Tying my hair up, I smooth down my uniform skirt once before descending downstairs. I looked like a fifth year, but everyone knew better. No one looks at me as I slip out of the common room, and make my way out of the dungeons. People would just be getting up, whereas I’m already up and awake, making my way to the great hall. Its the second day of the first term, and its a Thursday, so we have classes. Surprisingly, my brother is already up and stuffing his face at the Gryffindor table, so I sit next to him.
I grabbed a piece of toast and spread it with butter and jam, before taking a small bite out of it.
“Morning,” I chirp to Mark, who winced and rubbed his temple. That’s when I notice the way he carries himself, how is hair is tousled and his clothes are rumpled, and how he distinctly smells of firewhiskey and vodka.
“You’ve been drinking,” I accuse him, with narrow eyes. He’s only fifteen! He shouldn’t be drinking.
“Yeah, so?” He mutters in reply, staring straight ahead, avoiding eye contact. I narrow my eyes even further, but ignore the matter and instead, start munching on my toast. I secretly slip him some hangover potion and he smiles gratefully.
I smile back and turn my attention towards the entrance of the great hall, where the Wotter clan had just arrived. They think they own the place, what with their parents saving the wizard world or whatever. I train my eyes back onto my plate when a certain green eyed boy sat himself in front of me. I take another piece of toast and some more jam, spread it on my toast and take a huge bite.
“Well, look who it is, Crazy Alice. What do I owe the pleasure?” Al drawls, lounging in his seat with his bowl of cereal, like he’s king.
I merely roll my eyes and nibble on my toast. “Get lost, Albus. I’m not in the mood.” I reply curtly, throwing my toast on my plate and hoisting my bag on my shoulder. “I’ll see you later,” I call to Mark before storming off to my first class, which is Potions.
I sit around for a while, while everyone else dwindles in, two minutes before class. I chose a seat at the back, while everyone else fought over the last back seat. No one likes to be up front when Professor Parkinson is teaching. Unfortunately, Albus Potter has the seat next to me.
I ignore him as he ignores me, which is fine.
“Right everyone, look to the person on your left. They will be your potions partner for the rest of the year.” I groan loudly, but not loud enough for the teacher to hear.
Albus Potter. Me. Potion partners?
He must be mirroring the same horrified expression on my face, because everyone starts laughing. My face must be burning, because I feel hot.
I cast my eyes downward and pay attention to what potion we have to brew, which is Calming Drought. Al go and gets the ingredients, while I sit and wait for him.
I get up to help but he just raised a hand and rolled his eyes. “Please. I don’t want you to fuck it up.” He muttered, before setting to work.
I shrug my shoulders and sit back down, while he does the magic. I think he’s right, I’m no good at potions anyway.
We get graded an Outstanding, which pleases me. I have a free period next, so I spend it down at the lake with my sketchpad and wand. Finding a free piece of paper, I start to sketch the forbidden forest.
“Hey,” A voice startles me. It belongs to Rose Weasley, a seventh year Gryffindor.
“Uh.. Hi?” I squeak out, confused. Me and Rose have hardly spoken to each other at all. Why start now?
“You’re.. Alice, right?” Rose said uncertainly, choosing a spot next to me and smiling.
“Yeah.. You’re Rose..” I trail off, my voice soft and confused.
“I just wanted to apologise on my cousin’s behalf.. Al.. He can be a bit of a handful.” Rose laughed awkwardly, rubbing the back of her neck.
“So.. Got any brothers or sisters?” Rose tried to spark up a conversation. But we both know it was painful.
“Yeah. Mark. Fifth year, Gryffindor.” I reply quietly, fiddling with my wand. I pursed my lips as she nodded.
“He’s a nice guy..” And not crazy, I thought bitterly.
“Well, I better be off.” Rose dashed away, thankfully, and I resumed sketching.
“She doesn’t really like you, you know.” Amelia appeared in front of me, sneering down at me.
“I know,” I admit shamefully, ducking my head as my cheeks burn.
“She just feels sorry for you. Itsy bitsy Alice has no friends, does she? I’m not even your friend.” Amelia laughs in my face, causing hot tears to run down my cheeks.
She’s not real. She’s not real. She’s not real. I repeat over and over in my head, refusing to look at her. And just like that, she’s gone.
I don’t know how long I sat there for, but I know I’ve missed most of my lessons. It must be about dinnertime, because I hear the buzzing of the students as they run down the corridors, rushing inside the great hall. I follow after them numbly, taking a right towards the Gryffindor table. Yeah, I know that’s not my house and everything, but my brother’s there. I sit myself next to him and ignore him, and grabbed a shit load of food.
My brother hardly eats, I have no idea why. Me? I eat like a truckie. I was through my fourth bit of chicken when the Wotters come by, and Rose sat next to me.
“Hey Alice,” Rose said kindly, giving me a smile. I nod in return before resuming to stuff my face full of food. She adds loads to her plate and eats just like me.
Looking around, I see most of the Wotter’s do. There’s Roxanne and Fred, who’s having a burping contest, There’s Lucy who’s laughing at her younger sister, there’s Louis and Dominique who are having a food fight, there’s Hugo who’s at least eating like a normal person, and Lily and Al are having an eating contest. I suppress a grin.
“So,” Rose said as she finished her food and wiped her mouth. “You should sit with us more often.. Even hang out with us.” That gets Al’s attention. “Rose..” He said lowly, to which she ignored him.
I looked shocked. “Um.. Sure?” I said uncertainly, and gasped as Rose hugged me. Al looked ready to murder someone, which made me giggle.
After dinner, we all head out to the black lake to look at the stars. We all sit in a circle, and I’m beside Rose and Dominique.
“So, tell us about yourself, Alice.” Dominique grinned, plucking a piece of grass as all eyes landed on me.
“Well.. This is my last year.. I’m in Slytherin.. and I live with my grandmother.” I said quietly, shrugging like it was no big deal. “My brother is Mark and he used to be my best friend.” I whisper, looking down at the ground.
“Used to?” Rose questioned. I nodded.
“We had a fight when I got my letter. He didn’t want me to go, but I had too. We’ve been fighting ever since..” I look up to Al, who stares at me. He knows.
He walked in on me and Mark having a screaming match in one of the empty corridors last year. I was trying to explain to Mark that I could hear voices.. and Al overheard. He’s the only one that knows.
He looks away but I keep staring at him. He knows not to tell anyone.
Finally, I look away.
“Well.. Goodnight.” I say after a couple minutes, and dusted off grass off of my jeans, before turning back towards the castle.