Chapter 3: Hogsmeade Happenings
Beautiful Chapter Image by RoxiMalfoy @TDA
Aurora Longbottom’s POV
February 13, 2021
I stood in the middle of the Slytherin Common Room, barefoot, trying to figure out who was missing. I had had a sneaking suspicion all morning that someone wasn’t where they ought to be. But who and where were two questions I didn’t have the answers to.
I tapped my foot impatiently and did a head count. As I suspected, someone was
missing, but again I couldn’t seem to remember who. Exasperated, I turned and headed in the direction of the boys’ dorms. If I couldn’t figure out who was missing, there was only one other person who could.
Cautiously, I headed down the dark hallway, stopping when I had reached the door marked with the words ‘Third Year’ written in green on a small silver sign. I debated whether or not to knock first, after all, it was customary to knock before entering, but I never did anything just because someone said you had to. I smiled down at my bare feet and slowly opened the door.
“GODDAMNIT ARA JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION!” I froze where I was, hand on the door, one foot in the room. I silently prayed I hadn’t stumbled across Ara and Al arguing…again. I looked over and was surprised to see Al fast asleep, and Ara glaring at a little mirror in his hand.
“Holy fuck Scorpius!” Ara sounded a bit put out, but not entirely offended. “He’s sleeping! You know as well as I do that Al sleeps in on Saturdays. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going back to bed myself.” It all clicked for me then. I quickly and quietly entered the room and closed the door.
Ara either didn’t notice me, or wasn’t bothered with my presence in his dorm. He put the mirror on his bedside table and turned to the sleeping form beside him. Ever so gently, he brushed Al’s hair off his face. Stirring, Al mumbled something about needing more beauty sleep. Ara chuckled softly and bent down to whisper something into Al’s ear. Whatever it was made Al sit bolt upright and look around horrified until his eyes landed on me.
I smirked and walked over to stand at the foot of Ara’s bed. Al, still looking horrified, tried to untangle himself from his bedmate.
“Hi Aurora” he managed to squeak out after having finally managed to present himself in a more suitable position.
An awkward moment of silence passed between the three teenagers without so much as an exhaled breath. I took that opportunity to glance around the room. Typical of the cretins that they were, piles of dirty clothes, books, and an assortment of socks were strewn about carelessly in the room and reeked of that unmistakable stench of unwashed teenage boys.
The younger Potter sat on the bed, red as a tomato, stuttering and trying to explain the situation. To be honest, I wasn’t all that interested in why he had taken over Ara’s bed, but he seemed intent on explaining the situation. Ara just gave one of his signature smirks and glanced over at me.
“Um…uh….this isn’t what it looks like…” Potter finally managed to get out. I just rolled my eyes and scanned the room again; it had to be in here somewhere. Potter gulped and, eyes downcast, began to explain.
“I…I get….nightmares…and…I just…need company…you know?” He looked up. If he was seeking reassurance, he wasn’t going to find it from me.
At last, I realized who had been missing. In this sea of mess was an appropriate sized lump under a pair of worn dirty trousers. Gritting my teeth I dived in and thankfully, Patrick emerged unscathed.
After saluting Ara and Potter, I returned to the common area with Patrick in tow. I found his niche and placed him alongside his brothers. I should mention at this point that Patrick is a skull. In particular, the skull that sits in a niche above my favorite reading chair. He’s one of the few skulls that can be easily removed, and thus he winds up in the strangest of places.
I sat below Patrick and surveyed the rest of my housemates, the few that were still in the room were either doing schoolwork or chatting excitedly while waiting on a friend to get dressed and ready for the Hogsmeade visit. I hadn’t made up my mind about going yet. I suppose if Ara were to grace the town with his presence then I too would follow him.
Ara Malfoy is possibly the only boy who has both the power and strength to command armies. He stands tall and there’s something in the way he holds himself that exudes power. Being a Malfoy, his good breeding might have played a small part in his stature, but I suspected it was more to do with the man-child himself. There was just something about him that I don’t think anyone could explain. It wasn’t as though he chose to gather a flock about him, they were just drawn to him, and he led with a natural grace many politicians would envy. I both feared and adored him, as many of my fellow Slytherin’s did. He was our ring leader, not the most likely choice seeing as we were also graced with the presence of one young Potter.
But Albus was…different. I had known him all my life and would never have expected him to be sorted into the great house of Slytherin. He was born a leader, much like his father before him, but that quality did not extend beyond his family. There was something he lacked. Some small part of him that didn’t quite fit into the picture. Perhaps he was born with all the right qualities, but they just didn’t mesh like they did with Ara.
