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Chapter 3 : The Third One
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Chapter image by me.
The next day, Lara found herself sat on her favourite bench by the duck pond with her iOwl tuned in to the WBC promptly at 5. She had surprisingly found herself texting with Rose during the day, and found that Rose was very similar to herself, albeit chattier.
“Welcome, listeners, to a brand new episode of Rush Hour! We hope you’ve had a nice Wednesday and are ready to listen to the pathetic and creepy exploits of Emmmy. Emmy, please tell the kind listeners about what you did last night.”
“Shove off, Ma-Scorp.”
“That’s no way to treat your fellow cohost and BFFL, is it? You wouldn’t happen to be...ashamed of what you did, are you?”
“...like honestly, what does Red see in you? You’re such a prat.”
“I’ll take that as a resounding yes, my dear BFFL. And yes, listeners, we do have matching friendship bracelets.”
“I wish he was joking.”
“Well, yesterday PTGRTMEAHLOC started with a bang-”
“Plan to Get Raven to Marry Emerald and Have Lots of Children. Like the acronym?”
“Actually, an acronym is an abbreviation of a longer idea that can be said more easily, not-”
“Merlin, stop with the Ravenclaw nonsense, I’m sure nobody cares but you.”
“Oi, don’t insult any houses! Your mum was in Ravenclaw!”
“That she was, Emmy, that she was. But it’s unbecoming of Gryffindors to pose as Ravenclaws-”
“That’s just general knowledge, that’s not even anything-”
“ANYWAYS! So tell our fine listeners what you thought we should do yesterday.”
“You are actually the worst. I’m going to find a new cohost, I’m sure I can wrangle somebody-”
“Yesterday, listeners, Emmy got Red and I-”
“Red and me. If you include the got, it should be-”
“Merlin, stuff a sock in it, would you? Emmy’s not usually like this, listeners, he just becomes a pretentious jerk when he’s embarrassed. Anyways, he got Red and me to follow Raven with him- completely crashing date night, thanks for that- and actually initiate conversation with her while he sat across the street in a trench coat and watched like a stalker!”
“Yes, yes, that’s all very well and good, but why don’t you share what you learned with us?”
“He’s just prissy because I said I’d tell him on air for the first time.”
“Get on with it!”
“Basically, I found that she’s pretty much perfect for Emmy over here. They’re both quite shy, you may be surprised to know.”
“Yes, hence me never talking to her despite being in her classes for seven whole years.”
“Ah, but you did talk, did you not?”
“Okay, we worked together on a few projects, but never outside of class.”
“And Emmy sometimes likes to talk about those projects when he’s really, really smashed. Let me tell you, I’ve heard those stories about twenty, maybe thirty times. ”
“Yeah, yeah, make fun of the guy who’s totally head over heels for this girl.”
“Oh yeah, I never did finish explaining our interaction, did I? Well, apparently she’s a Rush Hour fan, so she could be listening right now!”
“That’s a bit awkward.”
“What can you do? Oh, I know, maybe get over yourself and actually talk to her instead of having your best mate and favourite cousin do your dirty work for you!”
“Just tell me what you think, mate. Stop dragging this out.”
“Honestly, she’s really, really nice. Like she is super quiet, but every time she did talk, it was either really intelligent, really nice, or really honest. She seems like a genuine person, though pretty much a complete nerd.”
“So Red loved her, I take it? That’s pretty much a description of Red, aside from the quiet part.”
“Yeah, she even got her phone number and already texted her.”
“And do you approve, Scorp?”
“Yeah, I mean you two are pretty much the same person. Though the fact that she’s so similar to Red is a bit Freudian.”
“Eh, don’t dwell on it.”
“Oh, and guess what?”
“And now we’re going to have a commercial break before resuming normal programmeming, and hopefully Emmy will take a chill pill.”
