"And that's how I got my eyebrows singed off during Potions in my first year!" Honoka finished, crossing her arms with a triumphant smile almost as if she was proud of her tale.
Maki only rolled her eyes all the while twisting a strand of scarlet hair. "That story gets better every time you tell it, Honoka."
"Oh! Oh! I can top that, nya!" Rin bellowed excitedly, raising her hand in the air and waving it around as if she were raising her hand to answer a question in class. "One time during my first year, we were in Charms and Professor Flitwick was teaching us Diffindo. I accidentally casted it during class and cut this Hufflepuff girl's ponytail right off the back of her head!"
Honoka began to laugh. "Are you serious?"
"As a heart attack, nya!" Rin confirmed. "I didn't have Charms with Kayo-chin that year, but Maki was there. Do you remember that, Maki?"
Both Gryffindors looked to the fifth-year Ravenclaw, face impassive as she continued to twist her hair. "You're just lucky you didn't harm her. If that had been the case, Professor Flitwick most likely would have taken you to Professor Minami's office and had you face expulsion, but since you didn't cause any critical damage, he was gracious enough to only give you a stern lecture after class and deduct points from Gryffindor."
"Oh please," Nico piped up from the dusty old desk she had been seated in ever since they had first stepped foot inside the disused classroom. "No one likes an ass kisser, Maki."
The redhead immediately ceased the twirling of her hair and turned around to confront the seventh-year Slytherin about her comment. "It's called respect, Nico. Professor Flitwick just so happens to be a respectable man. Maybe if you had actually bothered to pay attention in his class up until about your fifth year, you wouldn't have tested Dreadful on your Charms O.W.L."
"What I made on my O.W.L.'s is none of your business! It's not like I was planning to take the N.E.W.T. for that class this year, anyway! What I'm going into after Hogwarts doesn't involve casting fire or levitating a damn feather!"
Both Honoka and Rin were watching the verbal battle between Nico and Maki with great interest, and it seemed to stoke said interest even more when the small Slytherin stood from the seat of the desk and moved closer to the Ravenclaw.
"Even so, that still didn't give you the right to have disrespected Professor Flitwick by not paying attention. You would know that if you actually had respect for our teachers or anyone else for that matter!"
Nico snorted. "Yeah, okay, but you're not exactly little miss perfect yourself, princess!"
"I never said I was, you pompous little-"
"That's enough!" Umi interrupted her fellow Ravenclaw mid-sentence in a scolding tone. "If you two aren't going to get along right now, then seperate! Nico, sit back down! Maki, sit over there!"
Nico quickly obliged and sat back down in the desk, not wanting to face the Ravenclaw prefect's wrath. Maki, whom had been standing next to the floor seated trio of Honoka, Rin, and Hanayo, decided to take the corner desk just right next to a standing Kotori and Umi.
The blue-haired Ravenclaw sighed before prodding Kotori with a question. "Did Nozomi and Eli say how long they would be?"
The Hufflepuff shook her head. "They just told me to get everyone together this evening and come down here. Eli did say she had Quidditch practice, so I'm guessing that's why they're taking so long."
"I saw on the notice board in the Ravenclaw common room that their practice was scheduled at five this evening. It's about that time, so Gryffindor should be finished. Eli and Nozomi will be here any minute now if that's the case."
And just as Umi finished her sentence, the door to the disused classroom opened and the aforementioned duo walked in. Nozomi, whom had only tagged along with Eli to watch her practice like she always did was the first inside and greeted everyone. The Gryffindor came in behind her, blonde hair flowing down her back instead of being up in her signature ponytail still slightly damp from a post-Quidditch practice shower.
"Eli! Nozomi!" Rin shouted excitedly like a child who had been waiting for her parents to come home from work, standing from the floor and running over to the two older girls.
Nozomi giggled at the fifth-year Gryffindor's childlike behavior before ruffling her orange hair. "Hello, Rin!"
Honoka had tagged along right behind her to inquire Eli about the status of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. "How was practice? Are we going to win the Quidditch cup this year?"
Eli chuckled at her Gryffindor junior's determined game face. "I wouldn't get ahead of ourselves just yet, Honoka. We still have a lot of work to do with the new faces on the team, but other than that, we should be primed and ready for the first game."
"Yes!" Honoka fist pumped. "Hufflepuff won't know what hit 'em!" Then once she remembered the two Hufflepuffs in the room, she doubled back and rubbed the back of her head before sheepishly adding "No offense, Kotori, Hanayo."
"None taken." Hanayo quietly replied, having stood from the ground when Rin and Honoka had taken their running starts toward Eli and Nozomi.
"Better watch what you say, Honoka. There's been word going around in the common room that the Hufflepuff team is training extra hard this year. Winning against us won't be easy." Kotori replied in a teasing tone, winking at the orange-haired Gryffindor.
"There isn't any such of a thing as an easy Quidditch game," Eli agreed. "Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin all have formidable teams this year, so at this rate, it's anyone's game."
"You know, I used to couldn't care any less if Slytherin won the Quidditch cup or not because they were all jerks, but since A-Rise has taken over the team, Tsubasa has weeded all of them out, so maybe Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw will actually have a fair match against us for the first time in forever. I'm actually kind of gaining back my respect for the team because of it." Nico spoke up, earning an appreciative nod from Nozomi.
