Sense of Belonging

Chapter 16

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

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A few weeks later, with exams approaching, Izzy had found herself with little time other than to study. Even being ahead in her work and on top of the exam preparation schedule she had made, the young Slytherin was still nervous for the end of the year. Perhaps it was her limited interaction with friends, being unable to talk to Hermione and Jett using her time elsewhere to avoid studying, that made Isabelle so on edge.

She found herself on her way to class, not focusing on anything except learning, even as she walked through the corridors. That mostly explained why, that morning, she suddenly walked straight into her brother, who had stopped dead in the middle of the hallway.

"What are you doing? Draco – "

"Shh!" He paused a moment and then sighed annoyedly. "Great, they stopped talking. Potter and Weasley were just saying something about that oaf, Hagrid, getting into trouble for something he's not supposed to be doing – "

"I don't really care, and neither should you. Let's get to Transfiguration, before we're late." Izzy glanced at her brother to find him smirking mischievously. Getting the feeling he was gonna get into some sort of trouble, she shook her head, knowing she didn't have time to try and talk him out of it.

It was later that morning, just before lunch, that Draco came running into the Slytherin common room overly ecstatic.

"He's got a dragon!" He plopped down next to his sister, who had to move the book she was studying from before he ripped the pages out.

"What do you mean? Who has a dragon?" Izzy asked, not really caring nor paying attention. She continued writing the list of DADA spells she would have to practice for her practical, barely listening.

"That groundskeeper, Hagrid, the one Father complains about! He has an /illegal/ dragon in his hut. I just saw it!" Not getting the reaction he thought he would from his sister, Draco snatched the book away to make Iz look at him. "Did you hear me?"

"Yeah, so? What are you going to do about it? And how did he even get a dragon anyways?" Isabelle raised her eyebrow at him, holding back her temper as Draco held onto her book.

"I think he hatched it, I don't know, but I don't care. He's going to get into .trouble/! But I can't tell anyone yet, I have to make sure he can't hide it. And I want Potter and Weasley to get in trouble too, serves them right. Can you believe it?" The blonde-haired Slytherin seemed oddly happy at the thought of another person's misery.

"Then why don't you tell Professor Snape, and give me back my textbook? Or go to the Headmaster? I don't think he'll be able to keep a dragon a secret for very long." Izzy reached out to take her book back but Draco stood up, beginning to pace while holding it.

"No, no, I'll have to wait a little bit. It'll drive the two idiots crazy – they won't know when I go to tell on them and that giant oaf. And don't try to warn them ahead of time, I know you could tell Moreau or even the Mudbl – "

"Draco," Izzy said seriously, standing. "I don't care if he has a dragon or not. I won't tell them, and stop calling Hermione that name. I don't like it." Snatching her book back, she sat back down to finish her list, leaving her brother to scheme away.

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A week or so later, Draco was still going on about his plan with the dragon. He was just waiting for the right moment, he said, he wanted to be sure they would all get in trouble. Instead of focusing on his studies or even his homework piling up in these last few weeks of classes, Isabelle's seemingly-dumb older brother continued to be obsessed with the dragon situation.

He found his chance after discovering Weasley was in the Hospital Wing. His hand having swollen to twice its usual size, the Gryffindor was confined to a hospital bed until Madam Pomfrey could be sure he was cured. Draco took advantage of the situation, sure he could get Weasley to admit to something.

Instead, he got something better. Madam Pomfrey had caught Draco lurking in the Hospital Wing and the Slytherin had quickly come up with the excuse to borrow one of Weasley's textbooks. What was he to find in that very book than a letter from the blood-traitor's brother, Charlie, who took care of dragons in Romania. Within that letter was the exact time and date the culprits were going to sneak the dragon away. Saturday at midnight.

His sister didn't care much at all. Izzy, by this point, had cut off most of her interactions with anyone except for class-related stuff. She was an eleven-year-old on a mission. She stopped going to most meals, as she saw it as a waste of time, and ate as she studied in the common room. The young Slytherin hadn't spoken to her Gryffindor friends in at least a week, no longer even attempting to go to the library and now more often than not hiding in the silver-and-green common room in the dungeons.

Her diligent studying was thus interrupted one evening unexpectedly as Professor Snape and Draco entered said common room. Most of the other students had already given up or gone to bed, with only a couple older seventh years still preparing for their N.E.W.T.S.

