Sense of Belonging

Chapter 7

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

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The second and third weeks of classes went fairly similarly to the first. Iz had proven herself to be the top student in both Potions and Herbology, getting top marks on the first essays and tests. She had done pretty well in all of her other subjects too, but had been outwitted by the bushy-haired Gryffindor – whom she now knew was Hermione Granger – in Charms, History of Magic, and Transfiguration. It was still unknown which of the two girls led the Defense Against the Dark Arts classes and a significant rivalry grew between them. (At least, it was significant to Isabelle and Hermione. To others, not quite as much.) Jett continued to barely talk to Izzy, keeping her promise of a silent, productive partnership in Potions. Leaning on her brother and the occasional conversations with Daphne to keep her entertained, Iz found herself focusing mostly on her school work.

That is, until a sign was put up in the Slytherin Commonroom dictating that First Years would participate in Flying Lessons on Thursday afternoons with the Gryffindors. Spending the days leading up to the first lesson worrying, Izzy was not looking forward to the class at all. Besides for not wanting to deal with the Gryffindors (or, more specifically, run into Jett or Hermione), she really hated flying. She refused to fly with Draco at Malfoy Manor, even after he bought the new and improved broomsticks to play around at home. She very much liked staying on the ground and taking no risk of falling off or losing her balance. Iz always preferred books, not brooms.

And yet, 3:30 in the afternoon on Thursday came around quickly. Following the rest of her fellow First Year Slytherins onto the Hogwarts grounds, Izzy glanced nervously at the supply of broomsticks waiting for them. The professor, Madam Hooch, did not seem to be mean or strict but was also not a cuddly, understanding teacher. Grabbing one of the used school brooms, Iz turned around quickly so as to find the farthest spot away from the group – and accidentally hit Jett in the side with her broom. "Sorry!" she apologized, to which the Gryffindor merely gave her a cold look. Moving off to be next to her brother, Izzy held the broom close to her, apprehensively.

"Set your broom on the ground next to you, stick out your right hand, and say, 'Up!'" Madam Hooch instructed, her voice loud and clear. The group collectively repeated the word with minimal success. Only Draco's, Jett's, and Harry Potter's brooms flew straight up into their hands. It took Daphne two tries and Isabelle only four. After being shown how to properly mount a broom, Madam Hooch walked around to check how everyone was gripping it. As she approached Iz, she just nodded but stopped in front of Draco.

"Your right hand goes on top, Mr. Malfoy. Look at Ms. Moreau or your sister." Madam Hooch continued along the line of First Years, Izzy glancing at her brother with a half-joking triumphant smile. Maybe flying wouldn't be too scary, it could be just like any other class, the dark-haired Slytherin thought. Hearing a pair of Gryffindors laugh down the row from her, she shot them an annoyed glance, realizing it was Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley. Not yet having talked with Draco about why he hated them so much, she began to understand how annoying they could be.

"Alright, when I blow my whistle, kick off from the ground, hard. Rise a few feet, steadily, and then straight back down. Three – two – " Izzy saw to her left as the toad-boy, Neville, kicked up before the whistle and uncontrollably flew high. Losing his balance, the Gryffindor fell a good twenty feet and slammed into the ground. Madam Hooch ran over and helped him up as he held his bloody nose, the other arm hanging at a wrong angle. Turning to the rest of the class, she gave them a serious look before stating,

"I will take Mr. Longbottom to the hospital wing. You are to remain on the ground until I return or you'll be out of Hogwarts before you can say, 'Quidditch.' Understand?" No sooner were they out of earshot when Draco began laughing next to her, many others from Slytherin joining in.

"Did you see his face, the great lump?" Izzy's brother continued, glancing around at his fellow Slytherins.

"Shut up, Malfoy." The red-haired Weasley boy walked over, obviously angry, Harry Potter following behind.

"Ooh, sticking up for Longbottom? He's just a fat, little cry-baby," Pansy chimed in. Draco wasn't paying her any mind, though, as something in the grass distracted him. Dashing forward, he snatched up the injured Gryffindor's Remembrall from the ground.

"Look! It's that stupid thing Longbottom's gran sent him." Holding it up for the other First Years to see, the magical object glittered in the sunlight.

"Give it here, Malfoy," a quiet voice said seriously, coming from the messy-haired Gryffindor. The rest of the class stopped talking to watch.

"I think I'll leave it somewhere for Longbottom to find. Let's see, how about – up a tree?" Draco sneered, liking the attention and smiling spitefully.

"Give it here!" Potter yelled, lunging forward to grab the object. Draco was quicker, hopping onto his school-owned broom and flying up to wait at the top of a nearby oak tree. Izzy watched as Jett grabbed her own broom as if to fly after him, Hermione standing in front of her to keep her from doing so.

"Don't! Madam Hooch told us not to move! You'll get us all in trouble – " The bushy-haired Gryffindor called, keeping Jett on the ground. However, she was not quick enough to stop Potter from hopping on his own broom. Harry ignored his classmate, kicking hard against the ground as he soared up after the jeering Slytherin.

"Draco, come back! You'll get yourself expelled and the whole class in trouble!" Isabelle shouted to her brother, who paid her no mind. He was focused on Harry, who was attempting to keep steady as he flew toward him. Sighing, watching the situation nervously, Izzy commented to Daphne, "They're going to lose us points." After a moment, Potter seemed to have gotten ahold of his broomstick and whipped around to face her brother. Seeing the pair talking, she watched Draco go from looking stunned to a bold smile again. As Harry drove straight at the Slytherin, Draco barely got out of the way and escaped being knocked off his broom. A few of the Gryffindors clapped as their classmate stood up for Neville.

Suddenly, Draco threw the magical ball as far and high as he could before zooming back to the ground where the class was. Izzy ran over and grabbed his broomstick away from him, giving him a disapproving look. "You could have cost us points or fallen off or – "

"I was just having some fun, Izzy, cool off. No harm done." He walked over to Crabbe and Goyle before looking around cockily at the other Slytherins, who mostly applauded him. Izzy walked away, annoyed at his audacity and the other First Years' support of him. She turned around as the Gryffindors began cheering, watching Potter fly back holding the Remembrall. Just as he touched the ground, a shrill voice yelled,

"HARRY POTTER!" Professor McGonagall ran toward the messy-haired boy, whose excitement quickly turned to shame. All the students could tell how angry the Gryffindor House head was, as she was almost speechless with shock and her glasses flashed furiously. " – how dare you – might have broken your neck – "

"It wasn't his fault, Professor – " Another Gryffindor chimed in, Parvati Patil. The teacher quickly quieted her, still looking angrily at the legendary boy.

"But Malfoy – " The Gryffindor girl tried to continue. Izzy glanced at her brother, worried he would also be expelled or lose them a significant amount of points. He seemed unashamed, smiling triumphantly. The rest of the class now fell silent, watching as Professor McGonagall and Harry Potter walked back toward the castle. A few moments later, Madam Hooch returned and dismissed the class. Everyone put their broomsticks away, with no one mentioning that Draco had also been flying when he wasn't supposed to be.

Angry at him for breaking the rules and risking House points, Iz didn't wait for her brother and instead went right to the library. She would write her parents later to inform them of Draco's stupidity. Sitting comfortably in her spot at her normal table, she decided to distract herself from the afternoon's events by getting ahead on homework. Glancing around once more as she took out her books and supplies, she noticed Hermione back at her regular table as well. Ignoring the bushy-haired girl's curious look, the Slytherin got right to work in an attempt at forgetting.