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Story Notes:
The sound of crying catches Orla’s attention as she walks past the girls’ toilets on her way to the common room. Since it’s barely past six, she’s surprised to find someone else already awake and especially to hear the quiet sobbing from within. For a moment, she wonders what to do. She’s only a second year, which makes her barely a step above a House Elf in the eyes of her older Housemates, but she can’t possibly just walk on past without seeing if someone needs help.

With a determined set to her chin, she carefully opens the door to peak inside. If it’s someone who just wants to be alone, she can go on to the common room to work on her Potions schoolwork before breakfast without feeling ashamed for not offering to help. Orla recognizes the girl that is standing by the sinks crying. Marietta has always been very nice to her and even helped her figure out a Transfiguration assignment last year.

It’s awkward for Orla because she doesn’t know if Marietta would prefer for her to go on as if she never saw her or if she might need a friend. Well, they’re not really friends since Marietta is several years older and Orla isn’t very fond of socializing, but they’re Housemates, and, really, that’s almost the same thing. Marietta hasn’t noticed her yet, so Orla has a chance to think and consider her options.

Marietta is looking in the mirror and running her fingers over the word that is emblazoned on her forehead. It’s a harsh penance, Orla thinks, especially when everyone makes mistakes. Since it happened, there are rumors and whispers regarding how it happened and why, but Orla doesn’t really listen to gossip. Facts are far more dependable. She knows it has to do with a secret group that Harry Potter formed and that Marietta did something wrong, but she still thinks it isn’t right to do such a thing to someone.

After careful consideration, Orla quietly closes the door to the toilets and exhales softly. Marietta doesn’t need her trying to help, not when there’s nothing she can really do except make things worse. Instead, she murmurs a muffling charm that she’s just learned and walks to the common room. Harry Potter might be a hero destined to great things, but she thinks that he really isn’t a very nice person at all.