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Just like Magic

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Merida Alice Higgins always thought she was normal. She has long dark brown hair that only matched her dark brown eyes, add that to her lightly tanned skin and the 11 year old would blend into any crowd if you were trying to spot her. Maybe the only things that was different about her was that she was actually from Ireland, and after her father had passed when she was 7, her mother moved them to New York to live with her aging grandparents.

Even at a young age she was always called hardworking and loyal, but also too smart for her own good. Because there were things that would happen around her, things that no one else could see sometimes, or things that she would wish to happen and they suddenly did. But her mother would just smile and shake her head, telling her that it was her imagination; and that she got it from her father.

So she believed her mother and other family members when she questioned them, and just went along with the ideal that she wasn’t anything but normal. Even when her teacher, Mr. Jones, asked Merida what made her special on the last day of school...she shrugged her shoulders and simply said “I’m not sir, I’m just normal.”

Maybe she shouldn’t have said that?

It was the middle of July when Merida came home from playing at her friend’s house, but when she ran into her home she couldn't imagine what was waiting for her inside. Her father’s family was waiting in there, along with her mother and other grandparents; it had looked that they were fighting but stopped when she walked in. They sat her down and explained everything, and it wouldn’t be for another hour that Merida would speak again from the shock of it all.

You see, her father, Augustus Higgins, was a wizard. His whole family were actually. Her mother, on the other hand, was what her Nan called a Muggle. They told her how, now that she was 11 it was time to go to a special school, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry; that’s what caught her attention. “You’re sending me away?” She squeaked up at her mother, to which Georgia kneeled down to her daughter’s level and shook her head. “No my love, I am not. You don’t have to go that school if you don’t want too. You can stay here, and go back with your friends-”

“She can’t, she’s already showed signs of magic Georgia, it would be too dangerous for her and the other muggle children. And by Merlin forbidden, if anything were to happen and the Ministry had to step in; she wouldn’t know what she was getting herself into.” Her Aunt Betsy said. “Than she can go to Ilvermorny. I just got her letter from them the other day and at least she would still be in America and close to home.” “But her father wanted her to go to Hogwarts. We have her letter here with us. We wouldn’t be too far away from the school so if she needed anything Seamus and I could be right there.”

Merida had once again check out of what was going on around her, but instead of it being in shock, it was now in thought. Her father, if she could remember, was a very kind man. Everyone thought of him as a friend and he worked in the animal field; her mother always said she got that from him. He taught her about how all animals...no he said all creatures, had a place and meaning in the world. Even the scary ones. He said that’s what was “magical” about the world.

“Can I see it?” She asked her uncle as her mother, aunt and Nan argued between each other. The older man looked over at the two aging muggle grandparents, watched them both nod before pulling out and handing the little girl the letter.

She took it, holding the aged looking envelope in her hands, it was odd seeing something so new written on something that looked centuries old but nevertheless, she opened the letter. She let her eyes scan it over and over again before finally reading the words on there.The letter went on to say they needed to know soon as well as a list of things she would need for her first year. As she read that she stopped on one of the textbook names.

‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newton Scamander’ but she already had this book. Her father had given it to her for her 5th birthday, they used to read it before she went to bed and still to this day. She always thought it was just fairy tales.  

“I’ll go.”

Everyone stopped to look over at the little girl. “You’ll go where dove?” Her uncle asked. “I’ll go to that school, the one Dad wanted me to go to...I don’t know why but, I feel like I have to.” “Dear, you don’t have to do anything you don’t-” “No Mama, not like that, like...it feels like I have to. Like maybe, it can bring me closer to Dad in a way. If I am a witch than I was going to go there anyways, and it would be like he never passed.”

And that was it, her mother, though reluctantly, agreed. She was going to attend Hogwarts, and maybe find out who she was suppose to be. Maybe she could find out what really happened to her father those few years ago as well? Because those everyone believed he was gone, a person doesn’t just disappear like magic.

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After a month of her mother and her father’s family teaching her the basics of the wizarding world. Merida believed she was ready, or well she had to be since school was starting in a week. Everyone thought it was best for her to move in with her Nan till school started, that way she would be closer when September 1st came along.

