Chapter 1 : The War Begins Again
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Anyways, please review and let me know if you like it :)
PS: sorry about all the cursing...
“Jack! Where the fuck have you been, bitch?” I roll my eyes as my best friend, Clark Carlie Carter (her parents must have had a field day naming her) walks up and slings her arm over my shoulders.
“That bit got old two years ago,” I tell her. After all, I live with this girl. I’d literally just seen her two minutes ago, before I’d gone to say hello to my friends in Gryffindor. I’m doing my best to get to know them better this year, because Clark’s going to graduate, and then I’ll be all alone without a best friend. Yes, we’ll still talk every day, but that’s beside the point. Why not make friends in my own house, you ask? Well, Ravenclaws are great, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve alienated pretty much all of them by having the infamous Clark Carter as my best friend.
See, the girl can be a bit of a bitch.
“Shut the fuck up,” the girl says to me nastily.
Okay, a total bitch.
But I’m one of the only people in the whole school who knows to not take her seriously.
“So, ready for seventh year?” I ask her as she drags me away from Rose, Ana, Serra, and Rob and towards the Hogwarts Express. We may have ten minutes before it leaves, but Clark knows I like to get on early.
“We’re gonna kick ass and take names,” she announces, flourishing her hand in the air dramatically. I sigh and shake my head.
“I can’t believe you’re ditching me. Fucking bitch.”
Oh, I should mention. Hanging out with Clark so much means that she’s rubbed off on me. So I curse a lot too, and I can be a bit of a bitch. But only when I’m angry. Or annoyed. Or tired.
“Maybe I should flunk my NEWTs make them hold me back,” she considers. I snort.
“Fat chance.” Clark’s almost as smart as me. And by that I mean that while I may technically be smarter, she’s more well-rounded. And she plays quidditch. I’ve tried that. And failed.
We walk to the back of the train together to claim our usual compartment. Both of us immediately take up our entire benches, leaning against the window. Clark pulls out the latest issue of Witch Weekly, and I produce a huge, complex book all about the abstract theories of magic. I love that shit. It was reading all those books that made me so good at magic to begin with; others may find them boring and pointless, but I’ve perfected the art of gleaning them for relevant information. By relevant I mean anything that will make me better. Already I’ve learned how to invent my own spells, do perfect nonverbal magic, and put an original twist on my potions.
The only bad thing is that these books don’t mention anything about Herbology, Astronomy, or how to stay awake in History of Magic. Hence my failing grades in those classes. But hey, I still have OWLs in Transfiguration, Charms, Defense, Potions, Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, and Care of Magical Creatures.
The thing about me is, I’m either really, really good at something, or really, really, bad. There is no middle ground.
“Heads up, Jack,” Clark nods at the door. Okay, I should explain. My parents didn’t give me a butch name. My full name is Jacqueline Elise Winters, but everyone calls me Jack or Winters. I like both a lot better than Jacqueline.
I look out the window of the compartment and see what Clark is warning me about.
James Sirius Potter.
AKA Clark’s archenemy and my frenemy. Clark and James are in the same year, and have hated each other ever since Clark showed James up in a quidditch match in their second year; Clark, the Ravenclaw Keeper, had blocked all twenty-seven of James’s shots. Yes, Ravenclaw beat Gryffindor two hundred and ninety to zero. Clark is the best Keeper in the school’s history- she is already fielding offers from several pro quidditch teams. She confided in me that she didn’t really want to play quidditch past Hogwarts... she wanted to work with straight magic instead of sports.
And I always countered with the clichéd but effective: don’t you want to be famous? At which point she would fall silent and consider it. Eventually we’d reached the decision that if she got a good enough offer, she’d play for a few years before finding, as she put it, a real job.
Anyways, back to the point.
James and Clark hate each other with a burning, fiery passion. See, after that game James had accused her of cheating, and Clark blew up and cursed him. Then he retaliated, and they were dueling (albeit not very well, they were twelve for the love of god) in the middle of the corridor. Eventually I had to step in and cast a shield charm between them before the teachers saw. Yeah, that’s right, I could do a shield charm in my first year. Suck it. Bitch.
I’m pretty damn awesome, I know.
But moving on.
