Chapter 1 : I. One
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credit to the wonderful misericorde. @ TDA for this awesome chapter image!
In the course of one lifetime, one would have accomplished numerous tasks, some easier than others and some harder than others.
Cordelia Kensington hated how her efforts to succeed at life were always impeded by she being a teenager. Forced to act like an adult but treated like a child, Cordelia thought every single normal teenager was a hero for the pain they all went through, for the difficulties of staying strong, and for going through their own kind of war: school.
There was nothing harder in Cordelia’s life than to accomplish the task of receive her Hogwarts’ diploma because it seemed as though she couldn’t get through Hogwarts without being overshadowed somehow.
Her older sister, Calista, was the pride and joy of the entire family. Known as a musical prodigy by almost every magical and non-magical person, she received sympathy when she quite literally lost the plot after her ex-boyfriend had dumped her after steadily dating for three years.
Her younger sister, Clarissa, was grown up child whom her entire family doted on. Ever since she found her interest in Quidditch at age six, she had been moulded and trained to become the next world-famous Chaser; the best part was she hadn’t even sat for her O.W.L.s yet.
Cordelia’s entire family life had consisted of being a spectator for the silent but friendly competition between Calista and Clarissa to see who would be the next to accomplish some impossible task and receive recognition.
It wasn’t to say that her sisters and Cordelia had a rocky relationship. In fact, Cordelia felt as comfortable around her sisters as she was around her best friends, if not more so. The days, however, when the three of them could sit in front of the WizTelly and have a nice night in without one of her sisters’ accomplishments being the talk of the week were gone.
As Cordelia readied herself for her first day of Seventh Year, she hoped that this year would prove differently. She will find a way to receive excellent scores in her classes this year, stand out positively for her family and peers to notice, and somehow find a boyfriend.
“Ready to take on the world?” one of her best friend, Ophelia Tate, asked their dorm room at large as she patted down the non-existent stray auburn hairs in front of the full-length mirror.
Juliet Steele, another one of Cordelia’s best friends, snorted rather unladylike and replied, “Only if the world doesn’t consist of petty and immature Hogwarts students.”
“I’d hate for you to be disappointed.” Cordelia grinned. Juliet wasn’t known for her positivity towards a select few of their Hogwarts peers. Despite that, however, she somehow managed to gain a reputation of one of the kindest witches at Hogwarts.
“I will be need to be checked into St. Mungo’s insanity ward the day that I have any expectations for people at this school,” Juliet sighed sarcastically despondent.
Ophelia, turning away from the mirror, ignored Juliet’s sarcasm and said, “How you’re a Hufflepuff when you’re so negative is positively beyond me.”
“Ophelia, I don’t think you’re much better than Juliet. The two of you have as much positivity towards Hogwarts as the non-existent school spirit that Beauxbatons students would have for Hogwarts.” Cordelia told her friends, feeling slightly miffed.
As much as Cordelia loved her friends, it didn’t seem that they could go through a first-day-of-classes without the topic of how the amount of decent people at Hogwarts is extremely lacklustre.
“All this talk of having no positivity!” Juliet moaned as the three of us made our way towards the Great Hall for breakfast. “I think we should focus on something that we can actually be positive about: breakfast. I have seriously missed Hogwarts’ breakfast.”
“Yes, because your day at home during the summers always begin at two o’clock,” Ophelia snickered as we smelled the wonderful aroma of our breakfast.
Nudging Ophelia playfully, Cordelia said in a false indignant tone, “There’s nothing wrong with beginning one’s day in the afternoon during the summer.”
“It is when I’m up for nearly five hours before the two of you finally are ready to go out and see the world when we try to meet up,” Ophelia complained, flipping her hair behind her back before tackling her eggs.
Juliet shrugged. “There’s something called beauty sleep that you’re obviously not aware of.”
Cordelia choked into her oatmeal; she tried in vain to suppress the laughter that was determined to sneak out of her lungs. Saying Ophelia doesn’t know beauty is like saying Voldemort didn’t know Dark Arts. Juliet and Cordelia had long been convinced that Ophelia lived for beauty.
