Chapter 1 : Penelope's Chip On Her Shoulder
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Dumbledore stood up to give his last notice of the night. “Finally, in more exciting news, this year we will be holding a magnificent festivity that has not been held in over one hundred years. Although the Triwizard Tournament was deemed far too dangerous for continuation by the International Magical Co-operation, the old boys could not see any reason as to disallow an age-old tradition that has been denied for so long.”
He looked around the room and the sea of eager faces, each of them captivated by the words he spoke, clear that this was exactly what the students wanted and needed. But not everyone Dumbledore looked down upon seemed completely excited by his news.
Everybody but Penelope Clearwater.
Well, ‘completely’ was an understatement; Penelope had her head buried in a book already and was hunched over it, not a single scrap of attention on him. It was very clear to everyone around her that she was not interested in what Dumbledore had to say, a few young first-years staring at her open-mouthed, completely in awe of how a seventh-year could have such a disregard for the Headmaster.
Undeterred, however, Dumbledore continued. “The Yule Ball will be held on Christmas Day here at Hogwarts, although our neighbouring schools Durmstrang and Beauxbatons will also be attending. Now, although I can see that you are all eager to discuss plans-” all the girls in the room had simultaneously found another girl and had immediately started planning dresses and dates –“there are two rules that must be obeyed.”
The talking died down at once, and all eyes were once more on the Headmaster. “Only those in fourth year and above are allowed to attend-” there was a roar of discontent from the girls. One Gryffindor third-year stood up in protest, pointing a finger at him and muttering furiously to herself, but was quickly ushered down by her embarrassed friends –“ although this will not stop them being allowed to attend if they are asked by fourth years or above.” This seemed to calm the pupils down. The same third-year burst into tears and blew a kiss at the stage.
“And the last rule is the simplest rule: Have fun!
“Now, are there any questions?” Everyone looked expectantly around the room, not wanting to be the one to ask the first question, nor to be the one who asked a stupid question. But, as ever, there was always one person brave enough to raise their hand: Oliver Wood.
Dumbledore smiled, “Yes, Mr Wood?” Penelope looked up and finally concentrated on the conversation.
“Sir, we were just wondering,” he looked round at his other Quidditch-mad friends, “that, well…Quidditch will still be on, won’t it?”
Dumbledore smiled wider, “And why would it be cancelled, Mr Wood?”
“I don’t know,” Oliver grinned, “in case the fierce battle of the pitch reaches the dance floor?” Dumbledore chuckled and shook his head,
“No, Mr Wood, it won’t be cancelled. But it doesn’t mean that we won’t be keeping an extra-close eye on all of the Quidditch teams this year. With last year’s foul play during a particularly memorable game -” Dumbledore looked over at the Slytherin table –“this year, the Professors and I will now be using Omnioculars during the games to spot every single element of foul play.”
Oliver sat down, looking quickly at his Quidditch friends and swore under his breath. “Now, are there any more questions?”
Every boy in the school looked content with the Quidditch news and were eager to go, some already half-rising from their seats, but another hand shot in the air. Dumbledore looked over, “Yes, Miss Clearwater?”
“Sir, I was just wondering,” She mocked and glanced quickly over to Wood, “that, well…we don’t actually have to go to the Ball, do we?”
Oliver glared at Penelope. They had never seen eye-to-eye, and, as much as the Professors had already tried telling them to make amends, to let bygones be bygones, this mutual feeling had been there for far too long to let it go simply because it was their last year at Hogwarts.
Dumbledore smiled at Penelope, “No, Penelope, you don’t have to go, but it is recommended that you take an evening off your studies and, as you kids say, ‘let your hair down’?” A few people sniggered in the Hall; a few second-years even threw Penelope a disgusted look as she sat down, but before anything could be said, Dumbledore threw up his hands and clapped once,
“Now, off you all pop to bed!”
“You know, you might actually want to try ‘nice’ for a change. People wouldn’t know what to think.”* Audrey sat down at the edge of Penelope’s bed and picked up one of her books. “And maybe lay off the books for a while, otherwise you may end up in the Hospital Wing…again.”
Penelope snatched the book off Audrey and put it on the windowsill. “You forget, I don’t care what people think.* And that was in fourth-year, and only because Peeves thought it would be ‘nice’ to push all the books off the shelves and onto my head. It’s not like it had anything to do with reading.”
