Sense of Belonging

Chapter 11

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

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The stinging charm had worn off by the next morning. Yet Isabelle remained unusually silent – a /lot/ quieter than usual – for the rest of the first week of classes. She refused to talk about her fight with Draco, which was what bothered her the most. And she surely could not talk about whether or not she could be friends with a Muggleborn with Hermione or Jett. She began to feel quite alone. And Pansy's prank had just left her to muse on an appropriate revenge…

Classes continued on as normal. Isabelle proved herself the best at her potions lessons with the Gryffindors and worked harder to earn extra points for Slytherin. With Thursday being her long day of classes (a double period of History of Magic in the morning, one period of DADA, lunch, and then a double period of Potions), Izzy decided to skip the library session with Hermione and simply returned to the Slytherin common room.

By that afternoon, the dark-haired Malfoy had decided she would not care what her parents said. She had not received a letter yet from her parents but knew that Draco must have sent his report by then. And so, she continued to wait anxiously – and hoped it would not be a Howler that arrived during meal time.

Friday was her easy class day and she decided to spend part of the afternoon down in the dungeons to work on some potions. Professor Snape had been more than happy to let her practice alone, as long as she cleaned up after herself. Draco had been announced to the House that morning as the new Slytherin Seeker for the Quidditch team, courtesy of their father buying every player a brand-new broom. Izzy avoided going to library once again after lunch – and so also missed out on catching up with Jett and Hermione. But once Saturday came around, Iz knew that she would have to face her friends…

Taking the time on her first weekend back at Hogwarts to sleep in and then enjoy the quiet of the common room (or really just avoiding leaving), Isabelle finally headed out with Gemma and her friends to get some brunch. Gemma had heard about the Malfoy siblings' fight, but also knew not to bring it up with her Second-Year friend. She knew that Izzy would not admit how much her brother's words had hurt her nor how embarrassed she probably felt. Instead, they talked about how ridiculous Lockhart was as a professor and what fun things they were looking forward to learning that year.

It was about halfway through lunch that Iz's peaceful Saturday would finally be disturbed.

"And then Professor Snape said, if I wanted, I could practice a third year potion if I got some of the ingredients – !" Isabelle was finishing her story to Gemma when someone grabbed her shoulder.

"Izzy! Izzy! You are /not/ going to believe what your brother just said to Mione. He called her a 'filthy little Mudblood'!" Jett said in a half-angry, half-panicked state. She had run all the way up from the Quidditch pitch and was slightly out of breath. Taking a seat next to Iz, they both looked up as Gemma, the sixth-year prefect, stood.

"He said what?" She looked quite angry but was asking the Gryffindor objectively to repeat.

"He said… Well, we were on the pitch and the Slytherin team crashed the Gryffindor's practice and Malfoy's the new Seeker, I guess, so they wanted to train him and there was some arguing and he just called Hermione Granger a 'filthy little Mudblood'!" Jett repeated, still somewhat out of breath. She then grabbed an apple and bit into it, not having eaten yet today.

Without another word, Gemma had taken off with an unhappy look and left the Great Hall, leaving the two girls in silence.

After a couple of moments, the blonde-haired girl turned to her friend and asked, "Where have you been the last couple of days? Hermione and I were getting worried. You /never/ miss going to the library."

"Yeah, well… What were you doing out on the Quidditch pitch this morning?" Izzy asked, trying to divert Jett's attention. Though not fooled, the Gryffindor swallowed and answered.

"Oh, I, uh, tried out for the team and…I'masubstituteChaser…" Jett finished with a mumble as if embarrassed, but Isabelle caught every word.

"That's great! Congratulations! See, now Hermione's going to drag me to the games…" Izzy huffed in fake-annoyance at the last part but smiled wide for her friend.

"Yeah, well, wouldn't you have to go anyways to support your brother?" Jett pointed out, now eating a piece of toast.

"Oh, right, yeah…" Isabelle said, reaching for her glass of pumpkin juice to avoid her friend's gaze.

"…did something happen, Izzy?"

Knowing that the question would come, and suddenly feeling desperate to talk to someone about it, she answered. "…Draco and I had another fight. In the common room. And it wasn't that big of a deal – I just was asking if he had sent the letter, which he hadn't yet, and then I told him that I think our parents might be wrong and he…he called me a bloodtraitor. So now everyone in Slytherin House thinks I'm one…" Izzy finished quietly, staring down at her plate.

