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Chapter 2 : The Sixth First Day
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“Thanks!” I say as I eagerly snatch my parchment. I like Flitwick, and he likes me; he even puts up with Clark, so I get the idea that he loves anyone who can perform a Summoning Charm on their first try.
“Care of Magical Creatures first, excellent,” I say, excited. That’s my favorite class; I’ve always been good with animals, especially the magical ones. I even have a gold-and-white cat-like creature known as a kneazle that Clark mockingly calls my ‘familiar’.
“I’ve got Divination,” Clark makes a face. She thinks that class is useless, but suffers through it so she can spend every other year sitting in an incense-filled classroom and daydreaming about her hot centaur professor.
“At least you’ve got Firenze this year,” I point out. He is bound to be better than last year, if the way my friend bitched about Trelawney was any indication.
“I’ve got Potions right before lunch, then free for the rest of the day. You?”
I check my schedule and grin.
“Yep! Defense, then I’m set to go.”
“So meet here after class,” Clark starts.
“Then kitchens for food,” I chime in.
“And the Closet for a picnic,” she finishes with a grin.
With that plan in place, we go our separate ways.
“Jack, wait up!” Serra calls after me as I walk down the path to Hagrid’s cabin. She and Rob, her boyfriend of three years now, run after me hand-in-hand. They are followed by Albus Severus Potter, James’s younger prefect (note that I use that as a four-letter word) brother. I wait patiently for them, determined to solidify our friendship by the end of the year. I don’t want to be completely alone once Clark graduates.
When they reach me I fall into a conversation with Serra and Rob, who share most of my classes. I don’t say so much as a word to Albus. He’s in Slytherin, and he and his two friends absolutely hate Scorpius’s group; you know, the one containing my surrogate brothers.
Guess whose side I’m taking?
It’s ‘cause Scorp and them hang out with Clark and me, so they get into trouble all the time- they don’t have my six years of experience in making up legitimate excuses- and Albus is a goody-good prefect. His besties, Michael Wood and Adam Wagner, are just as prude-y as him, meaning I avoid them all as much as I can.
“Wait, so you have Care of Magical Creatures, Potions, Defense, Transfiguration, Charms, and...”
“Arithmancy and Ancient Runes,” I tell Serra.
“Wow, you got seven OWLs? Good job!” I laugh a bit. In Ravenclaw, seven OWLs is not much to be proud of. Seven Os, however, means I’m a genius even in the genius House.
Not that I’m bragging or anything.
Just stating facts.
“What about you two, and Rose and Ana?”
“Well, all four of us are in Defense, Transfiguration, Charms, and Herbology. Then Rob and I are taking this as well as Potions, Ana’s in Arithmancy and Astronomy, and Rose has got Potions, Ancient Runes and Muggle Studies.” Serra pauses to roll her golden-brown eyes good-naturedly. “Like she needs it. Her mum’s muggle-born! She’s just an overachiever.”
“To be fair, she wants to work with the International Statute of Security, so that class will look good on the application,” Rob mediates.
“But her best friend’s grandmother was Amelia Bones! She doesn’t need anything extra!”
My attention wanders as Serra bickers with her boyfriend; they’re constantly doing this, but they make a cute couple nonetheless. Serra has pale blond hair and sparkling golden eyes, while Rob has golden-brown hair a few shades darker than mine and streaky, and pleasant dark brown eyes. They’re both the same level of attractiveness (both are good-looking, but more likely to be called ‘cute’ than ‘gorgeous’) and Serra’s playful personality well compliments Rob’s calm, friendly one.
“D’you have Defense next?” a mild tenor voice asks me. I turn to Albus, shocked.
Since when did we talk?
Guess I missed the update.
Not sure why he’s asking me this... creeping me out just a little bit...
“Me too. So many people are taking it, Slughorn says they put the Slytherins and Ravenclaws together.”
Fascinating. Now shut up and let me walk in peace.
He does, thank god.
Whoops. I said the Lord’s name in vain again. Guess I’m going to hell.
Out of the corner of my eye, I notice two pairs of footprints mysteriously appearing in the dewey grass. I sigh.
I walk a few more stops, approximating the exact location of the footprints, then all of a sudden I pull out my wand and shoot a nonverbal freezing spell at two o’clock. The footprints halt immediately, and I walk over to where they last were, stretch out a hand, and-
Pull an invisibility cloak off of James Potter and Fred Weasley.
