Hogsmeade weekends always had extreme weather. Either it was entirely beautiful, with pretty clouds, perfect temperatures or it was utterly abysmal, with rainy skies and dreary cold. Today, sadly, happened to be one of those days.
“I don’t know why we’re even bothering to go,” I muttered, as I pulled a thick coat over my woollen sweater.
Grace looked at me with contempt. “Because,” she said. “It’s going to be fun.”
I glanced over at Meera, who was busy tying her shoes and we shared a collective wince. Whenever Grace declared that something was going to be fun, it was normally reckless in the extreme, or she was trying to make the best of an awful situation.
“No it won’t,” Emmeline, our other roommate declared from behind her bed’s curtains. Em was the most anti social of all my year mates, choosing to stay and study, rather than do almost any social activity.
“Well, I’m sure you’ll have much more fun, alone then,” Grace said quite scathingly. “Excuse us while we go suffer.” With that she swung her bag up and stormed out of the room. “I’m not waiting for you two!” she yelled over her shoulders.
As soon as she was out of earshot, I giggled. “Good.”
“Sorry about that, Em,” Meera apologized, fixing her scarf in the mirror. “She doesn’t like getting up early.”
Emmeline laughed lightly, obviously not offended in the least. After a pause, where she yawned loudly, she said, “Once you’re gone, I’m going to sleep, if you don’t mind.”
“Doesn’t bother me,” I shrugged. “You should be alone. We’re all off to Hogsmeade, except for Lola, I think. She has practice though.”
Instead of responding with words, Emmeline gave another yawn and there was the sound of a head hitting a pillow. I shrugged in Meera’s direction, then picked up my bed and crept from the room as quietly as possible. As bookish as Em was, she had quite a temper, especially when she was sleep deprived.
I meandered down the stairs, not really ready to face the bustling Common Room quite yet. Sometimes people were just so loud.
“PUT THAT DOWN!” I heard someone shout from down the stairs and winced. Too much noise, for this early. At a volume that loud, the whole tower was probably awake by now.
“What was that?” I wondered aloud then shook my head and moved down the stairs, not eager to find out. Whatever drama was going on, I wanted no part in it. “WEASLEY!” The name was screamed this time.
“Oh damn,” I muttered and began to run down the stairs. I was going to murder Dom. Whatever she’d done (probably cheated with some bloke) Dad was going to hear about it. I could only forgive so many things.
I nearly fell head first down the stairs as I ran, but somehow managed to save myself in the nick of time, by catching the railing. “What’s going on?” I demanded, still staring at the stone steps below my feet.
A few nervous coughs echoed through the room and I looked up, to see a furious Xander Wood glowering over my little brother. Louis was holding a sheet of parchment in his hands. His pale corn silk hair was very close to matching his now pasty skin. He looked positively terrified.
I stared at Wood’s burly form, with his muscles practically bursting out of his too tight shirt. “I-I was just,” I muttered, suddenly aware that the whole room had grown silent.
“Yeah, Weasley?” The arrogant bastard asked. “What were you j-just going to say to me?”
I glared at him, wondering if I could surreptitiously get my wand out of my bag, without him hexing me first. “Louis?” I asked, glancing at my brother and purposely ignoring Wood. “What happened?”
He took several steps away from Xander, still clutching to the paper as if it was gold. “I just found this paper,” he muttered. “And he started screaming at me to drop it.”
“Well what is it?” I asked, taking a step forward to meet him. “Give it here,” I ordered, as commandingly as I could, while knowing that the whole room was watching the exchange apprehensively.
Louis shook his head furiously. “No way, Vic.” His extremely abbreviated use of my name was so uncharacteristic that I paused for a moment. But then I remembered that my brother had just refused my order.
“Louis!” I snapped. “Hand it over!” Xander was smirking off to the side, obviously finding the whole exchange quite amusing. I reached into my bag as smoothly as I could, rummaging around for my wand, all the while keeping an eye on the scene before me.
My brother shook his head one more time, very quickly. He stole a glance over at Wood. It looked like a mix of apprehension and fear. The paper went behind his back.
His blatant disregard of my authority as an older sister sent me over the edge. “Louis Arthur Weasley!” I yelled. “Give me that damn parchment or I swear I will write to Mum about this!”
A few people in the crowd chuckled at my last phrase, but I was too focused on my brother to care. He finally gave a nod and shoved the paper at me. “Have it your way, then.” He said in a surly voice.
I snatched the parchment away from him and uncrumpled it. With baited breath, the whole room seemed to wait to see what it was that my brother and Xander Woods had been trying to keep away from me.
