I awoke the next morning to Hermione hurrying about the girls’ dormitory, excitedly preparing for our first day of classes. “You’re finally up!” she said brightly as I rolled over, trying to block out the sun’s rays from my face.
“Finally? It’s seven AM, Hermione,”I replied.
“I know! I’ve been up since six. There’s just so much to do!” she said. I groaned and dragged myself out of bed.
“What’s our first class?” I asked as I began to get changed into my school robes.
“Defense Against the Dark Arts,” she replied.
“Do you know anything about the new professor?” I asked. She shook her head.
“I’ve never heard the name. She’s awfully young. She hardly looks like she’s out of Hogwarts,” Hermione answered.
“That’s what I was thinking, but I don’t recognize her at all. You’d think we would have been here at the same time at some point, right?” I said.
“One would think so,” Hermione replied.
I pulled my hair in a ponytail and the two of us headed to the common room, where we met Harry and Ron, and then continued down to the Great Hall for breakfast. The feast from the night before must have worn off, because Ron ate almost more ravenously, much to our amusement. At about a quarter to 9, we started off to class.
“Wonder how good this Hughes woman is going to be,” Harry said.
“Maybe we’ll actually learn some Defense Against the Dark Arts- if we’re lucky,” I replied.
We weren’t lucky.
Much to our distress, we discovered upon walking into class that we were going to be having class with Slytherin. Immediately upon walking into the room, I felt Malfoy’s eyes watching me, but I refused to acknowledge him, hurrying to sit beside Hermione in the front of the room. I dared not glance in the direction of the white blond hair I’d seen in the back of the room out of the corner of my eye. Harry and Ron took the table beside ours, and we continued to chat until Professor Hughes walked in at 9.
The room quieted down as she turned toward us and flashed a smile. “Good morning,” she said, a little too brightly for my liking. “I’m Professor Hughes, your new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. I’m looking forward to getting to know each one of you.” Harry and I shared a glance- this lady was too excited about this class.
“Now,” she said. “Let’s jump right into class, shall we? No need to waste time. We’re going to start our class today by talking about werewolves.” No sooner had the words left Professor Hughes’ lips than Hermione’s hand shot into the air. Harry and I shared another glance. This was going to be trouble.
“But Professor,” Hermione said, without being called upon. “We learned about werewolves already. Several years ago, in fact.” She seemed slightly offended that Professor Hughes seemed to believe that she didn’t know about werewolves.
Professor Hughes simply smiled at her. “Well, miss…”
“Granger,” Hermione inserted. Professor Hughes smiled again.
“Miss Granger, memory is a fickle friend. Every once in a while, it’s useful to brush off the dust and revisit subjects to keep them in our minds,” Professor Hughes said. Hermione scowled at her, and I knew then that there was no possibility that these two would ever get along.
The next hour was excruciatingly painful, Hermione’s frustration growing and becoming more tangible by the second. When class ended, she was out of her seat and out the door before most people had even collected their things. Harry, Ron, and I scrambled to try to catch up. I had just walked out of the room and was trying to catch up with the guys when I heard my name.
“Carrie!” An all-too familiar voice called from not too far behind me.
“Not now, Malfoy,” I said without turning around, not in the mood to deal with him.
“Carrie!” he said again, this time close enough that he grabbed ahold of my wrist. I stopped and turned to look at him, unsure whether I should talk to him as regular Malfoy or as the possibly different Malfoy who I saw yesterday. I decided to play it safe.
“What?” I demanded. He frowned, but seemed no less resolute.
“I did mean it when I said I wanted to take you out,” Malfoy said, as the annoying smirk crossed his face once again.
“I’m aware,” I snapped. “You’ve made it painfully obvious. Several times. My answer hasn’t changed. Especially after what happened. You honestly expect me to give you a chance after you chose Voldemort? Are you delusional?”
Malfoy frowned and fervently shook his head. “That’s not who I am. Just give me a chance to prove that to you.”
“And why should I?” I said. “Regardless of where your allegiance lies, you’re still an arrogant git who thinks he can get whatever he wants just by demanding it, and that’s about as attractive as a pile of dung.”
“I’ve changed,” Malfoy insisted. “Or at least, I’m trying to.”
“Well, forgive me if I don’t immediately take your words at face value,” I said sarcastically. He frowned, but didn’t say anything. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to catch up with my friends.” I turned and hurried off down the hall, halfway expecting for him to call my name after me, but he didn’t. Maybe he’d realized, finally, that he was never going to convince me to go out with him.