Lara began racking her brain, thinking of her roommates at Hogwarts that fit the description. Given the huge size of Hogwarts in recent years, there had been 18 fellow Ravenclaw girls in her year. Of the most intelligent ones (Emerald had mentioned “top of the class” type intelligence, right?), Sarah, Nylah, and Priya had all been pretty outgoing, as were Barbara and Lynn. Lisa and Sally had been more reserved, though to be frank, neither were particularly good looking. That left only herself or...of course, Stella Lord! She had been incredibly pretty and nice, as well as reasonably shy. If it was Stella, then it was a shame that she had broken up with her long term boyfriend, Lance Winters. She hoped this mystery guy was happy with Stella, who had been Lara’s only friend in the dorm back in Hogwarts (though they’d evidently fallen out of touch in recent years). Stella was a really nice person, and she thought that Emerald could probably really get on with her.
The rest of the programme continued as usual, full of the typical banter between Scorpion and Emerald. Once it was over, Lara’s pocket buzzed and she saw a text from Rose saying, “Out to pub with some mates, fancy meeting up?”
Lara considered the proposition for a moment. Would she like to meet up with Rose and her friends? She vaguely remembered Rose hanging out with some nice Gryffindors who always seemed responsible enough. The group included, of course, Albus Potter, one of the fitter blokes at Hogwarts. Though they’d never talked too much (aside from the occasional project), Lara had always thought that he seemed like a lovely guy.
In the end, Lara texted Rose back a simple, “Sure, where/when?” and ambled out of the park, heading towards her typical alley to Apparate. After a brief exchange with Rose about logistics, she ended up in a small pub in Diagon Alley a few moments later, nervous to meet new people. She was never one for this much social interaction- her sister would be proud (in fact, Lara made a point of texting her sister, “Meeting new people all on my own, be proud!”). She walked in to the pub and immediately spotted Rose’s flaming locks across the room. She gratefully plowed through the crowd to Rose’s table, where she spotted Scorpius, Rose, Albus Potter, and two other males seated around the table. As she approached, she was able to identify Aiden Wood, who was one of the Gryffindors in her year, but she couldn’t tell who the other guy was.
“Lara! Hi!” Rose greeted excitedly as Lara arrived to their table after a significant amount of jostling through the crowd. “I’m glad you could make it.”
“Yeah, I didn’t really fancy going back to studying just yet,” Lara shrugged, sitting in the empty seat beside Albus. “Thanks for inviting me!”
“Well, I thought we could use a bit of variety in this group,” Rose joked, gesturing to the blokes who surrounded her. Lara was admittedly slightly uncomfortable being around not only strangers, but attractive, male strangers at that. “Oh, how rude of me! Everybody, introduce yourself.”
“Hi, I’m Scorpius Malfoy,” Scorpius joked before Rose smacked him upside the head. “Merlin, I’m just joking! No need to get your wand in a knot.” The couple continued to mock bicker amongst themselves as the other three introduced themselves.
“I’m Albus, but please, call me Al,” Al said with a small wave, a slight nervous edge to his voice. Maybe he didn’t like meeting new people either, Lara thought with a glimmer of hope. Incidentally, it seemed that he had become even fitter out of Hogwarts; his black hair, unruly as ever, was artfully mussed up, and his emerald eyes glinted brightly.
“I’m Aiden Wood,” the brunette said with a ‘sup? nod, which Lara tried and failed to return, causing her and Rose to chuckle slightly. “I was in your year at Hogwarts.” All of these people and their bizarre ability to remember Lara made her feel guilty about her own terrible memory, which had somehow allowed her to initially forget Rose and Scorpius (though now she could identify all the people at the table as her memories of Hogwarts came back).
“I’m James Potter. You can call me JP,” the last guy introduced with an easy grin. By the time Lara looked at him, she had realised just who he was; after all, she had had a small crush on him back during Hogwarts. Now, however, he was a famous Quidditch star with a serious girlfriend (Jamie Henderson, who he’d gotten with during his last year at school), and Lara had given up on the hopeless crush. She noticed that she had a distinct pattern of crushing on unattainable people with whom she had little to no interaction with (see: Emerald).
After the initial intros, the group dissolved into friendly chatter about Quidditch. Lara was not a huge supporter herself, though if pressed she was a Holyhead Harpies fan (and she did retain a bit of information about the team and their standings- okay, she really enjoyed Quidditch, but kept it mostly to herself).