"Ever since they transferred here, A-Rise has helped make a ton of changes to our house," The purple-haired Slytherin said. "They have taken a great load off my shoulders, and I express my thanks to the three of them everyday."
Eli placed a loving hand upon Nozomi's shoulder. Slytherin had been giving the purple-haired girl trouble ever since she had been appointed as a prefect during their fifth year, mainly because she associated with many students in Gryffindor and because of her relationship with Eli. Some of the Slytherin students hated Eli with the passion of a thousand burning suns, and no one really knew why. Nozomi believed it was jealousy possibly mixed in with a litle bit of envy, which, in her mind, was the only logical explanation as to why they held that extreme hatred for the blonde-haired Gryffindor.
And although Nozomi enforced the rules of the utmost degree toward the students in her house, her punishments seemed to not take any effect as the students resumed their bullying of the Gryffindor students, the muggle-borns, and anyone who associated with any of them once the deemed punishment was over. Nozomi couldn't count how many times she had passed by a group of Slytherins speaking badly of her and Nico.
Poor little Nico got the brunt of it most of the time, only because of the fact that Nozomi was an authority figure and no one dared to say anything to her face lest they receive punishment. The raven-haired Slytherin learned to take all of their remarks with a grain of salt after a while. Those other Slytherins were full of hot air, anyway.
But ever since the arrival of Tsubasa, Erena, and Anju, those same exact Slytherin students that did all of those unkind things basically became cattle with A-Rise holding the whip. It had certainly been a while since Nozomi or Nico had heard any kind of snide remark from them, and the atmosphere in the common room seemed to brighten up just a tad. Nozomi was absolutely thankful for the changes A-Rise had brought on. Now, she could focus more on her studies and on her relationship with Eli without having to worry about her house causing trouble and making her look like a defective prefect in front of Professor Slughorn and Professor Minami.
"I'm glad A-Rise showed up when they did," Nico commented while looking down and drawing small circles in the dirty floor with her shoe. "I was worried about you for a while there, you know? What those jerks said didn't bother me as much, but I know it had to have affected you in some way."
"I never cared for what they had to say about me behind my back, Nicocchi. It was the things about others that concerned me more." Nozomi said without a hint of indifference in her voice.
"But now, it won't be as much of a problem as it once was. You're a prefect, Nozomi, not a miracle worker. You did all you could to try and stop it, and that's all that matters. Now, you can rest. You deserve it, after all." Eli lovingly stated as the purple-haired girl turned to meet her icy blue eyes.
"I can focus more on being with you now," Nozomi replied as she placed her arms around the blonde's neck. "Not that I have ever forgotten about you, Elicchi, but the situation with my house was getting out of hand. I couldn't bear to hear them say those things about you. It broke my heart."
Eli placed a pale hand on Nozomi's cheek. "They can say whatever they want about me. I don't care what they think. I only care about what you think, Nozomi. That will never change."
And as the two kissed, Umi slowly moved her hand behind Kotori's waist and pulled the ash-haired Hufflepuff close to her side, the latter wiping away unshed tears that were beginning to form in her eyes at the sight. Rin and Hanayo were also on the edge of happy tears with the fifth-year Gryffindor pulling a cloth out of her robes pocket to hand to her Hufflepuff companion, who gladly took it and wiped at her eyes. Honoka, however, did not hold back her tears and bawled about how beautiful their relationship was. Nico and Maki only looked on with grins on their faces, the latter twirling her hair as she did so.
Once Eli and Nozomi broke away from their kiss, the blonde Gryffindor whispered to her Slytherin lover. "Do you think they're ready?"
Nozomi only giggled. "I believe they are, Elicchi."
"Very well," Eli said, gently breaking away from Nozomi's embrace and turning to address the other seven girls in the room. "You're probably all wondering why we gathered here instead of our usual place in the library, and the reason for that is because the library doesn't have the space for what we have planned to do, not to mention we'd disturb the other students who are trying to study."
"I'd say we've done a lot more than just disturb them," Maki commented dryly. "With the conversations we've had in there, we've most likely already traumatized the whole school by now."
Eli was about to open her mouth to disagree with the redhead, but once she thought about it, she really couldn't. With Rin and Honoka's outrageous yet completely one-hundred percent authentic tales, Umi's fainting spells, Nico and Maki's little spats, and the other things that may have been heard out of context by the other students, Maki may have hit the nail right on the head with that one.
"You traumatize me every time you open your mouth." Nico couldn't help but release a satisfied snicker at the cleverness of her remark.
Maki hummed sweetly out of spite, lips shifting into an uncharacteristically wide grin before the venom spewed. "And you'd traumatize me if you actually kept yours shut for once."
Nico smacked her hand down on the top of the desk and abruptly stood from her seat, removing her Slytherin robe as she did so. "You're going to pay for that one, princess."
But before Nico could even roll up the sleeves of her shirt and remove her tie, Honoka and Rin moved to restrain her, the raven-haired Slytherin protesting loudly as the two Gryffindors did so to which Maki only rolled her eyes at.