So Merida said goodbye to her (muggle) friends, to get grandparents and the town she lived in before her and her mother left for Ireland. It was exciting to be back in her homeland, a place she hadn’t been to since she was 6 or 7. But somehow she still remembered it all, how beautiful the rolling hills and ocean waves were. And as much as she loved New York and her home in America, there was just something right about being here.

As her uncle promised her, he was the one that took her to get her school things after they had settled in to her Nan’s house and they were able to make a day of it.

First, after she got used to the shock of seeing the wonder that was Diagon Alley, they went to get her robes and other uniform things, than her books to which she met the other children getting their school equipment. “Hello!” A peppy voice jumped at her as she grabbed for her new History of Magic book. “Oh, hello?” Merida answered cautiously, looking up at the blonde girl next to her. “I like your shoes, green is my favorite color.” She said and that’s how she met Jessica Worth, who went on to follow her around and talk her ear off. But she was really nice and they had lots in common so Merida didn’t mind.

It wasn’t till they got to Ollivander’s where they parted ways, since Jessie (as she wanted to be called) had already gotten her wand. They said they would try to find each other on the train and said their goodbyes. “So you made a friend? I’m not surprised, it’s always come pretty naturally to you.” Her Uncle teased her. Merida smiled and looked up at the building, it was dark brick but very inviting. And though it did have an old-timey look to it as a lot of the other did; there were parts that looked new.

She remembered how her family told her about the war, about Voldemort and Harry Potter and how a lot of place had been destroyed or damaged because of it. She guessed Ollivander’s was one of those places. Merida took a breath and stepped up to the doorway, moving to the side to let a few others out before entering the shop with Seamus behind her. There, an old man stood with his back to them as he was putting away some boxes. Seamus cleared his throat and the man turned around.

He was taller than her, a puff of white hair on his head and a smile on his face. “Ah, another one, well hello hello, come in please.” “Hello Mr. Ollivander!” Seamus beamed, “how have you been?” The older man grinned and nodded his head “Well, very well. And who do we have here? The last I saw, you didn’t have any children?” Seamus chucked and shook his head, “no sir, still don’t. But this is my niece. Augustus’ little girl.” Merida, who hadn’t been hiding behind her uncle at all, stepped out and gave a little wave. “Ah, my my, look at you. All grown up and heading to Hogwarts are me?” “Y-yes sir.” “Don’t be shy, I remember your father’s wand. Yes, 11 inches, hornbeam with a dragon heartstring core.”

Merida was taken back, “you remember his wand?” Ollivander laughed “why I remember every wand I have ever sold. Now, your father was a difficult boy when it came to his wand. Took almost an hour. I do hope you are not the same in that sense.” He teased her before turning around to look for the first box. It only took about 4 minutes before she found her wand...or the wand found her actually. In the end, the wand she would now be walking throughout life with was a 12 inch, Rowan wood with a Phoenix feather core.

It was after that that her uncle thought it was best to sit down to eat. Bring her over to the Leaky Cauldron. “What’s on your mind dove?” Seamus asked, Merida looked up from her food and shook her head. “Nothing.” “Than why can I hear the gears turning in your head?” He stated as he bopped her nose. She thought about it a few second more before answering. “Well...I’ve been thinking...about the houses. I’m...I don’t know, I guess I’m worried about which house I’ll be in.” “There’s nothing to worry about love, your house doesn’t define you. It just...shows the attributes that are the strongest in you.”

“Yes but, Nan said that you need to be placed in the right house so your future is set! And she said that only the good and just are in Gryffindor-“ “And yet your Nan was in Ravenclaw.” He stopped her. “You don’t have to be in Gryffindor to be good, it’s not known as the “good” house, it’s known as those whose strength is in courage, bravery, nerve, and chivalry. Your father and I were in Gryffindor but that doesn’t mean you will….or have to be.”

“Yes but..what if-“ “By Merlin, if you are about to ask me ‘what if I’m in Slytherin’ little girl.” He rubbed his brow in a warning tone. “Just cause you’re in Slytherin, doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. No matter what your Nan says.” He said the last part as he rolled his eyes. “Listen, you remember the battle of Hogwarts I told you about yeah?” He got her attention. “And how your father and I fought in it, well there were many people and creatures that fought alongside us...a good few of them were Slytherins. It gets a bad name from those who turned it into a bad name. But hey, Merlin was in Slytherin...now what does that say about that?”

