Pretty CI by Levana @ tda!
I was standing in the middle of my empty dorm, quietly hyperventilating. This behaviour was new for me, as I considered myself a fairly well held-together person, and I wasn’t sure how you handled these types of freak-outs.
Sitting down seemed like a fantastic idea, so I walked over to a bed – no clue whether it was mine or not – and dropped down, placing my head in my hands and staring through my knees at my bare feet pressed into the soft blue carpet.
An explanation seems to be necessary, so I’ll provide you with one:
I’m Ivy Scott, I’m a person – a female – and I’m good at magic, and I live with my wonderful mother, and I have three great friends, and –
Let’s just stop at these friends. Friends are the cause of my current predicament, so you need to know nothing more about me, other than that one of said three friends is a strange man-child whom I’ve had a precarious relationship with ever since I met him and who… well, only five minutes ago he just…
This is fucking ridiculous. I didn’t understand how we reached this point, but I can think of two and a half significant moments – one of these moments being an entire year – that could have led to this, to now.
The first, incidentally, was the day I met him. My first day of school, as it always is. If my snooty little eleven year old mind had known then where he and I would be in six years, she would have run. Screaming. To Japan.
But first year. That was one moment. Then the start of third year, in the library… and then sixth year. From beginning to end, from summer to Christmas to Lucy’s sixteenth birthday. To now.
Bloody hell, Ivy, I told myself, get a grip. You’re acting like Rose, and only Rose can act like Rose!
I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and thought of that first time, that day at Kingscross Station. It made me smile, and I knew that even now, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Platform 9 ¾ , First year.
Mama had just left – Harriett, one of her patients, had just gone into labour. Her excuse was valid – and I found myself stranded, alone, in the middle of a very strange and exciting train station.
The Hogwarts Express loomed in front of my through the smoke, students of all sizes jumping in and out of the open carriage doors. There were so many different sounds that I couldn’t distinguish one from the other. Voices, shouts, whistles and owl hoots all intermingled into one exciting mess.
Despite the beauty of it all, I was terrified. I had put on a brave face when Mama had informed me with worry in her eyes that she really had to be going now, but in reality all I had wanted was to throw my arms around her waist and never let go. I wanted to go to Hogwarts, sure. But I also wanted to take her with me.
I tightened my grip on my trunk, and curiously examined all the people around me, searching for those who would soon be my fellow class mates. Some people were dressed in long colourful robes, pointy hats and wild hair, but others looked like me, plain and mundane.
Just to my left there was a family of three with shockingly bright blonde hair. The mother, a pretty lady with an elegant air, the father tall and proud, and the son who looked about my age and almost as scared as myself. I saw his mother bend down and place a kiss on his cheek.
“I’ve left Delphina and the twins with my mother, Scorpius,” I heard her murmur, “And I fear they may drive her insane if I don’t get back to them soon. Will you be alright with your father?”
To my left was a larger family, a noisy one, full of little children in colourful clothing. The parents were hugging a boy of about fifteen who had messy brown hair and a sad excuse for a beard, while a girl about as old as me stood fidgeting, tugging on the ends of her impossibly curly dark hair. She had a feather tied into the mess, and colourful threads plaited around her wrists. I thought she may be the type of person who had avocado on wholemeal bread and ate oats for breakfast.
It was some comfort to note that I was not the only scared first year, but I still felt very small and alone in the middle of this vast platform. I glanced down at my new pet owl, a sooty grey fluff ball with amber eyes, whom I had christened Quill. I had already grown fond of his soft hoots and sleepy eyes. I reminded myself to give him some owl treats once I had boarded the train.
A girl standing on her own caught my eye then. She was another first year, by the looks of her height and expression of anticipation. She was slender and freckly, all arms and legs. Her mass of curly red hair had been clumsily arranged into a bun, but strands were falling down all around her face. I had always wished for wild hair like that; I raised a hand to my own neat blond braid, carefully plaited by Mama. Not a strand of it would go haywire, even if I tried to make it do so.
The redheaded girl was standing not far away. Her overlarge trunk stood by her side and a small tabby cat was weaving around her legs. She was squinting through the crowd, as if searching for someone, when her gaze met mine. She gave me a wide smile.
