When Lysandra Yaxley had inevitably heard from Charis that Cedrella was dating the blood-traitor Septimus Weasley, Lysandra’s reaction was miles milder than Cedrella had feared it to be.
“How long have you been seeing him, Cedrella?”
Without hesitation, Cedrella had answered, “A week. It’s just a casual fling, Mother, nothing to worry about.”
And that had been the end of that conversation.
Of course, Cedrella honestly had not known that Septimus Weasley would be her forever after.
It had all started off in a relatively innocent manner. Cedrella Black had been in her sixth year when she had met Septimus properly for the first time. Before that, there had simply been no occasion for the two to ever cross paths – she was in Ravenclaw, and he in Gryffindor. She studied Potions, Herbology, and Divinations with great vigor, while he was passionate in Charms and Care of Magical Creatures. On top of Septimus being a seventh year, the Weasleys were notorious blood-traitors. Although Cedrella did not place as much emphasis on blood status as the rest of her zealous family members did, she was smart enough to know that a Black did not mingle with a Weasley.
Until that fateful time in the library, that was.
Even though it was only the beginning of the school year, the professors had been merciless in assigning the homework load. Every student complaint was met with a similar answer: if one listened carefully during class and focused enough on their assignments, it would only take an hour of their time. Cedrella knew differently. She took notes diligently during classes, practiced her wandwork right after classes when it was still fresh in her mind, and tried allotting an hour or two for a class. Even so, she would always wind up sleeping at two in the morning.
The lack of sleep had finally caught up to her that afternoon as she sat in the corner of the almost-empty library. Her friends simply did not understand why she would chose her free period to stay cooped up in the dusty room when Hogwarts was having a rare month of warmth and sun so close to winter, but she had been sorted into Ravenclaw for a reason.
It was always work first, play later. It was not her fault that it took most of her time outside of eating and sleeping to shift through her workload.
She rubbed her eyes wearily as her elegant scrawl became scrambled around before her very eyes. This week had been particularly hard on her, as all her professors were in particularly savage moods for reasons unknown, and the students became victims of their volatile temperaments. Cedrella had never felt the weight of assignments crushing her as heavily before, and her body was having difficulties adjusting to the little sleep during the night and equally little movement during the day.
Sunlight filtered through the large glass window and caressed her face with its welcomed warmth. She closed her blue eyes, tilting her face towards the sun – it had a soporific effect on her. Her eyelids refused to open, and all she could see was the vibrant shades of reds that quickly faded to black as she dozed off for the first time since the mortifying event in her third year. She was barely conscious of her surroundings. All she could feel was the sun and later the smooth top of the mahogany table under her left cheek. All she could hear was the sound of her soft breathing and the books that rustled with knowledge she would eagerly absorb later…
The harsh scraping of the chair against the floor yanked her awake from her dreamless sleep. Her eyes fluttered open reluctantly. Her thoughts were as jumbled as her incoherent mumbling while she stifled a yawn. Where was she? What time was it? Her hand rose to her cheek and absently rubbed the soft flesh. Why was there a book-shaped indent on her cheek?
She gingerly sat upright on the hard chair, her back sore from leaning over the table, and she stretched out her arms in front of her with a groan when her joins made a satisfactory pop. It was only then that Cedrella realized this was not her dorm room.
“Not too awfully bright for a Ravenclaw, are you?”
Immediately, her head snapped towards the direction of the voice, having momentarily forgotten why she had been woken so rudely in the first place. There, in the chair opposite of her, sat a very amused-looking boy with dark red hair. It took her a while to register who it was: Septimus Weasley, the chaser of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. It took her even longer to notice he was gesturing to the area of his mouth.
Her hand flung to her own mouth, and to her horror, felt a cold trail of telltale drool that gave away the story of her nap. She could feel herself blushing furiously, although she shot him a glare that was so haughty, it clashed with the action of wiping her drool away with her sleeve. Septimus let out a bark of laughter that earned him another glower that doubled in its intensity.