Breakfast was a relatively quiet affair until the Gryffindor table started filling up.
Cordelia felt no aversions towards the Gryffindor House, since her own father and two sisters were sorted into Gryffindor. However, it didn’t mean that Cordelia didn’t feel irked seeing her Gryffindor schoolmates acted extremely arrogant.
For example, Calista, having graduated last year, couldn’t get along with Dominique Weasley with whom she happened to share a dorm with. Though Callie liked to claim that Dominique Weasley was a self-obsessed bitch, Cordelia couldn’t help but find a lot of similarities between her older sister and Dominique Weasley.
Laura and Kim, Callie’s best friends, had given Cordelia the inside details that most of Callie and Dominique’s arguments started with bathroom usage time.
Cordelia wouldn’t be surprised if Callie had announced that Dominique and she were long-lost twins.
Another one of Cordelia’s problems was Clarissa when she was around her friends, one of them being Lily Potter. Clara liked to think that she could do whenever she wanted when she and Lily Potter were up to one of their schemes to rule Hogwarts.
Paired with Clara and Lily Potter’s other best friend, Ingrid Talcott, the three of them loved to win the hearts of some innocent boy, break up with them, and cause mass hysteria whenever yet another girl’s heart was broken because she had her eyes set on the said-boy since dinosaurs began to roam the Earth.
Cordelia was sure that if she actually knew Dominique Weasley and Lily Potter, then she would think they were lovely people who were just a tad misunderstood by the public eye.
Seeing as all Cordelia knew was of the Gryffindors’ tendencies to take up all the attention, she felt extremely irritated when the Gryffindor Quidditch team and their miscellaneous friends piled into the Great Hall, laughing and joking like it was just another day.
Oblivious to Cordelia’s irritation, Ophelia pondered, “Do you think we’ll have a chance at beating the Gryffindors this year?”
“Not likely. What makes you think that?” Juliet asked, raising her eyebrows before she took a huge bit of her toast.
“Well, James Potter is gone, and so are the Weasley twins. I figured that Gryffindor without their star Chaser and their formidable Beaters probably are going to be vulnerable” Ophelia reasoned rather brightly for someone who never liked Quidditch too much.
Out of the three friends, Cordelia was quite certain Ophelia had only watched Quidditch out of necessity. The lack of support sometimes shown by their fellow Hufflepuffs at Quidditch matches was something that she always tried to mend.
Cordelia raised an eyebrow at Ophelia. “I think you forget the fact that Albus Potter is the new Captain. I’m highly unconvinced that Albus Potter will not try to continue in his brother’s footsteps.”
Ophelia exclaimed rather dramatically, “How’d you know Potter’s the new captain?”
“Because my father was convinced that Clara should have made Captain instead. Why he thinks that is beyond my abilities to fathom when she’s only a Fifth Year, and Potter’s a Seventh Year,” Cordelia answered dryly.
She supposed that after all these years her friends must know that she knew everything that had to do with the Gryffindor Quidditch Team. How Ophelia had found her revelation to be surprising made her more disappointed than she could explain.
“Who is our new Captain? I rather liked Joshua Applebee,” Ophelia commented as she finished up her breakfast. “He was always so kind to us in the hallways.”
After a bit of thinking, Juliet answered, “I think I heard some Sixth Years saying that it is Marion Ross. But then someone thought it was Colin Monroe.”
“I hope it’s Ross. Monroe’s too much of a loose cannon, and the other choice would be Lorcan Scamander, but Scamander’s too nice to for the team to be competitive,” Cordelia pondered, absentmindedly thinking of how wonderful it would be if Hufflepuff could beat Gryffindor this year at Quidditch.
Marion Ross was a Sixth Year who had stolen the show last year when she helped the team nearly beat Ravenclaw after being 80 points behind. Cordelia still remembered Joshua Applebee’s crushing disappointment when she’d been out for the second term after a rather horrible hit to the shoulders by a Bludger against Gryffindor.
