Chapter 3 : Chapter III.
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For a few weeks after the ‘incident’, I was teased less, but it was still harsh. I tried not letting it get to me, and I hardly ever cried myself to sleep anymore. Of course, there was still an occasion where I’d tear up, but I knew I could get over it.
I finally wrote to my dad, knowing he would be worried about me. He knew I was bullied and every single time he said (or wrote), “I’m gonna come up to that school and beat the shit out of those little brats! No one treats my little girl that way!”
Or any other variation.
So I’ve been having a pretty good time at school lately. I’ve actually made some friends! None of them are Hufflepuff though (they’re quite evil – so much for being the ‘nice’ house) but they’re actually Gryffindors! I thought that they were all big-headed and egotistical (sorry) but they actually aren’t! They stood up for me and now I’ve been bullied a lot less! It’s actually really exciting, I don’t get pushed to the side anymore, people realise that I have friends now and they’ll actually stick up for me!
Oh, maybe I should tell them who they are. There’s James Potter, Fred Weasley, Dom Weasley (her full name is Dominique but she doesn’t like it – personally I think it’s quite lovely) and her best friend Tina Jordan. They’re all so nice and they all accepted me straight away.
Now I probably know what you’re thinking, James teased me in second year and you were ready to go yell at Mr Potter about it but Mum stopped you (as per usual). But he was the one who actually came to me and apologised for being so mean. Then he offered to be friends with me as an act of forgiveness. He didn’t look like he was going to prank me so I accepted. (Obviously).
Anyway, so now I have a new group at school and this one girl got super jealous that I was hanging around James and she played a massive prank on me. She was the keeper for Hufflepuff team, and now she’s been kicked off! She’s also had all her Hogsmeade privileges removed! I was so happy! I don’t remember her name exactly, but she was a bitch. Quite a lot of Hufflepuff hates me even more because she was quite a good keeper (not as good as your or me, of course… but they don’t know that) and so they now don’t really have a chance at winning.
No, Dad. I’m not going to try out before you ask me. I like Quidditch, but only when my team likes me back. Otherwise I’ll get knocked off my broom by my own team!
And I wouldn’t mind seeing them lose, they’re all horrible – they need to be taken down a notch.
Anyway, send my love to Mum! I’ll see you at Christmas!
Love you. Clara. xxx
I folded my letter up and put it in my pocket, to go to the Owlery later. “BOO!” I jumped and heard laughter from behind me.
Tina was laughing and said, “I saw you writing a letter. I’m guessing you need to go to the Owlery?”
I nodded and pulled my books back into my bag, before walking out the library with Tina. “So who’d you write a letter to?” she asked, popping her gum.
“My dad, you?”
“My super-secret boyfriend that you can never tell anyone about. Not even Dom.”
I stopped walking and eventually she realised as well. “Come on then, Richard won’t wait forever.”
I blinked at her confusedly and asked, “Are you serious?”
“Course I am,” she said briskly, tugging on my arm to try and make me walk. I started walking again but I felt like I was in a trance.
Then she burst out laughing.
“N-no! I’m not se-serious! I just wanted to see yo-your face!” she wheezed.
I relaxed and started laughing with her. “You were pretty convincing, though.”
She giggled and looped her arm with mine. “Come on, if we don’t hurry up we’ll be out of bed before curfew. And I don’t fancy a detention.”
I nodded and quickened my pace to match hers. After we finally arrived, I found my owl, Musca and tied my letter to his leg. When I turned around, she was standing in the doorway nervously.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
She chewed on her gum and muttered something incomprehensible. “Sorry, didn’t catch that?” I let Musca fly away before turning back to her again. “Tina?”
“I’m scared of owls,” she said quietly.
“Oh okay. Did you want me to tie your letter to your owl?” I asked kindly.
She nodded and handed me the letter. It was addressed to her parents, not a secret boyfriend. “Which one’s yours?” She pointed to a midnight coloured one and I gasped. “Oh, he’s so beautiful!”
“She,” she corrected.
I nodded. “She’s so beautiful. Right. What’s her name?”
“Alpha,” she whimpered, glaring at the bird.
I turned back to the owl and said softly, “Alpha, come down here, I won’t hurt you.” The owl glared at me and I pulled a few treats out of my pocket. “I have some treats.”
She flew down slowly and deliberately. She came to a stop on the nearest windowsill. I walked slowly towards her with the treats in my outstretched hand. “Come on, Alpha, I won’t hurt you.”
She hooted balefully and I stopped moving. Slowly, I started moving again and she nibbled the treats out of my hand. She left some marks, but I didn’t mind. I patted her wings and this time she hooted softly at me.
