Chapter 3 : Being Head Girl
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It was half past eleven and I was stretched out, my sight hindered by the mass of bubbles, in a tub that could been mistaken for a Roman Bath. The room was dome shaped with frosted windows that extended up, echoing the encompassed feel to the room. The window in the middle was stained glass. A mermaid, with ringlets of caramel mane, was dipping one of her fingers in the bright blue water around her, her black eyes absorbed with her task.
Soapsuds floating my way were struck, as I read the chart leaning against my wet knees. Being Head Girl meant that I was obligated to draw up a duty chart stating which nights Prefects were to patrol the corridors and who with. Head Boy was normally required to help me with this task, but the last chart that James had drawn up had ended up flushed down the loo.
Paring Prefects in the same house generally worked best, but last year there had been a growing number of prejudice instigated episodes. Over the summer I had come up with a way to evade these incidents: combining different houses. There was sure to be outrage at tomorrow’s Prefect Meeting when I presented this plan. Not only this, but I also had to try and rouse the Prefects to sack James.
The Ravenclaw and Slytherin Prefects wouldn’t hold any objections to this. Ravenclaws saw the practical side to everything and realistically, James was a pathetic excuse for a Head Boy. The Slytherins would just be eager to see a Gryffindor’s power removed. My trouble lay in Hufflepuff and Gryffindor.
Hufflepuff tended to idolise people far too much. And the two dreamy Potter boys as well as their ever popular sister, Lilly, were high up on their worshiping list. But Elspeth and Ricky, the two Hufflepuff Prefects, were also pushovers – a fault I would take advantage of.
I trusted that James had done what I told him and harassed the Gryffindor Prefects till they were ready to hurl themselves off the nearest tower. For the last two years, they had been the obstacle in stopping me getting rid of James Potter, protesting that he was a esteemed member of the school and that the rest of Gryffindor's wouldn’t pay any attention to a different Head Boy. This was partly true – the Gryffindor's adored the Potter family. But sanctioning the stunts that James had pulled in the past was just sheer gullibility and stupidity.
I finished off the chart and spent the last remaining minutes in my gradually diminishing bath enjoying a rare moment of peace.
Overstepped. That was exactly what I had done in History of Magic; I had overstepped my boundaries as a student. Away from the classroom and the infuriating face of that teacher, I was able to reflect on what I had done. And what I had done was no different from what I routinely pulled in class.
Admittedly, I rarely accused Flitwick of heresy. But every other teacher in the school usually allowed me to express my views and often commended me for it.
I was confused and that made me all the more irritable.
“Excellent. Absolutely excellent”, Professor Vector beamed, handing me back my essay on Ancient Runes in the Modern World.
I set the piece of O graded work in front of me, more than a little smug.
“See”, Albus said, his eyes twinkling, “Vector still loves you”.
“If your referring to History of Magic yesterday then I can tell you now I won’t be discussing it”.
“You started it”, Albus continued, passing me my bag as Vector dismissed us for lunch. “You always start it”.
I stuffed the books into my satchel and picked up the other three that wouldn’t fit in.
“Bloody hell”, Albus said, eyeing my load, “how many classes have you got today?”
Technically, seven. I had used the time-turner to attend Ancient Runes and Defence Against the Dark Arts simultaneously. And while I took notes for Transfiguration this afternoon, I would also be appearing in Advanced Potions.
“A few”, I replied indifferently. “And I now have a Prefect Meeting at lunch”.
“One day you’re just going to disintegrate”, he said, shaking his head, as we headed out the door and into the brightly lit corridor.
“Do you have any idea why your brother has asked me to get him fired from being Head Boy?” I asked, still mulling over what I had promised to do.
“Only merlin knows”, Albus said, rolling his eyes. “He was bragging last night about his little plot. I can’t believe you agreed to do it”.
“I’ve wanted him dismissed since he started. He’s horrific”.
“You’ll need a new Head Boy once you get rid of him”, Albus pointed out. “If you manage to get rid of him that is”.
I narrowed my eyes. “Very true. Why? Think you’re up to the job, Potter?”
His cheeks tinged. “I wouldn’t say no, if you offered me it”.
“Sadly, the decision isn’t up to me. But I could always make my preferences known”, I added throwing him a sly grin.
Something came bolting past me, almost knocking my books from my arms and flung itself at the unsuspecting Albus.
“You said you’d come and walk me from Divination”, said, what appeared to be a girl, her arms looped around Albus’s neck.
“I forget”, Albus said, his eyes avoiding my brazen stare.
