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Chapter 3: And the Ravenclaws
I woke up in an unfamiliar environment. The alarm that woke me was unfamiliar, the bed uncomfortable. I almost groaned as I realised why I was not in my comfortable bed at home. The blue and bronze hangings round my bed reminded me that I was at school, and Liam was at home with Mum. The alarm was waking the other girls up as well. It was six in the morning. We had all decided to get up a little earlier this morning to make sure we were all flawless for the first day of classes.
I rose out of bed first and so was able to have the first shower. I could hear the light chatter of the other girls as I cleaned away the last dregs of sleep. I wrapped myself in a towel before exiting. It sounded like one of the girls was sharing stories about her exciting summer. I was glad to hear the conversation fall off as I entered the room. The last thing I wanted to hear was how great their summers had been.
Clarissa went to have a shower as I looked in my trunk for my nicest school robes. Abigail was still in bed. I was in half a mind to tell her to get out of it, but figured that she would not be too far away from rising. Susan was quietly talking with her.
"So Elizabeth, do you have any new tricks for looking great this year?" Darlene looked my way hopefully.
As Ravenclaws we prided ourselves on being the best in the school. We took this to mean everything. Not only did we have to have the best marks in the year, we also had to look the best. All the other girls looked towards my expertise for hair charms and the best way to put on make up. It was one thing that I had to thank my mother for. Due to the fact that both my parents came from a long pureblood lineage, both of them knew how to look nice. It was my mother however, that taught me the various tricks and charms to make sure that no girl could look as great as I did. I, in turn, helped the other Ravenclaw girls. We had to be better than the rest of the year, preferably the rest of the school. Luckily for us the only real competition was the Slytherins. The Gryffindors were far too wrapped up in themselves to notice the stray hairs escaping their hairstyles or their out of fashion clothes. The Hufflepuffs were just oblivious. They might as well be boys.
I answered Darlene's question with a smile. "Of course. What else would I do with my summer?"
The statement was meant slightly sarcastically but Darlene smiled anyway. "Great."
I pulled on my newly tailored robes. They fit me perfectly and had the added bonus of accentuating my body in a way that the teachers could not complain about. The robes fit my body as snugly as robes could and showed of my shape more than the robes tended to normally. I knew I looked great. All the boys’ eyes would be on me, closely followed by the other girls. I had told the girls the name of the tailor and strongly hinted that they should all get their robes there. I did not know about Abigail or Susan but I knew that Clarissa and Darlene had followed my advice.
With my robes sitting nicely, I proceeded to the next step of getting ready, hair and makeup. This step was the reason we had risen so early. Since school robes made everyone look the same, it was our hair and makeup that let us truly stand out. By the time we left this room all our faces would be completely blemish free and our hair would be elaborately shaped with not a strand out of place.
An hour and a half later I was just adding the final charm to Clarissa’s lightly curled hair. We were hardly recognisable as the sleepy eyed girls we had woken up as. Our skin was blemish free while still looking natural. Our hair was stylish and perfect. We were perfect. We were ready to face the day.
We made our way down to the great hall for a bite to eat before classes. None of us ate much. The smell of food was slightly nauseating. It was disgusting the way the boys would stuff their faces with every piece of food they could get their hands on. I nibbled on some fruit and had a glass of water. Any more than that would show in unsavoury places.
Flitwick passed with our timetables and we made our way back to the dormitory to get the books we needed. Everything was new; everything said a statement about how we were better. As Ravenclaws it was up to us to prove that we were smarter. That was why we were in that house.
Books in hand, I was making my way to my first class when none other than the great Dominic approached me. He was a Ravenclaw in the year above us and over the years many conversations had centred on him. We had spent a small amount of time together over the holidays. He took me to a couple of muggle places I had never heard of and went down Diagon Alley once or twice. He was rather nice, we had even kissed once.
