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Chapter 4 : Complication #4
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Complication #4: Even the most innocent of situations can make people talk.
Last time: Abigail tried to break up an argument (and failed… miserably) and made amends with Blaise, and the truth was somewhat stretched.
I’d had a feeling Potter and Weasley would get revenge for what happened at the Leaky Cauldron – I hadn’t, however, expected it to happen so soon.
McGonagall has just finished her annual spiel about why going into the Forbidden Forest is a ridiculous idea and other things like that, and the food has only just appeared on the table, when I notice something odd happening to the ends of Scarlett’s hair.
They’re turning red.
And not like Brooke’s auburn colour or that bright ginger that half the Weasley kids have – no, this is a bright and true red.
It’s not just Scarlett’s hair either; Brooke’s is turning green and Caroline’s is going blue.
I’m too shocked to say anything at first, but as a gradual commotion sweeps across the Great Hall, I finally stutter, “You-your hair.”
Caroline cocks her head, confused. “What are you talking about?”
Before I have the chance to explain, some scrawny Hufflepuff kid with a squeaky prepubescent voice stands up and shouts, “Oh my Godric, look at the Royals! Look at their hair!”
In an instant, the Great Hall picks up into a flurry of craziness, as everyone tries to see our new crayon-coloured hair.
As Scarlett, Brooke, and Caroline all react, I look at my own hair to see what colour I’ve been cursed with.
But it’s brown. Rather than having turned some flashy colour like it has for the other Royals, my hair is the exact same chestnut colour it’s always been.
What on earth?
“What in the name of Merlin am I supposed to do about this?” Scarlett moans, studying the red hair that aptly fits her name. I almost want to giggle to myself at the humourous connection I’ve made in my own head, but I don’t dare, given the climate of the situation.
I don’t even know how to react – why haven’t I been pranked as well? Did Potter make a mistake with his spellwork? Surely I’d be the first he’d target, given his well-known hatred of me. I sit there dumbfounded, watching as the rest of the Royals stroke their hair concernedly.
Brooke’s the first to notice. “Wait, Abigail, how come your hair hasn’t changed at all?”
I begin to say something along the lines of “I have no idea,” but I’m interrupted by the loud cry of “QUIET!”
The Hall lapses into silence as everyone turns to look at McGonagall, who has stood up from her place at the teachers’ table. She’s never been one to get visibly angry, but the look on her face is enough to send even the bravest Gryffindor running away in fear.
She doesn’t even need to ask who’s responsible – Potter and Weasley have all but fallen out of their seat from laughing so hard. Dolts.
“James Potter and Frederick Weasley, detention!” McGonagall says sternly. “And 20 points from Gryffindor – congratulations for starting your House out in the negative numbers.”
The two boys stop laughing, but they’re still grinning to each other like idiots.
I feel a smirk creep onto my face – at least they got caught for their absurd behaviour, even if they don’t feel guilty about it. McGonagall flicks her wand in our direction, and suddenly Scarlett, Brooke, and Caroline have their natural hair colours again.
“Now please,” our Headmistress announces, “let’s try to make it through the first few hours of being here without causing any more ridiculous antics. I hardly think Gryffindor House can start off any lower, those poor hourglasses must be so confused.”
A snicker goes across the Great Hall, and everyone turns back to the piles of food on the tables that had been neglected in all of the drama.
I lightly stab my fork into the steak and kidney pie on my plate, but I’ve all but lost my appetite. Why would Potter and Weasley go with such a lackluster, juvenile prank, and why would they exclude me?
After dinner finishes, Scarlett, Brooke, Caroline, and I are the first out the door. I almost want to stay and watch Dominique Weasley and her little brother, whatever his name is, wrangle with the first years in the attempt to get them all to Ravenclaw Tower… that’s always a sight to be seen. I thank Merlin that I’m not a Prefect – the job looks horrible.
Upon arriving to the seventh year girls’ dorm, I make short work of changing out of the uncomfortable Hogwarts uniform and into a silky slip and my dressing robe. Quickly, the girls all find themselves sitting on my bed; it’s a little small for four seventeen-year-olds, but our weekly Girl Talk sessions have taken place on my bed since first year.
There’s a bit of silence, until finally Brooke speaks. “So, what the hell was with the Fits’ prank? Wasn’t that a little lame by their standards? I mean, Weasley’s dad owns a whole joke shop.”
I leant back onto my headboard – I didn’t really want to contribute to this conversation lest my exclusion from the prank be brought up. I had no idea how to react to that, much less try to explain anything to anyone else.
