Being Different Year 6

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A Dinner Invitation

Anne was sat at her usual desk in the Common Room, her desk was spread out with astronomy charts for the essay she was trying to write on Ganymede. She had a pair of headphones plugged into her Walkman which was playing her American Pie tape.

Irwin was sat at the desk next to her trying to trawl his way through a massive runes dictionary for the translation he was trying to do.

“Hey Anne!” called Morgana waving at her.

“Oh,” said Anne pulling off her headset, “hi Morgana.”

“Professor Slughorn asked me to give these to you two,” she said handing both Anne and Irwin tightly rolled scrolls.

“Thanks Morgana!” called Irwin as she skipped off to hang out with the second years.

“What in the world could this be?” wondered Anne as she untied the scroll.

“Merlin’s fucking pants,” muttered Irwin under his breath, “dad warned me Slughorn would try and do something like this.”

“What is it?” asked Anne as she read her scroll.

“We have been invited to join the Slug Club,” groaned Irwin.

Anthony was fighting to hold back a laugh.

“Slug Club,” choked Anthony.

“It’s a club formed by Slughorn,” explained Anne wearily, “he picks out students he thinks are the most brilliant and tries to help them with their careers, he asks for favours later in life.”

“How do you know much?” asked Persephone raising her eyebrows slightly.

“He told me over the Summer,” said Anne, “mum and Snape both used to be in it.”

“So did my Mum and Dad,” added Irwin looking thoroughly miserable.

“Harry’s probably got one too,” said Irwin glaring at the scroll hoping that he could conveniently lose his invitation.

“Annie do you think we could just not turn up?” asked Irwin hopefully. It was on a Friday night which was their best night of the week, no Prefect duties and homework got left till the weekend, on Friday nights they just relaxed.

“I’m afraid not,” said Anne just as fed up as Irwin.

On Friday after class, Anne rushed up to the dormitory to get ready for Slughorn’s dinner party. She only had an hour to get ready.

She frantically brushed through her hair and did it in one elegant plait down her back rather than the usual two. She attached a flower clip to the end of her plait.

She went over to the wardrobe and pulled out a deep purple dress which feel to just below the knee, Luna helped her do up the zip and then all Anne had to do was pull on her nylons and black high heels.

“You ready Irwin?” asked Anne as she came down the stairs from the girls dorms to the Common Room.

“How is it,” said Irwin looking her up and down, “that every single time I see you my auburn locked goddess is even more beautiful? Have you been blessed by Aphrodite?”

Anne’s cheeks blushed almost as red as her hair.

“Stop embarrassing her and get going mate,” said Anthony shoving them both towards the exit to the Common Room.

“Don’t keep her out too late!” called Anthony.

“We’ll be waiting up for you!” added Persephone.

They both went back into the Common Room cackling with their arms around each other.

“Gits,” muttered Irwin as they headed to Slughorn’s office.

“Ah Mr Scamander, Miss Potter,” beamed Slughorn when they arrived, “I believe you may already know some of the people here?”

Anne and Irwin walked into the office which had been turned into a formal dining room. Several students were already sitting around, Blaise Zabini a dark boy who was the brains that Malfoy tended to go to when Crabbe or Goyle couldn’t help him, and also a pair of twins from Slytherin. A thuggish looking seventh year Gryffindor seemed to be trying to talk to Harry, but Harry was attempting to ignore him. Neville, Hermione, and Ginny were waving at them and had saved seats next to them for Anne and Irwin.

“Hey guys!” beamed Irwin sitting down next to Ginny, this left the seat next to Neville for Anne.

“Is he ok?” Anne mouthed to Ginny looking at the boy who wouldn’t leave Harry alone, and the frustrated expression on Harry’s face.

Ginny nudged Harry slightly.

“Oh, hey Sis!” said Harry relived to have an excuse to get away from Cormac.

In all fairness the dinner wasn’t as bad as it could have been, Slughorn just went around and asked them all about their parents and what they wanted to do after school.

When they got around to Irwin they clutched each others hands under the table, Slughorn was about to ask Irwin about his mum.

“So Irwin how is your father Landon?” asked Slughorn.