“If your head wasn’t stuck in a book when that happened, I’ll chop off my own head and feed it to the Thestrals.” Penelope was silent, but her eyes weren’t moving across the page of the book she was reading. Audrey grinned and knocked the book out of her hand, “I knew it.”
“What is it that you’ve got against going to the Yule Ball anyway?” Kathy asked, lying back on her bed and staring at the star-covered canopy above it.
“It’s not that I’ve got anything against the Ball, just the people that want to go to it. Who really wants to go to a dance where all you do is listen to some idiotic band that can hardly play their own instruments, watch the Professors dance incredibly embarrassingly in front of you, whilst some completely drunk imbecile rubs up against you to try and get in your pants? Who really wants to go to that?”
“Er, I do,” Audrey said, taking out another jumper from Penelope’s trunk and eyeing it up suspiciously. “Is this even yours?”
“Yes,” she swiped at the jumper and shoved it into one of her drawers, “Mum washed it for Dad and it shrunk, and I didn’t want to waste it, so it’s mine now.”
“Okay, okay. But have you ever thought about changing your style? You know, move away from the baggy jumpers to, oh I don’t know, mini-skirts.” Audrey sniggered and received a glare. “You never know, it may attract the attention of a certain male…”
Penelope turned around, “What?!”
“Who?” Kathy said at the same time.
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe…Oliver Wood?” Audrey leapt off the bed and out of the way of Penelope’s swinging fist.
“I don’t know, it just seems right. You two have chemistry…and history together. And did you not see the way you practically froze when he asked Dumbledore a question just now?”
“By history, do you mean the time that I snuck into the changing room whilst they were practising and put Bulbadox powder in his clothes, or the time I told Filch he was the culprit behind the disappearances of Mrs Norris in third-year and he couldn’t train for Quidditch for weeks due to his string of detentions?” She glared at her sister and sat back on the bed.
“I thought it was in our second year-”
“Oh, yes, thank you, Kathy,” Penelope interrupted and glared at Audrey, “It was in our second year. In our third year, I locked him in the broom cupboard for four hours after he copied one of my essays. Do I have to keep spelling it out to you?”
“Alright, alright, maybe you wouldn’t be good together.” Audrey laughed, “But you have to admit, he’s looking good this year…” She dodged another blow from Penelope and swerved away onto Kathy’s bed.
“So what’s up with you and Oliver Wood?” Kathy asked once Penelope had stopped attacking Audrey, much to Audrey’s obvious delight.
“I hate him.” She sighed.
“Because all he ever thinks about is Quidditch and girls! He never works and yet all the Professors love him because he’s so stupidly-” she punched the pillow –“bloody-” another punch –“smart!”
“Hey!” Audrey sat up in indignation.
“Ha, she’s basically talking about you…but you like boys and…not the girls.” Kathy looked quickly away and received a pillow in the face from Audrey.
“And Quidditch’s great, Penny!”
“No it’s not! It’s just a load of men-” Audrey glared at her – “and women flying around on little sticks in the air, pummelling each other so that they can score measly little goals through stupid little hoops simply because they can’t score in real life.”
“That’s hardly true, Penny. Have you seen Roger Davies around girls?!”
“Roger is hardly a good example of a fine Quidditch athlete.” Penelope picked up her book and opened it, “He has not only stopped Ravenclaw from winning the Quidditch cup for the past three years, but he also only picks the people he wants for the team because he either owes them for all the years they have done his work for him, or because he wants to get in their pants. Hardly a true Ravenclaw.”
Audrey stood up suddenly and marched to the doors. “Well, Roger says I’m one of the best Chasers they’ve had in Ravenclaw’s team in years; and for your information, he hasn’t even asked me out, so your theory is majorly flawed!”
“Just wait, Audrey,” Penelope stood up and marched over to her sister, “just because he hasn’t asked you yet doesn’t mean that he didn’t ask you on the team for that reason! I’m sorry; I’m just looking out for you.” She tried to place a hand on Audrey’s shoulder but she shrugged it off.
“Just because you can hardly balance on Dad’s old broomstick doesn’t mean that you have to hate everyone who is any good at Quidditch!” She pulled the door open and turned around, “Don’t try and control me, Penny, it won’t work,” and promptly swung the door shut.
