Chapter 2: Of Nutters and a Half-Friendship
Discussion exploded all around the hall, everyone breaking away from their previous shock. My eyes widened as I stated at Elle and Jordin, who looked equally as surprised.
‘The Triwizard Tournament? That’s fucking epic!’ announced Jordin, slamming his fist onto the table.
I nodded eagerly, ‘But I thought it was made illegal after what happened last time. You know the whole resurrection of Voldemort.’
Elle narrowed her eyes at the mention of that name, but then shrugged it off. ‘Who cares? This is freaking hectic. Must have been what Dom and Fred were talking about. Their parents are Ministry-connected after all, they must have known for ages.’
McGonagall cleared her throat and the school once again lapsed into silence, staring expectantly at the old woman waiting patiently.
‘I realise this is a risky move, and a much unexpected one at that. However, we do believe that this is the best way to show the world how Britain has been able to adapt after such horrific events, and of course safety precautions will be put in place.
For those of you unaware, the Triwizard Tournament is a competition in which one champion, and one single champion is chosen from the three competing schools: Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, Durmstrang Instituteand of course, Hogwarts.
I must warn you in advance, if you plan on entering the chosen champions are to, in the words of Albus Dumbledore, stand alone. And believe me, these challenges will require courage and strength, and are not for those easily frightened.
But we will save this for when the other schools arrive, which will be in roughly a month. And after much deliberation, the age limit this year has been reduced, to sixteen and nine months. Do not think you can dodge this age factor, for there is not a wizard on this earth with a confundus charm strong enough.
Be proud, students of Hogwarts, for this is the first time in history that a school has been chosen to the hold the Tournament two consecutive times. But in light of recent events, we have been bestowed, with this!’ McGongall exclaimed, waving her wand.
From the side of the hall a mysteriously shrouded object moved towards the centre of the podium. Once on the ground the sheet of metal surrounding the cup fell to the floor with a deafening clank. And there, in all its mystical and magical glory, was the Goblet of Fire.
‘To enter, simply write your name on a piece of parchment and place it into the cup. Only you can place your name in the cup, so don’t think about asking older students to enter for you,’ she explained, and I suspected she shot a warning glance to the Weasley’s congregated at the Gryffindor table.
Probably thinks it runs in the family or something.
‘I am afraid the Minister was unable to be with us tonight, however he will be present at the Choosing. Just remember, deaths have not been uncommon in the Tournament, and for those unprepared the Tournament can prove deadly. On that happy note off to bed!’ she stated, before waving her hand, causing all the food to disappear.
The hall seemed to leave is some sort of daze, a shock-induced stupor. Did that really just happen? Were we really going to hold the Triwizard Tournament?
I could already hear James Potter from across the hall, boasting about how he was a shoe-in. I rolled my eyes, for someone so closely related to the modest and sweet Albus, how could James be such an arsehole?
He really is an arsehole, if you haven’t met him yet. Seriously, he doesn’t hang with anyone outside the Wotter’s, except for Conner Stevens, his best friend. One time I tried talking to him, but he just rolled his eyes and walked away. Who the fuck does that anyway, I mean at least have the manners to pretend to be interested when a random Ravenclaw starts talking to you about the many interesting qualities of a rubber duck.
Seriously, those things fucking float in water. And they call us wizards.
Out of all the Wotter’s, James was my least favourite, since he was the only one who I wasn’t friends with. Sure, he had groupies and fan clubs that follow him around all day, and he was probably the most popular boy in school, but he didn’t have many friends. Unlike me, I had the entire sixth year at my disposal.
Although those Slytherins didn’t like me much (except Albus)
And most of the Hufflepuffs (Word of advice to all: Hufflepuffs are not ditzy and/or stupid. I learnt that the hard way back in second year.)
And a third of Gryffindor house (I’m a coward and I’ve embraced it. Sue me.)
‘Halle,’ Elle said, snapping her fingers in front of my face, ‘Are you going to enter?’
‘Hm?’ I asked, instantly being brought out of my train of thought, ‘Damn straight. School’s not going to be ready for all of this,’ I said, motioning to my body with a wave of my hand.
But have I mentioned that James is incredibly good looking? Not that I’ve stalked him or anything, but seriously, when you’re a hormone crazed girl who goes to a co-ed boarding school, you tend to notice such things.
Like his abs during a Quidditch game. Yum.
But I know what you’re thinking, you cheeky little bastards. I absolutely do not like James Potter. Not even a little bit. I would be more likely to get sexually involved with a rubber duck than to develop feelings for that boy. I mean, did you not just hear me rant about how about how obnoxious he is? But hey, just because someone’s a shitty person, does not mean they aren’t nice eye candy.
And damn, that boy is fine.
‘Halle!’ Elle said again, snapping her fingers in front my face. ‘Honestly I don’t know how you top your classes, you barely even listen to us,’ she said, shaking her head.
I gave her a smile as we entered our common room, ‘There is a simple reason for that, darling,’ I said, dragging her up to the girl’s dormitories without saying goodbye to Jordin, ‘You just simply aren’t interesting enough for me.’
