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Chapter 1 : Edgar
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I was stopped abruptly as something solid appeared in my way, cursing as I fell straight to the floor. I looked up to see a face looking at me, one eyebrow raised, and a smirk on its face.
‘Albus, what are you doing?’
He raised the eyebrow even further.
After a few vain attempts to get up from the floor I had so unwillingly become acquainted with, I crossed my legs, and scowled at him. His smirk grew wider. At least ten minutes must have passed as we sat there, playing chicken, waiting for the other one to crack. It certainly was not going to be me. We both jumped at a sudden noise. His concentration was broken. He scampered around the corner.
Now I smirked, and slowly stood to my feet. Victory was sweet.
Now he was the exasperated one. He scampered back from his hiding spot around the corner, grabbed my hand and dragged me with him. Reluctantly, I broke into a jog. I didn’t want to get caught by Professor Potus any more than he did, though he didn’t need to know that little secret.
Eventually we slowed. Puffing, I stood there expectantly.
‘What were you thinking?’
‘Me? Why, I was just thinking what a lovely evening it is for a nice jog around the castle. Lovely. I love jogging,’ I replied.
‘You were just going to stand there! That could have been anyone coming up behind us.’
‘Excuse me while I shake with terror.’
‘You were after it, weren’t you?’
‘I don’t know what you’re talking about, Potter.’
‘The, you know. I know you know. You know everything.’
I smirked with pride.
‘You’re just upset, because I know where it is, and you haven’t a clue.’
‘Of course I know where it is. I’m a prefect. And a Potter. James isn’t the only one with the prankster genes, you know.’
‘No, he’s just the only one who actually has the intelligence to go along with them to make them of any use.’
‘I am wounded.’
‘You poor thing.’
‘Well. I’m off then. Toodles!’ I strode off down the corridor. Damn it, I had to find out what he wanted so much, and then find it.
Once out of sight, I slowed my stride down to an easy amble, pondering the possibilities of obtaining whatever it was that all the prefects wanted so desperately. It had to be something that would help win the House Cup. Or the Quidditch Cup. Or both. My amble slowed down to more of an old lady’s toddle the further I walked. I really was not made for jogging. In my state of exhaustion, it took me almost five minutes to disentangle myself from my robes. Once in my pyjamas, I collapsed onto my bed in a state of exhaustion.
Semi-comatose, I was awoken by an insistent poking of my arm.
‘Did you find it? Clara, please tell me that you found it?’
‘Nnng,’ I grunted.
‘Clara! Come on, we need it!’
I rolled over. Reluctantly. ‘You don’t even know what it is.’
‘But. It’s important.’
‘I know,’ I sighed.
‘So why didn’t you find it?’
‘One, I don’t know what I’m looking for. Two, Potter.’
‘Ah,’ she nodded sagely.
‘Can I sleep now?’
‘No. Guess what?’ She suddenly became incredibly bouncy, making it much harder to remain in some sort of fugue state.
‘He asked me out! Edgar asked me out!’
‘Only in the magical community would someone of our generation be called Edgar. You said yes?’ I honestly did not care, but she was my best friend, so I felt obligated to show some interest.
‘No! Are you kidding? Of course not. I can’t stand him.’
‘So you’re excited because?’
‘I am officially the most eligible lady in Hogwarts!’
‘Oh. Hadn’t we established this already?’
‘Well, yes. But it’s nice to have it confirmed at regular intervals. Otherwise how do I know I haven’t lost my touch?’
I rolled my eyes. ‘Can I sleep now?’
‘I suppose. Goodnight, one armed flobberworm.’
‘Night dungbomb.’ I rolled over and cuddled my pillow. ‘Flobberworms don’t even have arms,’ I muttered as I drifted off to sleep.
‘We could be great together, you know.’
I winced. Being slapped in the face with Potter’s irritating tones first thing in the morning was not high on my list of enjoyable pass times.
‘A team, Perkins, a team.’
I blinked at him.
‘Is this just too early in the morning for you? Have I grown an extra ear?’
‘I hope not. I’m not sure Hogwarts could take another one of those extremities flapping around the halls.’
‘I’m going to come back after you’ve had your morning coffee. Or your breakfast. Or whatever. But think about it, Perkins! A team!’
‘A team for what?’ I aimlessly asked the universe as he cheerfully wandered off into the great hall.
I plopped down at the table, shoving the nearest piece of food in my mouth.
‘Flobberworms don’t have arms,’ I said to Rita, once I’d finished my mouthful of bacon.
She grinned. ‘Makes it all the more impressive, doesn’t it?’