“Free period?” I guess, unfreezing them with a flick of my wand.
“Yeah,” Fred says sheepishly, messing with his dark reddish hair. James glares at his brother and snaps,
“You did a shit job of distracting her, Al.”
“Not my war.” The prefect shrugs and falls into step with Serra and Rob, who barely pay any attention to what’s going on. The whole school is used to our feud now.
“I’ll keep this!” I stuff the invisibility cloak in my robes and grin cheekily at James.
“You can’t! That’s mine! It was my Da’s!”
“Good for you.”
I really don’t care, hun.
“Seriously Winters! Give it!” James snatches for the cloak like a disgruntled eight-year-old, but I lean easily out of reach.
“Make me,” I say, trying to goad him into a duel. Dueling with James is always fun, as he is the only one in the school as serious about it as me. Most people don’t really care that much, but James and I fight to the death. Or the surrender.
But, y’know, same thing.
More or less.
“Cross my heart and hope to die, Jack,” James fixes his hazel eyes on mine and I sigh regretfully. The code phrase means we have to start acting like friends again instead of enemies, even when being enemies is so much more fun.
“Fine,” I say grumpily, throwing the cloak at James’s toned chest.
“Aren’t you going to be late to class?” Fred points down at Hagrid’s cabin, where a small group is already congregated.
“Shit!” I yelp, and start running down the hill. “See you guys later!”
“Hit the road, Jack!”
“And don’t you came back no more!”
Class- an interesting segment on bowtruckles- ends early, leaving me with twenty minutes before I have to run back up to the castle for Defense. I decide to spend the time catching up with Hagrid and Buckbeak.
“Here, Bucky-boy!” The hippogriff, who is currently lounging in the pumpkin patch, looks up when I call. I toss him a dead ferret that Hagrid gave me, and he gracefully snaps it out of the air. He bows to me, and I happily approach and stroke his feathery neck, then turn to Hagrid.
“He missed yeh,” the half-giant grunts. “So did I.”
“Aww shucks,” I pretend to look embarrassed at this unusual display of affection. “You’re making me blush.”
Hagrid lets out a booming laugh.
“And how’s Clark doin’? Gotten any nicer?”
“Age has only served to make her meaner, I’m afraid.”
“Tha’s a shame. ‘S too bad she didn’ take my class.”
I laugh. Hagrid doesn’t much like Clark, but he’ll put up with her because she’s my friend.
“How’re the unicorns doing?” I ask.
“Thrivin’, but Sunny is pinin’ for yeh.”
“Is he close, d’you think?” I look over at the forest, praying for Sunlight to appear suddenly and whicker at me. He is full grown and pure white by now, but I’d first met him as a gold-coated colt, and couldn’t help giving him a corresponding name. He seemed to like it. Like I said before, I have a thing with animals, especially the magical ones.
“Saw ‘im jus’ the other day, but I’d sugges’ comin’ early in the mornin’ to catch ‘im.”
“Yeah, good idea.” I nod vaguely, mentally planning out how I could wake early enough for that.
“Calypso still doin’ well?” Hagrid asks of my kneazle. I smile; he’s always been jealous that the extremely rare creature happened to take a liking to me the first day I went to Diagon Alley. No one had seen a kneazle there before or since, far as I know. But Calypso had tracked me down.
Or so I like to think.
“She’s great, thanks for asking.”
“Come in for a quick cup o’ tea?”
I check my nonexistent watch, shrug, and say,
I’m late for Defense, of course. It was Hagrid who finally noticed that I only had five minutes to get to class, and even though I booked it to the castle, I still wasn’t fast enough.
“Five minutes late, Miss Winters, means five points from Ravenclaw.” Professor Jones doesn’t even look up from her desk as she says this. I’m always late, because I always seem to have Defense at the worst possible time of the day.
“Losing points for your House only an hour into the year? I think that’s a new record, Jack,” Scorpius whispers as I sit down next to him.
Albus Potter, sitting with his friends in front of me, Scorp, and Lars, shoots me a look. I raise an eyebrow, daring him to point out my foul mouth.
“This year, we will be focusing on dueling. Does anyone know why?” Jones spun around suddenly, her sharp eyes surveying the class.
“In case Lord Voldemort comes back from the dead again?” Lars asks lazily. He would.
“Trust me, Mister Ericsson, when I say that he will not be coming back. I was there.”
