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2.2 Years
Draco Malfoy returns to Hogwarts after summer's break with thoughts of Voldemort still fresh in his mind. He's ostracized by most, and suffering extreme nightmares and guilt. However, when he meets a new girl called Lyka Zavius, he decides he can try to turn his life around. He doesn't realize just how many secrets Lyka hides.

Rated T for mild cursing and violence
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Seventh Year

Chapter 1: A New Start

The nightmares had been raging strong as ever. Before him, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry burned to ash, crumbled to rubble; behind him, legions of Death Eaters, hissing and telling him to kill all in his path — friends, classmates, muggle-borns, half-bloods, all deemed unworthy. Draco Malfoy’s tired mind couldn’t be distracted from these visions. Not even the sound of the Hogwarts Express rattling along the tracks could shake them. Trees and mountainous cliffs rushed by the window but he barely registered any of it outside of blurry colors.

He couldn’t stop thinking about how far the Malfoy family had fallen. Every newspaper in the wizarding world talked about them, other Death Eaters, Voldemort’s defeat, and praised how Hogwarts had the fortitude to reopen after summer’s ended.

Despite the bad press, his mother and father insisted he return to school to repeat his seventh and final year — complete his N.E.W.Ts and acquire a job to keep his family wealthy. The past few years replayed in his mind: so much shame, so many regrets. His dull, listless grey eyes gazed out the window.

Being alone in his compartment made it all the more difficult to distract his racing mind. No one wanted to sit with a traitor. The train had been moving for nearly an hour and not a single person came to visit. All those that had seen him had turned away and refused to look. As if his alliance with Voldemort had been of his volition. He hadn’t asked for all that came with the Dark Mark, which now lay as a scar across his battered skin; he hadn’t willed his school burned to the ground; he hadn’t wished for his family and home to be invaded.

Would he ever recover from the shock of all that had happened? His mansion in shambles, his mother rarely spoke, his father was out of work and trying to pull strings in order to get a cushy seat back in the Ministry of Magic, most of whom rejected the idea of an ex-Death Eater being in their midst. The Malfoys had enough money to keep themselves going for perhaps several years or more, but it trickled through their fingers. Whenever he thought about it, a jolt of guilt shot through his body. All those times he’d mocked the Weasley family for being poor and now he’d a good chance of the same happening to him. All because of—

Images of Voldemort popped up in his head. And though Voldemort’s fall was one of the memories he’d held, Draco continuously looked over his shoulder during the summer, fearing that the dark lord would somehow come back and hunt him down for failing so miserably. But he could never have been a Death Eater. In spite of all his tough talk, he hadn’t the stomach for murder or much else outside of insults and petty squabbles. Even that seemed pointless now. Could he really think of himself as better than anyone else? What made him so different from the others, the ones that he’d put down and scorned? He was no better than Ron Weasley, or Hermione Granger, or Harry Potter. They’d shown more backbone, bravery, and intuition than Draco ever had. His stomach burned with sick when he thought of how he used to be.

His compartment door slid open, shocking him enough to jerk his attention toward it. A girl stood in the doorway, looking rather haggard. A pure white cat sauntered in beside her, casually licking its delicate paw like nothing happened — though it also seemed in pretty bad shape.

“Sorry,” the girl apologized to someone passing by. She heaved her suitcase closer to the wall, then she turned to Draco and smiled weakly. “Sorry, my cat got into a fight with someone else’s and I needed to move compartments. Everywhere else is packed. You don’t mind if I—?”

She stopped when Draco looked away, resting his head in his hand as he stared out the window again. She shuffled herself and her bag in, straining to put it on the shelf above her seat. After she plopped down across from Draco, her cat jumped into her lap and batted at the tiny, bright green gemstone hung around her neck.

“Don’t mean to intrude,” she apologized again. “Honestly, I’m surprised this compartment is so empty. All the others had to have five students in each of them.”
Not surprising.
“You don’t mind if I open the window, do you?”
He gave her a simple, soft head shake.

She opened her side of the window, gasping in a deep breath of fresh air. The air chilled the compartment but the cool air on his face helped relieve memories swirling inside his mind. She reclined back into her chair and sighed contentedly, allowing them to fall into silence. He noticed from the corner of his eye her rubbing scratches on her left hand — injuries sustained in breaking up the cat fight, he suspected. Blood trickled out and she wiped it up with the end of her cloak. Her cat, meanwhile, seemed utterly unscathed aside from its flyaway fur and was happy to just clean its side.