I rolled my eyes, pouring myself a goblet of tea.
‘You know you’ll get diabetes one day, don’t you?’ Rita asked with a look of disgust on her face.
‘But I will be a happy diabetic, for I will have drunk my tea just how I liked it every morning for the previous decade or two.’
‘Tea isn’t all there is to life,’ she scorned, as she wolfed down her supposedly sugar-free muesli.
It was now my turn to look disgusted.
I went back to happily munching on my bacon, glancing up as a flash of red caught my eye, wondering which Weasley it was this time. It was Rose. It was a good thing that Potter hadn’t inherited the Weasley red hair, as it would have greatly tainted its charm for his misfortunate relations. I had once considered changing out my blonde for red, but with so many Weasley’s wandering the halls of Hogwarts, that would have quickly become confusing.
The day was a blur. The game was on, and it was very distracting. I almost took out my cauldron in potions, but realised just at the last minute that the powdered valerian root I was about to add was supposed to be ground beetle eyes. I had not only been on the wrong page of the textbook, I had been in the wrong textbook altogether. Then transfiguration came around, and my teapot decided that it would much rather be a mouse than a hedgehog. Thankfully this didn’t occur while Professor Cambiare was watching. After a disastrous hour of charms, I began to drag myself reluctantly down the staircases Hogwarts, towards my lovely, comfortable bed. This happy plan was foiled as Potter decided to interrupt my day, yet again.
‘So, have you thought about it?’ he asked excitedly.
I raised an eyebrow. ‘Tell me Potter, what makes you think I either need or want your help?’
‘I think you’re sinking. I think you don’t actually know where to look. I think that if you knew where to look, you’d have found it by now.’
‘Well do you know what I think? I think you think too much.’
‘Just admit it. You need my help.’
‘I do not need your help.’
‘You turned your teapot into a mouse. And then you turned a cushion bright green with orange polka dots, instead of making it invisible. Not a colour scheme I would choose myself, but I do admire some bold upholstery choices.’
I rolled my eyes, and walked past him. ‘I’m going to sleep now, Potter. You can annoy me more tomorrow,’ I waved my hands vaguely in his direction, before continuing towards the dungeons.
I felt a tapping on my shoulders.
‘Just one more quick annoyance. You’re going down the wrong staircase.’ He grinned manically, and scampered back down the staircase in question and along the corridor.
Fuck me, but that boy was annoying. Even worse, he was right. I sighed loudly, and set about navigating my way to my bed. Did I mention how comfortable it is? There is nothing superior to a Hogwarts four-poster bed. And the pillows! Even better than the memory foam pillows my mum always buys, despite my dad’s protestations about the superiority of the traditional feather pillow. But of course, he is a wizard, and cautious of muggle technology. Fascinated, but cautious.
I finally reached the common room and, after saying a quick hello to some people in the common room, made my way up to the dormitory, collapsing fully-clothed onto my aforementioned heavenly bed.
I was awoken by a face. Well, I was already partially dredged from the depths of sleep, but true awakening came from the absolute horror of opening my eyes to realise that there was a face hovering mere inches above mine.
‘Rita!’ I screamed, jerking up.
‘Ouch!’ she screeched. ‘That was my head!’
‘That was my head too! And my sleep! And my sanity!’
She glared at me ruefully. ‘I suppose you don’t want to hear all about the news Edgar gave me straight from the lion’s mouth then,’ she grinned mischievously.
I tried to feign a dignified sense of disinterest, but of course Rita saw straight through it. She always did. I raised an eyebrow expectantly, for even if she wanted to keep silent to spite me, she was always entirely incapable of keeping any snippet of information that even vaguely resembled gossip to herself.
‘The Gryffindors have teamed up with the Hufflepuffs. There’s a meeting tomorrow night at eight, in the abandoned third floor classroom three from the end, you know the one.’
I nodded. ‘Why on earth have they teamed up with the Hufflepuffs? Now we’ll just have to take the Ravenclaws, and we know which one is more useful in any venture which is even vaguely related to the exercise of intellect. And we’ll have to deal with Potter.’
Rita grinned. ‘It’s looking good for us.’
‘That it is. Well, aside from the Potter. Now can I get up? I need to shower before I go into shock.’
‘Shock? I have a concussion!’
‘If you have a concussion, then I have a burst aneurysm.’
‘You’d have to have an aneurysm in the first place to have a burst one.’
‘You don’t even know what an aneurysm is.’
‘I do, actually. You made me watch that stupid muggle television show the summer before last. All thirteen seasons of it.’
