beautiful chapter image by Saranghae @ TDA.
I think I was born to be a pun, what with a name like Fern. You might not understand fully just yet, and thus I have taken it as my duty to explain.
I study at the Wizarding Academy of Further Herbology. Now, I’m quite aware that a fern is not a magical plant, but it is a plant nonetheless. A male plant, sadly. In conclusion, I am a pun and it’s highly probably that my mother was taking some sort of herbal drug-potion during the time of my birth. Personally, I take this to be the cause of her death at that time.
It’s not really a delicate topic for me, my mother’s demise. I never exactly knew her; so really, feel free to have a fab conversation about it over tea sometime.
Moving on. The first day at the academy was pretty basic. It’s full –well, not really – of people who want to waste three years, and have decided that N.E.W.Ts are unimportant. It’s been a good year since then, but still, nobody looked up at me in horror when they heard my last name. Maybe it was because I’m invisible. Not literally. However, ferns are green and at a herbological academy, everything
is green. Which makes me pretty much transparent. Not so fab, I know.
You see, I’m Fern LaFolle. It comes as a shock to most people that the great grand daughter of such a dignified woman, who wrote an entire novel on romance, did Herbology. That even, pure
Fifi LaFolle’s disintegrated skeleton would obviously be horrified. ‘I wrote Enchanted Encounters, and my great grand daughter does Herbology?’
she must be gasping. Ah well, nobody knows what happens in the future. Unless you’re a Seer, of course. That’d be pretty fab though, being one.
Anyways, speaking of not living – a pun once again as we were on the topic of dead people – up to standards, we have Al. Potter, of course. I’m pretty certain he’s the only Albus
in the universe. I mean, they all assumed when he popped out of his mother that young Albus
Severus would be an Auror or a famous Quidditch dude. Pretty fab careers, if you ask me.
But Al being one of them? I mean, the boy is practically a scrawny girl who can’t defend himself if his life was on the line. Actually him being a girl would be quite strange, considering, you know, I like
like him…a little bit. Just a little. I guess his father being, not alive and all, and having a not-so-fab brother is pretty much why. But he’s the most
manly out of us.
That leads me to thinking that out of the four of us, we don’t have someone completely manly
. To have someone completely manly would be pretty fab, yeah, but Petra and Henri aren’t exactly manly
. Petra’s a girl, so I don’t expect her to be. Plus it’d be pretty weird if she were, you know, guyish. Like a guy.
‘Madame Ingrid said we’d be having the practicals rescheduled to next week,’ Henri waltzes in to the dorm, pastry puff in hand. He flings his free arm up dramatically, and his wand flies out of it. ‘She said the strike is tap dancing on her nerves now.’
Petra flips the page of her latest magazine, lying upside down on her four-poster. ‘For the last time, it’s Professor
,’ she mutters, and tries to swing her lime curtains shut, but falls in the process with a thump
on the floor. Being the lazy little thing she is, Petra remains there on the forest green carpet, still reading. It’s not really a shock that her face is pretty much glued to the flimsy book. She doesn’t even bother adjusting her frames.
‘That’s fab,’ I reply, ignoring Petra. ‘We’ll have plenty of more time to practice.’
Henri runs a hand through his blonde hair as he sits down on the windowsill and munches on the pastry, wand forgotten on the floor. ‘Later exams means fewer holidays.’
‘Oh, for heaven’s sake, when have you and I bothered about that?’ I laugh, tying my brown hair in to a short braid. ‘It’s not like we have anywhere to go. Or are you telling me you can afford to travel to France this year?’
‘Ah, but you always have your aunt….’ He trails off, grinning and grey eyes sparkling.
‘Aunt Felice?!’ I exclaim, my pupils dilating. ‘I’d rather get samples from the Arctic than hear about her latest toad.’
I get no reply in return, and turn around to see Henri collapsed on his bed, snoring. I mean really
, that’s pretty rude. Not fab at all, to have someone fall asleep on you.