Lara quietly watched the group interact, nursing a cold Coke and trying to figure out the group dynamics. It seemed that Rose was pretty much the leader, as she talked the most and everybody pretty much agreed with what she said. Scorpius was completely whipped, and the two were absolutely adorable. Albus was pretty quiet beside her, occasionally offering up seemingly intelligent insight into the conversation (from his grammatical corrections, it also seemed like he was the group smart aleck, though that surprised Lara immensely given Rose’s character). Albus and Scorpius seemed to be the closest friendship, and they had an extremely antagonistic one (though the bickering was always in good humour). Aiden was unsurprisingly quite loud and outgoing, as was JP, though he seemed a bit more thoughful; the two were both Chasers on Puddlemere United. As such, they seemed almost as close as Albus and Scorpius, though without the shared history.
All in all, the group seemed like a pleasant collection of individuals, and it had been a long time since she had last gone to the pub with some mates (she supposed the last time had been around the time of Layla’s engagement). It was nice to be around such happy people who enjoyed spending time with each other, though she felt like she was intruding on a private moment.
“So, Lara, what is it that you do?” JP asked as the Quidditch conversation was dying down. All heads turned towards Lara, making her face heat up uncomfortably at the attention.
“Erm...I’m finishing training to be a Healer and working at a cafe,” Lara answered quietly, focussing on her Coke rather than the people looking at her.
“Wait...isn’t this your fourth year of Healer training?” Rose said. Lara nodded in response. “But isn’t there five years of training?”
“Yes, usually there’s five,” Lara replied, thinking that her face was definitely red at this point. “I, er, skipped the first year of training.” Aiden let out a low whistle, looking impressed. After all, Healer training was notoriously quite arduous work, and only around 60% of those who start the programme actually complete it.
“Nice one, Al,” JP muttered, looking at his brother. Lara must have missed something that happened next to her, but when she turned to look at him, Albus was just glaring intently at his brother.
“What about all of you?” Lara inquired politely. She knew what Rose and Scorpius did, of course, and JP and Aiden. So really, she just didn’t know what Albus had done since he left Hogwarts. Realising this, she turned towards him.
“Oh, I work with Scorpius,” he answered, noticing everybody looking at him.
“What exactly do you two do at the WBC?” Lara noticed that Rose turned bright red and Aiden and JP sniggered slightly into their glasses.
“Help out, you know, sound and stuff,” Scorpius answered vaguely, gesticulating wildly and almost hitting JP in the process.
“Okay,” Lara replied slowly, confused by their answer. She thought it was his way of trying to get them off the topic, so she didn’t push it.
The conversation picked up again as Aiden and JP started arguing about something and Rose and Scorpius started to have a weird couple-y moment, leaving Albus and Lara in a not-quite-uncomfortable silence.
“So do you enjoy working at the WBC?” Lara asked after a moment, then wondered if she should try and avoid the subject of work after Scorpius’ reactions.
“Yeah, it’s pretty mega,” Albus said, his face lighting up at the thought of his job. “I used to be obsessed with Muggle stuff when I was a kid, and so I thought the wireless was super cool. And when the iOwl and stuff came out, I was all over it. Anyway, I had always loved listening to the wireless, so I thought it would be cool to try and work there with Scorp. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do until my dad suggested it, so I was really excited to apply there.” Lara nodded, glad that he enjoyed his job.
“What other Muggle stuff are you into?”
“You’ll probably think I’m really weird,” Al answered, blushing bright red.
“Not at all! I love Muggle stuff as well. My dad’s a Muggle.”
“Oh really? Mega! Well, I really like listening to old Muggle music, mostly. And I love Muggle devices. I actually live in Muggle London, and I spend a lot of time walking around there.”
“That’s cool! I do, too. I live pretty close to the Leaky Cauldron, actually. Erm...what bands do you listen to?”
“Mostly like old ones from the 90s and 2000s and stuff, like the Arctic Monkeys and the Kooks. Sometimes I listen to earlier stuff, like the Clash. And...yeah, I don’t want to bore you.” Albus smiled into his drink in a self deprecating manner.
“Nah, I know those bands! Personally, I listen to stuff from like the 80s more. And I think you’re more a rock type than I am. The Smiths are my favourite band, without a doubt. The Cure and Joy Division too.” Albus looked like Christmas had come early.
“Are you serious?” Lara nodded, a slight grin playing on her face. “I’ve never talked to any other magical person who like Muggle music!”
