Sense of Belonging

Chapter 19

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

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Izzy was very glad that Draco had been cleared from the Hospital Wing and safe in the Slytherin dormitory when she heard the news the next morning. There had been another attack! Some first-year Gryffindor – the annoying one with the camera, Iz had heard, who was Potter's fanboy – had been petrified during the night.

It was in the silver-and-green commonroom that Sunday morning that she leaned over to Draco to whisper her doubts.

"I asked Mother about the Chamber and the heir of Slytherin."

Her brother perked up in interest, giving a hopeful smile. "And?"

"She knows something but she wouldn't tell me! I could tell, she hesitated when I kept asking questions. And then I tried to ask if /we/ were heirs and I'm pretty sure she was going to say no but I'm not fully sure."

"But she /didn't/ say no, right? So we still could be?"

Izzy whacked her brother as hard as she could with the couch pillow. "We don't /want/ to be Slytherin's heirs! Then people will think we're the ones petrifying people. We could get expelled."

"Alright, Iz, okay. I'll lay off the rumor." With his ankle still sore, Isabelle had convinced a few of the Hogwarts house elves to send breakfast up for the Malfoy siblings in the common room. Draco leaned back in his chair to eat his bowl of grapes, obviously unconcerned with the happenings at the school.

After a minute or two, Izzy leaned closer again, a look of doubt on her face. "You think they would have told us if we were heirs…right? Mother and Father?"

"Yeah, why wouldn't they?" Draco gave her a puzzled look before returning to his feast.

"Well, as I said, to keep us out of trouble so that we weren't blamed. But…the attack happened last night. And our parents were here yesterday, visiting you. And I know that Father attends the Board meetings here at the end of every month, so on Halloween he could have – ?" Iz was speaking more quickly than usual, as if the quicker she finished her theory the less true it could be.

"Izzy. You don't seriously believe that Father was the one opening the Chamber of Secrets, do you?"

"How am I supposed to know? I heard one of the older students say that the Chamber had opened before. Like a few decades ago…when our parents were students here."

"You're insane. Why would Father open the Chamber back then, leave, and come back now to open it without telling us? He would have told us." Draco shook his head at his sister before standing up.

"Where do you think you're going?" Isabelle replied, not commenting on her brother's opinions.

"To find Crabbe and Goyle and have some fun. It's Sunday. No classes, remember?"

"But you have a Transfiguration essay to write that you haven't even started yet! Mother said…"

"Yes, yes, I'll write the essay later. Or you can write it for me. Bye!" Draco, attempting not to limp with the slight pain still in his ankle, made his way to the door and disappeared into the dungeon hallways, leaving his sister frustrated.

~:~

The following week proved much the same from her older brother and, by Thursday's potions lesson, Isabelle had had enough. A mix of green and scarlet trickling into one of the large dungeons of the castle that afternoon, even the Potions Master seemed in a bad mood. (Or, at least in a worse mood than usual.)

Izzy attempted to focus on the assignment at hand: a mid-level Swelling Solution. As it was an individual task, the young Malfoy found it quite easy to block out everyone else and concentrate on her potion. A few dried nettles, some more stirring, then preparing the bat spleens…

WHOMP.

Feeling the icky, slimy, gross texture of the pufferfish eye roll down her neck and onto the floor, the Slytherin turned with a doubly annoyed and terrifying look towards the other side of the classroom. She gazed at the Gryffindors with a dangerous look, trying to pick out who it was who had thrown the potions' ingredient. Many of the second-years appeared busy with their potions, including that Finnegan whose potion, per usual, was bubbling dangerously high.

Iz caught the gaze of Jett, who had taken a stool from one of the classrooms and was sitting next to her boiling cauldron with a bored look as she stirred. Attempting to figure out why her friend looked so angry, the blonde-haired Gryffindor nudged the bushy-haired one next to her with almost concern. As they were across the room, Izzy could not hear what they were saying.