I smiled back, and was ready to leave it at that and resume my appraisal of the crowd around me, but the redhead pick up her trunk and started walking towards me, her cat trailing at her heels.
“Heya,” she said when she reached me, dropping her trunk back down with a huff, “I’m Rose. What’s your name?”
“Ivy,” I answered, liking her already, “and this is Quill.” I gestured towards my sleepy bird. Rose pointed at her cat, who was really more of a kitten by the looks of its miniature size.
“And that’s Moth,” Rose said proudly, bending down to starch her pet behind the ears. She straightened up, smile still in place, “You looked a little lost,” she told me, “so I thought I’d come over and keep you company. Plus, I was feeling lost too. Hey, have you seen a boy with black hair and glasses anywhere? He’s my cousin, and I’ve misplaced him.”
I shook my head, and started to look through the crowd for a boy of that description.
“That guy?” I asked Rose, pointing at a lanky boy with ruffled hair, who was standing talking to an older student, an impossibly beautiful girl with smiling eyes and strawberry blonde hair. Rose let out a happy noise when she saw him, and began to beckon him over.
“Al!” She called out, cupping her hands around her mouth, “Hey, idget! Albus Severus!”
The boy finally turned around, scowling, and said something to the blonde girl before walking our way.
“Do you want me to call you Roseflower?” He asked his cousin when he reached us, arching an eyebrow. I saw Rose shake her head in fear.
“No, Al,” she murmured, her mouth twitching at the sides, “I do not. Not ever.”
“Well then,” He gave her a pointed look. “I was just talking to Dom,” he said, glancing over at the girl he had just left, “and she was telling me about all the subjects she gets to choose from now that she’s in third year. I can’t wait to be in third year.” He paused to stare dreamily into space for a second, before seeming to notice my presence for the first time. He flicked his gaze over to me, his green eyes wide behind his glasses.
“This is Ivy,” Rose told him, “and this is Al. Al, Ivy, make friends. I’m going to go find Lucy.”
And with that, she picked up her trunk, angrily shoved a loose curl behind her ear, and slipped off through the slowly dimming crowd. I noticed that most of the students had gotten on to the train by now, and figured that we should probably start doing the same.
I turned to Al, who was shuffling his feet beside me, and peered at his downcast face.
“Are you nervous?” I asked him, biting my lip.
“About what?” He looked up, his green eyes suddenly defiant. I frowned, taken aback.
“About Hogwarts. The sorting, the ghosts.” I was looking forward to the ghosts. The books I had been reading during the holidays talked of many, and I couldn’t wait to meet them.
“No,” Al raised his chin proudly, “Not at all. Are you?”
I didn’t like his mocking tone one bit, and decided that I didn’t fancy this boy much. He was still shuffling, and looked very uncomfortable. His cheeks were blushing red beneath his freckles.
“Yes,” I answered, just as haughtily, “and I bet you are too.”
“Am not,” he answered, his eyes flashing. I saw an uncertain look pass across his face, and knew I was right.
“Are too.” I riposted.
“Are – ”
The warning whistle blew, drowning my words. We both glanced at the train.
“You’re a liar,” I sniffed, picking up my trunk, “and I’m hopping on the train now. You better not get yourself sorted into the same house as me.”
“Well you’re annoying,” Al answered, shoving his hands into his pockets, “and I’ll make sure I don’t.”
We both walked away from eachother with airs of strong indignation, me into one carriage, he into the other.
The corridors were packed with jostling students, both in groups and alone, perusing up and down for a free compartment. I pushed my way along for a good two minutes, peeking into each compartment window, until I found one occupied by Rose and a small girl with short brown hair. I knocked on their window, and, seeing me, Rose beckoned me in.
“Ivy!” She said, blowing at another stray curl that had fallen in front of her eyes, “Have you met Lucy? Lucy, this Ivy. Lucy’s my cousin,” Rose sighed, “I have many cousins.”
“And she loves us very much,” Lucy grinned widely, jumping up with surprising enthusiasm and holding her hand out towards me. I shook it.
“Tell me; are you guys nervous?” I asked them, heaving my trunk up into the luggage racks and sitting down on the seat next to the energetic Lucy. I needed to know that I wasn’t being a child for missing my mother already, or for the butterflies that fluttered in my stomach at the thought of being alone for the whole term. Also, I wanted to prove Albus wrong.
