Chapter 3 : Marcus
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It quite brightened up his day. Perhaps today would be a day of drama, with brawls breaking out in the corridors and ugly words being tossed about without care. It would be hellish for the teachers and a nightmare for the meek… And he would be able to observe it all.
Unfortunately, from the looks he was seeing on the faces of his Housemates, this event was very out of the ordinary, which meant that this was not a traditional he had simply missed during his first year. Pity.
He returned to his breakfast of eggs and bacon, with sides of freshly buttered toast and roasted tomatoes. Though it was more than most teenagers would eat at the height of their appetites, it was the portion he had grown up seeing his father eat and barely satisfied his hunger.
“You are what you eat” his father would say and Marcus was big. Of course, for those who leaned towards the nurturing side in the nature vs nurture debate, Marcus’ taste for violence and disarray was more than explained by his father’s own behaviour.
A strong supporter of Voldemort during his reign, his father had not hesitated to properly educate Marcus and had, in vivid detail, described his actions throughout the greatest Wizarding war their society had known in centuries. He had even gone so far as to show his son his favourite memories stored in a pensieve—there had been no complaint from Marcus.
Marcus had loved his father’s tales so much that he reenacted them with fellow pureblood children. With his large girth even at a young age, he had easily been able to intimidate the others into playing the parts of the muggles, muggleborns and blood-traitors. His father had watched with pride from the windows of his house and had even encouraged his son’s choice in performances, leading him towards the mass attacks on unsuspecting muggle villages.
Those were always fun to do.
Neither his mother nor his father had encouraged a fondness for schoolwork; both hated trivial paperwork and preferred to get their hands dirty. His mother had followed her love of the outdoors into a career of taming dragons and other dangerous beasts and Marcus found her tales of narrowly escaping the fiery blasts of dragons and the hooves of hippogriffs thrilling. She was always dirty and scratched when she returned from work, but wearing a broad smile that comes from doing a job that love.
Perhaps it was because he had rarely been assigned homework when he was younger that he now found it very difficult to stay on top of his schoolwork now. Essays were easily cast aside for quidditch practice, studying was easily ignored for games of Exploding Snap and Gobstones. He could proudly say that he was a master of completing his work at the last minute—he had in fact reluctantly rolled out of bed early this morning to finish his Potions essay.
The Slytherin common room was always eerie in the early hours of the morning. There was an expectant atmosphere as though the room was just waiting for schemes and plots to be born and the necessary fires and torches that were lit so that students could see in the dimness of the dungeons cast colours that mixed awkwardly with the greenish sofas and chairs, creating patches of rusty brown that looked like dried, spilt blood. Marcus found it quite comforting and would sometimes wake early to play solitary games of cards before the reds of the torches were replaced with the softer green lights of the lamps, which happened when the sun had risen high and long enough that the darkness of the lake itself was lightened.
By the time his roommates had stumbled down the stairs, robes pressed and all signs of fatigue hidden, looking like presentable Pureblood heirs, his hand was tired and cramping from writing a worthless eight inches about the necessary effects of the inclusion of rat tails in the Hair-Raising potion and he was glad to follow them out the door to the Great Hall and breakfast.
Though the food offered wasn’t any different from that offered on any other average day at Hogwarts, Marcus didn’t hesitate to load up his plate with it.
“I don’t see how you eat so much—I’d be sick,” Bole said with awe.
“He needs it—have you seen the stuff Bokrust puts them through at practice? He’s a bloody monster when it comes to quidditch,” Derrick added, grabbing a seat next to Marcus.
“As he well should be,” Marcus grumbled, stuffing a tomato into his mouth.
“It’ll pay off though,” Derrick continued as though Marcus hadn’t spoken, “Marcus will pound Gryffindor into the dust at the next match, won’t you Marcus?” Marcus just grunted, as his mouth was full. He had just enough manners not to speak.
As the conversation drifted towards talk of quidditch tactics and the reasons why Gryffindor’s team had no chance of beating them (“Come on, we have Marcus. There’s no way we’ll lose!”), Marcus’ eyes drifted around the Hall and towards the ceiling. He could see large raindrops drizzling downwards in the air, evaporating just above the heads of the students, and grinned. The rain would combine with the ground to make mud and any student who ventured outside wouldn’t be able to avoid stepping in the mud and then dragging it back into the castle. The squib was going to be furious and Marcus couldn’t wait to see him take his temper out on some of the students.
