Chapter 2 : Gambling
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Sophie and Dom.
Beautiful chapter image by visenya.@TDA
I walked up to the stool, and gingerly placed the crumpled hat atop my head, staring at my feet.
"Ah, yes, I remember your mother very well," a small voice rang through my ears. I immediately glanced up to see whether or not others could hear, and the voice chuckled. "Fear nothing, no one but you and I are having this conversation. Your mother was difficult to place, truly difficult, and I sense some affinities for all houses in you as well, though of course that is the situation for everyone who passes under my gaze. Hmm, I think, however, that the best place for you to go is in…"
"RAVENCLAW!" the hat shouted. I took it off and ran over to the blue and bronze table that was clapping wildly, watching as Summer put the hat on as well.
It took as much time to sort her as it did for me, but to my horror, it shouted another word than what it had shouted for me.
So, obviously, I was surprised to see Summer draped over one of the chairs of the Ravenclaw common room, mechanically creating green sparks with her wand.
"Summer, what are you doing here?"
"You have my shoes."
"You," she repeated slowly, "have my shoes. My shoes, the liberty patterned ones, and I'd like them back."
I stared at her disbelievingly. "You broke into our common room for shoes?"
"I didn't break in, your knocker asked me to solve a riddle, and I did, so here I am."
"How did you get here so fast?"
"I walked?" she suggested brightly. "It's not because you're as slow as a fat kid on crutches that I have to be as well."
"Oi," I poked her, "that's not true."
"It is, actually," Sophie laughed. "Just give her shoes back and then we can kick this badger out of here."
Summer looked scandalised. "You're just jealous we kicked your ass in Quidditch."
"That was Slytherin you played against," Sophie argued, "and Ravenclaw is going to beat you to a pulp next month, so get your Beater's ass off its high broom."
I smiled to myself as I went up the stairs to my dorm. Sophie and Summer were constantly arguing about Quidditch, to the extent that I ignored them both before, during, and immediately after games.
As I walked past a door labelled Sixth Years, a feeling of contentment filled me up. The round room hadn't changed since my first night at Hogwarts. The walls were whitewashed, and the floor made of light stone, thin slivers of bronze criss-crossing it in a tangled web.
It had five identical four-postered beds with blue blankets and drapes ordered to face the center of the room, each accompanied by a nightstand made of twisted bronze. The Ravenclaw eagle decorated the foot of each bed, and the hook holding back the curtains was shaped like the talons of said eagle.
A large wooden cupboard loomed at the far end, just to the left of the bathroom, and was threatening to spill all its contents on the floor. If there was any place where I could find Summer's shoes, it would be there.
Annoyed, I sifted through the heap of trainers, heels and boots that covered the bottom of the cupboard, to no extent.
A small flash of light at the back caught my eye.
It was the polished surface of a small wooden box, almost entirely covered in dust, with an intricate engraving in the shape of a winged horse on the front.
I blew on the top, watching the cloud of dust billow away into the depths of the shoe pile, and opened the box. An egg shaped lump of glass was nestled inside, catching the light and brightly sparkling in all directions. I peered forwards to get a better look, intrigued, and found myself looking directly at Fern.
Well, a silvery replicate of her, living inside the glass and that waved at me, nearly making me drop the object I was holding. As I leaned closer, I realised that what I had mistaken for metal were actually memory strands, the type you found in Pensieves.
Even more curious, and slightly worried, I quietly put it back in its place and stuffed the box behind one of Dom's lime green stilettos, before making my way back to Sophie and Summer downstairs, empty-handed.
It was surely important, but I'd find the time to speak to Fern later.
"So?" Summer looked at me expectantly as I walked up to her. People had started trickling into the common room, and I may have trod on a toe or two before reaching my twin.
"Nothing, couldn't find them. Are you sure you didn't leave them at home? Under the sink?"
A frown crossed her face, and she wrinkled her nose. "I'm so stupid."
"You are," I confirmed with a smile. She laughed, and poked me in the side, to which I squeaked and jumped to the side.