“You can go now if you want”, I said, my tone a little unfriendly. The girl’s head turned and she blinked, as if spotting me for the first time. She was quite appealing. Her scarlet hair was tied into a bun today and stray curls fell, outlining her square jawline. Her nose was turned up a little as she looked at me, whether this was the way her face normally presented itself, I did not know.
“Rose”, she said, her voice dripping with insincere delight. “Albus has told me so much about you”. She held out one of her french manicured hands.
I resolved to play nice, purely for my cousin. “It’s nice to meet you Desirre….at last”, I said, shaking her hand.
She let go promptly and turned her attention back to Albus who was looking rightly sheepish. “Fancy some lunch?”
I began to walk away, not able to stomach much more of the girl’s nasal voice. I supposed it was nice to see a Slytherin and Gryffindor couple. It would boost House Unity tremendously. But did it have to be Albus?
Prefect Meetings were held in the Room of Requirement: a brisk five minute walk from Professor’s Vector Classroom, unfortunately, due to my hindrance with Albus, I was unpunctual for the first time in two years.
“Sorry everyone”, I said, entering the room. All the seats at the long table were taken par from the one right at the very top. I sat down it, pushing my books to one side and setting out the chart I had been drawing up last night.
“Right”, I said, smiling. “Firstly I would like to welcome Patricia, who is going to be one of our new Gryffindor Prefects”, the girl with mousy brown hair grinned a little timidly at everyone round the table, “And Zane who is our newest Slytherin Prefect”.
Zane didn't look up at the reference of his name and continued to scrutinise his fingernails meticulously.
“Now before we head into patrolling and duties,” I said, my hand hovering over the chart in case anyone tried to snatch it away. “I would like to get something a little unpleasant out the way”.
I looked around, gauging the others reactions. “I would like to suggest a replacement Head Boy”.
“We have a Head Boy?” Said Ricky, his portly face crumpled with confusion.
“James Potter”, said Francis, the Ravenclaw Prefect.
“You can’t get rid of James!” Cried Toby Finnegan, his expression enraged.
“Why not? He never does anything”, retorted Edgar, the other Ravenclaw Prefect.
Finnegan turned to me, his eyes narrowed. “You tried to get him fired last year. Well I’ll tell you for the second time – it’s not going to happen”.
“It makes no sense to keep on a Head Boy who isn’t doing his duties”, said Elspeth doubtfully.
“Just the other day James interfered when a couple of Gryffindor kids were getting called names”, Toby growled, banging his fist on the table.
“And how exactly did he interfere?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.
Toby’s anger faded a little. “Well….he stopped them!”
“Sent to the Hospital Wing more like”, Zane scoffed.
“Lay off Zabini! How many times have you seen a Slytherin stop to help someone recently?”
“Let’s put it to a vote”, I interrupted, before things got out of hand. “Those in favour of getting a new Head Boy, raise your hand”.
To my delight, both the Ravenclaws and the Slytherin Prefects put their hands in the air, as well as Elspeth from Hufflepuff. I was adding the numbers when an extra hand slowly came into view, from Patricia.
Toby’s eyes went wide. “What do you think you’re doing!”
“James Potter is a toerag, Toby”, she snapped. “The sooner he’s gone the better”.
Toby glowered, folded his arms, and sulked.
“Right. Now that’s sorted”, I said, passing round the petition that they needed to sign. “I’d like to talk about patrolling”.
“Who’s going to be the new Head Boy?” Edgar asked.
“That’s up to McGonagall”.
“Someone from Ravenclaw?” Francis said hopefully.
Zane sniggered. “Two Ravenclaws controlling the school? I’d rather do time in Azkaban”.
“I thought that was compulsory in your House, Zabini”, Toby remarked.
Zane’s fingers curled round his Wand.
“Enough!” I said firmly. “This is exactly why I’ve restructured the patrolling system. Things out there are bad enough. The people in this school need to see that Hogwarts is united…throughout the Houses”, I added, looking round at all of them.
“From now on patrolling couples are going to be from different Houses. Here is the list”, I passed the copies of the chart round. “And I expect people to follow the list”.
“And what if the list is a load of dragon dung?” Asked Toby, refusing to look at the piece of paper in front of him.
“Then your just have to learn to shovel it, Finnegan”, I grimaced. “McGonagall has already approved it”.
Toby glared, but started to read.
“Is there any other questions?” I probed. “No? Good. Meeting concluded”.
“Here already”, commented Harrison. “I have to say. I'm impressed”.
I pressed my hands on my abdomen, trying to keep it from growling. Eating tended to be a forgetful habit of mine and today, my stomach was punishing me.
“I wish Slughorn would hurry up”, I complained, my eyes fixated on his office door.
“The old guy likes to digest his food”, Harrison winked, taking out his books and placing them beside my own.
