Chapter 2 : All Apologies
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I yelled as I swung with all my might at the bludger. I sent it flying away from Carl’s head as he threw the quaffle through one of the hoops, which were unprotected because our keeper was serving detention for disrupting muggle studies with some fireworks from Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.
It was the first quidditch practice of the year, and it felt good to be flying and holding my club again. Being a beater was great for me. It gave me an outlet to work out my frustrations.
“Great, Gull! Keep it up!” our captain shouted. I nodded and swerved out of the way of one of the chasers. I looked over at the hill by the quidditch pitch and saw two boys in black and green robes watching.
I whistled. “We’ve got company! Slytherins!”
A couple of us flew down to find Scorpius and Albus. They were both laughing as we touched ground.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing, Potter? Malfoy?” Carl yelled. I stood next to Albus, my beater’s club aimed at his head. I grinned and winked at him. He grinned back.
“Just trying to watch a quidditch team attempt to play with a mudblood on the team.” Scorpius gave me a smug look, and I pulled out my wand.
“You arsehole! Think you’re being funny, do you? Oh, I’ll show you a real laugh!” I yelled as I started to aim my wand to hex him. My team mates pulled me back, and Albus separated us.
“Alright, let’s just calm down. Scorpius, that was uncalled for, and you know it. Katherine, I know it hurts, but you’ve got to let it go. Don’t ruin your perfect record. We were only here as a joke. We aren’t really spying, we just wanted to have a little tease, that’s all. We went too far, we apologize, and now we’re going.” Albus seemed to know all the right words. I shook my team mates off of me and put my wand back in my robes. Malfoy just smirked and muttered “coward.” Before anyone could stop me, I’d tackled Malfoy to the ground and held my club against his chin.
“Trust me on this, Malfoy. This isn’t over. I will make you suffer for this. You don’t want me to play nice anymore about this? You get what you want.”
Albus pulled me off of Malfoy. “Katherine, stop. You’re not making anything better. Cut it out!” I mounted my broom and flew off.
“Scorpius, what the hell was that all about?”
I threw myself onto the couch and closed my eyes. Albus kept asking the same question over and over again.
“God, Potter, shut up! Does it really matter? You saw what happened.”
I opened my eyes and looked at him. He looked like someone had just used the stunning spell on him.
“Does it matter? Scorpius, she may not be a Slytherin, and she may be a muggle-born, but she’s my friend. She’s Rose’s friend. I’d expect you to at least be decent to her around us. And by decent, I mean not calling her a mudblood. Believe it or not, it hurts Rose when you call Katherine that, because that’s what your father called Rose’s mother when they were students.”
I’d forgotten about that.
“Look, Al, I’m sorry, but it’s the way I was raised. My family has prided itself for centuries on having a pure bloodline. No muggle-borns, no squibs. No marriage with muggles. If they married a muggle-born or muggle, they were disowned for not respecting the prestige of our family. Do you ever think that sometimes I feel we go too far? But then I remember we’re Malfoys, and with that name we command respect from all.”
I took a deep breath. Sometimes, the lies didn’t really feel like they were worth it. He was my best mate, after all. We weren’t as noble as we said we were. Sometimes I detested my family, but I knew what was expected of me. No muggles. No muggle-borns. No squibs. No friendship with any of the three, and certainly no romance. Ever.
“Scorp,” Albus said, looking at the green flames in the fireplace, “I know that’s what your family says. I also know that my parents, aunts, and uncles risked their very lives trying to create a world for us that didn’t require blood status. A couple of them died trying to create that world. I know I can’t change your mind or that of your parents. All I’m asking is that you’re civil to Katherine around myself and Rose and that you don’t call her a mudblood.”
I nodded. I just had to be civil around Albus and Rose.
I was in the library when the thump of books being thrown onto the table told me that a certain Weasley was now with me.
“Hello, Rose,” I said, not looking up from my arithmancy essay. It was only Thursday of the week back, and Professor Bollingsworth was giving out essay assignments.
“Mind telling me what the bloody hell happened at the pitch today?” she hissed at me. I kept writing.
“Well, we spotted Albus and Malfoy watching us. We flew down, Malfoy called me a mudblood and a coward, and I reacted. That’s what happened.”
Rose grabbed my hand, causing my ink to smudge a few lines. Great, now I would have to rewrite that page.
“Katherine, you’re my friend. What Scorpius said to you was awful. But at the same time, Scorpius is my friend, and I can’t choose between two friends. I’m not picking sides. I will say this, though. You need to stand up and be the bigger person. Don’t let him know he’s hurt you!”
