Bile rose from within the depths of her stomach, the acidic taste bitter in the back of her mouth. The excitement from the night prior faded, anxiety replaced it. So utterly petrified, she could not move her body; cemented to her bed. The ceiling was her only ally, for it did not spin like the rest of the room. All the while, Elisabeth and the other girls slept soundly a mere five feet away from her. Fingal licked her cheek and curled up by her head, purring ever so softly- comforting her the best he was able. Her head did not cease to quiet, though she persistently tried to silence the endless whispers. Fear clung to her as spiders did their webs. What if she fell down the stairs? What if she got lost trying to find her classes? What if her friends from yesterday did not want to talk to her again because she didn’t get sorted into their house? What would Oliver do? Her anxiety made tears well in her eyes. She wouldn’t be able to face anyone. Boom Boom. Her blood pulsed in her ears.
Unwillingly, she tore the rough polyester comforter away, she couldn’t let herself get overwhelmed; the cold air bit at her bare shoulders and feet. Her feet padded softly on the wood floor once they touched the ground. Through the large window across the room, morning light filtered in; its golden ray reaching across the room- touching and illuminating all that it could. The light showered a sense of tranquility on her, creating a halo in her hair. Her chest rose and fell gently, her fingers gingerly resting on the dirtied glass. From her place in the window, Chelsea’s eyes drew in the beauty of the glistening lake, as it rested calmly. Its wake-less surface glittered pink fading into a pale purple as the sun rose. It was serene; no form of art nor magic could capture it. Such was home.
“The view from here is stunning,” Elisabeth whispered from behind Chelsea. Chelsea resisted the urge to jump from her skin and inhaled deeply. She only nodded in agreement, fearing her voice would disturb the lake; and unleashing the fears she so wished to keep at bay.
Juno shushed them from her bed, snuggling deeper under her blanket.
In many cases, Fred Weasley was never known to wake up early, let alone on time. Not many of the Weasley boys were, only Percy really. Yet, Lee was surprised to wake early and see Fred attentively adjusting and readjusting his tie.
“Since when do you care about the bloody tie?” Lee mused. George had told him about Fred and the new girl. Fred shot him a glare from the mirror and moved on to grooming his hair. Lee rolled his eyes and began to dress for the first day of the classes. “She must be something to do this to a Weasley boy.”
“I don’t fancy her, I can’t place it though, there is just something about her that intrigues me. When she talks, I just want to know more about her because no one is that kind or gentle naturally.” Fred justified before heading to the lavatory.
George snored loudly next to him.
Fred wished he would see her bright eyes sitting in the crimson common room, the fluffy white terrorist nowhere in sight but it was far-fetch, even for his wild thinking; he knew definitely at breakfast he would get a chance to see her. He had a feeling she had not ended up in Gryffindor, as he knew in his heart his wish was a falsehood, but that would make meals even more exciting. She intrigued him as no one had before. He knew behind her eyes there was something spectacular and he was determined to find out. He wanted to understand why she made him feel so comfortable around her. Their friendship had only formed yesterday but Fred felt he had known her his entire life and could tell her anything.
Much to his disappointment, she was not in the common room. George rolled his eyes and dragged him down the stairs.
“Let’s go! I am bloody hungry! And I, for one, need food before suffering through morning potions with Professor Snape.” Swinging his arm through his brother’s, George dragged a staggering Fred to breakfast. Fred groaned internally knowing he had to see Snape first day back.
When he arrived at the Great Hall, she was not there at all. With a shrug of his shoulders, he dove into food; his stomach growling angrily.
Elisabeth understood what Chelsea felt that morning, knowing that Chelsea needed a little boost to start off her day at a new school. In her mind, as a good roommate, she had to be the one to help her roommate; because roommates form special bonds and she wanted Chelsea so badly to like her, she had always struggled to make friends. That morning, as they packed their satchels for the first day of classes, Elisabeth did Chelsea’s hair.
