Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter (that magic belongs to J.K. Rowling).
Staring out the window only kept one entertained for so long. Sure, Isabelle could have read a book or gone to sit with the other Slytherin Second-Years to talk about her summer. But all she could think about were the Weasleys.
How could they be so happy? From what she had heard from her parents, they were incredibly poor despite being a pureblooded family. Plus to have so many children to take care of… Izzy glanced at Draco, who was chatting away, enjoying being the center of attention again with the other Slytherins. Would she want more siblings? No, probably not. One was plenty enough – especially when they got into a fight. Still, she could not figure out what exactly bothered her. Was she really jealous of the Weasleys?
Too restless, Iz decided to get up and wander the train, not even glancing back to see if her brother had noticed her leaving. She hoped to find Jett and be able to talk to her. It had been a long couple of weeks at the Manor for the last days of summer and she wanted to make sure that they were still friends.
Finding her blond-haired Gryffindor friend sitting alone in a compartment again, Isabelle opened the door to join her. "Hey," she offered cautiously as she sat down opposite her.
"Hey. Where have you been?" Jett said in a friendly manner, sitting forward and offering her a Pumpkin Pasty. It was as if nothing had happened – and Iz was entirely caught off guard.
"I, uh, was in the Slytherin carriage… Aren't you still mad at me?" Izzy asked in her confusion, taking the treat her friend had offered her.
"Mad at you? Why would I be mad?" Jett asked, now being the one who was confused.
"Because, well, last time… You left the Manor mad at me and then didn't want to talk for a couple of weeks and… now you're not angry?"
"Izzy, it was just a fight. Like you and Draco fight. It wasn't that big of a deal, we just didn't agree on something." Jett shrugged and leaned back again. "You just kind of…let it go."
"But, see, I haven't been able to! I keep hearing what you said and the gameskeeper said and I saw the Weasley's this morning and they looked so happy… Am I wrong?" Izzy bit her lip. What if she was?
"We talked about this already, Iz. /I/ think your family is wrong – but my family is pretty much the same. All my grandfather would talk about when I was home is that I should marry some pureblood because I'm already a 'bastard' child… So that's what grown-ups fight about. But we don't have to because we're just kids. It doesn't matter to us. You're friends with me, you're friends with Hermione, what does it matter?"
"Oh, I…I guess you're right. It just bothers me…because I don't know if what my parents say is true." Izzy finished, glancing out the window as she took another pumpkin pasty to snack on.
"Parents lie all the time. My mom does. My godfather did too – not as much, but that's just what adults do." She paused a moment as she finished chewing her snack and then jumped in excitement, as if remembering something. "Hey! Guess what I figured out last night! I thought of the ultimate prank to try on that Lockhart fellow – "
The compartment door slid open to reveal three girls already dressed in their Hogwarts uniforms.
"Hi Hermione. Why are you already dressed? We won't be at the school for a couple of hours…"
"Oh, I wanted to get ready before the line for the bathroom got long. Plus I think the uniforms are comfy." Their bushy-haired friend stepped farther into the train compartment before remembering she had brought two others with her. "Right, so this is Isabelle and Jett. And this is Luna and Ginny."
The two First-Years sat down by the door, glancing at each other as if unsure. Izzy was staring at the red-headed Weasley as if trying to figure out what to say. Hermione continued on to cover up the awkward silence.
"So they're both First Years and don't know which houses they want to be in."
"That's not true, Hermione. I know I want to be in Gryffindor." Ginny replied quietly but surely, giving a slightly proud smile.
"What about you, Luna?" Jett asked curiously, remembering her own worry just a year before.
"I don't really know. But I also don't really care – I don't think the Houses should define us, you know? My father says that what matters is what we believe in, not what other people think of you." Izzy nodded unconsciously in agreement, oddly perceptive into her own troubles at the moment. Glancing back to Ginny, she noticed that she was writing in some sort of journal.
