The first few weeks at Hogwarts all passed by rather peacefully, with the occasional nasty comments about Michelle's bloodstatus, but nothing she couldn't handle. Vera and her friends couldn't really do anything, since Cenkay and Sahar were always there, and for some reason they were afraid of the two. The fact that they feared Sahar was actually kind of funny, since the little girl didn't see threatening at all.
Before the firstyear Hufflepuffs knew it, it was already October, which meant it was almost time for Hallowe'en. They were all looking forward to that. They had heard a lot of stories about the Hallowe'en Feast at Hogwarts and they were eager to find out if there would really be any bats in the Great Hall. One rumour even spoke of a troll, but Michelle soon found out that that had been a one time thing and definitely not planned.
During her weeks at Hogwarts she had done a lot of reading about the Wizarding World and she found herself wanting to know more and more. It was just all so fascinating! Such a shame History of Magic was such a bore.
Michelle had found out more about the Founders of the school and was definitely proud to be a Hufflepuff. Goderic Gryffindor had wanted to teach the brave, Rowena Ravenclaw had wanted to teach the clever ones and Salazar Slytherin had wanted to teach the Purebloods, but Helga Hufflepuff said: "I'll teach the lot and treat them just the same."
When Michelle had read this, she had decided that Helga Hufflepuff was from now on her idol. The Founder didn't discriminate on blood or courage or brains, no, everyone was equal and capable of becoming a great witch or wizard. That evening she had told everyone who would listen among the firstyear Hufflepuffs of her discovery and they all agreed that they should be proud to have been sorted in the House of the badger. Some of them, like Colin Knight, had felt a bit disappointed to have been sorted in Hufflepuff House, especially since his older brother had always spoken of the House like it was the House for leftovers, but his disappointment had ebbed away.
Anyway, Hallowe'en was approaching and you could practically taste the excitement in the castle. Everyone was looking forward to it, whether it was for the food or just the cosiness of the event.
One rather sunny day, a week before Hallowe'en, Michelle and Reshmi spoke about the Feast with Regina and Sabrina. They were enjoying the nice weather before it would turn around in November. Both Gryffindor girls were most excited about the food, and if they were honest, so were Michelle and Reshmi.
Sabrina was heavily convinced that the rumour about the troll was true. No matter what Michelle said, she stayed true to her beliefs. She shared a look with Regina and Reshmi, who were trying not to laugh.
''Anyway, Muggles have this tradition of dressing up for Halloween right? We wizards should have this tradition as well!'' Sabrina exclaimed excited.
Michelle, Reshmi and Regina nodded enthusiastically. It did sound like fun!
''I really want to see Alex in a dreamy costume...'' Sabrina sighed, her mind already somewhere else. Most likely somewhere involving Alex Tinkler.
Michelle had hoped that the girl would be over her crush by now, but just like Audrey, it looked like it had only got worse.
It was Cenkay and Sahar was beside him. They sat down and quickly joined in the conversation. Or rather, Cenkay and Sabrina bickered about her fancying Alex. Cenkay kept reminding her that she was eleven, but Sabrina claimed that trivial things like age didn't matter in love.
The other girls just laughed at this, but Cenkay looked like he wanted to hit something.
''Are you stupid? He is almost thirty, why would he even be interested in you?''
''Because I'm pretty.'' Sabrina said with a flick of her hair. By now the other four were really desperate to keep their laughter in. Cenkay just stared at her in disbelief.
''Seriously?'' he shook his head and ignored her for the rest of the afternoon.
Hallowe'en finally arrived, which meant you could find most of the firstyears very early at their respective table in the Great Hall for breakfast. They were so excited, they couldn't sleep anymore. Headmistress Sloan smiled at this, while taking a small bite of her sandwich, which was the only thing she was eating. Regina was right, Michelle thought, the woman should eat some pies.
At the Hufflepuff table they were all desperately trying to ignore Justin, who was being his usual annoying self. He had been singing a made up song about Hallowe'en very loudly and after a pissed off Prefect had asked him to quit it, he had decided to go for whispering it. You couldn't really call it whispering though, since they could all hear him. None of them had the strenght to ask him to please shut up, though, since he was in on of those moods. After a few weeks they could easily recognise when Justin was just eager to annoy everyone around him. They had quickly discovered that no matter what they did, no matter how much they begged, it would only get worse. Ignoring was the best method, since he'd get bored and stop without anyone saying anything.
When Justin noticed that he wasn't bothering anyone with his singing (or at least it seemed that way), he decided to bother Cenkay at the Slytherin table next to them.
''Hey, Hey! Cenkay! Hey! He-''
''What?'' Cenkay turned around angrily. He clearly disliked Justin, but didn't put the hyper Hufflepuff boy off.
''Cenkay is my BFF, we played together-''
A pumpkin pasty flew in his face. Justin decided to leave Cenkay alone for the day.
The Hufflepuffs first class of the day was Charms with the Ravenclaws, where Michelle and Reshmi met up with Robin, who Michelle had introduced to Reshmi. Reshmi and Robin luckily also got along well, and the three of them always sat together during the classes Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw House had together.
''People are still going on and on about that troll. It's so stupid.'' Robin said as she tried to levitate her feather. Today in Charms they were to practice the Levitation Charm again, which they had been taught two weeks ago, but so far no one had succeeded yet. Then again, not many people were really trying. Everyone prefered to talk with their friends than to actually practice the charm. Professor Flitwick didn't seem to mind though. Even when two weeks later no one had managed to levitate the feather.
''Wingardium Leviosa!'' Michelle flicked her wand and the feather floated a little bit before it fell down again.
Flitwick clapped proudly.
''Well done, Miss Sherwood, keep practicing!''
Michelle had more interesting matters to talk about than practicing the Levitation Charm though.