Once the seventh-year had successfully calmed down, Honoka and Rin released her. With her ego slightly bruised, Nico sat back down in her seat and crossed her arms, not even bothering to put her robes back on.
Eli rubbed her forehead and whispered to Nozomi at her side. "If they continue fighting like this for the rest of the night, we won't make any progress with Nico or Maki."
"That's what happens when two dominant personalities collide, Elicchi. If there was ever a day when they went without bickering at least once, I'd be concerned. We'll just have to keep them seperated during the lesson. I'll work with Nicocchi, and you work with Maki. How about that?" Nozomi whispered back.
Eli hummed, icy blue eyes looking off to the side in thought. "That just might work, Nozomi."
"Just follow my lead," Nozomi winked at her blonde-headed love before taking the reigns and continuing to address the seven girls. "Has anyone here ever heard of the Patronus charm?"
All of the girls in the room traded glances with each other before Maki reluctantly spoke up. "I've read about it in a book from the library once. It's supposed to be a very powerful defensive spell. Not many people have ever been able to cast it."
"Well, today is your lucky day, Maki~," Nozomi smiled as did Eli. "Because you're all going to learn how to cast the Patronus charm!"
The room seemed to brighten up at this news. Honoka and Rin both practically had stars in their eyes, while the others murmured amongst themselves in excitement.
Hanayo raised her hand. "I don't want to discourage anyone, but i-isn't that forbidden? It's never been brought up for us to learn in Defense Against the Dark Arts or Charms. What would happen if Professor Minami or a-any of the other prefects were to find out?"
"Aha!" Nozomi pointed in the fifth-year Hufflepuff's direction. "That is a very valid point, Hanayo! But, I think we've got it covered, wouldn't you say so, Kotori~?"
The other Hufflepuff recoiled slightly in shock at being singled out by the purple-haired Slytherin, but quickly picked up on what Nozomi was putting down. "I guess what mom doesn't know won't hurt her, and the only prefects that will know are the four that are in this room right now. No worries, Hanayo. We should be in the clear here."
The smiling face of her fellow Hufflepuff was enough to put Hanayo's worries to rest as she sighed in relief. "I'm sorry to speak out like that, b-but you all know I'm just worried about us possibly getting expelled. It would be very painful to be away from all of you."
"Aww! That's so sweet, Kayo-chin!" Rin practically wrapped her arm's around the fifth-year Hufflepuff's head, which seemed to cut of her air supply as she quickly detached herself from the energetic Gryffindor.
"S-sorry, Rin, but I couldn't breathe."
"Are there any more questions?" Eli switched roles with her purple-haired love, retaking the reigns as speaker this time around.
Umi raised her hand politely before speaking. "If I may ask, are both of you going to be the ones to teach it to us?"
"We are," Eli confirmed as she and Nozomi shared a glance. "We're two of possibly the only students here who can cast a Patronus charm, but if all goes well, that should change by nightfall."
Maki was the next to raise her hand and spoke in genuine curiosity. "How did you both learn how to cast the Patronus charm?"
Eli turned to Nozomi. "Shall I be the one to tell them or do you want to tell them?"
"I'll leave this one to you, Elicchi~." Nozomi crossed her arms and winked. Eli nodded in reply before she spoke.
"My mother has always worked with the Ministry, but that's her second job. Her first job is being a mother, or at least that's how she's always worded it to me and Alisa. She was actually the one that taught me how to cast a Patronus in case there was ever a time when I needed to defend myself or find my way home if I ever got lost. Then when I met Nozomi and we got to know each other over the next two years, I eventually opened up to her more and that's when I taught her how to conjure a Patronus. Now, we're going to be the ones to teach it to all of you."
The Slytherin noticed a blush beginning to form on the blonde's cheeks and decided to take the next turn to finish what Eli was trying to convey to the seven girls so that she wouldn't render herself into a stuttering mess.
"Consider it a thank you present from Elicchi and me to all of you for being our friends."
Kotori, Hanayo, Rin, and Honoka all released a collective "Awww!" in the room, Umi only closed her eyes and nodded once with a small grin on her face as a sign of mutual respect, Maki's face immediately turned blood red at the sudden revelation and twisted a strand of scarlet hair for the umpteenth time that night, and Nico rolled her eyes with a small sideways grin.
"Shall we begin?" Eli prodded. Once she didn't hear any objection from anyone, she began walking to the front of the room. "Nozomi?"
The purple-haired Slytherin took the hint and pulled out her wand.
"Colloportus." She whispered as she flicked said wand in the direction of the door to the disused classroom, locking it tight before she stowed her wand back away and joined Eli at the front of the room.
The seven girls gathered before them, some choosing to take a seat in the nearby, old, dusty desks and some choosing to remain standing.
Once the two girls had their full attention, Eli began to speak, pulling at her tie to clear her throat before doing so. "The Patronus charm is one of the most powerful defensive spells in the world like Maki said. It has been known to be useful against Dementors and a few other magical creatures, some of which can only be fended off by this spell and this spell only. It's not really known why this hasn't been included in the Hogwarts curriculum, but we can only assume it's because of the difficulty of this particular spell. However, Nozomi and I believe that you all have what it takes to be able to conjure a Patronus of your own."
