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we could be heroes

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Wednesday, 2 April, 2014

It was sunny today, for the first time in a long while. Irena felt strangely hopeful and unfamiliarly light in her chest. Things felt okay for the first time in a while. She wasn't anxious and the negative thoughts did not plague her as much as usual. Irena wanted to pin it on the weather, but she was not sure it was the case.

"Only fifteen seconds late." Slughorn chided teasingly as Irena stepped inside his classroom, going to his office. Today was her career day appointment with Professor Slughorn and Professor McGonagall. While she would have been nervous before, she wasn't now.

McGonagall sat behind Slughorn's desk, smiling politely at Irena. They'd gotten along well, Irena thought, and while she was strict, she really was an excellent professor.

"Ms. Diggory-Black, this meeting is to talk about career ideas you may have and help you decide what subjects would be suitable to take for your sixth and seventh years." Slughorn introduced the idea, though everyone in the room already knew. "Have you any ideas about careers you may be interested in?"

After taking a number of aptitude tests, getting her astrological chart and palms read by Diana, and listening to everyone around her, Irena was more confident in what she wanted to do as a career. "I think it'd be a dream to play for the Chudley Cannons." Irena told him. "I know, it's just a dream."

"You certainly have the chance once Ms. Prentice graduates this year." Slughorn shrugged. McGonagall glared, but he didn't say anything to her, only smiled at Irena. "Do you think you will join the team again next year?"

Irena nodded. Austin wouldn't be captain and Thyme wouldn't be there; she could see herself rejoining. "I'm going to try out again next autumn. Whoever is captain can accept me or take me. I'm a bit out of practice, but it should be like riding a bike, I think."

"Excellent.. excellent." Slughorn said, trying to hide his glee. He was not the only one who was disappointed by this year's Quidditch season considering Slytherin.

McGonagall cleared her throat. "Irena, what about another job? A different career, in case Seeker does not work out?"

"Oh, right. I was getting to that." Irena said with a nod. "I want to try to be an Auror; or maybe a Healer. Everyone is telling me I have the potential to be an Auror, but my dad says I could be a great Healer like my mum. I think they take similar amounts of classes so I'm saying both." She rambled.

Slughorn nodded. "Your mother is an excellent Healer.. she's on my wall, you know. Slug Club member along with Professor Potter." He grinned wistfully.

McGonagall cleared her throat. "You will need to get your grades up before the OWL. You need five NEWTs at the very least and nothing under Exceeds Expectations . Auror is a difficult career to get into and will continue to be difficult after Hogwarts."

"Healer is my backup for my backup." Irena mumbled.

"For both, you will need excellent scores in Defence Against the Dark Arts, though Professor Potter has given Outstanding for nearly every year." McGonagall told her. "For Charms, you've gotten Exceeds Expectations the past two years, very nice."

Slughorn cleared his throat. "Your Potions work is wonderful, Irena. I know you could be so much better if you apply yourself. I wish to have you in my NEWT Potions class; I am only looking for Exceeds Expectations but you are hovering at just below Acceptable at this time."

"I'll put more work in for Potions." Irena promised.

"I'm putting in work to bring up your Transfiguration scores." McGonagall told her. "However, I think you would benefit from extra studying from me. I would like it if you came in during your free time, but you are consistently busy ." She twitched her eyebrows up, knowing that Irena had lied before.

Slughorn hadn't noticed McGonagall. "Yes, Irena, you must clear your schedule! This takes precedence over everything else!" He told her. "I am putting you down for Auror; however, if someone from Chudley Cannons just so happens to scout you, then I suppose you can take that career path." He smirked.

McGonagall chuckled, only rolling her eyes as they sent Irena off on her way.

 

Friday, 4 April, 2014

Irena threw herself into her studies– well, she was more dragged into them by Philomena. Philomena had made them each study calendars– all seven of them – for the entire month and insisted they follow each day's work. In fact, she had coordinated Gryffindor Quidditch practices for the entire month of April, leaving them only two evenings off: Teddy's birthday and Irena's birthday.

They had decided to study in the Room of Requirement. It had formed itself into the perfect place to study according to their needs; it had a place to practice practical exams that was away from where they would study their books. There had even been a wall drawn up where you could not hear or see the other person, which was wonderful.