“Oh you have no idea,” Lucy gushed, shaking her pretty head. Her short hair was curly, and the length of it framed her wide hazel eyes nicely. If these two girls were anything to go by, Rose’s family must be an attractive one. I thought of Albus and his birds-nest head.
Clearly, he missed out on that gene.
“We try to hid it,” Rose added, “but I am sure to do something stupid out of nerves by the end of this night.”
“She does that a lot,” Lucy stage whispered, shooting her cousin an amused glance. Rose blushed.
There was a knock on the carriage door at this stage. We all turned around to see Al’s spectacled face peering at us, his eyes widening at the sight of me. I scowled at him, and he looked away.
“ALBUS!” Lucy leapt up again, and slid open the compartment door, throwing her arms around her cousin’s neck. “It’s been too long! Have you shrunk?”
Al grinned and ruffled his cousin’s hair, walking into the compartment as soon as she let him go.
After storing his trunk up in the racks, he took a seat across from me, next to Rose. Moth jumped onto his lap and let out a satisfied meow, curling into a tight ball and closing her eyes. I heard purring. I thought the cat might be mad.
“What houses do you guys want to be in?” Rose asked us, pulling her long legs up into a cross-legged position.
“Gryffindor,” Lucy stated immediately, smiling at the thought, “every other house is for pansies.”
“Nice, Luc. Good to know you won’t be prejudice against me once I’m in Slytherin,” Al stated sarcastically, rolling his eyes.
“You won’t be in Slytherin, Albus,” Rose said in a tired voice, “and if you were it wouldn’t be shameful. I’d like to be a Gryffindor too, though.”
“Oh Rose, you’re a Hufflepuff through-and-through,” Al told her, laughing. By the amused look on Lucy’s face, she seemed to agree with him.
“You’re a bully,” Rose sniffed, raising her chin, “and you guys haven’t answered my question.”
“Ravenclaw,” I answered, grinning. I was a geek, and a big one at that, but I was proud of the fact and wanted my robes to show it to the world. Al glanced at me in surprise, and I stared evenly back.
“Gryffindor,” He answered, switching his gaze to Rose. She nodded, seeming to accept this choice readily, but I shook my head.
“No way,” I said boldly, “Aren’t Gryffindors brave? You don’t strike me as brave.” I tried to look menacing, because there was just something in me that wanted to see this skinny little child quiver under my influence. Mama told me that whenever I tried to appear menacing I just looked like a baby angel with bathroom issues, but I was hoping Al wouldn’t make that connection.
“Well you’re not smart enough for Ravenclaw,” he answered in a cold voice. I scoffed.
“You don’t know me, Albus Severus.” I said defiantly, taking a great satisfaction in the annoyed look that came up on his face.
“I wish I knew your full name, Ivy,” he replied solemnly, “so that I could use it against you as well.”
“Ivy Ariel Scott,” I told him, “Use away, Albus.”
“I’m loving the excitement,” Lucy gushed, glancing eagerly between the both of us. She turned to her redheaded cousin, “aren’t you, Rosie?”
But Rose just looked a little pale and faintly worried.
“Guys…” she said in a small voice, “do you really think I’m going to be in Hufflepuff?”
“Yes,” I answered bluntly, drawn out of my bicker with The Scrawny Child, “But that’s a complement! Isn’t it?”
Mama also told me that I was born with a mouth that couldn’t utter anything other than honest truths. She said I needed to watch my tongue sometimes, and think about how I would feel if I had my words said to me. But that didn’t work, really, because I would be fine if the roles were reversed. I didn’t see the problem.
“Just you wait, Ivy,” Rose sighed, sticking out her bottom lip, “the Hufflepuffs are the biggest pansies of them all.”
The rest of that train ride passed in a blur – a blur of scenery, a blur of giggles, a blur of amazingly odd and wonderful sweets. We arrived at the train station at nightfall, and we crossed the giant lake. We were welcomed by the ghosts and sorted into our houses; Lucy and Al got their wishes – they both went to Gryffindor. Al turned out to be right about Rose, and the furiously blushing redhead made her way down to the Hufflepuff table with relative composure. I, true to my geeky pride, was put straight into Ravenclaw.
