Chapter 3 : Roxanne, Ravenclaws, and a Rather Raging Realisation
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My spoon fell into my apple pie as I fled, I couldn’t look at those green eyes any longer, for they screamed accusation – something I was unwilling to address. I quickly muttered goodbye to the Scamanders, hastily scooped up my schoolbag, and left the Great Hall at a pace approaching a run.
But it wasn’t enough. By the time I reached the deserted Charms corridor I became aware of a pair of footsteps behind me, cringing as they got closer and confrontation became unavoidable.
“Calvert!” I heard him angrily call out when he was about ten metres behind me.
I winced and came to a stop, back still turned, prolonging the time before I’d have to a face his outrage.
He was a metre behind me when it started.
“You think you can just run away? You can’t just get Roxy to do your bidding and then hide. I had half the Slytherins back there ripping me to shreds for this stupid hairdo you’ve inflicted on me. And what for? So that you can somehow have revenge because I told you to bugger off, just like I tell the Daily Prophet and all the ridiculous Albus Admirers, and anyone who insists on creating a fictional celebrity for the hell of it. You can get yourself all wound up in this fantasy that you’re in love with me, but don’t expect me to join in, and don’t expect me to appreciate my hair freaking changing colour! I’m sick of this shit. I’m sick of the Daily Prophet, I’m sick of the Albus Admirers, I’m sick of fame, and lastly, I’m sick of you.”
“I know.” I said simply, the words coming out as a weak croak.
“No, that’s just it; you don’t know anything about me!”
I blanched at this, fighting back tears. Did he really think me that shallow?
... Before the summer, it was true, I hadn’t really known Albus. I had known Albus Potter, the famous son of Harry Potter, the saviour of the wizarding world. We’d uttered a few polite, impersonal words at the platform at the beginning and end of each school year, but then gone our separate ways. At Hogwarts I’d seen him only from a distance; his scruffy black hair noticeable in a crowd, being his only really distinctive feature other than his bright green eyes. He spent very little time around any of his family members, including Roxy, preferring to spend his time with his fellow Slytherins. I heard whispers about him of course, after all Hogwarts’ gossip circles were not complete without some rumour (or fifty) about the Wotters, the Weasley/Potters, and Albus Potter was inevitably included.
Consequently, I had known that he possibly had a tattoo of a lightning bolt on his chest in honour of his father, he had an unusual fascination with Muggle transportation especially motorbikes, and one time he punched Malfoy in the face (I think due to some disagreement regarding Rose, although I’m not entirely sure). Naturally, I had also heard the wild infatuations of the Albus Admirers, who would swoon virtually every time Albus Potter was even mentioned. But Roxy and I never paid much attention to Hogwarts rumours (unless we had something to with them), and we had quickly run out of jokes about the Albus Admirers, and had merely concluded that the only way they would be disbanded was if Albus transfigured his face to look like a Mountain Troll crossed with a beetle (a day-long discussion had resulted in this particular look being deemed most unattractive).
I had also picked up slithers of information on Albus Potter from the Daily Prophet, although I use the term information in the loosest sense, as the Daily Prophet is notorious in my eyes for mixing in a grain of truth with a whole lot of nothing. Apparently Albus Potter was “a rebellious and uncooperative teenager, lacking the propriety and openness of his brother”, “in detention every other day”, and worse of all, “similar to his father only in looks, not in his community spirit or his willingness to help others”. None of these were glowing character references, and I confess, I did somewhat believe them before proved otherwise, because of Albus Potter’s attitude towards other students. He appeared to treat only a select few to his regular company, and was often seen casting resentful looks or passing snide remarks. However, as I was with Roxy, I was spared being the subject of any of his anger – not even Albus Potter would directly pick a fight with a Weasley woman. Nevertheless, nothing prompted me to make an effort to know him better, and since he was in the year above Roxy and me, opportunities to make any effort were few and far between.
That was until I spent the summer at the Burrow, when opportunities to get to know Albus were thrust upon me, whether I wanted them or not. The Burrow was Roxy’s (and Albus’s) Nan and Pop’s place, somewhere that became virtually packed with all the Wotters at the end of every year. This was why I had not gone before, because I felt like I’d be a hassle in a house that was already bursting as the seams. However Molly Weasley had eventually forced me into attendance after four years of denials, easily convincing my Muggle parents that it would be good for me to “learn how to be a witch in a wizarding household”.
So, after about two weeks of spending time in the Muggle world, Roxy had come around with her mum Angelina to collect me and whisk me away. The Burrow was, as I had expected, brimming with people, such that I was sharing a room with Roxy, and her cousin Rose. This said, the house was surprisingly harmonious, I heard very few complaints regarding the sleeping arrangements, and I had expected many – especially from Albus, who I had thought would never miss an opportunity to sneer loudly about having to sleep on a mattress in his brother’s room.
But seeing Albus in a family setting was....there’s no other word for it, plain weird. It was as if someone had flicked a switch...Away from the public spotlight, he was always smiling and always laughing; he was far more extrovert and became the centre of a private spotlight he visibly preferred. He liked spending time with his family, despite the contradictory avoidance tactics he employed at school. The snide remarks that he commonly made at Hogwarts transformed into witty banter, often targeting his brother James who was, although older, much slower on the uptake. Some of his jokes were so cleverly constructed that only Rose, Rose’s mother and I were able to enjoy them – causing there to be moments where Albus would look at me, green eyes wide with pure surprise...
Albus and his brother James had an interesting relationship. From the outside it appeared quite distant, they appeared to always be bickering about something or other. But after a few days I came to realise that this was how they worked, and that both actually knew each other so well that almost every exchange they shared had some deeper meaning, some inside joke. Albus did however always show his Slytherin ambition, skilfully ending each “argument” with the upper hand; his victory signalled by something I came to consider his signature move...an adorable half-smile...