She was walking along with Felix to the Room of Requirement, a skip in her step. Diana had ended up inviting Claudia Greengrass and Claudia had brought a number of her friends: Willow Widdershins, a Ravenclaw, and Delilah Diggle, a Hufflepuff (making for a diverse study group). Of course, their group also expanded to other Gryffindor fifth years.

Diana and Talon walked hand and hand with the rest of their group, laughing. Irena and Felix tailed behind together. Felix had just gotten out of detention with McGonagall and seemed to be in a sour mood. Irena was carrying a load of books in her bag that made her shoulder ache.

When no one noticed, Felix grabbed her hand, dipping into an empty corridor. " Felix! " Irena squeaked, but was silenced by his hand. Her back leaned against the wall and he leaned into her, grinning. He let go of her, kissing her cheek. "What's the meaning of this, Finch?" Irena asked breathlessly, feeling her heart race.

"I just wanted to kiss you, that's all." Felix told her. He wrestled the chain out from under his uniform, unclasping it in front of her. He removed the ring, taking her hand and sliding it on her finger. "I wanted to give this to you too. It's about time it was returned to its proper owner."

Irena watched as he placed it on her ring finger on her right hand, bringing it up to his face and kissing her knuckles. She felt her face flush. "What year is it? Did you take a Time Turner back to the middle ages?" She asked.

"Can't I give you a gift, Wren?" Felix asked teasingly. "Let's head back before they noti–"

She pecked him on the cheek, leaving with a teasing smile. They walked together to the Room of Requirement. A few seventh years had been spending time studying there as well, lingering around the bookshelves for their NEWT studies.

"Okay– time for you all to leave!" Philomena announced very loudly. The seventh years all sighed and rolled their eyes. "Go to the library or something. We found this room first." She retorted as they shuffled away.

One seventh year in particular caught Irena's eye. Austin had been talking to a few of his friends before they made eye contact. Irena was not holding onto Felix's hand (he was busy teasing another Gryffindor fifth year who had followed Teddy, Eleanor Evans) nor was she anywhere close to him, but he glanced to Felix before approaching her anyway.

"Irena, can I talk to you outside?" Austin asked. Irena nodded, leaving with him. Diana watched her carefully, tapping her wrist and mouthing, Three minutes. Good, she'd come and save Irena from him.

The other Slytherins dissipated as Austin and Irena hung around the entrance. "Irena, I wanted to say I'm sorry." Austin told her, fiddling with a ring on his thumb. She had been rotating Felix's promise ring around on her finger. "For last year. I was a total idiot. I really just want to apologise."

"It's fine." Irena shrugged. Really, compared to Roan, her relationship with Austin was just fine. She had forgiven him a long time ago. "Water under the bridge. Just, uh, if you're thinking of asking me out, the answer is no."

Austin chuckled, shaking his head. "No, that's not what I'm doing." He told her. "I was just letting you know that since Quidditch season is over for Slytherin, I'm appointing Orchid as team captain. Erwin's had some weird run ins this year and some suspicious comings and goings, so I couldn't appoint him. I don't think Tom Yaxley will be on the team next year, she got into a bit of a tiff with him earlier in the year and he might leave."

"Merlin's beard, I missed a lot of drama this year." Irena chuckled.

"So, I'll be gone, Thyme and Lucy will graduate; Tom and Erwin probably won't be on the team next year." Austin counted on his fingers. "That's nearly all of the team except for Orchid and Tabitha. I think what I'm asking is if you'll rejoin the team next year."

She tried to hide her delight. "I'll have to check my schedule." Irena told him. "I'm going to be taking a lot of NEWTs next year, after all. I'd want to be Seeker, too. I don't want any other role."

"Well, of course." Austin told her. "I'll let her know you'd be interested."

Irena nodded. "Good." She said. 

The two stood there awkwardly, each wanting to say more, but a wall of old feelings and memories came between them. "I heard about Roan." Austin said very quietly, looking at her now. "If you want, after NEWTs are officially over, I'll get my mates and beat him to a pulp."