" – am extremely disappointed in you, Mr. Malfoy. I will have to write to your parents to explain this irresponsibility. Twenty points and a detention for being out of bed so late, it is inexcusable for any student. I hope you understand – "

"But sir – " Izzy's brother's voice squeaked, obviously afraid of further consequences but also sure enough to continue, "Potter and his friends had a dragon, I swear! I saw it, down in the hut on the grounds – "

"Utter nonsense. Now get to bed. You have exams to study for and assignments to complete, I'm sure. You will be contacted about when and where your detention will be held. Go on." Snape looked obviously upset, not only for being woken in the middle of the night, but for it having been McGonagall to have found his student wandering the halls. Draco turned around with a huff and started for the boys' dormitory.

Waiting until their House head professor was gone, Izzy quickly sprang up to catch her brother before he got to his dorm room. "Draco!" she hissed, trying not to scare him.

"Go to bed, Izzy, I don't want to talk about it."

"I don't care – you lost us twenty points! And you didn't even catch Potter or Weasley?" Iz folded her arms, disappointed but wanting to hear what had happened.

"They were going to be there, I swear. I saw the dragon in the hut, and I found their note! If only that old hag hadn't found me – "

"Well serves you right. What did you think you were doing? You should've just told Professor Snape or something, not gone yourself."

"Whatever, Iz, I'm going to bed. Goodnight." Not getting any more answers out of him, her one last point of friendly interaction disappeared.

Draco was now mad at her, as if she had been the one to tell their parents and not the letter that had been sent home by Professor Snape. He wouldn't even tell her when his detention was or what it would be. Potter had gotten both Hermione and Jett in trouble, as well as Longbottom, all of whom were also going to serve detention for being out of bed like her brother. The First Years quickly turned to focusing on their exams, with Slytherin now far in the lead for the House points.

Draco actually began to focus on his schoolwork for once, having received a Howler from both Narcissa and Lucius. (Of course, the Malfoys knew to send such a letter not at a meal time but just before bedtime. They still needed to depict themselves as a perfect family for the rest of the wizarding world. And they didn't feel that Draco deserved the public embarrassment.) Izzy even began to believe that her brother wouldn't have to serve detention, as the days passed and nothing about it was mentioned again. Perhaps the family influence had allowed the twelve-year-old to escape such punishment.

A week or so before exams, the two Malfoy siblings got their answer. Eating breakfast in the Great Hall, finally at a point that she felt confident in her intelligence and ability to surpass all the other First Years, Isabelle was enjoying a delicious meal. She paid no mind as Russet brought her brother's and her mail, dropping it on the table and waiting expectantly for a treat as always. Ripping off a small piece of food for her pet, Izzy glanced over to find Draco with his eyes narrowed but slightly nervous.

"What is it? What does it say?"

"Nothing." Her blonde-haired brother tried to stow the parchment away, folding it and acting as if everything were fine. Shrugging and pretending it didn't matter to her, Iz turned back to her breakfast before snatching the note while Draco wasn't looking. It read:

Your detention will take place at eleven o'clock tonight.

Meet Mr. Filch in the entrance hall.

It was signed by Professor McGonagall. Glancing up at the High Table with the teachers, she looked back at her brother with a concerned look. "They didn't forget then. What do you think they'll have you doing so late? Do you think you'll have to scrub the entrance hall without magic?"

"Shh! I don't want anyone to know." Draco snatched the parchment back, looking across the table at Crabbe and Goyle who were continuing to eat merrily. They never paid much attention at meals anyways, always distracted by food.

"Well, you snuck out and got caught. This is your punishment." Isabelle replied, turning back to finish her own breakfast. She added quietly, curiously, "But really, what do you think they'll have you do?"

"I don't know. I just hope I'm alone and I can use magic." Draco muttered, obviously unhappy.

It wasn't until later that Isabelle learned of the events in the Forbidden Forest, her brother and her friends telling her two very different tales – but both scary nonetheless.

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Author's Note: I'm not going to go into the Forbidden Forest scenes. I hope you remember them from the book and/or movie. Nothing really changes except that Jett, who got in trouble along with Harry and Hermione, stays with Hagrid the whole time. Izzy wouldn't hear much of anything about Voldemort, only that there was some scary creature or figure that had tried to attack Draco and Harry. She has stayed outside the loop of the Golden Trio talk, except for helping with Nicolas Flamel and knowing about the three-headed dog. Isabelle's primary concern is the exams, working herself to the point that she is sacrificing her friendships and her relationship with her brother to be top of the class. She will quickly learn that that might not be worth the cost.

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Thank you for sticking with the story this far! I always enjoy reading any comments or answering any questions you may have :)