Chapter 1 : Of Potions and Troublemakers
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The noise of the Great Hall made it impossible for Padma to finish her last minute Potions review over lunch. She closed the book with a sigh and glanced up at Sue. “Potions again?” Sue asked gently.
Padma nodded and grimaced. It was her worst subject, but if she wanted to be a Healer she would have to pass her OWLs with an O. Snape didn’t even allow exceeds expectations into the NEWT level class and that was what she had thus far.
“You’ll be fine. Just relax,” Sue said. She took Padma’s book and slid it into her own bag. “I’m confiscating this until later. No more studying.”
“I need that!” Padma hissed, groping under the table for her friend’s bag. Sue slid it to the other side of her body, out of Padma’s reach.
“Look, you know I’ve got nothing against studying,” she said and they both smiled. Sue was probably the only person in their year who studied more than Padma did, and that was an accomplishment. “But sometimes you’ve got to give your brain a rest. Like your sister.”
Their eyes travelled past the Hufflepuffs to the center of the Gryffindor table where Parvati was giggling over some slip of parchment. That was not what Padma wanted her life to be like. “What does that make you? Lavender Brown?”
Sue laughed. “Not exactly the comparison I would have made.”
“I love Parvati, but ever since she got sorted into Gryffindor, you know,” Padma said with a sigh. Before Hogwarts her twin had been her best friend, but now they’d grown apart.
A loud cheer erupted at one end of the Hufflepuff table and both Padma and Sue craned their necks to see what was going on. It looked like some kind of eating contest with Declan Rawle and Joshua White in the middle of it. Declan, a sixth year, was raising his arms in apparent triumph while his friends pretended to bow down.
“That boy is such a ham. Someone should tell him to take it down a few notches before Umbridge notices,” Sue said drily before she noticed the expression on her best friend’s face. “What’s that?”
“What?” Padma asked defensively.
“That look. You’re smiling,” Sue said as she began to draw her own conclusions. She was a Ravenclaw after all.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Padma said and she turned her head away from Declan and his friends.
Sue’s eyes widened in surprise and amusement. “You like him!” Padma hid her face behind her hair so her closest friend wouldn’t see her blush. “So that’s why you haven’t been out with any blokes this year- you’ve been crushing on Declan!”
“No, I haven’t been out with any blokes this year because I don’t date,” Padma said. It was true, the only date she’d ever been on was the year before to the Yule Ball with Ron Weasley. And she wasn’t even sure if that could be called a date since he’d spent the whole evening completely ignoring her.
Sue sighed melodramatically. “Do you want to spend the next two and a half years being miserable and studying all the time for exams or do you want to have a little fun and enjoy yourself?”
“The first one,” Padma said insistently. She wanted to be a Healer and that required a lot of work. She couldn’t afford to waste away her Hogwarts years having fun all the time like her sister.
Sue raised an eyebrow in disbelief. “So you’re telling me that if Declan Rawle walked up to you right now and asked you out, you’d turn him down flat?”
Padma scowled at her friend. “Give me back my Potions book,” she demanded.
Sue shrugged and handed the book over. “Suit yourself.” She stood to leave and smirked at the other Ravenclaw as she did. “See you in class Padma. Hey Declan.”
Whipping her head so hard it hurt her neck, Padma stared in shock as Declan slid into the seat beside her. It wasn’t unheard of for Hufflepuffs to sit at the Ravenclaw table, they didn’t have the same rivalry Slytherins and Gryffindors did, but it was still a bit odd if they weren’t close friends.
“Er, hi,” Padma said as she rubbed her neck feeling a bit foolish. She shouldn’t have been quite so eager to see if Declan really was there and now he was going to know she liked him. Sue should have given her some kind of warning.
“I couldn’t help but notice you and your friend watching us,” Declan said. His broad smile reached his eyes and they twinkled at her. “Patil, right?”
Padma nodded, pleased that he knew who she was even if it was only her last name. “Padma.”
“I’m Declan. It’s truly a pleasure to make your acquaintance.” She knew he was at least half joking with his over the top manners, but Padma couldn’t help blushing.
However she couldn’t help but wonder why he’d interrupted his celebrations with his friends to come over to her table and talk to a girl he didn’t know. It seemed a bit strange. Padma knew better than to question it, though. Knowing Sue she’d probably waved him over or something.
“What’s this?” He asked, spinning her book around so he could read the title. “Advanced Potions? Why in Merlin’s name would you be reading this?”
Padma grabbed her book back and pulled it to her chest. “I’ve got a quiz,” she explained, although Declan looked anything but convinced.
