Sense of Belonging

Chapter 10

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

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Isabelle was happy to be back at school. One of the first students down at breakfast the next morning and a wide array of food for her to choose from, Iz was content and ready for her first day of classes. Not yet ready to openly read Shakespeare at the Slytherin table (though no one had noticed on the train) and not wanting to push her rule-breaking too far, the dark-haired girl had started to review a couple chapters of her Ancient Runes textbook in anticipation of the first class.

Draco and most of the Third Years came down about a half hour later, all plopping down in a tired manner to sit by Izzy. Distracted from her textbook review by their arrival, she listened in on their conversation.

"And I bet he doesn't even have a home, the way he dresses. Dumbledore must really be scrapping the bottom of the barrel if /he's/ going to be our Defense Against the Dark Arts professor." Quickly realizing her brother was complaining about Lupin's appearance and judging him on that, Iz became defensive. They did not even know Moony! She was sure he would be better than Quirrell or Lockhart. About to jump in to defend the new professor, Draco continued, "And don't get me started on that oaf teaching. Father will surely send a letter to the Minister protesting his appointment. He can't even perform magic correctly, how is he supposed to teach us anything?"

"I bet he'll be fired before Christmas," Theodore Nott commented.

"Before Halloween!" Pansy added, mimicking Draco's cruel smile as the group laughed.

"Tell us what happened to Potter again, Draco, I missed it last night." A Fourth Year boy interjected, leaning in to join the conversation. Iz sat uncomfortably in the middle, having already tired of hearing her brother's retelling.

"Sure. Well, according to Longbottom, it went like this…" Draco, who had gotten so good at simply telling the story, now added a few scenes in which he acted out what had happened. Just getting to the part where Potter faints, Izzy noticed her brother's grey eyes glance up for a moment before dramatically improvising a swooning fit. While her fellow Slytherins laughed loudly, Iz turned to see that Potter, Weasley, Hermione, and Jett had just entered the Great Hall.

Pansy had turned too and, upon seeing the Gryffindors, stood up and called, "Hey, Potter! Potter! The Dementors are coming, Potter! Woooooo!" The Slytherins all burst out laughing again and Pansy smirked wide, enjoying the attention.

As the Third Years focused on Potter's train mishap the day before, Izzy, who had finished her breakfast, decided she had more important things to do than listen to their mockery. Though she never would have done something like this the previous two years for fear of it somehow getting back to her parents, Isabelle stood and went to join her Gryffindor friends at their table. It was an unwritten rule that students were to sit at their House tables for meals, as most had friends mainly within those circles. But Iz had noticed over the previous two years that many others, such as the current Head Boy and Head Girl, were close friends across House divisions despite the stigma and often sat together during meals. So why couldn't she?

Sitting down decisively next to Jett where a spot was open, she smiled a silent "Good morning" to Hermione on the opposite side of the table. The blonde-haired girl had her face hidden in her arms, obviously not wanting to be there and not yet awake. Potter and Weasley were busy talking to the red-haired boy's troublesome older twin brothers about Quidditch and so did not notice the Slytherin addition at first.

"Morning, Jett," Izzy said a bit obnoxiously, knowing the French girl hated mornings. "Did you have to drag her out of bed, Mione?"

"Yes, I was afraid that, if we left her, she would sleep through the first few classes." Hermione responded, poking Jett's arm as if that would wake her up. "Did you get your timetable, Izzy?"

"Yes," Iz held hers up before reading off the first couple of classes. "Ancient Runes during the second period – meaning I've got now free, which is nice. Then Charms with the Ravenclaws, then lunch, and the afternoon is Care of Magical Creatures. You?"

"Basically the same. We have Transfiguration instead of Charms, though," Hermione answered a bit mysteriously, placing her timetable face down while going to grab some more sausages.

"You missed the Sorting last night. Where did you disappear to?" Izzy questioned, glancing toward Potter and slightly staring, as if trying to figure out if he was still sick or something.

"Oh, Professor McGonagall needed to speak to me. There were a couple of problems with my schedule, but we figured it all out." The bushy-haired girl smiled assuredly at her friend before taking a muffin.

"Merrrhagbataff," Jett mumbled from where her face was hiding.

"Come again?" Iz asked, bending down to listen closer. She did not catch whatever Weasley was saying to Hermione across the table.

"What time is it?" Jett repeated, or at least that was what Isabelle understood.

"You've got just over ten minutes before first period starts." Picking up Jett's schedule and glancing over it, she poked her friend a few times in a row.

"What?" Jett huffed annoyedly.

"Actually, you have Divination first period, up in the North Tower. You better eat something quickly, you'll have to leave in a minute if you want to get there on time." Iz explained, glancing up as the groundskeeper passed by the Gryffindors on the other side of the table.

