Sense of Belonging

Chapter 10

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter (that magic belongs to J.K. Rowling).

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Two months in her new home had already passed by and Isabelle couldn't believe it. The weather had finally turned colder, which she preferred, and classes were running smoothly. She and Hermione had settled on a midterm study schedule which kept her occupied for much of the week, while also allowing Jett some time to show them how to have fun around the castle.

It was finally All Hallow's Eve, October 31st, and the day before Izzy's birthday. She was especially excited because flying lessons had been cancelled due to the Halloween Feast for all the students. She only had to survive her afternoon History of Magic class and the feast before it would be her birthday. To be 11 years old at last!

"What are you all smiling about, sis?" Draco asked as they filed into the classroom.

"It's almost my birthday, you know. And there's a feast tonight, and I'm excited for my presents tomorrow!" Izzy responded gleefully, despite the surely boring nature of her History class. Her brother rolled his eyes but smirked mischievously, having already gotten her a present and happy for her. As class began, Isabelle could barely pay attention and take good notes. She doodled for most of Professor Bin's lecture, trying to imagine what her parents would get her this year as she wasn't at home. Jumping at the bell signaling class to end, she quickly put her stuff in her bag and raced from the room.

Daydreaming about which new clothes she wanted to wear for the feast tonight versus her birthday celebrations tomorrow, she practically walked right into another student in the corridor. Snapping out of it, she turned to hear some whiny voice say,

" – no wonder no one can stand her, she's a nightmare, honestly." The red-headed Ronald Weasley stood in the middle of the crowded corridor, talking to Harry Potter. Izzy watched as her bushy-haired friend raced by them, obviously upset, seemingly in tears. The Slytherin attempted to push through the other students to go after her, jinxing the Weasley boy's feet on her way to make him trip over nothing.

"I think she heard you." Izzy heard Potter comment, sounding remorseful.

"So? She must've noticed she's got no friends." Isabelle almost stopped, ready to curse the boy further but saw Jett slam into him on purpose, practically knocking him over. Giving Izzy a slight nod, the short blonde also tried to go after Hermione and catch up with her to make sure she was alright.

In the crowd of students, however, Iz had quickly lost sight of both Gryffindors and found herself alone. Unsure where they would have disappeared to and hoping Jett had found Hermione, the Slytherin decided to go and get ready back at her dorms. Checking the library a couple hours later on her way to the feast, Izzy found no sign of her intelligent Gryffindor friend.

"Why so worried? I'm sure they'll have plenty of pumpkin pie, I promise not to eat it all on you again." Draco joked with his sister, glad to see that she had finally begun to settle at Hogwarts.

"Nothing, just hungry." Izzy replied non-committedly, still glancing over at the Gryffindor table. Jett sat near Potter and Weasley and shrugged her shoulders at the Slytherin's questioning look, letting her know she didn't know where Hermione was. Sighing, Iz glanced over to the door once more as a couple professors passed by the Slytherin tables.

"…was brilliant in class today, I say. The first to levitate her feather and with almost no practice at all! Ms. Granger will surely be one of the top students for our First Years, she seems very dedicated and quite smart too…" Professor Flitwick commented to another professor as they headed down the aisle up to the Head Table. Izzy, the natural eavesdropper, couldn't help but hear the words of praise for one of her Gryffindor friends. Semi-torn that Hermione had so impressed the Charms professor above her but also happy that she had proven her intelligence, Iz found she now had a second reason to find the bushy-haired girl to congratulate her as well as check to be sure she was okay.

As Isabelle was about to get up, the food appeared with barely a word from the Headmaster. Deciding she would enjoy the feast first and look for Hermione later, the dark-haired Slytherin smiled as she dug into her Halloween-themed treats. Having a pleasant and successful conversation not only with her brother but also Daphne, Izzy had nearly forgotten Hermione when the doors to the Great Hall slammed open. The mass of students went silent, all heads turning to stare at their Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, his turban askew and terror on his face.

He had barely reached Professor Dumbledore's chair at the Head Table before gasping, "Troll – in the dungeons – thought you ought to know." Quirrell then promptly fainted and panic ensued, an uproar from startled students. Isabelle stood, looking to her brother who started to yell along with most of the other First Years. A troll?!

Before she could say a word or really process what was happening, the students settled down after several sets of purple firecrackers from the Headmaster's wand. In the silence, his clear yet clearly distressed voice rumbled,

"Prefects, lead your Houses back to the dormitories immediately! Slytherin, to the Astronomy Tower. Professors, follow me to the dungeons." Distressed but always one to follow orders, Izzy got next to the familiar sixth-year prefect who had checked on her the first few days of the school year. Draco quickly joined her side with Crabbe and Goyle, all three boys still looking panicked.

"First Years, stick together. We are going to the Astronomy Tower for safety. Stay with me and you'll be safe, this way!" The tall girl led the silver-and-green-clad Slytherins through the busy hallways, students hurrying every which way.

The First Years walked mostly in silence, no joking or playful jostling as there usually was. Once they reached the Astronomy Tower and had climbed to the top, one of the older prefects checked to be sure everyone had made it. Izzy noticed one of the other First Year girls, Millicent, was crying, Daphne and Tracey trying to comfort her. Pansy looked indifferent, unsure how to handle the other girls' emotions but also concerned herself. Looking back to her brother, who seemed mostly at ease now they had made it to the tower, Iz tried to calm her own racing heart.

For all her earlier excitement, all Izzy could think about now was how the night had been ruined by the troll. She was glad it had been today, on Halloween, rather than her birthday tomorrow. At the same time, it had ruined the feast tonight and she had no idea how long they might be stuck up on this tower. The prefects thankfully were keeping the area warm with magic, otherwise the cool wind of autumn would be chilling the students. As another hour passed while the students waited there in quiet, the young Slytherin could only worry about how this would impact her birthday celebrations tomorrow.

After merely a couple hours of boredom, the exhausted Slytherin students returned to their dungeon commonroom. It was not until the next morning that Isabelle learned of the bathroom incident with the troll involving one of her Gryffindor friends.