And he was right, she knew he was but she just couldn’t get it out of her head. She couldn’t be the only one that felt this way? This fear of what house you were in and how it was going to define you, even if her uncle said otherwise. People see you in a sort of way when they know your house, before they even get you know the person you truly are.

“Hey...do you wanna go look at the creature shop? I know that will make you feel better.” He smiled, “But Mom said I couldn’t get a pet.”

And that’s how Merida ended up with Bane, a little black, one year old male kitten. With a pink nose and ears and bright green eyes. He was the cutest thing she had ever seen.....her mother was not going to be pleased.

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The morning came for her to be sent off, and from the moment the young girl opened her eyes she was bouncing around the house. Making sure she had every packed and sorted, and that Bane was in his cage and had all of his things ready to go. She wanted to get dressed in her robes right away but her family said she didn’t need to, not till she was close to school at less but Merida couldn’t wait. From the moment she agreed to go, she had been getting more and more excited as the days passed.

“Please love, calm down. You are about to give me a headache.” Her mother begged her, as she pushed her into a chair to eat something for breakfast. “But I just need to make sure one more thing is ready-” “No, no more. You are ready my dear. Now you just have to go to school and learn.” Her Mom was right, she knew that but...somewhere in her head she thought there was still more she could be doing.

It was around 10:30 when they finally got to King’s Cross station, and Merida couldn’t have even thought that the entrance to the train would be right there in a muggle station. But yet here they were, on Platform 9 ¾, other children were racing around and saying goodbye to their families or hello to friends. It was here after dropping off her things is where she found Jessie, or well the girl found her.

“I can write to you whenever right? And you’ll write back as fast as you can?” She asked her mother. “Of course love.” She kissed her head and fixed her hair a bit. “And remember your aunt and uncle are nearby as well. So if you need someone right away, you can send a owl to them.” With that, a few hugs and kisses goodbye to her family, Merida was finally on the train to Hogwarts.

 

Once the train pulled away, Jessie wasted no time in bring Merida along with her to the compartment where her older brother and sister, Michael and Hayley were; along with one of their friends James. She found out quickly that they were all 4th years. The moment she walked in though, she knew she was going to have a hard time with the older boys, since they were already planning some sort of prank on a teacher at school for the first day of classes.

“Think of it as a welcome back gift.” James had said to her. “Isn’t that going to be bad? I mean, what if you get in trouble on the first day?” “If we don’t then people will start asking if we are alright.” Michael laughed.

“Don’t mind them, Gryffindors are always up to some sort of trouble.” Hayley told her teasingly, “not that that’s a problem but it sort of comes with the title.” “So your not in Gryffindor?” The young girl asked. “Oh Merlin no, I don’t think I would get by if I was. I already have to live with Michael, if we were in the same house at school as well I would lose my mind. No, I’m in Ravenclaw. And if I’m being honest, I do hope Jessie here is as well.” “No way, Jessie takes after Mom and I, she’ll be in Gryffindor.” Michael’s head snapped over and the two siblings started to shout at each other.

Jessie seemed to fully enjoy it for some reason but James sort of looked out the window, “Do you have any siblings James?” Merida asked and that’s when the others stopped and chuckled. “Yes, but as of late, he probably doesn't want his brother.” Michael said but James just stared him down. “I will always want my brother, he’s just...troubled is all. And Dad doesn’t really help it either.” Jessie cleared her throat just than and grabbed Merida’s hand “Maybe we should so find the trolley lady.” She stated and pulled her out of the compartment.

“Jessie, slow down or you’ll pull my arm out.” She told her friend. “Why do you wanna find the trolley lady so bad? I’m sure she’ll be around soon?” Jessie bit her lip as the two girls stood off to the side of the hall. “No” She started to tell her in a whisper “...it’s just, was getting kind of awkward in there if you couldn’t tell. Michael likes to tease James about his brother Albus.” “Why? What happened?” “James’ whole family, his Mum and Dad, his cousins, grandparents have all been in Gryffindor...besides his brother; whose in Slytherin.” It was all starting to make sense now, it was just what Merida had feared but it was happening to someone else, she felt bad for this Albus boy.