I had to admit, though, that he was certainly acting differently. He carried himself much the same as always, but he seemed much less manipulative and callous. Maybe he actually was trying to change his ways. But why? The obvious answer was that he was trying to get back into everyone’s good graces. After choosing evil and losing, you make some enemies. But that idea seemed futile, to say the least. Who would forgive him at this point, after not only choosing Voldemort, but just being mean to everyone? No, there must be some other reason for him to be acting so different.
I finally caught up with Ron, Hermione, and Harry in the common room. When I walked in, they were sitting on the couch, Hermione ranting about Professor Hughes.
“If she thinks that I’m just going to sit there and not learn anything from her class, she’s wrong,” Hermione complained.
“Would you just lay off? It’s one class. Everyone else is alright with not being challenged,” Ron mumbled. It was then that Harry looked up and saw me walking in.
“Where did you go?” Harry asked. “I thought you were following us, but you disappeared.”
“Malfoy caught up with me,” I replied, plopping into one of the cushy chairs. “He asked me out again, and then tried to convince me that he’s a different person.” I rolled my eyes. Ron laughed.
“He’s just never going to give up,” Hermione realized incredulously. “After everything that’s happened.” I shrugged.
“I’m not going to deny that he’s acting differently, but who knows what the motive is for that. He could be plotting his own rise to power for all we know,” I said.
“But we both agreed that he might have actually changed,” Harry replied. Hermione and Ron both looked at him as if he’d grown a second head.
“Yes. That’s a real possibility. I’m not sure how likely it is, but it’s possible,” I said thoughtfully.
“No way,” Ron said. “Believe whatever you want, but there’s absolutely no way he’s changed. He can only pretend for so long.” Hermione nodded in agreement. I looked over at Harry and could tell that, just like me, he didn’t know what to think.
“I guess time will tell what’s really going on,” I said with a shrug.
“On a different topic,” Harry said, “Quidditch tryouts are tonight. I’d better see both of you there.” He looked at both Ron and I.
“Of course,” I said. “Wouldn’t miss it.” Ron nodded.
“What class do we have next?” he asked.
“Potions,” Hermione replied. Ron scowled.
“Does anyone actually like that class?” He groaned.
“I do,” I replied. “You know I do!”
“Yeah, but you’re a potions genius,” Ron complained. I had to laugh. Although I was exceptionally good at potions, I certainly wouldn’t call myself a genius.
“Come on, let’s just go. Wouldn’t want to be late,” I said.
Potions went by fairly normally. We had class with Ravenclaw, so I avoided having to see Malfoy constantly. After class, Ron and Hermione hurried out because Ron wanted to get to lunch immediately. Harry and I grabbed our books, opened the door, and then we walked out into the corridor- and straight into a large group of first year girls. Their eyes widened upon seeing Harry and they appeared as if they had consumed excessive amounts of love potion. They stared wide-eyed at Harry until one of them finally spoke.
“You’re Harry Potter,” she said incredulously.
“Er- yeah,” Harry said, clearly extremely uncomfortable. All of the girls looked completely infatuated with him.
“Can we see your scar?” One of the girls asked.
“Uh… sure,” he said, swiping the hair off of his forehead, a chorus of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs.’
“Do you have a girlfriend?” a girl asked, batting her eyes at Harry.
“Is she your girlfriend?” asked another, looking toward me with contempt.
Before he could answer, I quickly said, “Sorry, we’ve got to go to class,” and started pushing Harry toward the staircase.
Once we were out of earshot, Harry said “Thanks for that. I didn’t want to just tell them to go away.”
“Good thing I’m pretty good at being mean,” I said with a smile. “But they were annoying, so it wasn’t too hard.”
“Why did they bother you so much?” Harry asked. “I mean, I get it quite a bit, which is why it bothers me.” I think about that for a second, realizing that I didn’t quite know why they bothered me.
“I guess it bothers me when people obsess over you just because you’re Harry Potter,” I replied with a shrug. “It just seems silly to fawn over someone you don’t really know. I mean, I can understand someone admiring you for what you did, but I just don’t understand people like Romilda Vane or those girls.” Harry nodded in understanding as we started up the stairs.
“I get what you’re saying. I wish that people could just like me for me, and not for what I’ve done. It’s in the past,” Harry said.
“One day, maybe you’ll be a has-been, and you can make some real friends,” I said with a laugh.
“Are you implying that you’re only friends with me because I’m Harry Potter?” Harry asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Of course! Didn’t I make that clear from the beginning?” I replied sarcastically. Harry grinned and casually threw his arm over my shoulder.
