It was winter. A with the winter came snow. And lots of it, especially that particular late afternoon. All students and teachers of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry were cozying up in their bedrooms and accommodations, drinking hot chocolate, playing wizard's chess and enjoying their weekends. All but two. Only two students, a boy and a girl, had left the warm comfort of the school to defy the howling blizzard, and wander off with the foolish ambition of reaching the schools outdoor owl house. The only place they could hope to talk uninterrupted. As they went inside, the girl brushed back her hood of her black fur.
"It better be good" she said displeased in a very british accent and started to brush off the melting snow from her coat to seem apathetic. Which, of course, she wasn't. Frankly she was really concerned about about what the boy wanted to tell her, but she tried to remain a callous face, like this was just a bother to her.
The boy brushed back his hood as well, revealing disturbingly pale skin and blond hair similar to the girl's, which he then shook, like a wet dog would shake it's mane. He sighed at the girl's tone of voice, well knowing he was the was the one who had inflicted her to feel that way.
"I need to show you something" he said and clearly to the girl's dismay. She had been expecting an apology, which certainly had been in it's place considering his recent behaviour. The girl crossed her arms across her chest, waiting for him to continue. And without another word spoken the boy started rolling up his left sleeve, slowly revealing what the girl had feared the very most.
Three days ago
The boy was supposed to meet her here, in The Three Broomsticks, but the girl had now waited for an hour. He was almost never late, just like she.
They had always been very much alike those two, but hadn't however, always been friends. When they were younger, they had been nothing but competitors to each other, even almost enemies at some point, and the games and pranks had only got more vile and brutal as they grew older. It wasn't until their fifth year at Hogwarts they decided to finally hold truce. They hoped that an alliance between them, would improve their chances of helping Umbridge to tear apart what back then was called Dumbledore's Army. A secret organization led by no other than the boy's eternal nemesis; the famous Harry Potter. The girl never possessed the same hatred for Potter, but she and the boy had nonetheless agreed, that the organization was the most laughable thing they have ever heard of, and thus they united. That had been the beginning of a prosperous friendship, and now, a year a half later, they were completely inseparable.
It seemed like half a decade had passed, until the boy finally showed up.
"Mary" the voice of the boy said, and Mary being the nickname for Marisole, she looked up from the wooden table she had been staring at the past hour.
She had felt so humiliated, sitting there, alone, in what had to be the most crowded room in all of Hogsmeade, and was ready to tell him to just get lost. But when he showed at last, she kept quiet. In her impatience and frustration, Mary had, for a moment, forgotten how terrible he had been looking these past days and weeks, like a nervous breakdown waiting to happen. Day after day she had had to look at his dark circles under his eyes, his chapped and colorless lips and listen to his exhausted voice, without being able to do anything. She had tried, indeed, but got always cut off, since it was "none of her business" as he would always phrase it.
She had begun to feel sorry for him. Crabbe and Goyle had accidentally slipped to her, how the boy barely ever slept anymore, because he was so paranoid and constantly on his guard. They had told her, how he would go on wanderings from dusk till dawn, always looking like a train wreck when he came back. But she was utterly incapable of doing anything at all. With every attempt of trying to get inside his head, he just pushed her further away. So she didn't bother to ask him where he had been this time either, because she knew, that he wasn't going to tell her. He never told her anything these days.
"Do you want to sit down?" Mary asked him, to which he just shook his head in response.
"We're leaving soon, I just have an errand to run" he said, with his eyes locked determined upon something behind her.
She didn't even care to complain, when he left as quickly as he had come. Just a few months ago, he would never have been able to act like that; she would've gotten furious for being treated like one of his worthless followers. But because of the way he had changed lately, she was getting more and more tolerant towards his misbehavior. Besides, people had been whispering a lot in the corners lately and Mary had heard the most awful things about him. Unspeakable accusations. She didn't know what was going on with him, however she did know, that she would have his back no matter what. Not out of fear but for the sake of their friendship. Even if it meant she had to put up with situations like this.
The boy came back and she got up to leave, tucking herself in her black fur. They stepped outside, where the snow had been falling for days on end, making it feel like a thick white blanket had been placed upon all of Hogsmeade, silencing the entire village.
They begun their hike towards the school, and neither of them spoke a word to the other. The only sound you could hear for miles, was the snow crackling softly beneath their boots and the howling of the icy wind, emphasizing the atmosphere between the two friends.
"I know, I was late" the boy suddenly said without taking his eyes away from the pathway before them.
He was clearly seeking a response of some sort, and he gave Mary a brief glance. She clenched her fist and sighed. She recognized his familiar way of concealing an apology, and she couldn't find it in her heart to reject him, even though it really bothered her, he had forgot about their meet. Their friendship had become so vulnerable these days.
"It's okay" she said and shrugged her shoulders. She was too proud to admit exactly how disgraced he had made her feel earlier, forgetting her like that, and she preferred to just let it slip.
Pride had always been the one issue between her and the boy. The two rarely ever expressed their feelings to one another since neither of them wished to look weak. It made their friendship come off as quite superficial to most people, but in truth, that was not the case. An unspoken mutual understanding between them, one that words had never proven capable of making up for, made often explanation, in order to recognize the other's feelings, simply unnecessary.
They walked the rest of the way back without another word spoken and parted their ways in the school's courtyard. The boy had an owl to send and Mary had to deliver a couple of books in the library. They agreed to meet again at dinner. Mary went to fetch her books in her dorm and just as she went back up the Slughorn's stairs to the entrance hall and further up the big staircase, someone in front of her caught her interest.
"Malfoy knows about this necklace".
She raised her glance by the sound of this familiar name and easily recognized three of the four students in front of her as the golden trio from Gryffindor, whilst the fourth person, a girl, was not someone Mary seemed to know. The one talking appeared to be Potter and he seemed rather upset as he continued to ramble on about Borgin and Burkes, a shady antique shop located in Knockturn Alley in London. Mary slowed down her pace slightly, allowing herself to eavesdrop on their conversation.
"I dunno, Harry" the redhead said doubtfully.
"Loads of people go to Borgin and Burkes... And didn't you say Katie got it in the girls' bathroom?" he asked and turned his head towards the unknown girl.
"She said she came back from the bathroom with it, she didn't necessarily get it from the bathroom itself-" Potter desperately begun to argue, but didn't get to finish, because Weasley spotted the head of their house, Minerva McGonagall, rushing down the stairs towards them.
All four students in front of Mary stopped at once, but she herself had to continue up the stairs.
"Hagrid says you four saw what happened to Katie Bell - upstairs to my classroom, please! What's that you're holding, Potter?" McGonagall asked just as Mary passed by.
"It's the thing she touched" Potter replied and Mary had to really restrain herself from not turning her head to look at what appeared to be the cause of whatever happened to Katie Bell, whoever she was.
The conversation had caught her attention and she thought about it on her way to the library. By the time she had delivered her books, her curiosity had grown. Who was Katie Bell was and what had happened to her? And most importantly, what did it have to do with Draco Malfoy?
Well-knowing that prying would be the only way to satisfy this thirst for answers, Mary decided to pay the transfiguration classroom a visit.