In no time at all, January came and went and the whole of Hogwarts slid into February. Lessons had started back on the Monday after New Year, and the teachers were in full swing, preparing their students for their upcoming exams.
"What exactly is a NEWT?" Mason asked one night. He was in the library with everyone else, studying.
"Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests," said Marcus. "They are the highest qualifications you can get out of Hogwarts."
"But you only sit them in the seventh year," said Derrick.
"If you're lucky enough to come back after you sit your O. , of course," added Adrian.
Mason cocked his head to the side, looking curious.
"Ordinary Wizarding Levels," Adrian answered. "You sit them in your fifth year. They're not as bad as N.E. , but they also really important. Like I said, scoring high in your O. secures you a spot for the year after."
"What happens if you fail your N.E. ?"
"It depends," said Marcus.
Mason frowned. "What do you mean?" he asked.
"Well, if you're lucky enough, you could get the chance to repeat your seventh year from the beginning and try again," Marcus explained. "If you're not lucky then you flunk out and have just your O.W.L grades."
"It's rather difficult to get a job outside of school with just O.W.L qualifications, though," said Derrick. "My father works for the Ministry, he's an unspeakable, and he had to have eleven "Outstandings" for the position."
Mason looked back at his essay and scribbled down some more words. "So, what are the grades for these exams?" he asked.
"There are three passing grades," said Derrick, adding the finishing touches to his potions essay. "O which stands for Outstanding, E for Exceeds Expectations, A for Acceptable."
"Then there are there failing grades," said Adrian. "P for Poor, D for Dreadful, and T for Troll."
Teddie scoffed. "Seriously?" she asked. "You must be really bad to get a T."
"For those who don't study or even care about their education; a T is what they deserve," said Blaise. "I mean, I'm not the brightest wizard in our year, but I get by enough to not throw away my life. Unlike my mother, I actually want a career after school."
Daphne smiled. "Do you have any idea what you want to do?" she asked.
"Not really," said Blaise. "But it beats living like a parasite."
Teddie tensed and stared at her parchment. Words and images of years gone by, battles fought with Voldemort, and arguments with inner demons flashed before her eyes.
Teddie snapped back to reality and looked around. Her friends were all staring at her, looks of concern on each of their faces. "Sorry," she apologised, smiling weakly.
"You alright?" Marcus asked.
"Yeah," said Teddie, shaking her head.
"What happened then?" Mason asked.
Teddie sighed and put down her quill. "I think the word 'parasite' acted like some form of a trigger," she answered. "Because, as soon as you said it, Blaise, I had multiple flashbacks of Voldemort and my 'hidden personality' calling me exactly that - a parasite."
"You're not a parasite, though," said Daphne. "That thing inside you is. She is the one that has come out of nowhere. We don't know her, and neither do you. So she is the one that needs to go."
Teddie forced a small smile. "Thanks, Daph," she said.
Daphne nodded and pulled her Divination book towards her. Her moon chart was coming along nicely, and she only had a few more sections to finish before completing it.
Mason paused and looked at his sister. "Do you know this mystery person's name?" he asked.
"No, why?" Teddie asked.
"Because I could check out Nature's Nobility: A Wizarding Genealogy to see if I can find her," said Mason. "I mean, it's obvious this person has some form of a magical connection, and Harry did tell you that she said something about having a "whole other life" and Tom Riddle's memory confirmed it when he said he could identify with her."
Theo blinked. "So, wait for a second, you think this magical person inside Teddie is an entity on its own?" he asked.
Mason shrugged. "Maybe," he said, nodding. "It could be a spirit that has latched onto her, or maybe even her magic, itself. It could be picking up on this other person's magic and connecting them both."
"I… guess that makes sense," said Astoria.
"But without a name, I can't really do much research," said Mason.
The table fell silent, everyone drifted back to their own essays, and the sound of scribbling was all that could be heard for the next hour or so.
Soon, as the courtyard clock struck seven, the group packed up their things and left the library for Dinner.
Before anyone realised, the Gryffindor vs. Ravenclaw Quidditch match had arrived. The morning of the match, Teddie looked up from her breakfast in time to see Harry enter the Great Hall with an entourage of Gryffindor boys, under his arm he was carrying a broomstick.
"Is that… a Firebolt?" Derrick asked. He turned to Teddie, his eyes wide.
