grinned. He gripped the rope tightly and rocked forward.

"Hold on, Squirt," said Robert. "Let me get down first. I'll give you the all clear from the bottom, then you can start."

"Okay, Dad," Mason said. He was giddy to start.

The three watched Robert jogged down the hill and lined himself up nicely at the bottom. He looked up at them and raised his arms.

"Get ready," Teddie said to Theo.

Robert then dropped his arms, swinging them behind him.

"GO!" Mason shouted. He rocked forward, tipping the top of his sled onto the hill and speeding away in a flurry of white flakes.

"HEY!" Teddie called, raising her hands to protect her face from the cold. Mason's drifted back to them on the wind.

Theo grinned.

"You ready, Theo?" Teddie asked.

Theo nodded.

"Alright. Hold on," said Teddie. She leaned forward and the front of the sled hit the incline, it inched forward and forward before they were speeding towards the bottom. Mason had already crossed the finish line and was picking himself up from a mountain of snow that had fallen from the trees after he had clipped it.

Theo grinned as Teddie whooped and cheered. The air rushed past them, striking their exposed faces with a ferocity like no other.

The finish line was coming closer and closer.

"Hold on," Teddie called back. She leaned to the side and the sled followed her lead, it skirted around Robert, and leaning back to her full upright position, the sled skidded to a halt.

Mason grinned as he jumped around, punching the air. "LET'S GO AGAIN!" he shouted. "Dad, can we go again? Please?!"

Robert chuckled and nodded.

"Yes!" Mason said. "Come on. First one to the top." He took off, dragging his sled behind him.

Teddie shook her head and turned to Theo. "You coming back up?" she asked.

"I think I'll sit this one out for a second," said Theo.

"Alright. Hey, Mason, how about a race this time?" Teddie called, chasing after her brother.

"You're on!"

Theo laughed as he watched Teddie chase Mason up the hill, and then turned to Robert.

"How was that?" Robert asked.

"That was amazing," said Theo, grinning. "It's like riding a broomstick for the first time, the adrenaline rush."

Robert smiled. "I can't account for the broomstick rush, so I'll take your word for it," he said. "You think you're ready to go alone or even take the helm instead of Teddie? She'd still be with you every step of the way, directing you, but the control would be in your hands."

"Maybe," Theo said.

"Well, we have all week here," said Robert. "You don't have to do it today if you don't feel you're ready."

Theo smiled and nodded. "Thank you," he said.

"You're welcome, son," said Robert. He looked up the hill to where his children had set up and raised his hand, missing the surprised, he happy look on Theo's face at his words.

~X~

Later that afternoon, after several rides down the hill, Robert led the three kids back to the farm. He stowed the sleds in the shed and turned to the children. "What are you going to do now?" he asked.

"Make a snowman!" Mason grinned.

Teddie smiled and shook her head. "Sure, we can make a snowman," she said. "Maybe even a snowwoman."

"And a dog," Mason laughed.

Robert chuckled. "Tell you what, you get started on your snow sculptures, and I'll go see if Mamma has any hats, scarves, and things lying around that you can use," he said.

"Alright, we'll need two hats," said Teddie. "Or three? Are we giving the dog a hat and scarf?" she asked Mason.

"Obviously! Do you want him to get cold?" Mason gasped.

Teddie smiled and shook her head. "Three hats and scarves," she said.

"What about eyes?" Theo asked. "They have to be able to see, right?"

"Mamma should have buttons handy," said Teddie. "We could give them button eyes and mouth."

"Oh, and don't forget the carrots," said Mason.

"Carrots?" Theo asked.

"For the noses," said Teddie. "But the dog would look weird with a big orange nose. He needs a small button nose. Dad, can we go down to the lake and look for pebbles?"

Robert hesitated. The lake was on the other side of the meadows. It was more of a pond than a lake and would've been frozen at this time of year.

"We'll be careful," said Teddie. She had noticed her father's hesitation and could understand why he was nervous. The lake was dangerous in the summer months, much less now in the winter. Sure, it was frozen over, but ice could easily crack if enough pressure was applied.

"How about you focus on starting your sculptures first," said Robert. "We'll figure out the designs later. Alright?"

Teddie, Mason, and Theo nodded.

"Alright. I'm going inside to see if I can find those hats and scarves for you," said Robert. "Maybe even make hot cocoa."

Mason's eyes lighted. "Ooh! With marshmallows!" he squealed.

"Sure, I'll see if Mamma has any," said Robert. "Have fun!"

"We will!"

Robert smiled as he watched the three run back to the meadow, and then disappeared into the cottage.

~X~

THWACK!

Teddie gasped as a snowball exploded against the side of her head. The snow loitered around her shoulders, mixing with the fur of her good. She turned to see where it had come from and saw Mason and Theo doubled over in laughter.

"Oh, so that's how it's going to be, huh?" Teddie asked, scooping up a handful of snow and rolling it into a ball.

"He threw it!" Mason said, pointing at Theo.

"Hey! It was your idea!" Theo cried.

Teddie narrowed her eyes at both boys. "You're both gonna get it," she said, dashing towards them. She threw the ball at Mason and collided with Theo, knocking him backwards into the snow.

Theo spluttered as he looked up at Teddie. "That was hardly fair," he said.

"You threw a snowball at me!" Teddie said.

"It was Mason's idea," Theo defended.

"You still did it."

"Oh, like you wouldn't have if someone had told you too."

Teddie sat back, looking thoughtful. "True," she agreed.

Theo rolled his eyes. "You can let me up now," he said.

"Aw, but I was thinking of ways to get back at you," said Teddie.

