XXXVIII. LOVE

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CHAPTER THIRTY EIGHT:

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CHAPTER THIRTY EIGHT:

LOVE

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      Nova blinked before she felt a smile she couldn't possibly help spread across her face. It had been too long since she'd seen the grinning twins sitting at the table, and she let out a small laugh when she walked over to them. Knowing she wasn't a big hugger unless it was their little brother or her twin, they were the ones to initiate the hug. They squished the Slytherin between them, leaving her little capability to breathe normally. She didn't dare complain. She simply accepted their embrace and laughed quietly to herself when they fought over who got to give her the longer hug. 

      Blaise cleared his throat. "I hate to be that person, but can we get this show on the road?"

      Fred looked like he was about to give Blaise a nasty retort, but then seemed to realize Blaise was the reason Nova was standing in front of them and reconsidered. Plus, he had no doubt Nova would reach out and smack him if he dared gave Blaise a look of contempt. "He's right," he agreed reluctantly, gesturing for Nova and Blaise to sit in the chairs across from them. Nova lowered herself down, giving the twins a look of confusion as Rosmerta smiled and handed her a mug of butterbeer. Nova happily sipped it. Pursing her lips irritated the cut she had there, but she didn't care if she got to drink butterbeer. "We've got something to chat about."

      "Sounds uncharacteristically serious of you two," Nova muttered, ignoring the offended looks the twins shot her way. "Come on, you know I'm right."

      "That's besides the point," George corrected, rolling his eyes. "This is a serious matter."

      "Yeah," Fred continued in that annoying twin telepathy way of his. "We heard what happened at the Ministry." Nova bristled when Fred reached out and tapped his finger against the cut on her eyebrow. "C'mon, you know we've heard about it. Half our bloody family was there, if we're counting Hermione and Harry, which Geroge and I are. Plus," he paused, reaching out to tap the scratch on her cheekbone gently, "you've got a lot of bangs and bruises, Rogue Slytherin."

      "No more than anyone else there that night," she argued, shaking her head. 

      "That's where you're wrong," George replied. "Physically, maybe. But while Neville, Luna, Hermione, Harry, and our siblings have a place to go at the end of the term, you don't."

      Nova prickled again. The thought had been on the back of her mind ever since she had returned to Hogwarts. There was no way her father was going to let her back into the Nott manor, not after what she'd done. She was fine with that. If she never stepped foot in that house again, it would be too soon. There was one problem with that sentiment, however, in the fact that it left her without a place to come home to after the year let out. She supposed she was, for lack of a better word, homeless. "And your point?" she asked defensively. She would figure it out, just like she always did.

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