‘Petrificus Totalus!’ Eden Fletcher shouts, thrusting her wand forward.
‘Protego!’ I yell, bring my wand up sharply, conjuring a shield. ‘Stupify!’ I continue, stepping forward to assist the spell. Eden flies back and hits the ground.
‘Congratulations Phoebe Carter. You have won.’ Professor Snape's amplified voice rumbles around the hall. I twirl my wand between my fingers and blow on the tip. I bow and walk across the platform. I bend over and hold my hand out to Eden who grips it. I pull her up and we hug.
‘You beat me. That's the first time you've beat me.’ she says.
‘I've been practicing.’
‘Please vacate the platform.’ Snape says. I shrug and hop off the platform. Thalia Whitlock and Elizabeth West walk onto the platform. Oh, this is going to be fantastic. Thalia, Liz and I went to the same muggle primary school together. We got our letters from Hogwarts at the same time. We went to Diagon Alley together. We rode the Hogwarts Express together. We did everything together until the Sorting Ceremony. I was among the first to be called up. I remember feeling so happy when I was sorted into Gryffindor. Even happier when Liz was too. Right after Liz Thalia was called up. Liz and I were watching intently when Thalia walked up the steps and sat on the stool. The Sorting Hat was placed on her head and stayed there for an age before finally shouting ‘Slytherin!’
‘What?’ I had whispered, nearly thrown off my feet with shock. “That can’t be right. She can’t be in Slytherin, because that would mean she isn’t with us!” That was a long time ago. Just six years, in fact. But, that was really how Liz and I got to know the Slytherin students. After Liz and I had been ushered up the dozens of staircases to the Gryffindor common room, we instantly decided to learn the Colour Change Charm. We spent hour after hour trying to learn it. And then one day we put our skill to the test and tried it. We turned the hems of our robes green and met up with Thalia outside the Great Hall. She then lead us down to the dungeons and snuck us into the Slytherin common room. It was scary at first, but over time it became a bit more comfortable, and it was all great until a few days before the end of first year, when a whole bunch of first year Slytherins came up to us and accused us of being in Gryffindor. Well, we couldn’t really say no, so we told them that yes, we were in Gryffindor. One of them stepped forward and said that under normal circumstances we would be ripped to shreds, but they were impressed by our trickery. But, back to now. Liz and Thalia, dueling.
‘Incendio!’ Thalia casts.
‘Aguamenti!’ Liz repels. The battle continues like this until both Liz and Thalia yell at the same time.
‘Expelliarmus!’ Liz shouts.
‘Reducto!’ Thalia yells. Thalia’s wand then flies out of her hand as Liz is thrown off her feet. They always tie. Every single time they duel, they tie. It’s hilarious. They both trudge off the platform and walk next to me.
They then look at each other and start laughing. A hand rests on my shoulder. I turn and smile.
‘Hello Phoebe, how are you?’
‘Just fantastic Nathan. Wouldn't like it and other way.’
‘That's good.’ Learning the colour change charm was initially meant to get us into the Slytherin common room so we could hang out with Thalia, but it had other perks. For example, Crabbe and Goyle never beat us up. We always know who is going to get teased when and, even though we would never tell any Slytherins including Thalia, we can tell them to take a different route. It also gave me the opportunity to meet Nathan, which I would never describe as a bad thing. Especially when the Gryffindors realized that I was dating a Slytherin. That day was fun.
‘Are you two quite finished?’ Liz asks. Nathan scowls at her and Thalia steps between them.
‘It is the middle of class. Whatever you want to do, it can wait.’ she points out. I nod and step away from Nathan.
‘I have a free next.’ I say.
‘So do I.’ Nathan smiles.
‘Me too.’ Liz murmurs.
‘Ditto!’ Thalia exclaims. Well, that settles that. Study session in the Slytherin common room. One of these days Liz and I are going to be studying in the Gryffindor common room and people will start wondering why we're never there. Cross that bridge when we come to it. Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter walk onto the platform, glowering at each other. My index fingers immediately press against my temples. Not again. These two have been at each other’s throats since first year. I am getting kind of worried about both of them though. Draco has been looking sickly recently and Harry is being more angst filled as of late. They start dueling and sparks of colour explode from each of their wands. Draco looks fierce, but his eyes are sunken back into his head. As he deflects each spell Harry casts, his wand is being held looser and looser in Draco 's hand.
‘Expelliarmus!’ Harry yells. Draco's wand flies out of his hand.
‘Congratulations Harry Potter. You have won.’ Snape's voice drones. Hate is curled around each syllable. Harry scowls then winces, and walks off the platform. He’s touching his lightening bolt scar. Again. Things are too repetitive with him. I must admit, I’m scared of Voldemort, but the scar thing just bugs me. He’s always moaning about it hurting. Draco walks off the platform, his feet nearly dragging along. Nearly. Thalia steps forward to help him, but Liz grabs her arm.
‘He doesn’t like you.’
‘He has to!’
‘He doesn’t though.’
‘You know it’s true.’
‘Now you’re just being mean!’ The pair bicker about this all the time, it’s so funny. Seeing as we could only duel once this lesson, those who aren’t dueling are either watching or chatting, but Liz and I need to move away from the body of Slytherins or we’ll be noticed by Snape.
‘C’mon Liz, stop tormenting Thalia. We need to go back to our house.’
‘But tormenting her is fun!’
‘Fun that can be had later. Come on.’
‘Fine.’ Liz grumbles. I drag her along to where Gryffindor house is standing. Nothing particularly exciting happens until class finishes, so Liz and I walk down to the dungeons and change our robe colours. Thalia walks up, talking to Nathan, Draco and Eden. Draco walks in front and opens the dungeon. You can practically see Thalia’s pupils turning to little love hearts. Liz goes and pats her on the back.
‘Sorry about before mate.’ Liz says.
‘It’s okay.’ Thalia replies. I join Eden and Nathan’s conversation. Nathan wraps his arms around me as the five of us walk into the Slytherin common room. We sit down on a small collection of couches and make ourselves comfortable. We share Eden, Nathan and Thalia’s copies of Confronting The Faceless between us. I think Draco’s fallen asleep. Eden is lying across an armchair, Liz has her legs on a table and Thalia has her legs on top of Liz’s. Nathan is sitting with one leg on the couch and one off, and I’m on his lap. Each of us has a chapter, and what we do is read it, and if we come across an important piece of information, we ask a question where it’s an answer. After a few minutes Draco stirs. He stands and walks across to where we are. He scowls in my direction.
‘Nathan, I cannot believe you would date a mudblood.’ He mutters. I look up at him and arch an eyebrow.
‘Really? You’re still on this Draco?’ I say.
‘I could get you expelled for being here.’ He growls. I laugh.
‘If you were going to do that, you would’ve done it by now.’ I chuckle. He maintains his scowl for a few seconds and then walks away. I look at Nathan.
‘You don’t mind dating a muggle-born, do you?’ I ask.
‘Not when it’s you.’ He smiles back.