She chuckled. "Roan's been punched already on my behalf." Irena told him. "Thank you, though."

"Oh– and I'm going straight to my Auror training this summer." Austin added. "They always pick a random country to take the new recruits to; just to beef 'em up. Someone said we're going to America this year, but my money's on Spain. You're still at 12 Grimmauld Place, right? I'll send you a postcard."

Irena giggled. "Thanks, Austin." She shook her head in disbelief. "I guess I'll miss you a little."

"'Course you will. I'm unforgettable." Austin teased. "Good luck on your OWLs."

"Good luck on your NEWTs." Irena said as he began to walk away. "Oh, and Austin? You're going to make a good Auror."

He grinned, leaving. Diana opened the door. "Good, he's gone." She sighed, yanking Irena into the room. Claudia and her friends all practised Charms on one side, while the rest of Irena's friend group sat near the bookshelves.

"What'd he want anyway?" Talon asked as Irena sat down in the love seat beside Felix.

"I think.. he wanted closure." Irena said, pulling out her Transfiguration book, determined not to disappoint McGonagall any more times. "He apologised for last year and offered to beat Roan up." She omitted the part about the postcard; it felt like something she wanted to keep to herself and tell Felix privately.

Felix draped his arm over her shoulder. "What'd you say to that?"

"That you all already beat him." Irena chuckled.

Philomena sighed. "Violence is not the answer. So many problems can be solved with words and conversation."

Quietness. Teddy chuckled a bit, his hair flashing a deep, red orange. "Honestly, I'd beat Roan Rookwood up all over again just for the shit he's pulled since the last time." He said. Talon and Felix chuckled to each other. Irena sighed very awkwardly, pulling her knees to her chest. "But, um, we should start studying. Let's go over Partial Vanishment.. "

 

Tuesday, 8 April, 2014

Her heart raced, her palms sweat, and Irena could feel her head beginning to spin. "Wren, come here." Felix called out, walking after her very quickly. "Irena!"

Irena spun, ringing out her hands. "She never calls me in after class.. I went yesterday for extra lessons and she told me she didn't need me today." She whispered. "Something's happened with Roan. I can't stand to see him again."

"You're having an anxiety attack, Irena." Felix told her. "Look at me. You're here at Hogwarts. You're with me. You're safe. Take a deep breath." He grabbed her shoulders to keep her from wandering.

She took a deep breath, holding it for a few moments, exhaling. "Do you think he's going to press charges or, or get me in trouble?" Irena asked in a quiet voice. "McGonagall said that he could get in serious trouble. Do you think he'll do something to retaliate?"

"No, Irena." Felix told her, taking her under his arm, forcing her to walk toward McGonagall's office. "You're just anxious; you have every right to be. He put you through a terrible experience and there's the OWLs."

Irena resisted the urge to snap at him and say, I know. I went through it. She only nodded. "Thanks, Felix." Even if he was an over explainer, his heart was in the right place. He usually could hit the head on the nail.

They went to McGonagall's office together. "I'll be outside when you return." Felix promised, kissing her temple, leaving her to lean against the wall. He smirked, gesturing for her to go in. Irena sighed, going inside her office.

"There you are." McGonagall said happily, happier than she had seemed in a long time. "Irena, this is the new Slytherin prefect for your year, Julius Zabini." She gestured to a tall boy across the desk.

He was very tall; taller than Felix by far. Irena only came up to his shoulder. His robes were very well kept and he had dreadlocks grown out to his ears. He had a face that could seem very mean, but he broke into a warm smile, reaching for her hand to shake it. "So nice to meet you, Irena." Julius said.

"Likewise." Irena said with a smile.

"I'm Claudia's cousin; she's told me so much about you." Julius said excitedly. Irena was just grateful he wasn't one of the boys who ran in Roan's group. He seemed very kind, much nicer than Roan ever had. "When Professor McGonagall offered me this pin, I knew I had to take the opportunity."

She nodded, smiling and looking at McGonagall.

"Well, you were definitely more qualified than previous students." McGonagall said. "The head boy and head girl will assign you both to patrols. It seems to be a quiet year for now, so I wouldn't worry too much. There will be brunch on the train to Hogwarts in September where everyone can catch you up, Julius."

