I stepped off the carriages, my eyes shining as I looked up to the beloved castle that would be my home for the next few months. I had to admit the wave-machine stunt was the best we’ve ever done! And that’s saying something since Aubrey and I have got a long history of mischief. Professor Sprout was fuming when she located us, but her anger was nothing compared to what Professor McGonagall would do once she found out that one of her Gryffindors have been knee-deep in trouble before the year even started.
Aubrey kept close to me as we walked towards the castle, his arm almost touching mine. He was talking fast, his eyes bright beacons of excitement as he shared his plans for wreaking havoc in the coming school year. I honestly didn’t understand why people referred to him as timid and quiet; with me he was anything but that. I laughed as he told me of a particular spell he had in store for Mr Filch, now that we were back on school ground again and allowed to perform magic. But as the great doors to Hogwarts swung open to receive us for yet another school year, we both fell silent. After three years here, the grandeur of Hogwarts still hadn’t ceased to amaze me. We were finally back in school!!
As with Hogwarts tradition, we all headed down to the Great Hall for the welcoming feast. I tried to rush out the last of my holidays tales to Aubrey, knowing that in a few short minutes we would be separated into our respective houses. He laughed at my desperate attempt to speed-talk, reassuring me that we would have plenty of time tomorrow and the days after that for me to tell him everything. As we neared the Great Hall, an arm came in between me and Aubrey and dragged him away from the general flow of students. He clutched onto my arm and took me along with him, out into a less crowded part of the hallway. Kaitlynn Ebony was there, her hand clenching possessively around Aubrey’s wrist.
“Henderson, you mind giving us some privacy? I need to talk to Aubrey. Alone,” she said, her cold gaze piercing through me.
Aubrey’s hand was still curled around my arm, and so I looked up at him. Cocking my head to the side, my eyes asked him silently about whether he wanted me to leave. After some hesitation, he gave me the tiniest nod and uncurled his hand from my wrist. It’s ok Zoe, she’s my friend, his eyes told me.
“I’ll see you later Zo,” he said, “If not then tomorrow for Transfiguration.”
Taking my cue to leave, I walked away from Aubrey and Kaitlynn and made my way back towards the Great Hall. Spying some of my Gryffindor friends, I jogged up to them to say hello. Winnie and Janet Herman were Fifth Years, as well as being identical twins. They were my closest friends in Gryffindor, my bunk neighbours in the dorm. We exchanged holiday stories as we elbowed our way through to the Gryffindor table. There were so many friends that I haven’t seen for the duration of summer, and the fifteen minutes or so after I got to the Gryffindor table were spent in endless hugs and greetings. Finally the never ending stream of students into the Hall slowed. I settled down into my seat next to Jordan Alexis and Toby Duncan, and waved across the hall at Melissa who looked up briefly from her book to smile. As the doors to the Grand Hall began to shut, Aubrey and Kaitlynn slipped in. He scanned the hall before taking his seat, and smiled when he found me. I beamed back.
The hubbub of chatter and laughter died down as Professor Dumbledore rose from his seat. He cleared his throat, and as if on command the doors to the Great Hall swung open. Professor Snape stepped through, his footsteps quick as he headed for the Teachers’ table. Behind him came the most arrogant looking boy I’ve ever seen, with windswept black hair and sharp blue eyes that looked as though the world was inferior when compared to him. Whispers rose from every corner of the hall, commenting on the fact that he wasn’t in school robes. I could hear Victoria Spencer commenting rather loudly about his muscular body, and here and there fragments of a name was mentioned. Damon Dragomin, interesting name. Somehow I could sense that he would be even more trouble than me and Aubrey combined.
Heads snapped around as this Damon boy spoke. He was standing next to the Ravenclaw table, looking down at Melissa and her Runes book.
“Read about me a lot in your books sweetheart?”he said, winking at her before walking away.
Knowing Melissa, she was not going to take it lightly being spoken to like that.