Chapter 6 : Reading Tealeaves
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“Hey you! Yeah, the red head. No, not you! The other one. Oi! Oh, bloody hell. Daisy!”
The girl looked up from her Daily Prophet, eyes wide like she hadn’t heard me yelling at her for the past five minutes.
“What is it?” she asked, slightly exasperated.
“Can you pass me the bacon?” I requested with a sweet smile. She rolled her eyes and passed me the plate, before turning back to her newspaper.
“Anything interesting in there?” asked Roxanne, leaning over her shoulder. Daisy shook her head, a slight frown awning her forehead as she turned the page. Then her eyes widened and her mouth formed a small ‘O’.
“Why the shocked expression?” I wanted to know, abandoning my bacon gathering.
“Listen to this.” We all pricked our ears in attention, and Amelie even stopped admiring herself in her spoon to listen.
“Is Azkaban falling once again? This is the question everyone has been asking themselves since the mass breakout which occurred only yesterday in the early hours of the morning. Ministry officials are investigating the matter, but this is not enough to quell our fears. The only escape as massive as this to ever have occurred in the history of the famed prison was during the dark war, led by you-know-who himself. Of course this is not as serious an incident as that, but it would still be wise to be on your guard until all convicts are captured, which will be very soon, as assured by the head of the Auror office, Mr Harry Potter. However, how exactly the prisoners escaped remains a mystery, as there was no damage done to the prison itself, but we soon hope to find out.”
When Daisy finished reading it out we sat in silence, Roxanne’s eyes full of fear, me looking like a dead puffer fish and Amelie frowning, spoon forgotten.
“I guess that explains the new curfew,” said Roxanne, still biting her lip nervously.
“Does it say who escaped?” I asked Daisy, leaning over the table to try and take a peek at the page she had been reading from.
“It says names, but no photos,” she answered. “There were seventeen escapees in total, ten of them former Death Eaters.”
“Harry will teach them a lesson,” Amelie snarled viciously, baring her teeth, eyes lowered into two stormy slits. You think she’s scary now? Wait till you see her on the Quidditch Pitch. Then you’ll be running for the hills.
“Poor Aunt Hermione.” Roxanne sighed sadly. “This must be so hard for her, and on her first week of being Minister!”
We all agreed that yes, it would be terrible, and went back to our thinking. Amelie went back to her spoon.
Personally, it didn’t bother me that much. Just as long as Voldemort didn’t rise from his grave, I wouldn’t get too stressed out about this thing. That is if he didn’t. Because he couldn’t, right? I decided to check.
“You-know-who can’t come back to life, can he?” I asked my friends. Funny how even though he has been gone for twenty-one years people still don’t call him by his name.
“Erm, no, I don’t think so,” Daisy said tentatively, somewhat taken aback by my question. “People only do that in movies.”
I shrugged and went back to my breakfast.
“You trying to feed a circus, Walker?”
I stiffened at the voice I heard behind me. I would recognise that annoying sneer anywhere.
“Samuels,” I growled, just like they do in those action movies. I did my practiced eye squint and teeth bearing glare as I turned to face her. “What are you doing down here so early? Don’t you have puppies to kick, small children to torture?”
“Go back to your breakfast, no one cares what you have to say,” Sammy sneered, looking down at me with those soulless murky mud-coloured eyes of hers. They’re actually the same shade of brown as Daisy’s, but that’s beside the point. “You might want to hurry; it’s going to take a couple of days to finish that plate of yours.”
I looked down at my meal. Yeah, maybe I was a little liberal with my bacon. So what? I’d like to see her eat a whole pile of this stuff.
“Go drown a kitten, Sammysam,” I replied icily, turning my back to her. She hmffed and pffted and flipped her brown hair over her shoulder before strutting off, shaking her bum in the most ridiculous manner. I did pity her sometimes.
“That girl is fit.”
I turned to face Josh, who had just thrown himself down next to me. Did I ask for his opinion? DID I?
“You fantasising about that night in the broom closet?” asked Amelie slyly.
“Which one?” he answered with a grin.
I helped myself to some pumpkin juice, not wanting to hear any of the details of their gage inducing conversation.
“Phoenix, Phoenix,” Josh murmured, turning his attention to me. I eyed him wearily. “My lovely little Phoenix...”
“Spit it out, you wanker.”
“I’m not wearing an invisibility cloak, but could I still visit your restricted section tonight?”
I choked, spraying pumpkin juice all over the table and my fellow Gryffindors.
