Chapter 1 : Day 1
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Friday, 1 October 2021: Day 1
I’m a mess. A complete and total mess.
All I see in my reflection is sex-hair minus the sex (in other words, completely disheveled), rumpled clothes, and a crazy look in my eye. All of this and it’s not even 8:30 yet. Alarming, I know. Especially since I slightly resemble the likes of a crazy girlfriend – correction, a crazy ex-girlfriend.
Not too far off the mark, I’ll admit.
Remind me to ask for admittance into St. Mungo’s for my birthday. I think I’d get in on looks alone – never mind my abundance of other issues.
I mean, have you seen my hair? It looks like I stuck my finger in one of those electrical outlets my grandparents have in their house and then rolled around on the carpet. It’s just one big, red poof ball of knots, frizz, and the ineffective muggle hair product I stole from Aubrey Valance. It’s monstrous; I swear it’s going to eat me.
Okay, so maybe it’s not that bad, but it certainly does have some height to it – enough to make head turns, at least.
But that’s not the thing I’m most concerned about – though it does cause me some worry – it’s actually the crazy look in my eye. That, I think, is in dire need of immediate attention.
I grip onto the edges of the, what was probably once white, porcelain sink, leaning forward until my nose is mere centimeters away from the glass of the dingy mirror. I’m so close to my reflection that I go a bit cross-eyed.
“Mildred Skye Walker,” I say in a low, threatening, voice. “This is not the time to crack. You have been through too much just to fuck it all up in the end so you better pull yourself together or else I swear to Merlin –”
“I’m pretty sure that doesn’t make you a hipster.”
“ACK!” I scream, the surprise of a visitor causing me to jerk forward. My face collides with the mirror – lips, nose, and cheek making contact with the film of dirt that has settled on its surface over the years.
There is a moment where I am staring at the contaminated areas with wide eyes, the mirror reflecting the horror I feel.
I am either going to throw up or cut my face off. Or maybe both.
A roar of laughter sounds from behind me and I know who it is in an instant based off of its familiar condescending tone. I wipe the grime off of my face with the back of my hand.
“Piss off, Berkley. You’re such a slimy git,” I snap without turning around. “And what are you doing in the girl’s lavatory, anyway?”
I hear the sound of footsteps as he approaches me from behind and the blonde head of Wren Berkley suddenly appears in the mirror beside me. “To seduce you of course,” he says flatly. “Fancy a shag in one of the stalls, love?”
I can’t help but smile and laugh – the statement is just too ridiculous to dignify a proper response. Whereas most girls would probably take his comment the wrong way, I know that Berkley’s only joking; despite what the Hogwarts Gossip Mill insists, there is nothing romantic going on between Berkley and myself. It’s just not like that – it never was.
Our friendship is of the most cliché origins. Like countless others, Berkley and I met on the Hogwarts Express in our first year. I had nowhere to sit as none of my parents’ friends’ children thought I was ace enough for them. This stung. So I wandered through the corridor until I saw him. He was situated in an empty compartment. I noticed he had blonde hair like my cousin. That seemed like a good enough reason to join him.
He didn’t like me much at first, but it wasn’t before long that I had gotten myself a new best mate. We both got sorted into the same house and I guess the rest is history. I mean, here we are six years later and we’re still the dynamic duo from first year; in fact, our best mateship is so brill that over the years we haven’t even bothered to recruit a third wheel mate just for the hell of it.
Not that there have been any hopefuls for the position, but I’m sure we could have found one somewhere. That is, if we really looked.
Like a lot.
Berkley sends me a weak smile but it soon begins to fade as he examines my face. “You okay?” he asks. He has that knowing tone to his voice that makes me want to just hex him right then and there. I ignore the pang of emotion in the pit of my stomach and squash the feeling entirely.
This is not the time to crack.
“I’m fine,” I tell him, waving it off. “He’s at perfect liberty to be with whomever he wants. I just needed to fix my hair.”
Berkley’s eyes travel from my face to the mess I had referred to. What he sees must reassure him that what I’m saying is the truth because he simply nods and the subject is dropped.
“So what exactly doesn’t make me a hipster?” I ask after a moment, just to fill in the silence.
Berkley smirks, taking the bait – just like I knew he would. I begin to relax a bit. “Wearing glasses you don’t need.”
Count on Berkley to make a comment like that. If we didn’t decide a few years back that we were above physical violence in our friendship, I would hit him for saying such a thing. How dare he insult my ability to sway from the norm, to swim against the current, to avoid the ongoing disease that is mainstream society?
