Chapter 2 : Proposition.
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“Hello.” A voice said and I pulled myself up quickly. The voice didn’t sound particularly murderous but you could never be too sure... I stood up and, to my great surprise; I found myself standing in the Potters garden and looking on at Potter/Weasley family barbeque.
I took a tentative step forward and saw that the three most famous people in the world (Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Weasley) were all stood up and looking at me in surprise. They all had their hands in their pockets and looked as if they were ready to draw their wands.
“Erm... Hi.” I was beginning to get, understandably, nervous as they stood glaring at me as if any second an explanation to my appearance was about to present itself. I wondered if I should try to explain, it didn’t really make much sense but... I opened my mouth and stuttered out something incoherent which even I didn’t understand.
I think I had the right to feel anxious. In front of me were the three people responsible for the killing of Voldemort. I hadn’t even started NEWT’s yet.
“Oh chillax dad,” James Potter, a Gryffindor in my year, said rolling his eyes. “I hardly think she’s a risk to our personal security.” The disdainful way he said ‘she’ made feel even more uncomfortable and I wondered if they would hex me if I turned and ran.
“If she was a death eater she wouldn’t wear a sign.”
“Yeah, constant vigilance.” James snorted as if it was some kind of ongoing joke. The adults all exchanged a look and there was something mournful in that look which made me want to blurt out ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ but that would be hard to explain and stupid.
“This isn’t funny James.”
“I think it’s hilarious. That’s Cassie you’re about to hex.” He added lazily.
“Hey Cassie!” Rose said coming out of the hall carrying a tray of drinks.
“You know her?”
“Sure, Cassie Jones.” Rose said smiling at me kindly. “She’s a Hufflepuff in James’s year.”
“Sorry, I’ve just moved in down the road.” I began tentatively.
“In the big house?” Lily Potter asked excitedly. The others all looked glanced at each other before looking back at me. Probably thinking how it was unlikely that I (Crazy-Cassie as I’m known to the delightful students of Hogwarts) would be the one to move into such a humungous house. I didn’t look rich.
There was no doubt in my mind that I had moved into the infamous ‘big house’ as that had been the one thing that had stuck me about it – it was so big.
I nodded awkwardly.
“Never knew you were loaded.” James commented eyeing me with much more interest than he had ever done before. It felt strange that a family of strangers now knew I was rich when really only a couple of close friends knew about it.
“James!” The third woman, who I recognised as Ginny Potter, reprimanded him.
“What?” James asked. “She must be loaded. That place is a freaking mansion.”
“I don’t like it much. It’s too new...” I said hoping in some way to redeem myself for being ‘loaded’ and just carry on being ‘Crazy-Cassie’ again.
“Always knew you were crazy, but I didn’t know you were a snob too.” James commented. I wanted to backtrack and explain that it wasn’t what I’d meant at all but it was too complicated. Ginny looked scandalised at James’s rudeness and gave him a dark look which he rolled his eyes at.
“Ignore him Cassie dear. He’s trying to act cool. He hasn’t quite got the hang of flirting yet.” She said smiling. I liked her method of punishment – embarrassment. James rolled his eyes again but flushed slightly in his seat.
“Jones?” Harry asked and I nodded (it felt weird thinking of him as ‘Harry’ in my head given that he was the saviour of the wizarding race...) “You’re not related to Hestia Jones by any chance are you?”
“I could be, I’m not really in contact with my mum’s side of the family.”
Harry glanced at Hermione for a second and I could tell that they were wondering the same thing – why I had kept my mother’s name. They were hardly going to ask though. Hermione then glanced at Ron who appeared to be completely unaware of this questioning and was instead turning over the meat in the barbeque (which looks sufficiently burnt).
“Oh how rude, we haven’t even offered you any food. Do help yourself.” Ginny said, before glancing at the barbeque and scrunching up her nose. “Or maybe it’s better if you don’t.”
“What’s Cassie short for? Or it just Cassie?” Hermione asked me.
“Cassandra.” I told her feeling a little like I was being interviewed. I still hardly felt exactly comfortable amongst them.
“None of this explains how she got here.” Ron pointed out and they all looked at me again. Now the interest of the whole barbeque was focused on me. I could see that at least the whole extended Weasley family wasn’t here, just the Potter’s, Hugo and Rose. It still made me feel pretty nervous.