The class falls silent as we are reminded, once again, of Professor Jones’s origins as a member of the legendary Order of the Phoenix. Okay, so most of our professors had been members or helpers at one point or another, but still.
“Because practical defense is necessary for most jobs, and useful even if your job does not require it.”
Of course Albus fucking Potter would know the answer.
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I hate that kid’s guts.
“Very good, Mister Potter. Five points to Slytherin.”
“Now, one of the most useful spells out there is the shield charm. Who knows the incantation?”
I raise my hand, just to get back the points I lost.
“Good. Five points for Ravenclaw.” She shoots me a knowing look. “The wand movement is a quick flick.” She demonstrates. “Now, everybody pair up and practice. No harmful spells please!”
I turn to Scorp hopefully, but he’s already paired with Lars. He shoots me an apologetic glance, and I look around at the rest of the room desperately. There’s only one person left without a partner.
“I guess it’s you and me, Winters!” he says, too cheerily for my taste. Ugh. I eye him with the distaste I usually reserve for asparagus and especially mousy first years.
“Let’s just get this over with.”
We face off across from each other, and I automatically take control.
“I’ll go first, you just shoot off some harmless spells.”
“Are you sure you don’t want me to go first?” Okay, I’m taking that as a definite insult. Bastard. Thinking I can’t do a simple shield charm without a demonstration. Does he honestly think I would have lasted six years with Clark as my best friend if I couldn’t do one?
Let’s get real here.
“I don’t think so, Potter. Now hex me already.”
“Tarantallegra!” he cries, probably hoping to catch me off balance. No such luck. I flick my wand and perform a non-verbal shield charm with no effort whatsoever. Like I mentioned before, I could do this spell when I was eleven, and it was the first spell I ever did nonverbally, back in fourth year (I was obsessed with learning nonverbal magic all of fourth and fifth years... at least I’m well-prepared for this year, when we are supposed to be learning nonverbal).
“Very nice, Winters. Nonverbal, too! Twenty points to Ravenclaw,” Jones says as she passes by Albus and me. She smiles at me before walking away- she may hate that I’m tardy all the time, but she loves how fast I pick things up.
“Now your turn,” I say to my partner. He is watching me with a thoughtful look on his face, and when I speak he shakes his head and says,
“What? Sorry, I was zoning out.”
“I said it’s your turn.”
I wave my wand and send a freezing charm at Albus. His attempt at a shield wavers in the air for a moment, but shatters when my spell hits it. I mutter the countercurse, then sigh and prepare to go again.
Why do I have the feeling that I’m going to hate Defense this year?
“Jack! There you are, I haven’t seen you all day!” Grant runs up to me in the hallway after class, and swings an arm over my shoulder. Albus pushes between us, muttering an apology.
“Ass,” Grant says under his breath. “Anyways! You and Clark going to join us for lunch?”
“Nah, we’re going to the Closet.”
“For the millionth time, what the hell is the Closet?!”
“For the millionth time, I’m not going to fucking tell you!” I mock, grinning up at my friend. He groans again, louder, throwing his head back. Just about all the girls around us turn to make googly eyes at him and stink eyes at me. I stare them down levelly, daring them to mess with me.
I can be a real bitch if you get on my bad side.
“So how was your first day, Grant?”
“Better now that I get to see you,” he says sweetly, pulling me into a one-armed hug.
“Aww,” I coo, wrapping my arm around his waist. See, this is why everyone thinks we’re a couple. But we’re just friends!
He’s like my brother.
Okay, we’ve made out once, so a slightly incestuous family, but family nonetheless.
“Shove off Foster, the girl’s mine.”
That’s Clark, of course. She’s the only one allowed to get away with calling me ‘hers’.
“Clark, there you are!” I slip out from under Grant’s arm and we exchange good-byes, then I fall into step with my best friend, who’s heading to the kitchen. We always arrange to meet at the Great Hall, but we never (ever) end up actually doing that; we run into each other at some point, and walk down to visit the house-elves together.
By the time I got to Hogwarts and befriended the scary loner-bitch a year older than me, said loner-bitch had already discovered the kitchens. And several secret passages.
The byproduct, Clark liked to say, of having your year-mates hate you.
But it wasn’t until we met each other that our magical powers of mischief and rebellion united to result in the discovery of the most secret place there ever was or ever will be.
Okay, so the house-elves have another name for it, but we called it the Closet the first time we found it, and the name stuck.