The next morning, I glanced down at my timetable, instantly cursing the man who invented school. I mean, who comes up with the idea of school? Especially since I’ve got double Potions first. Why do bloody Aurors need Potions anyway? Should have taken Muggle Studies, learnt some more about those amazing rubber ducks.
And pies. I don’t know which muggle invented pies, but Godric someone should give them a medal or something.
Jordin narrowed his eyes and a knowing look spread to his face, ‘You’re thinking about pies again, aren’t you?’ he asked, scooping up some eggs with his fork.
It might, maybe, be a well-known fact that I am absolutely fanatical about pies.
And all things pie related. If there’s pie on the table, there’s pie on my plate.
I shook my head, ‘I’ll have you know I haven’t had one single pie-related thought throughout the whole holidays,’ I vouched, swiping some bacon off his plate.
‘Halle, how can you be thinking of pies at a time like this? We have absolutely no classes together!’ Elle shrieked, frantically comparing our timetables.
An uncomfortable feeling tugged at my stomach, I always had classes with Elle. ‘That can’t be right, we always have class together,’ I tried, looking over for any mistakes she could have possibly made.
Jordin shook his head, ‘You don’t have any classes with me, either. Except for Defence. But that’s it,’
‘Curses,’ I spat, looking venomously along the staff table, blaming each and every one of them for my lack of friends in my classes.
The bell went off, signalling the beginning of Potions. Jordin and Elle both sent me sympathetic looks, but I just sighed and picked up my bag, ‘Time to freak out some strangers!’ I said, making my way towards the dungeons.
As I neared the dungeons I kept an eye out for any of the Wotter’s, since they were practically the only other friends I could put up with for the rest of the year. Dom would be fun to have in class again, but ever since the epic pillow fight we had in Charms, fifth year, we never had another class together again.
I regret nothing.
I scanned the crowd waiting outside the heavy door and there were no familiar faces. I cursed myself again; this year was not going as well as I had hoped.
I curse a lot don’t I?
But then again, I’m a witch!
I’m sorry, that was a horrible joke. I apologize for putting you through that.
I looked at the array of people which my Potions class offered to me. There was a group of Gryffindor girls who I was too afraid to approach, a couple of Slytherin guys and then a motley bunch of loners from Houses everywhere.
Alright, time to choose the poor chap who I sit next to for the remainder of the year. Usually, if I’m all by myself, I pick one friend and then stick to them like glue. I’m not a big fan of change.
Contemplating between Norbert the Nose-Picker (a fellow Ravenclaw) and Sarah Flint (a tolerable Slytherin), I desperately searched for a better candidate.
Due to lack of better options, I sidled over to where James Potter was standing, surrounded by his fans of course.
‘Oh, James! You are soooo going to win the Quidditch Cup this year!’ swooned some random bint who I’ve never seen before. Her voice was so high-pitched, the frequency was great enough to communicate with dogs.
The comment was followed by a dry chuckle from Potter, who sadly must be part of my Potions class. He still had that component of cool, but he looked pretty uncomfortable without his friends.
I bit my lip as I lapsed into deep thought. I don’t like James Potter, he is an arse. He has practically ignored my very existence since the first day of school, even though I’m friends with like all of his family. Seriously, the bastard doesn’t even say hi to me whenever I go to the Potter’s place over the summer. But I don’t want to be alone for the whole year, Potions is bad enough, I don’t want to endure it alone.
So this decision may shock you all, but I decided to try out a little bit of courage -Gryffindor style- and cleared my throat and walked up to him.
He raised an eyebrow as I approached, and pushed himself off the wall. I mean, seriously, can everyone move their eyebrows but me?
‘Before you say anything, I do not think rubber ducks are the solution to the world’s issues,’ he taunted, a sarcastic demeanour practically radiating off his body.
I snorted and turned my back away from him, ‘Well, if you’re just going to be rude,’ I said, retreating to my previous corner.
‘Wait!’ he called, grabbing onto my wrist. OK, that was odd. My heart doesn’t usually beat this fast. And something was happening to my face; I reached out my free hand to feel my cheek. Was that a blush? I wonder what this terrible ailment was called; hope I wasn’t coming down with something bad.
‘That’s better,’ I said smiling at him, and then at the bimbo who was looking thoroughly dejected from being rejected.
God, I am so good at this rhyming thing.
I attempted to raise an eyebrow to him, but gave up after exactly three seconds, ‘So what, Potter. Haven’t got any friends?’ I asked, my tone oozing with fake horror.
He rolled his eyes, now that was something I could do. I was very good at eye rolling. ‘Seems to be the case. Just you and me this year, I guess. Well, you can’t be half bad, Albus goes on about you so much that I practically already know you,’ he said, grabbing my hand again and dragging me into the room.
I have got to say I was surprised by the amount of jealous stares I received. I even got one from Pamela Johnson, who has been in the longest running relationship of our year with Kevin Fields.
Har-de-har-har. I make all the girls jealous.
