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– CHAPTER THREE –

Hogwarts, Snape and Dumbledore

Hogwarts was huge. That was to say, even bigger than what Mia’s grandmother had made it sound, bigger than Mia had imagined. She couldn’t see how she would be able to learn to find her way around the castle, and found it completely impossible to be able to learn it in a day. But that seemed to be what everyone was expecting, since she only had Sunday, and then she would be making her own way through the castle to her lessons the next day. Or she would try to.

Shigo didn’t seem worried, and Mia was ever so happy to have her as a friend. The blonde didn’t seem confused at all, and it took only a few turns through the castle with Rachel, Teddy, Dominique, Molly, Fred and Victoire for her to learn the ways of the corridors. They were all quite shocked at how fast she learned, but she just smiled and shrugged off their words.

Mia also learned a lot about her fellow Gryffindors, as they talked a lot while being shown around the castle. Shigo was adopted and lived in Northern Ireland, and had no idea who her parents where. Both Victoire and Dominique had a French mother, and was part Veela, which explained their almost unearthly beauty. Fred’s name wasn’t a coincidence either, since his father was none other than the famous George Weasley. Indeed, the troublemaking twins were both legends at Hogwarts, and Fred seemed quite proud of his name, although it was very, very hard to make out. To say that Fred was shy was an understatement. He was petrified of almost everything that moved, to be more precise, and always hid himself under his long bangs, never really meeting anyone’s gaze.

Molly, on the other hand, didn’t seem to have any sense of caution at all. She was totally reckless, to the point of it being scary, and according to a whisper from Teddy, she was quite the rebel.

The French sisters were identical, both just as stuck up and self-confident as one could be, but in a somewhat charming way. While they did care more about their selves and their appearance than anything else, they were still kind and friendly.

Furthermore, everyone seemed to know Harry Potter. Of course, all the Weasleys knew him, since he had married Ginny Weasley. Rachel’s parents had both been in school with Harry Potter, even played Quidditch with him, and they still kept in touch.

The coolest thing though, was Teddy, or Ted Lupin, as his name actually was. Just as Mia he was related to a marauder, but much closer, since Remus Lupin had been his father. When Mia told about her relation to the Blacks, everyone looked shocked for a moment, and then the questions started. Mia told as much as she could without mentioning Prince or Snape. She didn’t know why, but she just didn’t feel like sharing that with anyone just yet. Maybe another time.

And then Monday came. Teddy had remarked the day before at how eager Mia seemed to start learn things, and then said she would most definitely change her mind later on. Right now though, Mia doubted this. She more or less jumped into her school robes and hardly took her time to brush out her hair. And even though she was all done in about ten minutes, Shigo still managed to get ahead of her, even though she hadn’t seemed to be in any hurry at all. When Mia asked how she did this, Shigo just shrugged and pointed out the right way to the Great Hall and the delicious breakfast.

Double Potions on Monday morning might seem harsh, but Mia didn’t mind. Of course, she had never met the Head of Slytherin; Professor Slughorn before, nor had she had any experience of what the Slytherins really thought about Gryffindors and families that had something odd to them.

Slughorn was short, bald, large and old. Dressed in a lavish, old-fashioned waistcoat, his brown eyes seemed to pass right through both Shigo and Mia, along with Austin Golden, Cletus Avery, Darius Bletchley, Kalysta Flint and Dominique Weasley. His introduction to Potions seemed to be aimed only at the others, as if he didn’t thought of the others as worthy to know. Even if this did put Mia off a bit, she did try to listen, and scribbled down as much as she could to be able to read it again. She was still determined to do as best as she could, just to show that you didn’t have to have magical parents to succeed.

Apparently, they wouldn’t be brewing any potions today, but instead Professor Slughorn took out a bunch of weird plants and liquids in bottles, and then placed a little note by each and every one of them with the name of the object on it. They were supposed to memorize this, and when he then took away the notes, they were supposed to remember it. The one with the most right answers would win.

“What’s the price?” Austin Golden asked, almost immediately. Mia rolled her eyes at the question, but couldn’t help to listen to the teachers answer.

“Honour, for now.” Professor Slughorn said curtly, without looking at Golden, but still with something in his voice that hinted that there might be prices to await in the future.

Mia did well, although she never got them all right, but enough for her to be satisfied. Shigo and the boy with auburn hair; Leopold White, did get them all right every time, and Slughorn looked impressed, and in White’s case, like he knew this would happen.

“My, my, what would this young lady’s name be?” he asked, and Shigo hesitated a bit before answering.

