Chapter 4 : Eavesdropping
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The next morning, after getting dressed and going downstairs, Elwynne and I found a big poster hanging in the common room.
Think you're awesome enough to be on the Gryffindor Quidditch team?
Come to Quidditch trials! This Saturday, starting at 8 am. If you are late, you are not allowed to try out.
If you have a question, feel free to approach the awesome captain, James Potter.
The words were framed with red and gold glittery stars. Whoever made the poster (probably James) had made an arts and crafts project out of it.
I scoffed after reading it. If James Potter's head got any bigger, I swear, it'd explode.
Elwynne, on the other hand, gasped in excitement. "Quidditch try-outs! This Friday! I can't wait! Oh, wow, am I nervous... I wonder if Ted ever played Quidditch, I can't believe I never asked him. Maybe he'll have some advice for me..."
I rolled my eyes. "C'mon, El... Let's go eat."
As we walked toward the Great Hall, I realized that today I'd be having my first class without Elwynne: Care of Magical Creatures.
These thoughts were quickly interrupted, however, when I was suddenly pushed to one side of the corridor. I saw James and his friend walk past, obviously the culprits. James looked over his shoulder and smirked.
"Oh, sorry, love," he called as he continued walking away.
"Hey, what's your first class today?" I heard his friend ask.
"I dunno. Care of Magical Creatures, I think," James replied.
Someone, kill me now. Please?
After a breakfast full of Elwynne trying to make eye contact with Ted so she could smile and wave, we went our separate ways: Elwynne to Arithmancy, me to Care of Magical Creatures.
"See you at lunch!" Elwynne called, looking sympathetic.
"See you," I called back miserably.
I walked outside to the little wooden house that sat on the grounds. There were about ten other people; mostly Gryffindors with a few Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws. There were no Slytherins. I began to wonder who would be teaching, when, from out of the forest, came the largest man I'd ever seen. His head was covered in dark, bushy hair and beard, both streaked with gray.
"'Mornin', class," he grunted in a friendly sort of way, "Got a treat for yer firs' day. Used ter do this fer third years, but there was an... er... Inciden'."
He motioned for us to follow before walking into the forest. As I stepped toward the shady trees, a low and menacing voice whispered into my ear.
"Afraid to go into the Forbidden Forest?" it growled.
I jumped a mile before whirling around and coming face to face with James.
"Ugh!" I yelled. I reached down and grabbed a fistful of fallen leaves and threw them at him. He just laughed at me before walking past.
"I really hate you, you know," I said, trotting to catch up to the group.
"Do you, now?" he said, much more amused than offended. His signature smirk was planted on his face.
"Yes, I do!" I spat. "And would you wipe that stupid smirk off your face before I smack it off?"
"Oh, are you going to hit me?" he asked mockingly.
I stepped in front of him and wound back my fist. The smirk fell off his face in half a second.
I grinned, lowering my fist. "Don't test me, Potter."
Leaving him standing there, somewhat slack-jawed, I turned and made to catch up with the group, pleased to have gotten the upper hand over James for once.
The giant man had led us to a clearing, lit with patches of sunlight. As I met back up with the class, the teacher was returning from the forest with a pack of creatures lead by leather leashes. They were weird things, the size of horses, and with the back legs of a horse, but with the face and talons of an eagle.
"Hagrid, what are those things?" I heard James say behind me.
"They're hippogriffs, Jamesie!" responded some Gryffindor girl. She had a smooth, dark complexion and shiny dark hair. She was really pretty, but I could tell by the purr in her voice when she said "Jamesie" that she was extremely annoying.
"Righ' yeh are, Miss Patil! Ten points ter Gryffindor." said the giant man, whose name I assumed was Hagrid (or whatever it was that James had called him).
"They're beautiful," I remarked, turning my attention from the annoying girl and instead to the gleaming feathers on the hippogriffs.
"'Beautiful?' You're joking! They look like they want to rip your arms off!" laughed a Hufflepuff boy. I immediately disliked him, too.
I looked at the hippogriffs' fierce eyes. The creatures weren't evil or menacing; they were just tough and able to fend for themselves. I liked that.
Disregarding what the boy said, Hagrid explained to the class how to approach the creatures and asked for a volunteer. I instantly raised my hand.
"Careful, love," muttered James, "They're even BIGGER than spiders."
Not having heard James, Hagrid waved me over enthusiastically with a big smile peaking through his beard.
"Ok, erm..." he paused, and I could he was trying to think of my name.
"I'm Lexine," I said quickly. "I'm new."