“Elizabeth, you have a second?” He seemed slightly nervous, a sight which is rare for one of the more sought after guys in school. His well-kept black hair, bright blue eyes and gentlemanly manner seemed to captivate a wealth of girls. Plus he was a Quidditch player. Never mind it was only a school team, everyone seemed determined to snag the quidditch players.
“Course, make it quick though. Being late for Potions is never a good idea.” I turned and smiled at him.
He laughed and shuddered. “Yes. Nobody should ever mess with Professor Snape.” He smiled at me. “Anyway, I was wondering,” He paused and looked over at me. I raised an eyebrow in response, “Would you be interested in going out with me. There is a Hogsmede weekend soon is there not?”
I sighed and then smiled. Sure many boys asked my hand, not many boys were as good looking or well-connected as Dominic Cohey. “Sure. I would love to.”
He let out a breath that I had not noticed him holding. “That’s great.” He picked up my hand a kissed it gently. “I will see you later then.” He smiled at me again before walking off.
‘Great’ I thought to myself, ‘one day into school and I have attracted myself a boyfriend.’ While it was nice to hang out outside of school and maybe kiss once or twice, at school my time was almost exclusively taken up by worrying about school and worrying about Liam. Everything else took a back seat. I did really like Dominic if I was honest with myself, but all other relationships I had encountered while at school had ended badly and I had a funny feeling this one would too.
I joined Clarissa again and we made our way down to Potions. “Well, what did he have to say?” Clarissa looked at me expectantly.
“He asked me to go to Hogsmede with him.” The statement was made in a bored tone. Of course Clarissa did not notice this.
She squealed and hugged me. Her mouth was going a million miles an hour and I stopped trying to follow. She stopped when she saw the door to our Potions classroom. Neither of us was particularly looking forward to Potions. Not completely because of the monster that was our teacher. Professor Snape tended to pick more on the Gryffindors anyway. We were also nervous because Potions was the subject that was most likely to ruin our robes. The potions that we made tended to bubble and spit, seemingly with the intention to ruin our carefully assembled outfits. I had to worry especially because I now had a boyfriend who would notice more than usual. It was even more frustrating when Professor Snape seemed to think it amusing when our robes were splashed.
I entered the classroom with Clarissa at my side. Needless to say I was quite vexed when I saw none other than that stupid Hufflepuff sitting in the classroom already. I gave her my best glare but she remained completely oblivious. Stupid airhead. We took our seats just in time as Professor Snape swept into the room.
"Today is the first day of your NEWT course. I do not accept any nonsense in this class. You are here because you want to be here. Not because your parents want you to be here or your friends are here. If you do not put in the required effort then you will no longer continue the course. I will not warn you twice. I expect only the best from my NEWT students."
The speech was practically unnecessary. Everyone knew Professor Snape would have no qualms about kicking someone out of his class. It had happened before and there was no doubt that it would happen again.
The instructions for the days’ work wrote themselves on the board. I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. I planned to be a healer and that meant I had to be on the top of my game. I had only just managed an Outstanding in Potions last year. I needed to up my efforts if I was going to get another O and make it into the healer programme. Carefully I measured and chopped ingredients, putting extra care into stirring the potion the correct amount of times. Thankfully my efforts paid off and the potion seemed to progress properly. An immense wave of satisfaction came over me when Professor Snape had no comment to make about my potion. I must be making it right.
"Well done Miss Taylor." The soft words were not spoken for the class's ears but I could not help but hear them. I scowled into my cauldron as Max Taylor got praised by the teacher that was most notorious for his scathing comments and impossible to please attitude. Must she beat me in everything?
I hurried out of my seat and placed my finished potion on the Professor's desk for marking as the bell rung in the background. The stupid Hufflepuff had put me in a foul mood and it remained as I went to meet up with Dominic, my now significant other.
"Elizabeth, what's wrong?" Dominic asked, sounding concerned.
"Oh, nothing. I am fine. Why do you ask?" I had no desire to sound petty. After all, all she had done was brew a better potion than me.