Juliet sighed as she started scrap her bread crumbs back into her plate, “I remember when Ross was incapacitated. It was embarrassing last year when Slytherin creamed us after she was out.”
“Maybe if Miss Kensington here decides to try out for the Quidditch team, we can have a decent shot at winning the Cup,” said a soft, tinkling voice behind them.
Turning around, Cordelia resisted the urge to roll her eyes as she saw their Head of House standing with their schedules. “Professor Bones, I don’t know why you keep think that I can possibly help out the Quidditch team. I’m hopeless at Quidditch.”
“That is certainly not what I hear,” Professor Bones smiled at us. Cordelia’s favourite professor at Hogwarts was, without a doubt, Professor Bones.
A petition had started several years ago for History of Magic to be revised when Professor Longbottom, the current Deputy Headmaster, had been forced to explain to a group of third years why there was a memorial hall dedicated to the fallen ones from the First and Seconding Wizarding War.
Professor Bones had been recruited to teach History of Magic, not only due to her background, but also due to her personal experience in the Second Wizarding War.
Cordelia had heard the rumours from her own parents of when Professor Binns taught History of Magic; the endless droning of Goblin wars still haunted her and made Cordelia extremely thankful for Professor Bones.
Professor Bones was a soft-spoken teacher who could be extremely stern when dealing with the Potters and Weasleys and other students who thought they were exempt from paying attention or doing work because of whom they were related to.
“I think that you overestimate your students, Professor,” Cordelia replied cordially with a smile.
“Better to have encouragement than to receive constant negativity,” Professor Bones said as she handed each of the girls their own schedule. “Good luck this year, girls. I’m afraid there is not much change to your schedules.”
Cordelia examined her own schedule after thanking Professor Bones. She was delighted to find her free periods were in significantly more favourable times.
“A free period after break, and another after lunch,” Cordelia declared happily.
“I have a free period now, and one after lunch. I wish I had one after break,” Juliet reflected sadly, looking at her Arithmancy class after break.
Ophelia glanced over at Juliet’s schedule and snorted. “Pity you for continuing Arithmancy. I think I made the right choice to drop Arithmancy and Ancient Runes.”
“Why aren’t you continuing Runes with me?” Cordelia exclaimed worriedly. “Who will be my partner for the translation projects?”
Ophelia waved a dismissive hand. “You’ll be fine. I heard that we don’t do many projects Seventh Year anyways. My mum didn’t think that my grades were too good, and gave me permission to drop Arithmancy and Ancient Runes. She said I should focus on my core classes.”
Cordelia let out a noise of annoyance, though in the back of her mind she knew it wasn’t Ophelia’s fault, and that the decision had a lot of merit.
There was wisdom Mrs. Tate’s advice to for Ophelia to drop her extracurricular classes. Ophelia had struggled with the workload last year. Cordelia waved her friends off sadly with this thought in mind as she headed to Ancient Runes alone.
Ancient Runes with Professor Babbling started off as the usual. It was a familiar speech that she had heard in all of her classes during their O.W.L. year.
“And as per usual, we will be starting with our usual translation projects,” Professor Babbling said in the last ten minutes of class. “Please raise your hand if you wish to complete the project individually. Remember that there cannot be groups of three. Only partners of two are permitted.”
Cordelia raised her hand along with a select few of her other classmates. Though she dreaded thinking of all the work she had to do, Ophelia was a far more reliable project partner than several of her other classmates.
Professor Babbling took down the names of the ones working individually, and the ones who wished to work together. She had approved of all but one.
“Mr. Potter, you cannot be Miss Weasley’s partner,” Professor Babbling disapproved immediately. Cordelia and all of her other classmates turned in their seat to watch what was happening. It was almost impossible to keep Hogwarts from spreading rumours and light gossip.
Albus Potter, who was seated next to Rose Weasley, started protesting furiously. “Professor, that’s unfair. Why can’t Rose be my partner?”