Nozomi, having shedded her robe and tossed it onto a nearby table, took another turn to speak. "There are two forms to which a Patronus can take. Corporeal and incorporeal. Incorporeal is what we consider a low-graded version of the spell itself, but it isn't very reliable as it can only repel a Dementor for a short period of time. A corporeal form, however, is what is considered the true form of the Patronus charm. It can successfully fend off Dementors and other certain creatures, and like Elicchi said earlier it can be used as a guide through a dark place if someone were to find themselves lost. Earlier witches and wizards also used the spell as a means to send a message or a warning."
"The Patronus charm is not an ordinary spell," Eli took her next turn, tying her now-dry hair back into a ponytail as she did so. "The incorporeal form only generates like an ordinary spell, but the corporeal form that we are going to teach you how to cast takes on the form of an animal."
"Oh! Oh!" Rin bellowed in excitement just as she did earlier, raising her hand before speaking. "What kind of animal will it be? I want mine to be a cat, nya! One that I'm not allergic to!"
"That's the thing about it, Rin. The animal your Patronus takes the form of depends on the personality type of the person casting it. Your spirit animal, I guess you could say," The blonde Gryffindor continued as she also removed her robe and tossed it on top of Nozomi's on the table. "It will remain a mystery to you until it is cast."
"But~," Nozomi spoke up. "I'm not trying to get your hopes up, Rin, but there's a small chance that it could be a cat. If that's what your happiest memory involves, then there is a slight possibilty."
That was enough to make Rin grin like the aforementioned animal.
"That's the most important part of casting a Patronus. Like any other spell, it has a wand movement and an incantation, but in order to truly cast the spell, one must think of their happiest memory. That's what is so unique about this particular spell."
After Eli finished her sentence, Nozomi took her turn once more. "Your happiest memory can be of whatever made you feel your happiest at one point in time. It can be of the first time you made a new friend, a first kiss, a time when you succeeded in doing something, any decision you have made in the past, cats, anything. What your happiest memory consists of defines your Patronus and what kind of person you are. It's incredible!"
The blonde Gryffindor grinned at Nozomi's sudden excitement before going on. "It truly is. Now, before we go on, does anyone have any questions?"
"Me," Nico raised her hand halfway in the air. "What if you don't like the animal you get? I mean what if it's something sissy like a hamster or whatever?"
"There have been situations in the past where a witch or wizard has disguised the true form of their Patronus, but that is something Elicchi and I aren't familiar with. You shouldn't feel the need to disguise your Patronus, Niccochi. It represents who you are, and it's something you shouldn't be ashamed of. Besides, you aren't exactly the sensitive and nurturing type like someone with a hamster Patronus would be~." Nozomi winked at her fellow Slytherin.
"Watch it, prefect." Nico's small smile betrayed the warning tone in her voice.
"Any more questions?" Eli asked again. Once it seemed no one had any, she pulled her wand from the waistband of her skirt. "Very well. Wands at the ready and repeat after me."
Everyone did as the blonde Gryffindor said and took their wands out, the seated ones standing from their desks in order to do so.
"Expecto Patronum." She recited the incantation and weaved her fir and unicorn hair wand in a circular swirl motion slowly in front of her while Nozomi only stood nearby to observe the other seven girls repeat her movements and said incantation.
"Ease up a little bit there, Rin," The seventh-year Slytherin chided gently as she noticed the orange-haired Gryffindor's movements were too fast to match Eli's slow and graceful wand movement. "We're only practicing right now, so it's better to do it slowly so you can get the hang of it, okay?"
"Nya!" Rin replied, quickly backtracking her dogwood and dragon heartstring wand so that she could repeat the process over in a slower motion.
"Slowly in a circular movement," Eli announced as she ceased her demonstration to join Nozomi in watching their friends. "Not too slow, but not too fast, either."
"I think they're ready, Elicchi. Do you want to practice some more with them, or do you want to go ahead and have them cast it?" Nozomi whispered to her lover.
"Oh yeah, they're definitely ready. We can show them how to properly cast it, and then we'll rearrange everything in here so they'll have room to cast it. We'll work with them individually and go from there, yeah?"
"Okay," Eli spoke up, causing all movement in the room to cease as the girls gave her their undivided attention. "Nozomi and I have decided to go ahead and show you the proper way to cast a Patronus, so that you will have a basic rundown of what to expect. Nozomi, do you want to cast or should I?"
The purple-haired girl in question waved her had dismissively with a small grin. "The floor is all yours, Elicchi~! You girls might want to scoot back just a little. Trust me~."
The seven girls heeded Nozomi's instruction and backed away just a tad to make room, eager to see what animal Eli's Patronus would take the form of.
"Ten bucks says it's a polar bear! She's part Russian, after all!" Honoka hollered out.
"But that's a stereotype, isn't it?" Kotori replied. "Just because she's part Russian doesn't mean it'll be an animal from a cold climate, right?"
"I'm inclined to agree with Kotori." Umi voiced her opinion as well.
Rin also put her two cents in. "Nah, ten bucks says it's a cat, nya!"
"Is that all you think about?" Maki huffed in slight annoyance.
"Well, I also think about ramen and Kayo-chin!"
"Rin!" Hanayo exclaimed as a shade of red slightly dusted her cheeks.