"Righ', righ'!" said Hagrid, looking a bit relieved that he hadn't completely forgotten a student. "Welcome ter 'ogwarts! I suppose I haven' introduced myself. Professor Hagrid." He held out a hand the size of a trash can lid. I shook it the best I could.
"Now, then, bow nice and low to tha' chestnut one, there," he said pushing me in front of the one that had actually been my favorite, with its gleaming orange-y brown coat. I obliged, my long hair falling forward in my bow and hitting the forest floor. Looking up unblinkingly, I saw the beautiful hippogriff lean forward in a hippogriff-ish bow.
"Well done!" said Hagrid encouragingly. "She'll let you pat her now."
Doing poorly to conceal my big smile, I walked forward toward the hippogriff with my hand up. Once I was a mere few feet in front of her, I reached out and patted her beak. She instantly leaned into my touch, closing her gleaming brown eyes. I stroked her soft feathers and heard Hagrid's praise once again.
"Well done, Lexine!" he said proudly. "Now the res' of you, go on and do the same!"
"You're a beauty, aren't you?" I murmured to the hippogriff. "You're not mean and scary. You're just tough, aren't you?"
She leaned into my touch even more. I took this as a yes.
"You know, I think you're my new favorite creature," I told her.
"Are you TALKING to your hippogriff?"
With a groan, I turned my attention to James, who was stroking a sleek black hippogriff with red eyes.
"Shut up, Potter," I snapped.
"Why bother talking to it?" he said, clearly having no intention of shutting up. "It's not like it can understand you."
"I don't know, I think SHE understands me just fine. Don't you?" I asked her.
I swear my hippogriff nodded.
"Lex!" Elwynne called, running into the Great Hall. She fell into the seat next to me at the Gryffindor table and began to pile food onto her plate. "How was Care of Magical Creatures?"
"It was great!" I said after swallowing the food I’d had in my mouth.
"Really? James didn't bother you?" she asked over a mouthful of bread.
"Oh, of course he did. It's JAMES. But I love the professor and the lesson was great!"
"Oh, yeah, most of the students like Hagrid. Really nice and doesn't give out many detentions. As a teacher, he has mixed reviews."
"Really? He might be my favorite so far!"
"That's great! What was the lesson?"
"Hippogriffs," I said, smiling even bigger.
"Oh, yeah, I've heard of those! They sound really cool!"
"Oh, they're amazing, El!" I gushed. "They're beautiful and smart and tough-"
"They sound like you," laughed Elwynne.
"Still talking about the beasts, huh, love?"
I whipped around so fast I knocked over my goblet.
"Potter," I groaned. "Could you just leave me alone for one hour? ONE HOUR. Would that be so hard?"
"I dunno, love, I rather enjoy how annoyed you get," he said with a smirk.
"OH, MY GOD, if you call me 'love' one more time, I really am going to punch you in the face!" I snapped.
We all turn around in a flash to see Lupin standing in front of us.
"Ted!" squealed Elwynne.
"'Ted'?" asked James, seemingly confused why Elwynne was on a first-name basis with Lupin.
"Honestly, James, would you just leave the poor girl alone?" asked Lupin with a chuckle. "I've had to spend time with you my whole life; it can get old after a while."
Elwynne and I laughed but James just rolled his eyes before changing the subject. "Hey, want to have some butterbeers in your office again tonight?"
"Oh," said Elwynne, sounding disappointed. She then looked a little surprised, as though she hadn't meant to say anything out loud.
"What?" asked Lupin.
"Well, I was going to take you up on your offer for a cup of tea in your office tonight," said Elwynne, a blush creeping up her face.
Ted smiled while James looked as confused as ever. "How about Saturday night after dinner?" said Ted.
"Okay," Elwynne said, grinning goofily.
Ted walked away and, after a second of hesitation, James took off to follow him.
"Hang on, El," I said, getting up from the table. "I've got some eavesdropping to do."
I ran out of the hall and saw, just in time, a flash of James' robes go around a corner. I followed and saw James and Lupin halfway down the corridor.
"Ted!" James called. "Ted, wait up!"
Ted stopped and turned around. I crouched against the wall, careful not to make a sound.
"What?" asked Ted.
"What's up with you and Parr?"
"You mean Elwynne? I dunno, I guess we're friends now."
"'I guess?' What do you mean?" asked James, looking suspicious.
"Well, I caught her going past my office the other night after hours. She was sneaking off to the kitchens. Then she invited me to go with her-"
"And you WENT?" interrupted James.