“Because, Mr. Potter, your individual grade in Ancient Runes at the end of last term was sorely lacking as compared to Miss Weasley’s. I do not doubt that last year’s project was entirely done by Miss Weasley without your input,” Professor Babbling said sternly, peering down at them with her reading glasses.
Cordelia resisted the urge to snort. Clarissa had received countless detentions previously for not completely her homework, until she managed to rope Lily Potter into doing her homework.
Rose Weasley glanced at Albus in an almost ‘I-told-you-so’ way before turning to Professor Babbling with a sweet smile, “Professor, I’m sure that Albus and I are perfectly capable of working separately.”
Albus Potter started to protest, until Rose jabbed him in the side, shutting him up.
Professor Babbling scrutinized the pair for a long time and consulted her notes several times before answering, “Miss Weasley, I expect that I can trust you to complete your own work. As for you, Mr. Potter, I’m not quite sure that I approve of you working solo.”
“Professor, I can definitely do my own work,” Potter tried to reassure Professor Babbling without fail.
Cordelia felt extremely irritated as she began to pack up her books, parchment, quill, and ink. Potter and Weasley were holding up the entire class. She didn’t want to be late for her next class.
Cordelia was snapped out of her reverie when Professor Babbling suddenly called, “Miss Kensington!”
Looking up, a crease of confusion crept up on Cordelia’s face as she replied, “Yes, Professor?”
“You and Miss Tate had been wonderful partners before, working together with a clear sense of integrity,” Professor Babbling complimented. Cordelia blushed as Professor Babbling continued, “Will you work with Mr. Potter to ensure that he does his own work?”
Cordelia’s face fell as she processed what she was being asked. She didn’t fancy the prospect of having to actually work together with Albus Potter of all people. After all, Cordelia was still a Hufflepuff who preferred the comforts of her own friends within her own, friendly House.
Professor Babbling’s expecting face, however, told Cordelia it would be a far better idea to remain in the professor’s good books. If she could cure Albus Potter of his desire to take the easy way out of doing homework, then all the better, she supposed.
It was with great reluctance that Cordelia accepted Professor Babbling’s proposal. She felt extremely uncomfortable as she met Albus Potter’s green eyes and wondered how she was supposed to finish this term with Albus Potter as a partner.
As Cordelia departed for her next class, she couldn’t help but feel extremely dissatisfied. This year wasn’t going at all the way she planned, and she had only finished with her first class.
Cordelia wasn’t sure whether Potter was going to show up as she sat in the library three days later, waiting for him. Her expectations for this project weren’t high.
As she waited, Cordelia started to unpack her textbook, notes, parchment, quill, and ink.
She looked up to see Albus Potter, startled. She was fairly sure that this was the first time the two of them had spoken a word to each other. She hadn’t even been sure that he knew her name.
“Potter,” Cordelia acknowledged with a nod of her head.
Albus started unpacking his own textbook, glancing at Cordelia every now and then. Feeling extremely uncomfortable with the entire situation, Cordelia started flipping through her notes.
“You remind me of your sister,” Albus said casually, peering at her with his startling emerald green eyes. Almost every single girl who knew Albus Potter loved his eyes.
“Which one?” Cordelia asked, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ears.
“Your older sister, Calista. She was in the same year as my brother James,” Albus said again, most likely in an attempt to make small talk as he got out his own set of notes.
She glanced at them briefly, wondering whether he copied those by himself or whether he had copied them from Rose Weasley. “I often hear that. I think it’s only the hair. Clara’s blonde hair confuses people since the rest of our family has brown hair.”
“Do you play Quidditch too, like Clara?” Albus asked inquisitively, leaning back against his chair looking completely at ease.
Cordelia felt uncomfortable with the way Potter tried to find similarities between herself and her sisters. It seemed like everything she feared was coming true all at once.
“I used to. Not too much these days,” Cordelia answered briefly before steering the conversation towards their project. “I was thinking that we can translate a story because that way, we are allowed to paraphrase the translation.”