“You’re the best, Jacobsen,” he laughed.
“I know,” I joked with a smirk. He rolled his eyes and we continued up to the common room.
The rest of the day was spent sitting in the common room working on the homework which had somehow already managed to accumulate. Harry left for the quidditch pitch around three thirty to prepare for the tryouts at four. About twenty minutes later, I changed from my robes into something more comfortable to fly in, grabbed my broom, and started to make my way toward the quidditch pitch. I was running a bit late, so I took a couple shortcuts through some of the grassy courtyards.
I was walking along a corridor beside the Transfiguration courtyard when I heard a voice exclaim, “Why can’t you catch your book, mudblood?”
I stopped dead in my tracks and turned to see two students standing in the middle of the courtyard. A Slytherin boy who appeared to be a third year and had a nasty smirk on his face was pointing his wand at a book that was hovering about ten feet above the head of a small Hufflepuff girl who appeared to be no older than her first year. She hopped up and down, trying to reach the book, but the effort was completely futile.
“What’s wrong, mudblood? Can’t jump high enough?” his sadistic smile widened, thoroughly enjoying taunting the poor girl. I pulled out my wand, ready to jinx him so hard that he’d forget who he was. Before I could, though, the boy was hit square in the back with a jinx that knocked him not only off his feet, but sent him flying five yards in the opposite direction. The book dropped right into the girls hands and both she and I turned to see who it was that jinxed the kid.
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Draco Malfoy strode across the courtyard to where the kid was sprawled out across the grass. He lazily kicked him to make sure he was conscious. The boy looked like he was about to pick a fight until he saw who it was standing over him and his eyes widened, looking frightened.
“That’s a vile and repulsive word,” Malfoy said calmly but reproachfully, “and you should feel ashamed that you were cowardly enough to pick on a little girl. Now get up, and get gone.” The boy practically tripped over himself trying to stand up and get away.
Malfoy walked over to the girl. “Are you ok?” he asked her. She nodded, thanked him quietly, and hurried away, seemingly scared of Malfoy herself.
I couldn’t believe the scene I’d just witnessed. Any other time, I’d believe that Malfoy was putting on a show to either impress me or to convince people he’d changed, but he seemed to have no idea that I was standing here in the shadowy corridor, and no one else was around. It was in that moment that I realized that he was actually a different person. Something had caused him to actually become a different person, but what? Why?
I was debating whether or not I should let him know that I was here and had seen everything, when he turned around and noticed me standing there, looking at him. If I’d had any doubt as to whether or not he’d previously known I was there, it vanished when his eyes widened with shock. “Carrie!” he exclaimed, walking quickly toward where I was standing.
I realized that if I didn’t continue walking immediately, I was going to be very late to tryouts, which Harry would get upset about. So, I continued walking quickly down the corridor and shouted back, “Not now, Malfoy!”
“Please just talk to me,” he exclaimed, clearly still following me.
“I have tryouts,” I called back.
I prayed he wasn’t following me all the way to the quidditch pitch, but didn’t dare look behind myself to check. I got there just in the nick of time, receiving a stern glance from Harry, but not much else. There was a fairly large turnout, as was to be expected with extra students.
Tryouts started out with Harry having everyone simply fly around. Surprisingly, this eliminated almost a third of the students, who clearly couldn’t fly well enough to play any position. He then cut about five students who had deluded themselves into thinking that they could somehow manage to get the seeker spot away from the team captain.
Then, he started on specific positions. I knew he would start out with chasers, because although he knew both Ron and I were solid players, he was worried that we might mess up, and he would look biased if he put us on the team. He’d want to put off those worries for as long as possible. He ran drills with the ten prospective chasers, whittling it down more and more until he was left with only Ginny, Dean, and a fourth year girl I wasn’t familiar with.
Before Harry chose whether to do beaters or keepers next, I saw him glance at both Ron and I. Finally, he said “Beaters next,” and I got up from my spot in the stands, hopped on my broom and flew into the stadium. Seemingly, choosing beaters next meant that he had more confidence in me than in Ron. That was at least a little comforting. There were four other people trying out: a thin girl who was a fifth or sixth year, an average sized guy from Ginny’s year, and two fairly fit fifth year guys. I was a bit nervous, but Harry just smiled and gave a small nod, which I took as “You can do this.”