Before she could get angry again, I quickly tied the letter to her leg and opened the windowsill. She gave Tina and me one last look before swooping off.
I turned back to Tina. “There you go,” I said cheerfully.
She smiled and I walked back out to where she was standing. As soon as I got close enough, she hugged me. “Thank you so much! I usually get Dom to do it but she was busy!”
“That’s okay.” I gave her a grin and she finally let me go.
“Did you want to come to the Gryffindor common room? We have about five minutes before curfew and the Gryffindor common room is much closer than the Hufflepuff’s.”
I frowned. “How do you know where the Hufflepuff common room is?”
Her tanned cheeks got a red tinge. “Never mind.”
I tried to hide a smile. “Alright, I’ll come to the Gryffindor common room; people won’t mind me being there?”
“Are you kidding? We always have people in our common room that don’t belong there, you’ll be fine.” Her cheeks were still a bit red, but she seemed to be much more relaxed.
I nodded and we started walking off to the common room together. “So how come you’ve never talked to us before?” she asked me.
I shrugged. “I guess I was just scared.”
“Even though we’re Gryffindors, we’re not actually lions,” she teased.
I blushed and said, “Yeah… but the majority of the school hates me so I thought if I just stayed to myself, I wouldn’t bother anyone.”
She stopped in front of a portrait of a very fat lady. “Cover your ears, but we aren’t done talking.”
I covered my ears and she said the password to the fat lady. When the portrait swung open, I took my hands away from my ears. “Come on, then.”
“Are you sure I won’t get in trouble?” I asked nervously, hovering in front of the portrait hole. I glanced around the room and it was very… red.
Tina looked at me but before she said anything a voice called out, “You won’t get in trouble, just close the damn door already!”
I jumped and Tina grabbed my arm to pull me in. “The Fat Lady gets a bit crabby when we leave her opened.”
“I heard that young lady!”
We ignored her and she led me to where Dom hollered, “Oi you two! Over here!”
Tina flipped them off and started walking towards them. “You’re very rude,” Dom said, putting on a fake look of hurt. Tina just blew a kiss and plopped herself on an armchair.
“Hey Clara, what are you doing here?” Fred asked cheerfully.
“I invited her. Hufflepuff common room is too far away,” Tina explained.
“Didn’t stop you last time,” Fred muttered, smiling cheekily.
Tina blushed and even though I was curious, I didn’t press her on it. She then whirled on me. “So why do you think everyone hates you?”
Dom looked up. “What?”
Tina frowned. “Clara thinks majority of the school hates her. It isn’t true, though.”
I shrugged and felt the familiar blush rise to my cheeks. “Well, if I was liked I wouldn’t be teased, would I?”
Fred narrowed his eyes. “I don’t know why people tease you, you’re perfectly normal? Unless you have some weird freaky habit that we don’t know of?”
“You mean Dom’s thing with eating in her sleep? Hey, Clara,” James said, plopping down on the couch next to me and giving my hair a ruffle.
Tina snorted. “OI! I can’t help it!” Dom protested. “But no, that’s not we were talking about. We were talking about why Clara gets teased a lot. You’re an arse, why do people tease her?”
James laughed and shrugged. “I was twelve; all twelve year olds are arses.”
“Freddie wasn’t.” Tina jerked her head towards him.
“That’s because Fred couldn’t talk to girls that weren’t related to him until he was fourteen.” James laughed again when Fred gave him the finger.
Dom laughed and Tina looked at him oddly. “Is that why you nearly cried when I asked you to help me with Potions?”
Fred blushed. “I didn’t cry, I was looking in the fumes and it made my eyes water,” he tried explaining but we were all laughing too loudly. He harrumphed and folded his arms to look away.
“Come on, it’s not that bad,” I said, trying to make him feel better. “You’re fine now, aren’t you? That’s all that really matters.”
He nodded and said, “It’s official, Clara is now number one on my list. Y’all moved down a place!”
I blushed and Fred ruffled my hair. Tina rolled her eyes. “Stop lying, Freddie. We all know I’m your favourite.”
James coughed pointedly and Dom threw her hands up in the air. “I’m guessing everyone just forgot about me, huh?”
Fred went to say something but then Tina clamped a hand over his mouth. “Shush, we weren’t talking about you. We were talking about Clara. So how did it start?”
I bit my lip. “I don’t really know. I think a lot of people expected me to be like Dad and when I wasn’t, they just teased me I guess…”
James shook his head. “No… it was more than that. I think it was because you looked so vulnerable; it just made an easy target.”
Dom scowled and James quickly raised his hands in surrender. “You don’t anymore, though! It’s just that people are cruel. They see someone a little different from the norm, and then they decide to make them feel like absolute shit about it.”