“Shigo Sheehan.”
“Oho, we have a Paddy in class, do we?”

“I wouldn’t know, since I’m adopted.”

“So you have no idea of who your real parents are?”

“No.” There was a silent snickering from the back of the room, and Mia shot a dark glance towards the Slytherins sitting there. Slughorn however, didn’t seem to notice anything, but just patted Shigo on the shoulder before striding over to a nervous-lookin Leopold White.

“Well, well, Mr White, is it?” Leopold nodded quickly, and for some reason, Slughorn chuckled. “Well, I’m not surprised you managed to do this, with relatives like yours! I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to use the name…”

The last of Slughorn’s words were drowned by a huge sound, much like a cannon, that made everyone jump, and Fred Weasley to scream. Apparently, Molly had been fingering one of the bottles holding some strange liquid, and had somehow managed to make it explode. Luckily, she seemed to be okay, more like she was trying to repress a smile rather than being afraid of what had just happened. Austin did nothing to hide his grin though, but as Mia shot a glance towards Leopold, he looked extremely relieved.

The rest of the lesson was used to clean up the mess Molly had managed to make, and when the lesson was over, Mia had three mysteries she wanted to solve; why everything with Snape was kept so secret; why Professor Archer had looked at Teddy that way; and what it was with Leopold’s other name that he didn’t want to reveal. And it was only Monday morning.

Next up was lunch, and then Herbology with the Hufflepuffs, taught by Professor Longbottom. He was very kind, and although Mia didn’t think she liked the subject, she did like him. Not to mention all the Weasleys seemed to know him, since he was a friend to their family.

After a pretty long break it was off to the deputy headmaster and Head of Ravenclaw, the little Professor Flitwick who taught Charms, and then the day was ended with Transfiguration with Professor Bones, a girl with her long hair worn in a plait. She was Head of Hufflepuff, and seemed to know the Weasleys as well, although not nearly as much as much as Professor Longbottom had.

Later, over a cup of tea and a slice of Battenberg cake Mia and Shigo sat under the magic ceiling of the Great Hall, silently contemplating the day so far. Mia was scanning the notes she had done during the day while trying to suppress the urge to laugh out loud, just because she was so happy that she actually could do magic. Instead, she took another bite of the delicious cake.

“Oy, Mia! Shigo!” A yell from the doors got her to look up though, and the next second Rachel had bounced down beside her, with Victoire at her heels. “How was your first day?” she asked eagerly. Victoire turned to her sister and started babbling in French.

“It was fun.” Shigo said calmly, but with a smile. Apparently, she had no urges to laugh like Mia had.

“Oh, just wonderful. I really enjoyed Charms, and Transfiguration wasn’t bad either. Herbology… I dunno, I’ve never had any green fingers, but at least Longbottom was nice. Potions… I dunno about that either. It seems like a cool subject, but I don’t know about the teacher…”
“Slughorn is a bit odd.” Rachel said, taking a bit of cake herself. “He likes students with prominent parents and doesn’t really mind the rest, unless they prove to him that they are something special. On my first Potions lesson he talked more with me about Quidditch than the actual subject.”

“Well, that explains it. Carlile isn’t really associated with any big wizards, since it’s from a Muggle. But hey… Your parents are ‘prominent’, then?”

“You don’t know the name Wood?” Rachel asked a bit astonished. “My father is Quidditch Keeper in Puddlemere United. My mother plays some as well, but likes her horses better.”

“Puddlemere United?” Leopold had leaned forward across the table and looked eagerly at Rachel. “Your father is Oliver Wood?” He seemed in awe as Rachel laughed and nodded.

“Yeah, he is. You support them?”

“I do, as a matter of fact. My whole family does, since ages back.”
“Your family being…?” Mia was listening closely now.

“I don’t think you have heard of it; White.”
“Nah, I haven’t. Well, never mind. Good to know people like the team. Mind you, we do know that, we even have the Dumbledores as supporters I’ve heard. Well, at least what’s left of them.” Rachel grew silent for a while, as if paying some respect to the previous headmaster, but Mia noted that Leopold had suddenly gone very white and was very busy with choosing what cake to pick.

A theory formed in her head, and she couldn’t wait until she could share it with Shigo.

Dumbledore?” Shigo asked in disbelief as Mia later told her about her suspicions when they were back in their dormitory that evening. Molly and Dominique had yet to show up, so they could talk in private.

“Yes, Dumbledore. Think about it. When he was sorted he looked relieved when Flitwick said ‘White’. It was the same when Molly managed to blow up that bottle just before Slughorn said his name. And did you see his face when Rachel started talking about the Dumbledores?”
Shigo nodded, and then just shrugged. “It’s possible, I guess.” Nothing more.

