The Great Hall was busy with everyone gathered at their tables, talking like crazy about what their new year may bring. Sarah, Zoe and Evelyne seemed more friendly this morning and invited her to sit with them, but others still stared and whispered as she walked past the tables. Alexis hated this ‘popularity’ and wondered when it would pass. The moment she sat down with her roommates, others around her suddenly stood and walked away. Alexis frowned, it would take something big to prove herself to them.
With a soft sigh, Alexis ate her breakfast in silence. Professor Longbottem arrived and handed out everyone’s timetable. Her first class was Charms, Professor Draper’s subject. The hall was emptying, Alexis realized she didn’t had little time left to find her class.
Her roommates seemed to have all disappeared, leaving Alexis alone in her frantic search for the charm’s classroom. Ten minutes later she stumbled into the room, she saw Lilly and her other roommates already seated. Thankfully Professor Draper was not around, meaning she had made it in time. Alexis smiled to herself at her small accomplishment of the day.
There where three rows of desks, all pointing towards the blackboards behind the professor’s desk. Spotting an empty seat next to Lilly, Alexis made her way towards it when Amelia flew past her and slid into the seat first. She twisted her head up and batted her eyelashes.
“Sorry Alexis, this seat is taken.”
Alexis saw all the Gryffindor seats were taken, even the boys. It gave Alexis an outcast feeling, leaving her no choice but to look for another seat with someone from another House. By the blue and bronze coloured ties of the other students, it seemed they shared the class with the Ravenclaws. Alexis turned around, eyeing ever seat until she noticed a girl sitting alone with her nose in a book. She wore the Ravenclaw colours, and had a dark olive skin tone with raven black hair, reminding Alexis of an Amazon goddess; proud, intelligent and beautiful.
“Is this seat taken?” Alexis asked. The Ravenclaw looked up from the book and eyed Alexis with her amber coloured eyes for a minute before shaking her head. Alexis smiled and slid into the chair, muttering a thank you.
“You’re the new transfer student, aren’t you?” The girl asked.
“I am.” Alexis replied threw a grim look.
“I’m Skye Ravensdale.”
“Alexis Rune.” She was the first one to talk to Alexis that day – besides Professor Longbottom. A surge of hope ran through her body as she opened her mouth, about to continue the conversation when the door opened and Professor Draper walked in.
“Good morning everyone!” He said with a bright smile on his face. Alexis noticed that several of the girls, both Gryffindors and Ravencalws, looked at their Charms teacher with more admiration than normal. “I hope everyone enjoyed their summer vacation. We’ll start our lesson by reviewing our spells from the past few years.”
From that point on, the classroom became chaotic. Everyone broke off into groups and worked on their spells. Books flew across the room, students were frozen by their partners, Professor Draper even had several locked chests for those who wanted to practice the unlocking charm. While everyone paired up with their friends, Skye was kind enough to be Alexis’s partner. It soon became clear as she heard the spells chanted by those around her that they were not the same spells she used back in Japan.
“Is that Japanese?” Skye asked after Alexis’s second attempt at unlocking a box.
“Yes, I… is that Latin you guys are using?”
“It is. I wondered how other countries use magic, obviously those with different languages would have a different syntax in use.”
“Skye,” Alexis asked, watching everyone else turn to more offensive and defensive spells. “I’m going to have to learn Latin, aren’t I?”
“I don’t think you will get by with your own language.” Skye agreed with a nod. “I can help if you like.”
“Really, you’d do that for me? Even though I’m a ‘Rune’?”
“I don’t really understand the family name connections around here. I’m muggle born, so all this was new when I arrived four years ago. Living in Japan your father must have cut all ties to your family for a reason. Besides, what’s in a name?” She smiled at Alexis.
“I’m so glad to hear that!” Alexis said with a relaxing sigh. “In exchange I can teach you some of my spells.”
“That would be incredible.” Skye said with a bright smile. It was clear Skye was the type who enjoyed learning. The two reached out their hands, forming a pact of friendship. The bell rang, putting an end to the hectic class. “Tonight? Classroom 4E, at six. I can give you a crash course.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Alexis said grabbing her bag.