“That’s a good idea. That’s what Rose usually did to lessen the work,” Albus agreed, running his hands through his messy black hair. He looked at her expectantly.
Cordelia bit her lip. She had quite hoped that he would take the reins, seeing as how Professor Babbling wanted her to help Potter, not the other way around. “Do you have a story in mind?”
Taking the hint, Albus nodded and pulled out another book from his book bag. The Tales of Beedle Bard. “I was thinking we can do one of these, like the Tale of the Three Brothers.”
She nodded, thinking intently. The stories were certainly shorter, but long enough to fit the requirement. The more elementary words would certainly make their task easier.
“Alright. I think that is a good idea. Do you have one of the stories that you like?” Cordelia asked after a long moment of pondering.
“Well, I suggested that we did the Tales. Why don’t you pick a story in it that you like?” Albus offered rather chivalrously. He slid the book across the table to her as a gesture of his offer.
Cordelia blinked, finding herself surprised that he would let her choose. She had figured that he might as well have just chosen the story, but she appreciated the gesture all the same. Noting the sincerity in his eyes, Cordelia picked up the book and started flipping through.
“The Fountain of Fair Fortune,” she picked, setting the book down between them. “The story is one of my favourites.”
Albus nodded in agreement before asking, “How shall we divide up the work?”
The feeling of being asked what to do was entirely new for Cordelia. Usually, Ophelia and she had a very effective system. Then again, the both of them did share a dorm room and were best friends. Cordelia replied, “Uhm… how did you usually divide up the work?”
Albus waved a dismissive hand. “Rose did all the work. I just participated in part when we have to write a list of the new Runes that we’ve learned.”
Cordelia couldn’t help but admire Professor Babbling’s ability to perceive that Rose Weasley was indeed the only one who put in any effort in translation. “Well, how about we work on just paraphrasing the story first? Because it’ll take us ages to translate the whole thing.”
“That sounds good. Do you want to take that, or do you want me to?” Albus asked with ease. Cordelia found that his green eyes were even more intimidating when they were staring straight at her.
She wasn’t sure whether she trusted Potter enough to let him do the paraphrasing. If done correctly, they might would potentially be able to receive bonus points for translating some Runes they would have to use. However, the point of doing a project was to do it with a partner.
“Why don’t you go ahead and take that? I’ll work on finding the Runes,” Cordelia suggested, deciding to take a leap of faith and trust in Potter. If she wanted to make her seventh year a success, then she would have to be spontaneous and take leaps of faith.
Albus nodded, not at all deterred by the fact that he had to do work. “I’ll let you know when I have finished.”
Cordelia nodded silently, unsure of how to proceed. She was sure they would be able to get this done with minimal contact between the pair of them, but how could she ensure that Potter was actually doing his part? It wouldn’t take long to paraphrase, but Cordelia sorely hoped that he would be smart and pick words to help them receive bonus points.
Once again, Cordelia pushed the negative thoughts out of her mind and reminded herself the point of working with a partner. Professor Babbling might had done her a favour by putting her with Albus Potter, someone she was entirely uncomfortable with.
Cordelia was ready to ask Albus whether he wanted to work on the project together at this moment when Albus suddenly glanced at his watch and began hastily packing up his belongings.
“Shall we work on it together right now, or at a later time?” she asked unsurely, feeling lame.
In an almost apologetic manner, he said, “I’m sorry, but I’ve got to go. Some Quidditch stuff I have to see to. I’ll tell your sister you said hi.”
“Yes, please do,” Cordelia murmured quietly, watching Albus pack. When he waved goodbye to her and promptly left the library, she couldn’t help but feel that Albus was exactly as she feared.
Albus Potter could be her salvation this year, if he didn’t end up being her doom first.
Author's Note: Hello! This plot bunny has been at the forefront of all of my inspiration when it comes to writing, so I hope you all enjoyed this first chapter!
What role do you think Albus will play in Cordelia's last year at Hogwarts? What do you think of Cordelia's goal in general? Please leave me any thoughts you have in a review!
Thanks so much for reading! xoxo, Claire
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