Though the squib was a squib, and therefore nowhere near the status of a Pureblood, Marcus enjoyed his inventive and cruel torture ideas and was eager to try several of his techniques out when he was older. Though archaic, the older methods of torment often lead to some of the best results. Hanging people from the ceiling by their thumbs sounded like an excellent way to force them to beg for mercy.
Bole saw the direction of his gaze and grinned. “Uh-oh Marcus—looks like brutal conditions for practice tonight.”
“It will only make it more of a challenge, one that I will easily meet.” Marcus ate a piece of bacon and smiled. His friends knew that he prided himself on being near unstoppable on the quidditch pitch and to keep his reputation he willingly trained in every manner of weather.
“It’s going to be awfully muddy out there once the rain stops pouring… Filch isn’t going to be pleased.”
A corner of Marcus’ mouth lifted as Bole continued where Derrick had left off. “Of course, what kind of boys would we be if we didn’t dirty ourselves before the day’s out with mud?”
“Certainly not the kind we want to be,” Marcus finished, his smile morphing into one that the squib would call “evil”. Marcus would have proudly claimed that attribute, if someone was ever to call him that. Sadly, no one had as of yet.
The breakfast continued in splendor as the boys discussed their plans to ruin the squib’s day and, if they were lucky, week. With the amount of mud they were planning on dragging into the castle, it would take him a long time to clean it up without magic.
It was sometime near the end of their planning session that Marcus noticed a girl, Hufflepuff from what he could observe, focusing intently on the floor. Though he couldn’t see what was so fascinating about the floor (though you never knew with a Hufflepuff—it could be something as simple as stain from spilt pumpkin juice), he did see that she was dangerously close to colliding with another girl who was standing up from her place at the Ravenclaw table.
He nudged Derrick, showing him the disaster he was anticipating.
From the way the Ravenclaw was clutching the book in her arms, he was sure that it was very precious to her. From the way the Hufflepuff was carrying the plate as though she was a waitress, Marcus gathered that she had intended to use it for some purpose or another.
From the way the Hufflepuff walked into the Ravenclaw and the way the contents of the plate spilled onto the book, he knew that the following confrontation would be delightfully explosive.
It was. He had quite enjoyed the manner in which the Ravenclaw had expressed her anger, though her insults had been quite tame for a sixth year. Perhaps she had spent too much time in the library and not enough time living, he mused. He certainly knew more curse words than that and he was sure that he was several years below her.
The Hufflepuff had been quite mortified and had gone crimson after the first screech of the Ravenclaw. His amusement at her plight had only grown when, after the Ravenclaw had rushed from the Hall, she had simply stood there, her shoes almost touching the eggs on the floor. With everyone’s attention on her, she seemed frozen.
Marcus had decided to break the ugly silence of the Hall by laughing and his friends had quickly joined in. His amusement had only increased when the girl’s embarrassment had swelled with the laughter of the Hall—she had had to run out of the Hall to escape.
Running away… Though Marcus himself would never do such a thing, it did provide much enjoyment for the onlookers. He knew that Bole and Derrick shared his opinion.
Too soon after the incident Marcus became aware that classes were about to start—even though he might not have liked school, he wouldn’t dare being late to Potions and angering Snape. He wolfed down the remnants of his toast and headed off to Potions class, where Snape was sure to assign them another 10-inch essay, even though he was well aware of the fact that the Slytherin quidditch team had practice that night. No matter how much Snape prided himself on the accomplishments of his House, he still remained stubborn enough to assign massive loads of homework on the minute details of his subject no matter what the time of year. If someone went complaining to him, he’d just smirk and say that they had better brush up on their time management skills. No one got anywhere in life if they couldn’t remember to balance pleasure and business—he was just giving them an early lesson.
But no matter how much Snape would snark at Marcus for his cramped and messy handwriting on his essay or his poor potion-making skills (why did it have to depend so much on the fine details? Who cared if the frog spawn wasn’t flicked in at exactly the right moment?), he wouldn’t make faces behind his back because his mood was too bright to be ruined by a sullen professor. The promise of the coming mess of mud was exciting and the anger in the Ravenclaw’s voice had been wonderful—it was just too bad the screaming match hadn’t gotten physical.
He couldn’t wait for the next altercation.