"You just tackled me into the snow," said Theo. "How is that not payback enough?"

Teddie shrugged.

Theo shook his head and, grabbing her sides, pushed her off of him. Teddie rolled into the snow beside him, laughing.

"Hey, I think Frosty is looking a little cold," said Mason. "Should we go see if Dad has those scarves?"

"I thought you wanted a snow family?" Teddie asked.

Mason shrugged. "My hands are getting cold," he said.

"Fine. You go and see if Dad has a scarf and some buttons, not to mention a carrot," said Teddie. "Theo and I will get the arms and pebbles."

With a nod, Mason run off towards the farmhouse.

"What do you normally use for snowman arms?" Theo asked.

"Twigs will do," said Teddie. She led him over to a barren tree and reached up, snapping off two twigs. She handed one to Theo and returned to the snowman.

Together the pair broke off unnecessary twigs until the arms had three fingers, they then made two holes in the side of the snowman upper body, and buried the tips of the branches in them, filling them back in with more compacted snow to make sure they remained in.

"Pebbles?" Theo asked.

Teddie smiled and pointed to the far end of the farm. "There is a small pond just beyond there," she said. "It's probably frozen over by now, but there are pebbles along the shore. We can use them for buttons on his chest."

"Your dad said we shouldn't go there alone," said Theo. "Should we go ask him first?"

"He only says that because he doesn't want Mason to go down there," said Teddie. "We had a little accident a few years ago."

"What happened?"

"Mason and I were ice skating," Teddie explained. "But the pond hadn't frozen over enough to support our weight. Mason slipped and fell and the ice cracked, he fell through into the freezing water."

Theo's eyes widened and he stopped on the outside of the trees. "What did you do?" he asked.

"I screamed," Teddie said. "I was only nine when it happened. I tried to go in after him, but my dad had heard me screaming and came to see what was going on. He told me to get off the pond and then reached in and pulled Mason right out."

"That sounds scary."

Teddie nodded. "I mean, I've faced a lot of things in the last three years," she said. "Things that have nearly gotten be killed. But seeing Mason in trouble, and inches from death, scare me more than anything."

"Even more the You-Know-Who?"

"Yes," Teddie said. "You-Know-Who is someone who makes me angry more than scared. But, Mason is my baby brother, my best friend. I don't know what I would do without him."

"That's why you're so protective of him."

"Yep," Teddie nodded, glancing at Theo. "He is more than just my family. He's my whole world."

Theo smiled and caught her hand. "I'm sure he feels the same way about you," he said.

Teddie smiled and squeezed Theo's hand.

Soon they stopped, having reached the pond. It was indeed frozen over, but there were little cracks along the inner ice.

"See, it's not frozen over enough in the centre," said Teddie, pointing out the cracks. "You can still see the water moving beneath it."

"Good thing we aren't going out there, then, huh?"

Teddie nodded. She looked down and around the area, looking for small pebbles that they could use for their snowman's coat.

"How about these?" Theo asked.

Looking around, Teddie beamed as she saw three oval medium-sized pebbles in Theo's hands. "They're perfect!" she grinned. "Come on. Let's get back."

Theo nodded and followed her back to the farm. Mason was waiting for them beside the snowman with a scarf, hat, some buttons, and a carrot nose.

~X~

Later that evening, after hot cocoa and a warm bath, Teddie, Theo, and Mason sat together on the sofa waiting for their grandparents to finish preparing the Christmas Dinner for the next morning. Their parents had taken the car and headed into the nearby village for a Christmas date, leaving the kids to have a Christmas Movie night with their grandparents.

This was a tradition that happened every year.

"Bampa, what are we watching this year?" Mason asked, leaning over the back of the sofa. From his perch, he could see right into the kitchen.

"Why don't we let Theo choose?" Mamma suggested. "He is our guest, after all."

Theo's cheeks reddened and he shook his head. "Oh, I don't know any Christmas movies," he said.

"That's okay, dear, just choose the first one that jumps out at you," said Mamma, smiling merrily. "Teddie, why don't you show him the movies, and I will get Bampa and the popcorn."

"Sure thing, Mamma," said Teddie. She slipped out from under the patchwork quilt that she, Theo, and Mason were sharing, and led Theo over to a massive cabinet on the far side of the cottage.

"Can you choose and tell them I chose it?" Theo asked.

Teddie smiled and shook her head. "They'd know it was me," she said.

"You don't know that."

"Actually, I do," said Teddie. "There is one movie that I ask for every year - A Christmas Carol - it is my all-time favourite Christmas Movie. If we take that one back they will know I picked it."

Theo furrowed his brow. "What if I want to watch that one?" he asked.

"There is a reason we start early," said Teddie. "We get through at least three movies before It's time to go to bed."

"So, I can watch A Christmas Carol later, if I wanted?"

Teddie nodded. "I always watch it as some point on Christmas Eve," she said. "But right now we need something that doesn't look like it's been picked by me. Here, take a look." She opened the cabinet doors and Theo looked up at the masses of movies before him,

He took down one and looked at the front cover. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?" he asked.

"That's actually a really good movie," said Teddie. "It's an animation about a Reindeer with a red nose. He gets bullied because he is different, but by the end of the movie everyone loves him."

"Why do they love him?" Theo asked.

"You have to watch it find out," said Teddie. "Do you want to watch it first?"

Theo shook his head and put the movie back. He took a second movie and inspected the front. "Home Alone," he read.

"That's hysterically funny," said Teddie. "No matter how many times I have seen it, I still giggle."