“Well…?” Mia urged.

“Well what?”

“What are we going to do about it?”

“What is there to do?”
“Oh, I don’t know…” Mia pretended to think, and then blurted out: “Ask him, maybe?”

“I still don’t see what’s so big with him being a Dumbledore.”

“Ever tried to go with ‘because it’s cool’? And everyone thinks it’s only that brother left, right? I want to know why Leopold is trying to hide it.”

“Ever considered the fact that he might not want attention?” Mia suddenly felt a bit stupid for not having thought of that, and it must have been visible on her face, because Shigo laughed. “We can ask him tomorrow, in private.” Mia nodded at this, and just then the door burst open and Dominique and Molly walked in, discussing nothing else than tomorrows lesson with Snape.

“We have Defence Against the Dark Arts tomorrow?” Mia asked, dumbstruck, and then dived for her timetable to look at it. It was true.

Well, there went her nights good sleep. Damn.

Luckily, it was no long lesson, only forty-five minutes. Still, Mia found it a bit hard to concentrate fully at the Charms lesson in the morning, and didn’t really manage to hear all that Professor Flitwick said in the introduction to Charms that he carried on from yesterday’s lesson.

Neither Shigo, Molly, Fred nor Dominique could understand what made Mia so nervous as they arrived outside the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom. The Slytherins only snickered, but Leopold seemed unusually quiet. He wasn’t the most talkative person either, but now he kept his eyes downcast, at a distance from the others, and he seemed very stiff.

And then Professor Snape arrived. Without saying a word he swooped through the corridor towards the waiting students, his black robes billowing behind him, and with a flick of his wand he opened the door. He passed them into the classroom, and without being invited, they understood that they were supposed to enter. The room was gloomy since the curtains was drawn over the windows, and was lit by candlelight. Pictures adorned the walls, and Fred immediately pressed himself closer to Molly at the sight of them. They pictured people who appeared to be in pain, sporting grisly injuries or strangely contorted body parts.

Mia dragged Shigo towards the middle of the classroom and not towards the front where they usually sat. Surprisingly, Leopold, who used to join them, took a seat in the back and then made a point of hiding himself behind The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self Protection.

“I haven’t told you to take out your books.” While Snape spoke in not much more of a whisper, not even the ones in the back had any problems hearing him. Leopold, still with eyes downcast, put his book back into his bag with fingers that trembled slightly.

The register was up next, and Snape’s eyes lingered at every student as his or her name was spoken. Was it Mia’s imagination, or did his eyes linger some second longer at Leopold and her? Did he know they were related?

“The Dark Arts, then.” Snape put down the register and looked out in the room. “Many, varied, ever-changing and eternal. Fighting them is like fighting a many-headed monster, which, each time a neck is severed, sprouts a head even fiercer and cleverer than before. You are fighting that which is unfixed, mutating, indestructible.”

Snape didn’t seem to take into consideration that he was speaking to eleven-year-olds, and Fred was already shivering all over. The Slytherins looked a bit unsure, except Vaisey and Avery, who just looked eager to start, although maybe not with Defence Against the Dark Arts. Molly and Dominique was looking apprehensive, Shigo unsure, and Austin listened eagerly with an expression not so different from Avery and Vaisey’s. Mia was staring at Snape, and Leopold seemed to try and stare through the curtain like he was wishing he could just jump out of the window and never come back.

Snape continued. “Your defences must therefore be as flexible and inventive as the Arts you seek to undo. These pictures give a fair representation of what happens to those who suffer, for instance, the Cruciatus Curse, feel the Dementor’s Kiss or provoke the aggression of the Inferius.” He gestured toward the pictures on the walls as he spoke, and Mia couldn’t help but feel a little twinge of fear at the sight of some of them, although she had no idea about what either the Cruciatus Curse or Inferius was.

Snape then gave them the task of mastering the finger-removing jinx, something he apparently considered easy enough for first-years, but that they soon found out wasn’t as easy as he made it sound. No one managed except Shigo, who at the end of the lesson managed to make Mia’s wand fall to the floor with a clatter as her fingers disappeared, something Mia found utterly creepy. Snape swooped down to where they stood and gave Shigo nothing more than a brief nod before he turned towards Mia. His black tunnel-like eyes met hers and didn’t leave them as he flicked his own wand and made her fingers return, before turning around and announcing that the lesson was over. Mia quickly picked up her wand and was one of the first to leave the classroom, closely followed by Leopold.

