Hermione was flying- and it was terrifying. It was a small comfort that the ground was magically padded and that this broom had been deemed well-made by her Art instructor. It was scary to be above the ground on a common cleaning appliance with nothing supporting her but the magic that she had placed on the broom herself. Though according to Draco the brooms they learned to fly on at Hogwarts were horrible and falling apart. Of course, he had said that while bragging about his flying skills and how he had escaped from helicopters while flying once( which Hermione thought this quite far fetched) and the teacher had to adjust his grip; so chances were that he was lying. Still, as Hermione did slow figure-eights less than 6 feet below the ground- so even if she did fall and the enchantment had disappeared she wouldn't be too hurt!- she wondered why they had been forced to build their own brooms. A group of students raced their brooms past her laughing as they raced and Hermione's knuckles turned white as she gripped her broom as the wind from their wake buffeted her. Neville was skimming the ground with Meisa next to him as she chattered. Hermione guessed it was to keep him calm as he had almost panicked at the start of class. Sylvia was for someone who had been afraid to jump off a tower flying pretty well as she and another girl tried to outdo one another with tricks; Ananhita looked positively green as she flew in sedate lines from one edge of the field to the other; Vlad and Draco were racing high in the clouds, sometimes diving and dropping before pulling up at the last second before a collision. But they were all flying and their brooms all seemed to be working so Hermione figured that everyone was going to get at least an A on this assignment. The school did that sometimes pushed you to achieve but also couldn't exactly be too punishing with grades either- any negative marks could be used to deny the school legality. Hermione wonders if that is why they get away with it as far as she knows no student has yet tried to take advantage of leniency in the grading process. Though she suspected it was because of the credit system that worked in tandem with the school store that was introduced in the first week. Every time a student got the correct answer, or participated in class, or went to the teachers for extra credit or to ask how they could improve were given small amounts of credit that went to their towers 'coffers'. These credits could then be used to buy things from the school store. Anything from quills and parchment to pranks and candy could be found at the store. Though you had to ask your Tower Head to sign off on any purchase. She thought it was a rather clever system.
At the end of class, Hermione dropped her broom off in the common room before heading to the library to return a book and then to lunch where Sylvia and Meisa were listening to Zarya and Vlad argue about who the better flyer was. Draco was nodding along distractedly. Vivvy who had joined their table for once- normally Hermione barely saw her even at mealtime was the first to notice Hermione had arrived and waved hello. Meisa stopped listening to the argument at the movement, turned and noticed Hermione.
"Hey Hermi!" She exclaimed. "Do you know what's up with Draco? He seems a bit out of it." She yawned suddenly as Vlad and Zarya quieted down.
"Why haven't you just asked him. Draco?"
"The full moon is in a few days. There are werewolves in the school and so far no one has expressed any concerns or mentioned any safety measures to keep the rest of us from being bitten! Has no one else noticed?!" Draco nearly shouted. He looked almost panicked and she wondered how long he had been holding his outburst back.
"That it's a full moon? I'm a werecat, of course, I noticed the fact that it's a full moon coming; why did you think I was more snappy and irritable and tired? ...Every time the moon waxes I grow steadily more tired as my werecat magic weakens. I believe we learned that it was the opposite for werewolves in Care of Magical Creatures. The lack of precautions is because Headmistress Sicari and the werewolf professor both believed it would be better for students to not make a fuss about the shift. To make a big deal out of it with obvious precautions in place would imply the shift and the people who shift are to be feared. ...Did none of you notice that I went missing on the 15th and 16th?" Sylvia sassed.
Hermione realised with a shock that she hadn't. She also hadn't noticed how bad Sylvia looked. There where bags under her bloodshot eyes that hadn't been there that morning-a glamour most like- and the werecat was paler than usual. Hermione wondered how she could have had the energy to fly and do tricks on her broom in class today or to simply get up this morning.
"No? Wow. What horrible friends I have." Sylvia muttered picking at her food.
Hermione wanted to explain that she hadn't had real friends before but decided that that might be seen as insensitive and not really what a friend would do. At least she thought that a friend wouldn't give an excuse-but again she didn't know. Oh, how she hated not knowing. As she mentally struggled on whether or not to say something Malfoy responded.
"How could I have noticed? You do realize that I have a different dorm room. SO you can't say that I'm a horrible friend and you also can't call the rest of them either. If anyone is going to be horrible it would be me. We've already stated that I'm not horrible; in this case at least." Draco snapped though he looked calmer than before.
Sylvia sighed. "Touche I guess."
The tension leaked out of the air that surrounded their table though the conversation remained strained.
That night Hermione stood on the balcony of East Tower and watched the werewolves romp through the grounds below. It was beautiful in a haunting, savage sort of way. They tore into deer and other game that had been brought up for this precise purpose. A pop startled her as Vivvy popped into existence next to her.
"Can yous not sleep? Vivvy can make warm milk to help you sleep. It has worked for Vivvy's Mistress's young ones before. Vivvy is good at making people sleep."
"Oh! No thank you Vivvy. But maybe a conversation . I mean if you want, I don't want to trouble you!" Hermione said as she worked to calm her heartbeat.
"It help Hemie to sleep?" Vivvy asked.
Hermione nodded. Vivvy had been sold as a nanny elf to a young pureblooded couple who were of the mindset that children should be seen and not heard. If Vivvy wasn't able to keep the children quiet- especially if there where guests over she would be punished harshly. She had been working with the family for 9 years before the family decided to send Vivvy to the school for reeducation as the three children were old enough to stay quiet without the help of an elf to care for them. Vivvy though worried for her children as she called them being lonely or feeling abandoned and took out her need to mother on the people in the tower. Each house-elf seemed to want to help out among their towers any way they could for that matter something about their magic needing a place or person to help to keep stable.
"So what does Hermie want to talk about? What is troubling yous?" Vivvie asked turning her large blue eyes toward Hermione.
"I wanted to see what they do with the were students during their transformations. What did they eat? Do they just run around? Why don't they try to attack the towers? I read a book about werewolves that said they lose their minds on the full moon, is that true? Do they remember what they do? Do they take wolfsbane? What about for the werecats? There weren't many books in Diagon Alley about werecats, werewolves either and we only covered the basics in Magical Creatures. Sorry. I'm babbling aren't I?" Hermione said rapid-fire.
"Vivvie doesn't mind yous babbling. But she thinks you should calm down. Hermie should have some tea. Has Hermie not checked the library? Hermie must be very stressed. Why?" With that Vivvie snapped her fingers and a cup of chamomile tea appeared next to Hermione.
"Drink. Vivvie made it just as you like it." The house-elf said in a stern tone. Hermione sighed and took a sip of tea.
"I love this place but sometimes I just feel so distant from everyone, even my friends. Besides I'm a horrible friend! I didn't even notice that Sylv wasn't feeling good!"Hermione exclaimed.
"I see. Well only Hermie can help herself with that. But for what's it worth Vivvie thinks yous are a great friend. Remember to get some sleep- and finish your tea!" Vivvie said as she popped away. Hermione was left sitting on the balcony all alone with a steaming cup of tea at her side.
This story is probably not going to be updated in a while. I've hit a wall and am going to be taking a step back to hopefully chart my way to the end of the first year.