Five years ago, half way through her third year at Hogwarts, Regan Jayden was expelled for reasons only she and a very select few know. But now that she's been allowed to return-- under certain terms-- in what would have been her graduating year, will she be able to regain the trust of her fellow Hogwarts students, and of herself?
Warnings: Some sexual content, language and violence. It might get kind of graphic (nothing disgusting, don't worry!) as the story progresses, so if any of you are really opposed to that sort of thing, you probably shouldn't read it.
Also, I've taken a few liberties while writing this story(some made-up spells, made-up ppl, etc.), so if any of you are real sticklers for the finer details, again I apologize and ask you to open your mind, sit back, and enjoy! Please, feel free to constructively criticize, I'd love to hear from you. Cheers.
***Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters except the made-up ones (and there are a fair few), and neither do I own any of the trademarked merchandise or song lyrics mentioned in the story. Please don't sue me.***
Hogwarts hadn’t changed in the slightest bit, mused Regan Jayden, staring up at the looming gothic towers that were so bitter-sweetly familiar. She’d once found them intimidating. Everything about this magical place had seemed so much larger and more frightening that it really was. Now, as she stood shivering in the cold, with haunting memories bombarding her, only one word for the rambling old school came to mind.
It wasn't, though; not literally, anyway. Her family's home in the country was perfectly nice, and certainly more welcoming than the reverted ancient castle, its spiny turrets a sharp contrast against the rainy, pale-grey sky. There was a low foreboding rumbling from above that told her a storm would soon break.
She didn't hurry inside, though. She hesitated, hands on her hips, lips twisted in indecision, not entirely enjoying the feeling of fluttery wings in her gut as she stared down the menacing scene in front of her.
Jaydens never got nervous. The fact she most definitely was annoyed her.
Regan didn't have to let it show, though. And damned if she'd admit to it.
She had a reputation to uphold.
Marching forward, hands fisted determinedly at her sides, Regan decided she'd been away far too long if a little thing like coming back to Hogwarts, of all places, was getting to her.
Her first display of the naturally defiant personality that had caused her professors so much grief in the much-too-short a time she'd spent at Hogwarts the first go around, was the fact she'd chosen to wear her street clothes upon her return. Her school robes and uniform were neatly folded in her trunk, which she-- or rather her father-- had had sent ahead of her, the week before; and were therefore quite useless to her at the moment.
The decision to come wearing jeans and a really rather cute apricot cashmere sweater instead of the regulation black robes and etc., had not been for the purpose of causing her professors or anyone else more grief, however.
It was to make a statement. And that statement was, "I'm not sure I'm really back for good, just yet."
Not that her father had paid any attention to such statements-- which she had absolutely no qualms about stating aloud. Maximillian Jayden had been more concerned about her making a good impression and representing the respected and equally famed family name.
Well, Daddy Dearest wasn't here, now was he? She had no doubt he'd receive written notification of her behaviour before she could even utter the words, "Oops! Wasn't me!" But neither did she have any doubt he'd not take enough time away from his precious position at the Ministry of Magic to do much more than write her a stern, disapproving note, forbidding her from ever doing it again.
As if that had ever stopped her.
Anyway, Regan was sure both her parents were accustomed to her antics, and as long as she managed to stay in the school this time, she had a feeling they wouldn't care what she did.
"Do try not to irritate anyone before you've even stepped through the doors," had been her father's sole, dry farewell before shutting her in the back of the limo, and sending her on her way.
Her mother had been lying in bed, complaining of a headache, and had not felt up to wishing her only daughter goodbye.
Last time she'd first stepped through the doors-- the time her father had implied-- she'd been at the ripe old age of eleven, and a mischievous 1st year. She'd succeeded in causing the ancient caretaker, Argus Filch, to throw his back out when she'd (accidentally) dumped an entire packet of Pop Rocks and a whole can of Pepsi on the front steps. He'd come rushing out to see what all the racket was, slipped on the crackling mess, and taken a rather nasty (though bloody funny) tumble.
The two of them had had an on-going feud between them from that point on.
She smiled a bit as the pleasant memory made her feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
This time around, she was a mischievous 7th year, about to graduate, and a very mature eighteen.
She was especially mature as she’d been eighteen already for ten months, two weeks, and four days (she’d counted). And maybe she should have graduated by now (her birthday was so much later than the other students’ in her year—or what had been her year, which was now long gone and graduated—that it actually over-lapped into the next year— February 9th to be exact—and so she’d always been several months behind the others in her year. Now that she was being held back, she was several months ahead of the others.)