I smoothed it out and read silently to myself for a few moments then glanced at a two very crude pictures scribbled on the side. There were very few words written but what I read was enough to enrage me beyond belief. Without moving my eyes from the parchment, I finally fished my wand from my bag.
With very calculated fury, I crumpled the paper and turned my gaze up at last. It took me only three steps to reach my brother, who I shoved aside without any hesitation. He grunted as he landed on the floor but I didn’t even give him a second glance, instead I advanced on Wood.
“You bloody git!” I spat at him. Winning Quidditch captain or not, I was going to murder him.
He turned to the crowd and gave a sort of arrogant laugh to the audience. “Don’t know what you’re talking about, love.”
I scoffed at that statement, still advancing closer. When I was just out of his reach, I stopped and simply glared. “Don’t play coy, Wood. It’s not becoming.”
“Hitting on me, Weasley? It’s not very becoming.” He again was addressing the crowd and the remark drew gasps and jeers alike.
“Don’t make me hex you!” I snapped. “What the hell were you thinking? That paper is yours, isn’t it?”
He nodded slowly. “Did you like it? I thought your sister looked particularly nice, didn’t you?”
“Shut you bloody mouth!” I stepped closer now. “Don’t you dare talk about my sister like that!”
Wood ignored me, like I was merely a fly around his head. “So sorry that you’re drawing wasn’t as accurate as your sister’s, darling. See, I had to draw it based on guesses. I’ve never seen you naked before. Though,” he paused dramatically, “I’m not really sure if I want to. I rather think I’d be disappointed.”
Fury rose, red and hot, through my body. It flowed down my arms, condensing and pooling in my palms. With a simple thought, I willed the power down into my wand. All it took was one word and it soared out of the wood, turning into glowing light that soared towards Wood.
It all happened in slow motion. The yellow light crackled and spat in the air. People’s faces in the crowd turned from amused to horrified. Even Xander lost his cocky grin, instead a dumbfounded stare appeared.
A huge crack sounded through the air as Wood flew through the air and landed on the stone floor. All of a sudden, the world sped back up again and there were whispers throughout the crowd. Then, Xander was on his feet, wand out in his hand. A trickle of blood dribbled down his face, but other than that, he seemed fine.
As he snarled, I felt my anger growing again. Another moment, and I would have to curse him again. I simply wouldn’t be able to resist the urge. I sucked in a huge breath of a air and felt power coursing through my veins again.
The words of the curse burned my throat raw as I screamed them. The force of the spell propelled me back a few steps as it exploded from my wand.
“PROTEGO!” Someone shouted and the power dissipated into the air as a rush of near scorching heat that seemed to burn and melt at my skin as it blew over me.
Across from me, Xander was shaking, his mouth gaping in surprise. His wand lay useless on the floor and he was shaking from head to toe. It looked like he was about to wet his pants.
I would have laughed if I wasn’t so shaken by the spell. But in a second, the moment had passed and someone was furiously shouting my name. “VICKY!”
I turned to see Teddy Lupin vault over the railing of the stairs to the boy’s dormitory, dropping at least ten feet onto stone. He looked livid and approached me with his wand ready. “What the hell were you thinking?” he said loudly.
I opened my mouth, but no sound came out, just a squeak. Teddy shook his head in angry exasperation. “You!” He pointed into the crowd at someone and gestured for them to come closer. After a moment, I saw that it was Neel, who wore a shell shocked expression, similar to Xander. “And you,” his eyes found Meera who was looking down at the scene from the girl’s stairway. “Take care of this,” he ordered in a deadly voice and the two twins nodded, hurrying towards Xander.
Now Teddy turned towards me. “Drop your wand,” he ordered with the same fierceness.
I looked at the hand that still held the wand and willed it to open, but I was frozen in shock. All I could think about was the look in Xander’s eyes. That pure, horrible fear.
Teddy’s brow furrowed when I didn’t comply with his command. “Drop it,” he ground out, fury boiling in his eyes.
I stood still, not able to move. My eyes flitted everywhere but Teddy’s face. The crowd around me. Meera and Neel. Xander. Louis. Just not to Teddy.
Finally he gave an immense sigh and stepped closer. While his wand was out and he looked wary, the fury was gone from his face. His wand-less hand extended toward mine, closing over my frozen fingers. Gently, he uncurled them, and slid the wand out of my tight grasp. All the while, I stayed immobile, waiting for the shout or the lecture or even for a slap.