"I was starving!" said Lupin defensively. "That was the night a couple of students broke into the classroom and enchanted everything to fly around, and you know Slughorn's too old to deal with stuff like that. I missed dinner."
Hold on, "broke into?" Dear, dear Teddy, in order for it to be considered "breaking in," you have to actually lock the classroom.
"Ok, so you went to the kitchens together," said James.
"Yeah, we did. And we just talked. She gave me some advice on the teaching assistant thing-"
"Why are you still seeking advice?" snapped James. "I already gave you great advice!"
"James, I am NOT going to buy all the sixth years bottles of firewhiskey to make them like me."
"Damn," muttered James. "What else?"
"We talked about Quidditch-"
"Really? I didn't know Parr was into Quidditch... She's never tried out for the team or anything," said James. Ted shrugged.
"Then I walked her back to her dormitory-"
"How sweet. Did you hold her hand?" said James sarcastically.
Ted frowned. "It wasn't like that."
"Maybe not to you, but it definitely was to Parr," said James. "I've snuck out after hours to the kitchens loads of times. Your office is NOT on the way unless you make it so it is."
"Come off it, James, she probably just... Doesn't do it very often and takes a longer route or something."
"Fine. Live in denial. But Parr definitely fancies you."
"No, she doesn't. She was just being friendly," Ted insisted.
"Friendly? No. Flirty? Yes."
"I can see why that girl wants to punch you in the face," said Ted.
"Eurgh, don't get me started on her," sighed James.
"If you don't like her, why do you keep following her?"
"I'll tell you some other time," said James with an eye roll. "It's all part of a plan."
A plan? What's James planning with me?
I snuck down the corridor back toward the Great Hall, where I rejoined Elwynne.
"Potter's onto us," I groaned.
"What? What do you mean, 'onto us?'"
"I mean, Ted told him about the other night and James instantly assumed you like Ted."
Elwynne's face blanched. "What did Ted say?"
"I don't know, he thinks James is full of it," I said with a shrug.
"That's good... He can't know I fancy him until he fancies me back, or he'll never even consider it."
I was going to ask Elwynne what her plan was if Ted ever did like her back, but decided that maybe I didn't want to know the answer.
Our next class was our second Potions class of the week.
"Hey, I never asked you," I said suddenly on our way to class, "How was Arithmancy?"
"Terrible," she replied solemnly.
"Terrible? I thought you said it was your favorite subject!"
"It was, that's why it was terrible!" she said with a sigh. "I couldn't focus at all because all I could think about was how we had our next class with-"
Elwynne stopped short when we were passed by James, who was walking quickly with his head down and his shoulders tense. We both looked at him in slight awe. Not because of the lack of his usual strut, but because he hadn't taken the opportunity to annoy the hell out of me.
"What do you think is up with him?" said Elwynne in a hushed tone.
"I don't know, and, honestly, I don't really care as long as it gets him to stay away from me." I said.
That wasn't true, though. Something had gotten under the skin of the boy whose skin might as well be dragon hide, and I was going to find out what it was.
"Mr. Lupin!" called Elwynne as we brewed our potions. Slughorn was sitting at his desk, pretending to read but obviously falling asleep. The only thing he said to the class was that Lupin would run class for the day to get some practice in. I had a feeling there would be many days like this. I also had a feeling that it was all to do with Slughorn being lazy and not giving Ted some practice.
"Excuse me a moment, mates," said Lupin as he excused himself from a group of boys who he had been entertaining with a story about who-knows-what. Whatever it was, it must have been pretty funny, because there had been roars of laughter every now and then.
"Need any help?" he asked upon reaching our table.
"No, I just wanted to say 'I told you so,'" said Elwynne with a mischievous grin. "So... I told you so."
Lupin laughed. "Yeah, you did. Thanks for that advice."
Elwynne beamed. James rolled his eyes.
"Will you PLEASE let me go sit over there?" he whined.
"James, I told you, the tables aren't large enough to support more than four cauldrons safely. There's no room for you over there. Maybe if you had just sat with your friends the first day, you'd have a spot. I just feel bad that these girls have to put up with you."
"That's alright, Mr. Lupin," I said. "He hasn't even bothered me once the whole class period."
"Could this day get any worse?" James asked, slamming his head on the table, narrowly missing the rim of his cauldron on the way down.
"What else went wrong?" asked Lupin.
"I'll tell you tonight," James muttered, his face flat against the table.