Penelope scoffed and collapsed onto her bed, trying to drown out the last conversation by placing a pillow on her head. It didn’t work.
After a moment’s silence, Kathy asked, “Why aren’t I allowed to call you Penny?”
“Because I hate it.”
“But Audrey can call you Penn-”
“She does it because she knows I hate it.”
Although Audrey was a full year younger than Penelope, she was the most well-known of the Clearwater sisters. She was popular, athletic, well-liked by her teachers because, on top of it all, she was ridiculously smart. And although Penelope was the smartest witch in her year, there was no denying the fact that she was a recluse. And thus came about the way in which both of them were: Audrey very popular, and Penelope hardly known to anyone in her year, let alone Hogwarts.
Except Kathy Bundy. Strange Kathy Bundy; the kind of girl who would give that weird third-year Luna Lovegood a run for her money. She had been Penelope’s friend since first year, and had stayed her only friend ever since.
Penelope tried to read the book she had started earlier, but the conversation between herself and Audrey kept plaguing her. “I’ll be back in a minute,” she said to Kathy, although she knew she didn’t hear her. Between Penelope and Kathy’s immense collection of Chocolate Frog cards, the cards won hands-down.
“Daring move, Ptolemy, but you know Paracelsus beats your sorry hat every time!” Penelope slipped out of the dorm unnoticed and went in search of her sister.
Marietta in Audrey’s year informed her that she had not been in their dorm at all so far, and that “she really should start unpacking! Cho and I aren’t doing it again this year!” Penelope slipped out of their dorm before they roped her in for help, and leant against the door.
Audrey wouldn’t go to the library, she was ‘too cool’ for that, and Penelope knew from experience that the library didn’t open until the first full-day of school. Quidditch try-outs weren’t for another two days, so a late practise wasn’t necessary. She meandered down the stairs and checked off all Audrey’s known hide-outs in her head.
Just as she began to panic, however, Penelope’s eyes landed on her little sister. In the common room. Sitting on Roger Davies’s lap.
Penelope saw red. No Ravenclaw girl ever giggled for a boy! They were meant to dazzle them with their wits, not their ti-
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath trying to calm herself down, but her anger only built up as she opened her eyes.
Roger leant forward and whispered something in Audrey’s ear, making her laugh even louder. Her eyes flickered over to Penelope, standing by the entrance to the dorms, and she smirked before turning her attention back to Roger, wrapping one arm around his neck and whispering something back to him.
If Penelope thought that Audrey deserved an apology before, that was feeling was long-gone. She turned around and marched back up to her dorm, slamming the door for extra effect.
“Finish him, Agrippa, finish him!” Penelope went and flopped onto Kathy’s bed.
“Hey, Agrippa was about to win that!” Kathy moaned as she laid her cards down on the bed from their wrestling match before seeing the look on Penelope’s face. “What happened?”
“Roger bloody Davies, that’s what,” Penelope explained what she saw to Kathy using her cards as models.
“He doesn’t sound that bad.”
“Did you not see the look on Cho’s face last year when he snogged Stella Capper in full view of the common room?!” Cho’s feelings about Roger were well-known in Ravenclaw, but that didn’t stop Roger and Stella permanently damaging many innocent first-years’ eyes with their rather nauseating and public display of tonsil-tennis.
Kathy winced with the memory. “Yes, but don’t you think you’re, you know, a little bit prejudiced against Quidditch men because of your ‘history’ with Oliver Wood?”
“That’s because Quidditch blokes are all the same,” she cursed under her breath before remembering what Kathy had said, “and Oliver Wood has nothing to do with this!”
Kathy lay back on the bed next to Penelope and smiled. “I know, but you have to admit you do seem to be landing them both in the same boat.”
“It’s because I know Quidditch blokes and nearly every single one is the same as the next one.” She raised her hands in the air, “And they’re three times as bad when they’re a Captain.”
“Trust me, Kathy, we need to keep Roger away from my sister.”
A/N: New story is finally up! First chapters are always the worst to write and to keep people entertained, so carry on reading as much as you can and I swear it'll grow on you. Like moss on a stone. Or like Luna grew on Ron...But please keep reading and enjoy! Ratings and reviews are always much appreciated.
Story-wide disclaimer: everything you recognise belongs to JKR, and with help from a certain Mr W.Shakespeare.
* taken directly from Paramount Pictures' "10 Things I Hate About You"