Tina started biting her nails. “Why bring people down, what do you get out of it?”
I shrugged. “Well, I got a low self-esteem, no self-worth and hardly any friends. Maybe they got a kick out of me being humiliated?”
Fred growled and wrapped an arm around me. “Well, no one’s ever gonna say stuff like that to you because you are strong and you proved that to them. Or, if they do, tell me and I’ll get ‘em.” He winked and I smiled gratefully.
It was so nice having friends that cared about you.
It was odd at first, when I initially started to become friends with them. Immediately, they welcomed me and were super nice about it. I was very withdrawn for ages until Dom assured me that none of them were going to do something like that to me.
“We won’t ever hurt you, Clara. And although James doesn’t have the best track record, he still went out and searched for you to apologise. Would people like that hurt you?” she had asked. After that I had become much more comfortable around them.
I was so thankful for them, it was my last year at school and they were making it one of the best years of my life so far.
“How’d you deal with it before?” Fred asked, pulling me out of my thoughts.
I shrugged. “I didn’t. I usually told my dad and then he would comfort me. I once tried talking it with my dorm-mates but then she threw it back all in my face. So I generally kept quiet about it.” I really didn’t want to go into detail about it.
Tina then changed the subject, noticing the look on my face. “Hey, did you wanna have a sleepover tonight? It would be pointless going all the way down to the Hufflepuff common room; you’d get in trouble for sure.”
Dom grinned and jumped up and down excitedly. “OH MY GOD! YES! I HAVEN’T HAD ONE IN AGES! We can bitch and stay up all night talking!”
Fred and James both cleared their throats. “We can’t have a sleepover with you two, that’s just weird,” Dom said exasperatedly.
Fred shrugged. “Sure you can. Come up to our dorm, we’ll just kick the others out.”
“You can’t do that,” I protested. “Where would they sleep?”
“Downstairs,” James said, shrugging.
Tina slapped a hand to her head. “Why don’t we just sleep downstairs? Yeah, it would be awkward if people came down, but who cares? We’re seventh years; we get to do whatever the hell we want!”
Dom grinned and then tugged my hand to drag me up the stairs. “YES! Quick! Everyone get ready and bring a mattress down!”
The boys got up and Tina followed us to the Gryffindor girls’ dorm. “Er… I don’t have any pyjamas,” I pointed out.
Dom waved a hand and threw some of hers at me. “Here, my pyjamas should be fine.”
“Erm, Dom? I’m about two sizes larger than you.”
Tina rolled her eyes and started getting her pyjamas out. “But you’re short, and Dom wears her dad’s old pyjamas. If they’re too small for you, I’ll eat Fred’s sock.”
I made a face and walked into the bathroom to get changed. When I put the pyjamas on, I had to roll them a few times so I wouldn’t trip and fall flat on my face. I walked out of the bathroom and saw Dom in baggy pyjamas. However, they fitted her length wise perfectly.
“You don’t have to eat Fred’s sock, Tina,” I said, folding my clothes and putting them on top of Dom’s trunk.
“Oh thank God for that. Let’s go down, yeah?” She waved her wand and the two mattresses disappeared.
“Will I just sleep on the couch?” I asked. “Or should I just conjure up a mattress?”
“James will probably sleep on the couch. Every time we have one of these sleepovers, he prefers the couch. Just use his mattress,” Dom said, smiling brightly at me.
I smiled back and Fred and James were already waiting for us. Fred was sitting on his mattress and James was on the couch.
“I brought down my mattress too, for Clara,” James said.
I smiled at him. “Thanks, James.” He grinned and I hopped into the mattress, feeling like a child again.
“Clara…” someone whispered.
I snuggled myself deeper into the mattress and whispered back, “What?”
“Look at Tina and Freddie.” The person poked my shoulder and I assumed it was Dom because it was coming from my left.
I opened my eyes and after they’d focused, I saw that they were very close and were they –?
“Are they spooning?” I whispered.
Dom giggled. “Yes! Isn’t it cute?” I nodded and then she said, “Eugh, look at James.”
I looked up and saw James on the couch with his mouth lolling open and his foot dangerously close to Tina’s face. I giggled and said, “If only everyone could see him now.”
She giggled and then said softly, “I’m gonna get changed. Do you want to come to breakfast with me?”
I nodded and yawned. “Sure. Just let me wake up properly.” She nodded and I stretched myself out, my back popping. I slowly got out of the mattress and I asked, “Should I send James’ mattress back up?” Dom nodded and I waved my wand at it before following her up the staircase.
“It’s Sunday, right?” she asked me. I nodded and made my way to the bathroom. After I had gotten changed, we made our way to the Great Hall.
