beautiful chapter image by GinnyPotter25 @TDA
Blanca was downstairs in the shop with her father. With some coaxing from him that her occupying herself with something while waiting would take some of the pressure off, she was at the Balls section with one of the shop assistants, Rob, they were taking inventory on a new shipping of Quaffles that had just come in from Spain.
“Why so glum?” Rob asked as she passed him a ball she just recorded.
Blanca sighed, “Oh nothing, just my O.W.Ls that’s all.” She feigned a small smile.
Rob gave her a reassuring smile, “I told you, you should have dropped out in 3rd year when you still had the chance. Even though being a squib blows big time, at least you don’t have to worry about stupid stuff like grades and all!” he winked at her, this managed to make Blanca crack a real smile.
“Funny funny ha ha!” she replied.
“Don’t worry,” he said, picking up a rag to wipe some dust off a shelf, “knowing you, you have probably done fine!” Blanca looked up at the tall scrawny-looking boy with a shock of orange hair and a face strewn all over with freckles, he flashed another of his bright smiles and went back to work. Blanca laughed silently; this boy always knew what to say to her.
“Blanca, could you come over here for a second?” her father called from one of the shop windows, “Now, which Quidditch robes do you think I should put up for display?- and don’t say the Holyhead Harpies, they have hung here for the past six months!”
“But they’re popular!” Blanca argued.
“Not so much anymore,” Charlie, another attendant, said, “not since their game with Puddlemere Utd last Thursday, they were beaten silly!”
“They were?” Dean asked, clearly surprised. Even though he traded in Quidditch, he didn’t really quite follow the games, instead, he stuck to his love for Muggle football, which he either watched from the telly upstairs, or travelled to watch live.
Blanca shuddered; she remembered listening to the game from the radio, with Lee Jordan on commentary. His happy, velvety voice on the radio had been something Blanca had always liked, it reminded her so much of Lance, her boyfriend-oops! Ex-boyfriend. She and he had broken up about two weeks ago and Blanca was still getting used to the feeling of referring to him as her ex. The game was going horribly for the Harpies, Chasers Gillian Wood and Greta Jones were out sick and one of the Beaters, Sonny Blue, had been kicked out of the game due to foul play. So, the game pretty much blew, and hearing Lee’s voice, which was very much like his son’s, did not make the situation any better for Blanca.
“Their worst game in a hundred years!” Matt, another attendant, chimed in.
“Sorry hun, but the Harpies need some time off display,” Dean said, “and besides, the other robes are beginning to mould.”
Blanca knew she was losing this one, “Fine. Which ones do you have in mind?”
“Due to recent developments, two options are open, either Puddlemere Utd. Or the Chudley Cannons.” Blanca wrinkled her nose slightly at the mention of Puddlemere.
“Pick one- before I do.” This was going to be difficult, Puddlemere were the Harpies’ No.1 rival and the Cannons had not won a match in forever.
“Fine.” She huffed, “Have the Cannons, besides, they still have a cult following, take a look a Rose’s dad. Anyway, I’m not betraying the Harpies.”
Dean smiled, and with a flick of his wand, the manikins were flying around in bright orange robes. Blanca studied the way her father swished his wand around, she loved that wand. Back when she was younger, she would sneak a few holds of the lovely piece of wood. Whenever he would cook and left it on the kitchen counter, whenever he would take a nap she would grab it from his bedside table and feel the smooth, lovely piece of wood with its spiral handle. “Maple, unicorn hair, 15 inches, slightly springy.” Blanca memorized the make of his wand by the time she was seven, it was exactly the wand she wanted to have when she was going to Hogwarts.
“Ah, the traveler’s wand,” it had been called by Ollivander the time they visited his shop the first time she was going to Hogwarts, “I’m sorry dearie, but no two wands are the same. You could try the sister wand,” he said when she asked for a wand like her father’s, but even the sister wand did not choose her. Instead, the one that chose her was Cedar, had dragon heartstring, was 11 inches long and was stiff. “The Dark Horse, full of surprises, quite unpredictable but very loyal to its owner,” Ollivander said.
A tapping on the window next to Blanca shook her from her thoughts. She looked and there, holding an envelope, was a large, majestic-looking owl, Blanca felt her legs turn to jelly. The owl tapped some more in annoyance but Blanca didn’t budge. Leila, the only female shop assistant, had to rush from her place at the pay-point counter to open the window for the annoyed owl.
The owl settled on the counter next to Blanca and ruffled its feathers angrily. “I’m so sorry I didn't let you in quicker,” Blanca pleaded, trying to make amends by feeding it some nuts that Dean kept in the shop for delivery owls. Blanca shakily untied the envelope from the owl and carefully set it on the table as though it would explode any minute. The owl softly hooted and left the shop.
By this time, all five people had gathered around her; Dean, Matt, Charlie, Rob and Leila. As Blanca tore the envelope open, a smaller piece of parchment fell out. She picked it up, wondering what it could be about, she couldn’t have been made a prefect; Florence and Bernie already had that post, and besides, no staff member in their right state of mind would ever consider her for such a job. So, gingerly unrolling it, silently praying that it was not something bad, like an expulsion note for turning Potter into a bug, she lifted it up so that she could read it clearly. It was from Professor Sprout; Hufflepuffs Head of House, Blanca quickly read through the large, bubbly writing and could not believe what the note had said. She read it again and again before Rob hastily cut the silence and yelled, “Okay! What is it about already?”