But Teddy took the wand away tucking into his back pocket and moved his freehand to my upper arm. “Come with me,” he said quietly and proceeded to drag me through the crowd, all the while ordering the students out of his way.
When we finally reached the portrait hole, he kicked the painting open, not releasing his grip from my arm. Once it was open, he jumped down, dragging me behind him like a rag doll.
Down the hall, he pulled me, none too gently. By now, my brain function had increased slightly and I realized how much trouble I was going to be in. I had willingly and maliciously hexed curse a fellow student. That sort of action was the stuff of suspensions and possible expulsion. There was no chance that my parents wouldn’t hear of this incident.
But instead of yanking me to the Headmistress’s office, Teddy pulled me in another direction, finally stopping at a large tapestry of a knight bowing before a peasant girl. A simple spell rolled the cloth aside and Teddy pulled us both into an alcove that had a small stone bench and little else.
Finally, he released his iron grip from my arm and gently pushed me to the stone bench where I reluctantly sat down, still wondering what was happening.
It wasn’t till he had pulled the tapestry over the hole that he deigned to speak to me. “I have half a mind to turn you in,” he said, voice deep and husky in the darkness that now flooded the room.
I gulped, focusing my eyes on the spot where he had last been standing, though I knew he had moved because of the sounds of his footfalls on the stone. However it wasn’t until he sat on the bench next to that I realized how far he’d moved. “How about you try to convince me why I shouldn’t?” He suggested in a deceptively light voice.
“I,” I began. “Teddy, you don’t understand. He, he provoked me.” My voice sounded choked as if I was about to burst into tears, or something equally absurd. There was even a telltale lump in my throat.
“Then make me understand, Vicky,” he said softly. “Because from what I saw, it looks like you attacked a fellow Gryffindor without warning and with the intention to seriously hurt him. That curse could have killed him, if you’d meant it enough!”
I nodded into the darkness. I hadn’t realized how furious I’d been, or just how much power I’d thrown behind the spell. Teddy’s point was, unfortunately extremely valid. I could have killed Xander, if Teddy hadn’t been there. And at that moment, I was out for a kill. “God what did I do?” I mumbled. “I would have killed him. I know it would have.”
I expected Teddy to stand up and storm away, repulsed, or to drag me to McGonagall’s office for immediate expulsion, but instead, to my great surprise, he put his arm around my shoulders. “Tell me what he did, alright?”
“There was a parchment, a note, that Louis had found,” I began. “Wood was shouting at him to put it down when I came in.” I paused to lick my lips, before continuing. “I thought it was something stupid, so I made Louis give it to me. Only, he didn’t want to. So I took it from him.”
“What did it say?” Teddy’s voice was soothing and calm, though I could feel the tension in his body next to me.
“It really wasn’t what it said,” I grimaced. “It was what was drawn.”
“Explain,” Teddy pressed.
I leaned in very close to his ear and whispered exactly what I had seen to him. The words made me blush as they left my tongue, but I had to say them. Xander’s words to me, and my reaction, made no sense without the background.
Teddy, however, didn’t respond to my confession. Instead he sat immobile. “Teddy?” I asked quietly but there was no response.
I wished I could see his face, but in the darkness, I couldn’t even make out his outline. So it was with great awkwardness that I fumbled for my wand, reaching into his pocket and pulling it out. “Lumos,”
I murmured, and light filled the alcove.
When I held the wand in front of Teddy’s face, I almost wished that I hadn’t. It was twisted into a mask of undiluted fury and disgust, terrifying to behold. “I know I overreacted,” I managed to say in a rush. “I just couldn’t help myself after he said it all. He’s not hurt, and in the end that’s all that matters, right?” I was babbling, but I had to keep talking to fill up the silence.
“I’d rather he be dead,” Ted said darkly and I jumped.
“Don’t say that!” I pleaded earnestly. Then, when he was still silent, “You’re scaring me, Teddy.”
The man shook his head, and finally his eyes lost their red tinge. “I’m sorry, Victoire,” he said very formally. With another shake of his head, he stood and moved to pull the tapestry out of the way, however it wouldn’t budge.
“Wait!” I called, standing up and trying to catch a hold of his arm. “Are you going to turn me in? I promise, I won’t lose my temper again.”
But, Teddy shook me free viciously and with a wordless incantation, blasted a hole straight through the tapestry. It took only a second for the knight and woman to begin to protest loudly, but in that second, Teddy had pushed through the hole and had strode down the hall. As he left, I caught only one word, “No.”
As soon as he had vanished, I glared at the wand in my hand. “Nox,” I whispered as I sat down on the bench. And then I proceeded to cry my eyes out.