"Maybe if you all would shut up, you'll find out for yourselves!" The small raven-haired Slytherin called out, glaring at the group of chattering girls with a solemn look in her ruby red irises before turning to her two best friends. "Let's see it, tall, blonde, and pale."
Eli and Nozomi had watched the girls chatter excitedly about the former's prospective spirit guardian with small smiles on their faces before Nico spoke up and silenced them. To the two lovers, it was very clear that Nico was the most eager one out of the seven females, just as they had expected.
The blonde prefect nodded at the wink Nico threw her way before she walked a little bit away from Nozomi so she could get a spacious spot to cast her Patronus.
"You all seem to be familiar with the wand movement and the incantation, but the real challenge here is being able to cast your Patronus," Nozomi added while Eli prepared herself to cast the spell. "Remember, you must have your happiest memory in mind while moving your wand and reciting the incantation, or you will not be able to conjure the spell. Elicchi?"
The seventh-year Gryffindor nodded before her happiest memory appeared in her mind.
Sure, she had made the best friends anyone could ask for as well as becoming captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, but those memories couldn't even hold a candle to meeting that shy little Slytherin girl during her first year at Hogwarts. Nozomi was one of the very few Slytherin students who was actually nice to her that year of course until Nico slowly warmed up to her presence over the next couple of years. Eli found herself hanging out with Nozomi before and after class more than she hung out with her fellow Gryffindors during her first year, then the second, then the third, and then finally during her fourth year, she and Nozomi became one person. And to Eli, that was the happiest day of her life, and she knew in her heart that there was going to be a day coming when another memory would top that, but that day would come after they graduated Hogwarts.
"Expecto Patronum!" Eli moved her wand in a circular motion.
Nozomi and the other seven girls watched as a ghostly, bluish animal began to take form in the air. Slowly but surely, a ghostly and intimidating looking lion landed in the floor on its four paws, whipping its mane around like it had just awoken from a long slumber deep in the jungle. It took a few steps through the disused classroom before fading away just as quickly as it had arrived.
Aside from Eli, the only female in the room without a shred of surprise on their face was Nozomi, who had just looked on with a grin. Looking at the faces of her friends reminded her of how she had reacted when she had first been shown Eli's Patronus a few years ago. Another similarity of that day was the thought that the lion definitely fit Eli's personality. Gryffindor's mascot was a lion, and it just so happened that it was not only Eli's house mascot but her spirit guardian as well. But that wasn't why Eli's Patronus was a lion. Nozomi interpreted it as a symbol of her blonde-haired love's nobility trait and her fierce personality. Eli was one of the noblest people she has ever known, and she was fiercely protective of her and their friends like how a lion was protective of its pride. It truly was remarkable. Eli was remarkable.
Once the animal had fully faded away, Honoka was the first to speak up.
"Holy shit, Eli! That was awesome! Being a Gryffindor is definitely in your blood!"
"While that was a truly remarkable display, that doesn't mean you have to use that kind of language, Honoka!" Umi chided after her initial surprise had gone away.
"Yeah, Gryffindor!" Rin added raising her arms in victory before she had another thought. "Wait, Honoka and I both lost the bet so who gets the twenty bucks, nya?"
Eli only chuckled. "While I'm flattered, the lion doesn't actually represent my status as a Gryffindor student. Nozomi is better at interpreting Patronus animals than I am, but I believe it represents how protective I am of her and all of you. Nothing will ever change that."
"That's so sweet, Eli!" Honoka gushed as she pulled Rin into a hug, both girls on the verge of tears at the honesty of their older Gryffindor sister.
"Yeah, we are definitely lucky to have the reigning ice queen of Gryffindor on our side, that's for sure." Nico added with a small grin as she crossed her arms. "I've been on her bad side of my own choice before, and trust me, I won't make that mistake again. Not in a million years."
"See? I knew you had a heart in there behind all those thorns and poisonous spikes~! It's not completely black like you think, Niccochi~!" Nozomi teased.
The raven-haired Slytherin's face went red as she scratched the back of her head. "Yeah, well anyone who cares about you is a friend of mine in my book. Not that I have a soft spot for you or anything, Nozomi. Delicate maybe, but not soft."
Unbeknownst to everyone in the room, a full blown smile blossomed on Maki's face as she played with a strand of her scarlet locks. Nico could be a sweetheart when she wanted to, and it was adorable. This was the perfect time to crack a remark at the raven-haired girl's expense, but she was willing to let it slide this time. It was basically all just a show, anyway. Even the most experienced actors and actresses needed a break sometimes.
"Nozomi, would you like a turn before we begin?" Eli asked politely.
The Slytherin prefect shook her head. "I'll take my turn at the end if that's okay with you, Elicchi. I'm interested to see what theirs will be before I show them mine."
Eli smiled as she laid a hand on her purple-haired love's shoulder. "Okay."
"Now, it seems that there is quite a clutter in here~," Nozomi began as she looked around at the scattered desks and the many unused and dusty objects that one would normally find in a classroom. "We're gonna need a little room, yeah? Honoka~?"
The sixth-year Gryffindor's face lit up as she took the hint and flicked her poplar and unicorn hair wand at one of the nearby desks. "Depulso!"
