Chapter 6 : Birthdays and the Incredible Hulk
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There’s presents full of stuff you’ve been subtly hinting at since last Christmas, everyone smiles at you when you walk into the room, it’s completely up to you what everyone will do on that day, and the table is groaning under all your favourite food whilst a giant cake is hovering in the middle. These cakes are what dreams are made of; sparkling, dancing ponies tiptoe along the edges with mermaids diving in and out of the blue icing. They were all along the edges of a giant icing building in the shape of Hogwarts; I’d been desperate to go since Teddy had gone and apparently talked of nothing else for most of my childhood. The cake turrets would open and flames would shoot out the top, everyone would sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and you’d lean in to make a wish. You’d scrunch your eyes tight and focus all your might on that one wish; the wish to end all wishes at your one chance a year. Dad would lean close and say the same thing, every year. “Be careful what you wish for.”
You’d roll your eyes and giggle; what did he know about the sacred art of wish-making? Why would you ever need to be careful whilst making a wish? How could a wish ever go wrong? Silly Daddy. I used to mutter; how could wishing for a pink unicorn that slept in my bed and would eat people I didn’t like, ever turn bad? Why would I be upset if I never had to grow up? And what was wrong with wishing mummy was punished for telling me off?
When you’re little, your birthdays seemed like the best days ever, but when you get older you start to notice everything isn’t at glorious as you always thought. Like when everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me, I’d never previously noticed how most the room used to wince, their eyes wandering to the large photo of Nana Molly with Grandpa Arthur. That’s the problem with being named after the dead; everything you do will always remind others of your namesake – even if you never met them. Or how everyone’s smiles began to dim as I blew out the flames of yet another cake, another year, when I hadn’t experienced my first magic. I never even considered that I wouldn’t get to go to the school I’d always dreamed about, it wasn’t until Auntie Ginny took me to the side a couple weeks before my tenth birthday to ask if maybe I’d thought of a different cake design for this year.
So as much as I wanted to ignore it, the thought was there. I could feel it, floating around my brain. It just kept drawing my attention, almost like it was sat upon a flying pig named Percy whilst impersonating a mermaid outside water. Yeah – not so easy to ignore, is it? Why the flying pig was named after my father – I have no idea, but that’s not the point. The point is that… he may have been right.
Maybe I should have been a little more careful over the last few years on what I wished for. In my defence, think of it from my perspective. I’m a July baby – so all my family were around to celebrate, all my cousins had stories from Hogwarts whilst I remained at home and looked after the little ones. Could you blame me for wishing I had a dormitory and roommates? Of course, in my head I was thinking of those circular rooms I’d heard so much about; with a warm heater in the centre and each four-poster bed being surrounded by deep red curtains, big windows with view across the forest and mountains, a group of girls who I’d click with instantly – we’d be in all of our classes together and we’d have secret, inside jokes, and they’d also be there if I needed to talk and encouraging if I was down. You know, the cliché friends. So maybe I should have been a little more specific whilst making that wish – who knew ‘I wish to live in a school dormitory with roommates’ could turn out so wrong?
I tell you who knew, my Gran. The bitch.
I grit my teeth as yet another snore shook my bed. Not even kidding, it was like a mini earthquake – I was just waiting for screams of a loose elephant running up and down the corridor of Block S. Yeah, Block S – the imagination of the place just amazes me on a daily basis. Somehow I’d managed to pull the short straw – note the ‘somehow’ is sarcastic. Gran, I’m looking at you. – and ended up on the top bunk. Apparently the Ministry hadn’t given a large enough budget for our own beds and instead has provided an odd assortment from random Muggle shops – I’d heard rumours that one of the Hufflepuff Second Years was sleeping in a cot – along with peculiar bed covers. Now, I could say many things about the organisers for Swanleys School for Squibs, but I will say this; at least they colour coordinated.
See, when they were searching for bed linen for an entire school on a budget; it’s clear they cut some corners and looked second-hand. Fine – absolutely nothing wrong with that. And at least they got bed covers that matched each house. Point for organisers. But really, when you’re a sixteen-year-old female and you sleep under a green duvet cover, which is dominated by a massive image of the ‘Incredible Hulk’ – you know something’s gone wrong.