"I like hearing you giggle," said Theo. He blushed as he realised what he had said.

Teddie smiled and rested her head on his shoulder. "Wait a second," she said, spying a movie she didn't recognise. She pulled it from the cabinet. "Nightmare Before Christmas."

"What's that about?" Theo asked.

"Have no idea," said Teddie. "I've never seen it before."

Theo put Home Alone back and turned to Teddie. "Let's watch it together," he said.

"Are you sure?" Teddie asked.

Theo nodded.

"Alright," said Teddie. She closed the cabinet and she and Theo returned to the living room. Mamma and Bampa were settling into their chairs, the coffee table was full of Christmas cookies, pies, popcorn, and pop.

Bampa looked up. "What did you pick?" he asked.

Teddie held up the film.

"Thought you may find that one," said Mamma. "We bought it specifically for you guys. So, who's ready for some Christmas magic?"

Mason grinned and dove under the blanket he had to himself, while Theo and Teddie climbed back onto the sofa, and threw their own quilt over themselves.

"We're ready," they said.

"Sure?" Mamma asked, popping the movie into the player. She hit play and settled back in her chair as Bampa turned out the lights.

As the movie started, Teddie inched closer to Theo and rested her head against his shoulder.

Theo smiled and wound his arm around her beneath the blanket.

Chapter Text

 

In no time at all, Christmas was over and the Green family were returning to Spinner's End. Teddie, Mason, and Theo bid farewell to Mamma and Grampa on the day of their departure and then packed themselves into the back of Robert's car for the long drive back to England.

"When are you leaving for your friend Derrick's Teddie?" Rose asked, glancing back at her daughter.

"He's asked us over for New Years," Teddie answered. "We can go New Years Day afternoon if you like. At least then Mason gets to see you both for his birthday."

"That's sweet of you, dear," said Rose. "But unfortunately, your father and I have to work. Your welcome to go earlier, if they'll have you."

Teddie glanced at Theo and Mason. "What do you guys think?" she asked.

"I'm alright with whatever you decide," said Theo, shrugging.

"Same," Mason agreed. "But shouldn't we ask Derrick if it's okay we turn up early, first?"

Teddie nodded. "I'll send a message when we get back," she said. "I'm sure Professor Snape won't mind us using Zuni."

"Is Professor Snape home for Christmas?" Theo asked.

"Good point," said Teddie. "I guess we'll find out when we get home."

Robert looked back at the three children. "If push does come to shove," he said. "Your mother and I can run you into London, and you can make your way from one of your magical home bases."

Teddie giggled. "You make us sound like Magical spies or something," she said.

"Well, if the shoe fits," said Robert, chuckling.

"It's alright, Dad," said Teddie. "I have a backup plan if plan A doesn't work out."

"Of course you do," said Robert.

Rose smiled. "You're always one step ahead, Teddie," she said. "How do you do it?"

Teddie glanced at Theo and grinned. "Because I'm a snake," she replied.

Theo laughed.

~X~

Spinner's End didn't look at all different in the winter as it did any other season. Other than the fact that the cobbled stone street was hidden beneath a blanket of snow, everything else was the same.

Same lampposts.

Same houses.

Same river.

"Hey, Teddie," John called. He had been Teddie's neighbour and close friend from a young age. The two had got into so much trouble together growing up, it was a surprise they were still allowed to hang out. But Spinner's End was just a small community that it was difficult to keep anyone apart for long.

Teddie waved as she got out of the car. "Hey, John, have a nice Christmas?" she asked.

"It was alright," John said. "Quiet. Just me and Mum. You?"

"It was fun!" Teddie said. "I'll tell you later.

"We still having our annual snowball fight?"

"Of course!" Teddie said. "What makes you think we wouldn't? It's a tradition!"

John chuckled and nodded. "Alright. I'll make sure everyone knows, see you later." He waved and disappeared through his front door.

Teddie smiled and pulled the last of her family's bags out of the car boot. She heaved her own and Mason's backpacks onto her shoulders and handed Theo's to him.

"We'll go put these away," said Teddie, heading upstairs with Theo once they were inside the house. "Mason, don't get too comfy. We have a snowball fight to win soon."

"I know," said Mason, sprawling out on the sofa. "But I want to check out this book Daphne got me for Christmas."

Teddie shook her head and climbed to the top of the stairs. She passed hers and Mason's packs to Theo and disappeared into her parent's bedroom to set their bags on their bed.

When she returned to her own, she found Theo sitting on the double bed. "Everything alright?" she asked.

"Mhm? Oh, yeah, everything's fine," Theo said, nodding.

"You sure?" Teddie asked, cocking her head to the side. She crossed the room and sat beside him. "What is it?"

Theo shook his head. "Just thinking," he said.

"Uh-oh."

Theo smiled and playfully pushed her.

Teddie giggled. "Thinking about what?" she asked.

"About you."

"Uh… okay?" Teddie said, clearly confused.

"It's just… about what you said about wanting a dad and having one in your dad," said Theo.

Teddie frowned. She still didn't follow.

Theo sighed. "Well, if your dad becomes my dad, does that mean your mum becomes my mum?" he asked.

"Are you worried that my mum will replace yours?" Teddie asked. "Because that's not going to happen. It just means you'll have two mums that loved and love you. Is that so bad?"

Theo shrugged.

"I didn't know your mother for that long," said Teddie. "But from the little time I spent with her, I could tell she was a very loving person. She made me feel safe in the instant I met her, and she was really nice to me and my family. She helped my parents onto the train platform when she didn't have too, and she made sure that I was on the train before it pulled off."