“Sorry.” I said again, wondering how I was supposed to explain that I’d just felt like breaking through their protection for fun. “I... I can erm... sense magic and I could feel it back in the village so I just... followed the source.” I took a breath and decided that as they hadn’t killed me yet I could probably risk carrying on with my story. “Then I found the wall of your protection and I just thought that there might be a gap so I was trying to find it and...”
“Why were you trying to find it?” Ginny asked whilst the other three exchanged meaningful glances. I wondered if the others got annoyed at the constant waves of understanding and memories that were constantly being exchanged between the three of them.
“I was just... curious.” I answered hopelessly.
“There’s a hole?” Mr Potter said (I’d decided to refer to him as that in my head instead because it felt so weird to call him ‘Harry’).
“What did you call it? A wall?” Hermione asked, thinking hard. I nodded nervously and wondered what exactly they were going to do next. The others had stopped paying attention and were instead doing something which looked a lot more fun.
“Why is there a hole?” Ron “It’ll be those stupid ministry Wizards. I knew we should have just got Hermione to do it.”
“Ron, I did do it.” Hermione said, flushing slightly. “That spell anyway. None of the ministry spells would have been like a...wall.” She said using my word. “And if it’s worked for seventeen years then I hardly think that...”
“Maybe it’s getting old.” Ron said bluntly. “So it’s not working so well anymore.”
“Or I’m getting old. That’s what you’re trying to say, isn’t it?” Hermione snapped and suddenly the atmosphere, which had been remotely pleasant even when I thought they were about to hex me, felt very very awkward.
“How did the spell work?” I asked over their conversation.
“What? Oh. It stopped people from being able to get here unless they were invited, or had been here before.” Hermione answered.
“Well I suppose as it was a conditional spell they might have to have been a... physical hole in the wall.”
The adults considered this for a second.
“You’re an interesting girl Cassie.” Harry –Mr Potter – said looking at me very curiously.
“Oh sh...sugar!” I said as I felt my phone go off in my pocket. My dad. He’d be mad – I was supposed to have been back home by now. I pulled it out and pressed the accept call button and pressed it against my ear.
“She’s got the newest model!” James exclaimed. “See Mum, why can’t I have the latest model huh?” he complained and I tried to block out Ginny’s reply and listen to Dad’s voice down the phone.
Listening to people on the phone felt as strange and unnatural as being in the new house because I couldn't sense the emotions behind his voice and it made him sound so fake and unnatural.
“Dad. Dad I’m sorry.” I said before he could speak. “I just completely lost track of time. I erm... I ran into James Potter in the park and he invited me back to their house...”
“Invite him to come and eat with us. Cooking in a new kitchen is a nightmare.” Ginny said as James eyed me suspiciously.
“Erm... Mrs Potter wants to know if you’d, if we’d, like to come eat with them?”
“Invite your whole family.” Ginny added.
“She invited us?” Dad asked down the other end of the phone and I found myself nodding even though he couldn’t see me. “Are they sure? It’s awfully kind of them but...”
Ginny was nodding at me enthusiastically.
“Yeah, they’re having a barbecue. It’s...”
“Right. Give me ten minutes.” Dad said and I supposed he was glad of some company other than mine. I’d expected him to refuse. “He says he’s coming.” I said, blushing slightly because I wasn’t used to being invited into people’s houses.
“You lied.” James said, but instead of seeming annoyed he seemed even more interested than ever. “You said...”
“My Dad’s paranoid about security and I think the only reason we moved here is because yours is so good. If he found out that I’d broken through it he probably wouldn’t be too impressed...” I admitted.
“So your family’s crazy.” James asked with a raised eyebrow. He nodded towards an empty seat opposite him and I took it as my queue to sit down.
“I wouldn’t say crazy...”
“Ron.” Ginny said sighing, “I told you to stay away from the barbeque!” She complained and I turned to watch them, bemused by adults acting so... childish. “Didn’t I tell you this would happen?”
“But you’re a woman!” Ron protested. “Men do barbeques.”
“Which was why I wanted Harry to do it, not you.” Ginny said which made me smile a little more. “I don’t see how anyone could eat this.” Ginny said, poking the blackened sausage.
“Can’t we just magic up some food?” Hugo Weasley asked.
“No.” Rose answered. “You can’t just magic up food. You have to -”
“She is exactly like you Hermione.” Harry was saying when I glanced back. “It scares me a little bit.”
