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The Year Has Been Long, But I'm Still Here
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September 2, 1889; Evening - Hufflepuff Common Room
All day her confrontation with that little Slytherin, Mr. Campbell, had rung in her ears. What a defensive little creature. But it was true, in a way she was also defensive earlier. Being in Hufflepuff did not sit well with her. So far she saw all of her fellow Hufflepuffs as fairly weak. Though she had the smarts to not say as such. She had written her mother yesterday, and had yet to hear back. Which was odd. It seemed like the woman was determined to write whenever she could. Perhaps she was working more. Alina did not like the idea of that, but it was better than the idea that her mother was at the local pub. Making money to better their future had to be the priority. She had been raised to think about that every day, even if her mother didn't fully intend that.

Classes had begun and Alina was only having some minor troubles. The matron seemed willing to help. Seems as though it was the sort of thing those women did for the less privileged. Not that Alina was willing to admit too much to struggles. What she really needed was a tutor. Someone to help her get further in her studies and preferably pass her peers so that she could prove to her mother that the saving and such was worth it. That allowing her to be a part of quidditch was worth it. Likely not going to happen, knowing her mother. But she could still try. And flying club was not something she had to mention.

Magic by Lady!
September 13, 1889; Evening - Hufflepuff Common Room
Having just returned from the library, it felt like a rush for the Hufflepuff. Finally, some actual progress besides help with pronunciation and understanding the words in her book. The matron was still a help, but getting to know her actual school work better and feel more confident was a real rush. She could do this. Alina reminded herself of that every time she got a bit frustrated as she studied with Miss Fairchild. This was going to work. She was a determined little badger. Having a nearly guaranteed tutor for two years was refreshing. Hopefully she wouldn't really need one by the end of the year, but getting ahead after that would be spectacular. The longer she could stay at Hogwarts, the better.

It made her wonder what sort of a career she really wanted. What OWLs she should aim for by third year. That would be Miss Fairchild's last year at the school. Perhaps she would have some insight? What did she want to do? Alina was slightly curious by the thought. Would she even stay after her OWLs? That would be a discussion for when the time comes. The main focus was to get to OWLs, pass, and go from there. Likely she would not. So that did limit her career options. Being part of the Ministry would pay well, surely. Something in her simply screamed that working as a healer was not really for her. Perhaps that would change in a few years. Until then, she simply needed to figure out her options before she was out of school and on one set path or another.

Magic by Lady!
October 24, 1889; Evening - Hufflepuff Common Room
The fact that Ma had not gotten her letter was a tad bit unsettling. Where could it have gone? She remembered the little owl. Had remembered sending it away, never to be seen again. Over a month with no reply and so much studying to make sure she was keeping up that she had no time to really send another one. She had no time this evening, even having gotten it this morning. Studying both the more fancy magical words as well as what was the meaning and intention of all of these spells, she was far too busy to be worrying about this sort of thing.

But random possibilities of where the letter could have disappeared to continued to pop into her head. She had asked a few of her dorm mates if they had seen a letter, but they seemed to be honest in their answers of having seen no such thing besides their own. Ugh, and of course her mother must have been frantic after the first few hours of not receiving a word. The woman had a tendency to be a bit over dramatic. "Focus. Charms." She mumbled to herself, receiving a curious raise of an eyebrow of the person sitting next to her. She shrugged sheepishly and continued to try and focus on what she was doing.

Magic by Lady!
November 12, 1889; Evening - First Year Hufflepuff Female Dorm
Her sheets were constantly changing colors and it was all Alina's fault. She had been practicing a spell for charms class, supposedly simple homework, when she shrieked from surprise when seeing what she had done. She was trying to turn her apple blue! Had she not aimed properly? Focused fully on the color she had been trying to change said apple into? Ugh! Soon her fellow first year girls would be coming up for bed, and this was what they were to spot! Oh, perhaps a house elf would be in here briefly before then. This was utterly embarrassing! Has anyone else made this much of a fool of themselves? Burying her head in her normal colored pillow, she let out a frustrated groan.

Magic by Lady!
November 16, 1889; Morning - Random Hogwarts Corridor With a Window
Watching as the older students headed off for a Hogsmeade weekend, she felt a pit of jealousy. She was not likely to be going to one of those even if she could. Too much studying to do. Even if she kept up with her peers, or even got ahead of them. No such thing as too much studying, right? Getting as much as she could from Hogwarts before her time there was done. The more learning she could get from the school, the better.

