Foto bij Chapter 16 // Firenze

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I was still crying, even though the envelope had stopped shouting a long time ago. The sky had turned grey, and I knew I had to get back to the castle, but I just couldn’t seem to get up. So, I stayed where I was, curled up like a little ball, crying like the child I was.
That’s when I heard the rustling of the bushes. I looked up and pricked up my ears. The rustling sound came closer, accompanied by something that sounded like muffled hooves. I pulled out my wand and held it in front of me. My breath was short and shallow, and my head spun form the nerves.
A centaur appeared out of the bushes. He had a palomino horse hind body and silver-blond human hair. He looked young, his blue eyes shining like a teenager on his way to a party. I lowered my wand when I heard his friendly tone.
‘Hello, young student,’ he said in a soft voice, ‘you shouldn’t be out here.’
‘I know,’ I whispered, trying to wipe my tears away before he would notice, but as soon as I did, my eyes would tear up again, ‘I’ll be going soon. Just give me a second.’
I tried to smarten myself up, but it seemed like I hadn’t been washed for weeks. I felt the twigs in my hair and the dirt on my face. My hands were scraped by the bushes I had run through and one of my sleeves had been torn.
‘You seem unhappy,’ he said, as he stepped closer, the grass muffling the sound of his hooves. Unhappy was an understatement for the way I felt, but I didn’t tell him that. I shrugged.
‘I’m fine,’ I muttered, in a voice that sounded just the opposite, ‘I should get back.’
‘I’ll bring you to the edge of the forest,’ the centaur suggested, ‘it’ll be safer when I’m around.’
‘Thank you,’ I whispered, ‘that’s very nice off you.’
‘My name is Firenze,’ the centaur said as we walked through the forest, ‘you really shouldn’t be out here, especially this late at night. Didn’t Albus Dumbledore tell you it was forbidden?’
‘Yes, he did,’ I answered, ‘I just needed to get out of the castle. I’ve had a rotten day.’
‘I could tell,’ Firenze said, ‘the howler was very loud. They probably didn’t hear it in the castle though. Hagrid might have.’
‘I’m sorry,’ I replied, feeling ashamed, ‘I didn’t mean to disturb you.’
‘It’s okay. I feel as though you need a friend right now. I couldn’t just listen to all that and do nothing.’
I sighed, and we walked in silence for a bit. It surprised me how deep into the forest we were. I was lucky that Firenze found me and not one of the other horrible creatures that lived here.
‘You seem oddly familiar,’ Firenze broke the silence. I noticed him looking at me.
‘My parents used to go to Hogwarts,’ I said, ‘Sherron Rowie and Corban Macmillan. They were Slytherins.’
‘I remember Corban,’ Firenze smiled, ‘I was rather fond of him. He was always very nice to me, to everyone really. He used to visit regularly too. Almost as often as Hagrid does.’
‘Doesn’t sound like my father.’
‘Ah, but he did change when he got older,’ Firenze continued, ‘when he was in his sixth year, I think. He grew distant, colder. He didn’t come to visit anymore, he only went down to his little cave.’
‘That’s when he started dating my mother,’ I remembered, then turned to look at him, ‘He had a cave in here?’
‘Some place only he knew about, I suppose,’ Firenze nodded, ‘and the creatures of the forest, off course. Deep into the woods, further too the west. But I won’t tell you more then that. It’s too dangerous. We’re almost there.’
I looked in front of me and indeed, in the distance I heard voices shouting hastily and I saw the bright spots of wands moving back and forth. When we emerged through the bushes we saw Professor Flitwick, the head of Ravenclaw and charms teacher, Professor McGonagall, the transfigurations teacher and Hagrid and I knew they had been searching for me.
‘There she is!’ Professor Flitwick squealed, when he saw me, ‘we’ve been worried sick, little girl. What were you thinking?’
I bowed my head and stared at my shoes, but I couldn’t avoid his accusatory gaze, as he was distinguishingly small himself.
‘She got a howler,’ Firenze said, as if that explained anything.
‘That doesn’t matter, Firenze,’ Professor McGonagall said, ‘you know how dangerous it is out there. She had no right.’
‘Fifty points from Ravenclaw,’ Professor Flitwick shrieked, ‘for dangerous, irresponsible and foolish behaviour.’
I closed my eyes, trying to keep the tears away, when an arm circled my shoulders.
‘She might need a cup off tea,’ Firenze said, ‘instead of a scolding. She’s just lost her home.’
The teachers stared at him, then turned to me. Professor Flitwick’s voice was way softer and gentler than before when he spoke.
‘What happened, miss Macmillan?’
I shook my head and took a deep breath. I didn’t even know where to start, so I just told him everything. How my mother loathed me, how my father ignored me and the abuse, how my sister seemed to be so much better at everything. Then I told them about Slytherin and how everyone expected me to be one, but apparently, I wasn’t, because I was in Ravenclaw and even my fellow housemates didn’t believe I belonged there and everyone seemed to hate me for it. And then I told them about the letter, how my mother had banned me and sworn that I would never set food in her house again, which meant that from now on, I was homeless.

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