“They’re just people you know.” James said and I realised he was watching the way I’d been watching his family. “There’s nothing special about them.”
“No,” I protested. “I’m just not used to so many people being around.” I explained and James didn’t seem to believe me all that much. Well I wasn’t about to elaborate considering he spent half his life calling me ‘Crazy-Cassie’ and watching me do all of the work in potions (we’d been partners since first year). Still I felt bad, and I really didn’t want him to think I was one of those people who were completely awed by his parents. I’m sure that must be annoying. “You’re all very... loud.”
“I’m sure with a house the size of yours it must be really hard to make it loud.” James said sarcastically. As if it was my fault that my Dad owned the biggest company in the wizarding world and was therefore completely rich.
“There’s only me and my dad.” I said in retort because the way he was judging me annoyed me. James looked startled for a second and the moment became extremely awkward. I pulled out my phone from my pocket (just for something to do) and saw that it had saved all of the Potter’s/Weasley’s numbers onto my phone and was displaying the new added contacts on my home screen. James obviously saw this too and glanced at my screen in surprise.
“How do you have my number? Seriously. That’s creepy Cassie.” I blushed.
“Oh, it’s a trial feature.” I explained hastily so he wouldn’t think I’d been stalking him or something stupid. “It picks up the signal from any other WCT phone in the area and saves their numbers automatically...” I trailed off when I saw James’s expression of amazement. He pulled the phone out of my hand and turned it over in his hands.
“This phone isn’t even for sale yet!” James exclaimed in awe. “How did you get it?”
“Oh.” I said, blushing. “My Dad... he gets me trial phones.”
“He works for WCT?” He asked and I nodded.
“Something like that.” I answered blushing again.
“Was that the doorbell?” Ginny asked. “Someone get that will they?”
I glanced around and saw that Ron and Hugo were in the middle of a game of chess. Rose had a nose in a book and Albus was attempting to annoy her as much as possible by poking her. Hermione was hovering around Ginny and looking at me intently.
“I’ll get it.” Harry said, standing up. “And I won’t mention anything about you falling into our back garden.” He said, smiling at me.
James was still looking at my phone very carefully and it made me feel slightly uncomfortable. It wasn’t all that amazing.
I heard my Dad’s voice mingling with Harry’s at the doorway.
“That’ll be your family then Cassie?” Ginny asked from where she was stood at the barbeque and making something that looked a lot more appetising than the pieces of charcoaled meat that were now in the bin.
“Yeah.” I said and wondered what she was going to think when it was only Dad that turned up at the doorway. I looked away from her nervously.
“Hello.” My Dad’s voice said as he was led out into the backyard.
“Oh my God!” James said standing up and dropping my phone. I grabbed it quickly before my dad saw it on the floor. “He’s your Dad?” James exclaimed excitedly and I nodded. He repeated the ‘oh my god!’ again as everyone else stared blankly at him. “That’s Robert Banks! The manager of WCT!” James exclaimed excitedly and I saw a flicker of recognition appeared on everyone’s faces.
I wondered how many of them were thinking why does she have her mother’s surname, when her mother blatantly isn’t here? Believe me, I was.
The WCT or wizarding Communication Technology was founded by my half blood father who thought that the wizarding world should really try using some muggle technology. He adapted and changed most Muggle devices to make them suitable for wizards.
He’d started with phones but added in features such as them being rechargeable by wands (which became a standard feature for all WCT devices) and all sorts of other handy things that made them a lot better than Muggle stuff. Then it caught on in a big way and now every self respecting wizard has a mobile phone, laptop, music player (what did I say about him being unimaginative?) and a digital camera. It was crazy and led to him being the second richest wizard in Britain and the third most desirable male (some model being in first and Harry Potter being in second).
Still, I never quite appreciated his fame because on the rare occasion we went out together he was always in disguise to avoid it. For some reason my existence was publicized as little as possible.
“No wonder you’re loaded.” Albus commented and Dad looked a little uncomfortable. It was a little backwards. Here we were in the house of the saviour of the Wizarding world and they were obsessing over my Dad. Well, they’re kids were in any case.
“So” Ginny said over the awkwardness. “Who wants a burger?”
My dad was slightly drunk. It was quite embarrassing actually. I suppose that given the last event he went to socially was my eleventh birthday party (after which I stopped bothering to have them) he had a lot of steam to let off. Still, I could barely even count these people as my friends really (given that James had sat next to me for five years in potions and we’d never talked much more than me making some comment about him not doing any work, and he calling me crazy), so for them to see my Dad drunk was... strange.
