I get to the library for eight the next morning, I managed to slip out of the common room before the others woke up. Madam Pince arrives and looks at me shrewdly.
"Have you left some homework to the last minute, Miss Parker?"
"Yes, I only need to reference though." I reply, latching onto the excuse as it's offered. She opens the door and I walk over to the Charms section and spend forty minutes making notes on Glamours and healing spells. Madam Pince stays away and I'm relieved because I know this is not OWL standard, I only hope I can pull it off.
Arriving at the breakfast table early, there are only a few other students present. I sit alone for a few minutes before Lucy Weasley sits next to me.
"Morning Lucy." I say, taking a bite of a croissant.
"Good morning, Matilda."
"I was very sorry to hear about your Mom." I say cautiously, she nods.
"Thanks, I know my Dad's pleased that your Dad is doing such a good job in his old post, I think it helps."
"I'm glad to hear it." I say trying to supress memories of my father. The world has such a false impression of him it makes me feel sick.
Gradually the hall gets busier and towards the end of breakfast Professor Lupin makes his way down the table handing out timetables.
"Here you go, Miss Parker."
"Thanks Professor Lupin." I say, taking the parchment. Arithmancy, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Herbology and Transfiguration, not a bad day. Percy Weasley, then Professor Lupin for Defense, Professor Longbottom teaches Herbology and it's one of my favourite lessons. Finally Professor Stricken, Head of Hufflepuff for Transfiguration. She's a good teacher and tries to make every lesson fun. Not a bad Monday.
I tuck the timetable into my bag and when I look up Izzy is standing there.
"Can I talk to you?" Her eyes show clear pain, I glance around and see that Lupin is looking at us with apparent interest. I grab Izzy's hand and swing my legs over the bench.
"Come on, I'll show you where the owlery is." I say. "I'll see you guys in Arithmancy." Rosie and Al both make noises of having heard me, neither are morning people and Rosie is positively catatonic before ten.
I take Izzy to an empty classroom and shut the door.
"It's really hurting, I'm sorry."
"Don't apologise, lift up your shirt." She turns around and I'm grateful because I don't want to see her tears. Pulling out my hastily made notes I read down and try various charms. It's a skill of my mother's to use a different glamour every term, she must really do her research.
On my fifth attempt it works and Izzy's pale skin is replaces by red, bruised and broken skin with three clear strikes across it. I bite my tongue to stop myself from gasping, it will only make her panic.
I look in my bag and find some dittany that I stole from home and rub it gently over the skin, I can feel that she's crying but I don't comment on it. When I've finished I put the bottle down and put a weaker glamour on.
"Not really, my back was the worst. Thanks T…Matilda." I smile and pull her into a hug.
"Yeah, what about you?" She asks, looking at my arm.
"I healed my wrist last night, the rest will be fine. What lesson have you got first?" My back is also throbbing but there is no way I'm letting her see it, she might still have some hope that this summer was a one off and I'd hate to quash that.
"Defence Against the Dark Arts with Professor Lupin."
"Oh, you'll enjoy that, he's really nice."
"Is it true he's a werewolf?"
"Yeah, but with the potions now he just has to take a few days off, his wife comes in to cover those lessons and Professor Longbottom takes over the Gryffindors."
"I can't believe I made it." She says with a true smile.
"Of course…" The door opens and I make to put my potions and notes back in my bag.
"Oh…Miss Parker, what are you doing in here?" It's Professor Flitwick although I'm unsure why he's come in.
"Sorry Professor, I was just helping my sister write to my parents." I say, moving so he can see Izzy.
"No matter, off to class though, you don't want to be late on your first day!"
I walk Izzy to Defence and then rush to make it to Arithmancy in time. The bell rings and I'm still a few corridors away but my still painful ribs prevent me from running. The door is closed as I reach it so I knock before I enter.
"Sorry I'm late, Professor Weasley." I say, it's strange to call him Professor, we've had him around for dinner a few times.