"I thought they weren't selling them to anyone below professional league, yet?" Daphne asked. "How did Potter get one?"
Teddie shrugged. "If I remember the shop owner said that they would only be selling them to professional players for a certain amount of months," she said. "Maybe that time limit is up and anyone can buy them now."
"Well, I know what to ask for my birthday this year," said Adrian.
Teddie shared a look with Daphne and scoffed. "It's still just a broomstick," she said.
"We are not having this conversation again," Derrick said.
Daphne laughed and returned to her breakfast. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Adrian and Derrick eying the Gryffindor table with looks of envy.
"You guys are so obvious," said Daphne, downing her pumpkin juice. "Why don't you just ask already."
Both Derrick and Adrian looked around.
"What are you talking about?" Derrick asked.
"It's written all over your faces," said Daphne. "You both want to see the Firebolt up close, but neither of you is friends with the Gryffindors. However, Teddie is. So why don't you just ask her already."
Looking up at the sound of her name, Teddie frowned. "I'm not friends with the Gryffindors," she said. "I'm on friendly terms with the Gryffindors, and sure, Harry and I get along, but I wouldn't go as far as to say we're friends. Why, would you?"
"I'd say you and Potter were a little more than on friendly terms," said Daphne, nodding. "I mean, you've both saved each other's lives for the last two years in a row, and he did purposely come to the Chamber of Secrets to get you when he could've left it to the teachers. That's not something you do for someone who you're just on friendly terms with."
Teddie inclined her head slightly. "Alright, fair point," she said. "Fine. I am friends with a Gryffindor, not the entire house."
"You don't need to be friends with the entire house," said Daphne. "It just so happens, that the Gryffindor you are friends with is the one with the fancy new Broomstick."
"You want me to ask Harry if these lot can see his new Broomstick?" Teddie asked, nodding at the five boys. While Derrick and Adrian had been the ones eying the Gryffindor table, both Teddie and Daphne knew that Marcus, Theo, and Blaise wouldn't pass on an opportunity to see a Firebolt up close.
Teddie looked over at the Gryffindors and then around at her friends. They were each staring at her, looking hopeful.
"Please, Teddie," Derrick begged.
"Alright!" Teddie groaned. "Let me talk to Harry first. Stay here." She stood from her seat and wandered around the hall to the Gryffindor table. Most of the house hissed at her as she passed, but she ignored them and stopped just behind Harry.
Ron Weasley looked up and glared. "What do you want, Snake?" he asked. "Come to marvel in the perfection of our new secret weapon?"
Teddie rolled her eyes. "It's hardly a secret weapon if it's on display for all to see, is it, Weasley?" she asked.
"Whatever," Ron muttered. He returned to his breakfast.
Teddie shook her head and turned to Harry. "You know not all Slytherins are out to get you, right?" she asked. "We aren't all like Malfoy."
"Well, just like yourself, I happen to be friends with a group of Quidditch enthusiasts, and they were wondering, if you're allowing, can they come to see your new broomstick?"
Oliver Wood looked up, wildly. "What, why?" he asked. He reached for the Broomstick. "So they can hex it before the match? I'm not about to let the competition ruin our chances today."
"I'm not asking for you to let them see it unsupervised, Wood," Teddie said. "You can stay right there for all I care. They just want to see it before it hits the mainstream and everyone is running around with one."
Oliver opened his mouth to retort when Harry beat him to it.
"Sure," Harry said.
"What? Harry, have you gone mad?" Oliver asked. "You can't trust a Snake."
Harry shook his head at his captain and took his Broomstick from the table. "I trust Teddie," he said. "She's promised me that nothing will happen, and I trust her to stick by her word." He turned back to Teddie. "Come on. I'll make it easier on you and come back to your table."
"You've completely lost it, mate," said Fred. "Willingly entering the enemies territory with a prized possession?"
"I've seen it all now," George agreed.
Teddie looked to the twins. "If it'll make you feel any better," she said. "You're welcome to come along. You can keep Harry safe. But I assure you, no harm will come to him."
Fred and George exchanged looks and then stood. "Alright," they both said. "We shall accompany you."
"I'm coming, too!" said Oliver, jumping up. "I want to be sure that nothing happens to my star player and his broomstick."
"Me, three!" said Ron. He abandoned his breakfast with a mournful look and followed the others back to the Slytherin table.
Teddie ignored the looks from the rest of her house and led Harry back to her spot. She smiled at the others as they looked up at her.