“Watch it!” exclaimed Fred who had just come and sat down. I coughed, wiping the juice off my chin. The others were all laughing like a pack of bloody hyenas, except for Josh, who was looking dead serious.
“Where did that come from?!” I exclaimed, still coughing.
“That, my sweet sugary sugar quill came from my over developed brain. Did you like it?”
“NO I DIDN’T BLOODY LIKE IT!” I yelled, standing up. “I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU WOULD STOP YOUR FAILED ATTEMPTS AT FLIRTATION!”
“You need to get some new pick-up lines, mate,” laughed Fred, still holding his sides as he wiped away tears of mirth.
“That was already better than the one he used on poor Ams last year,” chuckled Roxanne. “How’d it go again?”
“I’d like to get my basilisk into your chamber of secrets,” Amelie sniggered.
“Should I be worried?” asked Daisy looking up from her newspaper. I looked at her and nodded my head fiercely.
“Wait, I got one,” said Fred. His words were met by cries of protest, and Roxanne even covered her ears, but Freddy went on. “No guys, listen. Listen! Ok, this has worked, by the way, so don’t laugh.”
“Just say your damn pick-up line, Freddy,” I sighed.
“If you were a dementor, I’d become a criminal just to get your kiss.”
Sweet Merlin, he had even added in an eyebrow waggle. I was scarred. Scarred!
I shook my head sadly. “No, Freddy.”
“What about this one?” enquired Josh. “You don’t even have to say ‘Lumos’ to turn me on!”
“That is sad, my friend.” James had appeared behind him, taking a seat beside said friend and completing what had seemed to become our little group of seven.
“You got anything better?”
“As a matter of fact, I do.”
Roxanne groaned. “Not the skittles one,” she pleaded.
“Yes, the skittles one.”
“What skittles one?” asked Amelie.
“I have skittles in my mouth, wanna taste the rainbow?”
Roxanne sighed. Amelie snorted. I tried not to vomit on my toast.
“What? It’s good!” James exclaimed, offended by our reactions.
“No, James, it’s really not,” stated Daisy, emerging once again from behind her paper. Potter smirked at her.
“Well, it works,” he said softly. Daisy shot him daggers before returning to the Daily Prophet.
“I have another one!” announced Josh. I was scared. Very scared. I think we all were. “I’ve heard sex is a killer. Want to die happy?”
“Ooh, I have an answer for that!” cried out Amelie, jumping up in excitement. “Then hurry up and murder me, baby.”
Oh dear Lord.
“This one is for Phoenix,” declared James. I glared at him. “Am I cute enough yet? Or do you need more to drink?”
“I need more than a sodding drink to find you cute, Potter,” I answered wryly.
“Hold on to your pumpkin juice, folks, this one’s good,” Freddy proclaimed. “Do you believe in love at first sight? Or should I walk past you again?”
We all groaned the customary groan, and then it was Josh’s turn. This should be interesting.
“That’s a nice shirt. Can I talk you out of it?” he was staring at Amelie’s chest as he said this. Go figure.
“Smile,” Fred said, beaming around at us all. I was starting to worry that he had decided to turn all peaceful optimist on us, but he went on. “It’s the second best thing you can do with your lips.”
“That’s cute,” offered Amy, earning a jealous look from the other two boys. I stood up, deciding that leaving the rest of my breakfast behind would be healthier than staying here and listening to anymore painful one-liners. Honestly, a girl can only take so many.
“As un-mentally scarring as this is, I’m going to leave now,” I told them. “We have Herbology first, Dais,” I reminded my friend as I turned to go. She loved Herbology. Gardening in general, actually. Sometimes, she would go down to the greenhouses, just because she enjoyed it. Strange is what I call that.
“I’ll come with,” she said, jumping up and rolling the Daily Prophet under her arm.
“Do you have a mirror in your pocket?” Fred called out as we left. “Because I can see myself in your pants!”
We ignored him.
We traipsed over to the greenhouses in silence. The grounds where practically empty, most of the students still at breakfast.
“What do you think about that Azkaban breakout?” Daisy asked once we had reached our destination. I sighed, leaning my back against the wall of the building.
“The aurors will catch them,” I assured her. “The only thing that bothers me about this whole shenanigan is our outrageous curfew. I just hope they don’t cancel the Hogsmeade trips.”
Daisy looked worried at this.
“I hadn’t thought about that,” she said, seeming put out. “They wouldn’t, would they?”