"I don't wanna go…" Jett complained before sitting up and smoothing her hair, frowning. "Why does school have to start so early?"

"So that we have enough time to study. Come on, the sun is shining, and we get to see how our new electives work!" When Jett made no response, Iz leaned in to whisper, "Plus, tomorrow we get to go to your godfather's class together. Do you think it'll be something exciting?"

"Shh!" Jett shushed her, suddenly awake and a bit defensive. "Shh. I don't want anyone to know. He's just Professor Lupin. And I don't know what he's planning, he wouldn't tell me."

"Okay, okay. Sorry. /Professor Lupin/, then. At least we'll see each other in Care of Magical Creatures later, right?" Izzy said as she noticed the trio standing up across from them and realizing they probably all had Divination together. Jett grabbed an apple and stood too.

"Right. If I make it through this morning. See you, Izzy," the blonde-haired Gryffindor offered tiredly before following her friend's out of the Great Hall. There was a general movement to leave as all of the students began to make their ways to their first classes. Waiting for the crowd to lessen, Iz returned to one of her favorite spots at Hogwarts, the library, to wait out her first free period before her elective class.

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Ancient Runes turned out to be a small elective class with only eleven students. Because of this, Isabelle was sure it would quickly become one of her favorites. Each of the students who had chosen it were both interested in the subject (unlike some who had chosen Divination or Care of Magical Creatures, for example, because they were "easy") and were generally studious. Plus, Professor Babbling seemed nice enough. She had begun the period challenging the students to choose one rune out of a random page of their translation dictionary and attempt to explain its importance by the end of the hour. Izzy was glad that she had already read most of the textbook and could properly pronounce her rune. They had received some very easy homework as well, a simple translation they should attempt with the help of the dictionary.

Hermione had appeared quite suddenly just as the class was to begin. Isabelle had realized while she was in the library that her friend had gone with the others to Divination, but had told her she was also taking Ancient Runes. Wondering if there was another section of this particular elective, Iz was glad when her bushy-haired friend appeared a few moments before the start of class and sat down next to her.

Now in her Charms class with the other Slytherins, Izzy was confused by their odd behavior. Taking the seat next to her brother, she listened in on his conversation with the other boys.

" – wonder when it'll happen to Potter." Zabini was saying, glancing around at the others.

"I don't think she can tell the future, she just makes stuff up." Draco argued, crossing his arms.

"But Longbottom broke the cup! Like she said he would." Goyle interjected.

"Everyone knows Longbottom is a complete idiot, of course he would drop the cup." Draco countered, rolling his eyes and smirking.

"What happened?" Izzy asked, now interested to find out about the Divination lesson.

"Professor Trelawney said that Potter's going to die. She saw a Grim in his teacup." As Isabelle was about to ask a follow-up question to clarify what exactly had occurred, Professor Flitwick tapped his wand on the board and started class. When one of the girls near the end of class asked if Professor Trelawney's predictions ever came true, the Charms professor gladly informed them that, though every year a student was supposed to die, no one ever had. She was a great Divination teacher and a true Seer, Flitwick added, but she was not always correct.

Heading off to lunch glad that she had chosen a more reliable subject like Ancient Runes rather than Divination, Izzy sat listening to the rest of her classmates complain about the amount of homework they had already received. When they were heading outside after the meal, the conversation shifted back to Potter, the Dementor incident, and then to her brother once again making fun of their Care of Magical Creatures professor.

Slowing up so that she could walk with Hermione and Jett, she noticed the former friend acting a bit strangely.

"Everything alright, Mione?" Iz asked, giving the Gryffindor a concerned look.

"Just fine." The bushy-haired girl replied, shooting a look at Potter and Weasley as they walked silently behind them.

"Ronald told her that she's no good at Divination and that she always has to be the best," Jett offered quietly, not wanting to set off the other two Gryffindors' argument again.

"Oh no. Well he should be one to talk – he's not very good at anything." Izzy shot the red-haired boy her own look of annoyance before refocusing her attention on Hermione. "Isn't Divination two hours, though? That's what Draco had said. How come you came to Ancient Runes?"

"Oh, um, I have special permission to leave early from Divination to get to Runes. That's why I was almost late. I'll just make up the Divination time later." Hermione shrugged as if it was not important, glancing away over the Hogwarts grounds.

"Oh, okay. What about Muggle Studies then? Are you still taking that?"

"Of course!"

"Good. I bought the books while Mother wasn't looking, so you'll just have to tell me what you do in class so I can keep up. I started reading the one and it is really interesting, I've got a whole list of questions for you – "

The group had just reached the groundskeeper's hut, where the half-giant was standing waiting for them with his boarhound.

"I'll ask them later." Iz finally whispered before turning to pay attention, not wanting to miss any important information from their first Care of Magical Creatures class.