Sense of Belonging

Chapter 6

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

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"My goodness, Lucius, what happened?" Narcissa exclaimed, eyes wide in surprise. She quickly rushed forward to look at her husband's puffy eye, where he had been hit by an Encyclopedia of Toadstools moments before in the bookstore. They were now out in Diagon Alley, a few steps away from Flourish and Blotts.

"The foul blood traitor Weasley decided to pick a fight with me. Come now, let's go – we can get your schoolbooks another day." Lucius practically growled, in no mood to negotiate. Draco mimicked his scowl, crossing his arms and crumpling the piece of paper further.

Isabelle glanced at Jett, who looked like she was ready to say something that would get them into trouble. Jett had resisted Izzy's hand when leaving the bookstore and kept glancing back at its doors as if hoping someone might save her from going with the Malfoys. Giving her friend a pleading look to let what had happened go, they both followed the adults to a safe apparating point and within seconds had returned to the Manor.

Without another word, Lucius sulked off into his study, Narcissa quickly following. Draco could not help but burst out laughing.

"Did you see the Weasleys' faces? Or those Muggles? They were terrified! That was great – "

WHAM! Jett, having held in her anger long enough, punched Draco square in the jaw. Shaking out her hand slightly, she huffed before glancing at Iz.

"Sorry…" The short Gryffindor shrugged and apologized, not to the boy she had just hit but to his sister.

"What the hell, Moreau?!" Draco cried, holding his jaw while giving her a death glare. He threw the balled-up piece of paper at Jett, who easily dodged. Both looked to Izzy, who was not sure what to say.

"I, uh… I don't think it was that funny, Draco. But you shouldn't have punched him Jett… Father's not in a good mood." She was not sure how to continue. Did she think that her brother and father had been right? Sure, the Weasley's were poor but she did not agree with her family's taunting. Plus, with all that she was learning about Muggles, she did not think they were as stupid as the other family members believed… "Let's just go upstairs."

Leaving Draco down in the foyer, knowing he would probably go and tell on them, the two girls hurried to Isabelle's bedroom.

"I can't believe you would defend them, Izzy! Didn't you hear what they were saying? It was terrible – I don't care if they're your family, what they said was awful." Jett hopped onto Izzy's bed and gave her an incredulous look.

"I know – I know, Jett, okay? I think… I don't know what to think. Did you hear what Hagrid was saying after? He said the Malfoys had bad blood and that we were all rotten! That's not true but that's what people think about us." Iz replied, beginning to pace.

"But you don't actually agree with them, do you? Izzy, do you?"

"I mean…they weren't saying anything that was incorrect? The Weasley's are poor. They don't have money – Draco and Father were just pointing that out." At Jett's aghast look, she quickly added. "But I don't agree with what they did! It's not something you say to someone, especially in public…"

"But you think that they're worthless too? What about Muggles? About Hermione?! I thought she was your friend!"

"She is my friend! I don't think they're worthless, no, I'm just saying that what they said was not entirely false. I don't know, Jett…" The eleven-year-old finally sat down on the floor, sighing. Isabelle had always simply agreed with what her parents had said. It was easier that way – she belonged to the Malfoy family, why should she disagree with what they said? But Jett was correct. She was friends with a Muggleborn and had actually learned a lot about Muggles over the last few months. Did she really believe her parents when they said that all Muggles were dangerous?

"Well, I think that's awful. What kind of friend are you?" Jett crossed her arms, mad that Izzy seemingly could not see how wrong her beliefs were. After a couple of minutes of silence, she said, "I think I'm ready to go home now."

"Jett…we were going to go swimming before you left! Or we can play a game or anything else you want to do!" Iz looked up surprised and a little hurt. Was she leaving so quickly because of what happened?

"No, I don't think so. I want to go home." Jett stated definitively.

"Please stay… I'll…I'll play some Quidditch with you or something! Please?" Immediately regretting her offer to fly, it made no difference. The blond-haired girl shook her head and would not meet her friend's eyes. She grabbed her bag from the floor and went downstairs to the large fireplace. Izzy followed quietly, not sure what else to say. Draco and her parents were nowhere in sight. Calling Daisy to start the fire so Jett could floo back to her godfather's, they stood there awkwardly in silence.

