Chapter 1 : Roxanne, Ravenclaws and a Rather Rude Reception
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“WHAT ON EARTH WERE YOU THINKING?” screamed the Head Girl, one Yvonne Brixton. Her dark grey eyes were now slits behind her abnormally large, supposedly-vintage-but-just-old-and-ugly glasses. Her curly blonde hair was a frizzy mess around her pink, flustered face; her recent running efforts leaving her looking rather worse for wear.
To be honest, I also had no idea what Roxanne had been thinking either when she had decided to send Yvonne’s schoolbag spiralling through the air, causing it to also emit puffs of green smoke which looked like cartoon-esque farts, and smelt a great deal like them too. I certainly had no idea what spell she had used.
I sighed as I observed the scene; petite Roxanne standing straight-backed and with her fisted clenched, staring down the Head Girl who was at least a head taller than her. Roxy’s olive face was flushed in anger, her hazelnut brown eyes were flashing. I couldn’t help but think that she wasn’t the one who had the right to be angry. After all, I didn’t see her bag zooming across the courtyard leaving a green cloud in its wake. I would never let her know this though. Roxanne understood that, as a studious, and quite frankly nerdy, Ravenclaw, I could not be expected to involve myself extensively in her trouble-making antics. However, she did expect some degree of loyalty from her best friend of six years.
“Well maybe I just wanted to see something else fart for a change!” yelled Roxanne in reply.
“What are you implying?” Yvonne’s voice had dropped to a deadly whisper.
This was a mistake if you ask me, as now no one in the crowd, which had appeared immediately as per Hogwarts tradition, could hear her defence. Already, a few Hufflepuff first years a couple of metres away were giggling away at the idea that Yvonne didn’t want anyone to hear about her “incomparable wind”. I rolled my eyes exasperatedly. Really children, say “fabulous farting fanfare” or something. Get creative.
I returned my attention to the screaming match, which Roxanne appeared to be winning despite her size disadvantage. Yvonne now seemed to have been reduced to an embarrassed stutter. In terms of actual content, the argument had not progressed at all. But Roxanne was getting into her stride, a formidable thing for any Weasley woman to do, and was flinging ruthless insults at Brixton. I almost felt sorry for her, as she steadily began to cower before Roxanne, unable to get a word in edgeways. But then, before my sympathy could truly take form, Yvonne screeched “50 points from Gryffindor!” and stormed from the vicinity.
The crowd quickly dispersed, the show had finished. People generally made headway towards to lake, to make the most of the little remaining summer lunchtime. I, on the other hand, ambled towards Roxanne, who was still standing in the middle of the courtyard, her hands on her hips and her breaths coming in sharp, angry huffs.
“Really Roxy? The second day back and you already decide to make a scene?” I say, sarcastically scolding her, shaking my head and giving her a small smirk.
“I had to Hattie; you didn’t see what she did when I went to the bathroom before Charms. She confiscated all the new prototypes Dad gave me for my birthday! She asked me to turn out my pockets! I lost the Catapult Caramels! The top secret Automatic Attack! The mini Monster! Took them all! And all with that smug grin on her face! And wearing those stupid glasses! And she’s a Hufflepuff!” Roxy ranted breathlessly.
That outburst told me that this was a big deal. Not only had Roxy been reduced to half sentences that were not entirely coherent, but she had also been reduced to involving Yvonne’s house. Kids nowadays didn’t often refer to one’s house as anything other than a place of belonging and a place of friendship, or as a method of winning the House and Quidditch Cups. Ever since Voldemort’s downfall, it had been considered of utmost importance to many parents to educate their children to respect difference, and to avoid inter-House disagreements as much as possible. Naturally, stopping historical rivalries hadn’t been entirely successful; Gryffindor-Slytherin Quidditch matches were still as viciously competitive as ever. However, overall, people genuinely believed they had fostered a generation that was more united, and more aware of prejudice and its potentially devastating consequences. For Roxy to exclaim “And she’s a Hufflepuff!” just showed how much her emotions were overriding her logic, and causing her to forget that which her parents had drilled into her.
I ran my fingers through my shoulder-length brown hair, considering my next move.
“Look Roxy,” I started, using my best calm-down-crazy-Roxy voice. “Your Dad’s a genius inventor, either he can make those prototypes again, or he can make you something one hundred times better. I know it’s depressing to have lost some awesome stuff so early in the year, but really, you have the whole year to go for rule-breaking. Plenty of time for that.” I then patted her shoulder in a reassuring way and nodded a few times, smiling gently. It was fairly routine stuff.
“I suppose you’re right, you normally are anyway.” Roxy replied; in a somewhat withering tone, but smiling nonetheless. “You’re my reasonable Ravenclaw. I guess we’d better get to Potions, you know how harsh Professor Turravitch can be when we’re late.”
I grimaced before saying “Ah yes. I do remember. I swear those Billywig stings from detention were stuck under my fingernails for a good month...essay-writing was particularly painful in March. We’d better make haste!” Rather dramatically, I scooped up my school bag and made a show of marching through the growing throng of students, and towards the entrance hall. Needless to say, a fair amount of Roxanne's craziness had rubbed of on me over the years.
“But Roxy?” I said as Roxy caught up with me, and we strode towards the dungeons, our robes swishing behind us.
“Yes Hattie?” Roxy asked in reply, turning to look at me as we kept walking.
“You really did ensure that Yvonne will go down in history as the fabulous farting fanfare. The first year Hufflepuffs did enjoy my little alliterate creation.”
She grinned broadly at my mischievous rumour-spreading, and swung the door open to our first Potions lesson of the year. Yet suddenly a person appeared in the doorway, mere inches from my face, a person making to leave the gloomy classroom at exactly the same time as I had made to enter. Shocked, bright green eyes met my equally shocked blue. It was Albus Potter.