"Ten weeks? Ten weeks? That's not nearly enough time!"
"That's plenty of time," said Marcus, tugging Teddie into her seat. They were in the Great Hall along with his friends and hers, each of them studying for their upcoming exams.
Teddie shook her head and reached for her goblet of orange juice. "Ten weeks to remember every little detail from every class that we've done this whole year is not enough time," she protested. "I can barely remember what I had for supper last night much less what Professor Bins said five months ago!"
"I'm surprised you remember that Professor Bins was even talking five months ago," Daphne said. "As I recall, we either played or slept during History of Magic."
Teddie threw back her head and groaned. "Has anyone ever passed a History of Magic exam?" she asked, curiously.
"Famous Historians?" Derrick offered, scribbling down a sentence to his Potions essay.
"Thanks, Derrick," Teddie said, sarcastically.
"Here to help."
Theo turned the page in his Transfiguration book, pointed his wand at the goblet and muttered "Flintifors" a white spark jetted from the tip of his wand and the goblet transformed into a matchbox.
"Nice one!" Teddie gasped. "At least we know someone will pass their practical examination."
Theo nudged her. "Come on, you try," he said.
Teddie groaned and pointed her wand at an empty goblet. "Flintifors," she muttered. The goblet shrunk and became rectangular, before shifting completely into a matchbox.
"See," Theo beamed. "Knew you could do it."
"I'm not worried about the practical side of the exams," Teddie said, shaking her head. "It's the written portion. I hate written portions. I nearly always fail."
"Nearly always, isn't always," said Blaise. "Keep thinking positive thoughts. You'll do fine."
Teddie rolled her eyes. "I'm trying to pass my exams, Blaise, not learn how to fly," she muttered.
"What?" Blaise asked.
"Never mind," Teddie sighed. She should've realised that her friends wouldn't have understood the Muggle reference.
Teddie wasn't sure how but ten weeks certainly didn't feel like ten weeks. If anything, they felt like a week and a half. But sooner rather than later, the exams were upon them, Teddie found that she barely had time to think about anything that didn't concern a small classroom, individual chairs and desks lined in a row with at least a meter in length between them, masses of spare parchments, workbooks, and anti-cheating quills.
It was a nightmare.
The first exam of the week was Charms. The written portion wasn't as bad as Teddie expected, and the practical was even better. Professor Flitwick called them into his office one-on-one and had them make a pineapple tap-dance across his desk.
Professor McGonagall, during the Transfiguration practical, watched them turn a mouse into a snuff-box - points were given for the appearance of the box, while points were taking away if it had whiskers, fur, or even a tail.
Teddie was sure she had passed the practical for Transfiguration, but she struggled big time on the written portion.
By the Wednesday, Teddie was ready to call quits.
"What do we have today?" Daphne asked at breakfast, peering at her exam timetable. She run her finger across the parchment to the column labelled Wednesday and tapped the paper. "Potions written this morning, and the practical is after lunch."
Teddie groaned and massaged her fingers into her temple. "Can I quit yet?" she asked.
"We're almost finished," Blaise said. "Today is the last of the practical exams. Then we only have three more written portions, and we're done."
"Yeah, you can make it two more days, Teddie," said Theo.
"Your optimism is annoying," Teddie said.
Her friends chuckled and finished their breakfast and hurried out of the Great Hall. Their Potion's written exam was to be taken at 10 am, after breakfast had been complete. They were to be assigned a seat and row number by an exam advisor. At 09:55, the exam rules were set in play and no one was allowed to speak. If they did, it was considered cheating and an automatic fail.
Wednesday afternoon saw the Potions practical. If Teddie had thought being in lessons with Professor Snape had been hard, she was not expecting the practical. Professor Snape strolled around the classroom, breathing down students necks as they tried to follow the instructions to a T. They were making a simple potion, but the threat of failing was high with their Professor right at their back.
Teddie had to will herself not to glare at Professor Snape as he stopped behind her. She was a nervous wreck as it was, she could've done without his questioning stare on the back of her head, or his judgemental glares as she moved from line to line, doing as the instructions ordered.
Thursday brought about the one exam that Teddie had been dreading above all others - History of Magic. It was only a written exam, but it meant being crammed inside a small classroom with the rest of the Hogwarts first years, the sweltering heat pouring from the high open windows making it nearly impossible to breathe, much less concentrate.
Teddie wiped her brow with the back of her hand as she looked up from her exam paper. She was sitting in row B and seat 3, a meter to her left sat Daphne, and her right was Blaise. Theo sat somewhere behind her, but she couldn't remember where exactly he had been placed. She wanted to look around, try and catch his eye. She always felt reassured whenever he was around. But she knew if she was caught then she'd be accused of cheating and the two of them would be punished.
Closing her eyes, Teddie took a deep breath and looked back at her paper. She re-read the question and ticked off an answer box. She was thankful that most of the questions were multiple choice or she would have struggled indefinitely. The good thing about multiple choice was that there was a one in four chance of the answer being right. It wasn't good odds, but it was better than having a single question and needing to think over eleven months worth of work for the answer.
