A Stranger Life

A Taste of New Reality

After a few more minutes, Draco and Hermione left the hospital wing with Elina trailing behind them, chattering lightly.

"I couldn't believe it when Professor Dumbledore showed up at school last night and told me that I get to spend my last year of school here. I had trouble believing him at first, but he seemed serious enough, so I caught on after awhile."

At that point, Draco stopped and motioned for Elina to walk beside him. "Elina, did you know about this beforehand?" he asked her. "Tell me honestly. Did Hermione or I mention it to you in the future? You're being a very good actress right now, but I find it hard to believe that you could show up here out of the blue. Were there some things that we weren't told when we visited you in case that knowledge would mess up future events?"

Elina paused for a moment, then looked up into his eyes, holding her books to her chest. "Yes," she answered quietly. "I knew I was going to come here a long time ago. It's always been part of what you told me."

Draco nodded. Then Hermione spoke up. "And what about the story I was told concerning how you come to be? Does it really involve Quidditch pranks and butterbeer?"

Elina's eyes widened. "Well, to be frank, I've never actually asked for specifics on that part of the story, because who honestly wants to think about their parents having sex? But knowing you and the situation as I do, I don't think it would be something as childish as pranks and potion-laced butterbeer."

Hermione and Draco looked at one another, relieved. "That's good to hear," Hermione said finally.

Elina nodded. "I can't wait to meet your friends. They all sound really nice from what I've heard of them."

"I would love to hear the stories that Draco tells you to make you think his friends sound nice," Hermione commented.

Elina frowned. "Why is that? What do you think of them, Hermione?" as she said the name, she winced. "Sorry about that. It just sounds a bit weird to me." She then looked at Hermione expectantly, but then Draco cleared his throat and hastily changed the subject.

"You know Elina, we will eventually have the talk about this reality and the relationship between Hermione and my friends, but it will have to be another time, perhaps sometime tonight when we all don't have class on our minds. Now, do you have any questions about Hogwarts' classes or professors?"

Elina shook her head. "No, I think I'm all right on that front."

The three walked on in silence after that until they reached the Charms classroom, and Draco left for Potions. When she and Elina entered the classroom, Hermione was surprised to find that every eye in the entire room was trained on them. Feeling like an exhibit at a circus, she saw a seat beside Ron and Harry and quickly sat down. She motioned at Elina, who grinned and nodded, coming to take the only remaining seat in the row.

"Now," Professor Flitwick began as he hauled himself onto his stack of books so he could be seen by everyone in the class, "I hope you will not be surprised when I tell you that the things you will learn in this room this year will be more difficult then anything you have encountered before. And as I'm sure you also know, at the end of this year, you will take your N.E.W.T.s, the most challenging exams Hogwarts can offer. It is my job to make sure that you are properly prepared for them, and it is your responsibility to do the best you can to make sure you are ready when they arrive. Therefore, if at any time you feel that you don't understand what we are learning in class, you must get help so that you do understand what we are learning. At this point, you cannot afford to be behind. Am I clear?"

The class nodded, and there was no talking except for the occasional question during the lecture.

After the class period ended, Hermione and Elina left the classroom with Ron and Harry, who were still looking at Elina with expressions of awe on their faces, as if she were a veela instead of a normal witch.

After Charms, they had a break, and so the four of them headed outside to talk under the large tree, where both girls helped Ron and Harry with their homework assignments, which were tough as Professor Flitwick had warned them. But naturally, that was not a concern for Elina. She was more focused on the general atmosphere of the castle.

"Is everyone usually so tense around here?" she asked. "I watched faces on the way out here and everyone seems really nervous."

"It's probably nothing," Hermione replied dismissively as she siphoned spilled ink off Ron's Charms essay. "I'd chalk it up to seventh-year jitters. And the speech Professor Flitwick gave us in class about the N.E.W.T.s probably didn't help much either."

Elina nodded and went back to helping Harry. "It's good to know things aren't always so gloomy. Otherwise I would want to go back home."

Eventually it was time to pack up their things and go to Transfiguration. They walked into the castle, and Hermione decided she needed to have a drink of water, and then told Elina to go ahead of her while she used the toilet. Elina nodded and continued on her way, Hermione having told her the general direction to go. Just before she reached the Transfiguration classroom however, she heard voices coming from a small hallway that branched off from the main hallway, which made her pause because she thought one of them belonged to Draco, and she thought that it would be nice to introduce herself to his friends.

She slowly peeked around the edge of the hallway and surveyed the group for a few minutes. It was indeed Draco and his friends, two rather burly boys, a tall black boy and a girl who looked somewhat piggish, but maybe that was just her mother's influence. They were making plans of some sort, involving Gryffindor, which was Hermione, Harry and Ron's house.

Elina cleared her throat causing the chatter to cease, and the group, with exception of Draco, to turn around immediately and glare at her.

"What do you want?" the girl asked somewhat nastily. Something in her tone made Elina prickle.

"It's nothing Pansy," Draco said quickly. "She won't cause any trouble for us, so just leave her alone."

The girl backed off a little, but she still looked very angry. Feeling bold, Elina stepped into the group. "Thank you for the support Draco, but I believe I'm old enough to handle myself in situations such as these and don't need help from anyone." Then she looked at Pansy, who was now looking slightly stunned.

"As Draco told you, I didn't come here to cause trouble. Since I'm new here, I thought I would introduce myself and try to be friendly because it worked well with another group of people I met today, but I was obviously wrong."

"And who was this other group?" the tall black boy asked her.

"A girl named Hermione Granger and her friends," Elina told him.

"Wait a minute," Pansy said. "You're friends with Hermione Granger and you expect us to be nice to you? Do you have any idea how things are around here between Hermione Granger's house and ours?"

"Oh, yes I do," Elina nodded solemnly. "More then you'll ever know."

"Elina, don't you have a class you should be getting to?" Draco asked pointedly. "We'd be more then happy to finish this discussion at a later time."

Elina blinked. He was right, she realized. She did have a class to get to. She sighed, told Draco goodbye and hurried to the Transfiguration classroom that fortunately was not very far away.

As she watched the girl hurry away, Pansy turned to frown at Draco. "Now what was that all about?" she asked. "What is going on with you to make you be nice to someone who's friends with Hermione Granger?"

"It's nothing really, she's just new, that's all," Draco replied evasively.

"How much do you think she heard?" Blaise asked.

"Probably nothing," Draco answered. He looked at the clock on the wall. "We have an hour left of our free time. What do the two of you want to do now?"

Blaise and Pansy just looked at one another. Draco was acting strangely, and the reason why was connected to the new girl. There was something he wasn't telling him. They would have to find it out themselves.

"I think Draco and his mates are plotting something against Gryffindor," Elina said breathlessly as she plopped down next to Hermione.

"It can't be anything too bad, considering his promise to Dumbledore," Hermione replied. "I wouldn't worry too much about it if I were you. In this reality he does stuff like that all the time."

Elina nodded, but something inside of her told her there was more to the plot then Hermione believed. She would have to be on her guard for all of them.

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