Chapter 1 : Chapter 1 : The Opponent
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Awesome CI by Meghan at TDA!
A.N. This story is written for ariellem's The Nerd challenge in which I got to write about Hugo Weasley and one of my all-time favorite movie : Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. Anything you recognize therefore, belongs to one or the other series / franchise. Have a good read!
It is a gloomy sort of Saturday morning. I sit alone at the Ravenclaw table and also pretty much alone in the entire Great Hall, aside from a single Hufflepuff and three Slytherins. I’m alright with that considering my eyes are still glued together; I am in no condition to hold a conversation with another human being. My head hurt as well but not in the usual manner. It is an annoying pounding on the right side of my brains. I need it to go away, it hurt. I put my hand up in order to put some pressure on the hurtful point but I hit something soft on the way. Something that doesn’t like being hit and hoots loudly in my ear.
“Romulus,” I shout, jumping out of my chair. How did I not notice that my owl had arrived and was pecking me on the side of the head for the past five minutes?
“Hoot,” it says, quirking its brown head as if saying ‘well, you’re finally up, are you?’
“Yeah I’m up,” I mumble angrily as I sit back on my chair, suddenly very glad that I’m an early bird and not too many people noticed this. I pick up the toast I dropped earlier but Romulus decides I am not eating it and starts pecking at my head again. “Seriously Rom, leave me alone.”
“Hoot,” it answers, naturally. This time though, I can recognize the glint of mischief in the bird’s eye. As much as a bird can be mischievous that is. It quirks its head again but I notice it’s actually pointing at a letter next to my plate.
“You brought me a letter?” I ask and it hoots positively. “You almost pierced my skull to tell me you’ve brought me a letter?” Another proud hoot. “Thanks, I’ll read it later.” It hoots one last time and flies away.
Next time I get and owl, I will not let Rose chose it. She always goes for the crazy ones.
The letter, it turns out, is from the only other early bird I know, Teddy Lupin. If Romulus had not fully succeeded in waking me up, this letter did. It says that my presence is requested tonight at 8 o’clock in the Room of Requirement for an extraordinary and urgent Weasley male meeting. This has never happened before.
“Male Weasley meeting,” I repeat slowly under my breath. That means I can’t tell Lily. But I tell her everything; how am I going to not tell her that? Holding this secret an entire day and not tell my best friend in the whole world? Why couldn’t she have been born male?
I decide to do the manly thing and spend the day in hiding in the Ravenclaw common room. I have a lot of homework so it keeps me occupied until noon. I still have eight hours to go though; eight hours to fill without leaving my common room. I decide to do some homework in advance. It’s actually pretty easy; especially History of Magic. Binns is so predictable; it’s always the same pattern: read the next chapter and make a two foot long essay on the main subject. I am done by one thirty so I do one extra chapter.
Three o’clock. I now have homework done for the next three weeks. There is a limit to being a conscientious student and I’m about to cross it. Plus, I’d rather think about the meeting. I can’t stop wondering why Teddy would come at Hogwarts on a weekend when he’s been done with school for four years. I’m sure Lily would figure it out.
Four o’clock. I’ve managed to convince myself that Teddy is planning a mass murder of the Weasley males; I need to get there prepared to save myself. And Al, he’s proven himself worth saving; the rest, well, they’ll have to find a way out on their own, I don’t have enough arms to save everyone.
Five o’clock. I’ve devised a clever plan that will give both Al and I enough time to get out before the bloodbath begins, all thanks to my brilliant godfather and the untested decoy-skunk-pellets he dropped in my pockets a couple weeks ago. Even Fred won’t know what hit him!
Six o’clock. My stomach has begun digesting itself. The strangest ideas are coming to mind right now including the fact that Clarica Devonly, who is sitting at the table next to mine, is beginning to look like she’d make a nice meal.
Seven o’clock. I can’t handle it anymore and decide to change my hiding place. The Hogwarts’ kitchens seem like the best hiding spot right now. Making my way down there is no easy feat though considering I need to avoid Lily. With my back to the wall, I do some sort of sidewalk along the corridors, stopping at every turn, taking the time to check whether Lily might be coming from the opposite end of the corridor. Luckily for me, I manage to reach the kitchens without sighting any red head. It took me over half an hour though, for a walk that usually takes no more than ten minutes. Oh well, that only makes the chocolate buns a hundred times better than normal.
Seven forty-five. I need to get going; if it takes me as long to get to the Room of Requirement, the meeting will be over by the time I get there. I decide to go with another tactic: I’ll run there. If I come across Lily along the way, I can say that I’m late; I have no time discuss and run for it even more. This tactic turns out to be excellent and I reach the seventh floor corridor in less than five minutes without meeting Lily.
I pat my pocket lightly to make sure both my wand and my decoy-skunk-pellets are still there. I gather my courage and ready myself to make yet another crazy dash out of the room when Teddy will start to murder us all. I still can’t figure out why he wants to exterminate all the males of our family but I decided that twelve years old is too young an age to die. My brilliant conclusion is however shaken a bit when I notice my cousin Lucy walking in front of the wall. Unless she swapped one of her X chromosome for a Y during the night, she doesn’t have anything to do at this meeting.
“Hugo,” she waves at me, “so you were invited to this extraordinary and urgent meeting as well.”
“Yes,” I nod as we walk through the door together, “I’m surprised to see you here though. My letter said it was an all-male meeting.”
“Strange,” she raises her eyebrows, noticing that the room is indeed filled with only her masculine cousins. She spots Teddy at the back of the room, slumped on a large, throne-like couch. “Hey Teddy, why did I get that invitation? Last I checked, I was still a girl.”
“And a very pretty one at that,” Teddy winks at her. “We’re just waiting for James and Louis then we’ll get started; I’ll explain everything.”