After an hour, Professor Binns called for attention. The exam was over and they were free to go.
Teddie rose from her seat and rushed out of the classroom. She waited out in the hall and sighed as her friends joined her.
"One more," said Blaise, squeezing her in a side hug. "Think you can manage one more?"
"It's Defence," said Teddie. "I can handle Defence."
Blaise smiled and nodded.
"Let's hope Quirrell doesn't spend the whole hour staring at you, shall we?" Daphne asked.
Teddie shivered at the thought. During their last lot of lessons Professor Quirrell's fascination with her had become more erratic, he would stare at her now even while addressing the rest of the class.
It nerved not only Teddie but her friends as well.
"We should report him now," said Theo, his hand on Teddie's shoulder. "See if they can get another advisor to monitor the exam. They're nerve-wracking enough without a creepy Professor staring you down."
"It's too late now," said Teddie. "Besides, it's been months since this first started, they'll want to know why I waited so long before making a report."
"Easy! He's a Professor, you didn't want to accuse him without actual proof of his motives," said Theo. "The fact that it has become a reoccurring thing is enough to say he wants something. You're supposed to feel safe with the Professor, but you don't with Quirrell."
Teddie shook her head. "What if I'm wrong?" she asked. "I could ruin his career. I don't want to be known as the first year that accused a Professor of paedophilia."
"Just one more day, Theo," said Teddie. "One more day and we'll be free. We won't have to go anywhere near Professor Quirrell. We can spend our freedom anyway we like, you can drag me out into the grounds for the whole week if you so wish it."
Theo sighed and caved. "Okay, fine," he said. "But just remember you promised me."
Teddie reached for his hand and rested her head on his shoulder as they headed down to the Great Hall for Lunch.
On Friday, during the exam, Teddie felt the usual stare of her Defence Professor as she scratched away at her parchment. She'd glance up every now and again, and catch his gaze, but she was always the one to look away first, whereas he would continue to bore holes straight into her.
Her friends, who sat around her, would also catch Professor Quirrell's stare. He never paid any attention to them but saved all of it for Teddie. After the exam, once Quirrell had released them, Theo, Daphne, and Blaise pulled Teddie from the room before anyone could react or stop them.
"Where are we going?" Teddie asked as Theo pulled her across the Entrance Hall.
"Outside," Theo said. "We've finished our exams, and you promised that I could drag you outside. I don't trust Quirrell, and I don't understand why you won't let me report him."
"Theo's right, Teddie," said Daphne. "Maybe now is the right time. He didn't take his eyes off you for the whole hour today. There's definitely something creepy going on inside his head."
Blaise nodded. "We should go to Professor Snape right now," he agreed.
"He's conducting an exam right now," Teddie said, stepping out in the afternoon light. In the distance she could see Fred and George Weasley near the black lake, they were playing with the tentacles of the giant squid, and near the mouth of the Forbidden Forest, she could see Hagrid's hut with three figures heading towards it. She could only assume it was Potter, Granger, and Weasley.
"Then I suggest we go sit outside his office and wait," said Blaise.
Teddie sighed and looked from each of her friends to the next. "It's really bugging you, isn't it?" she asked.
"Yes!" the three of them answered.
"Okay, fine," Teddie said. "Let's go and wait for Professor Snape. We'll explain everything and see what he suggests."
Her friends looked relieved and led her back into the Entrance Hall. They stopped as they spotted Draco, Pansy, Crabbe, and Goyle waiting for them.
"How did you find that, Green?" Parkinson asked. "Do you think you'll be coming back next year, or did you fail badly that they won't bother asking? My money's on the second one."
Teddie rolled her eyes and pushed past the pug-faced girl. She wasn't in the mood for her today.
"Hey, it's rude to ignore people," Parkinson said, grabbing Teddie's hand.
Teddie whirled around and without thinking slapped Parkinson around the face. "It's also rude to grab people!" she snapped.
Parkinson immediately reached for her wand, but before she could cast a spell a voice called out to them from the top of the Marble Staircase.
"W-Wh-What's g-g-going o-on h-h-here?" Professor Quirrell stepped off the staircase and approached them. His eyes roamed over the small group and finally landed on Teddie.
"Nothing, Professor," said Theo, grabbing Teddie's hand. "We were just heading back to our common room. Come on, guys," he said forcibly to Blaise and Daphne.
The two nodded and followed.
Parkinson glared. "It's nothing!" she shrieked. "Teddie Green is a bully, and she just slapped me!"
"I'm the bully?" Teddie asked. "You've been picking on me all year."
"Teddie, don't," Theo pleaded, tugging at her hand. "Just walk away, please?"
Teddie looked at her friend and sighed. "Come on," she said, turning her back on Parkinson again.