‘I can’t believe they axed it! I’m still in withdrawal.’
‘They should have axed it after season four. Or eight. Or really, any point would have been a good point to stop.’
I glared at her as I entered the shower. ‘Just because you don’t understand how muggle things work, doesn’t mean you have to hate them. You’ll end up being the new Voldemort.’
She sniffed. ‘I like quality muggle things. Things that aren’t soap operas vaguely attempting to disguise themselves as medical drama.’
I rolled my eyes. ‘I’ll see you at six, alright? We need to do some planning.’
‘I will bring my plotting cap. And possibly my plotting socks. It’s a little chilly.’
I showered before dragging myself up to breakfast, still rubbing the bump on the side of my forehead. My breakfast was eaten in blissful silence, as it was quickly approaching nine and any student with a morning class would either have already been to breakfast, or would be spending their class starving in abject misery. Thursday morning was a beautifully obscure morning to have a free class, as most students strategically planned their timetables around a sleep-in on Mondays or an early finish on Fridays. The only other time of the year the Great Hall was so calm was Christmas.
After a lovely languid luncheon (well, breakfast, but that doesn’t work well with the alliteration) I wandered rather aimlessly back to the common room. On days when it was sunny outside, I resented being in the dungeon. When it was raining, the Slytherin common room was lovely, absolutely perfect for curling up in a corner with a cup of tea and a good book, but the sunny days, they made me wish I’d been put in Ravenclaw. Knowing that it was sunny outside, I gave up attempting to concentrate on anything, picked up my charms homework and my notebook and made my way outside the castle, to the banks of the lake.
The charms homework was relatively easy, and so in no time I was able to move onto the much more exciting task of plotting. While past Slytherins have thought world domination to be their lifelong ambition, I had decided that that is far too difficult a task. I considered school domination, but even that seemed too hard. Instead, I have settled for Potter domination. And get your minds out of the gutter (yes, you). He started it, in any case. It was when we were in fourth year, and partnered together in potions. He became ever so disgruntled when I made the perfect potion, and even more disgruntled when I refused to tell him how it was done. Like I’m going to reveal my best techniques to the likes of him! I mean, I know fame can be hard, but it’s hardly an excuse for stupidity, or lack of effort.
Unfortunately, there seems to be no way around this other than to work with him. If the Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs team up, we need the Ravenclaws. Numbers and intelligence both are key to finding something that everyone wants, but no one actually appears to know the contents of. The more people, the more stories they will have heard, and thus the greater chance that some snippet of one of those stories will hold the slightest sliver of truth, and the key to besting Potter at his own game (his game being besting me, mostly through skulduggery and luck rather than any sort of intelligence). And damn it all, I would have to go to him first. Time was of the essence. I couldn’t wait around for him to come scampering back to beg at my feet, no, because I needed something that would make him trust me, and the only thing I had was the knowledge that there was a Gryffindor-Hufflepuff alliance meeting planned for that night.
There was a fifteen minute window in which it would be possible to snag him before anyone else. After that fifteen minutes leeway given so students could get between classes (though do not for a second believe that this is enough time to get from anywhere outside the castle to anywhere above the lower levels of the castle) I would be in class for the rest of the day, aside from lunch (which is no place for conversations one wishes to be at all secretive) ,and after dinner (when I am far too lazy to be scampering about the castle without good reason, and making an ally of Potter most certainly does not classify as a good reason). I glanced down at my watch; there were twenty minutes to reach him before morning classes ended. The only place he could possibly be was defence against the dark arts, it was the only class we didn’t share (I’m more of a herbology sort of girl).
‘Potter!’ I shouted as I finally reached him.
‘Ah, Perkins! A delight, as always.’
‘Come with me,’ I sighed reluctantly, grabbing his hand and dragging him around the corner and behind a statue.
‘Oi! Perkins! This is assault!’
‘Oh, shut up. I’m in.’
‘You’re in what?’
‘I’m in. An alliance. We can work together.’
He raised an eyebrow. Damn, but I wish I could do that. ‘And I should trust you?’
‘Meet me on the third floor tomorrow night, next to the Medusa painting. Ten to eight.’
‘Ten to eight. I’ll be there,’ he smirked. ‘Oh but people will talk.’
‘People will do no such thing. You will not be talking to people.’
‘A secret affair then! How titillating.’
I rolled my eyes, and walked off purposefully in the opposite direction of the most direct route to potions. Being a little late was much preferable than attempting to survive listening to the inane prattling’s of Albus Severus (I still snigger at the memory of learning of this particularly unfortunate middle name) Potter.
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