Lovely CI by Kaileena_Sands
It's a funny thing, being an outcast.
Not funny in a ha-ha kind of way.
Funny in a weird way.
And sure, you could be reasoning, of course it's weird, you've got no friends.
It's not just that.
Though that kind of blows, too.
But what I'm trying to say is, when you're a social pariah, you don't exist.
Not in the whole, woe is me, alone against the world kind of way.
It's more in the way of people think you've cut off all your hair and run away to join a cult when you're sitting directly in front of them.
Let me explain.
So there I was, sitting be myself and minding my own business in Charms class as usual, when the two snarky Ravenclaw girls who sit behind me oddly decided to strike up a conversation about me.
Their first theory was that I'd jumped off the Astronomy Tower.
While I was sitting in the row in front of them.
As I have every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so far this year.
They stare at the back of my head every other day.
"No, wait, didn't she like, run off to join some creepy cult thing? Where they worship Voldemort and stuff?"
Well, that's new.
"Oh, yeah! Stacy Marsuco was telling Helen who told me that she like, freaked out and ran into the bathroom and cut off all her hair."
I looked down at the long strands of dirty blonde hair that spilled over my shoulders and on to the desk.
Funnily enough, it's all still there.
"Ew, what a freak!"
Her friend was in the middle of agreeing with her when little ancient Flitwick called for silence.
I sighed and rested my head on my crossed arms, wondering if the sorting hat had got it wrong by putting those two dolts in Ravenclaw.
Then again, I'm a Hufflepuff and I'm supposed to be made out of rainbows and sunshine.
Yeah, not quite.
Sometimes I wish I'd have been sorted into Gryffindor, even though that's where the majority of my tormentors reside.
At least if I were a brave Gryffindor, I could've spun around in righteous indignation and told them exactly where they could shove their stupid rumors.
But, alas, I am not.
And quite frankly, I'm not exactly certain it would've mattered if I'd told those two girls off anyway.
My sole purpose of existing in this place is for the rumor mill to spew out a few more interesting lies about the school freak when gossip is scarce.
I suppose I could run home to cry about it, beat my pillow furiously and scribble into a diary until my hand cramps, but I don't really see the point.
I'll be out of here in a year's time and I'll never see any of these people ever again.
Merlin I'm moping like hell right now.
S'pose I've got a right to be a little mopey, what with being universally hated and friendless and all, but lord knows even I'd hate myself if I just went around complaining about how life sucks and then you die.
I guess I would be that kind of person if it wasn't for this hobby I have.
It's possible I spend all my time with an ancient half broken camera taking pictures of everything.
And there's the slightest chance I take pictures of people without their consent.
And that they sort of really don't like me for it.
You see, I'm a fan of candid shots.
You know, when people are least expecting it.
Not because I want them to get mad or anything (which they do), it's just that people's faces are always most honest when they think no one's looking.
And it makes for some really bangin' shots, let me tell you.
So I basically see the world through this tiny lens, which sounds pretty poetic, but in reality, it's not.
What I mean is that I've literally got this rusted beat up camera always up to my face.
Which means I can't really see much.
I end up tripping. A lot. Over everything.
It's always a fun time.
The bell rung, signaling the end of class and I raised my head up, stuffed my wand, books and glasses into my bag and pulled my camera, Martha, out.
"Have a good day, Miss Austin." Flitwick called to me as he summoned a pile of books onto his desk.
I gave a half smile and lifted my camera up to my eye, "You too, Professor."
Flitwick gave a start as the flash went off and his books went flying.
He waved off my apologies and sent me on my way as if this thing happens everyday.
It kind of does.
He definitely should be used to it by now.
I walked out the door, winding Martha up and smiling a little.
That should be a good shot.
Startled people are always the most hilarious in moving pictures.
"Watch it, Freak!"
I gasped as I crashed into someone, Martha flying out of my hands and falling to the floor before bouncing off a wall.
This happens more than I care to admit.
I've got a gnarly case of fumble fingers.
I sighed and bent down to grab Martha when another pair of hands shot out and picked her up for me.