Such cheek deserves a good whack to the head if you ask me, but like I said, we don’t do that sort of thing. Instead I go for a more theatrical reaction of the verbal nature.
Gasping, I place my hand over my heart, completely scandalized. “What are you talking about? It’s totally hipster; all of the hipsters are doing it.”
In response, he lets out a big, hearty laugh, causing me to narrow my eyes. This isn’t how I wanted the conversation to go. “What’s so funny?” I demand.
He just shakes his head and continues to laugh. I wait patiently for it to subside; tapping my foot on the tiled floor in a way that I know just makes his skin crawl. One of the perks of knowing someone for so long is that you know exactly what makes them tick. As if on cue, he throws me a look.
“I think what you just said counts as ‘conformity,’” he says tightly.
I stop tapping my foot. “So?”
Now that the offensive noise has ceased, he can return to patronizing me properly, smirk and raised eyebrow included. “So isn’t the point of being a hipster is that you do things that set you apart from others?”
I stare at him for a moment at a complete loss for words, my mouth opening and closing like a goldfish. “Well you can just go fuck yourself,” I say finally, turning away from him and to the mirror in order to adjust the glasses in question. They are large with thick, black frames. “I’m not taking them off,” I tell Berkley. He’s still laughing at me for my lack of a witty response. I’m going to have to work on that if I’m going to be a hipster. “I’m not,” I repeat. “They look really good.”
“If you say so, Millie,” he says, really laying the sarcasm on thick.
I throw him a look. “Cheers mate.”
Berkley breaks out into a smile and leans down to give me a quick peck on the cheek. “Anytime.”
I roll my eyes good-naturedly, cracking a small smile of my own. “Why are we mates again?”
“Because no one else volunteered to fill the void.”
“Ah, yes, I remember now.”
He grabs a hold of my hand and gives it a light tug. “C’mon, loser, we’re gonna be late for Charms.”
“Tisk, tisk, Berkley, such nasty verbal abuse. And for your information, I am not a loser, I am a Hippy-Hipster,” I insist on our way out of the loo together – which probably isn’t the best idea seeing that there is a load of people bustling down the corridor on their way to class. Some whispering erupts over the masses, but we ignore it like usual.
“Yeah, but to the hipsters, you’re just a poser.”
I feel a blaze of fury sweep through me and I send Berkley a scowl. This is the sort of thing that really bugs me; I feel like he never takes anything I do or say seriously. It’s actually quite maddening. But as a sixth year, it’s a bit too late in the game to pack up my bags and hunt for a new best mate. And contrary to what I’m willing to admit, I have gotten slightly, but only slightly, attached to the bloke.
I repeat: slightly.
But just for the record, I haven’t chucked him yet on sentiments alone.
But that is it.
I continue to glower at Berkley, and in the meantime, I also attempt to rip my hand from his but he tightens his iron grip, smirking at me, and pulls me along the corridor and in the direction of the stairs. I have no choice but to follow and I glare at the back of his head.
Forgive me, but I’m not too fond of being manhandled, thanks.
Manhandled. The mention of the word gets me thinking.
As we weed through the crowd, I can’t help but notice the disgusting amount of men that are congregating in the surrounding vicinity: men that have recently turned of age, young boys all of whom will soon become men. It’s revolting. They’re literally everywhere: leaning against the stone wall in a stance I suspect they think is mysterious and sexy; sweet talking some girl in hopes of getting her into bed later in the evening; getting into nonsense arguments over which House will win the Quidditch Cup; seeing which of their mates can yell various vulgarities the loudest; burping the twelve uses of dragon’s blood; making last minute adjustments to the essay they scrambled to write at breakfast.
I look around and revel in the fact that I hate them; I really do, I hate men. And there’s no way of getting away from them, for they insist on infecting me with their presence and all-around stupidity. Even now, I am subjected to them: here I am being dragged around by some blonde Neanderthal as he reaches his hand into his trousers to scratch at his er, himself.
Is anyone else noticing this? Anyone? Anyone at all? I look around wildly, hoping and expecting to see a sign of disgust, of any acknowledgement, really, but no, it seems that society has been conditioned into accepting the vile creatures that are commonly referred to as ‘men.’
If it weren’t for the necessity of their reproductive function, I’d say that they should be wiped out completely.
