Becoming Someone Else, Somewhere Else

Chapter 2

The quill scratched over the gold-leafed pages of the leather book as I wrote the unabridged version of my life. I started at the beginning.

My name is Marilyn Horsefeather and I was born in a small town outside of London. I never met my parents. I was nothing more to them than a hindrance of their plans. Three days after I was born, they dropped me off at my Grandmother's house and never came back. The last I saw of them was in the Daily Prophet. They were strong supporters of You-Know-Who and were arrested after using the Imperius curse on many workers of the Ministry. They were also charged with the murder of fifty muggles on the Underground after blowing up a train. Shortly after they were arrested, You-Know-Who fell from power, and my parents were left to rot in Azkaban forever. Good riddance, I say. They were never really my parents anyway. I hate them, wherever they are.

I received my letter from Hogwarts when I was eleven, just like everyone else. I had already learned a few tricks from my grandmother. She was one of the greatest witches I've ever known. She was a strong woman with a gentle heart, and the only family I had. She died my third year at Hogwarts. I still miss her very much.

I feel as though the Sorting Hat didn't bother to take the time to get to know me at all. As soon as he heard the name "Horsefeather!" being called out by McGonagall, he knew exactly where to put me. The apple never really falls far from the tree, after all. But I knew I hadn't belonged in Slytherin. I wasn't like the girls I shared a dormitory with. I hadn't wanted to gossip or sneak around like they wanted to do every night. I just wanted to read my books and do my homework. I was disgusted with some of the things they would say. When quidditch came around, I stole a broom from a shed out by the pitch (one of the only things I did that seemed like a Slytherin thing to do) and I tried out for the team. I didn't make it, of course. The Slytherins didn't like me, and they sure weren't going to include me in one of the best things the school had to offer. Regardless, up until my fourth year, I tried out for the team each term, and got rejected as soon as I mounted my (stolen) broom.

Now it's my sixth year, and I still haven't convinced anybody, or myself, that I'm a Slytherin, and every day, they remind me of it. They chase me down the halls, throw food at me during meal times, hide my robes in the mornings so that I'm late for class, and even jinx me as I walk down the halls. I don't know what to do. I have nobody to turn to. I have no friends, no family worth mentioning, and I'm not entirely sure if there's anyone who really cares about my situation. Dumbledore is always so busy. There's no reason in me coming to him with my problems when he's got the weight of the world sitting on his shoulders. So I bear through it.

A tear fell onto the page as I dipped my quill in the ink. It was already running low.

I don't know how and if this will ever turn out better for me. I wish I wasn't a Slytherin. I wish I could start over completely.

I signed my name at the bottom, much more sloppily than I would any other normal document. "There's my story," I said with a sigh. Outside, the moon was bright and yellow as it sat above a wispy cloud hovering in the midnight blue sky. The small bird on the table had its head tucked underneath its wing, breathing slowly. "I'm a bit sleepy myself," I said. As soon as my head hit the soft, feathery pillows nestled at the top of the bed, I drifted into dreamless sleep.

The next morning, the sunshine peered into the room through the open windows, painting the stone floor in flecks of gold. The air had smelled different from the night before, and it was much chillier this morning than it was before I had fallen asleep. As I lifted my head, I noticed that my skin was completely bare, and I was lying naked in the king sized bed. I scrambled for the sheet to cover up my body, but then realized that I was alone. I also no longer felt the pain in my body that I had felt the night before, the soreness from being kicked multiple times. I inspected myself thoroughly and found no bruises. I stepped out of the bed and walked toward a mirror next to the wardrobe and saw that my face was no longer dirty or bloody. My skin looked flawless. But where had my clothes gone? I wrapped my arms around my chest to keep from being so chilly when I heard the small bird singing. She was over by the window, and she flew on top of the wardrobe. She looked straight into my eyes and cocked her head, then started pecking at the wardrobe doors.

"There's nothing in there, you silly bird," I said, wanting to stroke its feathers. It then flew off and landed on my shoulder, still singing, and then pecked me admirably. "Okay, okay," I said, reaching for the handle to the wardrobe. As I opened it, I noticed four sets of robes, each one bearing the crest of one of the houses of Hogwarts. I was reaching for the Slytherin robes when I jerked my hand back. Something ebbed to me pick differently. 'Let's just see what happens,' I thought, and I grabbed the robes that were blazoned with the Gryffindor crest. I dressed with the Gryffindor robes and was surprised to find how dashing I looked in the red and gold tie. It was a much better look for me. 'I could get used to this.' I closed the wardrobe door and walked over to look into the mirror again. My skin was glowing and my black hair rippled down my back in tresses. These robes made me look beautiful. I threw my shoulders back and admired my new look. 'If only I were a Gryffindor,' I thought to myself. The bird was now back on top of the wardrobe and sang even more loudly, as if this was the most delightful thing she'd ever witnessed. "You like this too? Well, I can't pretend forever. I better put on those Slytherin robes and be off." I opened the door to the wardrobe and found that it was completely empty again. I gasped. I was wearing Gryffindor robes and now I had no other clothes to put on. How was I going to walk about the castle looking like this? People would notice, and I would never hear the end of it.

