The Slug Club
Maya’s 2nd Year at Hogwarts
December, Day Before the Holidays
The second year Gryffindors’ and Slytherins’ last class before the Christmas Holidays was double potions. The last twenty minutes of the class, Professor Slughorn was well aware that his students kept looking at the old hourglass at the front of his room.
With only ten minutes to go, Slughorn sighed and announced, “None of you are giving this the attention it deserves. So, my dear boys and girls, pack up your bags and go enjoy your holidays.” A cheer came up from the group. Over the bustle of bags being packed, Professor Slughorn called, “Mr. Black and Ms. Night, stay for a moment, please!”
“What does he want?” Thomas whispered to Maya. Except for when Maya was with the Marauders, which was for about a week once a month, Christy and Thomas were Maya’s constant companions.
“No idea,” she whispered, “You and Christy can go ahead if you want.”
“We can wait outside,” Christy assured their friend.
Maya gave Regulus a smile as the rest of their class left. Regulus glanced over his shoulder to make sure the rest of the class has left before returning the smile.
He’s almost as handsome as his brother when he smiles, Maya thought. “Why do you do that?” Maya asked aloud.
“Do what?” Regulus asked.
“Pretend you’re mean when other people are around,” said Maya. “They won’t hate you if you’re nice, you know.”
Regulus sighed. “When you’re from an ancient, pure-blood family such as mine there is a certain...standard that is expected to be upheld.”
Maya frowned. “So speaking to me isn’t upholding this standard of yours?”
“That’s not it,” Regulus protested.
Maya glared at him, “Your brother doesn’t seem to have the same concern.”
Regulus ground his teeth; “Sirius has openly declared his...contempt for some of my family’s traditions. I remain on good terms with them and therefore...”
“You pretend and lie to them,” Maya finished, her eyes narrowed.
Regulus wanted to continue the argument, but Professor Slughorn had bounded over to them. “How are my two favorite second years,” he said, beaming.
“I’m one of your favorites?” Asked Maya, bewildered.
“Of course Ms. Night,” said Professor Slughorn, saving a finger at her. “Your...Er...courageous family is admirable!”
I’m one of his favorites because I’m a werecat? Thought Maya. This professor is weird.
Regulus looked at her curiously before answering the question, “We are quite well, Professor. And yourself?”
“Ready for the holidays, I will admit,” sighed Professor Slughorn. “I’m getting old, my boy. I’m starting to think about retirement.”
“You don’t seem old, sir,” said Maya honestly, thinking of Dumbledore.
Professor Slughorn chuckled. “Thank you m’dear. Now! I have a little something for the two of you.” Professor Slughorn handed them each a small, wrapped package. Regulus and Maya exchanged bemused looks and then opened the presents; Maya tearing the paper, Regulus unwrapping it carefully. Maya’s was a beautiful leather-bound notebook. Regulus had a good-sized box of chocolate frogs and licorice wands.
“Thank you professor,” they chorused.
“My pleasure, my pleasure.” He replied waving his hands and beaming. “Have a Happy Christmas!” Slughorn went into his office and the two young wizards began to walk away.
“Maya,” whispered Regulus. Maya looked at him. He took out the licorice wands and offered her the box of chocolate frogs. “Would you like them? My mother probably has mountains of chocolate back home – I won’t eat them.”
For a moment, Maya just looked at them, remembering that day last year in the corridor. Then, she smiled and took the offered box. “Thank you, Regulus.”
“Have a Happy Christmas, Maya Night,” Regulus told her.
“Happy Christmas, Regulus,”
Maya replied, smiling.
Then they were outside of the classroom and Maya was explaining what Slughorn had wanted to Thomas and Christy, who had been waiting just outside the door. Regulus looked at them silently for a moment, and then walked back to his dungeon common room alone.