“It also doesn’t help who James and Albus’ father is, well his Dad, Mum, Aunt and Uncle, but mostly his father-” She started speaking again but Merida cut her off. “Wait, who’s their father?” She asked. “Oh that’s right, you’re a muggle-born? So you probably don’t know about their dad. He’s Harry Potter.”

 

By the time they reached the school, all the children had changed into their robes. Jessie and Merida said goodbye to the three older students before following the directions for the first years. Into boats that carried them across the way to the castle, which was one of the most beautiful things Merida had ever seen. It wasn’t long before they were all standing in the grand hall, and it was just as her Uncle Seamus told her about, with the four long tables set for the four houses and the head table on top of the steps where all the teachers sat.

Soon they brought out the one and only Sorting Hat and one by one, the students were called up to get placed into their houses. These titles that would define them in a way for the rest of their lives. Suddenly Jessica Diggs’ names was called. Merida couldn’t figure out why Jessie started jumping up and down before running up the stairs and sitting down. “Well, I guess I know her last name now.” She remarked to herself in a giggle, smiling when the Hat placed her friend in Hufflepuff.

As the others went by Merida found herself spacing out, looking around at everyone in the room, scanning their faces and wondering what type of people they were, what years and if she would have any classes with them or maybe if they would want to become her friends? It wasn’t till she looked over at the Slytherin table, most of them looked scary, like they were just waiting to get their hands on the first years, but others actually looked friendly. But one boy caught her eyes, well two actually, one brown and one white-blonde, they seemed close to each other as they were playing no attention to what was going on around them and only to each other.

“Merida Higgins!” The young girl’s eyes went wide and she gulped...well it was now or never.

She slowly walked up the stairs, smiling softly at the professor holding the hat before taking a seat. “Hello, hello, a head you have on you huh? But a good and steady heart as well, and want to know more but the fear to do anything that would harm others. Just like your father before you.” The Hat said to her, it caught her off guide. “You knew my father?” “I know everyone, I have sorted everyone, I know what is deep in your hearts or in the back of your heads, to the tips of your toes. And if I am right, and I always am. Better be….”

 

“HUFFLEPUFF!”

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The passed few months of Hogwarts was everything Merida thought it would be...but also what she hoped it wouldn’t. Classes were good, learning things like Astronomy, Charms and History of Magic were fun, she was oddly very good at Potions and Transfigurations. She liked Herbology, only because Professor Longbottom always made everyone feel welcomed and he was really funny.

Flying was a bit hard, she always manage to fall off her broom somehow and she thought Madam Hooch was going to ban her from flying forever, but she started to get the hang of it around the first week of October. But Defence Against the Dark Arts..she wasn’t doing well in that class and maybe it was due to the fact that it always scared the hell out of her.

She was very upset though when she was told that first years don’t get to take Care of Magical Creatures, that class wasn’t allowed till her third year. The one class she was truly excited to take, and wouldn’t stop talking about since she saw the book on her list. And as much as she pleaded with HeadMistress McGonagall, the older woman just wouldn’t move on the topic. “I’m very sorry Ms.Higgins, although I believe you would excel in that class, rules are rules.”

It pretty much broke her heart, that was till Professor Hagrid let it slip that he needed an extra hand to help keep and feed the creatures. That’s how between and after classes every Tuesday, Thursday and sometimes on the weekends when she didn’t feel like being around other people. For some reason the HeadMistress always turned a blind eye when she would see Merida helping out.

So yes, when it came to classes, Merida felt the same as she did on her muggle school...it was the students, that was the hard part. True, she had made a few other friends besides Jessie, and from different years and houses. And it was really nice that Michael, Hayley and James seemed to keep an eye on the two Hufflepuff, often they would sit all together at lunch or Hayley would help them with their homework or projects. James took to complaining to Merida about his brother, and though young girl seemed to know almost everything about Albus Potter...she had never actually seen or meet him once.

All and all everything was fine, expect for the few Slytherins that seem to always want to make trouble for her; mostly Marcus Farley, a 5th year. They would tease her about everything, be it something simple as her hair early in the morning or her flying, and sometimes her grades. Like the time in DADA, when Marcus grabbed her failed exam out of her hands and started showing it off to everyone in the Grand Hall.

HeadMistress McGonagall didn’t take bullying lightly, and not only took 50 points from Slytherin but gave Marcus a week of detention...that might not had been a good thing since it didn’t get any better from there.