"Okay, time to get back to my dorm," Summer unfolded herself out of the armchair. "Are we eating together tomorrow morning?"
"I'm always up ages before you," I reminded her. "I'll sit next to you in Charms."
She nodded her agreement and strolled out the door, through which Dom barged moments later, arm in arm with Louis. She was jabbering away quietly, and the subject of her irritation only became clear as she came to a stop in front of Sophie and me.
"... cannot believe she went on a date with someone else. How dare she do that to dad? How dare she?"
"Dom, calm down," Louis soothed. "Maman and dad have been divorced for three years now, it was only a matter of time before she…"
"I don't care! She's not allowed to start seeing someone else! Dad's not doing it, is he? Is he?" Dom was getting redder and redder by the second.
"Look, I understand you're angry, but really Dominique, what did you expect? Our parents aren't getting back together, no matter how much you hope for it, and you'd better get used to that fact," her brother informed her gently.
"SHUT UP!" Dom shouted. "You're not allowed to say that, you're supposed to be on my side! I thought I could trust you, Louis…"
Without giving Louis a chance to answer, she pulled herself free from his grip and ran up the stairs. Sophie threw me a helpless look, and left after her. We were used to Dom's explosions against her parents after the holidays, and over the years it had become obvious that Sophie was most qualified to deal with them, leaving Louis with me.
I watched Sophie's figure disappear up the stairs, her long, dark hair trailing behind her, before turning back to Louis, who had flopped into a sofa and was now rubbing his eyes dejectedly.
"Don't worry," I sat down next to him. "It'll simmer down, it always does."
"Of course it does," he sighed. "I just wish she'd accept the fact that no matter how hard we try, the Weasley-Delacour couple is over."
"I don't think that's the problem, you know. I think what really annoys her is that she got the information of Fleur dating through you, and not through Fleur herself."
Louis threw his hands up in the air, exasperated. "Well maybe Dom should write to Maman in the first place instead of waiting for her to take the first step!"
"Damn it, Louis, don't get mad at me, I'm not responsible for any of this."
His expression softened, and he ran his fingers through his blond hair. "Sorry, I just hate arguing with Dom…"
"I know that, but I also know it won't last, so stop looking like the receptionist of a funeral parlour."
He grinned, and I rested my head on his shoulder. I'd known Louis for as long as I'd known Dom, who had introduced us on my first week at Hogwarts, and he was like an older brother to me, except that he didn't have red hair.
After a few minutes of comfortable silence, people started trickling in, marking my cue to leave. We exchanged a brief hug, and I made my way up the stairs once more, hoping Sophie had managed to make Dom see sense.
"I'M RUNNING LOW ON AIR, I'M RUNNING LOW ON AIR RIGHT NOW, NEED TO GO UP…" Dom sang loudly, all traces of yesterday's anger forgotten.
I blinked at her from under the covers, watching her swing her blonde hair from side to side as she jumped around the bedroom on one foot, pulling on a sock.
Sophie had her pillow over her head; Isabel Jarvis, another of our roommates, was safe, away from the noise in the bathroom; and Charlotte Nightingale, the last inhabitant of the Ravenclaw dorm and my bed-neighbour, was aiming her pillow at Dom's face.
Dom toppled over as the pillow smacked her in the side, and Charlotte and I burst out laughing, high-fiving each other.
"Not funny," Dom emerged from underneath a mop of hair with a smile that showed she was thinking the exact opposite. "Not funny at all." At that, she proceeded to whack Charlotte repeatedly across the head with her pillow.
"Mercy, mercy," Charlotte shouted playfully. "Mercy, Dom the Great!"
It's a miracle that in the midst of this, we all managed to get down for breakfast on time.
What I really appreciated about the girls I shared a dorm with was the fact that we shared the same ideas about cohabitation. We were all early risers, enjoyed neatness, and knew how to give each other space. Ever since first year, we had a schedule that granted each of us time in the bathroom; and the space in the cupboard was doled out evenly. It was common for us to share shoes, makeup or jewellery – in truth, I considered these four girls like sisters, though Dom, Sophie and I were closer to one another than to Isabel or Charlotte.