My eyes widened in fear, my hands immediately reached out to grab the sides with all my strength; it was happening again. Gertrude was turning over. This happened every so often during the night, and I’d been awake for every, single one. The bed creaked in agony, the top bed swung to the side like I was in a hammock in the Bahamas and Gertrude – sorry, Gert – groaned loudly. The bed swayed to a stop and I rolled myself onto my side so that I could peek over the bed edge. Gert was a large girl; she was at least 6ft 3, had a stocky build and was slightly… ‘big-boned’. Yet, from my odd angle, she was lost under the large ‘tinkerbell’ duvet cover, only her huge feet and mop of blonde hair appeared from beneath it.
It was the third night I’d attempted to sleep on the swaying bed, only on one night did Gert manage to sleep through and not turn over. Part of my feared for her life as she remained silent almost corpse-like upon the lower bed, the other part (admittedly bigger part) was leaping for joy at finally being allowed to sleep for an entire night until I heard her. Not Gert; she was dead to the world. But the mutters continued. With an almost feral glare, I raised my head to look in the direction of Nancy. She was the third and final girl in our shared room; the largest in Slytherin. Nancy was as small, as Gert was large; yet somehow she’d managed to claim the single bed. Her dark hair was spread over the green pillow; the luminous Grinch cover grinned in my direction. Because every room must come with someone who sleep talks.
See, this is exactly why I should be allowed to be a Hufflepuff – I’m nice! Did I scream at her so she would wake up and stop talking so I could sleep? NO! (Well, yes… she is a surprisingly deep sleeper). Did I throw a shoe at her in agitation? NO! (I had no shoe to hand… just a sock and it failed miserably). I’m a nice person!
It was with relief that the loud screaming bell announced it was time to get up – it was a round alarm bell that was attached onto the wall – typically the wall beside my head, but it would never be anywhere else would it? Nancy sighed loudly and dragged herself out of the bed, her silk nightie floated gracefully as she stepped across the room and grabbed her toiletry bag. It was my original plan to also climb down from my bed and get to the toilets before everyone else did, but Gert had other ideas. The bed shook loudly and she turned over and yawned loudly, Nancy looked up and smirked before gliding out the room. I could hear one foot hit the floor with a loud slap, soon followed by the other. The bed groaned as Gert swung her body forwards to rise from the bed, meanwhile I was clinging onto my mattress and the bed swung dangerously and I became certain that it would collapse with me on top.
By the time I’d managed to climb down the steep ladder, collect my toiletries, queue alongside every other female Slytherin who were surprisingly not that nice, use the loo, return to my room and locate my uniform – the second bell had already gone and my roommates had long disappeared to breakfast. I groaned, cursed my Gran with some of my best swear words, and pulled on my uniform.
I’d always wanted to wear a school uniform – one of my worst moments was accompanying Lucy to buy her new school robes whilst I sat in the corner. The shop lady has tried to persuade me to buy some as I was a ‘growing girl’ and had surely out-grown my old robes. She didn’t stop until I informed her that I was in fact a squib – she blushed and stepped backwards as if it was contagious. Bitch. So when I got my letter about Swanleys and saw there was no mention of a uniform, I admit, I was disappointed. It wasn’t until the first breakfast that Professor Skeeter unveiled our ‘special uniforms that will accommodate you for your studies’.
To put it simply, one would class them as jumpsuits. For me, a lime green jumpsuit with full length sleeves and legs that swung around my ankles. All hair was to be tied up, no jewellery was allowed and make-up was severely discouraged. Though that wasn’t really an issue for me – I’d grown up alongside by cousins – why would I have ever needed to where make-up? Some took extreme offence though – especially Pansy. This attractive ensemble was complete with black boots which looked like they’d been nicked from the army and a thick silver belt, with a large swan replacing the buckle. I looked the epitome of attractive. Be jealous.