"Why are you late, Miss Parker?" It's clear he doesn't want to be seen as a soft teacher.
"I was walking my little sister to Defence, it won't happen again."
"Make sure it doesn't, sit down next to Mr Potter." I look at the class and realise we are sat in alphabetical order, it doesn't affect who I would sit with so I'm not bothered, I slip into the seat next to Al and pull out my things.
Percy Weasley establishes himself as a good, but strict teacher. We are told that he has a three strikes and you're out policy, the haunted look in his eyes makes me believe that no one will push it in this class, even Scorpius Malfoy is staying quiet.
We are set an exercise and light chatter fills the classroom as we work through it.
"So, did Izzy get off alright?"
"Yeah, she's just a bit skittish."
"I know the type." He mutters with a furtive glance at me.
"I'm not skittish." I reply, stung.
"Yes you are, you'll be back to normal in a few weeks, you're always a bit weird for the first month…"
"No I'm not!" I reply, slightly louder out of sheer irritation, and fear.
"Miss Parker, I was hoping to get through the first day without issuing any strikes but it appears that's not possible. You are on your first strike and you have lost ten house points." I nod and look back at my work, still fuming at Al.
I'm not skittish, I'm not different at the start of term, I'm just…careful. If Al has noticed then I need to be more careful, very careful without it being noticeable.
I don't speak to Al for the rest of the lesson and by the time we reach Defense I'm still mad. We join the queue and Rosie looks between us with a raised eyebrow.
"Apparently I'm skittish and weird at the start of term, don't worry though I'll be back to normal in a month." I spit, with my arms crossed. Rosie looks at Al.
"Why did you tell her?"
"What?!" I say loudly, the other students look around for a moment but then the door opens and we all move in. I sit at the back of the classroom, on my own and determinedly look away from my friends.
"Right, I've got a pop quiz to see how much you've retained over the holidays, shouldn't take more than half an hour." The papers fly towards us and I pick up my quill and look down at mine.
How much I've retained? Not a lot apparently, I still can't shake my irritation but then I realise that it's not Rosie and Al I'm angry at, it's me. I've been reckless and now that I've got Izzy to think of I can't afford mistakes.
At the end of the test Lupin collects the papers and puts them in his bag before turning to us.
"I'm sure you're going to get this lecture a lot this week but this is OWL year, it's time to buckle down and put in the ground work. Everyone in this class is more than capable of passing this OWL so I want to see you all putting the effort in. This week we'll be recapping Dark Creatures and then next week we'll move to duelling. Any questions?"
No one puts their hand up so Lupin continues the lecture, at the end of the class the bell rings and we all make to move but he puts his hand up so we all sit down again.
"As you're all Gryffindor, you'll all be having Career Advice next week, we used to do it at the end of the year but Professor McGonagall has decided to move it forwards so that if you need to pull your socks up then you'll have more time. I'll be posting the times in the common room over the next few days and they'll be a selection of information leaflets waiting in there as well."
He dismisses us and I walk over to Rosie and Al, they look up at me and I try to look sincere.
"I'm sorry. I just don't like people talking about me behind my back."
"We're not people, we're your best friends!" Says Rosie passionately.
"We were just worried, we know it takes you longer to settle into Hogwarts than us." Al says, looking at me with green eyes that are deeper than my sisters.
"Yeah it does, I don't like change."
"Well, no harm done." Says Al and then he picks me up and squeezes me so quickly that I don't have time to filter my reaction and I gasp in obvious pain. He lets me go so fast that it's more like he drops me and I wobble into chair and fall into it gasping.
"Matilda?" Rosie asks.
"Miss Parker, are you alright?" Lupin asks, pausing in his task of clearing his desk and walking over to me.
"I'm fine, sorry. Al just took me by surprise."
"Be careful Albus, not everyone is built like a tank." Lupin says, Rosie snorts. Al is tall, nearly six foot, and so muscly that if me and Rosie tackled him at the same time I doubt he'd even notice.
