I was sitting in class, awkwardly. Typically, there were three to a desk, but today (much like any other day) no one wanted to be seated with me. Remus was acting indifferent, sending encouraging grins whenever he thought I made progress—namely, when I wasn’t glaring openly. James was annoyed with me—I’m not sure why, but then again this isn’t new. Sirius pretended not to know my existence, much to the amusement of my roommates—unless he had forgotten. Again. And Peter, well, he’s above me on the social ladder.
It’s like I don’t exist.
“Occlumency is the skill of protecting one’s mind from external penetration,” my Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Darren Wilkes, rasped. “Today, we will practice legilimency as well. One partner will attempt to penetrate your mind, and the other will attempt to block it.”
No one appeared phased by this.
Actually, they seemed extremely excited.
Was I the only one who didn’t find this normal? That was dark magic. We were only in seventh year—we didn’t need to know this! What if I was walking down the corridors one day and someone looked into my mind?
Now I’m nervous—really, horribly nervous.
“You can choose pairs, but choose wisely. The person you work with might learn your deepest, darkest secrets. I would advise you to confide in a friend,” he told us, his beady eyes penetrating.
All around me, girls and boys shuffled around. The Ravenclaws stayed put, acting as bored as ever in a somewhat easy class. The (other) Hufflepuffs were squirming, latching on to whoever deemed fit. The Slytherins were smirking, probably because we were learning something potentially dangerous. The Gryffindors were practically glowing.
And then there was I. Alone. Partner-less.
“Okay class, is everyone in pairs?”
But it appeared that didn’t matter.
It never does.
“I’m terribly sorry,” a deep voice sighed, and I cringed at the sound of a chair scraping across the wooden floor. “There are simply no empty tables, and I really must finish this essay. You don’t mind, do you?”
This was the first time someone above third year had talked to me—not counting my teachers, of course. I wasn’t sure of their age, but it must be centuries older than mine. It was strange; to hear a boy’s voice that wasn’t a slightly higher pitch than mine. Foreign, almost.
“Not r-really, sir” I stuttered, glancing down at the library table.
My classmates found it odd that I went here to do homework. Howard Davies asked me if I thought I would absorb more information that way—I think he thought I read books to become smart. I thought I was already smart.
My mommy and daddy told me so.
“There is no need to call me sir, sweetie,” he told me warmly, his brown eyes full with amusement. I looked up at him with a hopeful, closed-mouth smile—maybe he would be good for conversation. I was much too mature for the people in my year, anyway. They didn’t have my intellect. “What’s your name?”
“Trixie,” I blurted out, my eyes widening in shock. My name was Beatrice, but something didn’t want me to tell him that. He must have an awesome name—he just seems so cool. It’s probably Xavier, or Damien, or something really cool. Trixie is cool.
“Hello, Trixie, my name is Adam Greengrass,” he chuckled, “I’m in sixth year, a Ravenclaw, and struggling with my potions essay. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about Veritaserum, would you?”
For some reason, his name made me frown.
“No, Adam, I w-wouldn’t,” I admitted, blushing. Why hadn’t I researched more in the library? Maybe then we would have had something to talk about. It would have been a great way for me to prove my wit—and then he’d fall madly in love with my forever. “I’m a second year, H-Hufflepuff. I don’t know why, though. The other Hufflepuffs don’t really like me.”
“What?” he asked, shocked. I wasn’t bothered by the pause in conversation—his name was just so familiar. I was sure that I’d heard people talking about him. “I honestly doubt that. My little sister must be your roommate. You know Ashley, right? She must love you.”
I didn’t answer him.
Instead, I glanced down at the large “Hogwarts: A History” I had been reading, pretending to find a paragraph really interesting. This was the third time I had gone through it, but every time I learned more. It was exciting.
“Well, I can sense a sore subject when I see one,” he laughed awkwardly, scratching the back of his neck. He appeared to be talking just for the sake of it—probably didn’t like silence or something. “Let’s talk about something else, shall we? This Thursday is my six-month anniversary with my girlfriend. I have no idea what to get her. Any ideas?”
I don’t know why I was disappointed that he had a girlfriend, but I was.
I also don’t know why I was shocked.
“Well, it depends,” I muttered, the excitement of being asked for my opinion coursing through my veins. “What kind of girl is she like? I see you with a quidditch player—someone sweet but a little boyish—possibly your best friend. Yeah?”
“No, actually,” he coughed, clearing his throat. “I’m, um, dating Clarissa Walters, Slytherin, fifth year. She’s a bit of a girly girl, actually. Sometimes I find it annoying, but I suppose it’s endearing. Er, to some people… Oh, what am I saying? I think she’ll like perfume and flowers. I can't get her chocolates—she’ll accuse me of wanting her fat.”