The Honeydukes Trolley made its rounds, which prompted an eager, “Ooh, there’s Honeydukes here, too?” Draco nodded, and so she continued, “Ilvermorny had trains just like this with Honeydukes food. Last school I went to, though, had students riding around on giant storm petrels. You can imagine the birds didn’t have food carts. Thank goodness Hogwarts has one — I’m absolutely starving.”

She’d been to other wizarding schools? Made sense, given he’d never seen her before. She could prove an interesting distraction. Considering her mixture of several accents, and knowledge of other schools, she could hold some fascinating stories. Perhaps opening a discussion about them would get his whirlwind of thoughts to settle. Before he could speak, however, the compartment door opened again.

“Anything off the trolley, loves?” Asked the usual plump witch.
“How much can I get for this?” The girl held out her hand, which contained one sickle and one knut.
“Not much I’m afraid.”
“Have anything I can afford that’s filling?”
“I can give you two pumpkin pasties, dear.”
“Oh… Okay, yes please.”

Draco noticed her disheartened frown and slumped shoulders. A twinge of guilt rang through him again and though he wasn’t hungry, he decided he could make a fresh start with this girl. Perhaps this was his one chance to turn his life around. He dug around in his suitcase above the seats, then pulled out a satchel of money and retrieved a few galleons from it.

“What did you want?” He asked the girl.
Her agape features stared at him for a moment before she blurted, “Oh no, no, no, I-I couldn’t—”
“You’re hungry, aren’t you? It’s really no big deal — don’t make me ask again or I might change my mind.”

A huge spread soon laid across both of their laps and seats. Candies and pasties and pumpkin juice, chocolate frogs, licorice wands, butterscotch pudding, Fizzing Whizbees, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, sugar mice, treacle fudge, jelly slugs, Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum, and so much more. She’d wasted no time in shoveling massive amounts of the food into her mouth. When she finally swallowed, she smiled at Draco.

“Thank you, my friend. I was starving.”
“Don’t mention it.”
“There’s gotta be a way I can repay you. I mean I don’t have a lot of money, but—”
Don’t mention it,” he repeated, a little more forcefully.

She dropped the subject, instead shoving some Fizzing Whizbees into her mouth and levitating just a few centimeters off her seat. He chose to eat the less magical foods to avoid smoking at the ears.

“You know,” she said abruptly, “you look really familiar for some reason.”

Draco closed his eyes, suppressing a sigh. The last thing he needed was for someone to bring up all the newspaper articles he’d been featured in or try to talk about last year’s War.

“But that’s silly, isn’t it? I’ve never been to Hogwarts before, so… Oh! Should probably introduce myself, right? Lyka Zavius, transferring for hopefully the last time.”
Here it comes… His teeth unclasped his tongue. “Draco Malfoy.”
A twinkle gleamed in her eyes, like she’d remembered something important. She snapped her fingers. “There we go! That’s why I remember you. Well, gusto en conocerte — rather, nice to meet you.”
He was just glad she didn’t bombard him with questions. “You, too.”

She smiled brightly, slamming back another sweet, one which made her hiccup pastel colored bubbles. She picked up one of the chocolate frogs, opening it expertly so that the frog had nowhere to jump but directly into her mouth. Draco watched as she slid one side open and placed her mouth instantly over top the frog as the box parted. He didn’t even get a chance to see the frog before she was happy munching away at the chocolate. She discarded the rest of the box without checking the card.

Figuring she had the right technique, Draco attempted to replicate it. Maybe it was his slow reaction or lack of practice, or even the chocolate’s semi-sentience, but the frog slipped right from under the side of his mouth and leapt through the air toward the open window. In an instant, it was clamped in Lyka’s fist.

“Dibs!” She practically slapped herself across the mouth as she indulged in a second chocolate frog, but she just as quickly took one of her own and tossed it to Draco’s pile. “You guys say that here, right? Dibs?”
“You said this was your first year here?” Draco said with a bit of licorice in his mouth. He’d noticed that she wasn’t wearing any house colors. “I thought Hogwarts didn’t allow transfers.”
“They only let me enroll after Mom and I moved to Dublin. Took the entire summer of forms and requests to the Ministry to get here. Thank God for Kingsley Shacklebolt! He was the push that helped.”
“Yeah? Shacklebolt’s helped my family out a lot, too…” He felt a pang of guilt in his chest just saying that. The man had been far too kind to him and his traitor family.
“From what I’ve heard, he’s a lot more tempered and honest than your previous few.”
“Don’t even get me started.”
Lyka laughed. “Don’t worry, Japan wasn’t doing much better last year. Their Minister got impeached while my mother and I lived there — bakayaro, as he was often called.”
“Japan’s where the storm petrels came from, right? I heard about those birds. Big as one of these train cars. You actually rode on them?”

