Saturn II - restriction, pessimism

Saturn Restriction, pessimism

There was a rumor going around that Isobel of Gryffindor, known for having the title of innocent and pure, and who is in the same year as Ginny, was in a very physical relationship with one of the boys at Hogwarts. It was a small rumor spun purely on suspicion, but it was one that her older brother had not taken lightly.

Her brother was in Slytherin and on his last year at Hogwarts. And when his disapproval and bottled anger was revealed about the situation, Harry had seemed the most on edge, oddly enough. It wasn't like he had any involvement in the scandal—Harry didn't even know the boy Isobel was with.

Harry had been seen talking with Isobel on a few occasions, but that didn't leave room for him to be looking over his shoulders or why his eyes bugged when he was told of Isobel's brother's promise to hex the boy terribly should he ever be found. It's not like Harry needed any more reasons to be worried, Hermione thought. So why was it any of his concern…?

This didn't shake it from Hermione's mind however. The brunette has had suspicions about the other girl since year four, and this did nothing to improve Isobel's view in Hermione's eyes. It only worsened it. But still, she would go to bed and Hermione would give her a knowing eye, and she swears that later in the night, Hermione would hear a door open and feet patting past her room door.

But Hermione was smart. She would piece together whatever drama it was sooner or later. She always did.

She always prided herself on her smarts.

"Oh, Hermione is so smart," people would say.

"She's so gifted."

"Miss Granger" this, and "Miss Granger" that.

It was pressure, it was too much pressure that she didn't want.

Is this how Harry felt?

She sat under a tree not far from Hagrid's hut, throwing rocks in the direction of The Whomping Willow. Her stomach clenched and she leaned over her crossed knees, skimming over one of her textbooks in front of her. She was to be taking notes for an upcoming quiz but she just couldn't quite focus. There was a lot of drama and stories circulating the halls this year and it seemed as if no one was safe from them. In fact, Hermione had some troubles of her own, and it showed when she was given certain looks, when she would laid in her bed before drifting to sleep and it danced around her head.

She didn't like that Ron was with Lavender either. It hurt. It hurt too much...

Is this how Ginny felt about Harry in the beginning? How Justin Finch-Fletchley felt about that Gryffindor girl, Isobel, now that she was probably taken? What about when Ron saw her and Viktor—-

No. She mustn't think about that, about him right now.

If she were to be asked, Hermione would lie and say it didn't hurt seeing the boy that was supposed to be her friend with somebody else. And she would lie and say that she didn't feel anything.

For so long, Hermione is used to bottling her feelings, never letting out too much and never wanting to seem over the top. She was used to speaking her mind to certain degree and made up for it in other aspects.

Like for instance, she knew what she wanted to do in life and all the steps to do so. She knew that she wanted to go to the Slug Club Christmas Party with Cormac McLaggen and accomplished so. It had been going well too, until she realized how clingy he was and it drove her up the wall. She even stooped to hiding away from him at the party, where Harry found her behind the curtains.

"I left Cormac under the mistletoe. ...I thought inviting him would annoy Ron the most. But he's got more tentacles than a snuffula plant!" Hermione revealed, stuffing dragon tartar in her mouth before "elegantly"fleeing as Cormac approached.

But Hermione had her own problems. There was Ron, Luna, her suspicions about Isobel, Draco...

Draco… For some reason he has been more…adamant than usual, and Hermione has ran into him more times than she'd like.

The Pureblood still walked around with a permanent scowl etched on his face, but when approaching her in person, he merely dipped his head and kept walking. Hermione would say that his face seemed to relax too but it was never facing her, so she was never sure, which always left her with confusion in her mind.

He wasn't rude, not really. No, he stopped that years ago. Plus his insults were pathetically weak when shot at her that she's stopped being offended.

Well, he wasn't rude to her. But that too was only in private.

She and him have talked on a few occasions, more times than she'd liked to admit. Sometimes it would be back to back in the library or from her way from the bathrooms he would follow, tease a little, but never wave bye. He never did anything of the sort.

Once, when she refused to look at him, Draco told her that he had heard of an incident with a Ravenclaw girl that left her feeling crushed.

"If they ever say that again...I'd get them," is all he whispered and then walked off. Of course this left her even more confused.

Sometimes, Hermione thinks there was something wrong, something he wanted to say. It was probably another insult and she would walk away. When he would speak, it was of normal conversation.

Hermione definitely had her own problems.

But when Katie Bell was jinxed by a necklace meant for Dumbledore, word started spreading rapidly through the school that they still weren't safe from dark forces. Word spread, as it does annually. Many students were bitter about their own troubles, using the necklace as an excuse. That much was obvious, as well as the way Pansy showed it that time she vented briefly when the two ran into each other in the girls restroom. It showed in Isobel's brother's excuse on his lingering anger and bitterness. And Hermione had used it for the times she ran into Draco Malfoy and he was, for once, not a spiteful prick.