Theo smiled. "My mother thought highly of you, too," he said. "That Christmas in our first year, she kept asking me about you, obviously when father wasn't around. She could tell that you were a good person, and she encouraged our friendship. She told me that you'd be good for me. And you know what? She was right. I don't deserve you."

Teddie grabbed Theo's hand and linked their fingers together. "Yes, you do," she said. "You deserve me as much as I deserve you. You're my best friend, Theo, and I couldn't imagine my life without you."

Looking up, Theo met her gaze and held it. For a split second, they just stared at one another, hardly noticing how close they were until the door slammed open and they broke apart.

Mason stopped in his tracks. "Oh, I'm interrupting something," he said, looking between the two friends.

Teddie shook her head and released Theo's hand. "What's wrong, Mason?" she asked.

"Uh, John's downstairs," Mason said, pointing over his shoulder. "Wants to know if you're ready for our match? He said he has a score to settle with you."

"Tell him I'm coming," said Teddie. "Oh, and tell him to watch his words. It'd suck to lose again."

Mason laughed and left the room. A silence fell and Teddie stood from the bed, she turned back to Theo. He was looking at the carpet.

"You coming?" Teddie asked.

"You go on," said Theo. "I'm going to unpack my things."

Teddie nodded and crossed the room. She stopped in the doorway and turned back. "Hey, Theo," she said.

"Yeah?" Theo asked, looking up.

"You know that I love you, right?" Teddie asked.

Theo smiled and nodded. "Yeah," he said.

Teddie smiled, nodded once, and headed downstairs.

Theo sighed as he heard the front door close. He glanced at the window over his shoulder and crept closer to it. Peering outside he watched as Teddie ducked a snowball from John, and then fired back with one of her own.

"I love you, too," Theo murmured.

~X~

New's Year Eve finally arrived and, with Rose and Robert preparing for work, Teddie, Theo, and Mason were preparing for their trip to Derrick's uncles' manor, and the later trip back to Hogwarts. The Christmas Holidays were over and on the second of January, they would be heading back to the castle for their second school term.

"Hey, are you listening to me, Teddie?" Rose asked, snapping her fingers in front of her daughter's face.

Teddie blinked and smiled. "Sorry, Mum," she apologised. "But I heard what you said. Be careful, keep your head down, and look after Mason. Don't I always?"

Rose shook her head and drew her daughter into a hug. The fact that she had received word from Severus for two years on the run that her daughter had been in life-threatening situations at the end of the school year, made her nervous. She had warned Teddie about keeping out of danger many times, but either the youngster wasn't listening or someone seriously had it in for her daughter.

"Teddie, just listen to your mother, alright?" Robert said, stepping into the room. He hugged his daughter and passed her the backpack on his shoulder.

"Yes, Dad," Teddie said, heaving the pack onto her back. She had managed to write to Derrick a few days ago and was waiting on being collected by Mo Flint and Cerberus Langarm.

"What time are your friends coming?" Rose asked, peeking out of the window.

"Marcus' father is picking us up," said Teddie. "He's Apparating here with Cerberus. They'll probably come the back way. Away from prying eyes. The front of the house is to exposed for two men to just suddenly appear out of thin air."

There was a knock on the back door.

Teddie looked around. "That's probably them," she said.

"I'll get it," said Robert. He disappeared into the kitchen and return seconds later with two men.

"Miss Green," Mo Flint greeted.

"Hi," Teddie said, waving. She smiled at Cerberus, waving also.

Cerberus nodded at her in greeting.

"Are you all ready?" Mo asked, looking around at the three students. He noticed their packed backpacks.

Theo and Mason nodded.

"Oh, Mum and Dad," said Teddie, turning to her parents. "This is Mo Flint. He's Marcus' father, and this is Cerberus Langarm. They're Aurors."

"Wizarding Policemen," said Mason, grinning. He still loved the idea of magical law enforcement.

Mo extended his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you both," he said, happily.

Cerberus shook Robert's hand next. "Your children will be well looked after until they return to school, I assure you," he said.

"Thank you," Robert said. He turned to his children and hugged them all once more. "We'll see you in a few months."

"Be good," Rose said, kissing them each on the head. "Remember what I said, Teddie."

Teddie nodded and kissed both her parents on the cheeks. "Love you," she said, pulling away and walking over to Cerberus. He took her arm as Mo took both Theo and Mason, and then, after turning once on the spot, they all disappeared.

~X~

Derrick's uncle, Montgomery was everything Teddie had expected. He was excited to meet her, after all the stories that Derrick had told him about her adventures since starting Hogwarts, he had found her rather interesting. The first night of their stay, he had insisted that she recall her adventures and tell him about them first hand. He had enjoyed them from Derrick's point of view, but he wanted her point of view.

"I love adventure, Miss Green," Montgomery had said. "Hearing stories only include so much detail. But when you're there, at the moment, then there is something exhilarating about it. It becomes more than just a story."

"I don't remember much about what I have done," said Teddie. "At least I try not too."

"Why heaven's not?"

"Because they all almost led to my death," said Teddie. "Destroying the Philosopher's Stone made it so Voldemort tries to possess me -" she noticed how Montgomery shivered at the mention of the Dark Lord's name, "and I just managed to cling onto life to wake up and destroy the diary, but even then I felt like I weren't out of danger, and he knew it."

Montgomery looked confused. "Who knew it?" he asked.

"Voldemort," Teddie answered. Another shiver. "That's who the Diary belonged, too. It was his when he was sixteen. He somehow managed to seal away part of his soul in it, and it's that part of him that possessed me last year. It was that part of him that tried to kill me."

