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The Human Factor by SexyDoorFrames
Chapter 1: The One Where It All Begins
Disclaimer: I don’t own Harry Potter, I’m not that cool.
The chapter titles idea comes from Friends, one of the most amazing shows ever. The story title comes from angeless7fallenstarsong.
Authors Note: Hello! How are you all? Welcome to my new story. I’m really excited to give you the story of Pippa Nott. I know I should be updating my other stories, but this one just wanted to be written.
Please tell me what you think! I think that would make my day, plus I’d love to hear what you think of the story! I’m always unsure about the first chapter. What do you think of Pippa?
Thanks so much so reading!
Thanks so much for emmapotter & StEpH_M for being my beta!
Chapter One -
The One Where It All Begins
Amazing chapter image by shudder @ TDA
“Now, can we find out whether I am a murderer or not?” – Albus Potter
I have made many mistakes in my life, but the one that really takes the biscuit is this; trusting Albus Potter for a single second. I should never have trusted him. If I had just said “no, I don’t really want that chocolate bunny”, I would happily be poking a first year until they cried.
Confused? Good… Okay! Alright! You’ve worn me down; I’ll tell you about my woeful day.
It began (and is still happening) on a grisly Tuesday. I was strolling though Hogwarts minding my own business, when I came across two boys whispering like old women. I should have just turned around and wiped the whole thing from my memory. Not that it would be easy, I have an excellent memory so I’d probably end up Obliviating myself and turn out like Gilderoy Lockhart. I mean, I can still remember when I broke my brother’s nose after whacking him in the face with a gnome. I was four and had anger problems. He'd chucked some dirt on me, so I broke his nose. Fair, yes? See? It’s excellent. Alright, so I cannot remember where I put my Remembrall and I can’t remember when my potions essay needs to be in but apart from those minor details, my memory is awesome. Anyway, so I had discovered two boys whispering in the hallway. Unfortunately for me that these boys were Albus Potter, a raven haired pale devil and Scorpius Malfoy, a stupid blonde boy who once tied me around a tree for six hours. It was originally a game but he ended up forgetting about me. Thus, I got the worse cold ever and started a cold epidemic. Scorpius somehow, ended up avoiding the cold and came down with the flu instead. So it was all fair in the end really.
It took them all of five seconds to spot me. “Pippa.” Albus spoke, his voice calm as Scorpius chewed on his bottom lip. The boy has a habit of thinking his bottom lip is bubble gum. Albus eyes narrowed. “How much did you hear?”
I felt a little bit like I was on the set of some spy film.
I pondered the answer to Albus’ question. In all honesty? Nothing but I lied of course. “All of it.” I smirked, like the evil genius that I was.
Albus wasn’t fazed but Scorpius shrieked a little. “Really?”
Albus stepped closer to me; he would have invaded my personal space, if I had any. “What are you going to do about it?” He stared at me with that intense look that he’s perfected. The boy actually needs to take a chill pill once in a while in my opinion. In fact, he could do with one all the time. “Tell the professors?” He was challenging me, I knew that and I relished in it.
“No. I’m telling your momma!” I blurted out as Albus raised his eyebrow. Momma? I need to stop watching those Muggle TV shows that my brother is addicted too. We watch them in secret as dad thinks they’re filth. It's true though, they are filth. Everyone gets pregnant, parties even when sleep deprived, drinks too much before the love of the life saves them from self destructing. Then usually they get their happy ending or die tragically in an angst overdose. Either way, someone cries and I don't like it when people cry. Crying is for babies.
Scorpius gasped and I was getting closer to hitting the boy. He acts like a girl too much.
Albus laughed. “Really?” I nodded. Once again, I was lying. I wasn’t going to write to his mother; that’s just embarrassing and I’m a Slytherin. We don’t do embarrassing; we’re too cool for that.
Please stop rolling your eyes now.
You’re hurting my feelings.
I’d cry for effect if I didn’t think crying was for wussies. Plus, my face goes all blotchy and it really isn’t a good look.
“We’re scared.” He mocked me. “Aren’t we Scorpius?” Scorpius looked around to check if there was anyone else called Scorpius before deciding that Albus was referring to him. Albus smacked himself lightly on the forehead because his best friend is an idiot. “Anyway, I’ll trade your silence for…something.” Albus eyes glinted in the light.
Scorpius pulled out a chocolate bunny covered in gold paper, it had a little bell around its neck. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen . I’m a girl and I love chocolate, yes, I know I’m a walking cliché but they are called clichés for a reason. “This?” It looked delicious. I wanted it; I was going to have it. Even if I had to kick a puppy to get it, I would. Nothing would stop me biting off that bunny’s head before eating its arms.
