"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill
When we finally arrived at Hogsmede station, of course it was raining. The stone walkway leading to the carriages was uphill and very slippery. So, as you might imagine, I tripped many times on the way up to the school.
The light and warmth of the Great Hall was very welcome after the darkness and gloom of the platform and carriages. We all took our seats at the Gryffindor table and listened to Dumbledore's start of term speech. I wasn't necessarily listening, for I had heard this speech twice before. I was nonchalantly picking at a knot in the table in front of me when Remus nudged me and I turned my attention to the front of the Hall.
"Now, as all of you are probably aware, this summer a new threat to the wizarding world emerged. The ministry and your families probably won't be very happy about me telling you this, but I feel as if it would be silly to keep you in the dark. Many refer to him as 'He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,' but I don't believe in that nonsense. Fear of the name only means fear of the person. His name is Voldemort. But when he was your age, he was known as Tom Riddle."
As Dumbledore said these words, a shiver ran around the hall. Everyone student seemed to have shifted uncomfortably in their seat. There were many dark and gloomy faces staring up at the headmaster, their dark eyes full of unknowing. I'm sure that at least a dozen students had been affected by these disappearances. Maybe it was their parents, or aunts or uncles. You just couldn't know.
"I don't want any of you to be alarmed. You are perfectly safe here, and I can promise you that. If any of you need anything, anything at all, feel free to come to me. I am here for you."
I looked down the table at Lily and Lydia and saw that Lydia's eyes were sparkling with tears. I suddenly remembered her father had been one of the ministry workers who had gone missing. I wanted to get up and go hug her, but knew that would be inappropriate. I shifted my attention back to Dumbledore, not wanting to look at her anymore.
"Now everyone, enjoy the feast," Dumbledore said, opening his arms wide as the food appeared. And we dug in. The feast was amazing, as usual. The boys and I didn't hold back on heaping as much food as possible onto our plates. We ate like there was no tomorrow. Chicken, steak, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, and much, much more. I couldn't believe that this much food existed.
After the feast, we trudged back up to the common room, where we collapsed on the couches in our favorite spot, right in front of the fire.
"Ahhh…" James said, patting his stomach slowly. "That was a fantastic feast."
"Agreed…" Sirius said, his eyes slowly closing. "And a fantastic train ride."
"I second that," I said, chuckling. I looked up in the direction of my dorm and remembered Lydia. I wanted to make sure she was okay. "Guys… I think I'm gonna go to bed."
"Really?" James asked, sitting up. "This early?"
"Yeah…" I said, standing up. "It's, uh, been a long day." I couldn't tell them about Lydia. She might not want people to know.
"Okay, okay…" James said, standing up to hug me. "G'night Tonks."
After I said goodnight to everyone, I trooped up the spiral stairs and down the hall to a door on my left that said:
Third Year Girls
As soon as I entered, I saw a scene close to the madness of last year. Trunks open, clothes everywhere, owls hooting, and girls swarming around like bees. But before I could take it all in, I heard Lily.
"Hey Tonks!" she squealed as she ran over to me.
"Wotcher!" I said as she hugged me. "How are you?"
"Great, great," she said, pulling away and looking over her shoulder at Lydia, who sat emotionless on her bed. "Better than Lydia…" she whispered.
"Hey Lydia," I said, peaking over Lily's shoulder.
"Hey Tonks…" she said, looking over at me and wiping a tear away from her dark and gloomy eyes.
"How are you?" I asked, walking over to her.
"Uh… Fine," she said, but I knew she was lying. I opened my arms to hug her and she threw herself into them.
"It's gonna be okay, Lydia," I said, patting her back as she wept. "They'll find him."
"I know… I know…" she said, pulling away and sniffling. "Thanks…"
"No problem," I said, smiling at her. She took a few deep breaths while walking back to her bed. I glanced over at Lily and she shot a small smile my way.
I finally got over to my bed and started to unpack. I glanced over at Scarlet and May and saw they had totally ignored me once again. I wondered whether they ignored Lily and Lydia as well…
It didn't take me long to unpack and soon I was laying down all cozy in my four poster. I soon realized how similar arriving at Hogwarts really was from year to year. I knew I would eventually get used to it, but for now, it still took my breath away every time. Soon, I was in a deep sleep, anticipating the year that lay before me.
Sitting in the common room on a rainy Saturday afternoon with the boys and Tonks was just the thing to get my mind off of the full moon that approached that night. Sirius and James were discussing upcoming Quidditch tryouts; James was going for Seeker, and Sirius wanted to be a Beater. And me? There's no way I could ever play Quidditch with my lycanthropy, although it did seem kind of fun.
"Tonks, your not trying out, are you?" James asked.
"Are you kidding?" she said, chuckling. "I would kill myself!"
"Yeah… true," James said, laughing. "You're a bit of a clutz, huh?"
"Why did you even ask that question?" Sirius said, laughing along with the others.
I wanted to laugh with them, but I was hurting too much. My arms and legs felt especially weak and achy at that moment. I was stretched out on one couch, wrapped up in the comforter from my four poster. I watched my friends talking and laughing, but I didn't participate… I was just watching her, with her dirty blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail. I would've been okay just laying there for the rest of my life, but then I checked the time on my watch and realized I had one minute to get to the Hospital Wing.
"Holy shit!" I said, standing up and sprinting toward the portrait hole.
"Woah! What's wrong Remus?" James asked, apparently startled.
"Ummm.. Late for, uh, a meeting with…" I trailed off, my lying skills obviously lacking. "I just gotta go." And I ran out.
"Well that was random…" I said, watching the portrait hole swing close right after Remus ran out of it. I looked to my left and saw James and Sirius giving each other the smirks they give when they're up to something.
"Not really…" James said, chuckling.
"That wasn't random to you?" I asked, looking incredulously over at the boys.
"No not really…" Sirius said, checking his watch. "Considering the time and date."
"What?" I asked, really confused now. "The time and date?"
"What is today's date?" James asked like he was trying to explain something simple to a small child.
"September 15," I said, still not getting it.
"What time is it?" Sirius asked in the same tone James had used.
"Around… 7:30," I said.
"Right," James said, probably expecting me to get it. "Think about it…"
I stared between those two, not knowing what to expect. What were they getting at?
"I still don't get it…" I said, sounding pretty silly. Then, an idea grew in my mind. "Wait… is this the secret?"
"Yes Tonks…" James said, slapping his hand over his eyes.
"Hey! Don't talk to me like I'm some child!" I said, standing up in frustration. "It's a secret for a reason!"
"Exactly!" James said, using his hands for emphasis. "Think about it!"
"I am!" I said, closing my eyes tightly and thinking as fast as I could, but nothing came to mind.
"Alright," Sirius said. "What is today?"
"I told you, September 15," I said, rolling my eyes.
"No, not the date, like what is today?" James asked, standing up, too.
"Just tell me!" I exclaimed.
"He's a bloody werewolf!" Sirius blurted out. My heart stopped beating.
Ooh! The secret's out!
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