Joanna sat in the second floor girl’s bathroom. Tom had asked her to meet him there the day before, because apparently, no one visits this bathroom anymore. And Joanna was oblivious to the fact why.
As she sat alone, an occasional wave of sudden chills ran through her body. Joanna had a feeling something was not right, and when she heard a soft moan coming from one of the cubicles, she stood up with confirmation.
“Who’s there?” Joanna asked loudly, suppressing the urge to run.
But instead of a reply, the moaning grew louder and Joanna slowly backed towards the exit. She was about to turn and make a dash out, when she bumped into someone. Immediately, she spun around, only to find Tom standing behind her.
“Are you scared?” Tom chuckled.
“There’s something in this toilet,” Joanna quickly answered.
“Get out of here Myrtle,” Tom said as he walked pass her.
A ghostly figure of a girl came swooping out of a toilet cubicle. Her hair was tied up in two ponytails and she screamed in such a high pitch that Joanna instinctively covered her ears.
“I told you to get out you filthy mudblood!” Tom raised his voice.
The ghost stopped and choked on her cries. “Fine!” she said as she wailed into a cubicle and splashed into a toilet bowl.
“Who was that?” Joanna asked as she peered into the cubicle where the ghost disappeared into.
“Some dead mudblood,” Tom shrugged as he sat down and placed the thick book he carried around on his lap.
“Right,” Joanna said as she joined him.
They spent their entire evening break in the girl’s bathroom, with the surprising absence of the moaning ghost.
Joanna told stories of how a few of her uncles were trying to make a Horcrux and each of them had different results, all bad of course. But strangely, as their conversation left the room of dark arts, Joanna started to fear him less.
A week into secret toilet hideouts and Joanna had gotten Tom to talk about his childhood. It was her way of trying to get him to stay away from the Horcrux topic as long as possible, hoping he would forget about the idea all together.
But when Tom spoke of his younger days, he seemed to be loathing it.
“Bloody orphanage muggles thought I was sick! Got me muggle doctors and all,” Tom scoffed.
“Then who told you about magic?” Joanna asked.
“Dumbledore. He came for me one afternoon.”
“But, Dumbledore…” Joanna had noticed the way Dumbledore looked at Tom, and it wasn’t the same way most of the other Professors did.
“He doesn’t like me I assume. He’s always watching me, trying to catch me or something,” Tom finished her sentence for her.
“You’re not afraid of him are you?”
Tom didn’t answer, instead he changed the topic with a question directed to her, “Why were you expelled?”
“I set the headmaster’s office on fire.”
“He’s a muggleborn, who made us read books ONLY by muggles.” Joanna rolled her eyes at the memory.
“He said muggles were the best in arts. But he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Shakespeare and DaVinci weren’t muggles and they were famous! Yet he chose not to teach about them,” Joanna continued. “So one day, I decided to set his office on fire.”
“Was he in it?”
“How unfortunate,” Tom sighed and Joanna chuckled.
“I know, but I would be in prison if he was. I’m somewhat thankful he didn’t die,” Joanna said.
“I would break you out if you were.” Tom smiled.
“You didn’t know me then, how could you break me out?”
“That’s true. I guess it would be horrid to have your life sucked out by Dementors everyday.”
“Horrid indeed. My aunt’s in prison,” Joanna conveniently stated.
“Wicked family you have, and yet you don’t practice dark magic?”
“My mother has lost a lot. I don’t want to be another lost to her. I am after all, the only child.”
“That’s one reason I don’t have to worry about.”
Joanna went silent at the thought of how her parents would react if she had died. Even right now, her mother was constantly grieving as one after another, her brothers and sisters were suffering, disappearing and dying because of dark magic. And though it was in their family heritage to practice it, her mother never promoted it. The lost was unbearable and the only good thing that ever came out of dark magic was death.
Tom must have noticed her drift away as he asked, “You still here?”
“Sorry, I was thinking,” Joanna replied.
“About the Christmas ball.” An excuse she made.
“Are you going?” Tom asked.
“I don’t know. No one has asked me yet,”
“It’s a little too early to be asked don’t you think? It’s a full month away.”
“Yes, but I don’t really have a lot of friends.” Joanna realized it was a fact the moment she said so.
Since she started in Hogwarts, the only Hufflepuff she knew by name was Annoria. The rest were just “hey”s and “hello”s. And for those who weren’t in Hufflepuff, she knew no one but Tom and Malfoy, who had suddenly became awfully nice to her.
“I”m a friend,” Tom said, and he sounded like he meant it.
“That’s nice to know.” Joanna smiled, as she deciphered his tone.
“Do you…” Tom’s voice trailed off in uncertainty.
“Do I what?”
“Do you… want to go to the Christmas Ball with me?”
Joanna was caught by surprise. She wanted to go but should she?
To be continued…
(Leave a comment below on vote on whether Joanna should accept Tom’s request and go with him to the Christmas ball!)