“Yeah, it was pretty scary at first, but once you got the hang of it, it was a scenic ride. I only got to do it a few times — some of the students even called it boring. I never thought it was.”
“I couldn’t imagine it would be,” he said, lost for a moment in a fantasy of him flying free on the back of a storm petrel. But then a sudden storm cloud cropped up in his fantasy, harboring the dark mark, so he instead continued their conversation. “How many schools have you been to?”
“Three before Hogwarts. Ilvermorny first, then Castelobruxo, then last year was Mahoutokoro.”
“That’s pretty wicked. Only ever been to Hogwarts, myself.”

Conversations continued on pleasantly from there. Her cat, introduced as Picquery, rested himself along her lap as the food cleared, even helping himself to a bit of the treats wherever he could.

The Hogwarts Express finally stopped as the sun set, and all the students piled off the train. First years were called over by Hagrid but the other years all set off toward a large gate. Lyka followed Draco to a carriage, pulled by the skeletal horses. He used to have the pleasure of not seeing them.

Before he could help Lyka up onto the carriage, a familiar voice called out.

“You’re Lyka Zavius, ain’tcha?” Hagrid asked.
“Oh, yes!” She squeaked. “Sorry, am I going the wrong way?”
“Ye need to getcher House all sorted out,” he said, then he leaned down and muttered, “I’m afraid that means ye gotta ride along wit’ the firs’ years.”
“Okay,” she said with a titter. “My bad.” Before heading off, she turned to Draco and waved. “See you inside!”

He allowed himself one tired waved back, then watched her walk off with Hagrid. The carriage rolled along the walkway and those riding with him ignored his presence, which, of course, left him to his thoughts. Rather than allowing himself to be consumed by his past, he attempted to look toward the present, watching as Hogwarts once again drew closer.
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In Memory of Briggs 🖤 We love you, buddy.

Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 14 Hours Ago
1,252 posts
2.2 Years
Seventh Year

Chapter 2: The Sorting

A Professor with a protruding belly and scholarly, flowing robes, met Lyka and the other first years after their boat ride with Hagrid (who’d explained himself as the Game and Grounds Keep). Hagrid had been a very kind soul and the Professor, who introduced himself as Horace Slughorn, seemed to be much the same, with his gentle voice encouraging first years to relax and feel welcome.

He took Lyka and the group up a flight (or three) of stairs, leading them to a grand foyer. Up yet another set of stairs awaited large, opulent double doors, at which most of the first years stared with pale faces and shaking hands. Lyka held her nerves only slightly better — while each transfer had been nerve-wracking, they got easier as she went.

Professor Slughorn stood before them, cleared his throat, then smiled. “I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful year here at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! The Great Hall is through these doors where you’ll be sorted in one of our four Houses: Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, and Ravenclaw. Single file, please, single file!”

Lyka tried to find her place in the single file line as the doors to the Great Hall creaked open. Four long tables, half-filled with students, lined the Great Hall. The tables seemed too large for the small number of people, but the other long table at the front of the Hall was filled in quite a bit more. Older folk filled in each seat, who Lyka assumed to be the staff.

She continued to gaze around as she and the first years plodded toward the front of the Hall. Stars dotted the ceiling, making it look opened to the sky. Candles floated midair, adding to the already Gothic architecture of the stone walls. Above each of the tables nearer the door hung several banners, all of which seemed to represent the Houses: blue and grey with a raven, red and gold with a lion, yellow and black with a badger, and striking green and silver with a serpent. Which one would she get? What did they stand for? Perhaps she’d find out as year went on.

The shuffling finally stopped, jolting her out of her thoughts. She stood alongside the mass of first years. How odd to be counted among for the ‘sorting’, given she stood a foot above most of the kids. Curse her last name beginning with a Z — Professor Slughorn read off names alphabetically.

Each student scurried to the seat in front of the teacher’s table and Professor Slughorn placed an odd, tattered hat atop their heads. The hat shouted off Houses near instantaneously for each, making Lyka’s heart leap a couple of times. Every time a House got a new student, the respective table would erupt with applause. Amarett, Georgina went to Hufflepuff; Braun, Newton went to Gryffindor, along with several other students in a row, before Ravenclaws were called.