Beater tryouts consisted of the same three drills I’d done at every tryout at Hogwarts. The first, a test of hand-eye-bat coordination, was simply to test how well you could hit a bludger. Where it went didn’t matter, as long as the bat made contact. The second, a test of accuracy, required you to hit bludgers through the scoring hoops. The third, a test of agility, involved the chasers previously chosen for the team. The object of this one was to simply keep them from getting hit by the bludger.
The other girl went first. It was almost immediately clear that she didn’t have any formal experience as a beater. She was able to make contact with the bludger about half of the times she tried, she only got the bludger through a hoop once, and half the time, the chasers had to duck to avoid being hit. Next up was one of the fit fifth year guys. His coordination was a bit off, but he managed to hit the bludger most of the time. His aiming was abysmal, however- he didn’t make a single goal. The chasers had to duck only once, though, so he did really well there. The other fifth year guy went right after him, and surprisingly did almost exactly the same. Next up was the guy from Ginny’s year. He was the most spot-on of the bunch. His hand-eye coordination was on point- he missed only a handful. He made a goal about half the time, and a chaser only had to duck once.
Finally, it was my turn. I took a deep breath before Harry released the bludger back into the air. It flew toward me and I deflected it with a large crack of the bat. Each time it flew back toward me, I sent it flying back in the other direction. One time, however, I didn’t hit it quite hard enough and I wasn’t ready for it when it came back, so I dodged it, and when it came back, I hit it as hard as possible, and it went sailing across the field and through one of the hoops. As it came back in my direction and I prepared to hit it again, I heard some cheers and whistles from the stands- probably Ron. By the end of the first drill, the one that I dodged was the only one I had missed.
Hoping that gave me a good lead, I began on the aiming drill. I hit bludgers through each of the three hoops, over and over. There were two or three that I missed, but overall, they went sailing through. Finally came the third drill. I darted back and forth, hitting the bludger away from the chasers. There was one where Ginny had to duck, because I just hadn’t reached her in time, but overall, I thought it was a solid performance.
When I landed, Harry picked up the two official Gryffindor beater bats and tossed one to me with a smile and a wink, before tossing the other one to the guy from Ginny’s year. The two fifth year guys were furious and stormed out of the stadium. I sat down beside Ron and gave him a pat on the back, hoping he did well too.
Ron was only up against two other people, and neither seemed to be too much competition. One was a girl who was only a third year, and the other was a really lanky guy who looked like he was a fifth year. Ron saved the quaffle easily 3 times more than either of them combined, making him the clear choice for the winner.
I congratulated him and made my way out of the stands. As I exited the quidditch pitch, I heard someone call out, “Carrie!” I didn’t even have to look and see who it was. I knew immediately that Malfoy had followed me there.
“Carrie!” he said as he jogged toward me.
“Why are you even here?” I asked, genuinely confused as to why he waited around all the way through tryouts just to talk to me.
“Well, I wanted to talk to you, and then I figured I’d go ahead and watch tryouts. Congrats by the way,” he said, cracking a smile. “Anyway… exactly how much did you see of what happened in the Transfiguration courtyard?”
“All of it,” I replied. “And I’m curious as to what you’ve done with the real Malfoy.”
He laughed. “I told you, I’ve changed. I swear. Just give me a chance to prove it to you,” he said.
“You’re just never going to give up,” I complained with a frown, although surprisingly less annoyed this time he asked.
“Never,” he replied, the smile still lingering across his face. I realized, looking at him, that with an actual smile on his face- not a smirk or a smug smile- he didn’t seem quite so unpleasant. He didn’t seem like Malfoy, but like an entirely different person- one who, suddenly, I was compelled to give a chance to.
“OK,” I said.
“OK? OK what?” he asked, looking a bit confused.
“OK.” I repeated. He finally seemed to realize what I meant.
“You’ll give me a chance?” he said as if he couldn’t believe he was even saying those words.
“One date,” I said. “But if I decide I don’t want a second date, you’re going to leave me alone, understand?”
“Yes. Completely,” he replied. He looked straight into my eyes “Seriously, thank you. You won’t regret this.” With that, he smiled and walked off toward the castle.
I couldn’t help but laugh at the absolute absurdity of the situation. I had just agreed to go on a date with Draco Malfoy, and I was starting to believe he wasn’t such a bad guy. What had I gotten myself into?
I hope y'all enjoyed chapter 4 of The Secret Lightning Scar! Chapter 5 is coming on Saturday, April 5th! I hope this one makes up for the last one being pretty short!
Hope y'all are excited for the next section, because I'm excited for y'all to read it! See you back here soon!
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