It takes us a bit of time to reach the stairs; the congestion of students (half of which men) makes sure of that. And despite my intense liking to do so, I decide that blasting people out of the way will only make me lose my Prefect’s badge. The prospect of a demotion seems pretty appealing, in all honesty; the only downside to being stripped of my title would be the certain Howler I’d receive from my parents as a result.
Last time I got one of those wasn’t too pretty. I still flinch every time our family owl, Rosencrantz, swoops down to bring me letters.
After a bit pushing and elbowing, we finally make it to the stairs and continue our way to the third floor, Berkley never slackening his grip on my hand. I follow him, just a few steps behind his brisk pace; I know that now it seems like he’s dragging me – which is in no way ideal, but walking next to each other hand in hand just seems too coupley to me.
And we are not a couple; I repeat: not.
We stroll into the Charms classroom just as the bell is ringing and we take our usual seats in the back row. Professor Clearwater stalks the aisles of tables in her daily ritual, looking for an offense among the group of Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs that can allow her to dock points.
Every time she does this, I can’t help but conjure up the image of a hawk.
I swear I’ve never met a professor like her in all my life. She practically lives to take off points and hand out detentions, feeding on each and every student’s despair…Dear Merlin, she’s a dementor. But in all honestly, you’d think as the Head of Ravenclaw she’d be less keen to make us end up in last every year for the House Cup, but no, that sort of thing seems to tickle her fancy. She took over for Flitwick after his terrible accident in the library a few years back: a stack of books had fallen off a table and crushed him into retirement. There has always been suspicion surrounding Professor Clearwater’s involvement in the incident among the student body; she had been the assistant librarian at the time and was clearly after Flitwick’s job. I swear the woman practically salivates every time somebody mentions Wingardium Leviosa.
But whether she plotted against Flitwick or not, she got her wish. She’s been the Charms teacher for the last three years now and it’s been hell. We’re assigned long essays with little time to complete them, tests that are near impossible to pass unless hours are spent studying for them, and Ravenclaw is practically in the negatives when it comes to house points.
I don’t think I’ve ever hated a teacher so much before, and I took Divination – briefly, that is, but still. Trelawney’s a nightmare.
My hatred for the wretch fresh on my mind, I can’t help but wrinkle my nose as if I’d just smelled something particularly nasty. But no worries; it’s only natural. The woman can have that kind of effect on you.
While scanning the room, Professor Clearwater and I make eye contact and she holds my gaze; every ounce of hatred she feels for me cascades through the air between us, nearly knocking me out of my chair with its sheer power. I wouldn’t be surprised if later in the day, I happen to be told that I have holes burned into my robes. And by some random stranger, no doubt; I can’t imagine Berkley going out of his way to inform me of such a thing. That’s just Berkley. But, anyway, Clearwater and I – let’s just say that the two of us have never gotten along.
After eyeing me coldly for a solid twenty seconds or so, she starts to move her gaze elsewhere until something on my person catches her eye. She makes a beeline towards me with a particularly nasty expression on her face.
I sincerely hope that she didn’t catch the momentary widening of my eyes; she’s the kind of creature that can smell fear. I quickly duck my head and in the following moments, I take a particular fascination in my quill, spinning it between my fingers and stroking the edges.
Nope, I’m not doing anything – not anything at all. Just playing with my quill.
In the corner of my eye, I notice Berkley lean back in his chair, resting his hands behind his head as if about to watch a show. He must think that he’s a right Seer because he predicted this happening at breakfast. And I know that I’m right because he doesn’t attempt to hide his smirk – or properly restrain himself from wagging his eyebrows at me.
You know, I always thought he was a bit of a sadist.
I not so discreetly flip him off. He lets out a chuckle.
I should probably put an ad out for a new best mate; my current one’s sympathy function is broken. You know, I wonder if Madam Pomfrey is capable of growing a person feelings – I mean, she can grow bones after all.
The room seems to quiet as Clearwater makes her way towards me, her footsteps practically echoing with each click of her killer heels. Click, click, click: the sound of sure and sudden death. Those very heels became a Hogwarts legend last term when a rumor circulated that she punctured Troy McLaggen’s right lung with them when he served a detention with her. He had written “Merlin, if we give you Professor Clearwater, will you give us Hagrid back?” on his desk. While I – along with several other students – thought it was of the utmost brilliance, Clearwater wasn’t too pleased.
And McLaggen was never seen again.
Actually, he just graduated, but the story is so much better when he dies at the end, I think.