“Erm I guess it’s just how I grew up.” Lara suddenly realised that the other conversations at the table had halted, and their companions were watching the two with huge grins. “Um...did we do something?”
“No, no, carry on!” Rose exclaimed, attracting a bit of attention from the surrounding tables. “Nobody else ever listens to him talk about this music stuff. Do you, perhaps...read old Muggle books?” Lara blushed again, nodding shyly. Were her habits really that odd? She supposed that her school friends had all grown used to her Muggle tendencies without really joining in.
“What’s your favourite book?” Al asked, his green eyes bright with excitement.
“Slaughterhouse Five,” Lara answered immediately.
“Really? I can’t stand Vonnegut’s style. And that nonsense with the aliens?”
“It’s just underscoring the fallacy of the unreliable narrator he uses, especially since it takes a bit to understand the true nature of his unreliability. The closed third person perspective is used brilliantly and it just drives its point across even more for it.”
“Well, that’s true, but he’s just so...terse.”
“That’s exactly the point! He doesn’t need to go all Bradbury or Faulkner and explain and explain and explain- the message is there without him repeating it eighty million times.”
“Hey, don’t insult Faulkner! The Sound and the Fury is my favourite book.”
“Yes, it’s a brilliant book!”
“But it’s just such an obnoxious ‘SO THERE!’ at Hemmingway! If the whole book wasn’t such a confusing mess-”
“It’s just showing the true nature of the American South after the Civil War! And yes, it’s confusing, but it’s showing the fragility of life and how fleeting success is, even in a well respected family.”
“But why on earth is Benjy’s section even necessary? Or better yet, why not just start with the last narrator and get more confusing throughout the book, rather than the other way around!”
“Without his section, there’s no exposition. Also, how else would he introduce all the events that lead up to the non-climax?”
Lara and Albus continued their literary debate for about forty-five minutes, covering Orwell, Bradbury, and other classics. Though Lara thought that Albus had the weirdest views on literature she’d ever encountered, she hadn’t had that much fun in a long time. At the end of the night, Lara got ready to leave with a huge smile on her face.
“Thanks for debating literature with me,” Lara said, pulling her leather jacket on. She was leaving before everybody else, but she knew that she still had some paperwork from the hospital to complete for the next day. “And thank you for inviting me, Rose! I’d love to do this another time.” Rose grinned and nodded as everybody bade farewell to Lara.
That night, Lara found herself smiling down at her cases as she replayed her conversation over and over in her head. She’d never known that she could get along with somebody as well as she did with Al. In fact, she rarely found anybody who knew what she was talking about when she mentioned her interests.
The more Lara thought about it, the more attractive she found Al. She hadn’t realised at the time, but his face had just generally gotten fitter since Hogwarts. His messy hair, which had looked like it was just some bad bedhead at Hogwarts, now looked more intentional and deliberate. And his eyes...his emerald eyes haunted Lara the whole next day as she worked at the hospital (a gruelling 6-15 shift which required her to wake up at the ungodly hour of 5:30) and the cafe afterwards. She contentedly sat herself in the park, ready for the typical hour of listening to relax a bit.
“Gooooood evening, listeners! I hope you’ve all enjoyed your Thursdays. And what a beautiful day it is- you’d be silly to not enjoy it!”
“Not that Emmy Wemmy is calling any of you silly- he’s just on Cloud 9 today.”
“Indeed I am, Scorp, and not even your cynicism can bring me down.”
“Tell the nice listeners about why you’re on Cloud 9, broski.”
“I’m trying something new. Sue me.”
“Erm...right. Anyways, yesterday...I had an entire conversation with Raven! And she’s like...even better than I imagined! She’s genuinely my dream girl. Like...I can’t even describe how amazing she is.”
Lara grinned at Emerald’s excitement. Given how cute she found his whole story, she listened contentedly as he continued to describe “Raven”- though she was fairly sure that he was talking about Stella at this point.
That night, she returned to her flat and studied for a bit, as per usual, before opening the Rush Hour blog. She spotted a new entry by Emerald immediately, entitled “Raven: Q & A.”