Having forced me to stay for the summer, Molly Weasley recruited me, alongside her many grandchildren, to clean up the Burrow, as her joints were playing havoc and she wasn’t able to do as much housework as she would have usually liked. This didn’t particularly bother me, as I had never found housework very offensive, and heavens, she did feed us well for our trouble (by god, the apple pie was to die for). Mrs Weasley was methodical about it; it seemed she had previous experience directing hoards of children to do domestic duties. She quickly set us all to work scrubbing various pieces of kitchen equipment...
Initially, I stayed to the sidelines, quietly cleaning, talking only really to Roxy or when I was spoken to, not entirely certain where I fitted in amongst so many Wotters. But I soon found myself involved in conversations without knowing quite how, they were all so naturally friendly. We happily passed away the hours of chores, chuckling about Arthur’s senility, impersonating teachers we didn’t like, hearing some of the true versions of the Golden Trio’s adventures, and more. Whenever tasks required smaller groups, Roxy and I found ourselves thrown together with Rose and Albus, as Rose was Roxy’s closest cousin, and Albus was close to Rose. Both had been present when Roxy and I had received our OWL results...and both had looked as pleased with my nine ‘Outstanding’ OWLs as they had been with Roxy’s seven....Albus had said congratulations and flashed me a wide grin, his eyes sparkling happily as I’d bounced up and down crazily with Roxy...
By the time practically everything inside the Burrow was shining like new, Mrs Weasley had made up her mind that the garden needed some work too – an announcement which had made all of us groan quite loudly. Whilst de-gnoming the garden, I saw one rare instance of clear unity between Albus and James. Amidst the chaos of flying gnomes, both decided to scold their little sister Lily for her dating. In a way this was kind, they had at least kept the conversation away from the adults, but they made such ridiculous remarks about how she was to “wait until after she’d completed her education” that her face became flushed with anger, and her grandmother’s genes began to show. James seemed to just be there for ‘moral support’, nodding vehemently and saying “Yes!” a lot, between expertly flinging gnomes other the fence and flexing his Quidditch-honed muscles rather obviously. But Albus’s over-protectiveness was so amusingly endearing, genuine concern crossing his features, and his glasses slipping occasionally down his nose as he got more and more flustered. He was even ignoring the gnome that was gnawing his finger just so he could hammer his point home. When we ambled back to the house together he was still muttering anxiously about how young Lily was, but he seemed calmed by me explaining that Lily was just acting like a normal teenage girl, and had managed to smile when I’d told him that no boy in his right mind would dare to cross Lily and her infamous bat-bogey hex....
Later in the summer, many of the elder grandchildren and parents had to go back to work, and, having successfully cleaned the house and completed a fair bit of garden maintenance as well, we were allowed to roam around at our leisure. Growing increasingly annoyed by the younger kids because they were growing restless and increasingly prone to arguing pointlessly, one day the eldest four of us decided playing Quidditch together in the orchard was the easiest way to escape. We had first practiced our throwing and catching with the fallen apples, laughing as we all got covered in applely mush, before Rose had scourgified our clothing, and Albus had fetched the equipment to play a proper game. I had paired with Roxy, Albus had paired with Rose – making for a fairly even match in terms of goals, although Albus appeared to have inherited his father’s seeking skills, so Roxy and I were beaten nearly every time. Admittedly, I didn’t help us win either; I possessed none of the natural talent that saw Roxy and Albus zooming backwards and forwards and agilely making manoeuvres left, right and centre. But despite my mediocre flying skills, I did at least have a firm grasp of the rules, which was more than could be said of some. Rose, never one to embrace the sport of Quidditch, had mistakenly believed that catching the Quaffle achieved the same aims as catching the snitch, and it had taken Albus fifteen hilarious minutes to convince her otherwise. Later, Albus and I had returned the brooms to the broomshed together, still chortling about the confused look on Rose’s face, which was something so abnormal considering her bookish intelligence...
... As memories of the summer flashed through my mind, I was suddenly as angry as Roxy had said I deserved to be; furious that he was virtually denying that I had ever been present. I turned to face him, and glared right back into those green eyes which I seen be friendly and playful, but which were now accusatory and cold. I couldn’t cower away any longer; it was time to banish the shyness which had previously been my undoing.
“I know more about you than you know about me, if you think I know nothing after spending the whole summer with you.”I said quietly, but with uncharacteristic defiance that Roxy would later be proud of.
“Oh yes Calvert, you know me so well,” Albus said scathingly. “You got your best friend to ask me out for you after spending a month in a house that I also happened to be in!”
The direct rejection that I had feared would have been infinitely preferable to this. Albus had, in his mind, determined that I was shallow, superficial, and ultimately using his family members to get to him – and I couldn’t see a way of showing him he couldn’t be further from the truth...I had been shy, I had been childish...but this was so insulting it was unbearable.
“Do you want me to be an obsessive Albus Admirer? I would’ve thought you had quite enough to be going on with, and yet you insist on assuming the worst of me.” I snapped, before I could fully decide if attacking him back was the best idea.
He seemed shocked. I didn’t know whether this was because of what I had actually said, or because I hadn’t just let him yell at me like he had done before.
“The worst...” he whispered.
Then, before I could even start to question what this meant, he gasped, turned on his heel and walked off; soon only visible as a red dot in the distance.
There had been no half-smile.
And yet, standing alone and confused in the deserted corridor, I didn’t feel like a winner either.
A/N: So I did a bit of explaining! Although hopefully not too much ;) The part about Albus punching Malfoy is loosely based on a quote from Mean Girls. I hope you enjoyed Hattie's flash-backs. And her making her stand. Please review if you can!
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