Derrick shared a look with Marcus. They, of course, had heard this story before, and they each knew how hard it was for Teddie to talk about what had happened to. She had hated explaining it to them when they had asked.

"Maybe we should talk about something else?" Derrick asked, hoping to change the topic. "Tell us, what did you do for Christmas? Did you have fun with your grandparents?"

Mason looked up, excited. "We went sledging," he answered. "Theo tried it for the first time, and he loved it."

"Sledding?" Montgomery asked. He looked inquisitive. Turning his attention from Teddie to Mason.

"Yeah, it's where you go sliding down a hill covered in snow," said Mason. "It's really fun. Teddie and I had a race last week, I won, of course."

"You won on a technicality," said Teddie. "I got stuck!"

"Stuck?" Montgomery asked.

"The sled is only a platform on two runners," Teddie explained. "My runners got wedged between two rocks, giving Mason the advantage to win."

"Liars," Mason teased.

Teddie scowled at him.

"Alright, fine, maybe I did win on a technicality," said Mason, shrugging. "But I still won. First time for everything."

"Wow, someone actually beat the great Teddie Green in a snow activity," Derrick said, grinning.

Teddie shot him a glare. "Do I need to relive our first snowball fight?" she asked. "I'm sure you're uncle would love to hear how you were defeated by a twelve-year-old girl."

Montgomery grinned as Derrick glared back.

"Actually," said Montgomery. "Instead of telling me about this defeat. Why don't you show me?"

"What?" Derrick asked, looking quickly at his uncle.

Teddie looked over at Montgomery and grinned. "You want us to reenact the snowball fight from last year?" she asked.

"Reenact, start a new one," Montgomery shrugged. "It really doesn't matter to me. I just want to see how much of a defeat my nephew had at your hand."

"No, no, no you don't," said Derrick, shaking his head. "Showing is overrated."

Teddie grinned at Derrick. "The fact that you're refusing is proof enough of how much of a defeat you had," she teased.

"Shut it, Green," Derrick said. "Or maybe I'll just bury you, instead."

"Been there," said Teddie. "Daphne and Mason buried me in the snow first year."

"I'd love a reenactment of that," said Marcus.

Teddie stuck her tongue out at him. "Fine, we'll make a deal," she said. "I won't start a snowball fight with you if you promise not to try and bury me in the snow," she said, holding out her hand.

"Deal," said Derrick. They shook on it.

Montgomery chuckled. "Alright, alright," he said, holding up his hands. He glanced at Teddie. "Do you know what a Pensieve is, my dear?"

Teddie shook her head.

"I do!" said Mason. "It's a device that allows you to see one's memories once again. Are you saying you have one?" he asked.

"Mason!" Teddie scolded.

Mason looked down.

Montgomery laughed. "Indeed I do, young sir," he said, addressing Mason. "Since this deal has been struck, I have no chance of seeing the infamous snowball fight of last year. But, with Teddie's permission, of course, I can view it in her memories, all without breaking your promise to one another."

Derrick gaped at his uncle and turned to Marcus. "Next time I think of inviting Teddie to my home for Christmas or New Year, remind me of this moment," he said.

Marcus nodded.

Teddie laughed.

"Come now, Derrick," said Montgomery, standing. "It's all in good fun." He paced over to a cabinet and removed a basin from inside. He returned it to the table and set it down. It's contents swirled in its depths, giving off a shimmering glow.

Teddie leaned closer. The pensieve was beautiful.

"Good fun?" Derrick asked. "How is laughing at my defeat 'good fun'?"

"If it makes you feel any better," said Teddie. "Your uncle can see my defeat at Mason and Daphne's hands, too. That way we're both exposed."

Derrick shook his head. "Why do you make it so hard to be mad at you?" he asked. "You're not supposed to offer up your humiliating defeat in order to satisfy me."

"Fine," said Teddie. "We'll just see yours."

"Wait, no, that's not what I meant!" Derrick stammered.

Teddie shook her head. "Too late," she said, moving away from Derrick and over to his uncle.

Montgomery smiled and explained what she needed to do as Derrick groaned and dropped his head onto the table with a thump.

~X~

January 1st, more commonly known as New Year's Day, but also known, to Teddie, at least, as her little brother's birthday, the young Slytherin found herself outside her brother's bedroom at Montgomery's estate. She was standing alongside the man of the house, who was grinning like a Cheshire cat.

"Are you ready?" Montgomery asked.

Teddie held up the purple crackers and grinned.

"Alright. On three…" said Montgomery. "One… two… three…" he pushed open the door and rushed inside, Teddie following at a close pace.

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" the pair shouted.

Teddie tossed the purple crackers into the air, they exploded within seconds of being released, showering the room in sparkles, stars, and multi-coloured streamers.

Mason gave a start and shot up in bed. It was still early morning, and he had slept in after celebrating New Years the previous evening. Even Marcus, Derrick, and Theo were still asleep.

"What's going on?" asked a tired voice.

Teddie looked back to see Derrick standing in the doorway. His hair stood out at odd angles, his clothes were ruffled, and he was tiredly rubbing his eyes.

"Oh, nothing, Derrick, just a certain someone's birthday," said Montgomery. "I thought, since it's Mason's first birthday at the estate, I'd make it special. Teddie was more than happy to help."

"I'm sure she was," Derrick grumbled. "Couldn't you have done it at a later hour? Or maybe warned us all first?"

"Yikes, someone isn't a morning person," Teddie teased. "What's the matter, Derrick? Drink too much last night?"