If Charms felt like a disaster waiting to happen, the rest of Alexis’s day wasn’t any better. With nobody talking to her, she ate a quick and quiet lunch before hurrying to her Ancient Runes class. Upon entering the classroom, Alexis noticed the variety of house colours. There seemed to be more Ravencalaws and Hufflepuffs than any other house. She didn’t have to look far to notice one familiar face. Skye Ravensdale was there, sitting next to the blonde haired girl that rode with Alexis in the carriage up to the school. Eloise Cooper.
Alexis moved towards the pair, both had been friendly to her, and hoped she could continue their friendship in this class. Before she made it halfway an arm reached out and pulled her into a seat two rows from the back. Alexis’s jaw opened as she stared into a grinning face of Zack Rowle.
“I was hoping we would have a class before DADA tomorrow.” He said with an upbeat tone. “How’s your first day going?”
“Horrible.” Alexis said, settling into her seat. She didn’t think about moving, Zack was also a familiar face and she hadn’t had the chance to talk to him all day. “I know none of your charm spells. I mean I know the equivalent, or close to it, but not in Latin.”
“That may be a problem.” He mused, nodding his head at her dilemma. “Do you want help?”
“Thanks, Skye’s already offered. She helped me out today, and I agreed to do a cram session tonight.”
“Don’t you have Astrology tonight?” Zack asked.
“I… don’t know.” Alexis grabbed her timetable and to her dismay noticed that he was right, and that Gryffindor were due up in the Astrology Tower by nine. “I’ll make it work.” She said with a sigh.
“Is that all that’s dragging you down? You looked pretty bad at lunch.”
“Are you spying on me?” She asked, straightening her back and peering at the brown haired boy with suspicious eyes. She saw him turn red, his jovial facial expression changed into some annoyance as he blustered and looked away from her.
Alexis grinned and looked up to see both Skye and Eloise staring at her. She smiled and waved though they looked perplexed and confused. Was she sitting in the wrong seat? To make matters more awkward, Lilly arrived and gave her the same distasteful look.
“Ah, Zack, is there something on my face?” Alexis asked.
“Huh? No.” He said in a dark tone. “Slytherins rarely get along with many of the other houses. Gryffindor’s the worse. I’m sure with us sitting together we’re breaking some big taboo.”
“Should I move?” She asked.
“Please don’t. If you do then Alice Nott will try to sit there and I’ve been trying to avoid her.”
“Avoiding a girl?” Alexis teased.
“It’s not that. She’s always had this thing for me and I really don’t like her, or her attitude. I’d seriously take the flack and sit with a Gryffindor over her any day of the week.” Zack said, pleading for her to stay.
Alexis looked to see a pair of eyes glaring her. This pair was soft green, almost teal colour with slick silver-blonde hair. She wore the green and silver tie of the Slytherine’s.
“Why is it that everywhere I go I make new enemies instead of friends?” Alexis whined, banging her head on the desk.
“Don’t worry about it. Who needs friends if they don’t accept you for who you are?” Zack said, trying to cheer her up.
“Yeah, well, this isn’t easy.”
“Life never is.”
“Thanks Yoda.” Alexis grumbled as the teacher for the Ancient Rune class entered. Once class started, Alexis forgot all about Houses, rivalry, and what others thought of her. The lesson was in depth and helped her focus on what was important at the moment, her grades.
“That’s it for today.” Professor Babbling said, a second before the bell rang. Everyone packed their books away, chairs squeaked and a soft murmur escaped the students. “Translate pages 5 to 10 and I require a paper on you opinion of the translation and what it means.”
“Thank god that’s over.” Zack said with a sigh.
“I liked the class” Alexis said, packing up her books.
“For your first Runes class you’re not to bad.” Zack agreed.
“Well, it reminds me of Japanese script. Not exactly, but I sort of get it.”
“Maybe you should tutor me in this subject.”
“I’m sure that can be arranged.” Alexis laughed as they moved towards the door.
“See ya around.” Zack said with a casual wave goodbye. Alexis was about to turn in the other direction when her shoulder collided with someone else’s. She looked up to catch Alice Nott’s teal coloured eyes burning into her own for a split second before she picked up her pace to catch up to Zack.
“Alexis!” Lilly’s voice shouted from behind. An arm seized again and pulled off to the side of the crowded hallway.
“What?” Alexis asked. A pair of flustered and angry eyes caught her by surprise.
“What the bloody hell are you doing talking to Rowle?”
“He’s sort of a friend.”