“What time is it?” she demanded in a low hiss. The unfamiliar sight of a parchment that only had the scrawl of her name and date made her uneasy. How much of her precious time had she wasted by unwittingly catching up on her sleep? Glancing out of the window, her stomach churned even more as she saw the darkening sky that she swore to have been clear and bright when she had last seen it.
“You missed dinner.”
His words brought her gathering of books and notes to an abrupt halt as she stared at him incredulously through the reading glasses she had propped up on her nose. His expression, apart from the initial entertained smirk he still wore, gave the impression that he was being utterly serious. Immediately, her mind raced ahead into panic.
“What?!” For once, she ignored the offended hushing of the librarian who stood three bookshelves away. Weasley’s expression remained unchanged. “How could I have missed the dinner bell?” A new look of horror passed her sharp features. “How could I have missed three classes?”
At this point, Weasley did not bother to hide his laughter. Cedrella stared at him incredulously, before she scowled darkly at him. “I am glad that my misfortune is a source of entertainment for you,” she huffed. In the midst of her personal chaos, she still placed her books and quills carefully into her satchel. There was no point in winding up with a disorganized bag due to her frenzied mind in the long run.
“Aww, are you leaving?”
She shot him a scathing glance as she stood up in one graceful swoop, her fingers gripping the leather strap tightly. She had missed out on valuable work time – now she had to suffer for her mistakes by staying up late yet again tonight. Though she knew the only fault the Weasley had in this situation was his insufferable lack of tact, she still wound up resenting him immensely. “Goodbye, Weasley.”
His genuinely bemused voice managed to stop her in her tracks before she could get out of earshot. “How’d you know who I was?”
Her dark brows arched high on her forehead. It was a question with such a blatant answer that it was almost not worth dignifying it with an answer. “Your hair,” she drawled, enunciating her words slowly. “It is not very hard to miss.”
She might have found his look of comprehension endearing if she had not been counting the minutes she was throwing away when she could have been utilizing her time at an optimal level. “Oooh. Trademark hair.”
“Yes, ‘oooh’. Now, if you’ll excuse me-.” And yet again, additional time was allotted for this seventh year she had never interacted with in her whole life when he called out to her again nonchalantly.
“See you around, Black.”
This time, it was her turn to reluctantly express her bemusement through her eyebrows. At least her reason behind her puzzlement was justified – unlike the Weasleys, her family did not have a tangibly distinctive feature that labeled their family. The Weasley in front of her gave her a smirk that instantly flared a strong distaste inside her.
“It’s your snobby expressions.”
Her spine stiffened visibly when he decided to be so courteous as to imitate what kind of expression they supposedly carried on their faces. She hardly had any time to finish tomorrow’s assignments, let alone stand around here to be insulted by an ignorant arse. Raising her head high in the air, she swiftly turned on her heels and marched out of the library. Far away from the library was never going to be far enough to get rid of Weasley’s snickers that echoed in her ears.
She had never met anyone that raked her nerves as much as Weasley had, and this was in one unfortunate encounter. How dare he ridicule her family in such a way? She did not deny that the Black family was infamous for expressing their displeasure when certain tasks or objects did not live up to their high expectations, but his exaggerated expression was simply crossing the line. Seething to a point where it would have been plausible for steam to rise from her ears, she ascended the steps of the tower.
Before she reached the top, the mirror ahead shone softly from the lit torches nearby. Her steps slowed to a gradual halt in front of the glass, and despite herself, Cedrella peered at her reflection. Her pointed chin and high cheekbones were accentuated by the light, her dark eyes searching for the possible similarities between her features and his flared nose, the eyes narrowed to slits. After a moment, she was satisfied with her assessment.
The arse was simply being an arse after all.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters nor the Harry Potter world (I wish I did though), but I do own the plot and the characterizations of these underrated characters.
Author's note: Man, it feels good to be back! This is a response to a challenge that makes us pick underrated characters to write about, and my muse is having a field day with this challenge. My poor, poor exam grades are now going to suffer due to my sudden return of my muse. Nonetheless, all reviews and criticisms are appreciated!
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