‘Petra?’ I ask the tangled form on the floor. ‘Where’s Albus
She pushes her thick frames up her nose. It’s quite rare to see her in her glasses, actually. Petra has these fab contacts that enable her to wear the protective goggles during class. They’re a muggle invention –her mum bought them for her. ‘Dunno,’ she mutters, absorbed in the magazine.
After some thought, I realise that Al must be in the library, under the illusion that the practical is still on for the day after. It’s probable that no one told him the wizards had prolonged their vigorous campaign.
I stroll out of the room and feel the soft grass beneath my feet, when it suddenly occurs to me I forgot my frog slippers. They’re pretty fab –plushy from the inside and resembling night slippers, except they have a three dimensional frog on them. Plus, they’re nice and fuzzy, but the grass is harmless so there’s really no point fetching them now. I continue to walk the path, making my way to the library.
The Academy is in truth, very beautiful. It’s this huge field, or garden, on a flat ground. The rooms or dorms, whatever you prefer, are all located together in a cluster, two for each year. They’re pretty big, and can accommodate up to five people. The dining area and kitchen is just beyond the small library, which is also a study hall, and there’s a stoned pathway leading up to it. There are also a few greenhouses, classrooms, professor’s quarters, the examining room, and a couple of other little cottages. It’s all pretty fab, if
you like green.
I push open the glass door and sure enough, Albus
is in the library, muttering to himself while he frantically flips the pages of an enormous book that seems older than me. I tiptoe across to his table.
,’ I whisper, and he jumps in alarm, papers scattering everywhere. His frustration is so cute. ‘The practical isn’t till the week next.’
He fixes his brown jumper, a piece of clothing I’ve never seen him without on a regular basis. In my first year I’d always hoped he washed it after certain periods, otherwise it’d be quite disgusting. ‘What for?’
‘Well, Gretchen was telling me today that the Ministry refused to accept the proposals, so the More Rights Group is still campaigning, and they’ve declared it a strike. Henri said something like because of that the examiners couldn’t come so now it’s a week –’
Al’s hushing cuts me off. ‘I get it,’ he whispers.
Well I was just trying to explain.
Sometimes I think I wonder too much, like Henri talks a lot. Petra is not the kind to express herself, what with her being grumpy and monosyllabled all the time. Al is more of the studious type. We all sort of balance each other out, now that I come to think of it. Sort of. How fab is that?
I’ll let you in on a little secret for now. The thing is, this –this…teensy weensy little ball of feelings
toward Al, is not that
teensy. Maybe the size of a tennis ball.
‘Let’s go back, Fern. It’s getting late,’ Albus
says, collecting his books and flattening his messy black hair, looking quite fab. I look at my watch and realise it’s already eleven. Even though tomorrow’s a Saturday, the curfew is eleven fifteen for us. We’re a pretty good bunch of students to follow it.
I scurry along, following Albus
to our room, the moon shining overhead.
When we reach our room Al makes a beeline to the boys’ bathroom and I trudge over to where Petra has marked her territory.
I poke her gently. ‘How do you manage to stay like that for so long?’
‘Like this,’ she mutters, still reading. Her legs are, in a way, pressed against the bed, one foot resting on the olive duvet. Her blue eyes have magnified on her face as a result of her specs, and she resembles an orange beetle because of her clumped up hair. We sit in silence for a few minutes, until I can’t keep shut anymore.
‘Petra,’ I say very seriously, ‘Are we too immature?’ This is a question I’ve been pondering for quite some time now.
‘If you mean yourself then sure…’ she mumbles, unmoving and still glued to the magazine.
I snatch the magazine out of her hand suddenly and throw it across the room, where it conveniently lands on a sleepy looking Albus
in his freshly ironed night clothes walking out of the bathroom, and erupt into a fit of giggles.
He picks it up and flings it back, his aim being pathetic since it lands near the door of the bathroom. A fuming Petra next to me glares at the both of us and he snickers while I continue giggling. This is why he isn’t a Chaser on the Chudley Cannons.
Okay, time to be serious now.
I straighten up. ‘Don’t you feel that these campaigns are getting way out of hand?’