This was due to the fact that the latter had practically grown up together, and were joint at the hip. Dom, Sophie and I had been left to mingle together, thus creating tighter links between us.
After a breakfast of pancakes (Dom), bacon and eggs (Isabel), cereal (Charlotte), muffins (me) and fruit salad (Sophie), we made our way to Transfiguration, a class we had with the Gryffindors. We were a little early, and just stood there chatting until Roxanne arrived, her hair creating a frazzled halo around her head.
"If a single other person asks me whether or not Fred has a Hippogriff tattooed on his chest, I will punch them," she huffed, taking an apple out of her bag. "I spent so much time shaking myself free of those idiots I haven't had time for breakfast."
"Next time, tell them it's a Pygmy Puff," Dom laughed. "That's what Ginny used to say when the same question was asked about Harry."
Roxanne grinned with her mouth full, chewed, swallowed and then answered. "I'll have to remember that."
She was halfway through her fruit when Professor Clearwater opened the door to the classroom and let us in with a smile.
"Roxanne, I'll pretend I haven't seen that. Finish it quickly and throw the core away before the others arrive."
She did as she was told, then took a seat next to me, just behind Sophie and Dom. "Do you know what I found out over the holidays?" Her dark eyes were bright with excitement about the news she was about to reveal.
"Tell me," I pressed. Roxanne always had an ear out for gossip, though she shared what she heard with very few people.
"Well, apparently, Professor Clearwater used to date my uncle Percy," she whispered to me, making sure said professor wouldn't overhear.
"You're kidding," I stared at her disbelievingly. "No offence, but your uncle's incredibly dull, while Clearwater is just so…" I glanced up at the woman who was cheerfully ushering all her students inside, with a sing-song voice and wide movements of her arms.
Roxanne nodded enthusiastically. "I know, right? I couldn't believe it either when dad told me, but he showed me a picture, so I think that counts as proof. Clearwater looks like she's got a wand up her arse on that picture, by the way, and Percy looks he's swallowed a very bitter lemon, it's quite funny."
"Right, quiet down everybody!" Professor Clearwater raised her voice over the hub of chattering students. "I hope you all had a nice Christmas holiday, all the gifts you wished for, and plenty of rest, because you'll be needing it. Today, to start off with something fairly simple, you're going to try turning turtles into pillows, and back into turtles again. I'd like you all to come in some kind of order to my desk to take a turtle, while I write the spell and wand movements on the board. Okay?"
Roxanne stood up and came back moments later with a turtle that peered anxiously at us with small, beady eyes.
"So," her eyes skimmed over the board, "the incantation is Wollipeo and you have to make an eight in the air over the turtle. That sounds fairly easy…"
Twenty minutes later, I was pulling my hair out in frustration, completely disagreeing with her statement. "A pillow," I seethed, "is not supposed to have a shell!"
"Maybe your eight isn't regular enough?" Sophie turned around at my exclamation. "It's more of an infinity sign than an eight, actually."
I gritted my teeth and applied Sophie's advice, witnessing with admiration as the ugly reptile in front of me finally turned into a soft, feather-stuffed inanimate object, that looked very comfortable.
"If I were you," Dom informed Roxanne, who had leaned forward to rest her head on it, "I wouldn't do that. Jason Thomas didn't do the spell properly and the pillow tried to bite his ear off."
I gingerly transfigured the turtle back to its original state. "Well, now we won't be tempted."
The rest of the period passed quite quickly, once I was the one watching and not practicing, and soon enough Professor Clearwater clapped her hands together.
"As everybody managed today, I won't be giving you any homework on this spell. However, I'd like you all to read the chapter about the risks of Transfigurating live beings in your textbooks before next time. Class is dismissed."
We traipsed to Charms, where I took a seat next to Summer, and that too flew past at the speed of light. Professor Chang collected our essays, gave out another one, this time on the Reducio spell, then let us out to lunch, leaving us to complain about the homework load.
