Sense of Belonging

Chapter 3

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

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August 19th could not come quick enough for Izzy or Draco. They were both excited for the shopping trip, but for very different reasons. Lucius had promised that he would buy Draco all new Quidditch gear so as to be ready for the Slytherin team try-outs. Izzy, on the other hand, had been able to orchestrate that specific date so as to meet up with Hermione when she would also be shopping in Diagon Alley. Jett would be joining the Malfoy family, as planned.

As such, Isabelle was quite surprised when Jett suddenly appeared in their fireplace on the evening of August 13th. They had just finished supper and had been dismissed from the table. Draco was going over to Vincent Crabbe's house for an overnight before school. Gregory Goyle and a few of the other Slytherin boys were supposedly also meeting there for the get-together. Izzy wasn't sure she would want to see all of the girls from her dormitory if she had to – especially not Pansy Parkinson. But Iz was certain that Draco sought to have someone to practice Quidditch with, as he was still set on trying out for the Slytherin House team.

Lucius and Draco had just apparated away in the entrance hall as Izzy descended the stairs with a book in her hand. She had planned to spend some quiet time outside enjoying the fleeting summer fresh air. Yet as she passed the North Lawn Drawing Room to her left, she noticed the fireplace suddenly light and heard the sound of someone's arrival. Sure that her mother would have told her if they were expecting a visitor – plus the fact that most of their visitors would have apparated to the Manor, rather than take the messy floo-powder network – Isabelle entered the room cautiously. Hearing the sound of coughing and recognizing the short figure standing before her covered in soot, Izzy ran toward the fireplace in both excitement and confusion.

"Jett! Hey! What are you doing here? Did I forget you were coming tonight?" Iz asked the questions in rapid-fire fashion but realized a house-elf hadn't appeared to dust her friend off. Calling Daisy, who promptly arrived to de-mess their house guest, Izzy grabbed Jett's bag to dust it off as well. With one final cough and a moment to catch her breath, her Gryffindor friend gave Iz a sort of smile before answering her earlier questions.

"Hey. No, I wasn't supposed to come tonight – we're meeting up next week, remember? For Diagon Alley? But sorry to barge in like this, my godfather said there was some kind of emergency and that I would have to stay here tonight. If that's okay…" She trailed off as if unsure of what else to say.

Just then, Narcissa came rushing in yet still graceful as ever. Not hiding her surprise, she gave Jett a brief smile before asking, "Good evening, Jett. What brings you here so late?" And unannounced?, Narcissa added in her own thoughts. She had just been preparing for her brunch and tea tomorrow with some of the other Ministry of Magic wives and was a little annoyed to be pulled away from, to her, such an important task.

"Oh, I'm very sorry Mrs. Malfoy but I guess there was some sort of emergency. I'm not sure why. But here – " She reached to grab her backpack from Izzy and took out a piece of parchment, handing it to Narcissa. "This is from my mother." The tall, blonde woman quickly read the note, which did not offer very many details as to why Jett was at her home but rather a sincere apology for any displeasure the sudden arrival may have caused.

"You are, of course, welcome to stay here anytime, Jett. I am sure Isabelle will be happy to have someone to entertain as her brother is gone for the evening. Do you know when you might be allowed to go back?" Narcissa continued, hoping she could be gone before the next day's party.

"I really am not sure, it was kind of…sudden. I hope sometime tomorrow though," Jett responded, then added after glancing at Iz and realizing how that might sound, "of course, so as to not burden you or Isabelle." The blonde Gryffindor gave a perfect smile, hands clasped behind her back.

"No problem, dear. Please let me know if you hear from your mother." Giving her daughter a look before departing, Narcissa left the room to return to her preparations.

"So…what was the emergency?" Izzy asked as they made their way up to the now-familiar guest bedroom that Jett would be staying in.

"I really don't know. My godfather had said I would have to go to bed early tonight – which he sometimes does, I'm not sure why, but – and so I was trying to watch this Muggle movie on the television set and all of a sudden he came in the living room all panicked and told me that I would have to come and stay here tonight." Jett finished quietly, as if unsure.

"Oh. What do you think happened? Don't you live by a Muggle village – what if something was happening there?"