An idea struck me suddenly as Lupin walked away. I looked at Elwynne, who dropped the small bit from the Extendable Ears in my lap, having the same idea. I grinned at her before "knocking" my silver knife to the floor. Upon stooping to pick it up, I reached and used a Semi-Permanent Sticking Charm (it's similar to Permanent, but the caster of the spell can use another spell to remove it) to stick the bit to James' shoe.
I returned to my seat and smoothed my hair, winking at Elwynne.
"Great minds think alike," she said quietly, grinning widely.
"What?" asked James, looking up from the table.
"Nothing," Elwynne and I said together.
That night, instead of hanging out in the common room with everyone else, Elwynne and I went up to our dormitory. We sat cross-legged on my bed in our pajamas, waiting for voices to sound from the ear, which was sitting on the bed between us.
Right now, we could hear footsteps. James had left the common room already and was on his way to Ted's office.
"Hey, Ted," we heard James' voice say, followed by a closing door.
"Hey, James," said Lupin absentmindedly. I imagined him to be finishing up grading potion samples or something. "Pull up a chair."
A scraping noise indicated that James was indeed pulling up a chair.
After a pause, I heard a drawer open and close and assumed Lupin had put whatever he was working on away.
"Okay," said Ted, "What went wrong today?"
"Travis." James sounded frustrated.
I looked up and gave Elwynne a quizzical look.
"Travis is that boy James is always hanging out with," she said hurriedly.
"Travis?" asked Ted. "I thought he was your best friend?"
"He is!" said James. "Or... was, anyway. He's been different this year."
"Well, you know what the blokes on the Quidditch team are like, with that stupid game of theirs..."
"What, the whole thing where they give each other points for sleeping with girls?"
"Yeah. Well, usually no one makes a big deal about me not participating, but Travis has been on my back about ever since we came back from the summer holiday. He's trying to force me to just stop being a baby about it and just do it this year."
"That's not being a 'baby,'" Ted scoffed. "That's just not being disgusting."
I looked up from the ear and saw Elwynne's face positively glowing in admiration. So, her dear Ted was not a pig...
"That's pretty much what I said," continued James, "but he keeps trying to push me toward all the 'easy' girls and it was already starting to piss me off. Then today, he goes and tells Pritilata Patil that I fancy her and now she won't bleeding leave me alone! I'm amazed I even made it out of the common room to come here!"
"What are you going to do?" asked Ted.
"I think I have a plan," James said. "It's not like I can sleep with Pritilata - she's CRAZY. And I don't want to sleep with someone else just to get Travis off my case... I mean, that's just kind of messed up, isn't it?"
"So what's your plan?"
"This is where Vectis comes in."
I felt my face blanch.
"You mean Lexine?" asked Ted. "What does she-"
There was a sudden pause.
"James?" asked Ted quietly. "What's that on your shoe?"
Elwynne and I looked at each other with panicked expressions.
"That's where you...?" breathed Elwynne.
It just nodded.
"Wait, is that..." we heard James say before a loud scratching noise that indicated that James was poking the bit. "Part of an EXTENDABLE EAR?"
"Someone's spying on us?" asked Ted, sounding more confused than concerned. "Who would be trying to listen in on us?"
There was a pause. "Vectis," James growled.
"Vectis! She's trying to spy on me!"
"Come off it, James, why would she be trying to spy on us?"
"I dunno, but it's her. I know it."
"James, I seriously doubt that. The girl wants nothing to do with you."
"Alright, WHOEVER THIS IS," said James, speaking directly into the bit. "Very clever of you to use a Permanent Sticking Charm. Very clever."
"Actually, it's Semi-Permanent-"
"SHH!" Elwynne hissed at me, listening intently.
James continued. "Unfortunately for you, it was my uncle who invented these damn things, so I know how to disenchant them."
I heard James mutter an incantation but I didn't quite catch what it was, and then there was silence.
"Damn," I said, flopping backwards in my bed.
"What's James planning to do to you?" Elwynne breathed.
"If he's going to try to get me to sleep with him, he's got another thing coming," I said fiercely.
"But he said he doesn't want to try and get another girl to sleep with him," Elwynne pointed out. "But, what else is there?"
"I guess we'll have to wait and see," I said. "But El, if you make the Quidditch team on Saturday, you better watch yourself. Those boys are shady as hell."
AN: Next chapter is more exciting, I promise! Please leave reviews and some constructive criticism! Personally, I'd like to know if you like reading about Lexine's classes or if you'd rather I just stick to her social life. Anyway, thanks for reading, reviewing, and favouriting! Next chapter soon!
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