“She’s never going to fall for that-“
“- Deal!” I said snatching the bunny out of Scorpius hands. I stared at the bunny. I think I was drooling.
Albus looked deep in thought for a moment before speaking. “There is another bunny in that cupboard. That’s where Scorpius got it from.”
My eyes widened as I ran into the cupboard. Only to have the door shut behind me.
“Idiot.” Albus muttered as he turned the key in the door. “See you later Nott.”
I had been tricked!
I thundered on the door for a long time to no avail after I discovered that the cupboard was completely devoid of chocolate; this made me completely pissed off and annoyed, with Albus, life and mostly myself. I wish I had never run into this stupid cupboard. Sometimes my thinking process just shuts down.
I need to work on that.
…No one was coming to be my prince in tin foil. I think that’s the saying anyway. I munched on the chocolate bunny. It was delicious; it could have been poisoned for all I cared.
I wish I had my wand. I left it underneath my pillow. Which frankly is idiotic but that’s me. I didn’t realize I didn’t have it until I was half way to dinner and I didn’t think there was much point in going back to get it. I mean, I know everyone wants to kill Slytherins but I didn’t think they’d try on this sunny afternoon. I mean, it just wouldn’t make sense. You need dark, depressing weather to make stuff like that more dramatic.
I hummed softly to myself trying to come up with a plan.
…Nope, I got nothing.
I slid down to sit on the dirty floor. I cringed, but I would have to take two baths later. I hated germs with a passion.
So, with nothing to do, I sat there, rocking like a mad woman. Forwards, then backwards. Forwards, then backwards. It seemed like an eternity. I imagined this was like Azkaban: no wonder granddad is crazy.
“I can’t believe you locked her in a cupboard!” I heard my brother complain from outside. If you looked at us, you probably wouldn’t know we’re siblings, we look nothing alike. Where as I am small, weedy and frail looking, my brothers physique reminds me of a bear. He’s a year older than me and he never lets me forget it. Sometimes he made my life hell just because he thought he was trying to protect me but when I punched that girl he was seeing, he went loony. I didn’t get that. It’s always one rule for him, another for me. Plus, I had a good reason for punching that girl; she called me babe. “Pass the salt babe.” I mean, who actually says that? Damien didn’t speak to me for two weeks and James Potter told me my brother was ‘deeply hurt’ or something. I just thought it was his time of the month. James was my brother’s best friend; they went everywhere together. It was annoying but I had grown accustomed to it.
Just because I look like a wimp doesn’t mean I am one. It comes in handy though, I guess, people tend to underestimate me and that is when I curse them.
“That’s awful Albus.” James scolded. “I mean, what did Pippa ever do to you? And don’t roll your eyes at me!”
“It was only a joke.” I could practically feel the shrug in his tone. It made my blood boil.
I could have died! I could have been eaten by spiders. I could have caught a tramps disease from this dirty floor. Anything could have happened really.
That’s when my brilliant plan sprang to mine. I would pretend I was dead or at the very least unconscious. This would then make Albus feel bad and he would come near me. This is when I would jump him and beat the life out of him.
Good plan right?
I organised myself on the floor. I placed my arms out on either side and tried to make myself comfortable, which was impossible. Ah the pain of revenge! I was going for the damsel in distress look. I wasn’t sure I was pulling it off to be honest.
“Pippa? Are you in there?” Damien asked. He seemed a bit worried, I wanted to answer him but dead people don’t speak. Not unless their ghosts and I don’t think I could pass for a ghost. I’m not pale enough nor am I transparent. So fail really.
“Of course she’s in there.” Scorpius said brightly. “We locked her inside.”
“Thanks for that genius.” Damien snapped. “If you’ve killed my sister, you’re paying for a new one.” There was silence for a moment. “Shut up, I know that didn’t make sense.”
“You can have ours.” James replied cheerfully. “She fancies you.”
“…That’s nice to know.”
“That’s why she kept on coming into my bedroom to see if you would have your top off.” James mused before laughing at the stalking tendencies of his baby sister. This family is weird.
I wish they would shut up now; I am laying here ‘dying’ for merlin’s sake! This shows how much they care doesn’t it? Just wait until Damien is in trouble and then I’ll get my revenge.
It would be time for ‘mwhaha’ but I have to remain silent.
“If you had your top off in James’ room, I’d start asking questions.” Albus added. “Now, can we find out whether I am a murderer or not?” I hoped Albus was close to tears but his voice was calm; as always. He didn’t care.
I swore revenge on him then.