As the desk pushed itself all the way to the other side of the room at the hands of Honoka's enchantment, Maki sighed at the brute force of Honoka's chosen spell, but at the same time she couldn't help the small grin that graced her lips before she took a smarter approach in helping to clear some space. "Wingardium Leviosa."
A stack of books lifted into the air at the mercy of Maki's pine and unicorn hair wand. After moving them across the room, she set them down on top of the same desk Honoka had moved before breaking the spell.
"Wingardium Leviosa." Kotori and Hanayo both lifted another desk together with their combined magic and moved it to the other side of the room against the adjacent wall.
"Depulso!" Rin decided to mimic her fellow Gryffindor's chosen spell from earlier, the empty bookshelf harshly pushing itself back against the wall now that there was some room behind it. She immediately sighed in relief after watching it almost topple over frontwards from the impact.
"Locomotor chests!" Umi flicked her wand at two old looking dormitory chests that students usually used to store away some of their belongings, watching them slide hurriedly over to rest against the wall.
Nico looked around and spotted the final desk that needed to be moved. "Accio, desk!"
The object in question slid over to the raven-haired girl and she abruptly moved out of the way as not to get crushed by it and smiled in satisfaction as it made contact with the wall.
Nozomi whistled at the amount of space they had created, not to mention how fast they had cleared up the clutter. Now there was some room for everyone to move around. "Well done~!"
Eli nodded her head in satisfaction. "Great! Now, Nozomi and I have decided to split you up into groups in order for you to maintain focus without the fear of bumping into anyone or at the risk of losing concentration. Maki, Umi, Kotori, Honoka, you will be with me. Nico, Hanayo, and Rin, you will be with Nozomi. Are there any more questions?"
Once no one voiced any concern or confusion, Nozomi ordered them to arrange themselves into their groups and whispered a soft "Good luck." to her lover, who returned it was an equaly soft "Harasho. You too, Nozomi."
The seven girls had shedded their robes, some of them rolling the cotton sleeves of their shirts up to their elbows before they got to work casting the spell.
"Your happiest memory," Eli reminded her group walking around to inspect their work. "The happier the memory, the more successful the spell."
Kotori nodded in Eli's direction at her advice and closed her eyes to attempt to recall her happiest memory.
Honoka and Umi were both the center of her happy memories. They had all met as little children even before they had each received their own Hogwarts letters, and the way they had met had held such a special place in her heart. They were all three magically inclined, but that didn't stop them from participating in the muggle game of hide and seek in the park that day, and the ironic part about it was that neither of the three knew that the other two out of them were destined to practice magic. Kotori had assumed thay maybe Honoka and Umi were both muggles. The same went for Honoka about Kotori and Umi, and Umi about Kotori and Honoka.
Kotori and Honoka got along right off the bat, despite never having met each other before. Umi, however, had been the shyest, hiding behind a tree from the others during the game and jumping in surprise once Honoka had found her. It took a little while for the little blue-haired girl to open up, but once she did, the three of them were inseperable.
Then a few years later, the Hogwarts letters came. Honoka and Umi were set to go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but Kotori had intended to attend Beauxbatons over in France, despite having received her own letter. Honoka and Umi both supported her decision and had made a pact to keep in touch whenever they could.
But then as if by fate, Kotori's mother just so happened to acquire the position of Headmistress of Hogwarts after leaving a teaching position at Beauxbatons Academy, and Kotori found herself heading to Platform Nine and Three Quarters with her two best friends at her side.
Now here they were a few years later, and despite being placed in separate houses, the three were still as inseparable as they were when they were just little children. If anything, their years at Hogwarts seemed to have brought them closer, especially Umi and Kotori.
The ash-haired Hufflepuff turned to look at the Ravenclaw prefect in question, whom had been busy trying to cast her own Patronus and crinkled her amber eyes as a smile made its way onto her face. Honoka was definitely her best friend, but her relationship with Umi proved to be more than that as time went on, and Kotori was more than grateful for that.
Yes, meeting Honoka and Umi had definitely been her happiest memory.
"Expecto Patronum!" The ash-haired Hufflepuff circled her chestnut and unicorn hair wand as she recited the incantation and an ethereal-like swan formed at its mercy, wings tucked in and head up high as it floated around the room like it was casually sailing down a river.
Honoka's eyes lit up like a child on Christmas morning as she gazed at the beauty of Kotori's Patronus. "Whoa, Kotori! That's so cool!"
On the other side of Kotori, Umi also voiced her own comment. "One of the most graceful and beautiful birds in creation. Next to you of course, Kotori. As expected."
The swan seemed to dip downwards to sail around the blue-haired Ravenclaw in a circle before moving onward to Kotori and repeating the same motion.
And as Umi's watchful gaze remained on the Hufflepuff, she could see Kotori's face elated with joy and pure happiness as the swan circled her, hair whipping behind her as she turned to watch its ascent back into the air.
Umi's memory had been the same as well. Honoka and Kotori had been a blessing to her as a child, and she was grateful to see that they were still as close as they were back then.
And even more grateful that Kotori's heart had chosen her. Of all the potential suitors Kotori had chasing after her since her first year at Hogwarts, she had chosen Umi.
