Chapter 9 : Horns
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Blanca pushed her way past the crowd into her Advanced Transfiguration class, it had almost been two weeks since the term begun and she had finally managed to immerse herself into the hubbub of sixth year, and even though they had many free periods, it seemed that the amount of homework they were assigned would grow by the day. Today was the first time she was going to take Advanced Transfiguration, hands still slightly muddy from Herbology, Blanca burst into the large classroom.
Advanced Transfiguration was a course that both sixth and seventh years took, so the classroom was filled with both. Though ‘filled’ was not the exact word to use, as there were only twenty four students in the classroom, fourteen of them were sixth years; Rose and Jenna were the only Gryffindors, then Scorpius, Pepper and Antonio were the Slytherins there, Blanca, Bernie and Florence summed up all the Hufflepuffs in the class and the rest of the class was filled with Ravenclaws. The seventh years that were not Ravenclaws were James, to Blanca’s dismay, Emmet Nott, Desiree and Molly and Dominique. Puffing in annoyance that all the good seats had been taken; she walked to the back of the class and took a seat next to Scorpius.
“Good day Thomas.” Scorpius said politely.
“Malfoy,” Came the reply, Blanca quickly put her bag down and took out her textbook.
Just then, Professor McGonagall walked in, robes billowing behind her in a dramatic fashion. Immediately, Blanca's interest peaked, she had never been in any of McGonagall’s classes, and that was because the professor only taught Advanced Transfiguration now. Blanca silently thanked Merlin that she was never going back to normal Transfiguration with Professor Hicks, the man spoke through his nose and smelled of soup, he also was the most uninspiring teacher she ever had. As soon as she reached the front of the class, McGonagall’s voice cut through the classroom.
“Welcome to Advanced Transfiguration, and to the seventh years, welcome back. As you may have figured, sixth years, I will be your Professor from now on, and if you were not nervous before, get nervous now! I run a tight ship here, so if you fall behind, I will not hesitate to send you back to core-level Transfiguration with the rest. So try more than your best to keep up, and I can assure you this will be a rewarding course, any questions?” she looked around the room with her beady eyes, and when no one dared to put their hand up, she continued, “Today, we are going to practice ‘Anteoculatia’.” she waved her wand at the board and the word appeared on the black surface, “Turn to page 121 in your textbooks.”
Blanca quickly turned the pages to her textbook and found the topic ‘Introduction to Becoming an Animagi’. A few pages ahead was the sub-topic ‘Anteoculatia’; it read, ‘this spell turns subject’s hair to antlers. Wand Wave Pattern: Flick, Swish, Swish, Flick’
McGonagall proceeded to speak, “Now, as I believe you may have read, it is a spell that grows antlers from one’s hair. I would like you to pair up and try this spell on your partner,” she said.
People proceeded to pair up, Blanca ending up with Scorpius. “Okay,” she breathed, “you go first.”
Scorpius took a step back, and after drawing a deep breath, muttered the spell. Blanca felt a ticklish sensation on the top of her head, a few seconds later, the sensation ceased and Scorpius smiled. It was a pleasant difference from the smirk he always wore, he handed Blanca a mirror and she saw that tiny antlers had grown neatly from underneath her hair, she smiled and put the mirror down. “So, how did I do?” he asked.
“Well, if ever I had to be mutated and end up with horns, these antlers would be just what I’d want.” She commented. Professor McGonagall passed by their desk and studied Scorpius’ work.
“Good work Malfoy. Thomas, may I see your attempt?”
Blanca breathed in deeply, there was added pressure now that McGonagall was standing directly behind her, she raised her wand to Scorpius’ head and muttered the spell. Slowly, from under his hair, little stick-like growths begun to worm their way around each other, and in no time, real-sized antlers were settled on Scorpius’ head. She looked nervously at McGonagall who curtly nodded and said, “Well executed.” And with that, she moved on to another desk.
Blanca took a shaky breath and started scrawling down the notes that McGonagall had charmed to appear on the board. She stole a glance at the back of James’ head, he was partnered with the new girl Jenna, they seemed to be having a good time together, Blanca felt a pang on annoyance that she could not explain. She quickly averted her eyes to the board and concentrated on taking the notes.
“Oh my god James, you look so good with antlers!” she heard Jenna squeal.
