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Chapter 4: Part II: In The Art Of Competition
Disclaimer: Everything goes to JKR :)
A/N: Hi everyone! So this is the fourth chapter, I hope you all enjoy it, and this is the beginning of Part II so there's been a time jump of sorts and the real story starts now!!
Absolutely gorgeous Chapter Image by Deianiera @tda!
In the Art Of Competition
The familiar sounds of morning breakfast in the great hall were broken yet again by yells.
Some looked up in concern, towards the door to the entrance hall, exchanging glances with one another as the yelling continued to disrupt their conversations.
However most continued with their morning, mostly because they were used to it. It had been going on for two years, so for most people it was the norm. Even the teachers looked unbothered by the noise, sitting placidly about, continuing with their meal as though nothing was happening.
“YOU ARE SUCH A PRICK, JAMES POTTER!!” came the screams from outside.
“OH YEAH? THIS COMING FROM THE GIRL WHO SPREAD BUTTER ON OUR BATHROOM FLOOR WHILE I WAS TAKING A SHOWER, SO THAT WHEN I GOT OUT I SLIPPED AND PRACTICALLY CRAKED MY HEAD OPEN!” came a second voice.
“YOU DESERVED IT!” Yelled the first voice.
“WELL YOU KNOW WHAT?” Came the second voice, “I THINK I PREFERRED YOU WITH THE ENCHANTED OVERSIZED BUCKTEETH. IT SUITED YOU BETTER!”
“WELL A CRAKED OPEN HEAD WOULD SUIT YOU BETTER!”
“I AM GOING TO GET YOU BACK FOR THIS, WALKER! MAKE NO MISTAKE!”
“OOOH! I’M SO SCARED!”
“YOU SHOULD BE!”
The argument stopped abruptly and two figures stormed separately into the great hall, both looking flushed, furious and completely enraged with each other.
The first was a tall boy, with sticking up, messy black hair. He had a slightly arrogant manner about him, especially in the way that he walked, with a certain confident swagger that oozed self-assurance.
The second figure was a girl, who was almost as tall as he was. She was leggy and slim, with a light, willowy frame. Her long, inky black hair was always in a mess, and never found itself anywhere other than hanging scruffily and unevenly down her back. She had piercing, clear blue eyes and her face was like looking at a picture of complete innocence, with her china doll skin and angelic complection. However the firm scowl on her face assured everyone that she was anything but innocent.
It was James Potter and Charlie Walker, 5th years, feared troublemakers and well known for their fierce rivalry and deep hatred of each other.
James was very popular. He was a keeper on the quidditch team, Harry Potter’s son, and was also known for being a flirt, as well as a famed member of the Hogwarts ‘new marauders’.
The new group of Hogwarts marauders was much like the old one. There was James, the leader of the group. There was his cousin, Fred Weasley, his best friend and right hand man.
Then there was Owen Williams and Zachary Wood. Zachary Wood was a prefect who watched the actions of his friends with a sceptical eye and a slight touch of amusement. He had given up trying to keep them under control a long time ago. Owen Williams was the school’s resident clown. He always knew how to make an awkward situation ten times worse by making an inappropriate comment.
But the Gryffindor Girls weren’t quite the same. They were tough, intimidating, and they didn’t take crap from anyone. Their leader was clear in Charlie Walker and her ‘right hand man’ was Max, or better known as Max, Duchamp.
Both Charlie and Max had developed a reputation for being fearless, daring and completely wild. Both were born and bred tomboys. Neither gave a toss about what they looked like, or what anyone else thought of them, and it was this that made them slightly intimidating.
Needless to say they weren’t bullies, in fact most greatly admired them for the strong fight that they held up against James Potter.
The other half of the group was made up of Alex Longbottom and Dan Abbott. Alex Longbottom was shy, but she was in no way a pushover. In fact when it came to her enemies she could be rather ruthless. She had thick brown hair and olive green eyes that had the power to terrify even the bravest .
Finally there was Dan, who’s real name was Danielle, Abbott, the sarcastic, cynical and funny one. She was beautiful with striking grey eyes and wavy black hair. She was also a bit of a nutter.
It was unquestioned that the four girls were a force to be reckoned with, and they were at constant war with the new marauders. However when it came down to it, everyone knew it was just a battle between James and Charlie, and the others usually took the back seat when it came down to a real fight.
Nevertheless they all still hated each other. Both sides were determined to prove that they were better at troublemaking than the other.
Most mornings started with a fierce and loud argument between James and Charlie, and today was just such a morning.