“A friend!? That egotistical, conniving freak is your friend?” Lilly asked, her voice low, but the anger rose with each syllable. “How? When did you become friends with a guy like that?”
“Well, over the summer. He helped me locate my grandfather’s property.” Alexis said, taken aback from Lily’s outburst. “Why are you against him? He’s not that bad, okay maybe a little overconfident, but he’s all right.”
“All right! Alexis, he’s a Slytherin. No Slytehrin is alright.” Lily sighed, “Okay, you’re new and don’t understand how things work around here. And I can forgive you for that. Just don’t continue the friendship. He’s dangerous, like the others in his house, I… I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“Lilly, I’m fine. Really, and I don’t need other people telling me who I can and can’t be friends with.” Alexis said, her tone strong with conviction. She wanted it to be clarified that as much as she appreciated Lily trying to keep her safe, Alexis would not be bullied into choosing her friends. She watched as Lilly’s eyes flared before she turned and walked away in a huff.
“Wow, that was something.” Eloise said coming up on Alexis’s left, Skye appeared on her right.
“Are you two going to tell me to not be friends with Zack too?” Alexis said, turning on them.
“No, no, no.” Eloise said holding up her hands in surrender. “It was just a surprise to see you two talk so casual.”
“Gryffindors and Slytehrins have a long rivalry.” Skye explained as the three moved through the hallway. “This goes back centuries and is currently acted out on the Quidditch pitch and House points. Given you’re family name has a history with the Slytherin and Dark magic, and you yourself sorted into Gryffindor, you seemed to unbalance whatever semi truths there was. Not to mention being all naive about the relationship between the two houses you have made friends on both sides.”
“All sides if you include our houses.” Eloise said to Skye. “This is pretty good though if you ask me. The last time all the houses work together was during the Battle of Hogwarts. Even then the Slytherins didn’t join in.”
Alexis frowned. “I just don’t know your history here… maybe if I read up on it I’ll get a better understanding why everyone’s the way they are.”
“But that’s just it.” Eloise said with a hop in her step. “The more you don’t know the clearer you may see things.”
“That is complete rubbish.” Skye said. “How can you see the situation clearly without learning how it became muddy in the first place? Start be reading ‘A History of Magic’ Alexis, if you have questions Eloise and I can try to answer them.”
“Yeah yeah… I’ll do that.” Alexis said with an exhausting sigh.
The rest of Alexis first day went by in a haze due to the intense cram session Skye put her through. She learned first hand that Skye Ravensdale was not only quick witted and smart, but downright ruthless when it came to teaching. Alexis was use to this style after her archery sensei and took the blows and curses in stride, learning on the ball the simple shield and counter spells in the Latin.
They were at it for three hours, much longer than Alexis expected, but Skye was good at fulfilling her word. She had never studied so hard in her life, but she could see the results already. Laying on her back against the stone floor, breathless, there was a smile on Alexis face. Skye sat next to her, a softer but approving smile on hers.
“Not bad.” Skye said. “Not many like to practice with me, given my standards. I hope I didn’t scare you away.”
“Not at all.” Alexis said with a laugh. “I needed all of that though I’m not sure what will stick in my head tomorrow.”
“We can keep going with these cram sessions if you like.”
“OH crap!” Alexis shot up, her eyes had seen the clock on the wall. “Astronomy class!”
“What time?” Skye asked, looking alarmed.
“Okay, don’t worry. The Astronomy tower’s is the one between Ravenclaw’s and Gryffindor.” Skye said.
“And If I could fly, I wouldn’t be so worried.” Alexis grabbed her bag and books. “I’ve got to pick up my telescope first.”
“Just don’t get caught running in the halls!” Skye shouted as Alexis exploded out of the room. She took a few risks when it came to the stairs, jumping over the railing of one to catch the next on its way up. Her body was full with adrenaline as she entered the Griffindor’s common room and sprinted to her dormitory. She grabbed her book, scrolls, ink and telescope before racing back down.
She was five minutes late to her Astrology class, Professor Sinistra paused in the middle of her opening remarks when Alexis took a seat.
“Five points from Gryffindor for being tardy Miss Rune.” She said in a soft tone. Alexis nodded her head. She saw her Gryffindor classmates turn to give her a disapproving glare. Lilly did nothing but stare straight ahead as Sinistra continued with her lesson.