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Chapter 4 : Roxanne, Ravenclaws and Rather Resistive Reasoning
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Having seen me escape from the Great Hall, Roxy predictably pounced on me as I reached Ravenclaw Tower. As I had expected, near the end of my tale she punched the air with her fist in triumph, appreciating me “giving angry Albus a dose of his own potion”. Despite this show of encouragement I was so flat after the day’s events that all I wanted to do was be alone. Roxy didn’t understand subtly so I came across as a little rude when I brushed her off, but she also zero capacity to hold grudges so I knew all would be well by morning.
I traipsed off to my dormitory, knowing the same could not be said regarding Albus Potter. How the hell could all be well? As I lay down on my bed and desperately tried to sleep my brain reran every conversation I’d ever had with him over and over, and over again - as if just to make sure I hadn’t forgotten them from five seconds ago. My mind was a muddle of Albus-related thoughts; the happy, the funny, the angry, the hurt. I was entirely unsure where I stood with Albus now. He had left our argument so weirdly I wasn’t even sure that he hated me anymore.
But then, in my sleepless restlessness and in a methodical way similar to counting unicorns, I began to steadily convince myself that I had never had feelings for him, it had just been a fascination...with an individual I couldn't understand or comprehend. He had probably stopped talking to me and stormed off because I had become so infuriating he didn’t even think I was worth bothering with. He was probably right, I didn’t know him very well, I’d probably been wrong to assume I knew him well enough to ask him out. Stereotypically girls never to the asking anyway do they?
And I was only me after all.
But it didn’t matter, I didn’t need to grapple for answers or justifications - because I didn’t like him anyway. I didn’t want to go out with him now. The Albus I had haphazardly and ridiculously asked out was completely different to the one at Hogwarts. The “angry Albus” of Hogwarts had also made an appearance at the Burrow anyway...any warm ‘feelings’ I had were tainted by him ultimately “treating me like shit”, as Roxy had bluntly put it, and causing me to run away home for the remainder of the summer.
And although I’d seen the personality switch before, I was easily persuading myself that I could never like someone with such wild mood swings. It would be simple, said my pseudo-reasonable sleep-deprived self, I’d get over him and go back to be being indifferent to his presence. I’d wind back the clock and pretend the summer never happened, just like Albus was doing. It would be simple, easy, and best for all involved.
I awoke the following day with a renewed sense of calm, of resolution and of focus. I easily slipped back into routine; I felt as if I had talked enough sense to myself to get back on the road to normality. The next few weeks went rather swimmingly. The winter months were closing in fast and the grounds became a beautiful vision of crimson and orange, the sun shining often but the air crisp and cold. The teachers were piling homework high, but Roxy happily distracted me when study didn’t. We often went for pleasant little ambles around the Lake, sometimes by ourselves, sometimes with the Scamanders, or two of the Gryffindor girls Roxy shared her dorm with, Ivy and Rachel. Both girls were quite ditsy in my opinion, but they seemed kind enough, and didn’t judge Roxy for her quirky nature - something that did involve her feeding mint humbugs (of all things) to the Giant Squid.
Between classes, Roxy was busily putting to use the joke shop goods George had sent to replace those Brixton had confiscated. Thankfully, she had listened to my request to leave Albus alone. She was instead targeting her pranks at her younger cousin Louis, who had apparently just discovered “That’s what she said” jokes, to the initial amusement but now overwhelming annoyance of the entire Gryffindor house. Unfortunately, Louis did not seem to have a shred of family loyalty when it came to being chased to Defence Against the Dark Arts by a flock of Roxy’s purple mini Monsters, and had promptly dobbed her in to Professor Longbottom. Longbottom was reported to again when Roxy offered Louis Catapult Caramels one lunchtime. And once more when Roxy snuck in the Louis’s dormitory and swapped his socks for ones that instantly, and permanently, extended all the way up to his neck as soon as he put them on (Madam Patil’s clever spell work had been required to save Louis from a life of sock entrapment). Needless to say, Roxy thought the punishments were worth it, after all, Louis now definitely thought twice before saying “That’s what she said”.