I stormed over to the table and took a seat opposite Max, who sat eating her breakfast with Alex and Dan at one end of the table.
“I hate him. I hate him. I hate him. I hate him,” I muttered, glaring at the plate of toast that sat in front of me.
“Let me guess,” said Max, “You’re talking about James Potter.”
“Good guess,” I muttered.
“Did you really put butter there while he was in the shower?” asked Dan, her mischievous grin in place, her grey eyes glittering playfully.
“Don’t I wish he had cracked his head on the bloody bathroom floor,” I snarled, glaring towards James who sat at the other end, surrounded by the rest of the ‘new marauders,’ or as everyone else called them the ‘NMs’.
I preferred to call them the PIMA, the pains in my arse.
“Wonder what he’ll do next,” said Alex, her eyes narrowing in thought.
“Nothing could surprise me any more,” I said, “He’s played every card. Nothing’s unexpected.”
“I wouldn’t be too sure about that,” said Max uncertainly, “He always seems to have some sort of trick up his sleeve.” She flicked her long, golden blonde hair out of her eyes.
Max was part veela, with a perfect face and cornflower blue eyes. She always managed to look effortlessly beautiful, and upon first sight you would think she was an angelic, innocent girl. We all knew better.
She also had a very distant connection to the Weasley family. Her mum, who was half veela, had a brother who was now married to Gabrielle Delacour. Gabrielle Delacour’s sister Fleur was married to Bill Weasley, who was James and Fred’s uncle. So even though they were quite far from being blood relations, Max always had a strong connection to that family. She, like me, was also half French, but both her parents were wizards, whereas my parents didn’t want anything to do with magic.
The first time I met Max it was on my first night at Hogwarts, in the third year girl’s dormitory. Max introduced herself as soon as I had sat down on my assigned bed.
“My name’s Max,” she said. Before I could say anything she continued loudly, “Yeah, I know, I know. It’s a boy’s name. Bla bla bla. But if you call me Maxine I’ll make sure you’re tongue is so twisted it’ll never be able to say the word Maxine ever again.”
I grinned at her.
“Charlie,” I said, holding out a hand. Max grinned back at me,
“Welcome to Hogwarts,” she said, giving me her hand.
We shook decisively.
We had been best friends ever since.
“So what did he do this time?” Dan asked me.
I gritted my teeth.
“He slipped me a patented dream charm juice and all through potions I sat staring into space and my body couldn’t snap out of it. Professor McKinley gave me three detentions.”
“Three detentions is nothing to the amount you’ve had in the past,” said Dan.
This was true. I had gotten up to six months worth of detention in the past. So far that waa my record. Potter’s was probably bigger. I definitely needed to beat him at that by the time we leave here.
“Ugh, I still needed to get him back,” I muttered.
“So you spread butter on the floor?” asked Alex, raising an eyebrow. I could tell she was unimpressed by my lack of imagination.
“It was all I could think of for the moment. I’ll come up with something better later,” I explained.
Too bad I can’t think of anything. I’ve played pretty much every card in the book. This calls for some serious inspiration.
Unfortunately I’ll probably have to wait to see what he does next. And since he adores that pretty face that I almost ruined this morning by making him slip It’ll probably be something ruthless.
“We need something,” I said, looking at Fred seriously, “Something good.”
Fred frowned at me, “How did you not notice her in the bathroom while you were in the shower?” he asked.
“That’s besides the point,” I snapped, “We need a comeback. Something that’ll show her who’s the real troublemaker here.”
“I don’t know mate, Charlie can definitely give you a run for your money. Remember the time she tricked you into getting stuck outside the Gryffindor common room in your underwear?” asked Fred, “And she got the Fat Lady to change the password so you were stuck there all night?”
Oh yes, how could I forget? Most humiliating night of my life, I’m not exactly going to let it slip my mind.
“May I remind you Freddie,” I said, glaring at him, “That afterwards I got my revenge by writing a letter on her behalf to the agony aunt at witch weekly, and making sure everybody got copies of that issue.”
“Yeah, and then she got her revenge by putting a bat bogey hex on you,” laughed Fred. I frowned at him.
“She is good at that one,” I said grudgingly, glaring down the table to where Walker sat talking animatedly with Alex Longbottom.
“How long is this going to go on?” asked Zach, our fellow Gryffindor, and one quarter of the new marauders, “You’re both going to destroy each other eventually.”
Zach was the level headed one of the group. Annoyingly him and Walker got along very well, mostly because he was modest and he treated everyone he met with respect. He calls it a friendly acquaintance. I call it fraternizing with the enemy.