“In order to have a good day, sometimes you just need to externally channel it in order to feel it! If you look and feel like you can conquer the day, you will.” Elisabeth bubbly announced. Her hair was not plaited like the night before, but her dark hair fell to her hips. She rubbed Lavender oil on the insides of her wrists.
“Ya’know, I remember being eleven and entering through the doors for the first time and I nearly peed m’self because I was so overwhelmed,” Elisabeth mumbled through a bobby pin between her lips. “Getting sorted was the worst. Being in front of everyone, all their bloody eyes on me was the bloody worst.” Elisabeth prattled all morning, easing her roommate. Lesedi and Juno groaned in agreement. It seemed these mismatched four had a lot in common.
“Oh bloody hell, we have to go! We’ll miss breakfast if we don’t run!” Juno shrieked as they heard the clock tower toll. All four girls ran laughing out of Ravenclaw Tower, Chelsea’s fears tucked into the far corners of her mind. Neither of them thought they would be late their first day. They received complaints from the enchanted paintings as they raced to the Great Hall.
Fred had almost given up hope of seeing Chelsea before classes commenced. He stared all around, but there was no sight of her. Many students, predominately first years had already left so they could find their classes without receiving detention for being tardy. The arches of the Great Hall shimmered with morning sunlight, softly brightening the room.
When about to leave for class, he and many others heard four girls laughing like maniacs, racing as if wild owls into the Great Hall, all into swooping seats not far from where Fred sat. Fred quickly turned his head, eyes catching familiar golden ones. The azure and bronze of her tie registered, and a smile rose from the depths of his body he did not know existed. He had hardly recognized her, she looked wonderful. There was something swimming in her eyes he couldn’t get lost in.
He watched her tuck into food, cautiously at first, her thin fingers hesitantly fluttering from item to item, unsure of the savory food before her. Her plate loaded with unfamiliar food.
“Try the beans, they’re good!” Fred hollered across the table, gaining her attention. She looked at him, red in the face but smiled. Everyone looked between Fred Weasley and the new girl. Ron rolled his eyes, and Ginny looked between the two curiously.
She dug in content with life for the first time in a while, eager for classes and friends. She couldn’t shrug her anxiety eating at the back of her mind but she didn’t think her life would be this normal mere month since the incident. I will be okay. I will do just fine. She thought calmly, staring at the silhouette of the freckled red-headed boy whose smiled had warmed her like the morning sun. He was something else, and I can’t figure out why.
“Turn to page four hundred and ninety-eight.” Professor Snape ordered coolly. His penetrating gaze sent chills down the spines of his students. Snape scuffed as he saw many familiar faces, some of which he knew would do well but when he laid eyes on the obnoxious Weasley brothers he internally groaned. There was an unfamiliar face near to them, a young woman who must have been the one Minerva had mentioned that morning.
Fred Weasley flagged down his new friend. He normally detested Potions, the dark walls made his skin crawl. To his and his brother’s surprise, they watched their cousin follow closely behind.
“Georgie! Freddy!” Elisabeth squeaked as she hugged her cousins before being silenced by the annoyance in Snape’s glare. Lesedi smiled at George before shyly sitting next time to him. Chelsea flashed a barely-there smile before opening her potions book to a potion called the Pepperup potion. The ingredients list was long and the potion seemed tedious. But she wasn’t worried.
Snape had paired up his sixth-year class, one Ravenclaw to one Gryffindor so headaches were avoided and his classroom remained intact for a portion of the semester. He detested having rambunctious Gryffindors in his classroom.
Fred found a headache forming the moment he opened his textbook. Scribbling notes as he went, Chelsea seamlessly took the lead. She confidently added Bicorn Horn and Mandrake Root without looking at the measurements given to them by Professor Snape. Chelsea was adding three Sprigs of English Thyme when Fred finally spoke up.