Lyka’s heart raced ever more as the roster neared her name. Luciana, Marlo to Slytherin; Naman, Pervius… Lyka examined the teachers once again, noticing them chatting among themselves, occasionally clapping for their Houses. Her eyes eventually met with the Headmistress’s, whose lips curled into a soft smile. It didn’t serve to ease Lyka’s anxious mind. Somehow, it made a pit form in her stomach instead.

The hat bellowed, “GRYFFINDOR!”, breaking the awkward feeling and returning her to the present.

Lyka gulped down the lump in her throat. Almost her turn. The sea of first years ebbed and soon she remained the only one. Of course she’d be the last to get sorted.

“Zavius, Lyka!”

Her hands sweat and she wiped them on her sweater vest. For a moment, her brain had to remind itself how in the world to walk, as her legs refused to cooperate, but she found her nerve and trudged up to the stool where she balanced upon its long legs. The hat came to rest on her head. It covered her eyes, which was a welcome change. Thank goodness she wouldn’t have to stare at everyone.

All fell silent for a moment before the hat spoke.

“Ah, now there are all sorts of juicy secrets in here,” the voice gave her a start; had everyone who’d gone before her heard it? “There’s a lot of fear in your mind, yes… But a lot of valiance and wit. You could be placed in Gryffindor, or even Ravenclaw. Loyalty — Hufflepuff may be a fine choice… But no, those aren’t right. With a mind like yours — secrets like yours — it’s got to be — SLYTHERIN!”

A burst of applause sounded throughout the room as the hat made its choice heard. Professor Slughorn plucked the hat from her head and for a brief moment, she surveyed the Slytherin table. Most clapped and smiled at her, but Draco wasn’t watching the festivities. In fact, he’d sat quite the distance away from most people, head in one hand, gazing off at the wall, just close enough that he looked included but far enough that he wouldn’t have to converse with anyone.

As Lyka jogged toward the Slytherins, she felt as though he had the right idea. Everyone tried to start a conversation with her the instant she walked by them, but the thought of conversing with so many strange people filled her with dread, so she chose to sit at the far end as well. Would it be okay if she sat beside Draco? Or would that be too clingy and weird given they’d spent the entire train ride together? As she drew closer to him, she had to make her decision, and quick. But she’d never been good with snap decisions like that. By the time her brain decided she could sit beside him, she’d already walked past, and so sat way in the back of the room to avoid the embarrassing backtracking.

One would think after years of being transferred about, she’d be better at socializing, but she supposed some things would never change.

Before she could dwell on her goof-up, the Headmistress stood and began a speech.

“Welcome, students! As some of you may have realized, I am Millicent Bagnold.” Quite a few students clapped at her name. Lyka didn’t understand why, but knew that this woman must’ve held weight in the United Kingdom. “I will be acting as your Headmistress for this year, covering for Professor McGonagall who’s desperately needed at the Ministry of Magic. Now that we’ve all been sorted into Houses, there are some things we need to go over: just a few months ago, as most of us are aware, a terrible tragedy struck our school. Because of this, we have areas that are still under construction. Be wary of signs and warnings and stay out of these areas. First years here need to know that the Forbidden Forest is strictly off-limits to anyone. Follow the rules and we’ll have a good, prosperous year. So — let the feast begin!”

Then the empty tables came to life with plates full of food. Suddenly sitting alone didn’t seem so bad. Food cropped up all around her and she had her choice of treacle pudding, steamed vegetables, and even a batch of pheasant wings — which she instantly grabbed. She shoveled three wings at a time into her mouth, hardly chewing as she devoured them. Gnashing a bone, she filled her empty plate with more wings, which seemed to be replenishing occasionally.

Someone tapped on her shoulder and she turned to see Draco. With her mouth full, she attempted to say, “What is it, Draco?”, but it turned into muffled nonsense.
“Mind if I sit here?” He asked solemnly, already making for a seat.
She tried to say, “Not at all, go ahead”, but rather than spluttering food onto him, she shook her head and motioned for him to sit.

He didn’t talk to her, instead staring at the table, head in hand. She didn’t want to badger him, especially not in public, and so continued to eat and wonder if she should wait for him to start up a conversation.

He obliged with a, “You can really put it away, can’t you?”
“I have a very strong appetite and I know good food when I taste it.”
“Taste? I thought you were just swallowing things whole.”
“There’s some residual taste, I’ll have you know.”

And just like that, Draco made her feel right at home in her new school. She didn’t understand exactly why people seemed to avoid him, both by refusing to be near him and refusing to meet his eye. There had to be history between him and the rest of the school. But it didn’t matter to her. She had baggage, too. Maybe that was why she and him got along so well.