Classes began after that, wonderful classes, scary classes, classes that made you fall asleep in your arms. Al, Lucy, Rose and I formed a sort of friendly group, though I still gave Al the cold shoulder and he still fell stony and silent whenever I looked at him. There were other nice people, too – Scorpius Malfoy, the shockingly blonde boy from the train station. He and Rose were terrible together, so we never hung around him when we were with her. There was Penelope Lewis, another kid from Kingscross and a girl in Rose’s house. She was nice. Sweet. A little silly and altogether too fond of feathers. Orin O’Neill was a kind boy too, as was Clarissa Everdeen from my house. But I could go on forever; at the age of eleven, everyone your own age is a friend, and the biggest argument you have is about whether or not so and so ate the last cookie. The next two years of my life were fun and easy ones, in a world where Lucy was loud and obnoxious, Rose was smiley and somewhat clumsy, and Al confusing and distant. My opinion of him changed at the beginning of our third year.
The Library, Third Year.
It was the first week of our third year at Hogwarts. We had already chosen our subjects and caught up with those few we were currently friends with – an ever-changing thing, as thirteen year olds are impossible bitches – and, all of a sudden, found ourselves swamped in homework. We were caught unawares at first, used to the easy, effortless flow of the younger years. But we adapted quickly.
It was a Saturday afternoon, and I had made my way down to the library alone, having lost Lucy as soon as I uttered the word ‘essay’, and I walked in to find the place as dusty and silent as it always was.
The essay due was for Defence, a two foot long thing on the most efficient way to defend yourself against a Redcap, so after gathering the appropriate books, I made my way over to a deserted desk in a cosy nook between two bookshelves.
I sat down, dropped my bag onto the floor, and pulled the first heavy leather-bound volume towards myself.
“I just don’t understand you and Ivy, Al,”
The soft whisper drew my attention sharply away from the three advantages of pineapple juice in the warding off of Redcaps, and curiously towards the conversation being had behind the bookshelf to my left.
“I know, you’ve repeated that about five times now! But what do you mean?” Al sounded half grumpy, half concerned. Slowly, I leaned towards the bookshelf, trying not to make any noise. I found it more exciting than I should, hearing people have a conversation about me. My heart was beating loudly in my chest.
“I mean the way you guys don’t get on very well. I don’t understand because she’s lovely and you’re lovely and we hang out all the time. Don’t you like her?”
“Of course I do!” Al snapped quietly back, “why did you start this conversation, Rosie? Is it bothering you?”
I think he was expecting a no, but Rose replied with a yes.
“How?” Al said, sounding exasperated.
“Because Luc and I have to sit there and watch Ivy be stony and you be grumpy and it sucks! If you like her, why can’t you be her friend?”
“Because she doesn’t want to be my friend, Rose,” He answered. He sounded bitter as he said this, and a twang of guilt went through my chest at his words; I had no idea he felt like that about it.
“But you want to be hers?”
“Of course I do! I think she’s smart and sweet and self-assured and a great person to get to know. But I was such a git to her when we met, I don’t blame her for not liking me now.”
“You were both gits,” Rose said, sounding sarcastic but with a soft edge to her words. “But please make up for that now! Luc and I can’t take this from you guys anymore. Just apologize.”
“And have her turn it down? No thanks.”
“I’ll talk to her too, you’ll see,” Rose decided, sounding firm, “It will all work out.”
“How come I don’t believe you?”
“Because you’re stupid. Come on, we need to go find that pretty blonde and get you guys to make friends. Up!” I heard some scuffling and some groans, and then the sound of their retreating footsteps. When the sound of the library door closing echoed through the large room, I sat back down in my seat, letting all the air whoosh out of my lungs.
I was gobsmacked. Al’s words made me feel like such a little brat. I wanted to talk to him at once and make friends, as Rose put it. I shoved my unwritten essay in my bag and stood up, determination in my stance. Even if I still found Albus strange and haughty at times, I would no longer dislike him with the conviction that he disliked me too. I could learn to be friends with him, I could. Lucy and Rose liked him a lot, so he couldn’t be that bad if he was being nice. And he said I was self-assured. That in itself was reason enough for us to whip out the friendship beads.
I found Al and Rose in the Ravenclaw common room, looking for me. Rose beckoned me over as I walked in.