“Give me the key.” Damien ordered. He inserted the key in the lock. I shut my eyes and the door swung open. “What the hell?” Damien said confused. “Did you kill my sister then shove her in this cupboard?” Damien asked in the same voice he used to ask if he could have toast in the morning. “Cause my dads going to be pretty annoyed, I’m supposed to look after her.”
Fine job you’re doing here Damien.
“She was fine when she ran into there earlier.” Albus shrugged. “Maybe she bumped her head? Or choked on that chocolate bunny ‘cause she acted like a big fatty and tried to eat it all at once.”
I tried not to scowl but it was difficult.
“Oh my!” Scorpius was pacing. “I’m going to get sent to Azkaban for assisting a murder!” Scorpius gasped. “My dad is going to kill me! And my mum, she’ll cry!” She will you know, Scorpius is her world. I have no idea why.
“Haven’t you noticed she’s breathing?” Albus said in a ‘duh’ tone. He walked over to me and leant down. “See, her chest it moving; that’s usually a sign of breathing!”
This is when I sprang back to life and grabbed Albus’ collar so I could face him, eye to eye, nose to nose, lips to lips, that sort of thing.
Albus yelped, Damien cursed, James shouted and Scorpius screamed like a little girl.
I had pulled Albus too close because I felt his breath tickle my face. I ignored that, like I said earlier, I don’t have personal space issues unless you’re smelly. Then you have to stay away from me. “You are an idiot.” I yelled at him. He just stared back at me with those annoying emerald eyes. “I will get you back for that! I’m so hungry I could eat a hippo and it’s your entire fault, Potter.” I continued to ramble to him. “That was just pure mean, Ice boy.” I gibbered, I wanted to be mean, I wanted to be cool and all that was coming out of my mouth was nonsense and it was laughable.
Albus smiled at me and I wanted to punch him for it. Albus was many things; he was often described untouchable, which was the opposite of his brother who was an open book ready to be absorbed and read. Albus on the other hand had shut out the world despite it’s pleadings to be let in. No one could open that door. Not the girls that promised to love him forever or the boys who had promised to watch his back.
Sometimes it was like he wasn’t even there, an ice sculpture that grew harder every day. Of course, he had an Achilles' heel, the moment where he sprang to life. The one moment when you felt that Albus was actually human and that was when he smiled.
Despite being colder that snow, his smile sets everything ablaze. It was warm, it sparked your soul and I almost found myself smiling back. I refused, I wouldn’t. My scowl was my armour. My insides felt like they were going to combust and I would let them burn into dust before I gave in.
You wouldn’t see this smile often, but when you did, it would haunt you. I’m not even sure he knew what his smile even did to people, if he did, I’m sure I wouldn’t be on the receiving end of one as I am now.
“What are you smiling at?” The words were ragged but I didn’t care. “Tell me.” I ordered forcefully.
The smile faded into that dead look of his. “You,” He said laughing. “I’m smiling because you’re so ridiculous and I find that funny.”
I blushed, not just from embarrassment but from anger. It was a familiar feeling. “I…you…I” I couldn’t get my words out; they felt like they were strangling me. It didn’t help that a lump was rising in my throat. I cursed myself; I should be stronger than this.
I Philippia Nott did not let anyone win. It was my thing, it was my life. That may be sad but I don’t care. It was all that I had.
“What Nott? Did I upset you?” He teased. “I thought you’re meant to be a little tough girl? But you’re just like the rest.”
I wasn’t, I couldn’t be. I was special; my mother told me so!
The clogs in my brain whizzed furiously as I scanned him for a weak spot. Nothing was coming to me so I took a stab in the dark. “I don’t care; be unkind, cause at the end of day all I’m doing is pitying you.” Everyone hates to be pitied. Without waiting for a response I calmly let go of his shirt, got up and walked away as Albus watched me. I felt his eyes tearing a whole into my back but I didn’t know his expression because I never looked behind me. Looking back would show that I cared, that I was bothered.
And I wasn’t.
…Not even a little bit.
Next time on The Human Factor
“I don’t dance.” I told him randomly, I tried to shut up but the words wouldn’t stop. “My father tried to make me do the rhumba once.” Oh my, I have come down with a serious case of foot in mouth syndrome. “He wanted to spend more time together; he is weird like that.” I am an idiot. “I ended up breaking my ankle because I jumped out of a window to escape and I didn’t realize we weren’t on the ground floor.” Breaking my ankle really hurt; it was fixed five minutes later but that isn’t the point.
“Thank you for that fascinating snippet.” Albus mocked. “When is the book out? The useless tales of Philippia Nott?”