Soon, the feast ended and the clock shown quite a late hour — nearly 9:30 pm. The Headmistress returned to the podium at the front of the room as the last tidbits of food disappeared.

“All right, students, it’s time to get ready to settle into your dormitories. You’ll find that all of your things have been delivered to you. Please follow your House Prefects to your dorms, and don’t forget to reread the rules about curfew. Prefects!”

A few people stood, announcing themselves to the others. The Slytherin Prefect beamed at her House.

“I’m your new House Prefect! Most of you know me.” She giggled and curled a lock of hair around her finger. “But for the first years, I’m Pansy Parkinson. Follow me, up to your dorms everyone!”

Pansy ushered the students out of the Great Hall and Lyka stuck close to Draco as she followed the crowd. The group was led into the foyer, down the first set of steps, and to a door on the right. Inside, another long staircase made of stone sunk deep down to the heart of the Hogwarts. Everyone’s conversations echoed off the walls.

“You guys live in the basement?” Lyka asked Draco.
“Pretty much.”
“That would explain why you’re so pale.”

At the base of the stairs were a few places to go, but the Slytherins were taken to a flattened, rough stone wall. Pansy spoke to the wall, saying, “Crepuscular”, and then the wall rattled and shook until an opening revealed itself. People had to walk inside one at a time, and the tight-looking fit made Lyka’s breath hitch in her throat.

Before she knew it, it was her turn to go. She held her breath, clamping shut her eyes as she went through. She felt the walls pressing against her, feeling like they were tighter and tighter. Stone scraped one of her shoulders as she’d gotten so close to the wall due to her eyes being shut. She simply did not want to see just how small of an opening she’d been squeezing herself through. Knowing she would get tunnel vision and be unable to breathe kept her eyes tightly closed, as tight as the walls surrounding her.

Cold air hit her skin after only a few moments. She fluttered her eyes open to see the rather large common room, with its tall windows. The main floor’s windows were submerged completely, bathing the stony room in a brilliant emerald, and the first floor’s were half-submerged, allowing the moonlight to pierce through. A staircase led up and split off into the girls’ and boys’ dormitories; and the rooms to them, separated by year, lined the balcony encircling half the room.

Fire blazed to her left and a few students dragged high-backed chairs over to feel the heat. Behind them were two sofas, spaced apart by an ornate, dark wood table — some students exchanged schedule information on it. Books awaited in tall and regal shelves — she’d never seen so many books in one place outside of a library. Green and silver tapestries hung from the ceiling and walls, and a few extravagant desks sat between the sofas, matching the main table. While the decor wasn’t quite her personal taste (she’d been always used to more modest, small, wooden homes), the dormitory held a certain enchantment.

Picquery then mewed from the top of the staircase and ran toward Lyka with his fluffy white tail up. Her emotional support kitty to the rescue! Lyka caught him as he jumped into her arms and allowed him to wriggle his way across her shoulders. Some of the girls saw Picquery and cooed at him, patting his head and back. They asked her the classic questions — how old is he? What’s his name? — but their voices blended together in an overwhelming sea. Picquery surely took note of this as he rubbed his face against hers, giving her brain momentary relief.

Lyka, longing for someone else familiar, turned toward Draco to tell him that she’d be heading to her room, but he was no longer behind her. She returned her gaze to the staircase where she caught a glimpse of him heading up to the balconies. She followed suit and made her way through the students to get to her dorm.

The girls slept on the right and Lyka entered the seventh year’s dorm. There were five four-poster beds, four of which were empty. One had another girl sitting on her bed with her nose in a book. Lyka noticed her trunk of books and clothes and sat on her designated bed. Picquery leapt off her shoulders and cuddled into her lap, giving Lyka limited movement. She decided it would be a good time to review the class schedule again to prepare herself for the following day.

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays were particularly packed as she had several classes those days, but luckily she had a lot of free periods (which she figured would be spent doing homework). She would be taking Potions, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Charms, and Herbology, all of which would be part of her N.E.W.Ts. Care of Magical Creatures and Alchemy were her electives and History of Magic was a required class. She considered herself lucky that she’d taken the O.W.L equivalents at Mahoutokoro, saving her an extra year of schooling.

Classes started bright and early, so she thought it would be good to rest. She drew her bed’s curtains around her and reclined against the soft, downy mattress. Yet another school year and another completely different school, and she wasn’t sure what to expect. She hoped that she would make it through okay…

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