Please read my "About Me" for full details on any and all disclaimers
Chapter Thirteen: Quoth the Raven
“What’s he doing?” Hermione asked as she stood next to Sara, surveying the just-decorated Great hall.
Sara gazed at the corner across from theirs, the Slytherin corner, concealed by a large velvet curtain. “I don‘t know. He wouldn’t let anyone see his model. Severus was helping him earlier but he wouldn’t tell me, either.”
“I can only imagine.” Hermione shook her head. “Letting Draco Malfoy design a corner was a bad idea.”
“I’m sure it will be interesting. Besides, when the other Slytherins hate it, it has nothing to do with us. Come on, we still have to pack for the train before we get ready.”
“I’ll meet you in the tower,” Hermione said as they took the stairs to the third floor. “Ron and Harry should be done with practice soon. I’ll bring them with me if you want.”
“Come along when you’re ready.” Sara smiled when they came to the landing. “They’ can find us on their own.”
“Sara, is everything ok? You seem a little distant lately. Is all good with Harry?”
“I’m fine, Hermione, thanks. Harry’s wonderful as always.”
“But your hair...”
“Christmas is a difficult time for me.” She tried again to smile. “This year I have a new family.”
Hermione hugged her. “If you ever need to talk...”
“Thank you, I’ll remember that. Now go get packed!”
“See you later.” Hermione smiled and took the corridor for Gryffindor.
Sara waited until Hermione was out of sight and then went back down the stairs to the Great hall. She walked the expanse, now clear of tables, to the corner draped with heavy curtains. She could see movement and hear murmurs from within.
“Malfoy! Come out of there.”
He poked his head out, annoyed until he saw who it was. “Oh! I didn’t know it was you.” He stepped fully out, careful to rearrange the drapery so she couldn’t see inside. “Wow! Everything’s done! It looks nice but we should have used more black.”
“It’s a Christmas party, not a funeral. Anyway, what are you doing behind there? What’s the big secret? Uhhh... Did I just hear rattlesnakes?”
Draco showed her a wicked grin. “Maybe.”
“What are my chances?”
“No one’s getting past those curtains. Bad enough I had to ask Snape for help with one of the spells. He liked it, though.”
“I have to admit, I’m curious but I guess I’ll wait for the finished product.”
“Was that all you came for? To use your feminine influence to get a sneak preview?”
“Actually, I wanted to talk to you. I can see that you’re busy, so come by my tower when you’re done? Will it be much longer do you think?”
“Just finishing up. I’ll be there soon.”
“Good luck with your corner, then.”
“Thanks.” He watched her walk away and then slipped back behind the drapes.
Sara sighed before the doors to the roof, watching the too familiar - and almost welcome - sight of the raven growing near. It arrived at last, drawing up to hover as it dropped the letter into her hands. She turned her gaze back to it, wings a flurry of black satin and cold eyes that fixed on hers. A sense invaded her of another presence, of human intelligence and emotion. She threw out her hand and spoke a spell to turn an Animagus back to into a wizard but only the raven remained. As she lowered her arm, the bird came to rest on her shoulder and Sara sat on the edge of the bed, breaking the black seal she now knew well.