A.N. I own nothing you recognize but I do hope you will enjoy this chapter! If there are still people reading this story, please let me know in the review box!! Oh and the CI is by Meghan!
Thursday is a strange morning. To me, there is no mystery as to whose turn it is to challenge Killian because I’m set for tomorrow night and there is only James left. Well Teddy as well but we’ve already established that he will be the last one to have a go at it should Killian win against all of us. The rest of the school has apparently reached the same conclusion and from the moment I wake up, everybody comes up to try and get the answer out of me. I’ve never liked being the center of attention that much and it is really uncomfortable. The last time that many people talked to me in the same day was my first day of school, when people realized that a Weasley had been Sorted in Ravenclaw and no one (including me) could wrap their minds around that idea. Those had been curious and judgmental inquiries though whereas today, people are curious in a good, not judging way. Quite a change I must say and a nice one at that. Although it still feels a bit awkward, being stopped by strangers every three steps I take…
“So is it your turn?” Eliana asks me when she joins me in the Great Hall for breakfast.
“Hello to you too,” I say.
“Yes, yes, hello. Is it your turn tonight?” She presses, waving her hand dismissively.
“I’m not going to tell you that; I’ll let you discover it like everyone else.” I like being evil; it’s a new style for me. I think I can pull it off. Eliana looks angry enough.
“But I’m your best friend!” She wails loudly before someone clears their throat loudly in front of us.
“Excuse me but I’m Hugo’s best friend; you know, having known him since he was born and all?” Lily smirks at Eliana as she sits down to eat with us.
“Alright,” Eliana rolls her eyes at Lily, “I’m your best Hogwarts’ buddy then!”
“I think this title belongs to Connor,” I answer, waving at the Hufflepuff boy that’s been roaming the grounds and the forest with me since first year.
“I’m your smartest friend then,” Eliana waves both hands annoyed at Lily and I.
“Well that’s true,” Lily agrees, “she is way smarter than Connor and I put together.”
“I agree,” I nod and Eliana smiles widely, “you’re so smart, I’ll let you figure it out yourself. Shouldn’t be too hard for you.”
“I need new friends,” she sits back in her chair disappointed before turning to Lily with a renewed happiness. “Will you come with me to tonight’s challenge? That way we can support Killian together, you know, instead of this guy, in case it’s his turn.”
“I definitely will,” Lily agrees, “plus it’s either this lame friend of ours or my idiot older brother. It’s a lose – lose situation for me; I might as well give my vote to the underdog.”
Looks like I’ll go to the challenge alone tonight… Ah well, it’s worth it; at least it keeps the mystery alive for these two. All through the morning, people keep stopping me and ask when I’m going to make my challenge known. After trying out a couple of answers, I decide that a simple shrug of the shoulders with a knowing grin works best for me. People don’t push it, wish me good luck and leave me alone. Every time I tried answering with things such as “you’ll see in time” or “can’t tell you that but keep your eyes opened”, people always tried to pressure me with answers like “you can tell me, I won’t tell anyone, promise”. Right, like I believe that.
Moral of the story: words encourage words and silence promotes silence. Silence is easier for me to deal with and there are a lot less chances that I might blow it and let the truth escape me. Like it’s burning to. I wouldn’t want to ruin James’ challenge after all; that would be pretty lame of me.
At lunch time, every student of the school is on their toes, keeping an eye on the Gryffindor and the Ravenclaw tables, waiting for James or me to make an announcement. Nothing happens.
At dinner time, it’s the same thing again. The conversations are low and scattered; it’s almost like the entire student body doesn’t want to talk in case they miss the announcement.
“Come on already, we’re waiting!” A tall Hufflepuff boy suddenly shouts and is immediately followed by others.
“Yeah, when is it going to happen, dinner time is over.”
And it’s true. As soon as the Slytherin girl says that, the food on the table vanishes, indicating the end of the meal. I look at James with a smile and he winks at me in conspiracy before rising from his seat, both hands in the air.
“Alright, alright,” he says and the entire Great Hall, including the teachers, goes silent. “Since you’re asking for it in such a desperate way, I will ask you all to rise up. Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs, please make your way to the south wall, I will need to use your tables. Don’t worry; I’ll give them back to you in perfect condition. Teachers, do as you wish.”
Even McGonagall chuckles at these words. James really has no fear of authorities. Yet, the staff table remains full and for the first time, the teachers settle down to watch a challenge between Killian Earhart and a Weasley like it’s the most normal thing in the world.
When both tables are empty, James takes a deep breath and points his wand at them before shouting in a confident voice: “Fera Enormis Latrunculi”.
“No way!” I shout angrily as I watch the tables change before my eyes into a giant chessboard; the Hufflepuff table becoming the white chessmen while the Ravenclaw table becomes the black ones. James stole my idea! And he’s not even that good at chess!
