Chocolate frogs were good for soul, Calla decided. Her bed was littered with chocolate frog wrappers and she believed she might just have collected every single one of the famous witch or wizard cards. She had about ten Harry Potters, but they were thrown underneath her bed.
“Calla! You are not going to sit in this room and feel sorry for yourself! I don’t care if you’re still upset about James-” Call snorted, if only they knew that James was the farthest thing from her mind; if only they knew that it was so much bigger and more horrible than that; if only they knew that Martin knew her secret “-but I’m not going to let you stay here and sulk. Now we are going out whether you like it or not!” Andie shouted from behind the door, banging hard.
“It’s Tuesday, Andie! There’s nowhere to go!” Calla shouted. Andie continued banging without respite.
Calla sighed and got up, grumbling to herself and knocking wrappers off the floor, before opening the door. “What?” she whinged as she glared at Andie and Beth, who was staring apologetically from behind Andie’s back.
“Shut up and c’mon,” Andie sighed, pulling Calla out of her room and down the stairs.
“Andie, will you please tell us where we’re going?” Beth asked, shaking her head.
“Oh, so you don’t know what the hell’s going on either?” Calla asked, raising her eyebrows at Andie.
Andie flipped her hair over her shoulder and dragged them out the portrait hole. The Fat Lady called after them. “It’s almost curfew! Where do you three think you’re going?” They all ignored her.
After continuously being ignored by Andie, Calla and Beth silently followed behind her until she stopped them at an ugly statue of some one-eyed witch.
“What the-?” Call began, but Andie shushed her, pulled out her wand, and whispered, “Dissendium!” as she tapped her wand against the hump.
Beth gasped as the hump slid open and Andie began to climb inside. “How in the world-?”
“When you date a Weasley, you learn a couple of things- I’m surprised Calla didn’t know about this. Now shut up and come on!” Andie said and disappeared through the opening. Calla, still narrowing her eyes because of the Potter comment, followed her. Beth neatly slid down last.
By the time they straightened themselves, Andie was already well on her way to disappearing into the gloom of some kind of tunnel. They hurried to catch up with her.
After five minutes of panting on Calla and Beth’s parts because Andie was practically sprinting down the tunnel, Calla grabbed Andie’s arm. “Where in the name of Merlin are you taking us, Andie?”
“Hogsmeade,” she answered, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
“W-wh-what?” Beth sputtered. Andie ignored her and pulled them along.
Soon they began a steep ascent until Andie stopped suddenly, nearly sending Calla and Beth toppling over. Grunting, Andie pushed what seemed to be a trapdoor open and quickly scurried through, pulling her friends with her.
“Where-?” Beth asked, staring around, mesmerized.
“Honeydukes’ cellar,” Andie whispered. “Now be quiet and follow me, we don’t want anyone knowing we’re here.”
“Andie, I don’t like this...” Beth moaned as she crept along behind Andie. Calla laughed to herself; of course Andie wouldn’t mind breaking into Honeydukes just to get into Hogsmeade. She sighed, gave Beth a reassuring nod, and followed Andie up the creaky stairs.
Fortunately, they made it safely out of Honeydukes without being arrested for trespassing and suspected robbery. Calla had tried very hard not to look at the chocolate frog display.
Andie led them to the Three Broomsticks and Calla remembered her first date with James with a pang. She didn’t say anything, though; she’d long since given up trying to dissuade Andie from sneaking into Hogsmeade.
The pub still had a fairly good amount of people for a Tuesday night when Andie waltzed into the pub and stepped up to the counter. “Hallo Rosmerta!”
“Andie, now what’re you doin’ out of the castle? And bringin’ you’re friends too, I see,” Madam Rosmerta chuckled, winking at Andie and nodding to Calla and Beth.
“Just need a couple of pick-me-ups, Rosmerta, nothing too fancy. Calla, here,” Andie said, leaning close to the barmaid and grinning slyly at Calla. “Seems to have a broken heart.”
“No!” Madam Rosmerta said jovially and exaggeratedly as she clapped her hand over her mouth in feigned shock just as Calla protested, “Andie!”
“Just calling it how I see it, Calla. Now, can we have three Firewhiskeys-?”
“Oh no, Andie. I’m-!” Calla began.
Andie, rolling her eyes at Rosmerta and turning to Calla, cut her off, saying, “C’mon, Calla, live a little. We’re all seventeen anyway. It’s not going to kill you to have one Firewhiskey.”
“Have you forgotten Potter’s ‘welcome home’ party, Andie? I’m never having alcohol again!” Andie grimaced uncomfortably.
Beth chose this time to speak up. “And I don’t think my mum would want me drinking on a school night- or ever!” she piped.
“Fine, then!” Andie exclaimed, turning back to Rosmerta. “One Firewhiskey and two Butterbeers. Happy now?”