"I'm sure that's not true. But, remember, he called me one too. It isn't that big of a deal, Iz – "

"Maybe not to you, but he's my brother! And now he's calling one of my best friend's horrid names! And I don't know what to do…"

"Look, Izzy. He's your brother – but he's also a huge prat. He says stupid things – and really offensive things – but I get that he's still family. You know, I'm sure he didn't really mean it when he called you that…he was probably just angry…" Though the Gryffindor did not really believe what she was saying, she knew that her friend needed to hear it. And with what she had seen at Malfoy Manor over the summer, Draco really /did/ care about his little sister.

"Yeah, I guess so…" Izzy shrugged, still not completely convinced but it starting to sound plausible. A few seconds later, she looked up a bit angrily and continued, "But I cannot believe he called Hermione that! I bet Gemma's going to get him in trouble. Father isn't going to be happy…"

"Yeah, well, can't do anything about it now. Want to go and do something…nerdy or whatever you like to do? No homework," Jett added, giving Iz a look.

"Okay, okay. Want to practice some transfiguration? I heard a rumor that Professor McGonagall is going to quiz us." And the two girls went off to have fun… (If you asked Isabelle, that is.)

~:~

After about twenty minutes of practicing for their supposed upcoming transfiguration quiz, Jett was thoroughly bored. Sensing this and feeling confident enough in her own practice, Iz suggested they take a walk on the grounds since the sun had finally come out.

"So…did you like Quidditch practice?" The Slytherin asked, half-listening to the answer as they headed toward the lake. There were only a few other students, mostly fifth and sixth years, outside – for early September, it had become pretty cold fairly fast.

"Yeah, I mean, we didn't really get to do much practicing, but the team seems nice. Fred and George are my favorite – Ronald's twin older brothers, you know? – they like to pull tricks on our captain and they keep the practice interesting. I even beat them in a flying race around the pitch!" Jett replied with a smile, obviously happy to be on the Gryffindor team, if only as a substitute.

"Well that's good. You'll fit right in with them – you seem to be a master at pranks yourself." Isabelle said picking up a few fallen leaves from the trees nearby, not hearing Jett's response. She was lost in her own thoughts, still trying to figure out how exactly to get back at Pansy. What her brother had done and said, she could deal with. But then for her dormmate – whom she entirely disliked – she needed to come up with something special to get back at her.

"…hey, Izzy?" Jett finally resolved to whacking her friend in the arm to get her attention.

"Ow! What?" Dropping the small pile of leaves she had collected, she gave Jett an annoyed look and rubbed her arm slightly.

"We were heading back up to the castle – it's too cold out here. What's with you?" The blond Gryffindor gave Iz a questioning look.

"Nothing, sorry." Hesitating a moment, she added, "I need help with a prank."

"Ooh! Yes, I can help! I want to help!" Jett said, practically jumping up and down. "Who are we pranking? Your brother?"

"No…at least, not yet. I need to get Pansy back." Quickly retelling what had happened after her fight with Draco, Isabelle finished with a sigh. "And I can't think of a good way to get her back. I thought about doing the same charm to her hair brush or something but…is that lame?"

"Yeah, kind of." Jett nodded, brutally honest. But now the twelve-year-old had a mischievous look on her face and, after only a few moments, seemed to come up with an idea.

"I know!" The Gryffindor pointed at the flowers near the path the two girls were standing on. Iz glanced over, a little confused at what she meant.

"Flowers?" It was just a small patch of a common field flower, now slowly wilting in the cool fall weather.

"Yes! Her name is /Pansy/, right? And a 'pansy' is a flower? We'll charm her hair to grow a flower!"

Izzy did not look convinced. "A flower? I mean, aren't pansies a nice-looking flower? I think she might actually like that…"

"No, no, you aren't understanding. We'll charm her hair so that it grows a pansy flower, but every time she tries to get rid of it or touches it, it dies!"

"…and how are we going to do that? I don't know a charm to even make a flower grow – let alone one that does that!"

"Does what?" The soft voice asked from behind them. Jett and Isabelle turned, finding Hermione staring at them in a somewhat amused but also confused look. The two boys she had been following (Harry Potter and a battered-looking Ronald Weasley) continued up the path without glancing back to see that they had lost their friend.

"Nothing. Hermione, I –" Knowing that the intelligent Gryffindor did not condone their pranks or jokes, and also feeling a sudden wave of shame upon seeing her, she walked over to her and gave her a hug. "I'm so sorry for what my brother said to you."

