So far I was settling back into life at Hogwarts with ease. I'd enjoyed spending time with Janie, she was a fun person to be around and as Tobias' closest friend, I wanted her to approve of me. I don't think I needed to worry about her approval. I'm pretty sure we had an understanding. I knew that she was just a friend and I'm sure she knew I genuinely liked Tobias.
The atmosphere at the table was slightly tense, but that was solved by me kicking Aria hard under the table to stop her scowling at Janie. I knew she was just being my best friend but I didn't want it to stop me making new friends.
After the feast we'd all walked back to the Ravenclaw common room together, laughing and high on the excitement of being back. We didn't spend much time in the common room, saying goodbye to Ian at the bottom of the stairs and heading up towards the girls dormitories. There had been a slight shift around after some serious fallings out last year, which meant Janie was joining us in our dorm this year.
Things continued to be friendly as we got into bed and the lights went out. There was the usual girly giggling from Aria and Beth in the darkness as I tried to sleep but even after they'd stopped and everything was quiet, I was still awake.
Rolling over onto my side I stared at the dark form I knew was Janie. 'Janie,' I whispered, not wanting to wake Aria and Beth up. 'Are you still awake?' There was a long silence and I assumed she was asleep but out of the darkness I heard her soft voice.
'Look, I know we haven't talked about Tobias but I feel that I should say something.' There was no response from the darkness so I continued. 'I want us to be friends Janie and I don't want you to feel I'm charging in and changing everything. I just want you to know that if you have a problem with me then tell me. I don't want anyone to feel awkward.'
'What about Aria? She doesn't seem too happy about things.'
'She just things Tobias is going to go after you because you don't fancy him.' The words sounded so stupid now I was saying them. 'She thinks you'll be his big conquest.'
'Well she obviously doesn't know me.' Janie was sounding a little resentful of Aria, something I definitely didn't want.
'She's only being protective. She doesn't want me to get hurt.'
'And she thinks Tobias will hurt you?'
'I'm not sure. I just think it's her job to be suspicious of guys her friends are dating, especially when they have Tobias' reputation.' I couldn't help a small giggle escaping as I thought about Aria beating up Tobias, like she'd promised to do if he hurt me. 'You just have to get to know her and she has to get to know you. You'll see she's just being a good friend.'
There was a long silence where neither of us spoke and I listened to the familiar creaks and groans of the castle.
'Good night Hollow,' I heard Janie whisper. 'Sweet dreams.'
'Sweet dreams Janie.'
'I can't believe our first class is History of Magic,' Aria complained over her porridge. 'I hate History of Magic! Are they trying to kill me on my first day.' I smiled over my toast at Ian who was rolling his eyes at his sister.
'Cheer up, we have Transfiguration later.' I loved Transfiguration. I found the power to change one object into something completely different fascinating.
Before anyone could respond the owls arrived, swooping low over the tables, scaring the first years. This was a regular occurrence for the rest of the school and no-one else batted an eyelid as owls landed on tables all over the Great Hall.
An owl with a copy of The Daily Prophet in its beak landed by my plate and after I'd paid it and taken my paper, it flew off again.
'So what's the news then?' Ian leaned over the table to look at the front page.
WITCH, JULIA WINTERS, ARRESTED AFTER COMMITTING HORRENDOUS CRIME
'Hey I know her,' Beth exclaimed as she read over my shoulder. 'Her daughter is a third-year here.' My eye was caught by a figure dashing out of the hall, her eyes brimming with tears.
'I suppose that was her then,' I mumbled to myself as I watched her go.
'You OK Hollow?' I turned to look at Tobias as he stood behind me. I nodded absentmindedly. 'Want to walk to class together? I think we both have History of Magic.' I nodded again and waved goodbye to my friends as I got up to leave.
'Are you sure you're OK? You seem a little worried.' Tobias watched my face intently as we exited the Great Hall.
'It's nothing. I just feel sorry for that girl, the one whose mother was in The Daily Prophet today. It must be horrible to have your parent sent to Azkaban.'
Tobias put his arm around me affectionately and pulled me against him. 'I'm sure it'll be fine in the end. You shouldn't worry too much. Now let's get to class.'