"What are they all doing here?" Adrian asked. He was talking about Wood and the Weasleys.
"Ignore them," said Teddie. "They didn't trust us enough to not hurt Harry or hex his Broomstick."
"You haven't shown us any reason to trust you, Green," said Ron.
"Right. So helping Harry save the school from Voldemort two years on the run gets me no credit, huh?" Teddie asked. "Besides, Harry trusts them."
Ron looked at his best friend.
Harry ignored him and leaned forward, setting his Firebolt on the table before most of the Slytherin players.
Jaws dropped, and Teddie giggled at the facial expressions on all of her friends.
"It's amazing!" Derrick breathed. He reached out to touch the handle, but stopped and looked to Harry.
Derrick smiled and slowly run his fingers across the broom handle. "It's so smooth," he said.
"It's beautiful," said Adrian. He admired the end. Each twig was nestled comfortably together and held in place by a black band with gold trimming.
Teddie rolled her eyes and muttered, "Oh brother," as her friends continued to drool over the broomstick. You'd have thought they hadn't seen one in all their lives.
After ten minutes of ogling, Teddie handed the Firebolt to Harry and smiled. "Thanks, Harry," she said. "Good luck today."
"No problem," Harry nodded, "and thanks."
After Harry had left with his friends, Teddie retook her seat and looked across at Derrick. "You happy, now?" she asked.
"Happy? Happy? Are you kidding? I'm breathless!" Derrick said. He was grinning so much it filled his face. "You are absolutely amazing! I love you!"
Daphne laughed. "Wow, Ted, compliments," she grinned. "You should exploit your friendship with Potter more often. Imagine what you could get away with?"
"Indeed," Teddie said, laughing too. "And all because he has some fancy new broomstick."
"Who you rooting for today, Teddie?" Marlene asked. She had joined Teddie and friends as they headed down to the Quidditch pitch for the start of the match. She, too, was accompanied by her friends, Judy and Susan.
Teddie grinned and wrapped an arm around Mason's shoulder. "Normally, I'd root for Gryffindor," she said. "But since Mason is in Ravenclaw, I am rooting for them."
"So, you root for Ravenclaw when they play Hufflepuff or Gryffindor, yeah?" Susan asked.
"Mhm," Teddie nodded.
Judy looked around. "What about when Slytherin plays Ravenclaw?" she asked. "What happens then?"
Mason and Teddie shared a look.
"Well, we've both agreed that we're going to support our own houses," said Mason. "No matter the outcome."
"So, if we beat you," said Judy. "Do we get bragging rights?"
"Only if we get them if we beat you," said Jasmine, pushing herself in between Judy and her sister.
Marlene laughed and squeezed her sister's shoulder. "How about we make a deal? Regardless of the outcome, we don't brag about it to each other?" she asked.
"I like that idea," Teddie agreed.
"Aw, boo!" Judy pouted.
Marlene shook her head at her best friend. "Where are you sitting today?" she asked Teddie.
"Well, Mason joined us in the Slytherin stands when Gryffindor played Slytherin," said Teddie. "So I'm going to the Ravenclaw side, today. You?"
"Same," Marlene nodded.
Susan looked around at the rest of Teddie's friends. "I hope there is room for all of us," she said.
"Cassie is keeping spaces for Teddie and me," said Mason. "She said she would be right at the front. Apparently, most first years sit behind the barrier, anyway."
"Lucky," said Marlene. "It's usually first to come first served at the Slytherin stands. We only get the front benches when we're with Teddie."
Teddie looked up. "What makes me so special?" she asked.
"My guess is because you're close friends with half of the Slytherin team," said Judy.
Teddie groaned. "Please don't start all that again," she whined.
Judy frowned and exchanged a confused look with Marlene and Susan, whilst Daphne squeezed Teddie tightly.
At exactly 12 o'clock, both Ravenclaw and Gryffindor walked out onto the field. Unlike the last Quidditch match before Christmas, the weather settings were almost perfect. The skies were clear, and there was a cloud to be seen.
Teddie leaned forward slightly, squinting down onto the pitch. The Ravenclaw stands seemed so much higher than the Slytherin stands, either that or they were further away from the field. Either way, she wasn't used to not being able to see in near perfect conditions.
"Careful," Marcus warned, catching her waist and pulling her back.
Teddie pulled back. "Sorry. But is it is me or are we further away?" she asked.