"I don't know. But he was definitely afraid of something because, well… I told him I didn't want to leave the house or to come here – no offense – and he actually yelled at me. I…I've never heard him yell before." They had finally reached the blue guest bedroom and Jett sat gingerly on the bed, staring at the floor. She was obviously thinking over whatever had happened.

"I'm sure he didn't mean to, he was probably just stressed. You've said he has always been nice to you – and he seems a lot better than your mum." Jett simply nodded at this, still lost in her thoughts. Iz set her friend's bag down next to her on the bed but it quickly rolled off, its contents spilling onto the floor. She had only brought a very small bag with one change of clothes, her wand, and –

"Who is this?" Isabelle quickly picked up what looked like a stuffed animal. Trying to figure out what it was (as it appeared quite well-used and well-loved), Jett snatched it back from her to hide it behind her back.

"Nothing!"

"Jett…it's alright. I used to have a friend too – Mother gave her to me to help me sleep. I'm not sure where she has gone though… She just disappeared one day." The Gryffindor looked quite embarrassed, her cheeks still red and she continued to stare at the floor, hiding the animal behind her back. Izzy continued, gently, "Mine was a gray cat. She was super soft and had a pretty pink nose and her name was Rosemary and I would tell her everything. So, who is yours?"

After pausing a moment, having never shown her fake furry friend to anyone besides her mother and now godfather, Jett brought the dark shape to sit on her lap. Quietly, still somewhat ashamedly, she answered, "His name is Paddy. He's a black puppy dog and I've had him since I was a baby. I think…I think my dad gave him to me. I never travel or stay overnight anywhere without him."

"Well, I think he looks cool." Knowing it took a lot for Jett to trust her with that information, Isabelle quickly moved on. "Why don't we go and hang out outside for a bit? I was about to go sit and read but we can play a game or something if you want." Jett, who was obviously happy to move past their conversation, sprung up from the bed to follow her friend outside to the back.

With the absence of a further letter or information arriving that evening, the two girls settled in with no plans for the morning. Isabelle knew that she would have to avoid interrupting her mother's get-together in the dining room and East Lawn Drawing Room. Waking up early (but not earlier than she had to at school, of course – she still liked to sleep in every once in a while), she quietly went down the hallway to knock on Jett's door. Finding her friend awake, they quickly dressed and enjoyed breakfast together in the Upper Tower room. (One of Isabelle's secret hideaways, this room was located above the main entrance hall. It had windows to see anyone coming in through the front gates or out on the front lawn while also holding a massive library of books and plenty of comfortable spaces to sit and read.)

This is where the two girls still were around noon when Lucius appeared in the doorway. In mid-conversation about what the Hogwarts professors did during the summer holidays, Izzy turned at the sound of footsteps on the wooden floor.

"Isabelle, may I have a word?" Lucius stood impatiently in the doorway, obviously in a hurry to go elsewhere. The dark-haired girl stood promptly and made her way to the door.

"Yes?"

"Be sure not to disturb your mother's gathering downstairs. You may remain up here or in your bedrooms, but do not wander the rest of the house. Your mother worked very hard on this and I would not want you or your friend to ruin it."

"Can we go outside at least?"

"Of course. But no swimming or any other tomfoolery while there are guests here. Understood?"

"Yes, father." With that, Lucius Malfoy turned around and made his way back down the stone steps. After he disappeared, Izzy turned back to give Jett a look. "We can't disturb Mother's party downstairs, so no swimming."

"Is your brother here? We could try and prank him – in his room, of course, then we won't disturb the party."

"No, he's at Crabbe's. Plus, I wouldn't want to risk it with my parents…" Isabelle was still unsure what her parents had been discussing the last time Jett was at the Manor. Iz was still curious to find out what secret they could be hiding from her and Draco. She wanted to stay out of trouble in the hopes that they would finally tell her whatever it was. "Want to go outside for a bit? Maybe we could come back inside later for some ice cream." Jett shrugged as if she didn't care, seemingly bored without the possibility of pulling a prank on Draco or having the opportunity to swim. Plus flying was out of the question, even if Narcissa would allow it, as Isabelle hated it. They had already played Wizard's Chess that morning and Jett had sorely lost. There wasn't as much fun to have at the Manor as she would have thought.

As the girls wandered the grounds, they came upon the tree Izzy often sat under to read her books and write her letters. Thinking Jett might appreciate her story and her success in magicking an apple to herself without her wand, Iz turned to tell her the tale when –

"I'm bored. You know what would be fun?"