As Clark’s BFF, I got caught up in the ensuing war, as did Fred Weasley and Marshall Thompson, James’s best mates. Yet somehow in the midst of the jelly-legs jinxes and the chandeliers falling on top of people, I became friends with Fred, Marshall, and James. Not Clark, though. See, she doesn’t befriend people who don’t stand up to her. She’s determined to only surround herself with people as good as herself; and that’s hard, because she’s pretty much the shit.
Her words, not mine.
So anyway, just because I am now friends with our enemies, doesn’t mean the prank war ends. Hence Clark’s heads up.
James glances in our window as he passes, smiles, and waves. I wave and smile back, wand in hand. Clark just glares and flips him off. That is good, though. The time to be scared of Clark Carter is when she has no expression at all. That means she is literally an inch away from murdering you. Like seriously killing you dead.
“So we’ll expect him back later,” I assume, flipping the page in my heavy, ancient book.
“I say we go one step farther,” Clark replies with a mischievous smile. I glance slyly over and shut the book over my finger.
“And what exactly are you suggesting, my friend?”
Exactly two hours later James, Fred and Marshall knock on our sliding door. Exchanging a grin with Clark, I get up and open it.
“The fuck do you want?” I greet them rudely. No time for niceness. This is war.
“Now!” James screams, and the three of them chuck dungbombs at our compartment. Ha, ha. Suckers. The nasty-smelling devices just bounce off the Imperturbable Charm I’d placed at the entryway earlier.
“One step ahead of ya, Potter,” Clark says in a bored voice, now flipping through The Quibbler instead of Witch Weekly. The dungbombs promptly explode on the three boys. They just stand there, stinking and covered in brown muck.
“That’s sure not going to get Ana to go out with you, Marshall,” I say calmly, walking back to my seat, picking up my book, and frowning at a paragraph detailing the exact scientific explanation of where Vanished objects go. To sum it up: into everything. James fumes.
“This isn’t over, Carter. Winters.”
“Potter.” Clark and I say his name in unison and give him identical two-fingered salutes, not even glancing up from our reading material. I wait until I hear three sets of footsteps pad heavily away. Then-
“The score is 57-49 us!” I announce triumphantly. Yes, I am keeping score. But if we fall behind, I will magically forget what it is.
“Take that, shitheads!” Clark gets especially inventive with her language when she’s happy.
“Dance party?” I check.
“Dance party,” she agrees. I take out my iPod that I’ve bewitched to run on magic- as a muggle-born, I had access to muggle technology, at least until I moved in with Clark- and blast the latest one-hit wonder.
We probably look like idiots, dancing wildly to some muggle music most of the people on this train have never heard of. Correction: I probably look like an idiot. Any boy who passes by our compartment is certainly drooling over Clark. Oh, did I not mention? In addition to being smart and sporty, my best friend is also hot. Like, holy-shit-someone-dump-ice-water-on-this-boy-right-now hot. She has an athletic yet somehow still curvy body, skin the color of gourmet milk chocolate- no, not Hershey’s, try Godiva- long, shiny hair that falls in perfect waves to her waist, and liquid brown eyes so dark they’re almost black.
I, on the other hand, am a full three inches shorter than her modelesque 5’10’’ and less curvy, more slim and lean. I started doing karate and boxing when I was six- my brother Jacob’s suggestion, to help control my new magical skills- and going to Hogwarts only caused me to redouble my exercise. My hair is a nice sandy blondish-brown color, and wavy in texture- unfortunately it’s pretty frizzy too, but copious amounts of Sleakeazy’s Hair Potion easily solves that problem. My eyes are pale green and my favorite thing about my appearance; my face is pretty, I guess, but nothing special. It’s okay, though, because I have things better than beauty on my side.
What things, you may ask?
Ha. Like I’m going to tell you.
Anyways, they found us like this, dancing wildly around, laughing and throwing our hands in the air.
“You guys are so weird,” a familiar voice drawls.
“Come on, bitches, dance!” Clark yells over the music as Scorpius Malfoy walks into the room accompanied by his three Slytherin buddies Grant Foster, Lars Ericsson, and Peter Bays. Grant and Peter are in Clark’s year, Lars and Scorpius in mine. We are all good friends, despite how annoying I find Peter’s obsession with Clark. She knows all about it, of course, which is why she does her absolute best to ignore him.