“It’s from Professor Sprout,” her voice was little more than a whisper, “I made captain of the Quidditch team……I’M THE NEW CAPTAIN!!!!!!!!!!!” she yelled, waving the parchment around.
“Way to go!”
“Can we see the O.W.Ls now?” Charlie bluntly asked which earned him multiple glares from Dean, Leila and Rob.
“So much for ruining the celebration,” Leila muttered.
“No, it’s okay,” Blanca said in a small voice, the butterflies had come back again, and this time, it seemed that they had brought a couple more friends over. She swallowed hard and unrolled the larger piece of parchment with unsteady hands.
ORDINARY WIZARDING LEVEL RESULTS
Pass Grades: Outstanding (O)
Exceeds Expectations (E)
Fail Grades: Poor (P)
CASABLANCA NANDI THOMAS HAS ACHIEVED:
Care of Magical Creatures: D
Defense Against the Dark Arts: E
History of Magic: A
Muggle Studies: E
Blanca’s breathing became less and less constricted as she read the paper over and over again. She had always known she would fail those two subjects, Divination was all guesswork to her and there was no chance she would have passed Care of Magical Creatures given that a Blast-Ended Skrewt had fractured her neck half-way through the exam. But that did not matter now; she was now a N.E.W.T student.
“Blanca!” her father broke the silence, “nine O.W.Ls!”, he flung her from her seat and spun her around, “and let’s not forget the three O’s in there! I’m so proud of you!”
“Yeah mate!” Rob playfully punched her on her shoulder, “told you you’d do good!”
“Congratulations!” Leila pulled her in a hug.
“Yeah, well done champ!”
“This calls for a celebration! Tonight, we close an hour early, at 18:00hrs, The Leaky Cauldron everybody!!” Dean yelled, “I’d better owl Seamus!”
“Dad!” Blanca protested, but she went unheard, Dean was already cha-cha-ing towards the back door singing, “My daughter’s a N.E.W.T student….she got nine O.W.Ls…..N.E.W.T student….”
Dean and Seamus had always had this friendly competition between them, and Blanca’s success would not go unheard. Blanca was beaming, Dean was opening the back door that led to the stairway when the shop bell rang.
Two pairs of expensive black shoes walked in, the bodies that the shoes belonged to were clad in the most expensive robes money could buy and with their hair combed in the same style, the Malfoys could have passed for brothers.
Dean immediately stiffened and coolly walked towards them, Blanca noticed from the corner of her eye that his grip on his wand had tightened.
“In the middle of a little celebration are we?” the senior Malfoy sneered.
“How may I help you Ma-Mr. Malfoy?” Dean asked as politely as he could through gritted teeth.
“Just came in for a look-see,” his voice drawled on, sounding bored, “my son here would like a new broom. Could have imported one myself but he insists that your place is,” he sighed, “the best.”
Blanca was clearly shocked that Scorpius Malfoy had referred to this shop, she looked at the boy who was standing behind his father and right now, with that hideous sneer on his face, it was almost impossible to believe.
“Actually sir, you have come to the right place,” Leila started to say as she walked towards them; “if you could follow-” she stopped dead in her tracks by the icy cold glare she received from Malfoy.
“Now now Thomas, you need to keep a leash on your Squibs…….”
Dean took a step towards Malfoy, his voice dangerously low, “I will not tolerate your coming into my property to insult my employees, if you want to buy something, please do, if not, it would be nice if you left. My daughter and I- together with the rest of our family” he motioned to the four people standing in the shop, “have some celebrating to do.”
Draco Malfoy let his eyes leave Dean’s face and had them settle on Blanca for a few moments, the steely grey eyes then trailed down to the piece of parchment she held in her hands.
“You mean the Hufflepuff? Yes, I’ve heard of her, got your O.W.Ls too eh? Or must I say, O.W.L? but don’t worry, most Hufflepuffs don’t even manage to get their coveted little Herbology of theirs….especially not with that degenerate Longbottom around now-”
“GET OUT!” Dean was livid; he had a protective arm around his daughter as he pointed his wand at the sneering face of Malfoy.
Blanca was hurt, Draco Malfoy merely smirked, behind him Blanca saw Scorpius; a hint of sadness flashed in his eyes before they went back to their expressionless demeanor.
Once outside the shop, Scorpius glared at his father, “Couldn’t you just have kept quiet and let us get the broom before you could insult all those people?”
“I’ve told you before son, I never waste good money on filthy blood traitors like him!” Malfoy spat.
Scorpius felt uneasy at the term ‘Blood-traitor’, Blanca was Rose’s best friend, and if he was not in her good books he was afraid she might influence Rose away from him, that was why he needed the Thomas girl on his side before she knew what was going on. He had only started seeing Rose over the summer and was already sure he was in love with her; nobody else knew that they were together but he knew that it was only a matter of time before Blanca found out. This was why he was so angry at his father.
“By the way, is that the Hufflepuff Antonio said was better than you at Potions? You need to pull your socks up; you can’t be threatened by a Hufflepuff!”
“Yes father,” Scorpius agreed, even though he heard nothing his father had said. He was too busy thinking what would happen if his blood-purity-crazy father found out he was seeing someone from the No.1 blood-traitor family in Britain. He quickened his step to match his father’s as they rounded a bend to enter Knockturn Alley.