"Sorry about that. Tim's always been kind of testy before Charms." I looked up quickly, startled to see the concerned face of Albus Potter looming over me.
"It's fine." I mumbled, letting my hair swing in front of my face so he couldn't see my blushing cheeks.
I get this way when anyone my own age talks to me in a semi-polite manner.
It's a bit of a downfall of mine, I'd say.
"You alright?" He asked, offering me his hand to help me up.
The bloody hell?
Is the Golden Boy being nice to me? Kate Austin? The girl his brother has tormented for years?
He must not realize it's me.
I bet he thinks I ran off to join that cult.
"I'm terrific." I sighed, gently taking his hand and letting him pull me up.
He chuckled and I looked at his face, watching as something registered in his eyes, the smile freezing in place.
"You- you're-" he spluttered, letting go of my hand.
I brushed my hair away from my face, squaring my shoulders and crossing my arms, ready for the insults he was about to hurl my way.
"I'm what?" I asked, pleased to hear that I sounded almost bored.
The worst thing you can do with these people is act like you care.
Weakness is like candy to them.
They can't get enough of it.
He swallowed, his handsome face contorted in confusion, "You're Kate Austin, aren't you?"
"Yeah, can I help you with something?"
He shook his head slowly, still staring at my face, "No, it's just… it's just that you look different from what I remember the last time I saw you."
Um, alright then.
Not exactly what I was expecting him to say.
I laughed lightly, still feigning nonchalance, "And when's the last time you saw me? Fifth year?"
He nodded vaguely, his eyes studying me, "Yeah, something like that. You… you still taking pictures, then?"
Why is Albus Potter attempting to make small talk with me?
I am unendingly confused right now.
I raised a brow and smirked slightly, "Every now and again."
He scratched his neck and nodded, "That's actually pretty ace. I haven't got anything that I'm good at, except maybe Quidditch."
Everyone knows the scouts are lining up to get Albus Potter, seeker extraordinaire, on their team.
My smirk grew, "Yes, I suppose you're a little good at that."
His eyebrows rose, looking surprised that I was lightly teasing him.
Hell, I'm surprised too.
This is one of the longer conversations I've had in awhile.
And it's with Albus Potter, of all people.
The bell rung again, meaning I was late for Potions.
I held my hand out for Martha and he handed her to me, still staring at me like I was something he'd never seen before.
I gave him the slightest smile, "See you."
He kept looking at me, which was not entirely comfortable so I gave a small wave of goodbye and walked away towards the Dungeons.
"Yeah, see you." I heard him softly call from behind me.
What exactly just happened?
It seems as if I just had a semi-normal conversation with Albus Potter.
But that would be ridiculous.
Claire Upton and her glamorous friends pushed away from the wall they'd been leaning against as I rounded the corner, stepping in front of me and blocking my path.
I swallowed, "Upton."
"Did I really just see you talking to Al Potter?" Her tone was dangerous and her glittering blue eyes were narrowed.
"I dropped my camera. He picked it up for me."
She laughed a humorless laugh, and after a moment her friends followed suit, "And why exactly would he do that? That would involve doing something nice for the Freak."
I shrugged, trying to keep a careless expression, "I dunno. Why don't you ask him?"
I attempted to step around her but she roughly shoved my shoulder, causing me to stumble back.
Oh merlin, am I about to get in a catfight?
"And why would I want to do that, Freaky? I've got you here to answer all my questions."
I bit my lip, trying to stay calm, "I'm late for Potions."
She smiled a slow, scary smile, "And whose fault is that, Katie-cat? You would have been on time if you hadn't stopped to chat with my boyfriend."
Holy hell this chick is frightening.
I wonder if she'd chase me if I ran.
She stepped towards me, eyes slit, "What's the matter, cat got your tongue? If you like the way your face looks now, I'd say something."
I shakily raised Martha to my eye, "Smile."
A/N: Well, hello there!
I was working on my other story a few nights ago when this story popped into my head! Fully formed and everything. I decided to give it a go, and I'm not entirely sure about it.
It would be lovely if you could give me some feedback and tell me what you think :)