Everyone was having their own problems. And The Dark Lord was on the rise.

Apparently, word of Isobel's scandalous behavior had gotten around because soon Echo wasn't seeing her anymore. Either the girl was so ashamed she hid from gossiping eyes or she had met an unfortunate dissension. And Echo had a bad feeling about it. Part of her told herself that maybe she shouldn't have told Isobel of that room, the one she told a teary eyed Isobel once of a place that was quiet and rarely passed by students. Because now, no one has seen the Gryffindor for some time.

Just last year, Echo remembers the tale of what had happened in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries Along with I rumors, it was told that Harry Potter had lost his godfather who supposedly was the last of his close family. It was a fact that only Harry's closest friends knew—meaning, those who journeyed to The Department of Mysteries with him. Echo knew of it because of Luna.

Luna had told her cousin, knowing Echo would stay far away from these kinds of situations, also since Echo could care less about Harry personally. Echo has heard the stories, had seen some herself.

She didn't really like Potter but she agreed with what he stood for, what he believed in in this war. He had been mean and rude to Echo like so many before, but Luna knew that since she was his friend, someone needed to know her story. To be honest, Luna was beginning to grasp that possibly she wouldn't return one day, and Echo was the one she trusted to not twist the story and speak only the truth. So, she told Echo everything. Of their journey, of the fight with the Death Eaters, of their plans of resurrecting Dumbledore's Army. Echo wouldn't be a part of it but she needed to know; Luna needed her to be safe. Luna needed to tell someone.

"Sometimes I don't know what to do and it seems a bit overwhelming," Luna chatted, tone calm and melodious as normal.

She had leaned over and gave Echo a tight hug.

Echo returned it but she herself was worried. She didn't like this war but what could she do? She had the same fear as her cousin—she hoped that the fight, when it came down to it, was nowhere near herself or those she cared for. She had these fears but never spoke of them out loud.

Echo returned to the hospital wing only once that year, and it was for a checkup by the new staff. These nurses were nicer and listened when she said she was uncomfortable. But after failing one test, Echo was ordered to stay overnight and as soon as her friends caught ear of this, they were beside her bed.

"It'd be a shame you won't be coming back tonight," Grace spoke. "I hear there was going to be a raid in the kitchen for the best pastries the elves never put out and then we were going to sneak up to the Astronomy tower."

Echo had grabbed Neville and forced him to sit beside to her on the cot, his arms folded across his chest and Echo wrapped around on of his arms. She responded to Grace with a shocked look.

Echo was disappointed that she would be missing out. Neville gave both girls an incredulous look. He had no idea those in Hufflepuff were like this and thought Echo was the only one who was so…risky.

Isabelle was the one who gave him an implying smirk watching Echo snuggle more into his side. She cooed about how she thought Neville and Echo looked together but the blonde dismissed it, assuring they were just friends. Isabelle rolled her eyes.

Echo spoke in a hush that she thought that there was someone who had an eye for Neville and when he asked who, Echo just smiled.

"She's in my year, but I'm not sure you two know each other…"

"Then what makes you think she would…um, you know?" He didn't want to say it, to get his own hopes up.

"Because. I know. I just know."

It was Hannah Abbott Echo had in mind, but she would never say. She would only respond with a toothy grin. She thought the two were a good match since seeing both together when Hagrid begun teaching Care for Magical Creatures. But also, Echo thought if it were meant to happen, it would.

When she left the wing the next morning, she ran into Hannah again. Luckily this time she had Grace and Isabelle at her sides, and when the other Hufflepuff spoke downgrading to the recovering blonde, her two friends were there, flanking Echo and leaving Hannah behind.

Isabelle pulled Echo into a tight hug.

It was morning now and students were back from Christmas break. School has gone back to its usual bustling.

Over the break, Echo and Luna's families celebrated Christmas, something that hadn't happened for years. It was wonderful, Echo thought. It was nostalgic, comforting, and warm, something she missed, and Luna was almost able to forget about the coming danger. They hadn't seen their friends but now they had gifts to show.

But now they were back in school, and Echo entered The Great Hall alongside her two friends. Grace was going on bout something that had to do with Romilda Vane and Katie Bell. It was some gossip that Echo tuned out. She doesn't like gossip.

Apparently something had happened with Romilda that Echo missed. And when she asked about it, Grace only turned around to where Lavender Brown sat glaring at Ron Weasley. Ron and his friends looked back at the Gryffindor before huddling together and whisper.