“No,” I said determinedly, “I am going to destroy her. End of story.”
“It was pretty funny when she locked you out of the Gryffindor common room,” laughed Owen. Owen was a joker, he never took any seriously, and he was the king of inappropriate jokes. In short, he was a good laugh.
“Oh sod off,” I muttered.
“And she can do a pretty mean jelly legs jinx,” added Zach. He paused and looked down at his food and then back to me, frowning slightly, “Tell me why you’re trying to beat this girl again?”
“I’m not trying,” I said in frustration, “I’m beating her. You’ll see. I’ll think of something.”
An owl flew towards us, a soft brown package in its claws. It flew over our heads and dropped the package into Owens lap.
“What’s that?” asked Fred peering over the table at the package, which Owen was feeling in his hands.
“It’s the uniform my mum sent me,” said Owen as he tore open the paper.
“Awww, mummy doing your laundry now is she?” Fred snickered.
“Sod off,” said Owen, “I outgrew my other robes, so I have hardly any stuff left. She’s just sending me some new ones.”
And then it came to me.
“I’ve got an idea,” I said, a gleeful smile beginning to appear on my face.
* * *
Later that afternoon we had Care of Magical Creatures. As usual everybody was waiting outside Hagrid’s cabin.
We were learning about flobberworms, which was a step down from the crazy after the blast ended screwts last year. Walker kept setting hers on me, and almost every week we came back from class with several cuts and burns on our faces and hands.
Caring for flobberworms requires minimal effort, but the best part about it is that Walker can’t get hers to attack me. Flobberworms don’t do much.
“So you’ve got a plan?” asked Fred as we approached the cabin.
“Yep,” I said proudly, still smiling to myself.
“What is it?” asked Owen.
We’d reached the cabin by now and I climbed on top of the white picket fence that surrounded the paddock next to the hut. I began to walk over it, balancing myself with my arms spread either side.
The others gathered around.
“OI! James!” said Owen
“What?” I asked, trying to focus my attention on not falling while I was showing off.
“What’s the bloody plan?” yelled Fred from where he stood looking up at me.
I opened my mouth to answer but something caught my eye. Walker and the other Gryffindor girls were walking towards us, all laughing at something.
Walker spotted me balancing myself on the fence and she drew out her wand.
I remained still, determined not to give her the satisfaction of jumping off before she could explode it beneath my feet. Everyone turned to look at her. She smirked at her friends and flicked her wand, muttering something under her breath.
The fence beneath my feet began to move.
I looked down, and saw that she’d created wheels underneath the fence and it was now rolling at full pace down the hill towards the forest.
I swung back and forth, waving my arms like an idiot, before doing a spectacular belly flop onto the grass. It didn’t hurt that much, but my pride was hurt more than anything else.
The girls cheered and laughed. I picked myself quickly and brushed the grass off my robes. Everyone was jeering.
“You alright?” asked Fred.
“Fine,” I grinned. I joined the rest of the group.
“Oi Walker!” I yelled towards the group of girls that stood apart from the rest of us. Walker looked at me, her blue eyes piercing me with silent laughter.
“What?” she asked, her voice cold, “Your head still hurting Potter?”
“Trust me Walker, I’ve got a plan,” I said, “I’m going to get you back for this.”
“Aww, you slipped,” said Walker, putting on a simpering, patronizing tone, “Poor little Potter banged his head.”
“Whas goin’ on ‘ere?” came a booming voice from behind us.
It was Hagrid, frowning down at us in confusion.
“Nothing Hagrid,” I said.
“Hey James,” said Hagrid, beaming at me, “Hey Charlie!” He smiled at her.
“Hi Hagrid!” she exclaimed, grinning at him.
Hagrid composed himself and withdrew a large bucket from behind his back.
“Now, today we’ll be learnin’ how to give a flobberworm a bath.”
The class groaned.
I hope your school year is going well. But try not to get into any more trouble. It’s tiring to keep receiving letters from Professor McGonagall.
Your brothers miss you a lot. Jack just started his third year at the Université d’Avignon. He’s really enjoying it so far. Ben still wants to become a footballer, but I told him to get a real job before he puts his dreams into something so unstable. Eric wants to be a scientist of some sort. He likes talking about it to me, but I don’t really understand what he’s talking about. Lucas still doesn’t know what he wants to do now that he’s finished school. He’s talking about travelling a bit first. Then maybe he’ll go on to do something in Maths. He was always good at that, do you remember?