Rosmerta nodded and, laughing, turned away to get them their drinks. She returned and Andie slapped some money on the counter before grabbing her drink and storming off. “Thanks,” Calla sighed, nodding at Rosmerta, and grabbed her drink before heading with Beth to where Andie was sitting.
She had to admit, sneaking into Hogsmeade had been a great way to cheer her up and she was glad Andie had done it. They’d slowly melted into a relaxed, chatting mood as they sat around that table, sipping their drinks. Calla attributed part of it to the chocolate frogs. It had gotten late quickly and Andie, after saying goodbye to Rosmerta, had led them back through the tunnel and to Gryffindor Tower.
Recovery felt nice.
They were sitting by the fire in the common room, Calla in a much better mood and promising herself she’d never eat another chocolate frog again, when Rose came up and sat on the arm of Calla’s chair. Beth swiftly engaged Andie in a conversation.
“So...” Rose began uncomfortably.
“What?” Calla asked, eyeing her suspiciously.
“My whole family sort of knows-”
“What?” Calla gasped. No, no one else could know about Mulciber. They-
“-About me and Scorp,” Rose finished, staring at Calla worriedly. “What did you think-?”
“Never mind,” Calla interrupted, breathing heavily. No. No one else did know about Mulciber. She slowed her breathing, her mind coming out of haywire mode. “How’d they find out?”
“James,” Rose said simply and Calla didn’t know why she hadn’t put it together before. Of course James would have told them. He didn’t seem to be able to handle being connected in any way with Death Eaters. “They’ve given me ‘till Christmas to tell me family. My mum will probably get over it, but my dad... Well, let’s just say he really doesn’t like Death Eaters.” Rose chuckled drily, evidently thinking of some private joke Calla wouldn’t ever know.
“And Albus?” Calla asked, looking over at said boy and his girlfriend in the corner. He looked so much like James. “How’d he react?”
“He’ll get over it, I expect,” Rose said, glancing over at Albus too and avoiding the question. “Anyway, listen, I have to go, just thought I’d tell you what happened. ‘Night!” And with that Rose was gone and Calla didn’t feel like staying in the common room anymore, especially as James had entered the portrait hole with Fred just moments ago.
Calling good night to her friends, Calla rose and headed towards the girl’s dormitory staircase. She passed James on the way there, but ignored him. Unfortunately, he decided not to ignore her.
James grabbed her arm and spun her around. The common room went quiet.
“Calla,” he said. “Calla, please, I want to-”
“What? Apologise?” Calla scoffed. She didn’t know why she was being so mean about this... No... She did: Rose’s information had put her in a foul mood. “You turned out to be exactly like the person I originally thought you were.”
James glanced frantically around before during his nutmeg brown eyes (alright, why was she noticing the colour of his eyes?) back to Calla and staring intensely.
“Calla,” he began, lowering his voice. “I’m sorry I was such a prat- I still am a prat- it was just a lot to take in at the moment and I felt overwhelmed and I’m just so sorry. I can’t tell you how much I want you to forgive me. Please can we just-”
She felt her heart melting, as it always did when it came to James nowadays. She leaned in, almost as if to kiss him, but she turned her head at the last second and whispered in his ear. “No. I know, James. I know you’re sorry and I can’t tell you how much I wish that that was enough.”
With that, his grip slackened and he stared at her as she pulled away and walked out of the common room.
She could see it.
She could see it.
She could see it in his eyes that he still hadn’t recovered from the fact that her father was Mulciber.
She could see that he was sorry, but it truly wasn’t enough.
Albus Potter found Calla some hours later sitting by herself in an empty corridor. She hadn’t been crying, not even sniffling, just sitting on a window ledge with her knees pulled up to her chest, staring across the grounds and wondering if she had any more chocolate frogs left.
“Hey Calla,” Albus said as he came upon her. She jumped and stared at him.
“How- how did you find me?” she asked, still startled and wondering how anyone could have found her in this deserted part of the castle.
“Used the Map,” Albus said simply, waving an old and battered piece of parchment in her face. “Can you believe that James had this the whole time and never told me or Lily about it? Blimey, all the times I could have used this piece of genius. I always thought dad was making it up when it told us about the Marauders.”
Calla stared at him. “The Map?” she asked, bewildered.
Albus’s eyes went wide and he blushed. “Right, sorry, I guess James didn’t show it to you when you two were still-?”
“No, he didn’t,” Calla cut across sharply, not in the mood to hear anything about hers and James’s past relationship.
“Right, sorry...” Albus trailed off. Calla was struck by how oddly different the two brothers were. While James was more outgoing and loud, Albus was strangely bookish and quiet, but with the amount of humour and wit that James possessed, just hidden- possibly why Albus had been able to keep a steady girlfriend for a year now.
After a few moments of awkward silence, Calla cleared her throat. “Erm, what d’you want Albus?”
His head snapped up. “It’s Al,” he corrected automatically. Calla smiled slightly. She was used to correcting people, too. “And I actually came here to talk to you.”
