Chapter 4 : First Day Blues - Part I
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- Sir Winston Churchill
I caught his eye the next day and he smiled, walking towards me. Bella hurried off to the common room – the little coward. To be fair, she was a very loveable coward. I say this in a strictly platonic way, in case someone’s thinking that I’m my mother’s daughter in every sense.
“Good thing that I bumped into you. I couldn’t wait to get away from there.”
“Why? What’s up?”
“Harry’s gone mad, I swear. With is whole You-Know-Who situation. Couldn’t even say anything on my part, because Ron was threatening me with a detention.”
I told George that a lot of power wasn’t such a bad idea. Especially since Seamus’ mother didn’t know what on Earth she was talking about. Not wishing to argue with him, I nodded and we began to head off the Great Hall for breakfast. He was going at a particularly fast rate, obviously keen to avoid his roommates.
“So what’s new with you?” I have never been good with setting people up. I mean, last year I was supposed to set Magda up with Oliver Wood and in the end, I ended up taking him – in a way – through no fault of my own. OK, I sort of led him on after a while, but can I seriously get told off for subconsciously wanting someone? No. And besides, Magda was the one who told Oliver that I was taken so that he wouldn’t ask me to the Yule Ball.
Why in Merlin’s name are we friends again? Something happened… oh yes… I stopped talking to Amy and Bella wouldn’t admit that I was right. Honestly, you would think that friendships that have lasted as long as ours would have much stronger bonds.
“Nothing much. You?”
“No, nothing much with me. Just visited Bella’s, but I told you about that.”
“Yeah.” I wasn’t sure whether his nod meant that he was reflecting on the times with Bella, but I was going to go for a leap of faith here. “It feels like it was more than a couple of months ago since we went out…”
What did that mean? Was it like ‘I’ve put it behind me so it’s definitely in the past’ or ‘I’ve been in so much pain that it’s seemed like forever’? Men are so complicated. It’s understandable that they are mysterious to the ones they like, but I’m his friend for goodness’ sake.
Seamus didn’t notice my hesitation, but continued to say, “Lavender was telling me over the summer that it’s a good thing, you know? Like I… Well, it made sense at the time…”
“You’ve been taking advice from Lavender?” I did not like the sound of this. Lavender did not just become friends with guys – she’s not the type. And I was especially concerned because she went to the Yule Ball with him, and obviously still wanted him. No, I did not like the sound of it, at all.
Taken aback from my shock, he replied, “Well…yeah. Is there – is there something wrong with that?”
Apart from the fact that she’s a prissy little moron? “No, I suppose not. I just thought that Lavender would not be a great person to go to for dating advice. I mean, she has never actually gone out with anyone for more than a week.”
Seamus shrugged his shoulders. “I suppose. Then again, who else can I talk to about it?”
Now that the offer was presented... “Well… I –”
“Besides, I don’t mind talking to Lavender, if you get me.” There was a smirk on his face that followed this, that I did not give him the honour of sharing. Who wants to talk to Lavender Brown? Who wants to look at Lavender Brown?
“I thought you didn’t like her?” I accused.
“I know, but over time she wasn’t that bad to be around. She’s gotten under my skin.” So do very parasites when they get their claws in. I thought that his expression seemed rather forced, but that could just be because I am not the least bit happy about the situation, and am very to lie to myself to make this work.
I mumbled something about how we should probably get to breakfast soon and scurried off in a mood.
Bella wasn’t happy – big surprise. Luckily, she recognised it wasn’t my fault (eventually), so we began to plan an attack on Lavender Brown. I personally thought that we should have used poison, just because it’s a classic, but apparently that wasn’t good enough and we could easily get thrown into Azkaban for it. I mean, way to bring a girl down, Amy. We’re not going to do any of the plans anyway, because we’re too much of a chicken. So why couldn’t they just humour me at least?