“Pete’s my partner in Potions,” Clark blurts suddenly.
“Nice alliteration,” I compliment her.
“Seriously, Jack, I do not know what to do about that boy. I’ve been the biggest bitch I possibly can to him, but guys just find that a turn-on! They think it’s the emotional equivalent of wearing leather underwear and having something unmentionable pierced.”
“See, I don’t get that. They always think the bitchy girls are hot, but they always end up with the goody-goods. How is that fair?”
“Like you would know anything about boys, Jack.”
“Shut it, bitch. You’re the one who made all three of your exes cry.”
“And you’d think that would discourage Peter from liking me. But no!”
“Just wait it out, it’ll stop eventually.”
“I’ve tried that, love. It’s been three years. Three years! And he still has a little-bitch crush on me.”
“Just call him a little bitch to his face. That’ll fix everything.”
Sawyer stops dead in the middle of the hallway and looks at me, raising one perfectly plucked eyebrow.
“I’ve tried that.”
I laugh out loud.
“And he still likes you! God, I’m embarrassed to be his friend right now.”
“Lord’s name in vain! You’re going to hell!”
“Fuck, you’re right!”
I should explain the whole going-to-hell thing. See, my parents hate that I am a witch, because they’re ultra-Catholic. Like, way overboard, taking it much too far. I have five brothers (I’m the fifth child) and none of them are magical, just me... so my parents thought I was being possessed by the devil when I was little, and would show off my magic. Then the letter from Hogwarts came, and my parents called it a devil school, but allowed me to go (I’m pretty sure they were just trying to get rid of me). Then the whole thing with my brother Jacob happened, and things went from tense and hostile to an outright war zone. Every time I cursed, every time I said ‘god’, they would tell me I was going to hell for witchcraft. Last summer I had finally had enough, so I sat them down for an hour and waxed lyrical about how there was absolutely nothing wrong with me.
They kicked me out.
At which point Clark’s family took me in.
There you go, a thirty second recap of my life.
I’m going to hell, aren’t I.
“Wanna tickle the pear?” I ask Clark, waggling a suggestive eyebrow. We’ve reached the entrance to the kitchens.
She stares back at me, dead serious, and says,
“Fine then,” I sigh, and reach out to tickle the pear. It giggles, something I’ve always found extremely creepy, and the door handle appears. Clark opens it and ushers me in side.
“Miss Winters! What can we get for you Miss Winters, and beautiful Miss Carter?” The two of us are immediately bombarded with eager house-elves.
“Got any pizza, Winky?” I ask the freed house-elf supremely in charge of the kitchens.
“Winky made some special for Misses, she knew Misses would be coming today!” The blue-eyed creature totters over and presents us with a large platter of homemade pizza loaded with sausage and basil and dripping with mozzarella cheese. My favorite.
“Thank you so much Winky!” I gush, my whole world improving with just the sight of that pizza. Clark rolls her eyes.
“Yeah. Whatever. We’ll be back tomorrow, Fly-eyes.”
“Winky knows Miss means well by that.”
“Of course Miss does. It’s a term of endearment,” I reassure the house-elf, and push Clark out the door in front of me and the pizza.
“Ow!” she whines.
“No teasing house-elves. We’ve been over this. They’re unfair targets. Save it for the Puffs.”
Clark never listens to me.
We want our secret place, we want our secret place.
“There it is.”
As soon as Clark points out the familiar-looking oaken door, I stop thinking and pacing. I grin at her, full of excitement. This is my favorite part of Hogwarts, my absolute favorite.
Clark throws open the door in her trademark ostentatious way. I walk in more quietly behind her.
The room is a little bit smaller than the average classroom, and two of the walls are covered with overcrowded bookshelves, containing every reference source I could ever hope for, every single book that would make me a better witch. And if I want more, all I have to do was think about it and voila! A book will appear. The third wall, the one opposite the door, is basically a shrine to everything Clark holds dear. Clothes, makeup, magazines, an extensive collection of quidditch gear, you name it. That’s what happens when your mother owns the most successful luxury clothes business in Wizarding Great Britain. You get a little spoiled.
But it’s not all bad.