None of them said much at the next lesson, and Professor Longbottom seemed to be genuinely worried about their troubled expressions, but didn’t ask. As Herbology ended and they made their way from the greenhouses back to the castle, Shigo caught a hold of Mia’s arm. Mia thought she was going to ask about the lesson with Snape, but found out that she was wrong.

“Weren’t we going to ask Leopold about something?” she reminded Mia, and Mia suddenly remembered her thoughts about Leopold being a Dumbledore, something she hadn’t thought about since yesterday evening. Maybe that would be a good thing to drive out all the thoughts of Snape from her mind…

“Yes. Where is he?” Shigo pointed, and further ahead of them, he was making his own way towards the castle, still at a distance from everyone else. Shigo and Mia hurried silently after him, and once they were inside the castle, they hurried up on each side of him.

“Can we talk?” Shigo asked, and he shot unsure glances at both of them before finally nodding. “In private.” Shigo continued, and then dragged him into the very same chamber that Flitwick had taken them into before the sorting. Shigo gave Mia a “go-ahead” kind of look, and Mia swallowed.

“Well… We were just wondering… if you…”

“Are you related to the Dumbledores?” Shigo blatantly asked, seeing as Mia seemed to have trouble getting the question out.

Leopold immediately went pale and his eyes flickered between the two girls, not really meeting anyone’s gaze. “I…” he began, but then just nodded.

“Well, that explains it.” Shigo stated. “I wondered why you were behaving that way at Professor Snape’s lesson. It’s logical, if you’re related to the headmaster…”
“But I thought he didn’t have any children?” Mia couldn’t help but ask.

Leopold shook his head, and then started explaining, something that seemed to take a lot out of him. “My… great grandfather was Albus Dumbledore’s brother. Still, even though we’re so far apart and I’ve only met him when I was little, I have trouble accepting that Snape is forgiven and considered innocent for killing him without any proper explanation given to the public. We’re just supposed to accept it, it seems.” Now, that was something that Mia could agree on. “Anyway, Aberforth Dumbledore had a one-night stand with a girl but they never got together, and she brought up my grandfather alone, so her surname White has been carried on, along with Dumbledore. My full name includes it, but I don’t want people to know it, and apparently the teachers don’t want it either…”
“Except Slughorn.” Mia pointed out, and Leopold nodded grimly.

“I just wish he wouldn’t. I don’t want people craning their necks every time I pass them in a corridor.” He looked up at them, unsure. “You’re not going to tell anyone, are you?”

Shigo and Mia exchanged a look before shaking their heads. “Promise.” Mia said with a little smile, and Leopold looked relieved.

“’My whole family does, since ages back.’” Shigo cited with a grin, and Leopold blushed, but then shrugged.

“They do support Puddlemere United.” he mumbled. “Although not the family named White.”

Shigo giggled, but then went serious and turned towards Mia. “Now when Leopold has…”
“Please, call me Leo. I hate Leopold.”

“Isn’t it German?”

Leo nodded. “My mother’s from Germany. I’m sure you have heard of her name; Goldschmidt.”

Shigo looked surprised, and Mia had to ask: “Goldschmidt?”

“You haven’t heard of the Goldschmidts?” Shigo asked, disbelieved. “They’re like the German contrary to the Black family… just a bit less obsessed with that whole pure-blood thing.”
“Oh.”
“Right. Anyway, what’s with you and Professor Snape? It can’t be just because you’re related to Sirius Black, so now when Leo has been so nice and told us why he was behaving as he did at that lesson, you have to do it too.”
“I have to?” Mia asked, trying to convey that she really didn’t want to without saying it outright.

“Yes.” Shigo and Leo said simultaneously, and then looked at each other surprised before smiling a bit and turning back towards Mia.

“Um… Well, I have a hard time seeing Snape as innocent as well, without any explanation for it. And you remember that I was a bit surprised that I didn’t end up in Slytherin?” Shigo nodded. “Well… my grandfather was a pure-blooded moron who despised Muggles and Squibs, and my mother would have been homeless had it not been for my grandmother who thought the Black’s talk about pure-bloods was all rubbish. But, well… That grandfather happens to be Snape’s… uncle.”

Shigo and Leo both looked surprised, but suddenly there was a creak from the door and all three looked that way. Mia hadn’t realised that they’d never closed the door properly, and someone had apparently leaned on it, and by mistake managed to push it open. There stood non other than Austin Golden with a smile that faded as they looked at him.

A second later, he turned on the spot and ran.

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