"What?"

"We should go and see if there is a Muggle village near here. Wouldn't that be cool? I've learned a lot about them since I'm practically living in one with my godfather. What do you think?" Jett smiled at her mischievously, obviously looking forward to putting themselves in potential danger.

"Uh…I don't know. I'm not allowed to leave the Manor grounds. Especially without an adult. I don't want to get in trouble…"

"Oh, come on, Izzy, we won't get in trouble. We'll just walk along the road, explore a little, and then come right back. No harm done." Isabelle still looked hesitant, not one for breaking the rules. Jett added, "Let's go get changed. There might not even /be/ a Muggle village nearby. But…you have to have something a little less – wizarding – on so that the Muggles don't notice you as much. I'll help you find something." Pulling her friend back up to her bedroom past the sound of housewives' laughter, they rifled through the large walk-in closet to find a couple of articles of clothing that could pass as Muggle clothes. Jett couldn't believe (well, actually she could) that, with all of the clothes Isabelle owned, there was not a single pair of jeans or Muggle tees or anything.

"I think Mother would kill me if she saw me wearing this." Izzy turned around to glance in the mirror, wearing a skirt that went just below her knee and an easy yet dressy top.

"She probably would if you were wearing jeans, too. Come on, it'll be fun and exciting and no one but us has to know! I can show you what I've learned about Muggle contraptions, if you want. Hasn't Hermione been giving you Muggle novels to read? Aren't you curious to see things in real life?" Jett leaned closer, knowing how interested her friend was in the things long-forbidden to her by her parents.

"…Alright, fine, we'll go. But only an hour or so – I don't want us to get in any trouble." And so the two girls casually snuck out the front door and then out through the front gates.

Taking in the sights just outside the gate, Izzy had never realized the vastly different world they lived nearby. She supposed her parents had magicked their protective charms on the house or something to hide the Muggle village and farms from being seen by anyone at the Manor. But she couldn't imagine how close they could be! It had to be only a couple kilometers down the road until the one and Isabelle could see another across the farm fields in the distance.

"Whoa." Following Jett along the road, Iz asked questions about what her godfather's village was like. Were the people nice? How close did they live to it? Soon enough, the two girls had reached the edge of the small village. A sign posted with some sort of numbers (What did "20km/h" mean anyways?) named the village Derry Hill. Rows of houses lined the main street as Jett and Izzy walked into the center of town.

There were plenty of people on the streets. They all wore funny-looking clothes, in Iz's opinion, and were carrying on casual conversations with neighbors or friends. Even the houses appeared a little strange, their doors and decorations nothing like she had seen before. And so close to Malfoy Manor!

The farther they went into the Muggle village, the more storefronts Iz began to recognize. A store for food, a store for clothing. It was kind of like Diagon Alley, she supposed.

"So, what do you think, Iz? Pretty cool, right?" Izzy was about to give Jett her opinion when her eyes widened at the metal contraption coming towards them in the street. "That's an automobile, a car. It's like broomsticks, to help the Muggles travel and take them places. But it runs on…what did he call it…electrificity? I don't know, but it's kind of like magic for the Muggles. They use it for EVERYTHING." Jett smiled at her friend's wonderment as Iz took in all the new things she was learning.

"Do you…think they're dangerous? Mother and Father would never let me go near one…" Isabelle reached her hand out as if to touch another of those cars, this one parked along the main shopping street. Whisking her away before she set off the alarm, Jett continued to point out new things she had learned about the non-magical people living near them. Finally, they reached something that Iz could easily recognize.

"An ice cream parlour! Can we go in and try? Oh wait…I don't have any money with me. Do you have a Galleon or even a few Sickles?"

"You can't use that kind of money with the Muggles. They don't know what it is. But Moo- my godfather gave me a little bit if I ever wanted to go into our village. Do you want an ice cream?" Jett smirked as Iz's face lit up, excited to try the Muggle version of one of her favorite desserts. It tasted practically the same, except there were no sparks or surprises that came with the tasty treat. They decided to sit at a table outside around the corner of the little shop to enjoy.