Thus she would be leaving the window quite soon. But she just had to take a moment. Just one. Let herself have this after so much hard work. Mother would disapprove of the time off, but wouldn't they be able to afford it once Alina got a good and proper job? Mother would never accept leaving her own career, Alina was sure. But couldn't the young Hufflepuff take one moment for a day dream?

Magic by Lady!
November 24, 1889; Evening - Hufflepuff Common Room
Hufflepuff had lost their match to the Ravenclaws. Would they have won with her? Likely not. But she liked to imagine that they would have. Still, it was frustrating to see such miserable faces among her peers. Move on, train harder and longer, and get ready for the next match. Wasn't that what really winners did? Not pouted and muttered about trying again for the next game. Perhaps Alina was simply being mean, but could she really help the judgement? Rolling her eyes, she decided that studying in the dorm would likely lead to less gloom and doom from her peers. Or at least less faces to have to find pouting.

Magic by Lady!
December 2, 1889; Night - Hufflepuff Common Room
Miss Fairchild's younger sister had given her some paper and supplies for writing Christmas cards. While nice, it seemed like a distraction. But the Gryffindor had been insistent that making these would be nice for a brief change. It wasn't as though anyone seemed to feel that Alina was doing poorly thus far. Determined as ever. So after all the homework and studying was done to her satisfaction, she had spent her later hours of the night working on such a project. By the time she was done, she was quite tired. She would have to beg one of her dorm mates to wake her up.

Magic by Lady!
December 17, 1889; Late Afternoon - Hogwarts Library
Classes were almost done and Alina was busy studying. The hard work seemed to be paying off. Her confidence was growing, though she did not want to let pride get in the way of her classes. Average was fine for now, but she wanted more. To achieve greatness in whatever time she had at Hogwarts. Studying with Miss Fairchild was fine, but she would need those more skilled in the subjects that the Ravenclaw was lacking. But for now the basics were something that Miss Fairchild was fairly good at covering. Perhaps the two of them could find other students to help in the quest to study as much as they could. Especially by the time third year came around and Alina would need help with her electives and preparing for Miss Fairchild's absence the following year.

Miss Fairchild would make a decent governess, in Alina's opinion. Patient enough, smart as a Ravenclaw should be, and her status seemed to be that of most governesses. But perhaps that was not what Miss Fairchild was looking for in careers. Alina could certainly understand that. Perhaps they would talk about it eventually, but for now it was time to focus on studying and being as thorough as they could be before dinner.

Magic by Lady!
December 18, 1889; Evening - Hogwarts Library
Not yet dinner, but the clock was ticking closer and closer to the time that Alina would head over to the Great Hall and eat. It was still an amazement at how much food they had. She certainly felt spoiled. How was she to try and handle the life that she was living back home? But she must. Until she could make it better, she must. It gave her more motivation than anything else. To succeed. To do great things. To make her life... well, like it is in Hogwarts. More food, and hopefully better clothes. A better life. At least for herself, if not for her family. Mother would understand if Alina went off on her own for the important goal of success. Surely. It was both of their dreams, right? Even if it wasn't exactly mother's dream, Alina was quite willing drop her and aunt Morella if it was absolutely necessary.

This wasn't really somethings she thought was needed to be discussed between either women. What would be the point? It was a dog eat dog world and Alina was determined not to get thrown into the pits for the sake of her family's feelings. There were more important things in life, in her eyes. But she kept all of this to herself. She worked hard and showed love to the two most important people in life. For now, she needed them as much as they seemed to need her. At least, that was what Alina told herself.

Magic by Lady!
December 20, 1889; Morning - First Year Hufflepuff Female Dorm
It was the last day of classes before break and all Alina could feel was a sense of dread. Who in their right mind would want to exchange unlimited food and a warm, uncrowded bed for the life she lived in the real world? Hard work and sharing a home with multiple other families. But she had to go back. The more money she could make during her breaks, the more likely she would be allowed to return to school so that she would have a better chance at life. This was something that demanded her attention and she was quite unwilling to risk her future for a little bit more time of luxury. Her letter to her mother of hopes to stay were not even her brightest idea, and she was glad to have come to her senses now.

That didn't mean that she didn't want to stay anyway. Of course she did. So the dread stayed. Nagged at her as she got ready for her day. This was certainly going to be a long day. A long winter break was to follow. Summer was going to feel like a dozen starved years. But she had to stay strong in order to secure her future. That was all that mattered. Her future.

Magic by Lady!

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