The second boot was always harder to put on for some reason, but by the time I had fully stomped my foot into the shoe, I was very aware of how much time had passed. I grabbed my bag and ran down the corridor, through the ‘common room’ and out the metal door. It was sunny but there was a chill in the air, I idly wondered if we’d be given coats for the winter. I raced by the large pond, skidded around the stables and skimmed between the wooden huts. The familiar red-bricked building came into view; the windows remained barred except for three at the back, which were opened at meal times. I skidded to a halt in front of the metal door and eagerly entered the code into the Muggle lock machine; the gentle warmth engulfed me as I entered. I noticed that most of the school were sat at the tables with their trays of food; many had already finished.
There was no queue for breakfast like there normally was, but that wasn’t a good omen. Grewner stood on a stool behind the counter, a white jacket falling to the floor around him and his long ears held within a hairnet. His arms were crossed and he raised a thin brow as I approached. “Grewner sees bra-girl is late again. You know, I think its time the kitchen closed for breakfast.”
I groaned. “Grewner, please.” He looked at me, expressionless. “Come on, Grewner. I’m starving.”
“Well yous shouldn’t be late, should yous? I’se been serving food for hours, bra-girl! If yous want food, then you should come on time.” He smiled smugly before turning and leaping from the stall. Some elves deserve a smack. Just saying. Bloody Elf.
I turned to face the hall miserably and saw my fellow Slytherins failing at supressing a grin; not that they were all trying – Toadsby and Georgia were laughing out loud, Nancy was pointing. Gits. I’m not quite sure when they all decided I wasn’t to be liked; perhaps it has something to do with being a Weasley. I can imagine I wouldn’t be their first choice when it was my family who put theirs in Azkaban.
I sighed loudly – okay I admit that I was hoping Grewner would take pity on me and give me some damn breakfast – and headed back out the door.
“Molly!” I flinched and looked back over my shoulder. “Molly!” I scanned the rows of tables for the voice, before eventually deciding that I was imagining things, so I carried on walking. “Hey Molly!”
Moth grabbed my arm, his sky blue jumpsuit clashing against my lime green one. “Aren’t you eating?”
“Apparently not.” I replied shortly, before rolling my eyes. “Grewner is trying to teach me to not be late apparently.”
Moth smirked and shook his head. “Guess you’re haven’t made friends with your roommates, then?” He gestured to the table when Pansy, Gert and a couple of Slytherins in the younger years were sat – blatantly ignoring me. Well. Charming.
“Not on the best terms, no. Still haven’t managed to sleep with the human elephant on bottom bunk.” I rolled my eyes. “Me and the hulk manage to go flying every couple minutes.”
“The Hulk?” Moth queried, before laughing loudly. “Could be worse – I got a blue carebear.”
I snorted. “It’s obviously representative of your cuddly persona.”
“And what’s the hulk represent?” Moth replied, his lip twitching.
“God knows, but Gert got Tinkerbell – so I’m not thinking too much into it.” I broke off into an attractive snort at the look of amusement on Moth’s face.
“Here.” Moth smiled, handing me an apple. “You never know what Grewner will serve up next so I’ve been saving up.”
“Thanks.” I smiled, rubbing the apple against my top. “What lesson do you have first?”
“Er – Transfiguration I think, then Quidditch or Potions. You?”
“Same, I think.” There was a moments of silence and Moth was looking over at the table of Ravenclaws our age. “Look, I better go get my stuff – I’ll see you in class.”
Moth looked slightly relieved – no one wanted to be friends with the outcast. “Are you sure?” No, you twat. I love being a loner at the school of loners! Of course I don’t want to bloody go by myself instead.
“Sure. See you in class.” I walked out the door before he could reply.
Oh look! An update! I know this was kind of a filler chapter - but I figure I need to get the story moving slightly as I've spent the last 5 chapters on one day... which is not good pace!
Firstly - there is a plot! This isn't a novel of Molly moaning (though potentially hilarious), there is a plot in place! Also, next chapter: lessons!
My updates should be quicker now; I'm on summer holiday and there are cracks beginning to show in my ridiculous writers block!
Oh and as always - I don't own 'Harry Potter', J.K Rowling does. Lee and Kirby own the 'Incredible Hulk'. J.M. Barrie owns 'TinkerBell'. Dr Seuss owns 'the Grinch' and Kucharik and American Greetings own the 'Care Bears'.