"…do you think she knows we mean to steal some of Snape's supplies?" Jett whispered to Hermione, unsure what else the disapproving stares could mean.

"I doubt it. How would she even know? We've been talking about the potion only in Myrtle's bathroom or in the Gryffindor common room. She can't have heard us." Hermione replied while still focusing on her potions' assignment. At that moment, the Potions Master walked by to check on their project. Snape gave Jett a loathing look, to which the girl produced an innocent smile and went back to stirring her cauldron. The professor then gave a slight nod of approval at the other Gryffindor's work before rushing off to assist one of the Slytherin's across the room.

"I mean, I guess so… So we are still on with the plan, then?" Jett responded, glancing around to be sure no one else heard. As Hermione nodded in affirmation, both girls turned as an object flew across the room towards them. The slimy puffer-fish eye almost hit Ronald Weasley in the face, instead falling to the floor just behind him. Draco Malfoy smirked amusedly at the Gryffindors, having just flicked another of the potions ingredient towards the boys.

Having also witnessed the scene, Izzy realized what must have happened. When Professor Snape had turned to help one of the other students, Potter or Weasley must have attempted to retaliate by throwing their own pufferfish eyes. Deciding it must have been the red-head with such bad aim, she instead settled on giving him a deadly look of annoyance and jinxing him after the class. Before returning to her potion, which was now almost perfectly done, she glanced over to her brother.

"Draco. Stop fooling around, you have a potion to finish." When he rolled his eyes at her and obviously began to aim once again at the pair of Gryffindors, she added. "Or do I have to write to Mother to explain that you are almost failing." Not giving him time to respond, and having purposefully said it loud enough that others in their House might hear, Izzy focused back on her potion.

She had nearly finished when all hell broke loose. Professor Snape was on the other side of the classroom berating Neville Longbottom when the cauldron and potion inside exploded a few seats to her right. The Swelling Solution from Goyle's cauldron showered the entire class. People shrieked as splashes hit them, causing various body parts to, obviously, swell. Draco had taken a faceful and his nose was now swelling like a balloon. Goyle was knocking into everything as his eyes had swollen shut and were practically the size of dinner plates. Crabbe's hands were three times the size they normally were and hung low at his sides, as if they were too heavy to lift.

Isabelle counted herself lucky. Only a small amount of the potion had hit her, just on her right ear. Though it began to swell and feel heavy (having to hold it with her hand to keep her head from lolling to the one side), she could not help but almost laugh at all of the other looks around the room.

"Silence! SILENCE! Anyone who has been splashed, come here for a Deflating Draft. When I find out who did this…" Professor Snape roared from the front of the classroom.

Izzy went to get in line for a draft, standing next to Millicent whose one foot had grown in size and behind Pansy whose lips were nearly half her face. She gave Jett an odd look, as she had seemingly been spared the swelling potion. This, naturally, made Snape suspicious.

Her ear now returned to its normal, small size, Iz returned to her seat. As she did so, however, a movement in the corner of the classroom caught her eye. She noticed Hermione sneaking back into the dungeon with an almost guilty look on her face. The front of her robes were semi-bulging, as if she were attempting to hide something beneath them. The Gryffindor quickly returned to her seat, as if hoping to not be noticed.

A sudden hush settled over the class just then as, after everyone had taken the antidote, the Potions Master discovered the source of the distraction. Holding up the twisted black remains of a firework-like object, his face turned even more severe.

"If I ever find out who threw this, I shall make sure that person is expelled." Snape whispered to the dungeon full of students. He was looking directly towards the Gryffindors, and specifically towards Potter, Weasley, and Jett. Each wore a different puzzled expression.

It was only a few minutes later that the bell rang for class to be over. Isabelle tried to hurry up and hand in her potion so as to catch up with her Gryffindor friends. She had a few questions for them. But she was not quick enough for, by the time she was ready, they had disappeared from sight.