Blanca gave out an involuntary huff of annoyance; this did not go unnoticed by Scorpius, who had been watching her gaze, “What? Jealous?” he whispered.
“What are you talking about Malfoy?”
“I’ve seen you dreamily gazing at Potter boy over there, Thomas, what’s happening? Got the hots for him?”
Blanca glared at him, “You’re crazy. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She hissed.
Scorpius gave her a shrug and a half smile, “Whatever you say.” And he went back to his notes.
Blanca huffed, “Okay. So I may sound crazy but isn’t it disgusting the way girls throw themselves at him? They don’t even mind that they have to take turns to have him......it’s repulsive!”
“Seems like someone grew horns over the summer. And I’m just not saying that because of your current look,” he motioned to her antlered head.
“Fuck off Malfoy!”
“But seriously Thomas, why should you care? You never have, why now? And no, I do not find it disgusting, I find it quite amusing, girls also throw myself at me, so what are you saying about me Thomas?”
“Nothing. I know you are a prick Malfoy, but at least you handle the girls with class, and besides, I now know you are one-woman man now.”
Scorpius sighed, “She told you, didn’t she?”
Blanca smirked, “Nothing goes past me Malfoy. Rose and I, we are a package deal. But let me warn you, if you do anything to hurt her, I’ll gut you like a fish.”
Scorpius nodded and raised his hands in mock-surrender, “Whatever you say boss.”
Blanca noticed that McGonagall had finished her rounds and returned to the front of the class, she flicked her wand at the board and another set of words appeared. “This is the counter-spell, use it and when you’re done, you are free to go. And for your homework, write an essay on the history of Animagi, 15 inches long, it will serve as part of your final assessment, so take it seriously.”
Blanca and Scorpius quickly counter-spelled one another and left the room, in front of them were Rose and Lysander Scamander, Blanca noticed Scorpius gazing longingly at the red-headed girl in front of him but knew that he could not do anything to act upon it because they were supposed to keep their relationship secret. She looked up at him and whispered, “Remember, do anything stupid, and I’ll squash you like a bug.”
“I thought you said you’d gut me like a fish,” Scorpius said.
Blanca scowled at him, “It doesn’t matter Malfoy,” and with that, she quickly walked past him and grabbing Rose’s hand, they scurried away.
Scorpius looked at the two girls as they disappeared round a bend, the shorter one had seriously grown scarier over the summer. It might have been the fact that being mercilessly dumped may have toughened her skin, or it just might have been hormonal imbalance. But whatever it was, Scorpius made his mind that he would steer clear of her just to be on the safe side. He quickly muttered the password at the Portrait of Slytherin and pulled it open to enter the secret shortcut that led to the Slytherin common room.
Back in the room of requirement, Blanca and Rose were lying on a small mat, all sorts of candy scattered around them.
“So when will you do your homework?” Blanca asked.
Rose sighed, “Oh, I don’t know, maybe some time later tonight.”
“Good. So, when you are done, I can copy off you then.”
“You wish!” Rose laughed. They sat in silence for some time, and just when Rose was about to break the awkward silence between them, Blanca beat her to it.
“So, what do you think about that new girl, Jenna Hart?” she asked, while thoughtfully chewing a chocolate frog.
“Oh, I don’t know. She seems pretty cool, her and her sisters have become quite popular,” Rose replied, “anyway, why do you ask? I thought you weren’t the type that probed in other people’s business.”
“I’m not. I was just curious......so, are she and James like a couple or something?”
“I lost track of James’ girlfriend list by fourth year, so it could be possible.........” then as if a bulb had lit up in her head, Rose shot up from her lying position, she supported her weight on her elbows as she turned to face her friend, “Why so curious all of a sudden?”
“Just asking........ I mean, you know-” she was cut off before she could even continue.
“Wait a minute! You just called him James!”
“James! You never call him James! It’s always ‘Potter’, or ‘that Devil-cousin of yours’ or something mean like that!”
Blanca grasped for words, “Well.....uh, I just..... I think it’s the amount of work I have to do, and the stress of planning a game play for my house and there’s Quidditch try-outs...........” she sighed, defeated, “Well, it’s his name isn’t it?”
