Chapter Six: Careful What You Wish For
He introduced himself as Harry. I politely ignored him. This action, I know, goes against my 'keep the peace' plan but I figured being rude was better than straight up telling him to buzz off. I didn't know if he was about to further his attempt at conversation because Molly brought me a plate of food. I thanked her earnestly. By now I had worked up a great appetite and despite my mood, dug into breakfast.
"Um, excuse me?" a voice in front of me said.
I looked up to find the girl, other than Ginny, watching me nervously. She had brown hair, a bit on the messy side, and her face, like Ginny, was dominated by freckles. I raised my eyebrows indicating she should continue.
She cast her eyes down and back, "You must be Aria, right?"
I looked at her coolly. "Nope."
The rest of my stay at Grimmauld Place as it was called was uneventful and pretty boring. I would have it no other way. I was having enough trouble coping with the last few months; I didn't need a bunch of gossipy teens prying crap out of me. God knows the other ones would do that! They kept encouraging me to interact in some way, they'd all try to strike up conversations at meals but I gave short snippy answers and when asked if I wanted to hang out I had said I'd rather learn to breathe underwater(it was the Potter kid that had asked). Of course when he replied that it was easy to learn, I got ticked off and slammed the door in his face.
I could tell Molly was worried about my anti social tendencies and even made Lupin try to talk with me. I said more to him than anyone though it couldn't be considered a conversation. He did most of the talking and I just shrugged from time to time or threw out a word or so.
Then came the time when I was to leave. To go to, what did Dumbledore call it? Hogwarts. It was a magic school or whatever. Just what I needed… school. Yippee. I got from Lupin that I was going to attend like a normal student, only I'd have private lessons after hours as well as normal classes. They didn't want to raise suspicions with a random kid running around the school. Defense Against the Dark Arts would be my main focus though, seeing as it was a dark wizard I was supposed to kill, it made sense.
Lupin came to pick me up on August twelfth. Earlier that day, Arthur had taken Harry somewhere; I hadn't cared to ask where. I had been sharing clothes with the two girls, Ginny and Hermione, I felt uncomfortable the whole time doing so. Thankfully, Molly had made me a dress to wear; it was knee length and a light blue color. It wasn't exactly my taste but it was better than nothing.
They took me to Diagon Alley which had a bunch of magic shops where I'd find most of the things I'd need to train. The first stop was a place called Ollivander's which sold wands. Even though Lupin said from what he saw, I didn't need one but it was better to be safe than sorry. Ollivander's was run by an old man with piercing silvery eyes and a curiosity about him.
He looked at me strangely. "You're a bit too old for getting your first wand." He told me.
I took a breath, trying to think up an excuse. To my relief, Lupin who was behind me, spoke, "She was raised by muggles and only now decided to pursue a magical life."
Ollivander nodded though he seemed unconvinced. He first brought out a short dark wand made from mahogany. Nothing happened. He then tried one from rosewood with a dragon heartstring. Nothing. I thought something would happen with the ten inch willow, third try's the charm, you know? But again, nothing happened. I went through about six wands with no response. I was getting agitated and about ready to call it all off.
"Here, better luck with this one. Seven inch yew, springy with a unicorn hair core."
I grabbed it and right away my hand tingled. There was a slight glow but it faded almost immediately. Ollivander brightened. "I was beginning to think you were a muggle yourself."
I gave a half hearted laugh that sounded faker than I expected.
"How much will that be?" asked Lupin.
Ollivander furrowed his brows. "We might be able to find a more suitable wand for her. The one she has seemed uncertain."
"No, this will due." Lupin said. "How much?"
He hesitated then replied, "Ten sickles and three knuts."
Lupin gave him some coins and we left. We went to a few book stores where I got various textbooks, some seemed rather interesting, paper, ink and quills, pens were not used here… Yeah, right, wait till I find a Staples or some convenience store! Next, we went to a clothing shop. I read the sign before we entered, Twillfit and Tatting's. There was already a customer there, a woman with long blond hair and a snippy voice.
"You told me they'd be ready by today! My husband and I have graced you with our business only because you have proved reliable and satisfactory." She said angrily.
"I'm deeply sorry, Mrs. Malfoy but I'm afraid our shipment of velvet arrived late. We couldn't finish your set of robes without it." The owner said.
"This is unacceptable!" she snapped and stomped her foot.
"Please, they'll be ready tomorrow and the cost will be deducted for your trouble." He said almost, pleading.
"Fine, but they had better be nothing short of perfect."
She turned and saw us, Lupin first then me. She first looked disgusted then confused then degusted again. Her nostrils flared and she stormed out of the shop, a bell ringing behind her.
The owner wiped his brow. "Can I help you?"
I got a few sets of robes. I wasn't too picky so we got out of there pretty fast. I suppose they weren't that bad but I couldn't help but feel like I was dressing up for Halloween. He and I had a great number of bags and boxes by then and were grateful we were done getting supplies.
"I don't know about you but I sure know I worked up an appetite." He said suddenly looking at me. "How 'bout it?"