Derrick stuck his tongue out and turned away. He mumbled something that sounded awfully like 'I'm going back to bed' and then disappeared back down the hall.

Teddie shared a look with Montgomery and they both laughed.

Sitting up, Mason rubbed his own eyes, and then grinned as Teddie set a couple of presents down on his lap.

"This one is from Mum and Dad," said Teddie. She handed him a small square box wrapped in brown paper. "Oh, and this one." She handed him a second box, this one rectangular.

"I'll leave you to it," said Montgomery. "Happy Birthday, Master Mason. Once you've finished here, if you wish, I'll have one of the House Elves bring you some breakfast."

Mason shook his head. "That's okay," he said. "We can eat Breakfast with everyone."

"Are you sure?" Montgomery asked.

Mason nodded.

Montgomery looked to Teddie.

"We don't need any special treatment," Teddie said. "He'll open his presents, and then we'll get dressed. We'll come down for breakfast along with everyone else."

"Alright," Montgomery said. He bowed his head and left the room, closing the door in his wake.

Teddie smiled and turned back to her brother. "What did Mum and Dad send you?" she asked.

"My favourites cookies, for one," said Mason. He opened the rectangular box and revealed the Nutella Lava Cookie Cups. Where her favourite cookies were Birthday Cake cookies, his were these.

"Ooh!" Teddie grinned. She plucked one from the box and popped it in her mouth. After biting into it, the cookie split and the chocolate run across her tongue, leaving a hint of hazelnut in her mouth.

Mason smiled as he bit into his own cookie. A look of bliss washed over his face as he closed his eyes and moaned in gratification.

Teddie smiled, happily.

"Alright. Let's see what book I am adding to my collection," said Mason, reaching for the second present from his parents.

Teddie popped a second cookie in her mouth and watched as Mason opened the second gift. It was, indeed, a Fantasy book. "What's it say?" she asked.

"Dealing with Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede," Mason answered.

"Sounds right up your alley," said Teddie. "What does it say on the back?"

"Cimorene is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart - and bored. So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon - and finds the family and excitement she's been looking for."

Teddie looked impressed. "Sounds fascinating," she said.

Mason smiled and looked up. "You don't have to pretend to like it," he said. "I know that fantasy isn't your genre."

"Sorry. But it does sound fun," said Teddie. "I mean, given everything that has happened the last couple of years, it would be a hard miss to not find some love for the fantasy genre. I mean, we practically live in a fantasy world now."

Mason laughed. That was true.

"What else do you have?"

Setting aside his book, Mason picked up the present from Daphne. He ripped into the paper and found another book. "Children's Anthology of Monsters," he said.

"If you have nightmares, I am going to kill Daphne," said Teddie. She took the book in hand, as Mason picked up another present.

"Hey, isn't this a wand holster?"

Teddie looked around, lowering the book in her hand onto the bed, and quirked an eyebrow. "Let me guess? Marcus' gift?"

"How did you guess?"

"He got me one last year for Christmas," said Teddie. "He noticed that I tend to keep my wand up my sleeve, so he got me a wrist holster. It's actually rather handy."

Mason looked impressed.

"It's adjustable," said Teddie. "So you can keep your wand wherever you want. Daphne has her on her hip, Theo and Blaise around their waist. My wrist is easier for me, drawing it is faster, especially if I need it in a hurry."

"Good thinking."

Teddie smiled. "So, are you ready for Breakfast?" she asked.

"Yeah. Give me a few minutes to dress," said Mason.

"Go for it. I'll wait."

Mason rolled out of bed.

~X~

Later that afternoon, after a small birthday celebration, courtesy of Montgomery, Teddie and her friends were lounging around the living room watching as the Christmas decorations removed themselves from the walls, ceilings, and other various places they had been hung, and stowing themselves away in boxes and containers.

"Don't get me wrong, I love de-decorating," said Mason. "But sometimes a cleaning spell is so much easier."

"For an estate as big as this, yes, a cleaning spell is easier," Teddie agreed. "But our house is half the size of this room, much less the whole estate."

Mason inclined his head with a small shrug and looked back at the book he had been reading. It was the fantasy book his parents had sent him for Christmas. His cookies and already been devoured. After sharing them with his friends, he had demolished the last of them himself.

"How's the book?" Marcus asked.

"Interesting," said Mason. "I am already eight chapters in."

Derrick smirked and looked to Teddie. "You weren't kidding when you said that he likes to sink his teeth into something," he said.

"I never lie when it comes to Mason," said Teddie, shaking her head.

Derrick sat up straighter. "So, you're saying there are things you're lying about?" he asked. "Interesting."

Teddie rolled her eyes.

"I'm keen to know more," said Derrick. "Come on, keep talking."

"Nah. Don't feel like it," said Teddie. She stretched and leaned back, smirking at Derrick.

Derrick stared long and hard at Teddie. He then lunged forward, before anyone could stop him, and grabbed her at the waist, tickling her relentlessly.

Teddie screamed and struggled to get away.

"You're having fun and you didn't invite me?"

Derrick pulled away from Teddie and sat up. They were both breathing heavily from all the laughter, and Teddie was red-faced from trying to breathe through her tickle attack.

Montgomery stood in the doorway to the family room, behind him were Cerberus Langarm and Mo Flint. They all looked amused.

"He… He… tickled me…" said Teddie, trying to catch her breath. She pointed at Derrick.

Derrick shrugged, looking unapologetic.

Teddie rolled her eyes.

"I can see that," said Montgomery. He strode into the room, the other two men following him.

"What do we owe the pleasure?" Derrick asked.

Teddie scoffed. "And they say I have the flair for the dramatics," she said.

