fourteen

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THE MOURNING OF THEIR LOSS did not last long in the Slytherin house when it was announced that Harry Potter had received a lifelong ban of Quidditch.

Draco, however, simmered in silence over getting publicly beat-up in front of most of the school. Theo felt guilt for trying to defuse the situation instead of fight, but Draco held no qualms towards his friend; in the end, the Weasley twins and Harry were banned from Quidditch, and he understood that Theo would've jumped right into the fight had it not been public.

Time passed in a flash, and soon it was time to return to the Malfoy Manor for Christmas. Somewhere along the final weeks of school, Harry and the entire Weasley family had vanished from the school.

Celestia had never missed a Christmas with the Malfoy's, not even when she felt like she was intruding. They always treated her like she was apart of their family; Draco's sister, their daughter. But there was always a small nagging in her gut that told her she did not belong.

She was the first one to wake up the day of the train ride to King's Cross Station. She attempted to wake Pansy who grumbled "five more minutes" before promptly falling back to sleep.

Getting changed, she checked that everything that she needed to bring to the Malfoy Manor with her was packed. When she woke Pansy this time, Pansy finally woke up, telling Celestia to go ahead and meet her on the train.

Celestia gathered her bags and made her way down to the common room. It was still early, most students were either still asleep or hiding in their dorm rooms. There were a couple students loitering around, waiting for their peers to wake. She shouldn't have been surprised to see Theo waiting near the door with bags of his own.

In a selfish way, she was hoping to go alone to the Hogwarts Express. She needed time to understand her redundant nerves about returning to the Malfoy Manor - why, oh, why had she made such a rash decision to return? Her friends were always around her, right there for her to bounce thoughts and ideas at. But she had been the one to decide they go to the Malfoy Manor for Christmas, she felt like it would be cowardice to retract her statement.

"Ah, ever the morning person, aren't you?" grinned Theo.

She was not a morning person. Even though she had changed into a presentable outfit, and brushed her hair, she wanted nothing more than to fall back into the comforts of a bed.

"Sod off," hissed Celestia.

"Draco and Blaise are still asleep," he said, acting as if she had not spoken.

"Pansy will probably have to herd them out of bed," replied Celestia, thankful she was not the one waking up the two boys who slept like rocks.

"Ready to go?" he questioned.

"Yeah," she said, "I call the window seat."

"That's going to be a problem, darling, because I want the window seat. You might have to sit on my lap," replied Theo.

"In your dreams, pretty boy," said Celestia, making her way out of the common room.

"You're damn right."

The train ride back to King's Cross Station was rather uneventful. Pansy and Draco would occasionally leave to fulfill prefect duties, Blaise slept the entire trip, Theo spent his time catching up on the books Celestia read ahead of, and Celestia tried to sleep only to jostle awake every ten minutes.

Stepping off of the Hogwarts Express, she felt a wave of dizziness hit her. The familiar feeling of the train platform in London was overwhelming for a moment. Draco materialised by her side, placing a hand on her shoulder and steering her through the crowd.

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