"It's like she doesn't realise we have other things to do," Summer grumbled as she helped herself to a healthy load of green beans to accompany the chicken and rice that were already piled in her plate. "She makes her subject superior to all the others, it's starting to be a serious pain in the arse."
"You have to admit she's a good teacher though," I countered, stabbing at my steak with my fork. "Her lessons are really well structured and you know what's expected from you."
"Sure, but I still think she doesn't realise the amount of work we put in outside her class."
I nodded my agreement, and we ate in silence until the desserts appeared on the table. We made a simultaneous lunge for the cheesecake, and once we were both happy with a nice slice sitting in our plate, Summer addressed me again.
"We need to start thinking of a birthday present for mum, it's in a bit more than a month."
"Have you got any ideas?"
"Well, Ivy did…" Summer peered down the length of the Hufflepuff table we were sitting at until she spotted the congregation of red hair formed by Molly, Lily and Ivy. Ivy caught her eye, and Summer beckoned her over.
"Yes?" Ivy walked up to us. "Hi, Ton."
"Hey, Veevee," I smiled at her. "Apparently you had an idea for mum's present?"
"Well, Noah seemed to say mum really wanted this handbag from that fancy Italian shop down the road…"
"Elena's? Are you kidding me? My money jumps out of my pocket and hides at the very mention of the place," Summer interjected.
"What if we got Noah or Newton to help, though?" I asked, my mind running at full speed to find a solution. "Do you know exactly how much the bag costs, Ivy?"
"Twelve galleons, I think."
"That makes three galleons each. It's a lot of money, but I think we can make it, right?" I looked at them both. Summer was fiddling with her hair while Ivy seemed rather serene. "I have some money left from my work at Flourish and Blott's last year, Fern has babysitting money, Summer has…"
"I don't have anything left," she interrupted quietly. "I lost it in a bet."
Ivy scowled. "You said you'd stopped betting!"
"I did, this is from before. The only way I can get it back is if Hufflepuff beats Ravenclaw in Quidditch in two weeks time."
"But that's it!" Ivy snapped her fingers excitedly after a minute of deep thought. "Okay. Autumn, how much money do you have precisely?"
"Right, so you are going to bet two galleons. If Ravenclaw wins, you'll have four galleons, plus your original three, which makes seven. If Hufflepuff wins, you'll lose two galleons, but Summer will have gained three. Do you follow my logic?"
"Basically, if Hufflepuff wins, I'll have lost two galleons earned with honest, hard work, and if they lose I'll have to compensate for Summer's stupid gambling habits again?"
"Pretty much," Ivy looked apologetic. "Please, Autumn? For mum? It's not going to work otherwise."
"Fine," I gave in. "But if you," I stuck a threatening finger in front of Summer's face, "start gambling again, you are dead, is that clear?" She nodded, and I smiled at her evilly. "As a punishment, you need to give me your cheesecake."
"No, not the cheesecake!" Summer stuffed the last of it into her mouth. "It'sh mine! Mine! Shtay away from me, or I'll shpit on 'oo!"
Ivy and I exchanged a disgusted, yet amused look, and Summer hastily clamped a hand to her mouth to avoid spraying remains of cheesecake and saliva in an uncontrolled fit of giggles.
It was only then that I realised I had not seen Fern once since we had boarded the train.
A/N: Before this stops making sense, yes, there's a typo in chapter one. The essay on Engorgio was for Professor Chang, not Professor Clearwater. I'll go and edit that immediately, but I wanted to give you guys a new chapter before that.
Also, I do not own the song Low on Air, seeing as it belongs to the band 77 Bombay Street.
NOW, QUESTIONS. What did you think of Louis? Isabel? Charlotte? Summer gambling (tsk tsk)? Turning turtles into pillows? And most importantly, what is the whole shebang about Fern (Sophie knows, Sophie doesn't say)?
I'd like to mention that twelve galleons is roughly 120£, so that's a preeetty nice handbag, if ever you were thinking "ugh twelve galleons what a cheap present why not a noodle necklace?"
Annnd of course, please review if you have the time. I will get down to responding soon enough, but RL just keeps getting in the way, the nasty little bugger.
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