During the many detentions Roxy found herself completing, I would relax on the blue velvet sofas of the Ravenclaw common room. I would while away the hours studying, or talking with the Scamanders when they decided to take a break from distributing “Hermione Weasley for Minister of Magic” leaflets. For the record, elections weren’t even being held that year; the Scamanders just felt that Shacklebolt was an unworthy leader because his trademark gold earring was supposedly made of gold stolen from the endangered AuAu creatures of South America. Hermione seemed the correct replacement because she was rallying for house elf rights. I know, AuAus and house elves are unrelated, but I sure wasn’t about to try and convince the Scamanders against their political movements - that was a cause about as lost as theirs. So I sat back and watched amusedly as they accosted innocent first years, finishing my essays in peace, knowing they wouldn’t even wave a pamphlet in my direction as they had long since given up trying to recruit me to their political ranks.
I would also spend a fair amount of time playing Wizards chess with Lorcan and Lysander, a game revered in the Ravenclaw house for its need of logic and intelligence, and which would often see us all hunched over the board in concentration. It was a serious affair; especially between Lorcan and I, as we always seemed to have an equal number of wins and losses, but neither of us were remotely satisfied with the status quo.
During one such evening, Lorcan and I were battling away, the game quickly approaching its conclusion, and the debris of fallen pieces scattered all over the chessboard. I was feeling fairly confident, I had taken Lorcan’s queen early so I’d felt like I had the winning edge. But I had been lulled into a false security. Only a few moves later, Lorcan moved his black bishop dramatically to a new square of the board, smiled broadly and proudly announced “Check mate”. I groaned as my white king surrendered and my knight was aggressively demolished even though the game was already won. But instead of gleefully watching my defeat to its completion, and instead of gloating playfully as per usual, Lorcan just stood up quickly and adjusted his striped beanie over his chunky dreadlocks.
“Well, now that’s all done, I’m going out for a while!” he announced in the same victorious tone. Then he smiled again, down at Lysander and I perched side by side on the edge of the sofa, and pranced dreamily out of Ravenclaw Tower.
“He looked like a man on a mission...?” I said to Lysander, making a fuss of clearing away the chess board and avoiding eye contact, but hoping he would answer my indirect question all the same.
Lysander chuckled, instantly seeing through my uninspired attempt at hiding my curiosity.
“Yes he is. I happened to call him a loser earlier today, and he didn’t approve. So we made a little bet; that if he won against you tonight he would ask the girl of his dreams to Hogsmeade next weekend. It’s appears the joy of victory has granted him courage!”
I laughed at this last statement, as Lysander had practically shouted it across the whole common room, waving his arms wildly while doing so, and receiving startled looks from everyone in the vicinity.
“And who, may I ask, is the girl of his dreams?” I said, slightly miffed that neither of the two brothers had thought to divulge this information before, and not even trying to feign my interest this time.
“Why it’s the young and beautiful Lily Potter.” Lysander replied serenely, casually pulling out his diagram of an erumpent and starting to fill in the last remaining labels.
My heart gave a little jolt as Lily was mentioned and suddenly Albus was at the forefront of my thoughts, his face flustered and pink but caring and concerned; not agitated or angry.
“Oh.” I said feebly after a brief pause, looking down at my lap and fiddling with the hem of my robe. All in that one moment, the wall of arguments I had made to convince myself that I didn’t care if Albus Potter existed... had crumbled to dust.
I heard Lysander’s quill stop scratching and I felt his gaze fall upon me.
He wrapped one of his long scrawny arms around me, his unicorn hair bracelets brushing against my shoulder. He gave me a comforting squeeze, and I could smell his musky cologne. Then in an ethereal whisper, Lysander spoke; and amazed me again as he said the exact words that were necessary, the parallels evident and able to strengthen my resolve.
The next day was a strange one indeed. To everyone’s surprise, regretfully even mine, Lorcan announced his triumph over breakfast at the Ravenclaw table: he had successfully obtained one date with the famous Lily Potter on the coming weekend. He was ecstatic; such that the taunts he received that day bounced off him even more than usual. I had to admit that his euphoria rubbed off on me, it was so nice to see someone I cared about so happy, especially someone as deserving as Lorcan.