She sighs, her words almost indistinct, frustrating me. ‘The Ministry’s got it under control. Now stop playing twenty questions,’
‘Seriously! I’m saying what are we going to do with our lives? I just get the feeling that we’re still thirteen,’ I tell her loudly, tucking a strand of loose hair behind my ear.
‘Be a Healer,’ she replies impatiently. Being a Healer would be pretty fab. ‘They’re lots of things we can do. You’ll hear it in the seminar next year.’
‘But I don’t want
to grow up, you know?
She sighs once again and replies in an annoyed tone, trudging over to pick up her magazine. ‘Stop being ridiculous, you have too.’
‘But what will I do
‘Seminar…’ Petra repeats and stomps to the bathroom.
‘But it’s next
year!’ I wail as she slams the door shut. I think my wail was slightly on the high-pitched side, as Henri starts mumbling incoherently
‘Merci….par vous…msnjkfksj’ is all I can make out.
It’s either French or Gibberish.
He likes to sleep talk in French.
On Sunday the course forms are delivered to our rooms, and everyone is huddled on the sofa, confused. They’ve added some extra-curricular things like cooking and cutting, which is pretty fab. Cutting was there last year though, and it helps when you want to chop plants very finely.
So, basically, this is the form:
[Please circle one from each group.]
Elementary Herbology OR
Plant basics for Dummies OR
Intro to Dissection.
Advanced Botany OR
Theory of Magical Herbs OR
Fine Cutting OR
Beginners Cooking OR
Henri said he’s definitely taking ‘Beginners Cooking’ from group three, because apparently if you take it this year, you’ll move on to ‘Advanced Cooking’ next year, which is pretty fab. I secretly think he just wants to take it so that he has the option to open a bistro, or the fact that Monsieur Carté is taking the class. The latter is a French cook. It’s no surprise Henri worships the ground he works on.
‘Are any of you pansies doing dissection?’ Albus
asks us, biting his nails in deep thought, looking so cute.
‘No,’ we chant in unison and giggle at his downtrodden expression.
‘Je suis ne a cuire!’ Henri trills extravagantly, running a hand through his perfectly styled hair. ‘It is
Petra shakes her head in dismay. ‘You should’ve gone to drama school instead.’
‘What does that even mean?’ I ask curiously, although I know we’ll all forget by tomorrow. At the same time, I wonder why Henri bothers coming here. His true ardour lies in culinary – or drama school, like Petra said.
‘I was born to cook, it –’
‘So nobody’s taking dissection?’ Albus
interjects, still sad that he won’t have any friendly company in that class. I really want to take it if he’s there, but who wants to do dissection
? Last year was plenty on that subject.
‘No!’ I exclaim. ‘We aren’t very interested in it!
Henri laughs, an evil smirk on his face. ‘Gretchen might be……’
Gretchen is this totally un-fab girl who loves the colour combination of pink and black, while having a serious infatuation with Al. She is, a sort of enemy. But nobody knows that I hate her. With a burning passion. Worse than that volcano. Although she’s not so bad, just a bit outrageous
. Whatever, she’s the enemy. Beware.
‘Oh come on! Please, Fern, Petra? Henri won’t do it, but I can’t be alone in that class!’
He knows my weak spot. How do I deny his pleading?
Petra fiddles with the pillow. ‘Why?’
‘My grades will suffer!’
We all smack a hand to our heads simultaneously. Trust Albus
to worry to that extent about his grades
I’d rather have brainy than brawny though, if you get me.
‘Au revoir, my friends!’ Henri says dramatically while we ponder the form once more. He flounces up from the sofa and practically skips to the door. ‘I must satisfy my hungry stomach with something delicious!’
Call me dumb, but I have no clue what ‘au revoir’ means. It must be French stuff if it came out of Henri’s mouth, but still
. If only this place had an extra French language class I wouldn’t be –
‘It means goodbye, Fern.’
Woah, did Al just read my mind? That’s pretty fab.
It’s a sign. He’s my soulmate.
I wasn’t lying; I don’t want to grow up.
Because growing up means I’ll have to do something in life. And that means more responsibility. And more responsibility means having to actually deal with the state our world is in right now.
And who wants to do that?
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