“You’re a natural at this, it’s bloody brilliant.” Fred mused, leaning close to her ear. She jumped slightly, causing the cauldron to sway. Quickly turning her head, just missing Fred’s, she glared at him.
“I am not and would prefer you not to scare me. I do not need a hot potion burning me. But I adore Potions. I have since I was a child. I’ve prepared something similar before, so this is not too bad.” Her hazel eye dark with the room.
“You need to slow down or Snape is going to think I haven’t done a bloody thing.”
“You haven’t though,” She laughed, her eyes playful. “Here, add the Salamander blood very slowly or the potion will spoil.”
“I’ll have you know, my brother and I are quite adept at potions, we use them in our pranks.” He puffed out his chest slightly, sounding very confident.
“I’ll believe it when I see it, Weasley.”
“Oh Wood, you are on. Better watch out.” He chuckled.
During the Potions period, only five groups succeeded in successfully producing the potion and Snape was not surprised to see that Prewett, Wong, and Zulu had succeeded, they had always been keen learners. He however found himself slightly surprised by Wood, her brother had not done well.
“Ms. Wood, stay here a moment.” Snape drawled as the class began to dismiss itself. Chelsea felt the chill of the room crawl over her. Her thoughts began to race and she shivered. What had she done wrong?
“Chelsea, I will wait for you outside then I will show you where our next class is.” Elisabeth quickly breathed as she walked out with Fred and George by her side. Lesedi and Juno nodded in agreement. She noted Lesedi and George seemed to dive back into a deep conversation.
Sharply closing the Potions book with a thud, Professor Snape airily walked from behind the bench, his dark robes flowing behind him. “I am shocked a new student could handle such a potion with ease, Ms. Wood.” Snape sneered. “I do not know how to assess you.” His mouth formed its habitual grimace.
Chelsea balanced her weight from one foot to the other, shifting uncomfortably as he spoke.
“Your brother wasn’t as adept at Potions, Ms. Wood. ”
“Professor, pardon me, but I am not my brother and I would rather you not compare us as if we were levels to be compared. In doing so, you do not have the capability to understand or the ability to properly assess me.” Chelsea interrupted. Her fists were clenched tightly. For a short second Snape’s eyes flashed shock in the darkness but quickly turned to annoyance.
“Ten points from Ravenclaw, Ms. Wood. Do not interrupt again or I will deduct points from your grade. I will assess you, the next class, individually, to see where you stand with your brother. Now leave.” Snape turned away, robes behind him as he closed his office door.
Silently Chelsea rejoined her roommate and they went off to their classes without any further conversation. She didn’t think she would be compared to her brother on the first day, and it has only been the first class. Potions was the one class she wouldn’t allow herself to be underestimated, she knew she had a strong aptitude for it.
Yet, the rest of the day was uneventful.
Chelsea felt an ache in her heel, and her hand was weary from writing but she looked around during study hall, she was content. Elisabeth and her new friends had helped her through the worst part of the day and showed her around the castle with ease. Fred and George also seemed eager to help; Fred and George getting carried away and causing pranks as they went, their poor victim being their little brother.
Dinner went off without a hitch, the towering walls of the Great Hall loomed above her, candles suspended by magic casting a euphoric calmness over the students. Food and platters lay waiting by her hands, scents wafting up and overloading her senses. From afar she saw her friends from the train, Harry, Ron, and Hermione all waved with sweet smiles. In the base of her stomach rose a warm sensation that sent warm waves from head to toe.
Fred stared across the dining at Chelsea, both communicating through looks and smiles. George looked at his brother and saw a large, goofy smile.
“Oy, you evening listening?” He elbowed Fred.
“What?” Fred muttered, cheeks flushing. He hadn’t heard a single word. Around him, all of the Gryffindor quidditch team moaned.