Scarlett shrugged. “I don’t know – I mean, I figured they’d try to get back at us for having the last word at the pub and all, but I was expecting something a little more… significant?”
“Maybe it’s a way to lull us into a false sense of security?” Caroline adds. “I mean, dye our hair weird colours and make us think that’s it, and then come back with something big when we’re not expecting it?”
“I guess,” Scarlett replies. “Speaking of things we’re not expecting, why didn’t Potter go after you, Abigail? I mean, no offense, but out of all of us, you’re the one he hates the most.”
My thoughts drift back to the train ride – he didn’t seem to hate me quite so much then. Of course, I’d also been in an overemotional delusion, so that might have messed with my perception a bit. I shake my head quickly, as if the physical motion will actually erase the thoughts from my mind.
“I honestly don’t know,” I say, tucking my hair behind my ear. “I mean, I’m the one who Langlock-ed him at the pub, so I should’ve been the one he went after, really.”
The door to the dormitory opens, and in walks Dominique, platinum blonde ponytail awry on top of her head and bearing an expression of someone who’s just gone through an exhausting ordeal.
Brooke quickly shuts the curtains, casting a Silencing charm on the surrounding area.
I don’t hate Dominique, but she’s definitely not Royals material either. Despite being one-eighth Veela and perfectly capable of looking gorgeous, she chooses to spend her time playing Quidditch and doing Prefect duties. Her wardrobe consists of little more than jeans, hoodies, and Quidditch T-shirts. Oh, and we can’t forget that she’s related to both Potter and Weasley.
It’s a shame, really. She’d make a perfect fifth member.
Girl Talk continues uneventfully, and eventually the girls leave my bed in order to go to their own – we do have classes tomorrow, after all.
I’m flipping through a battered copy of The Scarlet Letter when I hear the sound of something tapping on glass. I push myself off the bed and over to the window, where I see a brown owl waiting expectantly.
I open the window, letting in the bird, who drops a letter on the ledge and flies back out the window without so much as a hoot.
The envelope is addressed to me, and I recognise the familiar handwriting almost instantly.
I was hoping to have at least until breakfast tomorrow to deal with this. I roll my eyes and open the letter, examining its contents by wandlight.
Hello Abigail dearest,
I want to apologise for your father’s awful behaviour at the platform today. Can you believe his nerve? He has absolutely no class at all, bringing that floozy around with him. See, darling, this is why I don’t like you spending time there; he’s such a horrible influence. We can’t have you picking up his traits, now can we?
I hope you have a lovely year.
I seethe to myself – of course my mother thinks it fitting to blame the whole scene on my father. If I remember correctly, she played quite a role in the situation herself. But that’s just how my parents work; they’re never to blame, and it’s always the other person’s fault.
Frustrated, I crumple up the paper and throw it across the room into the wastebasket. There’s a distinct sense of satisfaction as I watch it fall into the bin, softly thunking as it lands at the bottom.
“That’s surprisingly good aim for someone who claims to hate sports with a burning passion.”
The voice makes me jump, and I wheel around to see a smirking Dominique, sitting on her bed with a book in her lap.
“Yeah, well, I guess I just come by it naturally,” I reply, before crawling into my bed and shutting the curtains.
I don’t dare mention that I get the practice every time I get one of these letters.
By the time I get down to breakfast in the morning, I’ve already been approached by three different groups of people, all wanting to know if I’m suddenly in leagues with Potter and Weasley.
I wouldn’t ever be in leagues with those two – unless maybe hell froze over.
Maybe not even then.
I’ve hardly sat down at the table next to Caroline when someone taps on my shoulder.
I whip my head around, only to be faced with Madeleine Finch-Fletchley, a Ravenclaw fifth year with a horrible habit of twirling her hair around her finger at all times.
“Can I help you?” I ask sharply, adjusting my Ravenclaw-coloured headband. It’s not technically part of the uniform, but it’s my special touch – I’ve got to make robes look good somehow.
“Well,” she replies, reaching for the ends of her hair, “um, Amy wanted me to ask you if you’re, you know, friends with the Fits now.”
Make that four.
“Next time, tell Amy she can ask me herself,” I snap, glaring briefly at the brunette girl who’s watching the conversation intently from down the table.
I start speaking again before Madeleine has a chance to reply. “But for your information, I’ll be friends with those halfwits about the same time I start flying around on a broom.” I pause for emphasis. “Rough translation: never.”
Madeleine’s face is significantly paler and her hair is twirled so tightly around her finger that I fear she’ll pull it out of her head. She only nods before scurrying down the table to where Amy is sitting.
Potter may call me a bitch, and I may deserve the title, but you can’t deny that I’m pretty good at it.