Suddenly, I remembered where I had heard his name. The smile dropped from my face, and I was looking at him with dread. It was a few weeks ago, but this had happened more than once. I remember Clarissa Walters dragging a boy—who most certainly was not her boyfriend—into the Restricted Section. He was asking if she thought ‘Adam Greengrass’ would find out, and she told him to shut up and kiss her. I heard a lot of moaning after that.
“Your girlfriend is cheating on you.”
The words slipped out, not knowing of the damage they would cause. I clamped my hands over my mouth, my blue eyes widening comically. We weren’t even friends, actually, and there wasn’t a reason for him to believe me.
But something in me knew that he did.
I was brought back into the present, my breathing ragged and my eyes wide. It took me a moment to recognize my surroundings, and another to realize that I had failed the task at hand. We were learning dark magic in Defense Against the Dark Arts—rather, how to protect ourselves from it.
But I wasn’t doing so well.
I never dp.
I looked up at the sound of a vicious voice, only to see my roommates Ashley and Tiffany glaring. It was confusing, because I didn’t remember doing anything. Until I remembered what I had let slip in the library.
My lower lip began to tremble.
“You—you’re such a jerk!” Tiffany shrieked. “We had finally gotten our siblings together, after two years of planning, and you ruin that in five minutes! Merlin! Do we need to hire a babysitter? You ruin everything!”
My partner was looking at me, arching a perfectly shaped eyebrow. I couldn’t tell if he was amused or disturbed—either way, I was upset. I didn’t want to relieve these memories, and it wasn’t fair to be forced to.
This is a N.E.W.T. class, but that is not a justifiable reason to be learning Occlumency—the skill of protecting one’s mind from external penetration. I seem to be ruddy awful at that, while my partner is a master at legilimency.
It’s not fair—it’s not even appropriate.
“So you’re the little home wrecker?”
Clarissa Walters had never actually acknowledged me, and she rarely visited her sister in the Hufflepuff common room. It was safe to say that I was under her radar, and you know what they say—out of sight, out of mind.
It’s funny how one sentences changes that.
“Home wrecker?” I squeaked. “N-no…”
“Stop,” I gasped, keeling over and hugging my knees.
“We’re going to continue until you get this,” Sirius Black told me, smirking. Why couldn’t I have partnered with Remus, or Lily Evans, or even Courtney? Merlin knows he would rather be with James. Honestly, I’d rather him with James. These—I just—I don’t know.
I don’t want him knowing.
“I’m going to make your life hell,” Clarissa announced. “And when I’m gone, I’m going to have everyone else make your life hell. You ruined mine, and I’m going to ruin you, little bitch. You might as well kill yourself now—spare me the trouble.”
“W-w-what?” I gasped.
I couldn’t understand what I did wrong. Wasn’t she the one in the wrong? She cheated on her boyfriend. I’m rather sure that’s commonly known as a really bad thing. If I ever get a boyfriend, he better not.
I’ll be really angry, I think.
“Watch your back,” she growled. “I know I’ll be doing it for you.”
I’m never going to master this spell.
I couldn’t understand what was happening. One minute a figure stepped out of the shadows and the next I was on the floor writhing in pain. It felt like knives were stabbing me, creating wounds that would bleed forever.
“What did I do?” a voice cried, and I recognized Clarissa. “Bloody hell. Help! HELP! SOMEBODY! THERE’S A GIRL BLEEDING IN THE CORRIDORS! I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED, I-I-JUST HELP!”
It was strange.
I think that somewhere, deep down, I’d always wanted to believe she wasn’t truly evil.
“I’m so sorry,” she sobbed. “I can't believe I took it this far.”
“Bollocks,” was all Sirius had to say.
I shut my eyes to keep from crying.
“Can you boys believe it? I actually got my little one to come to a game!” my father’s deep voice boomed around the locker room, but I was too focused on the stench to notice much of anything else. It was absolutely awful. “Boys, this is Beatrice. Beatrice, these are the boys.”
I saw the most gorgeous blonde in the world and fainted.
“So you’re a daddy’s girl?”
“Perhaps,” I scowled, blushing.
“Have you seen Montgomery’s daughter?” I heard a voice ask, and panic immediately settled in me. Did they know I was hiding? How could they possibly? I was sure that this was a great spot. “She’s certainly… grown up.”
“Don’t be a pervert,” someone ordered, “She’s a good ten years younger than you.”
“She’s not much younger than me,” someone murmured, and I knew that voice anywhere. It was smoother than satin, with a velvety finish. He could sing me to sleep. He could do just about anything to me.
“Isn’t Swift always the lucky one?” someone growled. I recognized the linebacker, Rick Thompson. He and his wife were currently on a break, because she found out that he had cheated. Again.
“Don’t hate me ‘cause I’m beautiful,” Nicolas Swift joked. “And I s’pose I know what you mean. But she’s the kind of girl you’d have to take on a couple of dates first, boys. I’m not sure I want that commitment. Plus, Montgomery would murder me.”
“Yeah man, I hear you.”
“I’d still do her.”