“You going to miss me next year?” Grant yells over the music, grabbing my hand and twirling me around. I laugh. He is my best friend besides Clark; don’t ask me why I like the class above me so much better than my own, I just do, okay?
“Of course I’ll miss you, Grant!” I reply as he dips me and then pulls me up again. Blood rushes from my head, and I go dizzy as black spots fill my vision.
“Woah,” I say, sitting down hard on the bench. Grant sits next to me, laughing. I scrunch my face up at him, though I bear him no ill will for teasing me; he’s practically my brother, the male counterpart of me. He has the same sandy hair, green eyes, and wide smile as me, though he lacks my cold and vicious side, probably because he doesn’t spend the majority of his life around Clark. Instead he gets sensible Scorpius, romantic and intense Peter, and joking Lars. While I’m stuck with the school bitch.
How is that fair?
Kidding, of course. I love my best friend more than anything.
“It’s really not going to be the same without all you guys,” I murmur as I watch my friends dance wildly around, Clark spinning in the center. Grant turns to look at me, his expression a little sad.
“We’ll still talk, though, right? And you and Clark, I mean, I can’t imagine you two not being friends...” he trails off.
“Yeah, of course,” I agree, but I can’t completely fight off the melancholia. “But it’s gonna be different. I’ll only be able to talk to you and Pete, I won’t see you guys as often; and as for Clark, we’ll still be best friends, but she’ll be off being famous, so it just...” I sigh and make a face. “It won’t be the same.”
“Enough with the sad mushy stuff,” Grant insists, standing up. He’s the optimistic one, after all. “Come dance with me.”
I smile almost against my will and take the hand my friend offers me. He pulls me to my feet and assumes a waltz position, despite the fact the a rap song is currently playing.
“You’re right,” I tell him as we sway back and forth- neither of us are very good dancers.
“Excuse me? Could you say that again, please?”
I let go of his hand and punch him in the chest.
“Ow,” he whines, rubbing the spot and looking at me reproachfully. “That hurt, you know.”
“I know.” I smile brightly. See, all that karate training sure does pay off! “It was supposed to.” He sticks out his tongue at me.
“As I was saying,” I continue, ignoring his childish jibe. “You’re right. Enough with the sad mushy stuff. This is our last year together, all six of us, and we should be making the most of it!”
Grant grins, pulling me into a hug.
“Don’t worry,” he says mischievously. “I’ve got great plans for this year.”
“Like what?” I’m immediately suspicious. Grant’s ‘plans’ usually involve setting me up with some guy he swears will be ‘perfect for me’; this despite the hundred-odd times I’ve told him I don’t want a boyfriend.
“You’ll see!” His voice is merry as he pulls me into the circle of our dancing friends. “But rest assured, we will make the most of this year!”
“Finally,” I mutter as the Sorting Hat places ‘Zabini, Patricia’ into Grant’s house. “Took long enough.”
“There sure are a lot of the little rats this year, aren’t there,” Clark comments, glancing sidelong at the new Ravenclaw first-years. I laugh. Rats is an accurate description, though I would have gone with mice. The new ones are all small, squirmy, and grey-looking.
“Apparently this brings another Weasley into the pack, as well,” my best friend continues, nodding at the Gryffindor table, which is about half full of red-haired Weasley children. The youngest one, Roxanne, is newly sorted and darker-looking than the others, with dark reddish-brown hair and golden-brown skin.
“Must be Fred’s sister,” I say vaguely. He’s the only one with skin near the color of hers.
“At least this is the last of the Weasels.” Clark glances at me to make sure, as I’m friends with several of the ‘weasels’ and she, of course, is friends with none. “Right?”
“I think so,” I say doubtfully. “Unless Rose is forgetting a cousin. I wouldn’t put it past her. Those things multiply like crazy. Maybe we should start calling them bunnies.”
Clark’s unladylike snort is interrupted by Headmistress McGonagall’s prim voice.
“Silence, if you please.” Everyone falls quiet immediately. You don’t mess with McGonagall; she’ll mess back, and trust me, that’s never fun.
“Before we eat, I would like to welcome the first-years to our school.” Everyone applauds, and Clark wolf-whistles. McGonagall looks disapprovingly in our general direction, and I smile widely, hoping to blind her with my freshly whitened teeth.