I turn back to the girls, groaning. “Why on earth has everyone and their mother suddenly decided I’m plotting with Potter and his band of morons?”
Brooke shrugs. Real helpful, darling.
“I don’t know, but I can’t imagine Blaise would be altogether pleased with your new friend,” Scarlett replies, smiling devilishly.
I pull my wand out, pointing it at her. “Now, do you really want to become a redhead again?” I try to keep a serious face, but I end up smirking by the end of my sentence.
Scarlett makes a face. “Eugh, no!”
“Oi,” Brooke says, entering the conversation. “What do you have against redheads?”
“Nothing at all,” Scarlett shoots back, grinning again. “They’re just so… ginger!”
“As long as you don’t start calling me soulless…” Brooke replies, trying – and failing – to hide her laughter.
“Nah,” Caroline pipes in, “that title’s reserved for Weasley.”
Before I know it, we’re all laughing like crazy, and I almost forget why I was in such a sour mood in the first place.
I’m quickly reminded of the reason, however; before I’ve left my first class of the day, I’ve been asked by groups five, six, and seven.
I’ve finally realised – this was Potter’s prank all along: to make people think we’re “friends” or something of the sort, because he knows being friends with him would be the worst kind of punishment.
Stupid git. He’s smarter than he looks.
As I walk down the hallway, I look for Potter. My wand’s itching to go at his throat, but I have a little more class than that.
I spot him among the crowds, and, feeling oddly predatory, I wait until he’s walking alone before I walk over to him and push him against the wall with my right hand.
Unprepared for the impact, Potter does little to fight me off, and instead just stares at me, shellshocked. My left hand is clenched around my wand, which is now pointed at his throat.
Well, maybe I don’t have that much class.
But who could, really? This is Potter we’re talking about.
“What in the name of Merlin was that for, Winchester?”
“You bloody well know what it was for, Potter,” I hiss. “Although I have to say, I commend you for your creativity.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Potter replies, pushing my hand off his chest and stepping away from the wall. Took him long enough – given our size different he probably could have gotten off the wall after a few seconds.
I’m all but spitting fire at this point. “Thanks to your stupid prank, I’ve been asked about our supposed newfound ‘friendship’ no less than seven times this morning.”
“What, because I didn’t dye your hair too? I just figured you’d had enough going on for one day, what with your little freak-out on the train.” He shrugs, and I can’t help but notice that there’s no mischievous glint in his eye to hint he’s lying. “You know, if McGonagall had waited just a few more minutes, that spell would have been lasted for two months, minimum. You should feel lucky.”
“I was not freaking out, Potter. I just didn’t want to deal with your antics – not too hard to believe given how obnoxious you are,” I shoot back, stepping closer to him. “And as a Gryffindor, you should know that going after my friends is the worst thing you can do. I don’t care if you turn my hair bright orange, but when you target my friends instead, you better watch your back.”
With that, I storm off, leaving Potter standing in the middle of the corridor, looking dumbfounded.
And with a mess of pink hair on top of his head.
I may have gotten carried away.
As I sit down in Charms next to Scarlett, all three girls turn to face me.
“Why are we hearing that you were having an intimate conversation in the Transfiguration corridor with Potter?” Brooke asks, giving me a look.
“Honestly?” I groan, running my hands through my hair and ruining the perfect placement of my headband. “I was angry. I may have pushed him against a wall and snapped at him. The conversation was in no way ‘intimate’ and definitely doesn’t mean whatever everyone thinks it means.”
“Well, you might want to explain that to the entire seventh year class,” Scarlett replies, “because half of them are convinced you have a blossoming romance with him.”
“I have a boyfriend! Why on earth would I give up Blaise for the likes of Potter?”
As if on cue, in walks the infamous Potter himself, still sporting a neon pink head of hair.
“Ohmygodric, did you do that?” Caroline whispers, giggling softly.
“Maybe,” I reply, but the smirk on my face reveals my undeniable guilt. My spellwork may not last two months, but Merlin, that was fun.
“Mr. Potter!” Professor Flitwick cries. “What has happened to your hair?”
Potter shrugs, taking a seat at his desk and leaning back in his chair. “I dunno, I felt like a change. I thought it suited me well.”
Then he winks at me.
The bastard has the nerve to wink at me.
My cheeks heat up with anger, and I turn towards the chalkboard, fuming.
Yes, it’s official. Potter is going down.
A/N: Surprisingly, I am capable of updating this story.
Up next: Caroline has a confession, and Abigail lets her hair down (in more ways than one), and James goes down – although not in the way Abigail planned.
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