"Is that your notebook, Ginny?" Isabelle asked, somehow intrigued by it. The red-haired girl jumped slightly at her name and hid the bound book, as if ashamed. "No, it's okay. I keep a journal too… I think it's nice to be able to write down your thoughts or draw or whatever is on your mind."
"Yeah… I almost forgot it at home, my stupid brothers were freaking out about some fireworks or something. But you know my brothers, don't you?" Ginny had an almost challenging look on her face, still hiding the journal from view but somewhat more relaxed with Izzy's reassuring words.
"I…I do. The Weasley's, right?" Isabelle responded cautiously, unsure where she was going with it and sure that she would bring up the bookstore incident.
"Yeah. They're all so annoying! Especially Ron, he thinks he can boss me around." The red-headed girl threw her arms up in the arm as if exasperated and then crossed them in front of her.
"Yeah, my brother does that too." Izzy smiled, thinking of all the times Draco had tried to tell her what to do. Both girls rolled their eyes at their obnoxious siblings who were not present to defend themselves.
"Speaking of, Ginny, do you know where Ronald is? I was trying to find him and Harry before I bumped into you." Hermione asked, leaning forward.
"No idea," the First Year shook her head. "They were with us at the platform, I think, but they disappeared." Moving on to debate which of the candies offered on the cart was the best, the two First Years eventually left to find others their age whom they could sit with, leaving Hermione, Jett, and Izzy alone. The rest of the train ride went by quickly and, upon arriving at Hogwarts, Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley still had not made an appearance.
Making their way up to the feast, Isabelle parted ways with the two Gryffindors to join a few of the Slytherins. Sitting with Daphne, Blaise, and Millicent on the carriage ride up to the castle, she settled into easy conversation about their adventurous summer vacations.
The Great Hall was decorated spectacularly as usual. Izzy had not realized how much she had missed its ceiling, which currently showed the starry night sky. The thousands of floating candles lit an inviting atmosphere as the older students filtered to their House tables. It felt normal, comfortable even to be sitting among her fellow Slytherins for another school year. She had not realized all of the other Housemates she had missed, a few upperclassmen who had helped her with homework or even some from her own year who she had partnered with in classes.
Watching the new First Years file in, Izzy was glad once again that she was not going through the Sorting Ceremony. The words from last year still stuck with her… She still did not understand what the Sorting Hat had meant about proving herself. Maybe it was just about her grades, about being top of the class? Somehow that explanation did not feel right.
Focusing back on the group, she noticed that Professor Snape was missing from the Head Table. Curious as to the reason, as he had been there only moments before, she glanced around for any sign of him. As the sorting ended and the feast began, Iz could not help but notice both Professor McGonagall and then even the Headmaster depart.
"Where do you think the professors are going?" Izzy leaned over to Daphne, pointing to the Head Table. She still could not believe that Gilderoy Lockhart was to be their Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher – or that he was wearing such awfully (and brightly) colored robes.
"I don't know. But I heard a rumor from Theodore that Potter and Weasley were seen driving a flying Muggle car!" At that, the other girls turned to listen more intently, excited about the gossip.
"A flying car?" Izzy asked doubtfully. Those two were stupid but they weren't /that/ stupid.
"Yeah! And he said that they were expelled for driving it to school because they didn't feel like taking the Hogwarts Express or something. That's why the professors keep leaving – Dumbledore had to go and expel them!" Daphne finished with a smile, always enjoying telling a story, be it true or false. This became the topic of conversation at the rest of the table, with Draco jumping in to share his story from the bookstore.
"Well good riddance, I say." Izzy's brother finished proudly, leaning back to enjoy his dessert. He met his sister's eyes for an instant before quickly looking away, still avoiding talking to her. A few moments later, the Headmaster had returned with a few important notes for the beginning of term.
It wasn't until the next morning at breakfast that the rumors were confirmed true – the two Second-Year Gryffindors had driven a flying car to school, had been seen by a few Muggles, and had gotten in trouble for crashing it into one of the trees on the Hogwarts grounds. They were not expelled, however – "It's just because he's /famous/," Draco complained – but given detention for their actions.
And so began Isabelle's second year at Hogwarts.