“He’s good” said Irwin as he ate his soup, “he just had a paper published on the possibility of another Gamp’s law.”

“Oh yes,” said Slughorn, “I did read about that. It was such a shame about your mother Mary she was a great witch, Lestrange wasn’t it?” he asked casually as though his mother’s death might not be a sensitive subject.

Several heads turned in the room, even some of the people who knew Irwin fairly well such as Hermione or Ginny hadn’t known that Gwendoline was actually Irwin’s stepmother.

“Yes Bellatrix Lestrange,” muttered Irwin as he gripped Anne’s hand with one hand and played with his soup with the other.

Anne Neville and Irwin all exchanged significant looks and a chill entered the room

“So Irwin,” said Slughorn, “what do you plan to do after school?”

“Well actually me and Annie are planning on going into the ministry,” Irwin smiled relieved at the change of subjects.

“Oh really,” said Slughorn rubbing his hands together, “which departments?”

“Well I want to go into the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.”

“Try and protect the underdog eh?” asked Slughorn, “you’re just like your mother!”

“And then Annie wants to enter into the Department of Education.”

“Is that so?” asked Slughorn with great enthusiasm.

“Um yes sir,” muttered Anne pulling at the end of her plait.

“Well Merlin knows that department could use some fresh blood, most of them are older than me,” he chuckled, “I’ll have to try and put you two in contact with some old friends of mine.”

“Thank you, sir,” they said earnestly before Slughorn moved onto Neville.

If Irwin had been awkward this would be even worse.

“So how are Alice and Frank Neville?” asked Slughorn casually.

“Um they’re a little bit better,” said Neville honestly, “the healers say they’re improving.”

Neville didn’t want to give too much away because they had all agreed not to tell too many people about the possibility of Alice and Frank actually getting their minds back.

By the time the profiteroles came around Slughorn seemed to have made up his mind about several people in the room, it was fairly clear that Neville would not be getting a return invitation. Irwin would have done anything to get out of a return invitation himself but alas it was not to be.

At the end of dinner it was nearly ten o’clock and Anne and Irwin wanted to head back to the dormitories but they did run in to Cormac pestering Harry again. Ginny was standing to one side trying to stop Harry from getting too frustrated.

“Look McLagan,” Harry seethed attempting to keep his temper, “just show up for the trial in the morning I will not be showing anyway any favouritism.”

“What about your best friend,” interjected McLagan.

“Excuse me,” said Irwin stepping in-between Harry and McLagan, “if Harry says he will show no favouritism he wont,” said Irwin calmly but firmly.

“If you have an important try out in the morning I would get to bed if I were you, because Harry and I have to walk these lovely ladies back to the Common Room.”

Irwin linked his arm with Anne’s, and they walked off down the corridor followed by Harry who had his arm around Ginny’s waist. McLagan was stood where Irwin had left him slightly dumbstruck, his mouth wide open like a fish.

“Thanks Irwin,” chuckled Harry, “if that had gone on much longer I might have swung for him.”

“And I wouldn’t have held you back,” admitted Ginny honestly.

“Want to come down to try outs tomorrow to watch?” asked Harry enthusiastically.

Anne pulled at her plait anxiously.

“Um we’ve got a load of homework to get through,” said Irwin quickly, knowing how nervous Anne got when she watched her brother on a broomstick.

“Fair enough,” shrugged Harry as they reached the corridor where they went separate directions.

“See you tomorrow little sis,” said Harry giving his sister a huge hug.

“Night Harry!” called Anne as she and Irwin headed to the Ravenclaw dorms whilst Harry and Ginny went to the Gryffindor.

“See,” said Irwin, “that could have gone much worse!”

“Very true,” muttered Anne drowsily.

It was only half past ten but she had had such a long week, she trudged up to Irwin’s dorm, took off her heels and then collapsed onto Irwin’s bed still fully dressed falling asleep instantly.

That night Anne did have her usual nightmares but she always got back to sleep, but tonight there was a new dream, it wasn’t a nightmare though. In the dream a phoenix was fighting a huge snake, the phoenix eventually lost and burst into flames and the snake moved away, but then the phoenix arose from the ashes and flew away.

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