I shrugged in response. The rest of our class were now making their way toward us. I could spot Amelie’s blond head and hear Roxanne’s laugh. Loud laughs must be a Weasley trait, I thought as they came nearer. It certainly seemed to run in the family.
Once we were all gathered and Professor Longbottom had joined us we made our way into the humid building, all in single file. I felt like one of the seven dwarves.
We all took our seats around a long wooden bench, covered in dirt and plant clippings. No one was really motivated, as this was the first lesson of term.
“Get into pairs,” instructed Longbottom. I caught Roxanne’s eye. We were a great team. Really wonderful. It was like whatever we did ended up just as it was supposed to. You should see us in Potions. It’s like watching one person instead of two, we are so coordinated and organized. You remember those nine cauldrons I exploded? Well, you know what they say: it takes two to blow up a potion.
“Now, today we will be working with Viliius Tentactulars,” he explained, saying the plant’s name like he was praising the gods. “They are extremely dangerous, so remember to wear your dragon hide gloves.”
Well, Mr Longbottom, there may be one slight problem with that. I seemed to have misplaced mine. I figured it might be a good idea to tell him.
“Sir? I seem to have misplaced mine.”
“Don’t worry Fee, you can share with me,” Roxanne whispered in my ear.
“Professor? I just found them.”
And yes, in case you were wondering, I did realise that sharing gloves with Roxanne would either mean only having one each, or putting both our hands in one hole. Not that that was worrying. We had been through worse.
“Okay, so this is a Viliius Tentactular,” Professor Longbottom said, holding up the most unattractive thing I had ever seen. No joke, that thing was fucking hideous. It beat the mandrake by far. Very far.
It had long moving tentacles sticking out of a skin coloured pulsing blob. Have you ever seen a blob fish? If you haven’t, look it up. Then imagine that, minus the eyes, with lots of green swaying finger like things covered in what looked like yellow growth sticking to it in spots. For those of you with no imagination, this plant can be described in one word: repulsive.
And the professor was looking at it like it was a baby angel.
“Now, Viliius Tentactulars-”
“Can you smoke it?”
“Is it smokeable?”
The whole class moaned. James asked this every lesson. Maybe the first time, back in third year, it had been slightly amusing. But two years running and it gets a bit old, you know?
“No, James, unless you want to die, I wouldn’t recommend smoking it,” Longbottom said wearily. He had to be the most patient person I knew. With anyone else James would have had his arse detentioned into the next millennium.
“Righty-o Nevillo,” Potter answered happily. Neville rolled his eyes and went back to his lecture on the disgusting pulsing thing. I’m not even going to grace it with a name.
“Psst!” hissed Fred.
I shall ignore him. I shall.
Breathe, Phoenix, breathe.
“What the fuck do you want?”
Freddy grinned at me from across the table. Josh sniggered next to him.
“Interested in making some magic together? My wand is at the ready.”
I clenched my fists under the table. Did he want a flower pot thrown at his head? ‘Cause he was definitely asking for it.
“I’m very, very worried for your safety right now,” I told him, eyes lowered into slits.
“I was just asking you if you wanted to be my partner!” he protested. I glowered at him.
“Well if your way of asking is as sexual as that, I don’t even want to know what you’ll do to that poor plant.”
Roxanne let out a loud laugh next to me.
“I wouldn’t feel too sorry for the plant, Fee,” she chuckled, looking over at our topic of conversation with disgust. “It’s crusty.”
“Ugh, don’t you just hate that word?” I said. Roxanne nodded solemnly. “And moist. I hate the word moist.”
“Clammy. The word has no business existing.”
“Gleimous,” cut in James.
“What the hell does that mean?”
“Crusty!” offered Josh
“Already said that one.”
“Can we make them up?” asked Fred. Merlin, since when had our conversations become so public? “Snausages. Conjures up images of noses and sausages for me. A really unsettling combination.”
“Please stop, I had sausages for breakfast!” I exclaimed. James snorted at me.
“What didn’t you have for breakfast?”
The topic of breakfast seemed to give Roxanne an idea.
“Yolk! Such an icky, pointless word. Whoever thought it up deserves my bile.”
“Intumesce,” said Josh proudly. I bet he didn’t even know what it meant.
“Bumicky,” suggested Fred.
“What’s that?” Roxanne asked.
“I dunno, why don’t you look it up?”
“Psychopath,” I offered, with a shiver. “It gives me the creeps.”
“Humpenscrump,” proposed Roxanne.
“You just made that up, didn’t you?”