Julius nodded, bowing slightly and leaving. Irena left soon after.

Felix had not lingered outside the office; when Irena came out, she sighed. Clearly, he had been pulled away into something more important. Irena was confident that she was important to him too, so whatever he left for must have been urgent.

Fortunately, she knew her friend's schedules because of the way Philomena had written them. They were in the library now, likely studying the Werewolf Code of Conduct and other History of Magic lessons. Irena went straight there.

"Where'd you and Felix go?" Talon asked, lifting an eyebrow up cheekily upon her return.

"McGonagall's office." Irena told them. "She found a new prefect for Slytherin to replace Roan. Julius Zabini."

Diana grinned. "Oh, he was my Potions partner in first year. He's really nice; terrible at Potions."

Irena chuckled. "Did Felix ever come back? He walked me there and left before I was finished. I couldn't find him." She asked, flipping to the same page as Talon in their History of Magic textbook.

"No, we can check the Marauder's Map when we go to the Gryffindor rooms in an hour." Teddy shrugged. Philomena had started a cycle of study groups with the fifth and seventh years. Each hour, depending on the day, groups would cycle through studying in the Room of Requirement, the library, and their own common rooms (if they ever wanted to leave their common rooms).

Within the hour, the group had gotten a lot of studying done and had taken the time to practise writing theses for the essay section on the exam ( Although the Wizards' Council had good intentions by establishing the Werewolf Code of Conduct in 1637, this legislation caused more harm to the werewolf community and was not a good idea. This is because it involved inhumane tactics and exposing stigmatized werewolves to the wizarding world where they could face more discrimination. Furthermore, this could lead to more harm done toward the future generations of werewolves... Irena had written a fine, arguable claim but she was certain her hand would fall off).

They were off to the Gryffindor rooms to study. "What are the properties of Gillyweed when ingested?" Philomena asked, reading off her little cards she had written to help study.

Diana's hand shot up, as did Tabitha's. Philomena pointed to Diana. "Gillyweed, native to the Mediterranean sea, can cause the consumer the ability to breathe underwater. A historical example is during the Triwizard Tournament, famous Harry Potter swallowed Gillyweed during one of the tasks."

"Good." Philomena grinned. "Extra information is good as long as it's correct."

Irena was beginning to grow slightly worried about Felix, fiddling with the ring on her finger all over again. Teddy was walking quickly, his hair a silvery colour; he was worried too. When they got to the Gryffindor common room, everyone sprawled out on the floor while Teddy went straight upstairs, grabbing his map.

"Okay.. Potions." Philomena said, delighted as she opened her notes. Irena laid back on the couch, sighing.

Teddy returned with the map. " I solemnly swear I am up to no good. " He said, pressing his wand to the parchment. Talon, Philomena, Tabitha, and Diana were all too busy trying to answer questions that Victoire was listing off. "Okay, he's in the second floor girl's lavatory." Teddy said.

Irena leaned in, looking closely. Felix Fitzgibbons as a tag stood right beside the girl's restroom. "That's not just any bathroom. That's Moaning Myrtle's bathroom." Irena told him. "It's out of order. What's he doing there?"

"Look!" Teddy pointed with his finger at two more figures on the page. Leo Diggory-Black was the first one, Storm Aves just behind him. "Maybe they'll see what's happening." He said cheerfully, eating a licorice wand.

She glared, grabbing the licorice wand from him, taking a bite, watching the map. Leo and Storm lingered by Felix's name for a moment, walking around him. Leo turned and began to start running. "Fuck." Irena whispered, shoving the candy back to Teddy.

"What?" Victoire asked. Teddy frowned in confusion.

"Leo's running straight here." Irena said, grabbing her wand. "I'm going to go meet him."

"Should we go with you?" Talon asked. Irena shook her head.

"Stay and study. I'll be fine." Irena said. It was probably nothing, she told herself as she climbed through the hole. Felix was probably just hanging around the bathroom, she figured as she walked down the corridor, fixing her prefect's pin.