But she was mature. Especially compared to her definition of maturity eight years ago.
The same definition that had nearly gotten herself blown up.
But that was neither here nor there.
She’d decided on the long trip here that Regan Jayden was by no means about to conform. But she was damn well going to prove everybody wrong.
She entertained a brief and very smug curiosity of how crow tasted, then pulled open the massive front door, which opened far more easily than its size would lead one to believe. It felt so familiar inside—it even smelled the same—that she was suddenly overcome with a wave of nostalgia.
Perhaps five years wasn’t so very much. But Regan hadn’t been around all that long as it was, and to her, half a decade seemed like an eternity.
Some days she could barely remember what she’d done five minutes ago.
There was no forgetting her time spent at Hogwarts, though. Not five years ago, not eight, and not the day she’d first set eyes upon the cavernous Front Hall.
It was as spectacularly imposing as always, with its marble floors and carved marble pillars, and the arching ceilings that still seemed impossibly high. The walls were still covered in the remarkable moving tapestries and paintings, and the ornate gilded mirrors.
It wasn’t quite so frightening as it had been, though. At least this time she wasn’t being dragged along by the ear by McGonagall for supposedly putting Filch’s back out on purpose. Regan wondered if her old Housemistress was still a hard-ass.
The familiarity of it all wasn’t quite affecting her in the way she’d expected. She wasn’t sad; she wasn’t glad to be back.
She felt something, though. The trick was figuring out what.
Regan had barely gotten the door closed when the sky broke open and a silvery sheet of rain began to fall. She turned, wiping her suddenly sweaty palms on the back of her jeans, and took a deep breath.
“Okay, here we go. You’re a Jayden. You’ve got nothing to worry about,” she muttered to herself, staring at the far-off end of the Front Hall, preparing herself to go meet the Headmaster, Professor Dumbledore, and just get this over with.
She started forward again with her habitually lengthy strides (she’d inherited her mother’s slim build, but her father’s long legs—some might’ve called her a beanpole, except for the subtle curves she possessed), refusing to be put off by her uncertain feelings about coming back to Hogwarts, after so long. After…
Suddenly, she found herself not only put off, but flat on her arse.
“Oof! Bloody hell, that hurts…” someone groaned; a male voice, very close… like…right on top of her.
Her breath came back, then, and she shouted, “Oi! Get off, get off!” shoving at his weight sprawled across her.
“Sorry,” he groaned, rolling off her, and pressing a hand to his forehead. “Damn. What’d I hit my head on?”
“My head,” Regan answered miserably, sitting up and blinking furiously to clear the spots from her vision.
“Come on, Ron, he’s right behind us,” a girl’s urgent voice said, somewhere to Regan’s left, then another male’s: “Let’s go! If he catches us this time, we’ll be cat chow for Mrs. Norris for sure, if McGonagall doesn’t skin us first.”
“Mrs. Norris? Is that fur-ball still breathing, then?” Regan grumbled as she got to her feet, swaying a bit before she was certain she wasn’t going to fall back over.
She saw the three of them blink at her in surprise. They all wore the regulation school uniform; black robes, tie, and grey sweater and slacks/skirt. The one who’d crashed into her—what had the girl called him?—still sat on the floor, but telling by the dazed blue eyes and crinkled freckled nose, he’d gotten the more painful end of the tackle.
He had very red hair, a bit on the longish side, and a sort of homely face, except for the eyes, which were quite attractive.
The girl was of average height, and pretty, with big brown eyes and lots of curly brown hair. She looked very intelligent, and had a deep groove between her brows at the moment. Regan could tell she was a worrier.
The second boy stood a few inches above Regan’s height, and had a leaner build than the red-haired one, who she imagined would be over six feet if he wasn’t sitting on the floor, just then. He had dark hair, unkempt and spiky, as if he’d just rolled out of bed. Regan had a feeling the unruliness of it was entirely the fault of nature. He had a thin, lightning bolt-shaped scar just below his hairline. He wore round, thin-rimmed glasses in front of striking green eyes on a narrow, handsome face.
Telling by the colours of the Hogwarts’ badges on their robes, they were all three of them members of Gryffindor House—her old house—and 7th years, at that. Her new room- and class-mates.
If she decided she was here for good, that was.
“You know Mrs. Norris?” the dark-haired boy said curiously, his earlier urgency momentarily forgotten.
“Filch’s cat. Sure.” She rubbed her abused bottom, where it had hit the very hard floor, then shrugged. “Who doesn’t?”