Roxy and I practically skipped to Charms that morning. I was still in a good mood because of Lorcan and Roxy was also happy because Lily had apparently been glowing at the Gryffindor table. However, she was happier because she had (I will never know exactly how) managed to bewitch the goblets at the Gryffindor table so that anyone who had uttered the words “Lorcan” and “loony” in the same sentence would later be sporting lips like a pair of large zucchinis. I did love how Roxy would use her pranks for good.
But later in the day my good mood sustained a considerable blow. My Euphoria Elixir, did, to my pleasure, turn the exact shade of sunshine yellow specified in my textbook. But as I flasked my sample and took it up to Turravitch’s desk for inspection and grading, I was met with a sneering “Calvert, I want to see you after class.” With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I knew this did not bode well. My suspicions were confirmed as I stood alone before Turravitch’s desk, all the other students having left for their dinner. Turravitch peered up at me over his rectangular glasses, his eerily long fingers forming a triangle beneath his triangular chin.
“I have been informed by Professor Flitwick that you have a particular proficiency for teaching other students.” Turravitch began, robotically, and as if he hadn’t been teaching me for the last five and a half years.
I nodded slowly, knowing that I had tutored a number of students in the past for various subjects, but wary of where Turravitch was going with the conversation.
“Combining this knowledge with your reasonable Potions grades -“ Reasonable was a harsh remark to make about someone who just prepared an impeccable elixir, I thought angrily as Turravitch continued “- I have concluded that you would be a suitable candidate to assist a seventh year student, who is currently failing abysmally. Normally, I would have excluded this student from being part of the elite group I allow to complete NEWT Potions, but regretfully my hand was forced.” Turravitch curled his lip and snarled this last sentence.
Whoever this student was they’d somehow been stupid enough to get on completing the wrong side of Turravitch, and this wasn’t sounding like a good deal. I had enough on my plate, and although I had experienced Turravitch’s wrath once before, I did not feel inclined to help this somebody save themselves when they could do so easily by simply shutting up and studying. The Hufflepuff in me cringed at my selfish avoidance; but I hadn’t tutored extensively since fourth year, it wasn’t unreasonable to claim that I no longer had the time.
“I would be honoured to help Sir, but as of late I haven’t been tutoring students, I’ve had to focus on my own studies to stay prepared and on track...” I began, trying to sound as sincere as possible, but my speech quite nervous and high-pitched.
But I didn’t finish anyway, Turravitch cut me off; his yellow eyes glinting at me malevolently and his voice threateningly quiet. “Sorry, you seem to be under the misapprehension that this was a request. You will begin tutoring tonight, after dinner, at seven o’clock sharp.”
I bit my lip, preventing myself from making retorts that I would regret. Tutoring would, in all likelihood, be painful; but not as painful as Turravitch could make my life with a range of cruelly creative detentions.
“Sir, would it at least be possible to know whom I would be tutoring?” I said tersely, still fighting the urge to shout “No, can’t make me!” and run away.
“I think not. It would be best if the student didn’t have the chance to... weasel their way out of it.”
And with that Turravitch bent his head, beginning to write; the sight of only his pointy green hat and tip of his equally pointy nose signalling that the conversation was over.
After having dinner in resigned and bitter silence, my mind too preoccupied with cursing Turravitch to be able to properly engage with my surroundings, I begrudgingly wandered down to the dungeons to have my first meeting with my tutee. I was the polar opposite of excited, Turravitch had made the whole arrangement sound like such a punishment that I was sure I had been landed with a complete dunderhead.
But what met me as I opened the door to the Potions classroom was infinitely worse. Even a student with the brain of flobberworm would be preferable to the person who sat in the front row. His back was turned but his untameable black hair was unmistakeable, and the frame of his glasses glinted in the flickering light of the torches lining the walls.
It was Albus Potter.
A/N: Although I'm sure that ending had an element of predictability, I couldn't resist ;) I hoped you enjoyed this chapter; it's a bit of a filler, but I enjoyed writing more about the Scamanders in particular. Please review if you can, it means a lot. :) And Merry Christmas to you all!
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