There is one framed picture of the two of us, our mutual favorite. We’re out on the Hogwarts grounds, right in front of the lake, both smiling widely. It was taken at the beginning of last year; the sun is shining, we both look beautiful, and we’re obviously very happy. After a few seconds of this, though, Clark scowls and walks out of the frame, leaving me to sigh and blow a strand of hair out of my eyes. A second later she returns with a triumphant smile and pushes me out of the frame. This degrades quickly into a full scale photo-whore fight, until our picture-selves flop down on the grass, exhausted. And then we smile again, this time naturally, and stare up at the sky.
That one picture describes us perfectly.
“Come on, pizza girl, stopping staring at yourself and give me the food!”
I snap to and look down at Clark, collapsed on one of the beanbags in the center of the room. I close my eyes briefly and call up a mental picture of a short table we could eat at, as well as napkins.
I set the platter of pizza down on the newly appeared table.
“I brought beverages!” Clark announces as I flop down on the opposite beanbag, and pulls a bottle of Scotch plus one of soda water out of her bag.
“How did you even sneak that in?” I ask incredulously as she calls up some goblets and pours the two of us drinks. She shrugs.
“Easy. They don’t check bags too closely, and they certainly wouldn’t catch alcohol transfigured into dirty socks.”
I laugh out loud; that is the kind of thing Clark would do.
“So how was your first day?” I ask in my most clichéd BFF voice.
“Sucked. Little bitch was following me around all day, not just in Potions, he kept trying to talk to me during Divination, and I’m like just wanting to stare at our hot professor but no! Then in Potions Slughorn went on and on about how important NEWTs are, assigned us a four foot essay and spent the rest of the class fawning over James, ‘cause his da’s so famous.”
Clark takes a decisive bite of pizza and glares off into space.
Alright, so not a good day.
“Like you can complain. I’m paired with Albus for Defense, you know, the one person above all other who annoys the fucking hell out of me, and we have a five foot essay due Wednesday.”
“Please. At least Albus doesn’t stalk you.”
“At least Pete isn’t annoying.”
“Well, not to you.”
I stick out my tongue childishly. Clark laughs.
“You look like crap, by the way,” she adds, looking me up and down with a raised eyebrow. I glance down at myself; my white uniform button down is rumpled, hanging open over a half-tucked black tank, my skirt twisted around and wrinkled, my blue and bronze Ravenclaw tie crooked and dirty. I pat my tangled sandy-blond ponytail gingerly, and pull out a grey Hippogriff feather.
Clark, of course, looks flawless.
“Well, at least I’m not a fucking bitch,” I reply nastily. That’s my comeback to pretty much everything.
Got a T on my Herbology OWL?
At least I’m not a bitch.
Never had a boyfriend and permanently smell like Hippogriff?
Could be worse.
I could be a bitch.
“You totally are, though!” Clark laughs, a smile lighting up her face. I nearly choke on my drink.
My best friend looks at me knowingly, and raises one eyebrow.
“Well, at least not to my friends,” I say meaningfully.
“You know you love me,” she says breezily, knocking back her glass of Scotch. I give her a sloppy, lopsided smile.
“Yeah, I do.”
Clark rolls her eyes.
“Changing the topic, love. What are we going to do to win this war? It ends this year, one way or another.”
“It ends with us winning,” I insist stubbornly. There is no other option.
“Then we need something big. Some huge plan to follow that will guarantee a win for us... any ideas, love?”
“I got nothing. Exploit your friendship?”
I make a face and shake my head regretfully.
“We made a deal so we couldn’t do that when we first started to be friends. It’s out of the question, I’m afraid.”
“Dammit,” Clark mutters, downing her drink.
“I say we close the topic for now, and revisit another day,” I suggest wisely. “It’s time to discuss project SR.”
“Ooh!” My best friend sits bolt upright, eyes going wide with excitement. She’s not exactly friends with Rose, but when I first concocted the plan to get the redhead together with Scorpius, Clark was totally on board. See, Rose had had a thing for our aloof blonde friend forever, but Scorp had no idea. And she wouldn’t let us tell him.
You see the problem.
“I’ve been thinking about this one...” she pauses for dramatic effect. “I think it might be time to combine groups.”
“Into one super-mega group?” I ask sardonically, my voice fake-breathless.
I’m just joking, though. It’s a good idea, one we’ve had for a while.
“You really think this is the time?”
“It’s my last year, love. If we can’t do it now, when can we?” Clark points out. I consider this, then incline my head.
“Those poor Gryffindors have no idea what they’re in for.”
A/N: Favorite character? Favorite part? Any couple/friendship you'd like to see? Write a review and tell me :)
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