“That’s well and easy for you to say, Rose Weasley, since you’re a pureblood and he can’t call you a mudblood. He can’t hurt you the way he can hurt me. It’s easy for you to say ‘be the bigger person,’ but in reality I can’t do it as easily as saying it. I dealt with the teasing for being different for ten years. I was told that I would be accepted for who I was here. Instead, what do I find? A group of people who are exactly like the ones I left behind, and why? Because my parents weren’t the right kind of people. You’ll never have that problem, Rose.”
She sat staring at me, stunned, with tears in her eyes. “I was only trying to help you. You think I don’t get grief for who my parents are? Imagine what Scorpius’s parents said when they found out his best mate was the son of Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley. That his cousins were the children of Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The four of them together put most of Scorpius’s family in Azkaban. We got plenty of grief. You know, once you get to know him, Scorpius is actually a really nice, kind, and caring person.” I laughed at that.
“Rose, listen to yourself. Does calling someone a ‘mudblood’ sound nice, kind, and caring? I’ll never get to know him because he doesn’t want to know me.”
She shook her head. “I know, Kate. But it’s like that muggle Anne Frank said about the people who were trying to kill her: ‘deep down, I believe all people are inherently good.’”
I shook my head. She was playing the Anne Frank card on me. “Alright, so maybe. Why are you friends with him? I know he’s Albus’s best mate, but why you?”
She smiled and laughed. “Oh Lord. Let’s see, it was…what, first year? Yes. First year. Some third years had stolen my book bag and were playing keep-away. Scorpius got my bag back for me. We became friends.”
“As simple as that?”
“As simple as that.”
I groaned, banging my head on the table. Rose caught me by my still-wet ponytail, which she didn’t expect. She let go with an “eww…” and wiped her hand off on my robes. My head made an unexpected bump on the table.
“Oww! What? It’s just water from the showers. What did you expect? I just came from practice!” We giggled and packed our things up. We headed to the Great Hall arm in arm, but sadly separated to go to our respective tables.
I found an empty seat by some people I was on friendlier terms than others. None of them said hello to me, but one girl looked up and smiled at me. She lived in the dormitory with me, and she was a very sweet, very shy girl.
I served my plate, and still, no one had said a single word. I decided to break the silence. Turning to the girl next to me, I said “So, Amy, how was History of Magic?”
She looked up at me from her book and gave me a look that said “why are you disrupting my studying?” I turned back to my food, wishing my team mates had saved me a seat at dinner. I ate my dinner as fast as I could and got up to join Rose at the Gryffindor table.
“Oh thank God, people who actually speak!” I said as I sat down. I was talking and laughing with my friends when I felt like I was being watched. I looked up and saw Scorpius Malfoy staring at me. I felt myself turning red, but I couldn’t look away. He nodded his head towards the door and got up. I watched him walk to the door.
“Rose, I’ll see you in the library, alright?” I said, watching Scorpius. She looked confused, but agreed to meet me. I picked up my bag and walked towards the doors. What the hell did Malfoy want with me?
I opened the door and looked around. I saw him looking at portraits on a staircase. I stood a few stairs below him and he saw me out of the corner of his eye.
“Look, Gull, I don’t want to make this any more unpleasant than it needs to be. You just apologize for what happened earlier today, and we’ll just go on trying to ignore each other the best we can.”
I looked at him, my jaw dropping. I could not believe I was hearing this. He wanted me to apologize for my reaction to what he said to me?
“You have the audacity,” I hissed, “to tell me to apologize? After what you called me? After I’ve done nothing to you to deser—”
“Oh, you do deserve it!” he said, finally looking at me. He came down the stairs to my level. “You think that you have a right to be here, do you? Well let me tell you, you may be able to do some magic, but you will never be worth anything in our world. The fact that your kind exists is the only reason we have problems in our world. If you mudbloods would just stay out, we wouldn’t have any problems!”
His eyes were a furious storm. His words rang in my ears. I could feel tears starting to form. No! Katherine Elizabeth Gull, you will NOT cry in front of Malfoy! He doesn’t deserve the satisfaction!
I tried to blink back a tear, but it fell. I quickly wiped it away. “Well, Malfoy, if that’s how you and your family and all the rest of your pureblooded friends feel, why don’t you go off and start your own school?” I started walking down the stairs, but I turned back. “You know, Malfoy? I thought you would try to put in a little effort to try and be civil to me, if only for Rose and Albus’s sakes. I know I do.” With that, I turned and walked away towards the library.
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