“I’m here. Talk,” Calla said, gesturing around her to show she was all open. As long as it wasn’t about James...
“It’s about Rose... and Malfoy,” Al said hesitantly. Calla sighed inwardly. It was almost too close...
“Just call him Scorpius, Al. He’s- or at least he was- you’re best mate,” Calla said, rubbing her temples and exhaling.
“Yeah, a bastard friend that-”
“Al, if you just came here to complain to me about Rose and Malfoy, then I don’t want to hear it,” Calla whined slightly and tiredly.
“No!” Al said frantically. “No, I actually wanted to ask you... well...” He was suddenly nervous. Calla felt herself chuckling. “I wanted ask about when you found out, because James said something about you knowing before, and why you let it happen.” He mumbled the last part somewhat bitterly, as if he was angry at her for the lies his friends had told him. She could sort of see why.
She stared at him for a few moments before sighing and running her fingers through her hair. “I found out much the same way James did,” she began. Al’s eyes snapped towards her, as if he’d only just realised she was going to answer. “I was on patrol and I heard people in a broom cupboard, obviously snogging. So I opened the door to tell them to go to bed and Rose and Scorpius tumbled out. I yelled at Rose for a bit before I let her explain. She convinced me to let her tell you-”
“But why?” Al interrupted furiously. “Why on earth would you keep letting my cousin secretly snog my best friend! I know for some strange reason you don’t give a damn that he’s the son of a Death Eater like I used to, but you knew he was my best mate!”
Calla stood up swiftly and glared up at Al; she felt herself growing until she was taller than him, much more intimidating. She fought the urge to laugh. “Because everyone deserves a chance! It took me a while to realise that. Don’t think I didn’t make sure that he was good for her. Don’t think for a second that I wouldn’t have broken my promise to Rose if I’d thought that he wasn’t good for her. I watched them, Albus. I made sure that Rose wasn’t making a huge mistake and she’s not! She’s not! I’m sure you’d realise that if you just looked at them together! They make each other happy, Al- can’t you see that?”
She felt herself shrinking down again, her point made. Calla returned to her windowsill and stared at Al. She could see him making a decision.
When he spoke, his voice was pleading. “They’re my best mates, Calla. What am I supposed to do if my best mates are dating? Where do I fit in?” He looked so sad, Calla felt a surge of sympathy and until she realised how pathetic that sounded. Then she reprimanded herself for being so mean.
“Well first, you have a girlfriend. And second, aren’t Rose’s parents your dad’s best friends? The Golden Trio and all. And it still worked out between the three of them.”
Al seemed to brighten and he laughed. “See this is why if you and James ever got married, you and Aunt Hermione would be best friends. You’re much too smart for your own good. Don’t know why you aren’t in Ravenclaw.” He threw his arm around her as they walked back to the common room.
“Right...” Calla muttered, still stuck on if you and James ever got married...
“Speaking of which-”
“No, Al,” Calla said roughly, cutting him off. She was not going to discuss why she and James broke up with his brother.
“Alright, alright, fine, you win. I won’t mention it,” Al said defensively, putting his hands in the air. “Merlin, how James ever handled you, I’ll never know,” he muttered and Calla laughed as they strode back to the common room. She quite liked Albus Potter.
James sat in his favourite chair by the fire. His friends laughed around him, but he didn’t join him. Lauren Martin sat on the edge of his chair and purposefully brushed his arm, clearly trying to draw his attention. It wasn’t working. It would only work if she was Calla.
But judging by Calla’s blatant rejection just hours ago, it was never going to be Calla again.
He had promised himself that he’d look past what her father was and he finally believed he had. It was a struggle; every fibre of his being told him to eliminate his affections for Calla; she was the daughter of a Death Eater and his enemy.
But he loved her. He knew that now. Like his mother had with his father, he’d loved Calla Mathews since first year and no amount of horrible lineage was going to change that. It was just a little difficult for him to see that at the moment. Perhaps it was best that she’d denied his attempt at reconciliation with the wound still fresh. Perhaps he needed time to heal. He’d heard chocolate frogs were good for that...
His face was expressionless as Lauren Martin ran her fingers through his hair.
Calla didn’t even glance at James’s corner when she and Al came in through the portrait hole, smiling and laughing. James wondered what they’d been talking about.
Calla walked down to breakfast the new morning with Andie and Beth. The day was better than the last ones. She was recovering from the end of her relationship with James and her refusal of his apology the night before had made her feel stronger. Maybe in a few months, she’d be able to face Martin and reconcile with James, but right now, Calla just needed her friends.
The three of them entered the Great Hall, laughing as Andie told a joke, when it happened.
A small Ravenclaw girl marched towards them and threw her pumpkin juice onto the front of Calla’s robes.
“That was for my Uncle Jack, Mulciber,” the girl hissed.