"See? Nothing bad happened. And we'll be back in time so that we won't get in trouble." A bell rang somewhere in the town and Jett guessed it was only about two o'clock. With their ice cream snacks finished, the two girls stood up to head back to the Manor. That is, until they heard what could only be a magical pop behind them.

Turning towards the sound, the two girls' faces turned from happy content to guilt and regret. Lucius stood there, obviously unhappy – angry, really. He glared at Isabelle and then at Jett, giving away no sign of ease that they had been found and were safe. Without saying a word, he motioned them to him and backed farther away from the street (away from any Muggles who might glance their way). Taking the two girls' hands roughly, he apparated back into the entrance hall at the Manor. Still not saying anything, he released them and walked into the adjacent greeting room.

Narcissa ran out to give both girls a hug, having been quite concerned upon learning her daughter and her friend had disappeared from the grounds. Her tea brunch had been a real success and she had searched for the two girls to offer them the leftover treats after her guests had departed. Having not found them anywhere, she had sent Dobby to her husband to inform them of their missing status and Daisy to search nearby for any clues of where they might have gone.

"What were you thinking?" Narcissa stood up after finishing hugging them both, her relief now turned to anger. She crossed her arms and stared down at the two girls, but giving most of the heat to Isabelle.

"I…we…" Izzy couldn't come up with any sort of explanation, at a loss of words, not used to getting into trouble. (Except for the occasional prank, but that was mostly with Draco and she could weave her way out of that.)

"We thought it might be exciting to go to the Muggle village nearby. We didn't want to interrupt your party, Mrs. Malfoy, and Isabelle had never been –"

"It was very dangerous and reckless of the two of you! You could have been harmed by one of those Muggles. What were you thinking? I will have to inform your mother, of course, Jett. You should not have put yourselves in harms way like that. If you had been hurt or worse, what would we have told your family?" Jett had no answer for that last question – or, at least not an answer she could give to Narcissa.

"Mother, it isn't Jett's fault. I told her we shouldn't go but I was so curious and I didn't know how close the Muggles were to us and –" Isabelle tried to explain.

"Which is what makes them so dangerous! You were not thinking, Isabelle, and you should not be curious about such things. Your father and I have told you, time and again, that Muggles are nothing to be concerned with. They are dangerous and stupid creatures." Taking in a deep breath, Narcissa settled herself before continuing. "You will both go to your bedrooms. Not another word. We will speak of this later, after you have thought about what you have done today. Go."

The two girls trudged off upstairs, Isabelle a lot more upset than Jett. The latter was used to getting into trouble, especially when rebelling against her family's "outdated" ideas (in the Gryffindor's opinion). They did not say a word to each other as they both closed the doors to their rooms.

Only an hour or so later, a knock came at Isabelle's bedroom door with her mother to inform her that Jett was leaving and to say a quick goodbye. Jett apologized quietly and gave her a hug, still looking forward to their trip to Diagon Alley the following week. Leaving Iz in her bedroom, all the dark-haired girl could think about was the Muggle village and the wonderful ice cream shop they had visited that existed just down the road. None of the Muggles had appeared dangerous to her, Isabelle thought. She returned to the novel she was reading – one of the wizarding ones she had recently acquired on a trip to the bookstore – but found its storyline less inviting than those Hermione had sent her home with for the summer.

Isabelle received another earful from her father hours later, who left the punishment up to Narcissa. Her mother decided that, as long as she realized how dangerous her trip had been, there was no need for extra punishment than the talks her parents had already given her. Draco returned home to find his sister confined to her room for the evening and could not believe it when he heard where she had gone or what she had done.

With Jett safely returned to her godfather's and the family back home, Isabelle was ready to go back to the normal house routine. She had had her taste of the Muggle lifestyle and, though she had plenty more questions and was very curious for answers, she knew she would have to be careful. At least while she was at home. As such, the now second-year Slytherin girl looked forward to the upcoming week, where she would get her supplies for her second year at Hogwarts and take the next step towards returning to the magical school.

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Author's Note: Sorry for the long text and the slight delay in posting! I almost broke it up into two chapters, but I think it is more fitting to keep it together. Izzy has broken her first real rule and yet only increased her thirst for knowledge about Muggles. She will surely have lots of questions for Hermione as the characters return to Hogwarts for their second year. But first, they must get their supplies from the best shopping place in Britain – Diagon Alley. Till next chapter! R&R :)