“Well at least you aren’t reading it for fun. There’s still hope for you,” he said with a wink. Padma wasn’t sure whether to be pleased or offended so she settled for a small smile in his direction. “Are you-” The bell rang, cutting Declan off before he could finish.
Padma paled slightly as she realized how little she had actually prepared for her Potion’s quiz. Snape was going to fail her for sure. The only thing that kept her from opening the book and reviewing the ingredients one more time was Declan’s presence.
She gathered her belongings and only then realized Declan hadn’t left yet. He was waiting beside the table for her with a confident smile on his face. He fell into step beside her as she headed toward the dungeons and Padma had a difficult time concealing her smile. “So er- what were you going to ask me?”
“Hmm?” He asked. “Oh, just if you and your sister were close.”
Padma’s heart dropped, but she kept her expression calm. So he was only talking to her because he wanted an in with Parvati. That made much more sense, although she was disappointed. Blokes like Declan didn’t talk to girls like her.
“We used to be. Not as much now that we’re in different Houses.” Padma shifted her bag to her other shoulder. It was heavier than usual with the different Potions books she’d got from the library.
“Let me take that.” Declan took her bag and almost stumbled from the unexpected weight. “What do you carry around in here? Rocks?”
Padma shrugged. “Books, mostly.”
“Ah. I forgot you were a Ravenclaw.” Padma couldn’t decipher that statement. He was still smiling, but she couldn’t decide if he was insulting her or merely stating a fact. She glanced away, unsure of how to respond.
“You were interested in my sister? Do you know her?”
“What?” Declan looked a bit surprised at the question. “Not really. One of my mates took her to Hogsmeade last year, but she seemed awfully perky. It struck me as a bit odd that the two of you look so similar and yet you’re so different. Personality wise, I mean.”
Padma rolled her eyes. It never ceased to annoy her that people always assumed she would be exactly like her twin. Had it been anyone other than Declan saying it she likely would have snapped at them. “Just because we look alike doesn’t mean we’re the same person. That’s not the way twins work.”
“Oh I know, it’s just odd.” Padma opened her mouth to respond, but Declan cut her off. “I’ve got to get to Charms, but would you be interested in meeting up with me tonight?”
Padma stared at him in shock. Was he asking her out? “I-I guess.”
“Splendid! It’ll have to be late, though. The Head Boy gave me and Josh detention all week for using a Sticking Charm to put all of his things on the ceiling. Still hasn’t figured out how to get it down.” Declan smirked widely as though he was imagining it.
“You did what?” Padma gasped. She didn’t understand why people would intentionally do things to get themselves in trouble. She personally had never had a detention and she planned to keep it that way.
“See, the key to the prank was that everything was placed in exactly the same spot, only on the ceiling instead of the floor. It took us ages. We had to convince his ex-girlfriend to distract him so we had enough time.” Declan sighed. “That was one of the best pranks we’ve ever pulled. Anyway, how’s eleven?”
“That’s after curfew!” Padma said. “I can’t be out that late. I’m a Prefect, you know.”
“Oh come on. Live a little. Don’t tell me you’ll be up in your common room studying more advanced potions,” Declan said as he rolled his eyes. “There’s more to life than text books and class.”
That was a definite insult. “Maybe some of us prefer giving ourselves a good future to spending our nights in detention. Knowledge is the key to success.” It was the quote that defined Padma’s life. Without the knowledge that she got from studying, she would be nothing. She’d turn into another giggling Lavender Brown.
“But what’s life without a little fun? I can show you how to have fun,” Declan said and as he handed Padma her bag back. “Come meet me tonight.”
“I don’t care to end up in detention,” she replied. Spending anytime with Declan was sure to land her there and Padma wasn’t going to let that happen. Keeping her marks up was difficult enough without giving up her nights for detention.
“We can have fun without getting you in detention. I’ve got a free period tomorrow afternoon. We could meet up then.” He looked sincere and Padma didn’t have a good reason to say no.
“Well I do have a free period,” she said hesitantly. “Do you promise?”
“Cross my heart. We won’t do anything against the rules.” The playful smile had returned and Padma couldn’t help but smile back.
“Alright then.” Padma tucked her hair behind her ear. “Tomorrow afternoon it is. But we’ll do schoolwork before any silliness, okay? Umbridge assigned us loads of homework.”
Declan smirked at her. “I’ll make a rebel out of you yet.”
Padma could tell that was meant as a compliment and blushed deeply. Declan handed her the bag and headed off to his own class.
The bell rang just as Padma slid into her seat beside Sue. She got a questioning look from her best friend and merely shrugged in response, although she couldn’t keep the smile from her face.
A/N: Hey guys! Just another fluffy little one-shot. Leave a review and let me know what you thought of it!
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