We stopped outside of the castle and Fred turned to me, the chilly morning air ruffling through his ginger hair. "Don't be nervous, Gabs. You're going to have a brilliant time."
I smile and wrap my arms around him, hugging him tightly as if he were my lifeline. "Thank you for helping me," I tell him, my words muffled by his cloak. "You'll be here at four?"
"I'll be here," he promises, pulling me back to kiss my forehead. "Have a great day, all right?"
I nod and clutch my bag holding my books as I turn away and walk up the stairs. I'm relieved to see the Headmistress waiting for me in the hall and she holds out an arm to usher me into the castle. The doors close behind me and she inspects me quickly before we begin to walk.
"Your first class is Advanced Potion Making, but with your schedule I am sure you know that. All of your Professors will be expecting you and I have found a young woman who is in your classes who will be your guide for the day." We walk until we stop in front of the Potions classroom. A pretty girl who looks to be my age is waiting and she smiles at me.
"Ms. Finnigan, this is Gabrielle Delcour. Gabrielle this is Mary Finnigan. She'll will be your partner in Potions and will make sure you make it to your classes today."
Mary takes my hand and leads me away from McGonagall and into the dark, dingy looking classroom. "Glad to meet you Gabrielle! When we heard you were going to be a student through the end of the year, we got a bit anxious to meet you."
"Who's 'we'?" I ask slowly, sitting next to her at one of the large tables and placing my bag next to my feet.
"The Ravenclaw house," she explains, her brown curls bouncing on her shoulders as she sits next to me. "You were chosen for our house, our classes, so we were curious." Mary studies me closely and I feel my cheeks begin to turn pink. "Are you part Veela or something?"
My blush deepens. "Yes. My mere is half Veela."
"Mere...you're French too. I thought I heard a bit of an accent there," Mary says triumphantly. Other students begin to pile into the room and several greet Mary while eyeing me curiously. She turns back to me, her smile wide and bright. "I think you're going to love Ravenclaw. We're in second place for the House Cup and our Quidditch team may have a chance at beating Gryffindor this year!"
I feel myself relaxing considerably as she chatters on. "Gryffindor has been on a winning streak ever since Harry Potter came to school. You do know who Harry Potter is, don't you?"
"Well yes...quite well actually."
Mary gasps and grasps my hand. "Oh, Gods! You know Harry Potter personally? Can you get me his autograph?" She releases me and digs into her bag and pulls out a small photo of Harry. "He was friends with my cousin, Seamus, but Seamus won't ask him for his autograph." Mary huffs than smiles at me. "If you know Harry, you're going to be real popular here."
"Well, I'm not very close to him to be honest. I don't know--"
"Mary, who's your friend?"
We both look up at two boys standing in front of our table. Mary's demeanor changes and her smile widens as she twirls a piece of her dark hair around her finger idly. "This is Gabrielle Delacour. She's the new student Flitwick told us about."
"'Allo, Gabrielle Delacour." The light haired boy holds his hand out and I hesitate before taking it. "William Mason, here. Hufflepuff. And this is Conrad Henley." He motions to his friend and then releases my hand. "If you need a tour of the school, give us a shout."
"McGonagall has already asked me to make sure Gabrielle gets to her classes," Mary informs them.
"Sit down, class," the professor demands. A middle aged man with dark robes and dark hair enters, his wand tapping upon his palm. The boys frown and depart and Mary leans over to whisper in my ear.
"William is the Seeker for the Hufflepuff Quidditch team. All the girls thinks he's so dreamy but I think he's a bit too full of himself. He seemed to fancy you though."
"I have a boyfriend," I whisper back but Mary pulls away and concentrates on the Professor who is asking us to turn to page four hundred and forty five. I shrug and pull out my own book, eager to get on with my lessons.
The rest of the day is a blur. Mary introduces me to so many people that I am unsure of their names still. I was thankful I didn't have to sit alone at lunch though, and I found myself enjoying the day more and more. On our way to Defense Against the Dark Arts, I found myself looking forward to Professor Lupin's class. I tell Mary this and she wrinkles her nose again as she adjusts her backpack.
"He's a werewolf you know. I heard the only reason he got his teaching position back was because he was a friend of Professor Dumbledore's and because he helped defeat You Know Who." She smiles quickly at me then. "He is handsome though, except for all that gray hair. A lot of the girls have silly crushes on him."
"Do you?" I ask playfully and Mary giggles.
"Only when it's nowhere near the full moon. He looks a bit ragged right before and after. Sometimes he comes back to class with a lot of scratches on his face."
We enter Professor Lupin's classroom moments later and settle at a table near the back. I pull out my book and parchment, smoothing out the slight creases. Mary applies watermelon scented gloss to her lips and examines herself in a small mirror before Professor Lupin enters. I watch with some amusement as Mary sighs and places her chin on her palm as she gazes adoringly at the Professor. Lupin shoots me a small smile and brisk nod before he starts on his lesson.
He's a very gifted Professor and I don't see as much note passing or whispers in his class as I do the others. Everyone seems to be extremely attentive toward him. I write my notes with the quills Fred bought me but find my mind wandering. I missed Fred, even though I was enjoying Hogwarts immensely. Knowing that I would be seeing him in about an hour brought a smile to my face. Today would have meant nothing if I didn't have him to share it with because I knew this probably wouldn't be possible without his help. I try to concentrate on Lupin's lesson, but instead finding myself counting down the minutes until I got to see Fred again.