"You just seem a bit off is all." Confusion replaced concern.
With a short laugh I replied, "Anyone would be a little off after a lesson with that dungeon bat." Much as I disliked insulting the teachers there was at least a little truth in that statement.
"That’s true," Dominic smiled. "Come on. Let’s go get some lunch. All the work has made me hungry." I rolled my eyes. Boys and their food.
We walked to the great hall and met up with the others. I had a few pieces of fruit as the others discussed the classes they had had so far. It seems like everyone was worried about the difficulty of the NEWT level.
"At least we have two years to prepare for them." Susan tried to allay some fears.
"We had five years to prepare for the last lot and I still struggled to pass some of them!" Darlene seemed to be slipping back into her cycle of stress again. How nice it would be for your biggest worry to be your school marks rather than the life (or lack of) of your younger brother.
"Calm down hun. We can help you. We will all pass them all. We are all Ravenclaws after all." Clarissa rolled her eyes at me as Susan continued to help calm Darlene down.
"Don't know why that ruddy hat put me in this house anyway," Darlene muttered.
"Darlene, watch your language." If there was one thing that Clarissa could not stand it was anyone using any sort of improper language. It was the reason she was constantly at loggerheads with Abigail who tended to 'forget' to speak properly.
I sighed and tuned out the rest of the conversation. Darlene would be fine. In all her stress she actually managed to study for her classes. She would gain mostly Exceeds Expectations with a few Outstandings thrown in.
When we were finished eating we rose to grab the books we needed for our afternoon classes. The trip to the common room would also double as a chance to double check hair and makeup. Especially Clarissa and I as we needed to make sure no leftover potions were staining our robes.
As soon as we had left Dominic’s presence the girls were all over me. “You never told us about him!”
“He’s such a hunk. Only you would get someone so perfect.”
“You are so lucky! If I had someone as amazing as Dominic Cohey running after me I would be hyperventilating all over the place.”
“Oh I expect he will be sitting with us now. I better perfect that hair charm. Even though he is yours I wouldn’t mind it if he noticed me. Maybe he could recommend one of his seventh year friends.” All the girls swooned at this statement.
I had a free period after lunch so I made my way to the library to make a head start on the rolls of parchment I had been assigned for homework. Dominic and all the other girls had classes so I was left to my own devices. This was a situation I much preferred. I no longer had to listen to their gossip and pointless whining. I settled down with my quill and textbook and started writing.
By the end of the day we had heard more about how hard the NEWTs would be than we really cared to know. We also had a pile of homework that set a tone for the rest of the year. There would be no more cruising through classes that much we knew. I excused myself from Dominic, he was going to organise some quidditch stuff, and joined the other girls.
We grabbed our favourite seats in the Common Room, right by the fire and facing the rest of the room, so we could watch our housemates. We quickly settled in and continued working through the sheer piles of parchment we had to work through.
"The first years look capable this year, though there is no reason for them to look so scared." Susan started what would be the end of our homework session about half an hour later. We tended to spend a lot of time people watching. Not my favourite past time but they seemed to need it. I didn't mind having a break from discussing the twelve uses of dragon blood either.
"It's a new place for them. They are probably still all missing home." Abigail sounded faintly annoyed. I have a feeling she disliked the constant over-analysing of people as well.
"True. But we aren't about to bite them or anything." Darlene seemed genuinely concerned at the reactions of the small children who looked highly uncomfortable huddled into a corner of the room.
"Don't worry about them. It's up to them to figure that out." Much as we liked to ignore it there was a definite hierarchy in our house. No one went out of their way to help the first years. We would look out for them, but only to the point that they show up the other houses. After that they are on their own. The seventh years have definite control over the house. As sixth years we were next in importance and so on. They would learn, they would soon be comfortable, and next year they would be taunting the new students as if they had never been first years themselves. It was just the way things went in Ravenclaw.