"It's okay, Izzy, it wasn't your fault." Hermione responded, hugging her friend back. She, like Jett, had been worried when the Slytherin had not appeared in the library the rest of the week.

"Plus, we'll have to get him back anyways. For calling Mione…that, and you a bloodtraitor, Iz. But first, Pansy…" Jett interjected, waving her hand again at the patch of flowers.

"What happened with Pansy?" The bushy-haired Gryffindor asked, still not fully understanding what a 'bloodtraitor' was, even after Jett had explained it to her. Izzy hesitantly told her about the fight she had had with her brother in the commonroom and then her fellow Second-Year's prank that same night.

"So I've been trying to figure out how best to get her back. Jett thinks we need to find a charm or a jinx or something to make a flower grow in her hair. But I have no idea how to even do that, and I'm not very good with charms." Isabelle finished with a shrug.

"Well, I know where we can start. Come on!" Hermione said, and the three girls rushed off to the library. Both Jett and Izzy were surprised to find Hermione helping them, but their friend seemed to need some sort of distraction. And as expected, the intelligent Gryffindor knew exactly what book to look in and practically what page to look at for such a spell.

"Now…how can we make it so that the flower /dies/?" Jett smiled devilishly, always enjoying a good payback – especially one so deserved.

"I don't know about that. But this one should last for about twelve hours, so if you jinxed her on Monday morning it would last the entire day." Hermione showed the book to Isabelle, who appeared suddenly uncertain.

"What if this doesn't charm her in the right way? Or…or if I get the spell wrong?"

"Then it will turn out wrong – which could be even funnier! Don't you want to get her back, Izzy?" Jett pointed out. The Slytherin nodded and looked back at the book, memorizing the spell.

~:~

On Monday morning, waking up before the rest of her suitemates per usual, the young Malfoy quietly practiced the wand motions in bed before silently sliding her curtains open. Sneaking closer to Parkinson's bed, she opened the girl's bed drapes ever so slightly. Glancing in, she found Pansy tucked in to her sheets, drooling onto her pillow.

Stifling her laughter at the unpretty sight, Isabelle steadied her wand and whispered, "/Viola melania exaugeo/" There was a small flash of light and Iz was afraid the girl would wake up. Scrambling back and away before Pansy could see her (and before she could see if her spell had worked), Izzy picked up her bag and went downstairs to the commonroom to wait.

It had worked like a charm. (Pun intended.) The unsuspecting girl made her way down to the commonroom like she did every morning, dressed in her robes but just magicking her hair into place without looking at it in a mirror. She smiled as some people turned to look at her.

"Oh, come on, I just woke up. I'm not /that/ gorgeous." Waving a group of first-years off with her hand, she made her way to Draco's usual chair by the fire to wait for him. Glancing where Isabelle sat reading a book, she could not help but notice the girl's unusual smirk.

"What are you smiling at, Isabelle?" Pansy stated, staring at her Housemate.

"Nothing, just a line in my book. Though I am glad we have so many classes today…" Satisfied and not wanting to wait around in case Pansy figured out who had jinxed her, Izzy rushed down to the Great Hall to regale about her success.

No one said a word to Pansy about the odd plant growing from her head, too afraid of her sharp gaze or sarcastic words. That is, until Crabbe made a comment about how pretty the flower in her hair was.

Upon using a spoon to look at herself, she realized she had a brightly-colored plant growing atop her head. She tried to pull it out (despite the pain of it being attached to her scalp) but it was no use. Using one of the sharp table knives, the spiky-haired girl cut the flower off and threw it on the table in annoyance.

"There. Anyone else have anything to say about my hair?" She pointed the knife dangerously at Crabbe, who looked mildly afraid.

"Well, Pansy, you've sprouted another one. This one is uglier, I think – who would want such a bright orange flower?" Blaise Zabini pointed out, amused at the girl's embarrassment. A few of the other Slytherins laughed at his comment, including Draco. After trying unsuccessfully to either pull out or cut off the flowers that would not stop growing back, Pansy finally gave up and left the Great Hall in frustration.

"I think that was kind of clever, you know, whoever jinxed her. Her name is Pansy, and she has a pansy growing from her head," Daphne commented to Isabelle on their way to class, giving her a knowing (but friendly) smile. Izzy said nothing in return, not wanting to admit to her guilt but quietly satisfied in her revenge.