Unfortunately, our riveting conversation had to end there, as Neville had just finished explaining what to do, and it was time to start pretending we had been listening the whole time.
“So Phoenix? You wanna be my partner?” Freddy asked me from across the table.
“Sorry, I’m with Roxanne,” I apologised. If he was disappointed by my answer, he didn’t show it. He just leant over and whispered something to the girl sitting next to him. She blushed and nodded. I turned to Roxanne, who was giving me a strange look. “What?” I asked, defensive.
She smiled knowingly at me, before slipping a glove over her right hand, humming to herself. I glared at her, but grabbed her other glove and shoved it on. Neville was going around, placing a plant in-between each of the pairs. I leant away as he put ours down. It was pulsing slowly, like the steady heartbeat of a large animal.
“So what are we suppo-”
“Ok, well, we need to name it,” I told my friend. Roxanne agreed with me. We must name it. “What about James?” was my suggestion.
“Nah, that’s boring.”
“I won’t even comment on that one.”
“Get that brain working, woman! If you’re going to offer something, make it good!”
“Well, I don’t see you giving any mind blowing suggestions!” I riposted. Roxanne sighed and rolled her eyes, as if she had a perfectly good reason for not helping me on my search, and I was an idiot for not seeing that.
“I’m waiting till the right one comes to me,” she explained calmly, as if talking to a three year old. She then closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. Her and her hippyness...
“Anytime now, Roxy.”
“I’ve got it!”
“Please, enlighten me.”
“The-pulsing-blob-with-green-tentacles-sticking-out-of-it. PB for short.”
“I like it. It’s original.”
Turns out we had no idea what to do with our newly named pet, so we leaned over super slyly and glanced at what Daisy was doing. She seemed to be using some flat knife thing and scraping off the yellow growth.
“Now, remember not to let the fungus fall into the stomach of the plant,” explained Neville. “Or it will absorb it. And be careful when you handle the feelers. If you touch them with bare hands the acid on the plant with disintegrate your fingers.”
Nasty little bugger.
It took a while for Roxanne and I to master the art of one gloved PB cleaning. As we worked, Professor Longbottom rattled off about all the amazing properties of the plant. It could get rid of diarrhoea, lower the chance of catching hyplotopomitis, cure several types of STD’s...you know, lovely things like that.
By the end of the lesson, our plant still looked like it had been attacked by an army of rotten cheese, and the pulsing thing had swallowed one of Roxanne’s gloves. When it was time to go we both jumped up and rushed out of the greenhouse. We weren’t sure how well the plant would digest dragon hide, and didn’t want to hang around and find out.
As we walked across the lawn, I heard snippets of conversation from the other students walking past. Everyone seemed to be talking about the Azkaban breakout. No one sounded worried, though. Everybody thought that with Harry Potter around, no one risked anything. And that was just the problem. How can the whole wizarding community depend on one man?
My next lesson was Divination. Me and Amelie were the only ones of our little quartet that were slack enough to have chosen the bludge lesson. Daisy was off to Arithmancy and Roxanne to Ancient Runes.
We stopped on our way to chat with Sir Cadogan, and as a result we climbed the ladder to the classroom five minutes late. Resulting, of course, in a ten minute reprimand from Professor Patil, and separated seats as punishment.
Today we were working with tealeaves. We were all given a porcelain cup, filled halfway with a murky brown liquid I was reluctant to call tea. I was just about to complain about how I didn’t have a partner, when the trapdoor flung open and up climbed none other than the three musketeers. Claps and cat calls greeted them, and Potter opened his arms wide to the praise of his fans. I growled angrily and took a sip of my tea to take my mind off his utter twatness. It was quite warm (read: hot as an f-ing volcano), so my instant ladylike reaction was to spray the foul tasting liquid all over my desk. I was really tempted to dig a shallow grave somewhere and lie down in it until crows came and pecked at my eyes, and worms wriggled under my fingernails, and I was overgrown by weeds. Or maybe something a little less fancy, like jumping off the astronomy tower and landing as a Phoenix-shaped pancake below.
“You right there, Walker?”
I looked up at the messy haired, chocolate eyed being that had asked the question, scowled at his good looks and idiocy, and then decided not to answer.
He just slung his bag down and took a seat next to me, placing his steaming teacup down on the table.