Rose raised one eyebrow at her, “I would beg to differ! Do you want to know what I think?”
“I think you like my cousin.”
It was Blanca’s turn to shoot up from her lying position, “That is insane! You now Rose, for a smart girl, you sure are clueless about some things! I would rather eat dirt than fall for your cousin!”
Rose gave her a signature Weasley mischievous smile, “I think you have it in for James B!”
“I’m telling you, there is nothing I feel for that dolt! God! I think Malfoy must be rubbing off on you badly, cause you’re falling to conclusions too quickly!”
“Even Scorpius said so?” she asked, eyes suddenly turning starry.
“Yeah. We had a whole entire debate during Transfiguration about it. Let me just say this, cause I need to get it out of my system; is there a physical attraction between me and your cousin? Yes. Well, on my part yes, and I think it’s just……… you know, just physical. On his part, I don’t know, cos your cousin seems to be attracted to anything in a skirt as long as it’s not related to him by blood. Oh, I don’t know Rosie........and things got worse when he kissed me the other night-”
“Wait! Stop! James kissed you? When?”
“Well, it was the night before we came back, remember when I left my wand in the tree house and went to get it? Yeah, I found him there and one thing led to another, and he kissed me, and.....”
“And?” Rose probed.
“Well, I let him,” Blanca said in a small voice. “I know this may sound gross cos you two are related but recently, every time I’m near him, it’s like there is this fire that engulfs my whole body, I get really hot and bothered and all the thoughts in my head suddenly become ungodly.”
“Gross! You like my cousin!” Rose chanted in a sing-song voice.
“I don’t! It’s just physical.”
“So that’s why the sudden interest in Jenna. You’re scared she’ll steal him from you!” Rose teased.
“Shut up Weasley.” Blanca said from under the cushion she had buried her head into.
“But I’d get worried if I were you Blanca. Jenna’s hot, and James seems to really like her. Like, like her like her. Let’s face it, she’s really hot and has the added advantage of coming from an interesting place which gives her the ‘exotic’ quality guys would kill for.”
“Wow Rosie, you sound like you’re prepping me for battle or something. I don’t even want him in that way!” Blanca said, then she added sarcastically, “But anyway, thanks for the pep talk. I’ll sharpen my nails and take my battle axe with me!”
“What’s the time?” Rose asked.
Blanca glanced at her wrist, “It’s nearly noon. I have to get ready for Quidditch try-outs, we play Gryffindor in three weeks.”
“You know that every time you talk Quidditch my mind phases out right?”
“Well, your boyfriend happens to play for his house, so to be fair, you’re going to have to peak an interest of sorts,” Blanca said as she got up.
“See you later,” she said as she left a groaning Rose on the floor.
Blanca made her way to the bleachers, where a number of Hufflepuffs waiting with their brooms. “Uh, hullo everyone, thanks for coming. Well, I will sort you into groups here......now may I have those trying out for Beaters here....Seekers here....and Chasers over here, Keepers can stand over here. Okay, good.”
Try-outs went smoothly, with Bernie re-instating his position as Keeper, Seventh years Calvin Watterson and Priya Kaneswaran as Beaters, Fifth year LukePayne was made Seeker and the Chasers were Blanca, Melanie and Second year Jerome Butler. Five reserves were picked and the rest had to go back.
“Alright team,” Blanca said, “We have three weeks to work hard and win the game against Gryffindor. Macmillan, you will be my deputy-captain and now that we are set, how about a lap around the field?”
Quidditch practice went smoothly after that, even Mel had quit her horrid mood for the day. For someone so seemingly harmless and naive, Melanie Longbottom had a mean aim; she was a really good Chaser and since they currently were on minimal speaking terms, Blanca did not feel that she was putting her on the team because they were best friends, but because she was an excellent Quidditch player.