''Sabrina is also convinced that it's true.'' she told Robin, who sighed.
''Why would the teachers let a troll into the school, only for entertainment? They're dangerous.''
''So are dragons, but they were on the grounds last decade,'' Reshmi countered. ''But it's still a ridiculous rumour.''
They focused on their feathers again and by the end of the lesson all three of them had succeeded, to Lucas Stratford's chagrin, whose feather had only lifted for a few millimeters and had fallen down after merely two seconds. He was clearly jealous and tried to come up with a good excuse as to why he had failed.
''It's just always so noisy during Charms,'' he complained to his friends when they left the classroom. ''I was having trouble concentrating.''
''You mean having trouble keeping your mouth shut.'' Michelle muttered annoyed, to which Reshmi and Robin laughed. None of them could stand the obnoxious Ravenclaw boy. The two Hufflepuffs really felt bad for Robin having to be in the same House with him.
The Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws parted: the Hufflepuffs were off to Herbology while it was time for the Ravenclaws to head to Transfiguration. Michelle and Reshmi wished Robin good luck, since they knew the girl couldn't really stand Professor Villiger. The young professor was really sweet, but also really weird. One time she even gave them her home address so they could visit her if they were in the neighbourhood. Michelle thought she was really funny though, and Reshmi considered her as one of her favourite teachers, though they did understand where Robin's feelings came from.
The two friends met up with Regina and Sabrina at Greenhouse One, where they worked together during the class again. Sabrina informed them that she had got a reply from Headmistress Sloan regarding her proposal about dressing up on Halloween (''Finally!'' Sabrina had cried, as she had written the headmaster last week) and that since it was on such a short notice (''Yeah, if you reply on the day itself, it is.'' Sabrina muttered) it would be impossible this year. She would, however, consider doing it next year.
''Do you think I can convince Alex to dress up like a-''
''Miss Radley, maybe you could talk less and work more?'' Professor Longbottom kindly suggested. It wasn't a suggestion though, and Sabrina knew that. She quickly went back to inspecting the plant in front of her.
As soon as he was out of earshot, Sabrina tried to continue her question, but was interrupted by Michelle and Regina, who informed her that they really didn't want to know what kind of costume Sabrina wanted to see the Flying Professor in.
After Herbology, Reshmi told Michelle that they would meet up later in the Great Hall, not stating where she was going. Michelle doubted that her short friend was on her way to the library, as she hated reading more than anything. She didn't want to pry though, and made her way towards the Great Hall along with Regina and Sabrina. When they arrived they split up and sat at their respective tables. As she sat down, Michelle noticed that Cenkay was sitting on the other side of the Slytherin table, so that his back was facing the Ravenclaw table.
''Do you think Cenkay hates me?'' Justin pouted, at which they all tried to reassure him that wasn't the case, even though they were all certain that it was.
There were still ten minutes left before their next class started en Michelle started to worry about Reshmi. Where was she? She got up and quickly left the Great Hall. Not sure where to look for her friend, she decided to give the library a go. It was highly unlikely, but she was getting desperate.
When she entered the library, she spotted Robin sitting at one of the tables. The Ravenclaw spotted her and waved. Michelle came over to her with a worried expression.
''Have you seen Reshmi?''
Robin shook her head. Michelle bit her lip and explained what was going on. Her worries were understandable; Reshmi was a Muggleborn just like her after all, and there had been some threats thrown their way the past few weeks. Had something happened to her?
The two girls quickly left the library in search for their friend. Robin suggested checking the Hufflepuff common room, so they made their way downstairs again. In the Entrance Hall they found Emma Waller and Vera Hopkin, talking quietly. Emma was a friendly Ravenclaw, so Michelle wondered why she and Vera were friends. Robin and the blonde got along well, so they decided to ask her whether she had seen Reshmi or not. Before Emma could even open her mouth though, Vera had already answered.
''You can't trust Reshmi,'' she was only looking at Robin though. ''Neither can you trust this little Hufflepuff here. Filthy Mudbloods.''
Robin raised an eyebrow.
''Thanks for your concern.'' the two girls walked on, Robin expressing the same thoughts Michelle had had earlier. Why was Emma friends with Vera?
''She has Muggle family members herself. How can she tolerate how Vera speaks of Muggles?''
''I don't know. You'd think that they wouldn't discriminate Muggleborns the way they used too since the War, wouldn't you?''
Robin agreed. They had reached the barrels in front of the common room and Michelle took out her wand. Robin looked at her in fascination as she tapped on the barrels in the rythm of Helga Hufflepuff.
''What happens if you get it wrong?''
''You get soaked in vinegar.''
They entered the common room, where some of the older students were gathered. None of them looked surprised to find a Ravenclaw in their home. Visitors from other Houses must happen on a regular basis.
''Let's check the dorms.''
Michelle lead Robin through the tunnel. The Ravenclaw took everything in as they walked. When they entered the girls' dorm however, there was no sight of the Indian girl.
''Where could she be?'' Michelle wondered, now getting very anxious. Maybe something had happened to her friend.
Robin looked at her watch.
''Class is starting in a few minutes, maybe she'll show up there?''
Michelle nodded absentmindedly. The two quickly left the dorm and seperated ways. Alone and lost in thoughts, Michelle made her way towards the dungeons for Potions. In the Entrance Hall she ran into Jule and Caleb, who asked if everything was alright. Michelle told them that Reshmi was missing, and they quickly shared her worried expression.
There was nothing they could do about it for now though. Keeping Robin's words in mind Michelle walked with her fellow Hufflepuffs towards the dungeons. Maybe she'd really show up in class. She'd better.
Author's note: Two updates in two nights! Wow! I'm on a roll! I hope the inspiration stays with me. GASP. Where is Reshmi? You'll find out in the next chapter!