I shrugged. "Yeah, sure."
We settled on a small restaurant and sat near the window. We ordered and waited for our meals. I mostly looked outside at the passing wizards and witches. It was so unbelievable that an entire civilization could exist without anyone outside it knowing.
I turned to him.
"I know you must be feeling confused and maybe scared but-"
"Don't tell me how I'm feeling." I said evenly.
He frowned. "I'm trying to let you know that you're not alone in this. We're all here for you if you ever need to talk." He said seriously. "I'm here, especially."
I stared for a moment. "How am I not alone in this?" I asked. "I'm not like any of you and have no idea what I'm doing here or what's going on. None of you have any idea what I'm going through, to be completely different from everyone around."
He looked at me sadly, "I know that feeling better than you think."
"What do you mean?"
He seemed to hesitate.
"Here you are." The waitress said setting out plates down in front of us.
He gave a mutter of thanks and I sort of grunted at her. Yes, I'm oh so lady like. He didn't answer my question and I didn't ask him again. The sun was just starting to turn an orange color when we finished. Dumbledore was supposed to meet us at the gates of Hogwarts. I was nervous. For some reason, Dumbledore scared me, not a lot but enough to make me uneasy whenever I heard his name.
We apparated there, something I wasn't fond of. As expected, Dumbledore stood waiting for us, or rather me.
"Remus," he smiled and patted Lupin on the back.
Lupin smiled at him and in a somewhat steady voice said, "Professor,"
Don't tell me he's a teacher! I'd take anyone over him!
"I take it the hearing went well?" Lupin asked.
Dumbledore nodded. "Everything went according to plan." He turned to me.
"Aria, seems you've made out well." Dumbledore said looking at my bags.
"Uh yeah, thanks." I said uncertain.
"If alls well here, I must be going." Lupin said after awhile stepping back.
"Of course, Remus, thank you for helping out."
He nodded, "Any time." He said looking at me and apparated.
"We'd best get you situated." Dumbledore said walking past the iron gates.
I lagged behind, trying to gather all of my bags.
"Just leave those, I'll have them sent to your room."
Hesitantly I followed him into the castle. It was a typical place where I'd expect Dracula to live only it was slightly less frightening. He led through several halls until we reached his office. He told me to sit in an armchair across from his desk. I was vaguely reminded of the interrogation room. He took an old hat down from a shelf and sat in his desk.
"Here at Hogwarts, our students are sorted into one of four houses: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw,
Hufflepuff or Slytherin." He began. "I believe you know a few students here."
I gave him a confused look.
"The young ones that you stayed with at Grimmauld Place." He explained, "All of which are Gryffindors."
To hell with Gryffindor then.
Strange magic… You're not a witch, are you?
I blinked. "Excuse me?"
Dumbledore looked at me oddly, holding a small bowl of yellow candies. "I only asked if you would care for a lemon drop."
I shook my head. "No thanks…"
I could never talk to people in their mind without sitting on their head. Are you doing this?
I furrowed my brow. "I'm not doing anything"
Dumbledore looked confused. "I'm sorry?"
Confident though not particularly at this moment… brave, oh yes Gryffindor would suit you… though… there is a stream of trickery in you… cunning… traits of a Slytherin… not too often do I come across such mixed qualities…
It's the hat, I realized suddenly. Only now did I see that the folds in it roughly made out eyes and a mouth.
Can you hear me? I thought.
Of course I can. Now, do you have any inclination towards one house?
I don't really care just as long as it isn't Gryffindor.
Really now? Interesting… Well if you're sure…
"Slytherin!" the hat shouted out of nowhere.
Was that really necessary? I thought but no response came from the hat.
Dumbledore had been watching, slightly fascinated. "Curious…" he shook his head. "I'm sure you just want to get settled in. Not many teachers here stay over the summer but fortunately, your Head of House happens to be here."
He turned to a portrait. "Excuse me, would you be as so kind to fetch Severus for me."
The man in the portrait nodded and walked out of the painting. That's kind of cool…
"Professor Snape teaches Potions here and is a member of the Order of the Phoenix as well as I, so keep in mind that you may confide in him."
I nodded. "Right."
"You called, Headmaster?" a deep voice came from behind me. I jumped and turned around.
For the second time in my life, my eyes met cold dark ones. It was the man from before, the goth one in all black that made me uncomfortable. There was no way my luck was this bad.
"Ah, Professor Snape," began Dumbledore, "It seems, Ms. Reeve, here, has become a fellow Slytherin."
Snape looked at me uninterested. "How… delightful."
"Could you show her to the dorm, Severus?"
"Oh course, sir." He gave me a sour look and motioned for me to follow.
"I'll see you at dinner, Aria." Dumbledore called before the door closed.
As I followed him through the maze of corridors and staircases I couldn't help but recall my previous comment. 'I'd take anyone over him!' I wish I could take that back! Compared to Snape, Dumbledore's my best friend!
AN: I'm looking for a pairing... Any suggestions?