"Sorry…Uncle Remus." He glances around the empty classroom to check we're alone. My ribs are still throbbing but I'm trying not to let it show. Lupin kneels down in front of me and I try and control my face.
"Are you sure you're okay?" He asks. "I'm not sure if Madam Clearwater has had a patient yet but I'm sure she…"
"I'm absolutely fine, honestly." He looks at me for another moment and I look away from his penetrative gaze and he stands up.
"Alright then, off you go, I'm sure you're got homework to do."
"Of course we have! Uncle Percy gave us two essays, and you've given us loads…"
"OWL year Albus, don't leave it till the last minute like your Dad did, if it wasn't for Hermione I doubt him or Ron would have survived the year."
"Don't worry, I've already made revision schedules for us." Rosie says brightly, both Al and I turn to her.
"You've done what? It's the first day!" I say with a smile.
"Exactly, start as you mean to go on, come on. I've scheduled you two to do Arithmancy before lunch. Bye, Uncle Remus." Rosie marches out of the classroom and Al and I look after her, completely gobsmacked. Al turns to me.
"We'll never survive the year!"
"Or she won't." I reply, standing up. Lupin smiles and waves and we leave, it's going to be a long term
The rest of the week passes quickly and by Friday morning I'm completely exhausted. Rosie has stuck to her word and Al and I have taken to pretending to work just to shut her up.
Izzy has settled in quickly and seems to be good friends with Fred Weasley, I checked her back last night and it's healing well. If only the same could be said for my burn. Every time I take the glamour off it looks worse and I'm sure it's infected. I feel lousy and after breakfast as we walk to Defense, Al confronts me about it. Rosie is at the library although I'm not sure why.
"Are you alright?"
"You just look wiped out."
"Aren't you? I can't wait to get to bed!" He doesn't look convinced so I decided to take a risk. "I think I'm coming down with something, I might pop to the hospital wing."
"Good idea, Uncle Remus won't mind."
"Not now, I'll see how I am at lunch."
Al starts a reply but it turns into a yawn and I laugh.
"God, this year's going to be brutal! We haven't even had try-outs yet!"
"When are they?"
"I'll ask James, we've got a prefect meeting tonight." I nod and as we approach the Defence classroom the door opens and we join the other students, Rosie arrives seconds after us panting and stressed looking.
"Alright, Rosie?" I ask as we make out way to the usual seats at the front.
"Yeah…wanted to finish some… extra reading on Boggarts." She says, out of breath from rushing to class.
"We're doing them today." Al says as we sit down. I try and control my reaction and it must work because they don't comment but my mind is going into overdrive, what will my Boggart be? That's a stupid question, I know who it will be, what can I do about it?
Lupin starts his talk but I don't pay attention to any of it, it's only when the other students stand up that I come up with a plan.
I purposely catch my foot on the table leg as I stand and trip myself up. It might have been intentional but I wasn't counting on the pain that landing on both my burnt arm and injured ribs would cause me. My head also hits the floor and I see stars and for a moment my vision fades but then Al and Robert come into view.
"Ouch." I mumble feebly, they both help me to sit and then Lupin comes over and bends down.
"Are you alright, Miss Parker?"
"Yeah I…" As I had hoped for Al interrupts me.
"She's not been feeling well, I told her to go to the hospital wing." He protests, I try to look annoyed.
"Honestly, I just tripped…"
"Perhaps a visit to Madam Clearwater would be wise, if you've not been feeling your best. Rosie, please escort Matilda."
"Of course sir, come on." I pull myself up and without looking at any of my fellow students or grabbing my bag I walk out of the classroom with Rosie, quite triumphant that my plan is working, now for the next stage.
I wait until we have walked halfway and then I turn to Rosie.
"You can go back Rosie, I'll be fine."
"No, I'll take you."
"Come on, I know the way to the hospital wing and I know you don't want to miss class." Rosie looks conflicted for a moment.