I shook my head. As if it would be much different than any of the other torment I would endure in the weeks to come. It was still early on a Sunday morning. If I could sneak down to the dungeons, maybe nobody would see me. Then I could just change into my own robes and nobody would have to know. That was my plan. Before I left, I stuffed nearly ten books into a shoulder bag I had found hanging on the wall, all of them about Quidditch and transfiguration. I took one last sweeping glance around the room, silently thanking it for the solitude it had given me, and snuck out into the seventh floor corridor.

The castle looked much lighter than I had noticed in months. I was halfway down the first flight of stairs when I heard people running behind me. I kept my head down low and hoped they wouldn't notice me.

"Hurry up! We're gonna be late!" One of them said as they barreled down the corridor.

"We still have to go up to get our brooms!" The other said, quite frantically.

"That early morning detention really screwed up our plans for early morning practice!" The first one said as I heard them reach the stairs. They were almost past me, maybe they wouldn't notice. Next thing I knew, I was crashing to the floor with two boys falling on top of me. So much for not being seen. I was so invisible they ran me over.

"Oh, bloody hell! Are you alright?" One of them said as he rolled off of me and started looking for his glasses that flew off his face.

"Very sorry about that! We weren't paying any attention!" The other one said as he brushed himself off and stood up. He held his hand out for me to grab and he helped me stand up. He looked at my chest and his eyes rested on the Gryffindor crest stitched on my robes. His gaze then traveled back up to my face. "Interesting," he said, staring at me as I looked away, hoping I could make an escape. I needed to keep my cool.

I cleared my throat and looked at him. "What's so interesting?" I said, throwing back my shoulders. He gave a nervous chuckle.

"It's just that you're wearing Gryffindor robes," he said as he rubbed his neck, "and I'm pretty sure I would have noticed you before." He gave me a subtle wink and I felt my face blush. No boy had ever talked to me like that, or winked at me. It was exhilarating. He captured my attention as he held my gaze for what seemed like hours. He was very handsome and it was difficult to break my stare away from his. His presence was so captivating. The other boy clapped him on the back as he stood up after finding his glasses. He looked at my robes as well.

"Potter?" I said, cocking my head to the side. He certainly looked like Harry Potter, but something was different about him. Not that I had had many close encounters with him, but his face was plastered on enough newspapers and flyers that I would not mistake it. Harry Potter had green eyes, and this boy's eyes were brown. I quickly realized my mistake. "I'm sorry, you just look so familiar," I said, turning my head away from them again.

"No, my name is James Potter. But I can't say that I know your name. Have we met?" My heart started pounding. These damn robes were already causing all sorts of problems. I decided to quickly change the subject.

"Don't you have somewhere to be?" I said quickly, turning around and heading down the next flight of stairs. I walked at a fast pace, hoping I could shake them off of me before I reached to stairs that led to the dungeons.

"Wait!" One of them called after me. They ran down to catch up with me. "You're going to the common room, right? We'll walk with you there!" The ridiculously handsome boy said as he walked beside me. I stared straight ahead, trying not to get sucked into his gaze a second time.

"Padfoot, we've got to get our brooms and get onto the pitch!" James said anxiously.

"Prongs, we're already running late. Plus, what kind of gentlemen would we be if we didn't accompany this young lady back to the common room?" He started to smile. "I'm Sirius, by the way," he said smirking. I gave him a sideways glance as I adjusted the shoulder strap of my bag. He looked at me as if he were expecting a reply.

"Marilyn," I said rather shortly. The last thing I wanted to do was get into a cozy conversation with a Gryffindor. My mind was sprinting toward an idea to get out of them walking me to Gryffindor tower. As we turned the corner, Professor Dumbledore nearly bulldozed us, a frantic look in his eyes.

"Oh, excuse me, gentlemen. I've just been looking for someone," he said, his eyes skimming over the tops of our heads. "You haven't seen a girl with long black hair wandering about the castle, have you?" His stare was very far off.

"We found this one here, sir," Sirius said jokingly, nudging my shoulder. Dumbledore looked down at me as though he had just noticed I was there. He looked younger than I remembered him.

"My goodness, there she is. Thank you boys! I think Miss Horsefeather and myself will talk in my office." Dumbledore locked his arm with mine and led me down to his office. I looked back to see the boys running down the opposite hallway toward, I presumed, Gryffindor tower.

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