Besides, luring her into the Forbidden Forest was impossible. She wouldn’t get within two feet within us. Then came the idea of using a Polyjuice Potion – how does Bella find out about these potions when I have no clue what they are? – which can transform you into someone else, who we wanted to be Seamus. Now, that, in my opinion, would fail more easily than poison. Poison really is a classic, what’s wrong with it?
The first day couldn’t have been worse. First of all was History of Magic, which was all right; I could always do with a nap. Although my sleep was interrupted by the Lavender Brown plans – they don’t let me go with my idea and they won’t even let me sleep. Where’s the fairness, I ask you?
Next was Potions. We had to make some stupid Draught of Peace, but the real worrying part was at the beginning when he saw it fit to talk to us about our OWLs.
“Before we begin today’s lesson –” Sadly, this was not followed with a command for Harry to take off his shirt, though Snape would never really ask that. “I think it appropriate to remind you that next June you will be sitting an important examination, during which you will prove how much you have learned about the composition and use of magical potions. Moronic though some of this class undoubtedly are, I expect you to scrape and “Acceptable” in your OWL, or suffer my … displeasure.”
Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me. YES! He’s looking at Neville! I mean, poor Neville. After all, he was the one who defended me – and attempted to hide the fact that I was the one who cost Gryffindor fifty house points after some shameful displays of public affection with Pucey – though can it be called public affection when you hate the person you’re snogging?
“After this year, of course, many of you will cease studying with me. I take only the very best into my NEWT Potions class, which means that some of us will certainly be saying good-bye.”
Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me. OK, he’s looking at Harry, which is stupid because Harry’s amazing. But at least he’s not looking at me. I think that’s really the important part - that he’s not looking at me. He hasn’t picked me out as a failure! Maybe he thought I wasn’t there… or he believed in me… no, he thought I wasn’t there… it’s the only way that makes sense…
I didn’t listen to Snape after that, which was probably a bad thing because I screwed up the Draught. I don’t care what will happen if I stir it clockwise after adding the moonstone instead of anti-clockwise. Muggles manage to calm down by these things Amy talks about… massiges? No, that doesn’t sound right. I should ask her later…
Next was Divination. Not much interesting happened – she mentioned something about someone dying. I really wish that she’d pick on me soon. I wonder what she’d do if I happened to miss the lesson on the same day that she predicted my death… If she wasn’t so old, I predict that she’d wet herself for getting one right.
After Divination was Defence Against the Dark Arts, with our favourite new Professor. Or the woman who looks like she’s been smashed against a window, whichever is preferred. Personally, I like the latter but I’m pretty sure that she’d take offence in it.
We all sat on our desks, our wands at the ready. I was really hoping that we would have to hex something. Lavender Brown was only a few chairs away, after all. It would be easy enough for a hex just to go in her direction by accident. Nobody would even suspect little old me. That would be, until I started to laugh and shout, “Take that, bitch!” Damn, even my daydream plans are backfiring on me…
Umbridge walked into the classroom, late. I was starting to warm up to her already. Some of us replied to her greeting, but her expression revealed that she was not satisfied. She made us greet her more formally, so we all chanted it. I take what I just said back completely. I have never been spoken to like an idiot in that way before in my self. I wouldn’t be surprise if some five-year-olds out there got a little more respect.
Next thing we know, she was asking us to put our wands away. Now, this was new. Disappointed by the fact that hexing Lavender would have to wait, I sulkily put my wand inside my bag. Taking out my quill, parchment and ink, I looked at Amy, Magda and Bella, who were doing the same with the same annoyed expression.
Professor Umbridge tapped the board with her wand, clutched in her fat little hand, once and it read:
Defence Against the Dark Arts
A Return to Basic Principles
Since when did we do anything basic in Defence Against the Darks Arts? I don’t ever remember learning about the basics; it only really came up now and again when the teacher would get shocked at us and explain it. This really only meant one thing: the lesson was going to be extremely boring.