It's been weeks since Isobel went missing and Harry was no longer jumpy. Echo noticed that when she had class with Gryffindor earlier that day—she noticed because he no longer drew her attention like he had when the slightest touch ruffled him. Also, she did see him on the front page of The Daily Prophet over the break, but Echo didn't look at it. It was only in passing. Luna had pulled her along, restricting Echo from seeing more but not missing the stricken look on Xenophilius' face.

Isobel's brother was readying for graduation and Dumbledore must have spoke something about the girl to the staff. But there were too many culprits, too many angry and judgmental people right now to get a true answer.

Echo saw it. She saw it all. And her worry grew worse. She wanted to kick herself, regretting telling Isobel about that extra room and fearing the girl had gotten locked in their by accident.

They'd find out when when she comes back as a ghost…right?

Echo didn't like this. She shuffled a small valve in her left hand, cereal spoon in her right and two friends chatting across from her.

They were in The Great Hall at the moment for breakfast. Not far, Echo could see the blonde head of Draco entering The Hall. She say his eyes look up and lock with Hermione Granger, and Echo saw her look down, almost squeamish or shyly. No one else saw; she then caught Luna approach front he other side of the room and sit beside the golden trio, starting a conversation, it seemed.

Echo saw it. She saw it all.

Isabelle called for her attention. She was asked a question and smiled, her eyes crinkling. Isabelle said something about her hair, inquiring that it was getting longer and offered hair clips. Echo shook her head. Grace commented that when Echo's hair grew out in the back, that they could do more hair styles together.

The day before, Hufflepuff had potions class with Professor Slughorn. Each student was partnered to a cauldron and assigned to make Felix Felicis, liquid luck. There were three winners that class, one of which was Echo's group who brewed it successfully and Slughorn was shocked twice that day.

Echo rubbed the valve with her thumb under the table, slowly spooning cereal to her mouth. Isabelle added colorful hair clips in Echo's hair as she ate. She just didn't want her bangs to be readjusted; no one was to touch her bangs that fell in front of her eyes and tickled her chin. Echo's white-blonde hair int he back fell right at the end of her neck now.

The day before when Echo received her own bit of liquid luck, she had seen Professor Trelawney. During her free time, Echo went to see her professor in questioning about their homework. Secretly, Echo wanted to tell her about her run in with Isobel and her fear with Death Eaters. Echo found comfort int he psychic and was used to visiting her office.

But that day, Trelawney had not been in the best state. The woman was staring off in empty space, mumbling to herself. And when Echo asked for clarification, Trelawney spoke something about the lost of the twelfth one who entered the high tower, the tower that looked up to the stars, when the earth would shake and kin fought against kin.

Echo had pulled back in shock. She would have fled from the room if Trelawney hadn't snapped out of her trace and called the student back. Eventually, Echo did spill her fear and regret. She regretted telling Isobel about empty spaces to cry across the castle and feared she was responsible why the Gryffindor wasn't here anymore.

Back in The Great Hall, the talking between Grace and Isabelle died down as Hannah Abbott walked past. Both girls eyed the Hufflepuff, purposely making her uncomfortable, until Hannah stopped.

"What're you staring at," Isabelle called.

Hannah scrunched her nose. She began to answer but stopped noticing Echo watching her too.

"Don't you look at me!" she spat at the blonde.

"You," Grace stood from her seat, "don't talk to her like that! She's done nothing to you. You got a problem, you go through us!"

Isabelle stood at her side.

Hannah wrinkled her nose further as if catching a pungent smell. "As if. Why would I ever waste my time with you?" She began walking off when Grace called her back.

"Because you used to. We used to be friends back when you had a heart and soul. Now don't try to act like you're better than us!"

"We know where you sleep at night!" Isabelle called, a pun that they were all in the same house.

Hannah whirled around and snapped insults, and the other two called some right back.

The was not a good morning. Echo shrank more in her seat as the three girls' voices rose in volume, yelling about her, until Grace shouted "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!"

It was not a good way to start that morning. Though later, after it had been buzzing around in her head, Hannah would approach the three girls again. She would come with a head down and Echo's two friends would flank her sides, and Hannah would admit that she was wrong, that she let her jealousy get the best of her. Hannah apologized and admitted that she was wrong. Though Isabelle and (mostly) Grace weren't going to let it slide that quickly, Echo was the one who gave Hannah a tight hug days later.

But right now, back in The Great Hall, class was about to start, and conversation ceased when Luna approached. Echo put down her spoon. Luna greeted the girls with a smile and plopped down beside Grace.

Now, since Isabelle and Grace were close friends with Echo, they knew that she and crazy Luna Lovegood were related. At first, they were put off by Echo's younger cousin, believing more of the rumors that made her out as a nutcase she really was not. They found this out in time too, as well that Gretchen was not a true friend, since she abandoned them soon after. Isabelle had always had her doubts about Gretchen and was relieved when she left.

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