But maybe the worst thing that Marcus and the others did was call her a Mudblood or a Half-Breed. Or when Marcus called her father a Blood-Traitor. That was the day she lost Hufflepuff 25 point because she punched the older boy in the face and caused him to bleed. She could take the bullying against her but not to her father’s memory.

James, Michael and Hayley all brought her a bunch of Pumpkin Pasties and Crystallised Pineapple from Honeydukes after that; and started to called her the Firepuff. She didn’t know if she liked it yet. That was also the day she met James’ cousin Rose, who told her about the time her own mother, Hermione Granger, did the same thing to Draco Malfoy.

But all seemed well since it got the other bullies to leave her alone for a little while. But not for long. It was late Saturday night, Merida had been sitting out on the castle grounds trying to finish some of her work up in the quiet before dinner time. “Hey Half-Breed!” Merida rolled her eyes, she knew just whose voice that was. “May I help you Marcus?” She answered, but not taking her eyes off her work to no avail. As the other students pushed her off the rock she was sitting on and started messing with her books and papers.

“Stop it, why can’t you just leave me alone?” “Alone? After you dared to touch me, you filthy half-breed. Oh no, you’re going to pay. Levicorpus” He said, before casting a spell that suddenly tossed her upside down in the air than dropping her hard on the ground. After a few more spells and Merida casting Impedimenta, she took off running down the hill with them chasing her. She was a little bit away and found a tall tree, climbing up it and hiding in the large branches. The young girl had to cover her mouth though when the group got close to the same tree, causing her to step back on the branch and slipping, her foot and ankle falling into a hole that was in the trunk and the hood of her cloak snagging on another branch.

After a few minutes they gave up and headed back to the castle, it was only a bit after that that she tried to take her foot out of the hole...but it wouldn't budge. She pulled harder and harder, twisting till she finally came to the result that if she tried again, she would either end up breaking her ankle or possibly hanging herself. How in Merlin’s name did she end up like this?!

“What are you doing up there?” A voice startled her. She looked down to find the same boy she had seen at the sorting, this time he was staring back at her with confusion all over his face.

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Albus Severus Potter was just trying to make it through his second year at school, he hated it here but didn’t know how to change it, he didn’t fit in with the other kids and they didn’t make it easy on him either. The only one  that was making it tolerable was his best friend Scorpius Malfoy, who at this moment in time was in the library studying for an exam that was two weeks away. As much as he tried, Albus couldn’t pull his friend away from his books, so he went with the saying “if you can’t beat them, join them.”

But that didn’t last very long. It had been hours by now and Albus couldn’t sit still anymore, “Alright? I can’t do this anymore Scorp.” He declared. “Than take a walk and clear your head. I just got a little more to go over, than we’ll meet up for supper.” The blonde boy answered him. That didn’t sound like a bad idea actually.

So with that, the young Potter boy grabbed his cloak and headed outside. The weather was getting colder but it hadn’t snowed just yet. It was only a reminder that it was coming on Christmas time and he would have to go home and see his father again, not that he didn’t love his father but the man never understood him and was probably just disappointed to have a son in Slytherin.

“Oh look here boys, the Slytherin Squib.” Marcus Farley called out to him. By Merlin he did not need this right now. “Get off it Marcus, run along before that Hufflepuff shows up to punch you in the face again.” He called back, seeing the anger in the other boy’s eyes before he laughed to himself and moved along. Remembering when he heard the news from Rose and his brother, he had never laughed so hard in his life. The thought of a Hufflepuff doing anything violent was one thing that didn’t make sense, but add that to the fact she was a girl and a first year? Him and Scorpius haven’t been able to take Marcus seriously since.

He finally stopped by a tree and leaned against it, closing his eyes for a few seconds of quiet and to let the cool air race pass him. That was till he heard movement..and not the normal kind that came from wind blowing pass branches. He opened his eyes and stared up to see the bottom of a cloak and a single shoe. Then as he moved a little more away and saw a girl standing up in the tree.

“Umm..What are you doing up there?” He asked, the girl’s head snapped down to look back at him, though it was pretty dark out so he could only see shapes of her. “Well..it’s a long story.” She answered. “As long as you weren’t planning to jump on me.” He joked. “Why would I do that? I don’t even know you?” Well she was snappy. “Than come down.” He said...and that’s where this started to get more interesting.