“You missed everything, there is no Quidditch this year! McGonagall just told us! She didn’t tell us bloody why!” Angelina Johnson groaned. Last year, Wood picked her as his successor. Angelina looked downright miserable as she turned her head to rest on George’s shoulder.
“We will find eventually Angelina, there has to be a reason,” Katie added. “It has to be serious.”
“We played with Dementors flying around us last year, nearly killing Harry. Alicia Spinnet was nearly taken out by a deranged bludger aimed at Harry the year before. We’ve played in more dangerous situations.” Angelina’s face completely crestfallen.
“It seems like all the other teams are upset as well, look around.” Fred saw all the team captains talk to their houses. Marcus Flint looked upset as well, which surprised Fred. Roger Davies had the Ravenclaw team huddled around him, their faces reflecting the Gryffindor’s team dismay.
Soon Professor Dumbledore’s voice roared over the Great Hall and everyone grew silent. He stood tall, a mischievous look in his eyes.
“So!” said Dumbledore, smiling around at them all. ’Now that we are all fed and watered I must once more ask for your attention, while I give out a few notices.
’Our dear Care Taker, Mr. Filch, has asked me to tell you that the list of objects forbidden inside the castle has this year been extended to include Screaming Yo-yos, Fanged Frisbees, and Ever-Bashing Boomerangs. The full list comprises some four hundred and thirty-seven items, I believe, can be viewed in Mr. Filch’s office, if anybody would like to check it.” Dumbledore’s eye fell on the Weasley twins who only smiled in response. The boys knew they were the reason for this ban.
Dumbledore continued, “This is due to an event that will be starting in October, and continuing throughout the school year, taking up much of the teachers’ time and energy – but I am sure you will all enjoy it immensely. I have great pleasure in announcing that this year at Hogwarts we are to have the honor of hosting a very exciting event over the coming months, an event which has not been held for over a century. It is my very great pleasure to inform you that the International; Academic Triwizard Tournament will be taking place at Hogwarts this year.”
Many of the students around Chelsea were whispering excitedly, even Elisabeth but Chelsea saw the same anxiety she felt on Hermione’s face. She had heard about how consequential the tournament could be and how it hadn’t been done in years due to the safety factors and implications.
Jade and Lesedi among themselves, wondering if Uagadou School of Magic from Uganda or Mahoutokoro School of Magic from Japan would be joining as one of the three schools. Both had friends there. Throughout the Great Hall, excited whispers created an ocean of voices.
Fred looked at George, and George looked at Fred. There was an undeniable sense of understanding. “I’m going for it!” Fred hissed, the thoughts of fame and riches and reputation enthralling him.
“However a warning, there is an age restriction. No student underage of seventeen will be allowed to compete. I will personally be ensuring that no underage student hoodwinks our impartial judge into making them Hogwarts champion.” His light-blue eyes twinkled as they flickered over Fred and George’s mutinous faces. “I, therefore, beg you not to waste your time submitting yourself if you are under seventeen. ”
Both Weasley boys were furious!
“What!” Fred stood questioning.
“Why can we not compete,” George added in, standing in outrage, “We will be seventeen in April!”
There were many within the Great Hall who were protesting Dumbledore, but Chelsea breathed a sigh of relief when she saw that her friends would be safe from this event; even if they were upset.
Fred and George walked back to the dorm, frustrating and brainstorming. They were up late into the evening. “S’pose we do this George, think of what we can do with a thousand galleons...” Fred whispered from his bed.
“We can start our shop,” George muttered, turning his face into his pillow, soon after a soft snore escaping his lips.
“S’pose we could.” Fred rolled over in his bed, dazzling new pictures floating around his head. He had gotten past the impartial judge... he was the Hogwart’s champion... standing in the grounds in triumphs, all his fellow students applauding and cheering for him as he had just won the tournament... Chelsea was there offering a congratulatory smile, her hazel eyes glistening.
Fred grinned into his pillow, quite glad his twin brother could not see what he could see. Warm dreams surrounded him that night.