“Lucy and I have finally become sick of you and Al’s dislike,” she said boldly, tucking a strand of hair behind her ears and peering between the two of us, “so we decided to take action. We will not be talking to either of you until you are talking to eachother.”
And with a satisfied nod, she patted us both on the shoulder and strutted out of the room. I stared, perplexed. I had never seen Rosie strut before.
“Er, well…” Albus looked very uncomfortable. Very, very uncomfortable. He was rubbing the back of his neck and staring at the floor, the sunlight from the window glazing over his glasses.
“I think we should start fresh,” I suggested, clasping my hands together. Al looked up at me with surprise, his freckled nose scrunched in confusion.
“I thought you didn’t like me.”
“I thought you didn’t like me!”
“This is silly,” Al sighed, “Are you saying that we’ve been mean to eachother for two years just because of a misunderstanding?”
“Sure,” I answered quickly, “That, and the fact that I do find you a bit strange.”
“I do find you a bit stuck-up,” he answered sharply, his tone taking on a defensive edge. I chuckled.
“I was stuck-up,” I admitted, “and you were strange.”
“How!?” Al seemed astonished, which I found odd, because his strangeness was blatant.
“First of all, you eat lemons,” I stated, ticking each point off on my fingers, “every morning, without fail. And then there’s the fact that you dressed up as a fairy last Halloween. Oh, and your rabbit! Who names their pet rabbit Lemons? Actually, who has a pet rabbit, at all?” I closed my hand, shaking my head and smiling. Al looked put out.
“Everyone has pet rabbits,” He said, sticking out his chin. I stared flatly at him.
“Name one person,”
He seemed to think about this for a minute. “My auntie Francesca!” He said finally, appearing to be very proud of this fact.
“See what I mean about the stuck-up thing!”
He was gesturing at my smug expression, seeming half exasperated, half victorious. I rolled my eyes.
“We’re going to have to work on this friend thing,” I said, sighing, and slipping my arm through his, “but for now we should go find some apple tart. I’m really keen for apple tart. Do you like apple tart?”
“I do, my friend,” he answered, his tone barely sarcastic at all. I thought I heard him mutter something involving rabbits as we walked out of the common room, but I wasn’t sure. For now, I was merely content with the knowledge that we were on our way to fixing our unnecessary dislike for eachother.
We became fast friends after that bondage over apple tart, and by the time we reached sixth year, Al, Lucy, Rose and I were inseparable.
I never could have considered thinking of Al as more than a best friend before. He was Albus. He was a thoroughly unsexual being. I couldn’t even picture him flirting without getting confused and disorientated. And he was my best friend. A boy, sure, but… still.
I mean, by the time you’re in fourth year you know you want boys, even if it’s in a hesitant, shy way. By the time you reach fifth year you even know what to do with them once you have them. And in sixth year, they say you’re supposed to have come to terms with all this boy wanting/doing business.
I found this information wrong and misleading. Personally, my sixth year didn’t make any sense at all, and I think Rose would tell you the same. Lucy went wild and maybe she knew what the hell was going on, but the rest of us were left behind – or at least Rosie and I were left behind, as most of our other classmates also went native-teen. I didn’t realize quiet how out of the loop I was until Oliver Grant asked me out and I handed him a cookie and assured him that it was my favourite and that I should be feeding my owl soon. When he stared at me quizzically and nervously asked again, I leapt up, said that Quill must be starving to death, and hurried out of the room.
But that’s just a small, small thing compared to this Al business. Man, that is confusing stuff. That is beyond cookie and owl treat level, and all the way up to declaring my plan to move to Antarctica to study Ice Dragons for the next five years.
It was a strange, exciting year. I don’t even know where to start.
I believe I am a little
too addicted to starting new stories. This one is a bit of a prequel to one of my other fics, though, so it's connected and therefore less of a distraction. You don't have to have read Chasing Madness
to get this story, because Ivy and Al are only side characters in that one, so this should be making sense. If it's not, tell me. Or read Chasing Madness
It's exciting, writing a prequel. I've never done this before! I hope it works out well. What do you think so far?
Also, excuse any spelling errors or rushed sentences. It's very late at night and I should be busy writing an art essay instead of this. The guilt is eating me up inside.