“Oh my God, did you hear?” I heard a girl gasp to another. Dom looked at me and gestured for me to hide behind a tapestry. I mutely obliged and she put a finger to her mouth.
“No, what happened?” the other breathed.
Dom made a face and I put my hand over my mouth to stop me from giggling.
“Apparently…” she drifted off and Dom quietly swore.
“Damn, I forgot that they were walking. Ah well, let’s go to the Hall. I’m starving.”
We walked into the Great Hall, which was already filled with loud chattering. Dom and I sat down at the Gryffindor table and grabbed our breakfasts. About ten minutes later, James, Fred and Tina ambled down.
The Hall burst out into more chattering, but we didn’t pay any attention to it. “Morning all!” Dom said brightly.
They all murmured it back and Tina and Fred sat very far away from one another. James smirked and sat down next to me, filling his plate up with bacon. Tina sat down tentatively and whispered to Dom and I, “Were Fred and I spooning when you woke up?”
Dom giggled and I nodded, fighting my own smile. She groaned and sunk her head into her hands. “Why on earth didn’t you wake us up before James saw?!”
I bit my lip. “What did he do?”
She blushed and tugged on her braids. “Took a photo and started screaming about how we were ‘lovers’.”
Dom laughed even louder and James butted in, “You talking about how you and Freddie were spooning?”
A piece of toast hit James’ face and he leant back, throwing some of his eggs at Fred. Fred was about to retaliate but then we heard something.
“See? I told you they shagged! Look how close they’re sitting next to each other!”
James and I whirled around and stared at the third years. Their eyes widened but before they ran away, James stood up and towered over them.
“What did you just say?!”
The brunette one played with her hair nervously. “We heard that you and that girl,” she pointed to me, “erm… well, we heard –”
“You heard a dumb rumour and were stupid enough to believe it,” James snapped.
They blushed and ran off. “What was that about?!” Dom asked, glaring at the two.
James shrugged and sat down next to me. “People always start rumours, and there are always people that believe them.”
“They’re both idiots,” Fred said wisely.
I could feel the heat rising to my cheeks. “Why would they think that, though?” I said quietly.
All four of them shrugged. “People will believe anything about us,” Fred said, “apparently I once tortured a goldfish because a guy named Rupert wouldn’t admit his love for me.”
“That’s bullshit,” Dom said, rolling her eyes. “Don’t believe him. Well, believe the first part. People always spread rumours about us. It’s ridiculous.”
James nodded. “Although, I think one time there was a rumour and I wanted it to be true. What was it again?”
“That you had a flying pet monkey that granted you wishes,” Tina said, taking a bite out of her apple.
I laughed and stood up. “I’d love to stay and chat, but I gotta go, I have a lot of homework I need to finish. I’ll see you all later?”
They nodded and waved as I left the Hall. I was walking down the familiar route of the Hufflepuff common room when two people blocked my way.
It was Robbie Smith and Henry Tier. I gulped and tried to step around them.
“Well, well, well,” Smith sneered.
“What do we have here?” Tier finished his sentence.
I bit my lip and felt my heart pounding. I needed to stay calm and not to react to anything they said.
“I think it’s that fat cow that got my sister off her Quidditch team, what do you think Henry?”
My jaw dropped and I realised who his sister was. No wonder they were both so nasty, they were related!
Henry snickered and nodded. “I think it is too. But I don’t think she’s just a fat cow anymore, right, Robbie?”
I looked confusedly at the two but didn’t say anything. I tried to take a step back, but they mimicked my movement and towered over me. I shrunk slightly and looked to the floor, terrified.
Smith cackled. “Oh yeah, I heard that too. You fucked Potter, hey? Didn’t know he went for the fat ones.”
I looked up, outraged. “I did not sleep with James!”
Where did people get this idea from?! Everyone believed we were going out initially, but after a few weeks, they realised that we were only friends.
But I had no idea how the idea came back.
“I heard differently,” Smith pressed. “Or did you try and sleep with him but he rejected you because you had that extra pound?”
“Or did he see how ugly you really were and got scared?”
My heart was pounding in my throat and Smith whispered, “Or maybe, he realised how pathetic you were and decided not to waste his time on someone as shitty as you.”
I felt all the blood rush out of my face and I got mad. I didn’t want to cry, I wanted to scream and kick in frustration. They had no reason to pick on me like this, but they still did it. James’ words rang in my ears.
Just stick up for yourself.
They kept taunting me but I couldn’t hear anything. I could feel the blood pumping around my body and my vision had gone slightly red.
Gathering all my courage up, I stepped forward and with all the force I could muster, I slapped him around the face.
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