"Alright, I'll make good notes for you."
"I know you will."
I keep walking and when the sounds of Rosie's footsteps fade I sit on a window seat and rub my ribs. I could go to the hospital wing but I've never met Madam Clearwater before and I don't know if she checks for Glamours. Pomfrey never did but I never used to take my mother's off. Mine are weaker and I doubt it would take much for them to fade.
Feeling quite guilty I hide in an empty classroom until five minutes before the end of class and then walk back to the Defense room just as Rosie and Al are coming out.
"Hey, feeling better?"
"Yep, fine thanks, have you got my bag? Oh thanks. How were the Boggarts?"
"Horrible, Uncle Remus let us tackle them one by one away from the others though, he said fear is a personal thing."
"Oh, that's nice of him."
"What did you get, Al?" Rosie asks, looking intrigued.
"Me? Oh it was…my Dad yelling at me, nothing major."
"Yelling at you?" Rosie presses, I look at Al's face and I'm surprised to see that he's blushing.
"Yeah, disappointed and stuff." Al looks away and I feel sure that he's lying.
"Mine was Professor McGonagall telling me I'd failed everything, Uncle Remus said it was the same one my Mom had in her third year!"
Rosie then dives into a lengthy description of how exactly we should tackle Boggarts that carries us to the History of Magic classroom.
I think it's the only class where I make more notes than Rosie, I know Binns is boring but there's something about the subject that I find fascinating. It's a class I always give undivided attention to, even today.
After the lesson we walk to the Great Hall and I barely glimpse the enchanted ceiling before I hear someone calling me.
"Miss Parker!" I turn around and see Ginny Potter walking towards me. Al and Rosie stop as well and watch their mother/aunt approach.
"Yes…Madam Potter?" I ask, is she a professor?
"Yeah, but you can call me Ginny when no one's around."
"We're around!" Says Al indignantly.
"All six foot of you Al, I know!" Al smiles slightly as he looks down at his mother.
"Anyway, your sister's in the hospital wing she…"
"What?" I ask, so loudly that passing students turn to look at me. Ginny guides us to a more secluded section.
"She fell off her broom this morning, Madam Clearwater wants me to take you…"
"Hang on, you've just been in the hospital wing, didn't you see her?" Rosie asks shrewdly. Ginny must notice the look of panic on my face because she turns to Rosie and Al and tells them to go and get lunch and then turns back to me.
"Is Izzy alright?"
"We think so…it was the strangest thing, I could have sworn that she banged her head but she hasn't got a mark on her. Perplexing!" Ginny starts walking but I don't follow and after a few steps she notices and turns back to look at me.
"Matilda? Come on, she'll be fine." I nod and we walk silently. At least I think it's silently, there is a possibility that Ginny's talking to me but my brain is going into overdrive, what if Izzy is seriously hurt and my glamour is hiding it? What if she tells them about the glamours?
I speed up my walk so that Ginny is almost running to keep up with me. When we arrive in the hospital wing Izzy is lying on one of the bed looking utterly petrified and crying. Lupin and McGonagall are at the foot of her bed and Madam Clearwater is passing her a potion that she seems unwilling to take.
"Izzy? Are you alright?" I ask, reaching the bed so quickly that when I stop I almost topple onto her.
Izzy doesn't reply she just looks from me to the adults and then back again.
"I think she's a bit shook up, Miss Parker, I want to give her a calming potion but she doesn't seem keen." I look at Madam Clearwater and then down at the potion. I recognised it from my potions lessons and I try and think of whether it will remove the glamour.
"I…Umm…" Damn it, why can't I remember?
"It's just a simple calming potion Matilda, nothing to worry about." I look at Lupin and his kind expression makes me feel terrible for lying to him earlier. I drop my gaze and turn back to Izzy.
"Will she have to stay in?" I say, finding Izzy's hand and giving it a reassuring squeeze, she's shaking in fear.
"Once I see how she reacts to the potion then I'll be able to make that decision."