"…can I at least say goodbye?" Isabelle asked quietly. Jett glanced at her and sighed, giving her a quick hug.

"See you at the train, Izzy. Bye," and with that, the Second-Year Gryffindor disappeared in the flames leaving her Slytherin friend alone in the empty hall with her thoughts.

~:~

Izzy did not even bother trying to send letters to Hermione or Jett before the beginning of September. She was sure that the latter would not answer and still did not know what to say to the former.

Her brother thought she was stupid for listening to any of what the Weasleys had said. He even called Jett a blood-traitor, which made Iz so mad at him that she would not talk to him for a few days. She could not confide in either of her parents and so felt utterly alone in her mixed-up thoughts.

Despite the confusion, Isabelle could not wait for her second year at Hogwarts to begin. She missed being able to study in the library or wander the grounds or learning new things in her classes. She wanted to see her friends again and be in the Slytherin Commonroom and talk with her professors!

On the morning of September 1st, she was the first one downstairs and ready to go. Her trunk had been packed for days and she was positive that this year she would not forget anything.

"Good morning, Isabelle. Excited to go back to school?" Her mother greeted her with a quick kiss on the head before sitting down to eat her own breakfast.

"I am. I'm ready to see my friends again and I have /loads/ of questions for my professors."

"Well that's good, sweetie. I'm sure you will learn a lot again this year. Make sure you help your brother, though, too…he needs to get his grades up or your father will have a fit." Narcissa smiled slightly, recognizing that Izzy already knew this.

"I'll look after him, don't worry, Mother." As if on cue, Draco trudged his way into the room to eat his own breakfast. The two had barely talked since the Diagon Alley incident and aftermath. They had mostly avoided each other due to differences of opinions. In reality, though, Isabelle really missed confiding in him.

"Come here, Draco," Narcissa called, giving him a big hug and his own kiss to her favorite son. He gave her an annoyed look before sitting down to eat.

The rest of the morning continued on in silence. The two Hogwarts students were ready to go, downstairs with their trunks before either of their parents. Nervous about getting there on time to get the best seating, Izzy decided to try and find them. Glancing at Draco, who seemed to now be entirely ignoring her, she walked down the hallway toward her father's study. Pausing to listen in case they were in there, she almost continued on her way when she heard a pair of voices. She leaned closer to hear.

"…are all gone, dear. I promise. Borgin picked up the last of them yesterday."

"I hope you realize what this could have done to our reputation, Lucius. And what about Draco and Isabelle? They do not need to worry about such things – they're only twelve years old!"

"I understand, Cissy. But it's all settled now. When the Ministry comes to check, they won't find anything connecting us to Him or any sort of heir of Slytherin." There was a slight pause.

"…it's been years, Lucius. We have to move on with our lives – "

"Which we are! There's been no more talk of our involvement or anything. Plus, Draco will be on the Slytherin Quidditch team this year, I have guaranteed that. My position on the board will help us be sure – "

"Oh, look at the time! We must be getting to King's Cross. They mustn't be late for the train." Izzy was quick enough to scramble away from the door before Narcissa opened it. Also smart enough to pretend like she was just going to knock, she smiled innocently up at her parents.

"Isabelle. Ready to depart?" She nodded before taking her mother's hand, avoiding her father's gaze.

The Malfoy family arrived at King's Cross Station with plenty of time to board the train and say their goodbyes. Their mother promised to send them letters and treats every once in a while, and their father instructed his son to be a better example of the family. Before the two had even reached the Slytherin carriage, Lucius and Narcissa had disappeared, neither desiring to be around the others sending their children off to Hogwarts. Izzy sat in a seat across from her brother, the two still not talking, and stared out over Platform 9 ¾.

It was from her comfortable window seat that Isabelle noticed the family of red-heads hurrying towards the Hogwarts Express at the last minute. She watched the children give up their trunks and kiss their parents goodbye. The two prankster twins that Jett liked to hang around were the first to run off with a friend, Lee Jordan or something. The oldest, Percival perhaps, waited there patiently and looked proudly as if he had somehow won an award. Lastly, Iz noticed the little girl from the bookstore, who she now knew was a Weasley sister with her red hair, also give a couple of hugs before running for the train as it whistled. As they moved out of the station, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley stayed to wave goodbye to their children – something Izzy suddenly wished /her/ parents had been there to do…