Later that day, Blanca was in the common room, reading up on Animagi, she thought that they had already covered the entire topic in Third Year but to her surprise, there was much more about Animagi she did not know. She shifted in her seat, the sound of her pages rustling the only thing she could hear, unlike the Gryffindor common room, the Hufflepuffs were much, much quieter. Across from her were Bernie and Paige, cuddled up like there was no tomorrow, this brought many memories about her and Lance, the way they would ditch classes to go to the room of requirement just to be alone. Blanca sighed, well, at least no one had approached her with that story yet, and at least she had not heard any rumours surrounding her and Lance’s break-up; that could have been due to the fact that the Harts were all everyone was talking about, or due to the fact that Blanca had kept herself hidden up in the common room, coming out only to go to class or to quickly get a book or two from the library. In all honesty, the latter was easier to believe. Looking at her watch, it read 18:30, people were beginning to go for supper, after long debate with herself, Blanca decided today she would finally brave the Great Hall and go have supper. Heaving herself out of the ridiculously comfy chairs, Blanca waddled to the barrel hole and walked out to the corridor. Using the shortcut that she had discovered in her attempt to avoid people, she quickly made her way through the dimly lit passage. With Rose spending all the free time she had with Scorpius and Mel still in her cold mood, Blanca felt alone, she pulled her jersey closer to her chest as she quickened her pace. As she turned a corner, a strong pair of arms grabbed her and covered her mouth before she could scream, when she had been released, Blanca angrily spun around to face a laughing Albus.
“Shit! Al! What do you want to do? Give me a heart attack?”
“Sssorry!” came Al’s reply, voice full of laughter, “I was bored, and decided that the first person to turn this corner is the one I’d grab.”
“And if it was Frida Bullstrode?”
“Then I would be a dead fish by now. But luckily for me, you passed by.” Blanca chuckled softly, Albus continued, “Anyway, where have you been? You seem to have vanished these days. You never even come to our common room, in case you forgot, fifth years and up get some visiting hours in each other’s common rooms.”
“First of all, I haven’t vanished, you always see me in D.A.D.A and Charms, don’t you? Oh, strike that, you’re too busy fantasising about Maxime and her radiant beauty,” Blanca said jokingly, and laughed when Al feigned hurt and put a hand on his chest, “And secondly, I don’t come to your common room cos you’re all too arrogant you Gryffindors.”
“But that never stopped you from coming in the past,” Al said matter-of-factly.
“Well, I also can’t come for reasons best kept to myself. Anyway, if you miss me so much, why can’t you come to my common room?”
Albus snorted, “Do you remember when I got sprayed with vinegar by those crazy barrels you people have instead of a normal portrait and password like normal people do?” he shuddered at the memory.
“Hey, you’re the one that tapped the anthem wrong.”
“Either way, I’m not going back there.” He had his arm around her by now, Blanca just realised then how much she had missed him.
“So,” she said, “how’s the second week back?”
“Crazy. On top of it all, James is working us like crazy, the Gryffindor-Hufflepuff game is not for another month but he’s already prepping for battle.” Blanca laughed, she felt oddly flattered that her team threatened James. But it had been like that since her Fourth year, yes, when it came to everything else, Gryffindor and Slytherin were sworn rivals, but things had changed concerning Quidditch, it was no longer Gryffindor VS Slytherin that got everyone’s blood pumping, it was now Gryffindor VS Hufflepuff that peaked the Quidditch rivalry charts.
“Potter, always the perfectionist,” she mused.
“He’s not the only perfectionist around. Maxime’s dragging me to Hogsmeade this Saturday so that we can get matching costumes for the Halloween ball, for crying out loud, it’s not for another two months!”
“Speaking of your girlfriend,” Blanca said, “here she comes right now,” she said pointing to the opposite end of the corridor. They were all at the doors of the Great Hall by the time they met.
Maxime looked from Al to Blanca, then quickly plastered a smile on her face. “Hi sweetie, I’ve been looking all over for you,” she said as she pried him from Blanca and planted a kiss on his lips, then turning to Blanca, she said, “Why, hello Blanca, I haven’t seen you all term!”
“It’s only been two weeks,” she said quietly.
“Anyway,” Maxime said as she flipped her soft brown curls, “you should so come join us at our table, we’ve missed you!”
Blanca begun to shake her head, “Uh....erm I don’t think that will be such a good-”
“Oh come on! Just for tonight! It’ll be great fun!”
“Don’t be a pansy B!” Al urged, “Let’s go.”
Blanca sighed, “Fine. But I get to pick where we sit.”
(A/N: I hope you enjoyed this chapter. We’ll get to see more dinner time drama in the next chapter. Reviews would be nice so please leave me your thoughts!!! xoxoxo)
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