"Shush!" Derrick said, pushing her slightly.

Marcus shook his head and looked up at his father. "We don't go back to school until tomorrow," he said. "Why are you both here now?"

"We're actually here to see Teddie," said Mo. "We may have a way for her to protect herself this year at Hogwarts."

"Protect me?" Teddie asked. "Protect me from who?"

"The Dementors, of course," said Langarm. "Professor Dumbledore informed us of the last few attacks, and how you were one of the students targeted."

"Oh," said Teddie. She rubbed the back of her head, from where she had hit the stands at the Quidditch match. "Yeah. Those attacks were not fun."

"Dementors aren't known for being fun," said Cerberus. "So, are you interested?"

Teddie eyed him curiously before glancing at her friends. "Alright," she said, nodding. "I'll bite. What is this protection spell?"

"It's not exactly a spell," said Cerberus. "It's actually a Charm - the Patronus Charm, to be exact. Have you heard of it?"

"No," Teddie answered.

"Yes," Mason, Marcus, Derrick, and Theo answered.

Teddie looked around at them. "Why am I not surprised?" she asked. She shook her head and turned back to the three men. "What is the Patronus Charm?"

"It is the most famous, and famously difficult, defensive charm known to Wizardkind," said Mason.

Teddie turned to her brother and quirked an eyebrow.

"It's in one of my books," Mason answered, nonchalantly.

"Does your book tell you anything more?"

Mason nodded. "The aim of the Patronus Charm is to produce a silvery-white guardian or protector. The exact form of the Patronus will not be apparent until the spell has been successfully cast."

"What do you mean form?" Teddie asked, curiously.

"A Patronus takes the shape of an animal," said Mason. "Any animal, actually. According to my book, all manner of animals are possible. Some are rare, some are unusual, but Patronuses don't discriminate against animals."

Teddie nodded. "Alright. I'm willing to give it a go," she said, turning back to Langarm and Mo. "What do I do?"

Cerberus and Mo shared a look.

"The spell is rather difficult, Teddie," said Mo. "Are you sure you want to do this?"

"You said it's to protect me, right?"

Mo nodded.

"And you're the one who suggested that I do this," said Teddie. "You can make the suggestion and then question my decision to do it. You either want to show me, or you don't."

Mo smirked. "Alright then," he said. "Let's get started."

Chapter Text

In no time at all, January came and went and the whole of Hogwarts slid into February. Lessons had started back on the Monday after New Year, and the teachers were in full swing, preparing their students for their upcoming exams.

"What exactly is a NEWT?" Mason asked one night. He was in the library with everyone else, studying.

"Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests," said Marcus. "They are the highest qualifications you can get out of Hogwarts."

"But you only sit them in the seventh year," said Derrick.

"If you're lucky enough to come back after you sit your O. , of course," added Adrian.

Mason cocked his head to the side, looking curious.

"Ordinary Wizarding Levels," Adrian answered. "You sit them in your fifth year. They're not as bad as N.E. , but they also really important. Like I said, scoring high in your O. secures you a spot for the year after."

"What happens if you fail your N.E. ?"

"It depends," said Marcus.

"On?"

"You."

Mason frowned. "What do you mean?" he asked.

"Well, if you're lucky enough, you could get the chance to repeat your seventh year from the beginning and try again," Marcus explained. "If you're not lucky then you flunk out and have just your O.W.L grades."

"It's rather difficult to get a job outside of school with just O.W.L qualifications, though," said Derrick. "My father works for the Ministry, he's an unspeakable, and he had to have eleven "Outstandings" for the position."

Mason looked back at his essay and scribbled down some more words. "So, what are the grades for these exams?" he asked.

"There are three passing grades," said Derrick, adding the finishing touches to his potions essay. "O which stands for Outstanding, E for Exceeds Expectations, A for Acceptable."

"Then there are there failing grades," said Adrian. "P for Poor, D for Dreadful, and T for Troll."

Teddie scoffed. "Seriously?" she asked. "You must be really bad to get a T."

"For those who don't study or even care about their education; a T is what they deserve," said Blaise. "I mean, I'm not the brightest wizard in our year, but I get by enough to not throw away my life. Unlike my mother, I actually want a career after school."

Daphne smiled. "Do you have any idea what you want to do?" she asked.

"Not really," said Blaise. "But it beats living like a parasite."

Teddie tensed and stared at her parchment. Words and images of years gone by, battles fought with Voldemort, and arguments with inner demons flashed before her eyes.

"Hey!"

Teddie snapped back to reality and looked around. Her friends were all staring at her, looks of concern on each of their faces. "Sorry," she apologised, smiling weakly.

"You alright?" Marcus asked.

"Yeah," said Teddie, shaking her head.

"What happened then?" Mason asked.

Teddie sighed and put down her quill. "I think the word 'parasite' acted like some form of a trigger," she answered. "Because, as soon as you said it, Blaise, I had multiple flashbacks of Voldemort and my 'hidden personality' calling me exactly that - a parasite."

"You're not a parasite, though," said Daphne. "That thing inside you is. She is the one that has come out of nowhere. We don't know her, and neither do you. So she is the one that needs to go."

Teddie forced a small smile. "Thanks, Daph," she said.

Daphne nodded and pulled her Divination book towards her. Her moon chart was coming along nicely, and she only had a few more sections to finish before completing it.

Mason paused and looked at his sister. "Do you know this mystery person's name?" he asked.

"No, why?" Teddie asked.