I pondered these thoughts and watched as Ara and young Potter came out of the dark passage that led to the dorms. I quietly got up and followed them out of the common room. They headed towards the entrance hall whispering to each other. I was sure that Ara knew I was there. Potter, of course, was clueless.
The little group stopped and Potter went up by himself. Ara turned and nodded to me. I stepped up next to him and we waited in silence. I liked Ara, he understood me. Silence was never awkward around him. He had a calmness about him that almost required silence. That’s one of the main reasons I follow Ara. But that’s a tale for another chapter I’m afraid.
I could hear Potter talking to someone up in the entrance hall. From our position, I couldn’t quite hear what words were being spoken, but the other voice sounded male. Male and familiar in some way. A teacher perhaps? No, too young for that. Hmm, another Slytherin? No that couldn’t be it either, or else Ara would be up there talking too. It must be someone only Potter knew.
The conversation was brief and Potter returned and looked shocked to see me standing there.
“Hi!” he squeaked. Potter could never quite figure out I didn’t really care about him, or his “nightmares”. I nodded to him and Ara gestured that we should move along.
Again I followed behind them, but at a closer distance so it seemed like I was more part of the group. I tried to remain far enough away to give them their space, and as we walked, they resumed their whispered conversation.
“…he doesn’t suspect anything relax.” Ara said; Potter looked less than convinced.
“I swear Ara, he knows that something is up. If we’re not careful…” He trailed off and looked at Ara who scowled in response and walked faster, making both Potter and I jog slightly to keep pace.
We reached the village in record time thanks to Ara’s excellent pacing skills. I rolled my eyes as he waved me off and continued down the street with Potter in tow, trying to resume their whispered conversation.
I walked towards the three broomsticks, not really in the mood for butterbeer or conversation, more in the mood for adventure. The ground crunched under my feet, and as I walked, the frost bit at my face, making my bare feet freeze. My mother always worried when I wore no shoes in February in the far north of Scotland while everyone else was bundled up. But again, I never did anything just because someone said you had to. Besides, I liked to feel the earth beneath my feet. Shoes felt too foreign and unnatural.
As I approached the Three Broomsticks, the wind suddenly died down. I looked wildly around, but no one else seemed to notice the strange change. I frowned and opened the door to the bar. I found it packed with students, teachers and regular villagers. I spotted Scorpius Malfoy and Rose Weasley having a conversation in the corner. She looked less than pleased with Malfoy. I wondered why.
I pushed my way through the crowd and snagged a table near the couple. I had to glare at some third years in order to score a prime location for eavesdropping, but my patented death stare finally got them to move post haste.
“…I don’t even know why you agreed to go with me if you were going to throw a hissy fit.” Malfoy spit across the table.
“You were an hour late!” Weasley raged back.
Just then two ninja-clad people burst in through the doors. The bar fell silent as the taller of the two jumped atop the bar and gave a loud scream of frustration. Both Weasley and the elder Malfoy jumped and a few other people spilled their drinks. But everyone paid attention when one of the “ninja’s” opened his mouth.
“There has been a serious infraction of the law!”
I swiveled in my chair to get a better look at this “ninja”. His tight but stretchy black pants had a small tear along the shin, probably from wielding that long sword he had strapped to his back. His shirt was tight and showed off just how ripped he was. The time and effort spent on his muscles and “ninja” outfit meant he was either a dick face ass hat, or dumb as rocks.
“There are rabid kangaroos running through London and it makes me horny!”
Yeah, definitely dumb as rocks.
The “ninja” then pulled his partner up on top of the bar and proceeded to snog the living daylights out of him or her. I couldn’t really tell with the unisex ninja outfit on.
The “ninjas” were soon removed forcibly from the bar and gradually the diners went back to their conversations and drinks. Weasley and Malfoy continued to bicker quietly. I sat, mute as usual, and looked at the other people.
I spotted my sister Astra over in the corner with our brother Aiden. Those two were inseparable, and it made quite a stir when they were sorted into different houses. The peas in the pod were broken apart. But the separation was necessary; they both made other friends and socialized more. But they would always spend these weekends together. Talking and shopping.
I, however, had never been close with either of my siblings; but more so with Astra than with Aiden. We were triplets yes, and we all looked quite similar, but I never quite fit with the others. We were a puzzle and I was the piece that almost fit but not quite.
Even though Astra and I looked almost identical, we were immediately distinguishable. She had perfectly straight hair, a fair complexion, and was a beauty among all the girls our age. On the other hand, I had a mangled forest growing atop my head, a blotchy complexion thanks to my psoriasis, and I was a plain Jane compared to my sister. While she was outgoing and sociable, I was withdrawn and tended to stay outside the group rather than in the midst. I was cold and calculating, and she was warm and inviting.