Umbridge went on to judge the fact that due to the amount of different teachers, our education was sub-par and not yet at the proper level to complete our OWLs. I was personally happy about it, since it means that everyone’s actually at the same level as me. Score.
Although, the gaps in our education were not our fault, now was it? Professor Quirrell was very distracted during our lessons - what with You-Know-Who on the back of his head. And there was Professor Lockhart, who had an addiction to himself that often got in the way. After then was Professor Lupin, who was very good, but had to miss out once a month for a couple of days because he was a werewolf -but Magda won’t let us say a word against him- and Professor Moody was actually another psychopath who thought it would be all right to use the Imperius curse on everyone in the class room.
And, as for the change in teachers full stop; well, that was just because it was cursed, wasn’t it? Clever bit of magic behind that one. But here’s hoping that the curse will get confused and get rid of her a few months early. Having her gone by next week would be nice… Maybe if I got rid of her, I could blame the curse… and say that in the process Lavender got hit.
A few people showed the same amount of indignation, but she once again ignored our reactions and continued to tell us about how we were lucky, because the Ministry was going to fix all of this. Now what was the point in this? There were a few aims that I wrote down, but when looking at them, something caught my eye. I wasn’t too sure, but it was bothering me…
Umbridge then made us read the first chapter, which was boring me to bits. I really did try to get through it but I started to notice that Hermione Granger’s hand was up in the air, her closed book in front of her. What can she say now? It’s not like there were answers that we were going through anyway, or had she decided something was wrong? Perhaps she noticed a mistake in the book and was offering to re-write it, or something.
After a few moments, Umbridge decided it was best not to ignore Hermione any longer – because she blatantly was beforehand , to which Hermione said, “I’ve got a query about your course aims.” I knew there was something wrong! Perhaps Hermione had picked up something I missed – again.
It was clear that Umbridge was forcing herself not to snap, by the way which she quite clearly said that the aims were fine, which really made me want to be the one to snap her…
Proudly holding her head up high, Hermione replied, “Well, I don’t. There’s nothing written up there about using defensive spells.”
And there we had it. Many people were now also reading the aims on the board and noticed the same thing that Hermione had picked out. I felt somewhat stupid for not pointing out.
This caused a disturbance in the class. Everyone had something to say on this, and Miss Umbridge was willing to attack everyone she could. Even Harry. And when you mess with Harry then… I’ll be thinking some bad thoughts, believe me. All she kept going on about was that nobody would get attacked in the lessons, and kept throwing a hissy fit every time someone didn’t put up their hand.
Groaning, I muttered, “For Merlin’s sake.” Unfortunately, she heard and glared at me, so I immediately shut up. She then decided to point out our last Professor, to which Dean said that it was different because he was crazy, even though we did learn a lot.
I could see that Magda wanted to laugh, but she was slightly afraid to do so.
“Your hand is not up, Mr Thomas,” said Professor Umbridge furiously. You think she would just give up, wouldn’t you?
The discussion ensued and I began drifting away form the conversation, staring at the back of Harry’s head. He had such a wonderful head of hair. However, he was the one who brought me back into the conversation.
Harry, who was fed up with having his hand up, said, “And what good’s theory going to be in the real world?”
This had struck some kind of nerve, as Umbridge seemed mildly curious, but mildly annoyed at him. “This is a school, Mr Potter, not the real world.”
“So we’re not supposed to be prepared for what’s waiting for us out there?”
I would have defended him, but Umbridge was beginning to look kind of scary. Eyebrows raised, lost in that awful fringe, she completely denied that there was anything out there.
“Oh, yeah?” asked Harry, a little sarcastically. He was sarcastic! If it wasn’t for the fact that I had a boyfriend, we would have been perfect together.
“Who do you imagine wants to attack children like yourself?”
Harry paused for a moment. “Hmm, let’s think…Maybe…” Harry looked straight at Umbridge before saying, “Lord Voldemort?”
A/N: I noticed that this chapter was getting too long, so I’ve split it up in two. Hope this doesn’t disappoint!
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