It brought elation to the Ravenclaw prefect's heart as she waved her beech wood and dragon heartstring wand. "Expecto Patronum!"
A bluish silver spectral-like owl took shape at the end of Umi's wand and flew around the room in a slow but graceful glide and caught up to the swan, synchronizing with it as the two Patronuses moved side by side in the air.
"It's an owl! That's so cute, Umi!" Kotori exclaimed, snaking her hand under Umi's forearm and holding onto it while the other hand rested on her shoulder as both girls looked on at the two ghostly animals.
Honoka looked on as well and with renewed vigor she tucked her wand back into her waistband and spit in her hands before rubbing them together like a cartoon character would.
Her happy memory was also of the two girls standing next to her. They'd stuck to each other's sides as children, and it looked as if the friendship would continue even into old age. Sure, Honoka had found her Gryffindor sisters in Rin and Eli, but a friendship like the one she had had with Umi and Kotori was special.
"Wait for me, guys!" She giggled as she took her wand back up and waved it in the air. "Expecto Patronum!"
A dog of the St. Bernard breed was soon gallomping throughout the room, weaving around everyone's feet racing to catch up with the pace of the owl and the swan despite being at ground level.
And before long, the three spectral animals in the room looked almost as if they were playing together, the two airborne Patronuses descending to ground level to be with the playful canine that was Honoka's Patronus.
Eli looked on in amazement as did Nozomi, who had been busy monitoring her own group's casting of the charm. It was a spectacle that had never been seen before. For a Patronus to be in sync with another, let alone two others, was something unprecedented.
Over in Nozomi's group, Rin also watched the display along with everyone else in the room, and it seemed to be the straw that broke the camel's back for her (in a good way) as it reminded her of her happiest memory.
Despite being bullied for her status as a muggle-born witch, she was still a very happy and energetic person. Not even the ugliest insult could damage her personality. It was just who she was and the other eight girls in the room would always remind her of that if she needed it at any given moment in time.
She eyed the meek fifth-year Hufflepuff in her peripheral vision and exhaled slowly. Kayo-chin would always be there, too. No matter what. Even when they were children and Rin had to deal with being bullied for wearing anything even remotely girly, Kayo-chin was there. And now that she was at Hogwarts, the bullying had transitioned over to blood status, Kayo-chin was still there. And then the other seven girls followed soon after.
With tears beginning to form in her eyes, Rin sniffled slightly. "Expecto Patronum!"
A small but energetic rabbit hopped its way around the room as Rin watched on in awe at what her wand had created.
It wasn't any cat, but it was something better. Something that reflected who she was inside and that alone was enough to put a small smile on the orange-haired Gryffindor's face.
"Good job, Rin!" Nozomi exclaimed. "Hanayo, you're almost there! Keep going! I know you can do it!"
Hanayo nodded at the Slytherin prefect's encouraging words before she readied her wand.
Meeting Rin when they were children was her happiest memory. There was never a dull moment whenever Rin was with her since then. Sure, the Sorting Hat had split them into different houses but that didn't hinder their friendship in the slightest. She was thankful to have someone as endearing and encouraging as the orange-haired fifth-year was at her side.
"Expecto Patronum!" Hanayo recited the incantation as a phantasmic hedgehog took shape from her willow and unicorn hair wand.
"Kayo-chin, that is so cute!" Rin bellowed as she leaned into the Hufflepuff's side as they watched their Patronuses make their way around the room together with Rin's rabbit leading the way.
"So is yours, Rin. I hope you're not disappointed that it's not a cat." Hanayo replied whilst still keeping her eyes on the two ghostly animals.
"No way!" Rin shook her head from side to side fervently, which caused Hanayo to release a giggle as a result.
Over on the other side of the room, Maki was the next to think of her happiest memory.
She'd pretty much had everything that a child could want and more growing up and was quite content with being a loner a major percentage of the time. Friends weren't her strong suit until she came to Hogwarts. When she had first met Rin and Hanayo on the train ride to Hogwarts during her first year, she had to admit they kind of frightened her at first, but as time went on she got used to them and the others followed after that.
One more infuriating than the rest.
She looked over to the other side of the room to the aforementioned infuriating "friend", who looked to be in deep conversation with Nozomi. The way Nico's red eyes kept their focus on the Slytherin prefect and nodding every once in a while at whatever it was Nozomi was speaking to her about sent small surges of butterflies in Maki's stomach.
It truly was inconceivable that someone could make Maki feel that way, and with that thought in mind, Maki chuckled to herself.
"Expecto Patronum!" Maki waved her pine and unicorn hair wand and a magpie bird formed in the air, seemingly looking at Maki quizzically before circling her and taking off into the air.
Eli came up behind her. "And here I was expecting a panther or some other sort of other four-legged beast."
That earned the blonde Gryffindor a playful punch to the shoulder as the two laughed together.
Nico looked in the direction of the two aforementioned girls and Nozomi spoke.
"They're quite the pair, aren't they, Nicocchi?"
Nico chuckled. "I'm sure they say the same thing about you and I, don't you think?"
"It's a possibility," Nozomi shrugged before focusing back on her conversation with the smaller Slytherin. "Are you ready to cast?"