Calculating, that was a good word to describe me. I would often sit and just stare out into a crowd and think. Analyzing people was one of my many talents. I had a knack for knowing when someone was lying and even more skill at knowing when people weren’t telling me the entire story. I hoped to put these skills to use one day, but for now I just wait and practice with those around me.
I had ‘people watched’ since I was a little girl. When all our parents would gather up to recollect the good ole days, the children would be pushed out of the house and forced to mingle. The other children didn’t mind, and my sister especially enjoyed these occasions. I dreaded them with every fibre of my being. It’s not that I didn’t like the other kids, I just didn’t want to play their stupid little games. Who wants to play tag when you have to touch unwashed children? And what’s the point in climbing trees? I could see if there was something of value at the top, like a pot of gold or the answer to the question of the universe and everything in it. But I saw no joy to be had in just climbing for the climb.
My mother often worried that I wasn’t being properly socialized. She often fretted that I’d grow up to be a hermit who collected newspapers or cut out pictures of kittens I had found in magazines and glued them to my wall to create a sort of collage of kittens or something. So, in her motherly concern, she’d try and bribe me to play with the others. Now, I never took these bribes because I never really wanted some sweets or to stay up an extra hour to watch a television program. But I could see how very much my mother wanted me to fit in with the crowd.
So I obliged her. I played tag and climbed trees. I even got to suggest a few games every now and then (I think this was in part, all my sisters doing, she might have been bribed by my mother to ‘include me’ more into our social circle). But no matter how hard I tried, I could never think of a more interesting game than sit and watch.
Sit and watch required our little group to go into town (our parents allowed this seeing as one or more of the adults would accompany us). I would pick out the perfect spot for us and we would sit…and watch. Most of the children got bored after about a minute or two of this, but my sister, always willing to please, would sit by my side for as long as I would sit there. She would often try and engage me in conversation, but I wasn’t really known to speak a whole lot.
My sister wanted more than anything for me to have friends like her, to dress like her, to act like her, sometimes I thought she wanted me to be her. I don’t exactly know why, but she felt this overwhelming desire when we were younger to help ‘conform’ me to society. She would play along with my quirks, but she would throw in little comments here and there. Things like ‘oh wouldn’t it be more fun if we did this rather than that?’ and ‘don’t you think things would be better if we did this?’. She tried her hardest and I fought back just as hard. I didn’t want to be just like her or just like anyone else. I wanted to be me.
Lost in my own thoughts, I failed to notice that Horace Hungbee, the town gossip, had rushed into the bar. He currently was having a very animated discussion with the bar man, John. John had inherited The Three Broomsticks when his aunt passed away last year. A nice fellow, John and Horace usually got along just fine, but today John had a sour look on his face and he seemed to be exchanging heated words with Horace.
I frowned. Neither John nor Horace was acting as they normally would. Horace only ever gossiped about light subjects, like whose dog barked the loudest and which neighbors had a penchant for sleeping nude. And John was always the picture of calm, even when bar fights broke out he held his own and kept his head about him.
Horace finished his spiel and exited the bar, leaving John in a foul mood indeed. I quickly got up from my chair and headed to the bar. John was taking orders by the time I squeezed through the crowd. I had to wait my turn in line and I took that opportunity to listen in on a few conversations.
“…the coolest thing ever!” Lorcan, or was that Lysander Scamander, was talking to Quil Weasley. Most people couldn’t tell Quil and Faber apart and most swear that they had to be twins, but Quil was almost three years older that Faber and his face had lost some of the childish roundness that Faber still had. It was a small difference, but easily detectable by his family members. On the other hand, Lorcan and Lysander had no difference that I could tell. Some say that Lorcan is an inch or two taller that Lysander, but unless they stood completely still next to one another it wasn’t possible to detect the difference.
“Lorcan!” A voice shouted from the crowd and the twin in line turned towards that voice. Well that answers that question. He and Quil got their drinks and headed off into the crowd.
“What can I get for you miss?” It was finally my turn in line, John smiled at me, but it wasn’t his usual jovial one. It seemed a bit forced, and I could tell he was still thinking about his conversation with Horace, and I was determined to get the scoop.
Just then, Horace came rushing back in, “Oh I forgot to mention John, it will be in the papers later this evening, you’ll see!” He pointed his finger at the paper he was carrying as if to emphasize his point and rushed back out of the bar.