"M-m-miss G-G-Green…" Professor Quirrell stammered. "I-I w-w-would l-l-like a w-w-word, if you w-will."
Theo froze, his hand gripping Teddie's tightly. Now, what were they going to do? They couldn't very well say no, and making up a lie on the spot required actual evidence to back it up. Saying that Teddie needed to see Snape wouldn't work if he was invigilating an exam.
"Yes, Professor?" Teddie asked, turning to face the Defence teacher.
Teddie glanced at Theo, Blaise and Daphne. They looked at a loss. She squeezed Theo's hand and walked back across the hall towards Professor Quirrell. He pointed to the Marble staircase and indicating for her to follow him.
As she climbed the stone steps, Teddie glanced back at her friends. They waited until she had reached the top and disappeared from view before quickly following after her. Unfortunately, when they reached the first-floor landing both Quirrell and Teddie were gone.
Theo panicked. "Now what do we do?" he asked, turning quickly to Blaise and Daphne.
"Now we have to inform a Professor," said Daphne.
"Let's split up," Blaise suggested. "One of us go and find a prefect, another tries to find a Professor, and the last will try and find Dumbledore. This is not good."
Theo and Daphne nodded and the trio split in different directions.
Teddie stared up at Quirrell. After turning off the marble staircase he had grabbed her hand firmly in his grasp and dragged her into a secret tunnel hidden behind a tapestry, one that she had no idea had even existed. Before she'd had a chance to scream, a chance to alert her friends to the immediate danger, the tapestry had closed sealing her in with the Defence Professor.
"Let me go!" Teddie said, struggling against his grip. "What do you want with me?"
"I've watched you all year, Teddie Green," said Quirrell. "All year. Then you went home for Christmas, and I knew as soon as you returned I would need to take immediate action. I believe you can be quite valuable to me, very valuable indeed."
"You know what is hidden in this school at the very moment, don't you, Miss Green?" asked Quirrell
"Your stutter," said Teddie. "I knew it was fake! You're a liar!"
Quirrell laughed and continued to tug her along the hidden corridor. "You're smarter than you give yourself credit for, Miss Green," he said.
"What do you want me to do for you?"
"Dumbledore was foolish to think he could hide it from me," said Quirrell. "Using the mirror was a good tactic, but I will get the stone. You will get the stone for me."
Mirror? What mirror?
Teddie tried to dig her heels into the ground. Her shoes hit a chink in the floor and Quirrell lost his grip. She fell backwards, groaning as she hit the ground with a thud. Without having a chance to worry about injury, Teddie sprang to her feet and run back down the hidden passage.
"Stop!" Quirrell yelled, his voice full of rage.
Teddie screamed as a jet of red hit the wall above her head. It exploded, showering her with debris and dust. She managed to avoid being hit with a chunk of stone and continued to run. If she could reach the end of the tunnel and find the tapestry, maybe she could get back to her friends, or maybe even a Professor.
Then she was falling forward. Her hands scraped against the stone floor, causing gashes to appear on her palms. She hissed in pain and yelped as Quirrell grabbed her by the hair. He forced her to her feet and glared down at her, his eyes danced with flames of fury.
"You foolish girl!" Quirrell growled. "Now look what you've done!" he gestured to the state of her uniform, including her cut hands and knees. "This is no way to make a first impression. But we don't have time to get you cleaned up. You will help me, or so help me!"
Teddie glared at him. "There's nothing you can do to me that will make me help you!" she snapped. "You may as well kill me right now. I will not get the stone for you."
Quirrell backhanded her and then reached into her robes. He plucked her wand from the inside pocket and stowed it inside of his own. "You won't be needing this," he said. "Now come along, or I'll be forced to use drastic measures."
"What if I scream?" Teddie asked. "The tapestry is just there. I'm sure someone will hear me and come investigate."
A flicker of fear crossed Quirrell's face as he looked up at the tapestry.
Teddie screwed up her face and opened her mouth.
No sound. Nothing. Not even a whimper. Teddie stared at Quirrell, fear striking her core. What had he done to her?
Quirrell smirked and, with one hand holding his wand, he pushed her ahead of him. "Walk," he instructed. "If you know what is good for you, you'll do exactly as I say."
Teddie glared even harder at Quirrell, then started to walk back down the passageway. There was nothing more she could do to help herself. She didn't have her wand, he'd taken her voice, and now he was threatening her with magic.
But there had to be something she could do. Anything.
Balling her hands into fists, Teddie took one last effort to escape. She whipped around and raised her hand.
Unfortunately, the Defence Professor was faster.
"Stupefy!" said Quirrell.
A jet of red hit Teddie squarely in the chest. Her eyes widened and then she slumped over onto the floor.
Quirrell stood over her and flicked his wand. "Locomotor Maximum!" he said. Teddie's body hovered above the ground, it's height depended on how high or low Quirrell held his wand. He lifted it so Teddie floated level with his chest and then motioned with his wand down the passage.
He would get what he wanted, even if he had to use force.