"No," said Marcus. "You're just not used to watching from this side of the field. It takes a while to adjust."
"They're off..." the sound of the Gryffindor commentator, Lee Jordan, filled the stadium. "The big excitement this match is the Firebolt which Harry Potter is flying for Gryffindor. According to Which Broomstick, the Firebolt's going to be the broom of choice for the national teams at this year's World Championship -"
"Jordan, would you mind telling us what's going on in the match?" interrupted Professor McGonagall.
"Right you are Professor - just giving a bit of background information. The Firebolt, incidentally, has a built-in auto-brake and -"
Derrick caught Teddie's gaze. "Don't even say it," he warned.
"What?" said Teddie.
"You know what."
Teddie giggled and looked back at the field.
"Gryffindor in possession, Katie Bell of Gryffindor heading for the goal..."
Teddie watched as Harry streaked past in the opposite direction. He was like a blur on his new broomstick, but despite his new speeds, the Ravenclaw Seeker managed to stay on him.
"That's Cho Chang," said Mason. "She's the fourth year."
"She's really friendly," said Astoria. "On my first night, she stopped a few older students from being mean to me."
Daphne looked quickly at her sister. "You were picked on and you're only telling me now?" she asked.
"I wouldn't call it 'being picked on' exactly," said Astoria. "Just a few older students were loudly questioning how a Greengrass could end up in Ravenclaw when we've always in been in Slytherin."
"So Slytherin isn't the only house that has a thing about upholding traditions," Teddie muttered.
"You'd be surprised," said Marcus. "All houses have their traditions. Slytherin's are just more openly spoken about theirs."
Teddie glanced at Mason. "Have you been subjected to any traditional beliefs?" she asked.
Mason shook his head. "You'd be surprised at how open Ravenclaw is to Muggleborns," he said. "As long as you're studious and love learning, they don't really have a problem."
"He's right," said Astoria. "I don't have any issues anymore. It was just the once. No one cares if I am a Greengrass or not, as long as my grades reflect a Ravenclaw, they're happy."
Teddie met Daphne's eye.
"So glad I am not in Ravenclaw," said Daphne.
"Tell me about it," Teddie agreed.
Suddenly, Harry dived. Cho followed. All around the stands, Ravenclaws rose to their feet, cheering their Seeker on.
"Go on, Cho!" Mason shouted.
Then a Bludger came pelting out of nowhere.
"No!" Astoria moaned as both Harry and Cho pulled out of their dives. The bludger narrowly missed them both, but the Snitch had disappeared again.
Teddie squeezed Mason's shoulder. "Hey, I am all for Ravenclaw winning, you know that right?" she asked.
"Yeah," Mason nodded.
"But, you are aware that your seeker doesn't stand a chance against Harry."
Mason shrugged. "Theo beat Harry in the Gryffindor vs. Slytherin match," he said. "Why can't Cho?"
"I almost didn't win," said Theo. "Plus, Potter didn't have a Firebolt when we played. That thing is faster and stealthier than the broomstick that Chang is riding. What is it, anyway? Comet 360?"
"I think so," Derrick said. "I hate to say this, but I think Teddie may be right. Chang doesn't stand a chance against Potter."
Mason huffed and crossed his arms. "The match is only halfway in and already you've defaulted," he said, poking Teddie in the side.
"I'm just thinking logically," said Teddie, giggling. "Besides, other than few flukes, when has Harry ever lost a match? Regardless of what broomstick he is riding. Harry is just a good player."
Astoria looked across at Mason. "Your sister sucks," she grumbled.
"Yeah, she does," Mason nodded.
Teddie rolled her eyes and playfully flicked Mason's ear.
"Gryffindor lead by eighty points to zero, and look at that Firebolt go! Potter's really putting it through its paces now. See it turn… its precision-balance is really noticeable -"
"JORDAN! ARE YOU BEING PAID TO ADVERTISE FIREBOLTS?" Professor McGonagall shrieked. "GET ON WITH THE COMMENTARY!"
A ripple of laughter spread throughout the Ravenclaw stands.
"Stop it," said Derrick to Teddie.
"I didn't say anything!" Teddie protested.
"You were thinking it."
Teddie grinned and shook her head.
Harry suddenly accelerated but was blocked by Cho.
"Gryffindor is only fifty points ahead," said Adrian. "If Chang catches the Snitch now, Ravenclaw wins."