"You… you can take it Izzy, it's fine." I say, turning back to her. Her eyes show clear pain and my imagination paints a horrible picture of a deep gash under the glamour.
Izzy takes the potion dose from the mediwitch and I look back at Ginny.
"You said she hit her head?"
"Well, I thought she did, I was sure I saw blood but it must have been just a flash of red."
"Her tie, perhaps?" McGonagall suggests, I look at the headmistress and try to read if she is suspicious but I don't know her well enough to judge.
"It must be a new experience for you, Penny, two sisters in the same day?" Shit.
"You treated both the Parker's today, quite the coincidence…" Lupin stops as he sees the expression on Clearwater's face, he looks at me.
"I…I was feeling better…"
"Rosie told me she brought you here."
"Almost, I told her I'd be fine, honestly it was nothing, I just tripped…"
"What's this?" McGonagall asks.
"Matilda tripped this morning and Albus informed me that she has been under the weather, I was under the impression that Rosie brought her here." Lupin's mild tone makes me feel terrible, it's like lying to a puppy.
"Oh well, pop yourself on that bed and I'll take a look." Says Clearwater brightly. I want to refuse but I know that it's not possible, this has gotten out of hand already. I mutter a thanks and sit on the bed next to Izzy who is looking much calmer.
The mediwitch waves her wand over me and I look over at Izzy and see that she is falling asleep.
"Is she supposed to fall asleep?" I ask, Clearwater glances at Izzy and then back at me with a reassuring smile.
"She's small, don't worry."
I nod but I can't help staring at her chest to make sure she's still breathing.
"You've got a bit of a fever. I'll get you a potion, take it easy for the rest of the day, no classes."
"Can I stay with Izzy?"
"If you behave." I nod, Lupin walks over with McGonagall and Ginny leaves the wing with an apologetic smile at me.
"What's the verdict, Penny?"
"A fever, fast pulse but that could be all the excitement. I'll sign her out of classes for the day and keep an eye on her but I don't think it's anything serious."
"Excellent, would you like me to write to…"
"No!" I say, before Lupin can even finish. There's an awkward silence that I know I need to fill. "There's no need, they'll only worry and Dad's got his new job now so they're really busy."
"Very well, I would like to see you tomorrow afternoon for a detention for lying."
"I…I've never had a…" I tail off with tears in my eyes.
"When your teacher sends you to the hospital wing, Miss Parker, it is an order not advice." McGonagall says firmly, I nod and she leaves the room.
"Three o'clock tomorrow in my office, good day Miss Parker." Lupin glances at my sister and then nods to Penny before leaving the room.
One of my tears spill over and I quickly wipe it away.
"Don't fret, everyone gets a detention at some point. I'll get you that potion and then I'll pop and get you both a lunch tray."
When she returns with the potion I take it and then lie down, as soon as she leaves for lunch I jump up and run to Izzy's bed and give her a quick shake.
"Izzy! Izzy, wake up!" She wakes up and looks around.
"I'm so sorry, someone pushed Fred and he…"
"I don't care, just hold still." I remove the glamour and to my enormous relief the wound does not appear to be as bad as my imagination had made it. I heal it with my wand and then dab some dittany on it before replacing the glamour.
Izzy pulls me into a hug and I rub my hand lightly down her back and let her cry into me. The doors open and Clearwater returns, Izzy pulls away and I close my eyes at her skittishness.
"Feeling better, Isobel?" Izzy nods and I give her a significant look.
"Umm…yes, thank you Madam Clearwater." She says quietly.
I need to do something about Izzy's ability to lie, before it gets us both into trouble.
A/N So, yeah, I've kept the Lupin's alive, I missed them! Please review!
Jessalynvix- The double life will become apparent, there's no big secret about Izzy being small though, she's just small.
Messed up Reality- Thanks, all will become apparent.
LUG-14- Thanks, I'll be updating it weekly.
Reading Dorkk- Thanks.