I hope your summer with your father was enjoyable. I heard that they’ve sent Daisy and Bryony to boarding school now, which seems young, but I’m sure Angela knows what’s best.
Enjoy the rest of the school. Please don’t get into any more trouble. You seem to be on some sort of mission to break some sort of record.
I grinned at the letter. My mother’s effort to take an interest in Dad and his wife Angela’s personal life was admirable. Another thing that made me laugh was when she’d written that Angela knew what was best for her children.
We had actually grown much closer since I had left France. I had only seen her about three times in the past two years, but we talked through letters quite often and we now in almost regular correspondence.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, is what Max said. I said out of sight, out of mind. I think the only real reason my mother made an effort to keep me up to date, and keep in contact is because she hadn’t seen me in so many years, and she’d almost forgotten about who I was when she was taking care of me.
Poor mum, I hadn’t changed a bit.
My heart ached when she talked about my brothers. I missed them painfully every day. They’d all gathered the money to come to visit me this summer. They came to dad and Angela’s house out of the blue, ignored dad’s protests completely and took me out London for a whole day. It had been one of the best days of my life. The fact that they had all changed so much in the short course of two years scared me beyond belief.
I half expected them to be all married with kids the next time I came to visit.
They all wrote me regular letters, eager to know about Hogwarts and my studies. But they were more interested to know what pranks I had pulled in recent history. I had told them about Potter so often that they often mentioned him, when asking me about my pranks, in their letters like they also knew him.
It was the following morning after the ‘butter’ incident. Everyone was moving around the dormitory sleepily, still in their pyjamas. All except Dan who appeared from bathroom, her wet hair dripping around her bare shoulders, a towel wrapped firmly around her and a toothbrush hanging out of her mouth, toothpaste dribbling out of her mouth.
She is pure class.
“Showafree,” she gargled incoherently. Alex bounced up eagerly and made for the bathroom door.
“Someone’s tired,” said Max, an eyebrow raised.
“You’d be tired too if you also spent the night snogging Xander Phillips,” she said, removing the toothbrush from her mouth and waggling her eyebrows.
“Finally!” cried Max, “Tell me everything!”
“I don’t kiss and tell,” said Dan, “Have some class”
“Says the girl who crawled in here at two am after spending it in the Slytherin common room,” I snorted.
“Oi!” she cried, picking up her stiletto and throwing towards me feebly.
Dan was a bit of a …free spirit. Let’s just say she had a fairly strict ‘use then lose’ policy with boys. She dated them and then, just as things started to get even the slightest bit emotional she dumped them.
But that’s why I like her. She didn’t bother with any of that mushy love crap. Even if in our third year she did profess her undying love for one Zachary Wood, who became so embarrassed that he mumbled something unintelligible and shy and then shuffled off.
Dan was heartbroken, and then BAM! Beginning of our forth year she arrived, a whole new look and a whole new attitude. From then on the ‘use then lose’ policy was in full swing. I suppose the whole point of the ‘use then lose’ program was to make Zach jealous. It didn’t quite work.
Mostly because Zach’s in love with Alex, and he doesn’t even try to hide it. He spends most of class time staring at her as she studiously takes notes in class.
It’s a pity she never notices him, because they’re the only remotely normal one’s in this whole mess. But now that I think about it, it probably wouldn’t work. From what I’ve seen from relationships you usually need one person who does all the talking, and one who does all the listening. For instance Zach and Alex would both listen too much, so then they’d both be listening to silence and it just wouldn’t work. Whereas say Dan and Zach might work because Dan can talk the hind legs off a donkey if she wants to. Or Dad and Angela. The amount of talking that Angela does should be made an imprisonable offence.
Ew. I did not just refer to my useless father and my menace of a step-mother as a couple that has a functional relationship.
Please excuse me while I laugh.
Anyway Dan doesn’t know she’s still in love with Zach. Zach’s all goo-goo eyes for Alex. And Alex is completely oblivious. Thankfully so is Dan. End of Story.
“Uh, guys,” said Dan, calling our attention. She was searching through her drawers frantically, clearing out her wardrobe.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, frowning, trying to figure out what she was looking for.
Dan ran to Alex’s wardrobe and threw it open. Then she ran to the Max’s and opened.
“What’s going on?” cried Max.
“It’s all gone!” cried Dan, “They’ve taken it!”
A/N: So? Thoughts? I hope you all liked it! Please, please let me know what you liked or disliked in a review!
EDIT: New chapter image!!!!!! There'll be more coming sooon!