“Let me give you a little lesson,” Potter offered, ignoring my I-am-about-to-murder-you-so-shut-up posture that showed that I most definitely did NOT give a rat’s tail about what he had to say. “When a cup is steaming, or the outside is warm to touch, that generally means that the liquid inside is hot, and will therefore burn your tongue. In this situation, most people will either wait or blow on the liquid to cool it down, but maybe we should start putting labels on the cups. ‘To all Phoenixes: WARNING, contains burning liquid, do not drink.”
He finished his little speech, and turned to face the front, a smug expression plastered on his handsome face. I resisted the urge to throw his entire arrogant being down the trapdoor, and instead asked the question that had been bothering me ever since he sat down.
“What are you doing here?” I blurted out, before realising how silly my question must sound, seeing as he had been attending this lesson since third year. He turned a superiorly raised eyebrow towards me, and didn’t answer. “You know what I mean,” I growled, after his silence had become unbearably haughty.
“Look around,” he drawled, sweeping a nonchalant arm around the room. I obliged, and realised that every other seat was taken. Go figure that James Sirius Potter had to sit down beside the one girl in this world who didn’t swoon over him.
So here’s the drill: every Monday, Professor Patil makes us read our tealeaves. She says it’s good to know what’s coming, to be forewarned, blah, blah, blah. So every Monday we have to look at the soggy bottoms of our cups and try and make something out of the clump of wet leaves lying there. Normally I’ll be sitting with Amelie, making up wild stories about the future, sometimes quite detailed, although there always seemed to be a fit, topless, French bloke involved somehow or another. Unfortunately those predictions haven’t come true yet. Or maybe they have. I didn’t know whether Laurent wore shirts.
But today, due to Sir Cadagan’s chattiness and Professor Patil’s complete and utter unfairness, I was forced into partnership with Potter. Please, just kill me now and get it over with.
This lesson had three possible outcomes:
a) I will calmly read Potters future to him (and that future will involve several types of torture devices, followed by imminent death), and then he will calmly read out mine, and then we can all go on with our lives. Huh. Not likely.
b) We will both refuse to touch anything that has been near the other’s lips, get given one week worth of detention together, and during said detention someone may just get hurt. Preferably him.
c) Tea will be spilt, eyes gouged out, funerals planned, James Potters killed...
Let’s just hope it’s not a).
Anyway, I’ll just skip the whole drinking of the tea part for you, and go straight into the minefield.
There’s a dark, stuffy classroom. The only sound is the ragged breathing of students as they fearfully look into their futures. Tension fills the air. At one of the tables sit two figures, hands clenched around their pink, porcelain cups. They are looking into each other’s eyes, postures stiff, expressions tight.
Cue dramatic music. Suspense rises. Dread of what will be revealed by the brown glug in the cup simmers under the two student’s rigid attitude. Eyes widen, lips are bitten, apprehension is at its highest...
“This is fucked, I can’t see a thing!”
I huffed at Potters outburst, and squinted into his cup, which was now clutched in my hands.
“I see a big headed git. He is strutting about the school, looking down on people who are in reality much better than him, but on whom he thinks he holds superiority. His hand reaches up to ruffle his hair, messing it up even more and giving him the look of an unshowered hobo-”
Potter held up a hand to interrupt my prophecy, the other absentmindedly going up to his hair. I snorted.
“The unshowered hobo is you, right?” he asked. I prepared a witty answer, ready to spit it at him and cut through his stone cold heart with my well chosen words.
I am the queen of comebacks, I really am. My skill is beyond words. It’s giant. It’s breathtaking. I should have my own muggle TV show, those ones were they put fake giggles in the background to tell you when you’re supposed to laugh. It would be magnificent, and I would call it ‘Watch Me!’. No, that wasn’t right. I would call it ‘Phoenix Time’.
Wow, I really needed to get my sanity checked.
“Let me reveal to you what I have discovered hidden among the tealeaves,” Potter offered, with a dramatic flourish of his hand. “I see a hobo-”
“Don’t you think that’s getting a bit old?”
“I see a hobo, grovelling-”
“I do not grovel.”
“Grovelling at the feet of a fit god-like creature with dark hair and incredibly sexy bronze eyes-”
And that, my dear friend, was when I lost it.
A/N: What did you think? I have been suffering from this abominable sickness called writers block lately, so some things in this chapter may be a little off. I still had lots of fun writing it, though. The conversation on pick-up lines is based off a discussion me and my friends had the other day (Us? Strange? Where did you get that idea from?) but I still had to look up some on the internet...
So, figured out whats wrong with Daisy yet? and what do you think of the characters? Who's you're favorite girl? boy? Any favorite quotes? The review box is just waiting for answers :)
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