“This is almost insulting,” Lucy shakes her pretty head. In that moment, I decide to change my plan; Lucy is the one I’ll save. Al can save himself; Lucy has been through enough already in her short thirteen years of life.
“Yeah it is,” Fred joins our conversation, or rather Lucy’s conversation and my non-verbal participation. “I hope this won’t take too long, I have a lovely lady waiting for me.”
“We’ve been through this already Freddy; your own sister is not an acceptable date,” Al declares to the general amusement.
“I’m aware of that thank you,” Fred smiles, unfazed. I wish I had as much cool as Fred; nothing disturbs him and he always has the perfect reply. Maybe I could save Fred and then he would teach me his cool ways as a thank-you-for-saving-my-life kind of gift.
“Sorry we’re late,” James’s voice bursts though my thoughts. “We were organizing things so that Freddy wouldn’t annoy us for the meeting to end.”
“What do you mean?” The designated Weasley male asks curiously. Not scared or dreading; curious. I do not understand how someone can be so cool in front of James and Louis’s plans; I definitely need help on the matter.
“Arabel wanted us to tell you that she cancels your date tonight,” Louis explains with a shrug.
“And why is that?”
“She got in the way of a trail of dungbombs; you can imagine the rest,” James winks at Fred.
“Like I care about the smell of dungbombs,” Fred snorts, “it’s a permanent fixture at my house.”
“Most people aren’t turned on by that though,” Teddy says knowingly, “you might want to try and act like a normal human being. Leave her some space until the smell clears out. When the two of you have been dating a while, you can bomb her again for your own excitement, that’s your thing mate but let her think you’re normal for a couple of weeks.”
“If Teddy the love-god says so, you better do it mate,” Louis nods, “he managed to snatch my sister after all; he’s got to have some crazy knowledge on the way a bird’s mind works.”
“And that was not sexist at all,” Lucy gives the heaviest sarcastic snort I have ever heard in my life, “I’m so glad I was invited to this meeting.”
“What is she doing here?” James asks, surprised as he only just notices his younger feminine cousin’s presence. Definitely not saving James; I don’t want him taking care of my possible future love life. His way with girls is not one I want to learn either.
“Alright, better get to it,” Teddy declares, inviting us to take a seat. Finally making my decision, I grab Lucy’s arm and pull her to the two chairs closest to the door.
“It’s for the best,” I tell her, promptly ignoring her questions.
“Guys and Lucy,” Teddy winks at the girl again, “I invited you all here tonight because we have a serious matter to take care of. One of our girls has fallen for a bloke and from what I’ve heard, this seems to be the real thing. We need to protect her; we need to make sure that he is worth joining our family but mostly, we need to make sure he is good enough for Molly.”
“Guess we aren’t all dying after all,” I say without thinking. Wow mouth, you hardly ever open but when you do, it’s to say stuff like that. Wow indeed.
“What?” Unsurprisingly, everyone asks me.
“What?” I answer back without missing a beat. A short silence follows my answer but I keep my cool in my best imitation of Fred’s mannerism. To my surprise this time, it actually works and they drop it.
“Someone has managed to mollify The Captain?” James says, thoroughly surprised.
“Did you know that?” I ask Lucy who shakes her head.
“No, she didn’t say. I did notice she looked happier in the last couple of weeks but I thought it was because of the last quidditch win.”
“Who’s the bloke?” Al asks Teddy, “and how do you know?”
“She told Dom who told Vicky who told me. But it’s a secret,” Teddy stage-whispers. The boys and Lucy all nod, acknowledging the three girls’ ability to keep secrets. “The guy is apparently named Killian Earhart. Seventh year, Hufflepuff. No known activity or super power.”
“Killian Earhart,” we all repeat under our breath. I don’t have a clue who that is and apparently, I’m not the only one. Fred is scratching his head. James and Louis are stroking imaginary beards. Al’s frown makes him look like he’s doing a job on the toilet.
“I know him,” Lucy suddenly exclaims, “tall, blonde, dreamy smile.”
“How can you have a dreamy smile?” Al asks Lucy, his eyes wide and lost.
“James has a crazy smile; Louis’ smile screams that he’s untrustworthy; yours Al is sweet in all its cluelessness,” Lucy shrugs and just for that comment, I decide that Lucy is definitely worth saving. No matter if we aren’t going to die after all.
“Thanks Lucy for that insight,” Teddy smiles in what he obviously thinks is a dashing smile. Lucy rolls her eyes and Teddy’s smile breaks a little but he keeps going anyway. “There are seven of us. Each one of us now has the task to find a way to confront Killian Earhart in a way that will make him fight to prove whether or not he is the real deal.”
“One confrontation a day?” Fred asks, rubbing his hands together.
“Yes,” Teddy confirms before pulling a bag out from under his cloak. “Each one of us will pull a number out and that will determine when your confrontation will take place. However, should Killian Earhart lose or give up after one, two or even six confrontations, it stops there. We don’t want to harass the guy for no reason; we just want to see if he’ll make a good Weasley-in-law.”
“Right,” we all agree. One by one, we pull a number out and in a matter of seconds, the week is planned.
“Al, you start the party tomorrow,” Teddy says and Al nods confidently, “then you guys all follow until it’s finally my turn, next Saturday. Killian Earhart better be ready and he better love Molly a whole lot.”
I take one look around the room, watching my cousins plan the most difficult confrontations with so much pleasure and I can think of only one thing : I would hate to be Killian Earhart.
As I think of what I should do, what I can do to best a seventh year, I feel a sudden burn on my side. “Oh crap,” I manage to say before being engulfed in a purple cloud of horrid skunk smell. Damn Uncle George; I guess the untested decoy-skunk-pellets aren’t ready to be sold after all.
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