Apparently I really did shout because the entire school is looking at me now and not the amazing transfiguration task James just pulled. I see Lily looking at me in worry as well as the rest of my relatives. Their reaction is enough to let me know that none of them knew that James was going to steal my idea. It doesn’t comfort me at all.
“That’s good Killian,” I hear Molly say not far from me, “James, you can definitely beat at chess.”
“I somehow feel that he will get beat in some other way later tonight,” Killian answers, pointing at me.
I guess I’m not that good at hiding my anger. It’s not like I’m even trying though because just now, mine and James eyes meet. I feel my ears are burning and daggers actually poke out of my eyeballs. Or it could be the sting of tears. But no, I’m not going to cry in front of the school; that would give James too much satisfaction.
For one glorious second when my cousin opens his mouth, his open hand showing his work, I actually think that he might exchange his turn with me and let me have the giant and, let’s be honest, brilliant chessboard. Then he mouths ‘sorry’ and turns to Killian.
“Killian Earhart,” James calls loudly. “A real Weasley is known for being a good strategist and loving a fair battle. This is why I challenge you to a game of wizard’s chess right here and now.”
“Alright,” Killian says as he joins James near the chessboard. “Heads or tails to decide who gets the white?”
“Heads,” James nods when Killian takes out a galleon and throws it into the air.
“It’s tails. I chose white,” Killian says before walking to the other side of the chessboard.
Killian makes his opening move and slowly but surely, the games takes form. A turn out that Killian really is a good player; not the greatest but he still would have given me a fair challenge. James, on the other hand, is playing like an idiot. Honestly, I’ve played against him my whole life and he is a fair player; not great but certainly not as bad as he is making it out to be in this present game. Now, I’m not saying that James is cheating, yet, but during the firsts fifteen minutes of this game, James missed out on three opportunities to end the game. Missing out one time can be considered a mistake. Two times, your mind clearly isn’t in this game but three times? You are definitely going out of your way to let the other person win.
Twenty minutes into the game, Killian looks up at me and winks before making his queen completely open for a check mate. James ignores his play and decides to take a pawn instead! I’m disgust. Anyone who knows anything to chess can tell that this game is rigged. Again, Killian looks up at me in an apologetic sort of way; clearly, he understands as well what sort of game James is playing.
I just want to leave right now and not watch the end of this game because it could go on forever if these two decide to keep playing ‘who will lose’ instead of ‘who will win’. It’s an insult to the beautiful and amazing game that is chess and I can’t wrap my head around why James would steal this challenge from me if it’s only to ridicule himself and this challenge and the game of chess and this competition altogether!
Fortunately, it seems like Killian has had enough as well and in two moves, he takes James’ queen and wins the game. Judging by the way the crowd applauses and how excitedly they talk about the game that just took place, I feel like Killian and I are the only two people that saw through James’ trick. That makes me even angrier. No matter what sort of game I would have played against Killian, they wouldn’t have seen a difference.
“Killian Earhart,” James says and I notice that neither boy makes a move to shake the other’s hand, “you win this challenge.”
I’m fuming. The game is over in what was a clear set up to let Killian win. What is James playing at? I notice that the Great Hall is practically empty by now except for a couple students that are still discussing the outcome and James who is transfiguring the tables back to their original forms. I’m usually a pretty laid back kind of guy but I can’t take it this time and, without even realizing it, here I am, standing next to James, breathing hard down his neck with my hands curled up into not so menacing fists.
“What the hell James?” I shout angrily at him. I just shouted. That must be a first for me.
“Sorry little dude, I guess he was better at chess than I expected,” James shrugs, looking at his wand.
“You knew that chess was my thing, why didn’t you go for something else?”
“Look Hugh, I really thought I had a chance at beating him,” he says, turning back to the half chessboard – half table that stands before us.
“No you didn’t.” I snort in derision, finally realizing what he did. “You thought, I had a chance of beating him and you didn’t want that to happen.”
“Why would I be afraid of you beating him, isn’t that the point?”
“I’m not sure what your goal is but the way I figure, you either want to see Killian win or your ego couldn’t accept that your twelve years old cousin might be the one to put an end to this competition.”
“That’s, that’s,” James stutters, working hard not to look at me, but I stop him.
“Don’t bother, whatever your reason, it was a lame trick to play and even Killian saw right through your plan. You’re really not a bad chess player James but the ‘mistakes’ you made,” I say, using my fingers to quote the word ‘mistake’, “were so obvious, it made you look like a fool. Everybody saw that you’d done it on purpose.”
“Look, think what you want Hugh but here’s my advice : if I were you, I’d use all the precious little time I’ve got left to find what I’m going to do tomorrow instead of yelling at my cousin for something that can’t be change anyway,” James sighs, looking at me for the first time since the beginning of this conversation.
“Whatever; it’s not like I want to be anywhere near you anyway,” I turn around and walk away from him.
“Hugh,” he calls at me but I keep walking. I really don’t want to be near James anymore tonight. Not until I have found what I’ll be doing tomorrow night anyway.