“I don’t know really.” Dad said cheerfully to James’s question. That was the other strange thing. James had talked to me for approximately ten minutes before getting bored and questioning my Dad about the company as if it was the most fascinating thing in the whole world. “It was just one of those things that came into my head like... pop!” He said doing some strange hand gesture and swaying off his seat slightly.
“He’s drunk.” Rose pointed out, giggling. I didn’t find it quite as funny but I smiled and nodded anyway. I tried to ignore the fact that I was blushing.
I knew it was irrational but I was quite annoyed at James. Given he had jibed me for being in awe of his parents he was being horrible hypocritical. Plus James had been the only one here I even sort of really knew, and I thought he understood how completely out of place I felt here which was why he was taking pity on me and actually blessing me with his conversation.
“Cassie.” Harry Potter asked, making me jump slightly. “Can I have a word?” He asked and I nodded and stood up. The adults were all stood in a little huddle conspicuously but none of the others seemed to notice or care. They were all slightly fascinated by my drunken father (which I found more than a little embarrassing). “When you said you could sense magic, what exactly did you mean?” He asked me looking at me curiously.
“I... Well I just do.” I said lamely. He clearly wanted me to elaborate. “I can just feel it. I can just...sense it.” I said and he nodded.
“Cassie. We think you have a talent.” He said seriously. “We’ve had the best people checking our protection and making sure we’re safe – from the daily prophet mostly – and not one of them found any way to get in. You didn’t even use a wand.”
“But... All I can do is sense magic. It’s not like... it’s not useful.”
“I think it is.” He countered. “And you could probably do even more if you practiced it and experimented a little more. I’ve only ever met one man who could ever sense magic.”
“Who?” I breathed. There was something awe inspiring about the fact that Harry Potter, the Harry Potter, thought that I had a ‘talent’ which could be useful.
“Albus Dumbledore. Look, I know you probably think that doing extra work in the holidays sounds like a bit of a drag but we really want to see what you can do we this, and aren’t you curious?” He asked, smiling. He knew my weakness.
“I don’t think my Dad would like it.” I said, glancing towards him where he looked even drunker than before, where James was still questioning it. “My mum was, well... I think she was some kind of seer and she... well.” I stopped not really knowing the rest of the story.
“But would you like to?” He asked and I nodded slowly. Curiosity’s a bitch sometimes.
“Well, James is going to invite you over tomorrow evening at around seven.” Harry said and I nodded. “And the day after?”
“I’m not sure if I can do it every day. I normally sort out all the furniture and the rooms.”
“We move a lot.” I said. “And Dad has to work, and I like it. This house is a lot bigger than our last though so I’ll need to buy lots of furniture...”
“Well that’s simple. You can get James and Albus to help you.” Harry said smiling as if this news was something very satisfactory.
“What?” James asked walking over to where we were standing (as my Dad’s questions weren’t very understandable answers anymore).
“You’re going to help Cassie do up the new house.” Harry told him. “It’ll stop you from being so ‘bored’”
“That sounds like an excceeelent idea.” My dad said walking over and swaying slightly. “I worry about Cassandra sometimes. She’s crazy. Bit like her mother.”
“He’s not always like this.” I said quickly. “In fact I’ve never seen him drunk before.”
“It’s just the two of you?” Harry asked me and I nodded. “That must be lonely.”
“Can I help with the house?” Rose asked, stepping into the conversation.
“Why would you want to?” James asked moodily. “It’s going to be dull.”
“We get to see if it’s as big inside?” Rose suggested. “Anyway, there’s loads of rooms and we can help Cassie decide what to do with each one.”
I tried not to feel too used that they only reason they wanted to help was to see if my house really was as big on the inside as it appeared on the outside (it looked bigger if truth be told). Still it would be good to have some help, and some company. It was lonely work.
“It’s getting dark.” I said considering it was probably best if I got my Dad home as quickly as possible and before he caused any more problems. Plus there was a small part of me that wondered how much I could find out about my mother now that he was drunk. “And we haven’t finished unpacking yet, we should go.”
“They’ll be over at eleven to help you.” Harry said and James complained loudly.
I looked at the annoyed expression on his face and decided that it was going to be a long summer.
A/N - Reviewage? :)
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