Leo ran straight toward her, just as she predicted. "Irena–" He coughed, out of breath. "It's–"

"I knew it." Irena seethed, beginning to run. Leo, despite being out of breath, ran just behind her.

She came to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. The spirit had flooded the bathrooms, evident by the amount of water on the floor. Storm was nowhere to be found, but by the sounds of retching echoing off the walls of the lavatory, he was there.

Felix was a crumpled mess on the ground, clutching his side, curled into a ball. Irena went straight to him. "I just found him like this." Leo told her nervously. "Except he had a potato sack over his head."

"Felix." Irena whispered, touching his hair, soaked through with water. "Who did this?"

He was beaten badly. His face was already red and purple, the white of his eyes stained pink. His knuckles were bruised too; Felix had put up a fight. He clutched his abdomen forcefully. "Why did you bring her ?" He asked Leo, straining.

Irena frowned, grabbing his hand. As soon as she did that, blood filled the white of his shirt. "He needs to go to Madame Pomfrey." She whispered. "He needs to go now."

"My teeth.." Felix mumbled, straining. "They're gone. Somewhere around here."

She nodded. "Leo, you need to find them." Irena told him. Leo's eyes were wide. "Start looking."

Leo got up, beginning to look around. Felix started to sit up which took much effort, spitting out a wad of blood and, unfortunately, more teeth. Irena reached into the muck, picking them out for him as Felix tried to sit up.

Storm had returned from the bathroom, looking at Irena, then Felix, turning green. "Stay." Irena ordered.

Moaning Myrtle was wreaking havoc in the restroom, wailing. " No one's ever fought in here in front of me! Not fair! Not fair! " She cried, disappearing into one of the sinks, her cries echoing down the corridor.

"Storm, I want you to grab Felix's shoulder and help him up." Irena said very seriously, keeping her voice tight. Storm swallowed, still looking green, helping Felix to his feet. Irena looked around a little more, clutching teeth in her hand. Teeth. God fucking damn it. Human teeth. Felix's teeth. Irena's rage bubbled up inside her.

Leo returned, his wand lit. "I can't find any more." He fretted.

"It's fine." Irena said, accepting whatever he found into her hand. How many teeth had he lost? She could count five in her hand. "Leo, go to the Gryffindor room and tell everyone to meet me in the hospital wing– Teddy, Victoire, everyone. Then you're going to go to McGonagall and tell her. Then, you're going to go get Dad and tell him to bring Mum."

He nodded, leaving. Storm held onto Felix. "I'm no good with blood, you should've given me his job, really–"

"Let's go." Irena snapped at him. Felix was still clutching his ribcage, but he was limping slowly. Irena ended up practising Charms by levitating him into the air, leaving Storm to follow after numbly.

Felix was settled into a bed just as their friends ran inside the hospital wing. "Felix? Mate are you alright?" Talon asked worriedly.

"Stay back!" Madame Pomfrey snapped. "I'm working."

Irena was washing his teeth in a bowl. Madame Pomfrey cut Felix's shirt open with her scissors carelessly. I'll buy you a new shirt. I'll buy you a million new shirts. Irena promised. A deep gash started on one end of his rib cage and ended by his hips. Irena turned away as Madame Pomfrey began to bend the waistband of his trousers back to examine and clean the wound.

McGonagall arrived next, looking at Felix for a moment, but holding her tongue.

Mum and Dad arrived finally, Leo at their side. Madame Pomfrey smiled as Mum approached. "Hello, Reni." She said, kissing her on her head in a way that reminded Irena of how things were before. "Hi, Felix. Are you okay? Concussion again?"

"No." Felix said.

"Mum, his teeth." Irena said quietly, showing her the pan. "I looked for them and only found these."

"We can grow him new ones. Better to put the old ones back in though." Mum said, washing her hands. She opened Felix's mouth and began to inspect his mouth. Most of the teeth that had been punched out were in the front of his mouth. "McGonagall says you mentioned being interested in becoming a Healer."

Irena shrugged. Felix's hand began wandering over to Irena's, wrapping around her wrist. "Just an idea." She muttered, looking at him with what she hoped was a comforting smile.