The word ‘food’ made my stomach whine miserably.
“Cuffe!” A boy, who looked to be in Seventh Year, Ravenclaw of course, came striding up to our desk. He was tall, with wavy shoulder length hair and sported what looked like a tooth through his right ear.
“You playing on Saturday?” He asked, disregarding my presence.
“You bet”, Harrison replied, “first game of the season”.
“Slytherin are going to weeping by the end of it”, he grinned, as if already imagining the scene.
He seemed to suddenly notice me and gave me a pleasant nod. “You coming?”
“To the match?” I echoed. Me and Chrissy never attended Quidditch Matches or Practises, the sport was always far too amplified in our opinion.
“I have work”, I said.
“At the weekend? Seriously?” He looked at Harrison in surprise and then back to me. “Ok. I guess”.
Not liking his approach towards me at all, I turned my attention the door which had opened, exposing the portly stature of Slughorn.
“To your seat Trotter”, he chided. The long haired boy gave Harrison a rough pat on the shoulder and then loped to his seat.
“Sorry I'm late, walking from the Great Hall down to the Dungeons takes a lot longer than it used to”, he chuckled. “Now, we are soon to be brewing probably one of the most dangerous potions ever to exist: Amortentia.”
Every boy in the room groaned.
“Now, now, you lads undervalue what this little tinker can do”. He held up a small vial in front of the class.
“Would anyone to care to explain?”
The words leapt out my mouth. “Amortentia is the most powerful love Potion in the world, the effects are instantaneous and it is reco-”
At first I thought Slughorn had spoken.
“Amortentia isn’t just the most powerful Potion. It’s the most powerful drug. And the effects are not instantaneous. It’s like someone is pulling a piece of string through your body, you can feel it travelling. And when that buggar reaches past your ears, you know you’re gone”.
I turned in my seat. Sitting at the very back of the classroom, his feet resting on the tip of his cauldron and sporting his beloved sneer, was Scorpius Malfoy.
“Not that someone like you could be expected to know that much detail”, he drawled, his flint irises locked on my face.
“Mr Malfoy”, exclaimed Slughorn, a little startled, “you have first-hand experience?”
I watched, my face as stiff as stone, as his eyes drifted to focus on Slughorn. The action itself was like seeing wool being pulled away from honey.
His sneer flipped into a sudden smirk. “Of course not….Sir”.
Seeming slightly disturbed himself, the Professor hastily changed the subject. “Not to worry, today we will only be making a simple concoction. And whoever produces the best potion will be chosen to make a small amount of the Amortentia next lesson in front of the class”.
“Can we keep it?” Said Lucy Thomas, a loudmouth Hufflepuff.
“No.” Was Slughorn’s predictable reply.
“The ingredients of the potion are listed on the board and I will be checking cauldrons in….” he glanced at the clock on his desk, “half an hour. You may begin!”
I noted down the Ashwinder eggs, powdered moonstone, peppermint and rose thorns and flew from my seat, striding to the store cupboard. Leaving nothing to chance, I grabbed two of everything. I was on my tiptoes for the last ingredient when a pale hand reached over me and took it.
“Slow in all departments today, Weasel”.
I wheeled round and found a Slytherin Tie in my face.
“Told you I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice”, he said, sneering down at me. He really was ridiculously tall.
I tilted my head back, to gain a proper view of his face. He had such unusual features that I could never make out if they were striking, or strange. His cheekbones were slanted, rising over hollowed cheeks to meet a strong jawline, set with thin cerise lips. And if this didn't make you stop and stare, you would find yourself speechless when he looked at you, exactly as he was looking at me now. His eyes were pewter, trapped by blonde lashes – it was hard to believe that someone could force such intensity out of such a dull colour – but he did.
“Leave me alone, Malfoy”, I glared.
The steely eyes tightened. “Thanks to your sodding Uncle, I can’t see my Mother anymore. I'm not allowed home for Christmas, neither is my Father. She’s going to be by herself on her birthday”.
“I’ll send her a card”, I snapped, pushing past him.
Something sunk its teeth into my wrist and I gasped.
“I’ve been playing nice with you Weasley”, he snarled. His fingernails were digging into my skin. “And now, I'm tired of it”. He pulled me sharply and I fell forward, now an inch away from his face. “I am going to break you”, he hissed.
I withdrew my wand and pressed it against his adams apple. “Try it.”.
He looked down at his throat and little by little, released my left wrist.
I swallowed, rubbing the sore area. He swept past me, dropping something into my arms as he went.
“I hear they’re a bitch to cut off”, he said, before exiting the store cupboard.
I was quiet for a moment, staring at the small bag of roses. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to laugh, or cry.
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