“A few rules, for the new students, and reminders, for the old,” her gaze drifts to us again; Clark and I are notorious for paying absolutely no attention to the rules. “The Forbidden Forest is, as the name suggests, forbidden. There will be no magic in the corridors, and the considerable list of items banned from the school is posted on Mr. Filch’s door.” The wizened old caretaker smiles, showing off yellowed teeth. My lip curls- the man is constantly trying to get Clark and me expelled; in fact, I’m glad his creepy old cat died. Serves him right.
“And please remember,” This time McGonagall most definitely fixes her eyes on Clark. “To treat your peers with the respect they deserve.”
“None,” I fake-cough. My best friend flashes me a knowing grin.
“And with that,” the Headmistress finally concludes. “Let us eat!”
The golden platters in front of us fill with food, and she doesn’t have to tell me twice.
After the feast is over, Clark and I get a jump on the rest of our House and head up to Ravenclaw tower. We’re about to enter a secret passageway concealed beneath a portrait of Livenius Marsh when I hear a voice calling after me.
“Winters! Oi, Winters!”
I spin around to see Marshall Thompson, one of James’s mates and my frenemy, sprinting up to me.
“Can I talk to you?” he pants, and flicks his eyes over to Clark. “Alone?”
I raise an eyebrow but obligingly walk a few steps away. He’s an idiot if he thinks I’m not going to immediately tell Clark whatever he tells me, but there’s no harm in humoring him. I pull out my wand, though, just in case. He could have been sent on a mission, the latest development in Clark and James’s war. Marshall notices when I do this, and eyes me warily; wise of him. I’m quite good at magic.
“This is friend business, not war business,” he says, still fixed on my maple wood wand.
“You have to say it, Thompson.”
“Aww, but I feel so weird saying it.”
“No dice, then.” I start to walk away.
“No, wait! I’ll say it!”
I stop in my tracks and wait, my back still to him, wand held at the ready.
“Cross my heart and hope to die,” Marshall mutters resentfully. I grin and turn around, lowering my wand.
“What’s up, Marshall?”
“You’re a girl, right?” Apparently he’s here to state the obvious.
“No shit I’m a girl.”
“And you’re pretty friendly, right?”
“Jury’s still out on that one.”
“Well, you’re friends with Ana, aren’t you?”
I quirk an eyebrow. This is about Ana, huh? That explains his desperation to talk to me. I’m one of his only connections to the beautiful, untouchable Ana Bones.
“I’m friends with Rose, and Ana’s her best friend, so according to the Transitive Property, Ana and I are friends, yes.” Marshall looks confused. I sigh. “Sorry. I forgot you don’t take Arithmancy. To sum it up, Ana and I are both friends with Rose, meaning we’re friends by extension.”
He just nods, but I get the idea that he still doesn’t get it. Whatever. Marshall isn’t the brightest Crayola in the pack, so to speak. I widen my gold-flecked green eyes, waiting for him to continue.
“Well, do you think you could talk to her for me? Like, put in a good word or something?”
“If you want to ask her out, nut up and ask her out,” I start to walk back over to Clark.
“Please!” Marshall calls after me. I stop, seeing the potential benefits of this.
“I’ll do it.” He starts thanking me incessantly, and I hold up a hand to stop his babbling. “On one condition.” Immediately he shuts up and narrows his dark blue eyes at me.
“You owe me one,” I say meaningfully. He hesitates, then says,
“It can’t have anything to do with the war.”
“Then we have a deal.”
We shake on it. He starts to leave, then pauses and looks back at me.
“Don’t tell anyone, okay?”
“I mean it. Promise?”
“Promise,” I swear, and apparently this satisfies him enough that he fast-walks away.
After Marshall flees, I rejoin Clark and we enter the secret passage, walking quickly so as to claim the best beds in the seventh year dorm (yes, I sleep there, the house-elves always have an extra four-poster for me).
“What was that about?” my best friend asks as we climb a steep spiral staircase a few minutes later. My own voice echoes in my head, promising Marshall I wouldn’t tell anyone what we discussed.
“Marshall wanted me to do something for him.”
“What?” Clark asks.
I tell her.
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