I don’t look up when the dreaded clicking stops even though I know that the sudden silence was due to the fact that she had reached her final destination at my desk. Even though it’s pointless, I’m kind of hoping that if I don’t look up, she’ll just disappear.
It’s just that Professor Clearwater is like a shit that won’t flush.
The impatient clearing of the throat confirms that.
Wincing ever so slightly, I glance up. It doesn’t surprise me that she looks like she’s out for blood – you have to be out of your mind to keep someone like Clearwater waiting – even if it’s only for a few seconds.
I swallow hard, and despite how I feel, I try to keep the tentativeness out of my voice. “Is there something I can help you with?” I do not assume the polite tone I typically put on for authority figures.
Professor Clearwater’s eyes immediately narrow at this; she doesn’t like being referred to anything other than ‘Professor’ and ‘Ms.’ She gives me a tight smile. “As a matter of fact, there is, Miss Walker. It’s about your uniform – or your lack thereof.”
I don’t need to glance down to know that she is referring to. This morning I opted out of wearing my usual school ensemble and blue and bronze tie in favor of hot pink shorts over black tights, and a blue and purple plaid shirt.
I am the epitome of cool – very hipster, indeed.
…At least I think so; Berkley just laughed at me when he saw me at breakfast.
“Well, Walker?” She’s tapping her foot now; Berkley is twitching from beside me and I have to fight the urge to laugh. I don’t know what it is with that boy and tapping your foot, but it drives him positively mad.
I really should prolong my response as pay back for saying that I wasn’t a hipster this morning, but I decide that I may as well put him out of his misery. I mean, he wouldn’t do me any good if he was in the Hospital Wong for ripping all of his hair out, now would he? I can’t imagine Wren Berkley being able to waltz through life without his luscious golden locks.
Trust me, Berkley would be nothing if he wasn’t pretty.
I shrug, making a show of leaning back in my chair and draping my arm lazily over the chair’s back. I hope this looks as nonchalant and cool as it does in my head – wouldn’t want to look stupid while having a showdown with Clearwater. “Uniforms are a bit too mainstream for my taste.”
Shit, that was good. Mega hipster, right there.
But I suppose that it wasn’t as impressive as I thought, because the next thing that comes out of Clearwater’s mouth is: “Twenty points from Ravenclaw!”
There’s a roar of outrage from my fellow ‘Claws and a buzz of murmuring from the ‘Puffs. Twenty points? Berkley looks fit for murder and I’m spluttering all over the place – while I have had lost Ravenclaw a fair amount of points over the years because of this bloody nut, never have I lost so many at once.
“Twenty points?” I cry out, my voice raising a few octaves so it’s a bit squeaky. “Are you out of your bleeding mind?”
“Language! Make that ten more points, Walker.” She must think that it’s the end of discussion because she’s turning away from me and strolling down the aisle and towards the front of the room.
I mutter a swear under my breath which I don’t think she will hear and makes Berkley let out a soft laugh.
But apparently I’m wrong because before I know it, she has whipped around and her face is in mine, her nose nearly pressing against mine.
“What did you say?” she hisses.
If this had been any other day things would have been different. If I hadn’t woken up this morning vowing to be someone else or if I hadn’t seen him kissing her at breakfast, things would have been different. Because right now I would be calmly swearing up and down that I in fact said nothing – absolutely nothing – like I normally would. Because that is logical. Because that is what is right. But I did wake up this morning vowing to be someone else and I did see him kissing her at breakfast. So it is different; it isn’t right. I’ve got nothing; I’ve nothing to lose.
So I repeat my words slowly, loud and clear so that she and the rest of the class can hear: “Fuck you.”
I am sent to the headmistress’s office before you can say ‘Hippy-Hipster.’ Berkley sends me a thumbs up on my way out the door.
Merlin, I have never felt so good.
A/N: Hi everyone! New story! YAY! Okay, so I'm really nervous about this story and this chapter in particular so please let me know what you think in a review! If you didn't like this chapter, maybe if you stick around it might get better (but I can't promise that). So let me know what you thought about Millie, of Berkley, Clearwater, of Millie's self-proclaimed hipsterness. Just for the record, a lot of the things Millie will do in this story won't actually be hipster - that's kind of the point. If you were a bit confused as to why she made the change in the first place and who the people she saw kissing at breakfast were, don't worry; all will be explained soon.
I hope you liked it!
Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling. I do not own any of the characters except for the OCs and the plotline. Also, Millie's middle and last name is a play on Luke Skywalker, a character created by George Lucas.
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