Nico rolled her shoulders, popping them in the process. "I was born ready. Pure-blood, remember?"
Nozomi only giggled. "Of course."
Nico already had her happiest memory in mind. There wasn't much of a need to dig deep down to think about it. Her happiest memory was over there laughing it up with tall, blonde, and pale.
With a small grin, Nico's ebony and dragon heartstring wand began to cast. "Expecto Patronum!"
A ghostly wolf stood just in front of her and her fellow Slytherin before beginning to trod with a mighty swagger around the room.
"The mightiest of canines," Nozomi commented. "Would it surprise you if I told you I expected nothing less?"
The small seventh-year Slytherin shook her head. "I've always been a lone wolf, Nozomi. You know that."
"Ah, but it seems that has changed, has it not~?"
Nico eyed Maki out of her peripheral vision and thought carefully before speaking her next few words. "You could say that."
The ghostly animals paraded around the room for a little while longer before disappearing completely.
"Excellent!" The blonde Gryffindor was the first to speak up after everything had all been said and done. "You all did well! If I could award points to all houses, I would in a heartbeat!"
"If only you could add back all the points that have been deducted from Slytherin because a certain someone can never keep her mouth shut or her hands to herself." Maki added with a playful smirk.
Nico laughed. "I'm gonna let that one slide because I'm in a good mood, so count yourself lucky, princess."
"I'm gonna whip up a batch of butterbeer to celebrate!" Honoka piped up.
"Where from?" Umi's tone was stern but the smile on her face betrayed any sense of it. "We've already been to Hogsmeade this year, and Diagon Alley is off limits until our next break."
"You ever heard the muggle term "bathtub hooch"?" The sixth year Gryffindor's tone became strangely serious, which caused Umi's smile to falter.
"What? You think I'm serious? Actually now that I think really hard about it, I don't even have the ingredients to make illegal butterbeer, Umi!"
The blue-haired Ravenclaw sighed in relief as Kotori patted her head softly.
Rin laughed. "This is why I love hanging out with you guys, nya!"
"You really do have no idea what to expect when we're all together." Hanayo pointed out.
And as the girls chattered to each other, Nozomi came up behind her blonde-haired lover. "Elicchi?"
Eli turned around. "Yes, Nozomi?"
With a smile, Nozomi turned to face the empty space of the disused classroom.
"Expecto Patronum." She recited the incantation quietly while moving her cedar and dragon heartstring wand.
The Patronus Eli had seen long ago, a dog of the Basset Hound breed, did not make itself known and in its place was another animal completely and the type of animal it was sent a whirlwind of emotions throughout Eli's entire being.
A lioness made her way through the disused classroom with pride and might equal to that of Eli's lion from earlier. Eli was in disbelief as Nozomi eyed her blonde-headed love with the utmost care in her turquoise eyes.
"Another thing," Nozomi called out to the seven girls, the chattering having ceased in order to spectate what was happening. "Your Patronus can change over time, but only through lifechanging events can it do so. My Patronus for example, was once a Basset Hound dog according to the nature of my being back then, but now that I've fallen in love, it revolves around the person of which I have fallen in love with. The lioness and the lion."
"That's pretty gay," Rin whispered to Honoka before being elbowed by an out of character Hanayo. "Ow, Kayo-chin that was my ribcage."
"Are we supposed to be shocked?" Nico, in turn, whispered to Maki, who just shrugged her shoulders with an uncharacteristically goofy grin on her face.
"I feel like we're intruding on an intimate moment!" Umi whispered harshly to Kotori, feeling her face heat up and her vision becoming dizzy.
"Oh, Umi, what am I ever going to do with you?" Kotori whispered back with a small smile as she made sure to be ready to catch the blue-haired Ravenclaw in case she were to faint.
Eli's whole body seemed to shut down at the sight of Nozomi's new Patronus. She tried opening her mouth to speak but no words would come forth.
"As the muggles say, Eli.exe has stopped working." Honoka whispered to her fellow orange-haired Gryffindor bringing forth her knowledge of Muggle Studies, to which Rin couldn't help but find it the funniest thing she had heard all day.
"Get out, both of you!" Hanayo whispered back, eyebrows arched into a glare. "You're ruining the moment!"
Both Gryffindors abruptly canned it at the warning tone in the fifth-year Hufflepuff's stern tone.
"Nozomi, I-I don't know what to say," Eli finally found her voice. "This is something I've never even h-heard of before."
Nozomi giggled at the slight dust of red on the Gryffindor's pale cheeks. "There's a logical explanation for that, Elicchi~. There isn't another love in the wizarding world like ours."
A small whimper was heard in the crowd of the seven girls, who all turned to the source to find that Kotori had clamped a hand over a red-faced Umi's mouth to silence any further noises of embarrassment.
Eli's icy blue eyes lit up at her Slytherin lover's words and a smile overtook her face. "There never will be, Nozomi. I love you more than anything, and I know you feel the same way. I can't thank you enough. You're my lioness after all.
Nozomi wrapped her arms around the Gryffindor prefect's neck. "And I love you, my lion."
And as the two kissed, a thud was heard in the background followed by a distraught ash-haired Hufflepuff's cries.
"Umi, no! I'm missing the good part! Wake up, Umi!"