I seated myself next to Potter as the class started. Godric this was awkward. What am I meant to say to the boy who has completely ignored the fact of my existence since first year? It was times like these where I wish I was normal, but I’ve already told you, I’m a weird bird.
I might as well give him a chance.
‘So, not a duck fan, huh?’ I asked, taking out my copy of Advanced Potion Making.
He smiled. It was a very nice smile; there was a dimple in his left cheek. ‘I never said that. I just don’t like rubber ducks. They’re all yellow and they squeak when you squeeze them. Have you ever met a duck that squeaks?’ he asked.
I couldn’t help it; I stared at him a little weirdly. He just replied my weird comment with an equally weird argument. Maybe he wasn’t so bad after all.
‘Can’t say I have,’ I replied, slowly feeling the awkwardness leave.
I’m glad to say, that the remainder of the lesson went really well. I kind of let go some of my resentment towards him, and he let go of his pride. It wasn’t awkward, not even a little bit. Potter was funny, and hot, and smart, and hot, and helpful.
But I barely even noticed the hot part.
When the bell rang, immediately releasing us from class, I smiled at James when he picked my bag from the floor for me.
‘That was surprisingly not horrible, Thomas. I’ve got to hand it to you, you can make a good Sleeping Draught,’ he said, handing me my bag.
I laughed, ‘My potions bring all the wizards to the yard. And damn right, it’s better than yours,’ I sang, taking the bag and walking with him to the door.
He raised his eyebrow (stop rubbing it in) before bursting out laughing, ‘Has anyone ever told you you’re a weird bird, Halle Thomas?’
I nodded, ‘Yup. Practically every night.’
I heard a wolf whistle from behind me, and I didn’t even have to turn around to know who it belonged to.
Leroy Fitzpatrick; Hogwarts resident stalker. He took being a creepy Slytherin to a whole other level. The big old oddball (who had an alarming addiction to hair gel) hit on every single girl in the year.
At first it was flattering, and somewhat endearing. But as the years passed, Leroy just turned out to be the prickiest, pain-in-the-arse piece of shit to ever walk the face of the earth.
Yeah, I know, my insulting skills are the tops.
I subconsciously tugged my skirt down, and Potter frowned at my sudden awkwardness. I inwardly groaned as I heard the signature click clack of his ‘Hipster’ leather shoes on the dungeon floor. Without a warning, he slid his arm around my shoulders and smiled at me. He would actually be quite attractive, you know, if he wasn’t a slime ball.
‘What’s cooking, good looking?’ he asked, cocking his eyebrows suggestively.
I laughed at that one and pulled away from his reach, ‘That is possibly the worst line you’ve ever used, Fitzpatrick. Is it a possibility that you’ll grow some brain cells and realise we’re never going to happen?’ I asked.
‘Absolutely not, sunshine,’ he said, returning his arm to my shoulders.
‘Hey, mate, she asked you to back off. I think you should listen to what she said,’ Potter said.
We both turned around in surprise. Was he defending me? That was…
Leroy refused to move his arm, but I could feel him tense up. Right, the old Slytherin/Gryffindor rivalry. That was probably why Potter defended me; didn’t Gryffindors have to rescue a damsel in distress?
Well I am no damsel, let me assure you. I would be a dragon. Breathing fire on everyone and shit, it would be pretty awesome. I would never have to cook anything again; I’d just have to breathe on it and poof, instant cooking.
Whoops, forgot about the little fight unravelling in front of me.
Me? Easily distracted? Never.
‘What are you going to do about it, Potter?’ Leroy snarled. Well he seemed quite menacing. But Potter could take him easy. I’d only been friends with the boy for one period, and I could already tell those muscles were harder than stone.
Potter chuckled dryly, ‘Do you really want to find out, Fitzpatrick?’
Leroy shrugged his shoulders and removed his arm, ‘Whatever, Potter. Good luck getting this one, she’s as tight as a prune,’ he said, before walking away in the opposite direction.
Well that last comment wasn’t very nice. Oh well, it’s not like I liked him anyway.
I turned to smile at Potter, kind of speechless. ‘Thanks for that, Potter. It was very- erm- cool of you,’ I said, poking him in the arm. It was definitely a congratulatory poke.
He shook his head, ‘Don’t mention it. I’ve got like a bazillion cousins to defend, and you have no idea how many times I’ve beaten that guy up for trying to hit on Lily. Lily. I mean, she’s fourteen years old, dude, that’s just weird!’
I made a face. Resorting to hitting on fourteen-year-olds? That, my friends, is what I call rock bottom.
Feeling that I was already late to next period, I nodded my head in his direction and left after a salute. ‘Coz, you know, I’m cool like that. On my way there, I found myself humming.
And not just any humming. No, child, this was happy humming.
I think I’m warming up to James Potter. Are we, dare I say it? Half-friends?
Well played, Potter, well played.
So, second chapter... How'd I do? As you already know, nothing belongs to me. pies belong to an anonymous genius. as do rubber ducks. but reviews, belong to you! care to share?
wow, even i thought that was lame.
enjoy! you lovely pie-fanatical, duck-supporting readers :)