“Well… those who’ve never been to Hogwarts, for one,” the girl replied, eyeing her a bit suspiciously as she helped the red-haired boy up off the floor. “Up you get, Ron,” she grunted, supporting his weight as he stood.
“True enough,” Regan agreed. “But I’ve—”
She was interrupted by clattering footsteps coming from the opening in a veranda—out of which the three of them had first come running—and a shouted, “Bloody hellions! I’ll catch you, yet!”
“Crap! It’s Filch!” Ron exclaimed, starting to make a run for it, the other two following suit, leaving Regan standing there.
They’d barely made it two steps when Argus Filch himself came hobbling out of the veranda, pure murder on his face.
“Stop right there!” he bellowed, in his raspy voice, shaking his fist at them. They screeched to a halt, lowering their heads guiltily. “You ruddy brats! I’ll have you sent out on your ears before you can say—Good Christ save me, it’s you!”
He’d spotted Regan standing there, staring at him with her mouth open, glee beginning to shine at the edges of her eyes.
“You!” he hissed again, pointing a bony finger at her, his wrinkled, ruddy face going white with horror. “I thought you’d gone forever! I thought I was safe from the Jayden curse! Good Christ, keep away from me!” He began to back away, making the devil sign with his fingers at her, then bolted out of sight behind the veranda tapestry.
Regan was feeling warm and fuzzy again. She had her hand over her mouth to hide the huge grin that had spread over her face the second he’d pointed that finger in her direction.
Merlin, it was good to see him again.
She turned and realized the three of them were staring at her again.
“Erm… I see he remembers me,” she said gravely, dropping her hand.
“Hang on…” the girl said, eyes narrowing. “Jayden… that wouldn’t be the same Jaydens who’re considered some of the oldest, most prestigious and most brilliant wizards since the dawn of time?”
Not just a worrier, then. A bit of an exaggerator, too.
Regan winced at the description. “Well… I’m not exactly old.”
The girl shrieked with delight, actually jumped up and down a little, then gave the dark-haired boy a shove on the arm. “D’you know what this means? You are looking at your female equivalent, Harry Potter; possibly your superior!”
Assuming she meant her, Regan winced again. “Actually, I’m not that terribly wonderful. I—”
But the dark-haired boy—Harry, was it?—was looking at her with new interest. “I think I read about your great-great-grandfather or something in one of my textbooks.”
“Yeah,” agreed Ron, sizing her up. “You look nothing like him though. Good thing, too. He had a bit of a beaky nose.” He tapped his own to illustrate. “Fat.”
The girl was babbling again. “I’ve been wanting to meet one of the Jayden family—the family’s old, I meant, by the way, not you—since we first learned about formatio mutare in Transfiguration. Is it true that all the Jaydens are Animagi? Oh, please, will you give me a demonstration?”
“Um… I don’t think—” Regan was feeling overwhelmed all of the sudden.
“Anima-what?” Ron said, brows drawing together. “I don’t remember learning about that.”
“Animagi,” Harry supplied. “Witches and wizards who can change themselves into an animal.”
“We learned all about that in third year,” the girl said, flapping her hand in dismissal. “I don’t expect you to remember, Ron.” Then she turned back to Regan and let loose on her again. “What’s your animal form? Wait, let me guess—you’re a raven! Your hair’s very black, and you’re sort of watchful like one, but maybe—”
“’Mione, shut up already,” Ron said, covering her mouth with his hand and putting an end to the matter.
“I’m Harry Potter, your apparent inferior,” Harry said, a glint of amusement in his eye as he stepped forward to offer Regan his hand.
She shook it, feeling a bit like she’d just been rolled over with a bull-dozer. Her head hurt just a little from trying to keep up. “Regan,” she replied, dazed.
“Don’t worry, she tends to have that affect on people,” Ron told her, grinning down at the girl as she squeaked in indignation, struggling to remove his hand. “Merlin knows why I love her. I’m Ron Weasley.”
The girl finally got loose—after a stiff elbow to Ron’s gut that Regan had to admire—and said, primly, “My name is Hermione Granger. I hope you’ll forgive my forwardness—” She glared when Ron snorted at the term “—but I really am very interested in your family’s history.”
“Well, that makes one of us,” Regan informed her, snapping out of it. “The Jaydens are nothing special. We aren’t any better than the other wizarding families.”
“Is it true you don’t need a wand to conjure a spell?” Hermione demanded, curiously. “I heard so. That’s fascinating, I must say. I’ve only seen Dumbledore do it before. Does it hurt? I’d wondered, because—”
“Hermione,” Ron said, warningly.
