Repeat after me.

I can't help but smile at this sight, and have to bite my lip from laughing at them. Twice as hard when Malfoy and Zabini turn around and practically yell in time, "What're you doing here?!" Potter and Weasley stop abruptly before the Slytherins, glaring at them, but Granger just rushes forwards and sits on my bed. I expect her to stop and catch her breath, but no. She starts gabbling at me at 756 words per minute, with me understanding about one in every four hundred. I look past her and her worries to the boys, all of whom have adopted my expression of humour. I subtly mouth "Help" to them, and Weasley laughs.

"Help a Slytherin? Not bloody likely." He says incredulously, just as Potter starts walking forwards to drag Granger away. He stops quickly as if he were shifting his weight onto the other foot. Anger flushes through me, and evidently through Malfoy too. He takes a step towards the red-head, drawing his wand, while I jump out of bed (my head rushing, but I ignore it) clenching my fists.

"How dare you?! You- you..." I stumble, at a loss for words. I don't know him at all, so can't call him a mudblood, the only insult I know will be any use. Thankfully, Malfoy takes up my position, and mutters something, flicking his wand at Weasley's head. His hair promptly bursts into flame, and I howl with laughter as Granger and Potter throw their cloaks over his head to extinguish it. It doesn't seem to be hurting him, but it's certainly not doing much for his reputation, as I'll personally make sure the expression 'Flaming red hair' catches on by tomorow lunch time. I fall back onto the bed laughing along with Malfoy (Zabini disappeared sometime, no doubt worried about being caught) as the Gryffindors run out of the hospital wing, their concern for me obviously gone.  After our fit of giggles has subsided, with me hiccupping every five seconds, Malfoy pulls me off the bed and we make our way down a staircase, which I reckognise to be below the Dining Hall. We come to a painting of a fruitbowl, and Malfoy reaches out and scratches the pear. I giggle some more as it does, and turns itself into a doorknob. Malfoy pulls it open and helps me through the hole.

Immediately, I am greeted by an ugly little thing with too big ears staring up at me with brown eyes that look like they're about to burst out of its head. I make a noise of surprise, and Malfoy strides through, the creatures parting for him. He reaches one, and adresses it. "Dobby. Myself and Amelia would like some breakfast." He says, and no sooner had the other creatures heard this, they hurried off and came back almost immediately with two plates of sausages, bacon, eggs, toast, and tomatoes. Malfoy smirks at me, and nods his head towards a table. I sit down, and start eating my breakfast hungrily. I realise that I've eaten one meal, excluding this one, in about two days.  I look up between a mouthful of bacon and see Malfoy looking at me, his face full of surprise. I start laughing again, nearly sending chunks of bacon over him, but putting my hand to my mouth just in time. Almost against his will, he starts laughing with me, softly at first, as if humouring me, but then harder, as if he never really knew what fun was. After I finish the delicious meal (that I enjoy much more with the abscence of Pansy Parkinson), I look at Malfoy carefully. He's just wiping a piece of toast around on his fork, mopping up egg yolk.

"Did you know you were a wizard? Y'know, before a bunch of kids appeared in your room?" I ask, deadly serious, but apparently he finds this funny.

"Amelia, I've told you before. You were a special case. Students aren't normally collected. Normally, you recieve a letter at age 11, inviting you to attend. You then have the choice to come, or not." He explains. "You didn't get a choice, because Professor McGonagall had been watching your family, and her and the rest of the professors here decided that it would be better for you on the whole to attend late rather than never." He puts his knife and fork down decisively, and stands up. "Which reminds me, I need to teach you some basic spells." He offers me a hand, and I take it, getting up and walking out of the hole in the wall, a trail of the creatures staring after us.

"What were those things?" I ask Malfoy in a whisper as he closes the painting.

"House-elves. The one called Dobby used to work for my family, until that Potter brat set him free." He says, spitting out Harry's name like dirt.  I follow Malfoy up three stairs, taking a detour when one of them changes mid-climb, and into an empty classroom.  "Snape's given us the whole day and weekend to get you up to scratch, so take out your wand, and be prepared for a long training session."  I nervously take out my wand, and point it at him. He darts out of the way. "Watch it! I don't want my hair to be set on fire!" He says, grinning mischeviously at me, "You need to learn basic movements and spells before you go pointing it at anyone." He explains, and gestures for me to sit down on a bundle of cushions that I could have sworn weren't there when we entred. He slouches next to me, and introduces a spell called 'Wingardium Leviosa'. Apparently, everyone learnt this in the first year, so it should be quite easy. Note the keyword: should.

He talks me through the wrist movement and nods  approvingly as I get it right the first time. Next, he pronounces the spell slowly and clearly, and I am made to repeat. Again, he nods. He then invites me to try out the spell on a feather he has just pulled out of the cushion he's leaning on. I move just the wand first, practicing again, unconvinced that I got it on my first go. I take a breath and say clearly "Wingardium Leviosa." The words sound strange and fluid when combined with the wand movement, and to my shock and surprise, the feather rises up in front of Draco's face. Behind it, I can see him grinning at me, and my concerntration slips, and the feather floats back down.

"Excellent, Amelia!" He says enthusiastically, and I smile shyly back at him. "You'd give Granger a run for her money!" I assume this is a compliment and mumble a thanks. I try the spell again, and again the feather lifts from the floor. I lift it higher this time, and try moving it about the room. Eventually, when this novelty has worn off and I wish to learn another spell, I bring the feather back towards us and place it in front of Malfoy. He nods at me, and stands up. I do too as he says, "A disarming spell next, I think. Very important, and lifesaving in the right conditions.  I'm going to hold my wand out towards you, and you're going to disarm me. Okay?" I nod.  "This wand movement is fairly simple, so I won't patronize you and ask you to practice, it's a simple flick. The incantation, however, is 'Expelliarmus'. Got that?"

"Expelliarmus." I repeat, and he nods. Malfoy takes several steps back, and turns to face me, his wand pointing threateningly at my chest. "Expelliarmus!" I shout, and his wand jumps out of his hand, and lands a few feet in front of me. I gasp, and grin at the same time, "I did it! I can do magic, Draco!"  I run over to him and launch myself, my arms wrapping around him, my happiness unquenchable, "I did it!! Thank you thank you!!!"

The End

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