I probably could have survived this lesson if our memories also didn’t include our thoughts—but I’m not that lucky. Sirius knew exactly what I was feeling, every single moment. Hope. Hatred. Love. Lust. Sadness. Depression. Everything.
“He is decent looking,” Sirius commented, and I panicked.
I knew what was coming next.
“So, how is school going?” Nicolas Swift asked me casually. Yes, that’s right. He’s actually talking to me, and had been doing so for several days. Swoon. “You go to Hogwarts right? How’s that?”
“It’s fine,” I shrugged, playing with the end of my braid. And by fine, of course, I mean absolutely awful. Why can't I just graduate already? “Besides from having awful roommates, no friends, and a stalker, everything is just brilliant.”
“I’m serious,” I deadpanned.
“Oh,” he shrugged, ruffling my hair affectionately. “Well, that’s their loss. I’m surprised they haven’t been taking advantage of you. You’re just so beautiful, and if I’m being crude, your body is breathtaking.”
No. He is breathtaking.
“Says the professional football player,” I joked.
“No, I mean it,” he told me, his green eyes boring into mine. He reached a hand out, stroking my cheek and sending shivers down my spine. I tried not to shudder, but his soft smile showed me that he could tell. “You’re amazing.”
He leaned in, his lips so close to mine, when we heard it.
“SWIFT! NICOLAS! GET YOUR ASS ON THE FIELD!”
“You were practically begging for it,” Sirius smirked. “I mean you had to know he was playing you, right? I’ve used that all before to get Hufflepuffs into to bed. The Ravenclaws and Gryffindors are always smarter, however. They take more time and practice.”
“He wasn’t playing me,” I whispered.
He wasn’t. He couldn’t have. Nicolas Swift was one of the only genuine people I’d ever known. He didn’t talk to me to get ‘action,’ I honestly believe that he just wanted to talk.
“Right,” he snorted. “When did you lose your virginity? Later that night?”
It was awkward, to say the least.
I was sitting on a couch in the Gryffindor common room with Peter Pettigrew, who had been sent down to wait with me. He was twiddling his thumbs, occasionally tugging on the hem of his button-down.
There were girls sending me jealous glares, which I found interesting. I had never considered him attractive before, but I suppose I could see it. He was 5’10,” which is a perfectly average height, with an average build, and nice eyes. His hair was probably his best feature, being buttery and soft.
He was definitely not the best Marauder, but better than most.
“Hello Peter,” I mumbled quietly.
“Beatrice,” he sighed, appearing to be thankful that I had initiated conversion. What, is he shy? How surprising. “I’ve heard a lot about you, you know… locker room talk and all that.”
“You talk about me in the locker room?”
He blushed bright red, before coughing awkwardly into his hand. I just raised an eyebrow, begging him with my eyes to continue. Were they good things? Bad? Biased? Inappropriate?
“We always compare girls.”
And it appeared that was all I was going to get.
“Peter makes it sound like all we do is rate people,” he sighed, running a hand through his devilishly perfect hair. “I mean it’s the truth, but we don’t actually want anyone knowing. That would be bad for our rep.”
“And pranking unsuspecting victims isn’t?” I retorted.
“Love, that is our rep.”
Peter had gotten progressively closer to me, and I was trying to subtly inch closer to the edge of the couch. Yes, I had established that he was attractive, but that didn’t mean I was going to shag him or anything.
I have standards.
“So,” he started airily, “what do you think about—oh fuck.”
I glanced to where he was looking, and my frown deepened. There Sirius Black was, a mere five feet away, his mouth currently being attacked by some glossy blonde. They were all but ripping each other’s clothing off, while stumbling up the stairs. I couldn’t help but feel something bubbling up inside of me. Of her, I was almost—
I began jumping up and down in celebration, forgetting that I was in a room full of my peers and my professor, neither of which liked me very much. But that didn’t matter, because I had actually gotten him out of my mind. He would never know that I actually felt jealous.
“And it was just getting good, too,” Sirius pouted.
I was much too euphoric to even care. So what if Sirius had seen some of my most personal memories? I could block my mind. It didn’t matter—okay; it did—if an evil terror was on the rise. This was the beginning. I wasn’t going to completely fail.
“Thank you, Miss Montgomery,” my professor drawled. “Due to certain people’s lack of focus, we will have to wait until next time to swap positions. Please, class, tomorrow do not take the entire block.”
He was looking at me directly as he said this.
“I never realized how slow you were,” Sirius commented loudly, and the entire class snickered. Even Remus, who I thought was above all that. James tried to avoid my eyes after that, and I got the message clear as day.
I reckon I was the last to finish, yeah?
So naturally, I was an embarrassment.
“Shut up Sirius. Just bloody shut up!”
Guys I am soooo sorry. I kind of disappeared for like two months and I don't really have an excuse. School is hard? What with honors class and APs it just gets draining. Fear not, however, because I've gotten over my writer's block. Sorry for the short chapter though. I will make them longer.