"Because I could check out Nature's Nobility: A Wizarding Genealogy to see if I can find her," said Mason. "I mean, it's obvious this person has some form of a magical connection, and Harry did tell you that she said something about having a "whole other life" and Tom Riddle's memory confirmed it when he said he could identify with her."

Theo blinked. "So, wait for a second, you think this magical person inside Teddie is an entity on its own?" he asked.

Mason shrugged. "Maybe," he said, nodding. "It could be a spirit that has latched onto her, or maybe even her magic, itself. It could be picking up on this other person's magic and connecting them both."

"I… guess that makes sense," said Astoria.

"But without a name, I can't really do much research," said Mason.

The table fell silent, everyone drifted back to their own essays, and the sound of scribbling was all that could be heard for the next hour or so.

Soon, as the courtyard clock struck seven, the group packed up their things and left the library for Dinner.

~X~

Before anyone realised, the Gryffindor vs. Ravenclaw Quidditch match had arrived. The morning of the match, Teddie looked up from her breakfast in time to see Harry enter the Great Hall with an entourage of Gryffindor boys, under his arm he was carrying a broomstick.

"Is that… a Firebolt?" Derrick asked. He turned to Teddie, his eyes wide.

"I thought they weren't selling them to anyone below professional league, yet?" Daphne asked. "How did Potter get one?"

Teddie shrugged. "If I remember the shop owner said that they would only be selling them to professional players for a certain amount of months," she said. "Maybe that time limit is up and anyone can buy them now."

"Well, I know what to ask for my birthday this year," said Adrian.

Teddie shared a look with Daphne and scoffed. "It's still just a broomstick," she said.

"We are not having this conversation again," Derrick said.

Daphne laughed and returned to her breakfast. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Adrian and Derrick eying the Gryffindor table with looks of envy.

"You guys are so obvious," said Daphne, downing her pumpkin juice. "Why don't you just ask already."

Both Derrick and Adrian looked around.

"What are you talking about?" Derrick asked.

"It's written all over your faces," said Daphne. "You both want to see the Firebolt up close, but neither of you is friends with the Gryffindors. However, Teddie is. So why don't you just ask her already."

Looking up at the sound of her name, Teddie frowned. "I'm not friends with the Gryffindors," she said. "I'm on friendly terms with the Gryffindors, and sure, Harry and I get along, but I wouldn't go as far as to say we're friends. Why, would you?"

"I'd say you and Potter were a little more than on friendly terms," said Daphne, nodding. "I mean, you've both saved each other's lives for the last two years in a row, and he did purposely come to the Chamber of Secrets to get you when he could've left it to the teachers. That's not something you do for someone who you're just on friendly terms with."

Teddie inclined her head slightly. "Alright, fair point," she said. "Fine. I am friends with a Gryffindor, not the entire house."

"You don't need to be friends with the entire house," said Daphne. "It just so happens, that the Gryffindor you are friends with is the one with the fancy new Broomstick."

"You want me to ask Harry if these lot can see his new Broomstick?" Teddie asked, nodding at the five boys. While Derrick and Adrian had been the ones eying the Gryffindor table, both Teddie and Daphne knew that Marcus, Theo, and Blaise wouldn't pass on an opportunity to see a Firebolt up close.

Daphne nodded.

Teddie looked over at the Gryffindors and then around at her friends. They were each staring at her, looking hopeful.

"Please, Teddie," Derrick begged.

"Alright!" Teddie groaned. "Let me talk to Harry first. Stay here." She stood from her seat and wandered around the hall to the Gryffindor table. Most of the house hissed at her as she passed, but she ignored them and stopped just behind Harry.

Ron Weasley looked up and glared. "What do you want, Snake?" he asked. "Come to marvel in the perfection of our new secret weapon?"

Teddie rolled her eyes. "It's hardly a secret weapon if it's on display for all to see, is it, Weasley?" she asked.

"Whatever," Ron muttered. He returned to his breakfast.

Teddie shook her head and turned to Harry. "You know not all Slytherins are out to get you, right?" she asked. "We aren't all like Malfoy."

Harry nodded.

"Well, just like yourself, I happen to be friends with a group of Quidditch enthusiasts, and they were wondering, if you're allowing, can they come to see your new broomstick?"

Oliver Wood looked up, wildly. "What, why?" he asked. He reached for the Broomstick. "So they can hex it before the match? I'm not about to let the competition ruin our chances today."

"I'm not asking for you to let them see it unsupervised, Wood," Teddie said. "You can stay right there for all I care. They just want to see it before it hits the mainstream and everyone is running around with one."

Oliver opened his mouth to retort when Harry beat him to it.

"Sure," Harry said.

"What? Harry, have you gone mad?" Oliver asked. "You can't trust a Snake."

Harry shook his head at his captain and took his Broomstick from the table. "I trust Teddie," he said. "She's promised me that nothing will happen, and I trust her to stick by her word." He turned back to Teddie. "Come on. I'll make it easier on you and come back to your table."

"You've completely lost it, mate," said Fred. "Willingly entering the enemies territory with a prized possession?"

"I've seen it all now," George agreed.

Teddie looked to the twins. "If it'll make you feel any better," she said. "You're welcome to come along. You can keep Harry safe. But I assure you, no harm will come to him."

Fred and George exchanged looks and then stood. "Alright," they both said. "We shall accompany you."

"I'm coming, too!" said Oliver, jumping up. "I want to be sure that nothing happens to my star player and his broomstick."

"Me, three!" said Ron. He abandoned his breakfast with a mournful look and followed the others back to the Slytherin table.

Teddie ignored the looks from the rest of her house and led Harry back to her spot. She smiled at the others as they looked u