“Oh.” She turned a bit pink when she noticed Regan’s expression. “Sorry.”
“It’s all right,” Regan sighed. “Believe it or not, you’re not the first person to ask me, though never with such… enthusiasm.”
“Well… can you?”
“Hermione!” both Harry and Ron said, in exasperation.
“Right. I’m sorry.”
“Forget it,” Regan said, smiling. Then she shrugged. “What did you all do that got Filch chasing after you? It usually takes a lot to get him off his bony arse. I should know.”
Ron laughed. “I take it you used to go here. And that you weren’t exactly nice to the old gaffer.”
“Five years ago, I did,” she replied. “And it's not that I wasn’t nice to him. He’s just so easy to provoke, being nice pisses him off.”
“Regan Jayden…” Harry murmured. “I think I remember you. You were in the year ahead of us, before… well…”
“Before they kicked me out?” Regan supplied, dryly. “Yeah, I sort of had a reputation at Hogwarts. It’s likely you do remember.”
“You were expelled?” Hermione said in a stage whisper, as if it were blasphemy inside the school walls.
“What’d you do?” Ron inquired curiously.
“Um…” Regan had to repress a shiver when she recalled the very reason. “Never mind. You never answered my question. How come Filch was after you?”
“We were… experimenting in the second-floor girl’s loo. No one goes in there, except that it got kind of noisy, and Mrs. Norris heard us,” Ron explained.
“Experimenting? Like drugs?” Regan demanded, not bothering to disguise her disapproval. She was very against the use of narcotics and the abuse of alcohol. God knew she had enough of that to deal with at home with her mum, who popped pills at every imagined sign of an ache or pain.
“Nah,” Harry replied. “We found a new spell that’s supposed to create sounds out of thin air. Really useful because you can direct the noise even to another room.” He looked a bit embarrassed. “We haven’t quite got it down pat yet.”
“I know that spell,” Regan said, grinning wistfully. “Used to terrorize Filch with the sounds of children’s happy laughter, and really crap bands like Abba. He’s particularly fond of ‘Nina, Pretty Ballerina.’”
“You mean you can do it?” Ron said in surprise. “Hermione was too scared to do it in case we got caught, but Harry and I couldn’t get anything resembling a coherent noise out.”
Hermione glared at him.
“It’s all in your voice. You’ve got to think which noise you want, then say it like you want it to sound. Projec—” She cut herself short when she realized she’d raised her hand—sans wand—to conjure it, and Hermione’s eyes had lit up.
“Er… I haven’t got my wand with me,” Regan said, dropping her hand.
“But you can—”
Harry gave Hermione a silencing look, then handed Regan his. “Use mine.”
“Thanks.” She cleared her throat, then flicked the wand once, twice, and said smoothly, “Projectium audiora.”
The air filled with the riffing guitar solo of Queen’s ‘We Are the Champions.’
Ron’s face split with a grin. “Listen to that! Clear as a bell and you didn’t even—”
“Harry Potter! What are you doing?”
Regan nearly let out a shriek at the familiar—and still terrifying—voice of her old Housemistress, Professor McGonagall. She hastily flicked Harry’s wand and the hall was filled with silence.
“Explain to me this minute why you, Miss Granger and Mr. Weasley aren’t in your History of Magic class, but gallivanting about the school halls!” McGonagall’s shrill, sharp tone still struck fear in Regan’s heart.
“We were, um…”
Apparently her heart wasn’t the only one.
“Never mind. Spare me the undoubtedly wearisome details and just get to your class. Five points from Gryffindor for skipping class,” she said, signalling for them to get moving.
Then she spotted Regan.
Her mouth tightened into the thin, white line that Regan was very accustomed to having directed at her.
“Miss Jayden. I should’ve known. Headmaster Dumbledore did say you were being allowed to return,” she said, in clipped tones.
“Yes, Professor.” Regan swallowed, and hoped McGonagall had lost her frighteningly accurate ability to read her mind. “I’ve just gotten here.”
“Of course you have. You never needed long periods of time to cause trouble. It’s one of your many inane skills. Come along, then. I suppose the Headmaster is expecting you.”
Regan hurried forward, pausing briefly to hand Harry his wand back and offer him a mouthed, “Thanks,” before rushing to keep up with McGonagall, who was already marching down the hall at a fast clip.
At least she’d gotten in the door before irritating anyone. Shows you, Dad, she thought, then saw McGonagall’s emerald green cloak swishing ahead of her, and wished she’d only had Filch to deal with.
* * *