"Can anyone see the Snitch?" Judy asked.
Teddie scanned the pitch and then shook her head.
"Potter has seen something," said Cassie. She was pointing to where Harry had just dived, followed closely by Cho.
Then, without warning, Harry pulled up and shot, like a bullet, into the air. Unfortunately, Cho kept going down.
"He's seen something," said Teddie. She had been watching Harry from her place in the stands. While Cho continued to descend towards the field, he had accelerated towards the Ravenclaw stands.
"There!" said Jasmine. The Snitch was hovering not that far away from where they were sitting.
A scream echoed from the back of the Ravenclaw stands. Teddie turned, her hand reaching inside her sleeve for her wand, but what she saw caused her to whip back around. The Ravenclaw that had screamed was pointing at something down on the field.
Three, tall, black, hood Dementors, were huddled in the middle of the pitch and looking up.
"What -?" Teddie breathed.
Without thinking, Mason plunged his hand into his robes and pulled out his wand. He took aim and shouted: "Expecto Patronum!"
A silver-white Raven burst out of the tip of Mason's wand and swooped down onto the Dementors. It pecked at them before being ambushed by a second silver white mist, which managed to knock them off their feet.
Teddie stared, slack-jawed at her little brother. "But, you… just… how?!" she asked, unable to string her words into a full sentence.
While Mo Flint had given them lessons on conjuring a Patronus, he had said that one lesson wouldn't be enough to form, what he had called, a corporeal Patronus, yet Mason had managed too.
Before Mason could reply, a roar of cheers exploded from the Gryffindor side of the field. Harry had caught the Snitch and, after being engulfed in mid-air by his teammates, had returned to the field.
"Something's not right," said Marcus. His eyes were on the Dementors, rather than the cheering Gryffindor crowds which had flooded the field.
"What do you mean?" Adrian asked. "No offence to Chang, but Potter won fair and square."
Marcus shook his head. "I don't mean the match," he said. "Ted, how do you feel?"
Teddie cocked her head to the side. "I feel fine, why?" she asked.
"Come on," said Marcus. He grabbed her hand and pulled her out of the stands. The others, confused, quickly followed them.
"Marcus, what is it?" Teddie asked, running to keep up with him. "What's wrong?"
"The last time you were near a Dementor you passed out," said Marcus. "Don't you find it odd that these three show up and you don't feel anything? Not to mention, why would only three Dementors show up when they are known to travel in groups?"
Teddie frowned, thinking over his words.
"So, you think this was what? Some kind of prank?" Adrian asked, catching up with his best mate. They stopped at the doors to the field and looked out. The Gryffindors were still cheering for Harry, but Professor McGonagall was heading for the middle of the pitch.
"It's a sick prank if it is one," said Derrick. "Who would do something so tactless?"
Teddie eyed the mass of cloaks. "They seemed more interested in Harry than they did anyone else who is affected by them," she said. "I mean, they were looking directly at him."
"So, who hates Potter enough to want to see him hurt?" Judy asked.
"I have an idea," said Teddie. She pushed past Marcus and took off towards the centre of the field. She arrived just as Professor Lupin and Harry did.
Stopping beside his sister, Mason took in the sight of the three Dementors Laying in a crumpled heap on the ground were Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, all struggling to remove themselves from the black robes.
Teddie stifled a laugh as she looked around at her friends, each of them, too, seemed to be holding back their own amusement.
Standing over the three Slytherin third years, with an expression of the utmost fury on her face, was Professor McGonagall. "An unworthy trick!" she shouted. "A low and cowardly attempt to sabotage the Gryffindor Seeker! Detention for all of you, and fifty points from Slytherin! I shall be speaking to Professor Dumbledore about this make no mistake! Ah, here he comes now!"
Looking back at the three boys, Teddie couldn't help the giggles that escaped her. While her house may have lost fifty house points - she was sure they would get them back before the end of term - the sight before her was just too funny to hide it forever.
Teddie felt a hand on her wrist and looked around at Marcus.
"Come on," Marcus said, pulling her away.
Teddie nodded and allowed him to pull her away from the scene. She stopped just before leaving the stadium and looked over at Harry as he made his way over with the rest of the Gryffindor team. "Hey, Harry," she called.
"Yeah?" Harry asked, smiling.
If possible, Harry's smile grew. "Thanks, Teddie," he said.