"Right, well, it looks like whoever's done this didn't want Felix to be able to see much." Mum said, looking at his eyes now. "Irena, I'm going to teach you the teeth fixing charm– don't look shocked, it's not hard to do, they teach it in your first year– I need to fix his eyes."

Mum took a single tooth, a canine, and placed it in its spot, circling around it a few times with her wand tip. Felix winced, exhaling sharply as Irena watched, shocked, as the bones began to fuse. "Wicked." Irena whispered.

"Brilliant." Mum said. " Sanus dentes . Easy incantation."

Madame Pomfrey fixed the waistband of Felix's trousers, stepping away. Mum began to whisper into Felix's ear. He was visibly shaking, closing his eyes as Mum began to wave her wand over his open eye. Felix began trembling, his grip on Irena's wrist growing tighter.

"Alright. That was the bad one." She whispered. "I'm going to go brew a potion in the other room." Mum said, leaving, pulling the curtains back to leave them alone.

Irena chewed on her lip, putting the teeth back into the basin. It was nearly impossible to mend them from where she sat. She climbed onto the bed, straddling him on his waist. "Your nose is broken." She mumbled, half to herself.

Felix placed his hands on her legs. She grabbed her wand, tapping the tip on his nose. " Episkey ." Irena cast. Felix lurched underneath her. Irena wasn't thinking, leaning in and kissing him. He stilled.

"You're right." Felix said. " True Love'th Kith. " He said with a lisp.

"I'm right about a few things." Irena said, smirking. She leaned forward, grabbing a tooth. She analysed it as Felix opened his mouth. His hands found their way to her waist, resting.

He frowned. "How did you know my nothe wath broken?" Felix asked.

"I look at you pretty often, Finch." Irena said, turning red. He opened his mouth as she reattached his tooth, doing so with another two.

Irena's mum entered after. Felix dropped his hands to his chest. "Good work, Irena." She complimented. "We'll make a Healer out of you yet." She said, clearly not minding that Irena was seated on top of Felix. She fixed the rest of his teeth under her mother's watch. She climbed down, leaving Felix alone with Mum.

"Oh, Irena!" Philomena said with a sigh, wrapping her arms around her. "What happened to him?"

McGonagall was still there. "He was obviously jumped." Irena said, sitting down in a chair.

"I'll kill Rookwood..." Talon grimaced, glancing at McGonagall, who lifted her eyebrows up with a listening ear. "...with kindness."

Irena sighed, shaking her head. "Leo and Storm said they found him with a potato sack over his head. He might not know who did it either." She rambled, her hands shaking slightly. "Roan does have a motive. I don't want to point fingers, but I think it could be the case."

Mum returned. "He's fine to take his tests. He'll be ready to go in the morning." She told McGonagall. "Irena, I'll see you this summer when I pick you all up from the Hogwarts Express." She said, kissing her, leaving with Dad and Leo.

McGonagall left, going straight to Felix. They lingered outside, leaving the headmistress alone with him. Irena buried her face in her arms, groaning. McGonagall walked away, her heels clicking. They all left to go to his place in the bed.

Felix sat up, drinking water from a tiny plastic cup. "You all always act like this. Honestly, I'm fine." He retorted. Irena hadn't noticed how apprehensive everyone was around him. "I just want to go back to Gryffindor. Can someone beg Pomfrey?"

Teddy nodded, leaving. Felix smirked. "You can't use Teddy as your house elf." Irena told him, shaking her head.

"Who did it?" Talon asked earnestly. "Felix.. you and I both know.. the three of us can do so well as a team. When we're through, they won't even be recognizable."

Philomena slapped his bicep, glaring. "What did I say about violence?" She whispered. "I hope whoever did this to you gets held accountable, Felix." She turned to her brother, taking his hand.

"Thanks, Phil. Even if you're a pacifist." Felix said.

"He must be fine, he's making jokes." Victoire chuckled nervously.

"'Course I am. Irena found all my teeth." Felix joked, making Irena turn red.

Teddy returned. "She said we can go back." He flashed a thumbs up.

"What did you tell McGonagall anyway?" Talon asked.

Felix shrugged nonchalantly (in a situation that Irena thought should be very chalant). "I told her to go talk to Moaning Myrtle."