I had my chance. I turned slowly back towards John. He and I had had many dealings in the past. Running one of the most popular bars in town had certain advantages; collecting information was one of them. Whenever I needed to know the latest information, John was the man I got it out of.
John was wary of me this time, “Look miss, if you don’t want a drink, get out of line, I’ve got lots of other customers in today.” I gave him my best I’m-going-to-kill-and-gut-a-monkey-right-in-front-of-you-if-you-don’t-tell-me-what-I-want-to-know look. It worked wonders on most people, John included, but today he was made of stronger stuff.
“I can’t tell you what’s going on, and besides it’s only a rumor nothing more.” He looked up at the clock behind the bar, “If you’re still curious, The Evening Prophet should be delivered soon. Page 5.” With that he waved me off and turned to the next person in line.
I pushed my way through the crowd intent on going to the newsstand in town. I knew that they would be the first to have the paper and I was eager to read. I walked down High Street, curious for the news, but still intent on enjoying my day and watching the people as I went. Walking and staring weren’t hard for most people, but Scorpius Malfoy seemed to be having a hard time doing it as Rose Weasley pestered him with reprimands on his behavior. Apparently he had done something she hadn’t approved of in Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes, the joke shop her Uncle owned and managed from his headquarters in Diagon Alley.
Malfoy started to walk faster, obviously intent on getting back to Hogwarts for dinner and feebly trying to get away from Weasley. He always seemed to be in a hurry; that was the Greengrass side of his family tree showing through I expect. Greengrass’s were always in a hurry, hurrying to make more money, hurrying to secure higher social standings, and in a hurry to have and raise proper pureblood children.
He was very much like his cousin in that sense. Phoenix Greengrass was the bastard son of Daphne Greengrass, the older sister of Scorpius’ mother Astoria. Being cousins was just a formality, they rarely, if ever, spoke, and when they did it wasn’t how one would normally speak to one’s relations. It might have been because of the whole family scandal. Phoenix was a mystery child of unknown parentage. His mother went oversees suddenly and came back a year or so later with a baby.
Some say her family sent her away to hide the pregnancy, others say she hooked up with an American. I know the first to be untrue because I heard Horace say that Draco went after her to try and bring her back. The second rumor I highly doubt because if ever there were a snob among pureblood British wizardry, it was Daphne. When she was younger, she would only have the best and the purest, and if they weren’t British she was damned if she would have anything to do with them. That was why so many people thought it was odd of her to up and move to America.
Phoenix did not share his mother’s preferences. That boy had a different girl on his arm every time I saw him, which was frequently, much to my displeasure. His current girlfriend had one of those destined-to-be-hooker names like Iris or Candy. Right now they were glued to each other right in front of the newsstand. Typical Phoenix, sticking his tongue where it didn’t belong.
I arrived when the paper boy did, and he didn’t seem any happier about the situation than me. He just rolled his eyes, spotted me, and handed me the stack. “Hey toots, be a doll and put these in the rack when these two finish.” His American accent threw me for a bit, and his language made me doubt my first prognosis of Phoenix’s parents, but I accepted the papers as he strolled back to his truck.
Ignoring the pair for now, I grabbed one of the newspapers and rifled through it expertly. Page 5 was one of those only-die-hard-news-readers-read-me sections, so the story was short and to the point.
PSYCH-WARD PATIENT ESCAPES
Earlier today, a psychiatric patient at St. Mungo’s being treated in a high-security areaescaped. Nurses found his room empty, however, there were no signs of foul play. Investigations are currently underway. Any witch or wizard with information is encouraged to contact magical law enforcement.
It was odd that this should have caught Horace’s eye and agitated John as it did. I assumed this must be what they discussed because the only other thing on the page was an ad for a new gnome repellant, and a small story on the retirement of some obscure ministry official. This story must hold something of interest, or they wouldn’t have argued as they did. Phoenix and his tramp finally disentangled, allowing me to drop of the newspapers. The group was heading back to school, and I trailed behind. It was time to do some sleuthing.
AN: Hey guys!! What did you think of this chapter? Do you like Aurora? Do you hate her? What are your thoughts on pie?
So sorry that I haven’t updated in a while, Real Life has gotten in the way of my writing, but hopefully I will be able to write more and get this fic off the ground.
Leave me a comment with your thoughts or to let me know that you are reading this…or that you are alive and the zombie apocalypse hasn’t happened yet.
P.S. Much thanks go to my sister for beta-ing this chapter!!! I lost my last beta, so my sister has been kind enough to look this over for me. That being said I'm looking for a new beta, if you like this story (and can deal with my lack of how to properly format dialouge) you can reach me on the forums!!