“I..I um, can’t.” She replied.

“You can’t?”

“Yes.”

“And why not?”

“I’m stuck.”

“Stuck?

“What are you a parrot?” She sighed, “yes I’m stuck.”

“Well, why would you go and get stuck in a tree?”

“Ok Rita Skeeter, can we stop this interrogation and maybe you could help me?”

“Now why would I do that, I’m quite enjoying this situation.” Albus chucked.

But that seemed to push the girl too far, as she let out a infuriated yell, followed quickly by one of pain. “All you Slytherins are the same, I tried not to be judgement base on houses but you bunch have proven me wrong on that front.”

That caught his attention, and for some reason he found him taking off his cloak and climbing up the tree to reach her. When he finally got up to her, he was faced with a set of wide confused brown eyes. “We aren’t all the same you know.” Was all he said to her before fixing himself safely on the branch beside her. “Now, are you coming down or not.”

“I told you, I kind of can’t. My foot is stuck and my hood....” She pointed both things out to him as she hung onto the trunk for support. Albus couldn’t believe his ears, she was actually stuck up in the tree!

“How’d you do that?” He asked as he started to untangle her hood. “If you really must know, I climbed up here to get away from Marcus. I slipped trying to hide…” The girl explained, Albus just nodded before giving up on the mess, taking out his wand and got the thing detangled..“You know you could have just gone and gotten a teacher.” She addressed him.“Well, I could climb back down and do that, or since I’m up here..” He shrugged than pointed to her foot. She just rolled her eyes and moved a bit to let him at her foot.

“Wow, you really have it stuck in there, I don’t think it coming out easy. We actually might have to break your ankle to get you out.” He didn’t like the thought but it seemed to be the only way. “Alright then, do it.” She answered. “Wait, really? I mean you’re right i can get a teacher-” “No, I’m sick of being up here...and it’s not like it won’t heal.” Albus didn’t know how to take this, but he just nodded and leaned down. “Ok, bite onto your cloak and hold onto the tree. On the count of three. One, two-”

She yanked her only foot out of the hole, but not without the horrible sound of something snapping very loudly. “Ow!” She pulled back and started to fall but Albus caught her. “Alright, let’s get you down.” He said, seeing she was getting a little woozy, he wrapped his arms around her and casted a spell to help them get safely to the ground before letting her sit. Albus made quit work of using a stick and ripping a bit of his cloak off so he could wrap her ankle till they got to the Hospital wing.

“That’s a very muggle way to go about it, how did you know how to do that?” She asked. “My Gram, she’s really good at healing magic but says there are somethings the muggles can teach us when it comes to emergency situations.” He explained as he tied off the last knot. “I’m Albus by the way.” “Albus? Oh I know you, you’re-” “Yes, yes, I’m Harry Potter’s son.” Here we go again, it was always the same when people found out. They would either ask him a bunch about his dad or ask what it was like to be his son. But then...she surprised him in a way.

“Actually, I was going to say that you’re James’ brother.” She raised her brow at him, studying him before reaching out her hand. “I’m Merida.” Albus blinked and took her hand in his to shake, than pulled her up. “Alright Merida, let's get you to Madam Pomfrey, get that ankle checked out.” They hobbled along the way before she stopped them. “I’m sorry by the way, about what I said about all Slytherins. I did really-“ “It’s alright, I mean it’s really hard not to base on what the majority of shows off. But I’m glad that there are some that will at least try.” He smiled as they began to walk again, “So I know you said but why did you think that climbing a tree was going to get you away from Marcus? Why was he after you anyways?”

“Oh, well, he’s still on it about me punching him so.” “Wait, you’re the one that punched him?” Albus was in actually shock, the little girl was the one? “But your so little, and like you look like you couldn’t even hurt a fly. Plus, you're a Hufflepuff!” He rambled out. She let go to face him completely.

“Albus Potter...look who's house-discriminating now.” She said with a smirk that left Albus utterly stunned. Who was this girl, she reminded him of someone but he couldn’t put his finger on it. But why did he think she, Scorpius and himself would get along very nicely?

Merida than turned and continued to limp away, she was actually a pretty fast limper-no never mind she just fell over.