“So, Rush Hour listeners, today we asked you guys to email us questions for me to answer about Raven, given the interest this story has gained recently. Here, I shall attempt to answer some of the more popular ones. A few things I’ll censor to keep her identity a secret, but generally, come at me!
What does Raven do?
Raven’s in training for a very intelligent and respectable job, but the programme’s small, so I’m not going to name it. She’s also working at a cafe to help pay for the training.
What does Raven look like?
Again, I’m going to be vague here. She’s really fit, in my opinion. Um...she’s got [shiny, soft-looking] brown hair and [beautiful, enchanting] green eyes, that’s about all I’m going to say.
How does Raven dress?
Yeah, I have no idea why so many people wanted to know this...I deferred the question to Red, as I’m a bloke who’s not particularly into fashion, and she says: ‘She dresses pretty classily, with lots of scarves and skinny jeans and some really cute Oxford shoes...She’s pretty much a hipster. Like completely. But she can definitely pull it off.’ I’ll take her word for it.
Does Raven know about what’s going on?
Merlin, I hope not. I’m kind of assuming that she’d be okay with this because she’s a pretty chill person, but she doesn’t know that she’s involved with this at all.
Don’t you feel like you’re invading her privacy?
As a public figure, I have to say that me developing any sort of girlfriend was inevitably going to gain attention. I know that this is a pretty public way of going about it, but I’m pretty sure she’ll be okay with it, especially given that we’re focussed on protecting her privacy as much as possible.
Oh, I have to go...do things...anyways, I hope that cleared up a few things for you!”
Lara stared blankly at the computer screen, her mind whirring. The person that Emerald described in that blog post- well, that was exactly her. Not that she considered herself that pretty, but the style and colouring was dead on. Also, Stella had bright blonde hair, so it couldn’t really be her.
Confused, Lara opened Wizbook and checked Stella Lord’s profile. Sure enough, she was actually engaged to Lance. So...that meant that Lara could actually be Raven.
Stop deluding yourself, Lara scolded herself. You’re not Raven! Just let go of your crush on Emerald and get over yourself.
She noticed a few notifications and saw that everybody from the pub (including Al and JP, squeeeee!) had friended her. She happily accepted the requests, deciding that she would stop listening to Rush Hour so that she could actually focus on her own life for once. Her iOwl started buzzing, and she saw that Hailey was calling her.
“What’s this about you friending Rose Weasley, Scorpius Malfoy, Al Potter, and James Potter?” Hailey excited voice crackled through the speaker.
“Well, I ran into Rose the other day and we had ice cream together, and she seemed pretty cool, so we were texting and stuff and I went to a pub with her and Scorpius and all of them were there. So they added me on Wizbook. Also, stalk much?”
“Shut up, I’m just really excited! You never make new friends! Not that there’s any reason for you not to, it’s just that-”
“Yeah, don’t worry, I get it.”
The two continued talking for a while as Lara completely stalked Al’s Wizbook with no shame. Well, she figured that nobody knew what she was doing. Otherwise she would be quite embarrassed and shameful.
She decided that while he was quite fit and pretty much exactly her idea of a perfect guy, there was no way that he would be interested in her. That was Lara’s usual cycle; develop a crush, fantasize about the guy, and then convince herself that he’d never be interested in her. Repeat.
As such, Lara threw herself into her work with renewed vigour, often staying late and generally continuing her patterns of hospital, cafe, study. Hospital, cafe, study. Hospital, cafe, study. She continued to talk to Hailey and Rose via text, but stayed away from hanging out because she was “too busy.”
AN: Wow, what an awkward place to end a chapter. Such is life. I suppose I should mention now that this entire story is already completed (somewhere around 22k), except the ending/epilogue part. Anyway, thanks for the feedback and please keep it coming! :) I put up chapter images as well, so make sure to check them out!
Edit: went back 25/8 to fix up some of the JP stuff. Don't mind me setting up my next fic...nothing to see here...
DISCLAIMER: I draw heavy inspiration from In Love With My Radio, another fanfic in the Merlin fandom. The original idea for this story is from there; beyond that, there's little in common. Additionally, the entire world of Harry Potter is not mine at all; I'm just strolling through JK's beautiful garden. I am also not Kurt Vonnegut or any other actual author mentioned in this fic. Same goes for bands.
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