Chapter 4 : 2.2: Amelia
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Amelia caught her wrist before she could make a move. “Don’t run off on me,” she said simply, because she’d been in this situation one too many times before, and didn’t let go until Athena had perched herself back on the edge of the table. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes shining - γλαυκῶπις, Amelia thought briefly, before forcing herself back to the matter at hand – she wanted to kiss her again, God, and properly – but no. She had to be responsible here, for her own sake as well as Athena’s…
She hated being the responsible one. Responsibility was thoroughly overrated, but all the same she took a deep breath and tried to sound as…unflustered as she could.
“Listen, Athena…If this – I mean, if you’re questioning, that’s fine, I understand – believe me – and I’m happy to talk you through this sort of thing if you want – but I’ve been cast in…this role before, when girls think, you know, ‘Oh, Amelia’s gay so I’ll make out with her and see if I like girls too,’ and well – if that’s what this is, I need to know now.”
“I like you,” Athena replied, and blushed even pinker – though she didn’t break eye contact.
“You what?” Amelia articulated.
“You heard me.”
“Are you sure?”
“Fairly sure, yeah,” Athena said wryly. “Or should I kiss you again to prove it?”
Fuck it. She drew Athena to her feet, ignoring every voice in her head telling her this was a phenomenally bad idea. “Convince me.”
This time, she was able to savour every moment, notice every detail – how soft Athena’s lips were, how her scarlet curls smelled faintly of roses, how she stood on tiptoes to kiss her, the way she wrapped her arms around Amelia’s neck and the way she ran one hand through her hair. There was a certainty to her, as though in Amelia’s arms was the only place she wanted to be, and Amelia decided long before they broke apart that it was the only place she wanted Athena to be, and it was the closest thing to a perfect moment she’d ever had in her life.
“For now.” She kept her tone light, though she had fireworks going off in her chest and a thousand questions piling up behind her lips. She was saved from blurting them, however, by the ominous, faintly mournful maowwww down the corridor.
Only one cat was capable of sounding menacing. Amelia stepped back and tried to look innocent as Mrs Norris peered around the corner of the classroom, her yellow eyes gleaming, and shot off back down the corridor with her tail in the air.
When Filch, duly summoned, came huffing into view with a students out of bed ready on his lips, Amelia cut him off with a dazzling smile. “Evening, Mr Filch. Professor McGonagall let me use her classroom for tutoring tonight, I hope we didn’t disturb you?”
Filch grunted. “Me cat saw there were students out of bed. If I knew it was you I wouldn’t have bothered.”
“You and Mrs Norris have such an amazing relationship,” Amelia continued, because laying it on thick with Filch never went amiss. “I only wish my cat and I were as close as that.”
“Ehh, they’re tricky creatures to win over,” Filch nodded eagerly, jowls wobbling. “Takes time. Patience. You got that – big white one, don’t ya? Beautiful cat.”
“What’s it you call him?”
“Aye, Cicero, that’s the one. Beautiful cat,” Filch repeated. “Put some time into him, girl. Can’t go wrong.”
“Will do, Mr Filch.” She kept smiling until he was gone, and turned to an incredulous Athena. “What? Think I got Head Girl by giving everyone the cold shoulder?”
Amelia shrugged. “You can get away with literally anything in this castle if you have Filch on side. Trust me. I didn’t get Head Girl by following the Code of Conduct to the letter either.”
“Is that why you didn’t care about the Chocolate Frogs incident?”
“No, I didn’t care about that because I hate Isla.”
“Did you sleep with her?”
“How many times?”
This was going into dangerous territory, but Amelia had always been something of an open book (and besides, she figured if anyone was entitled to know about her sexual history, it was the girl she’d just made out with twice in an empty classroom.) “Enough that I stopped counting. Athena, if you’re looking for some paragon of…virtue or respectability or whatever other weird adjectives you purebloods attach to female chastity, I’m not your girl.”
Amelia didn’t quite know how to take that. She was on the cusp of demanding an explanation – did Athena think she was a slut or something? – before she realised that a) she didn’t actually believe that slut was a thing, just the manifestation of a ridiculous sexual double standard, b) if Athena thought she was a slut, she probably wouldn’t have kissed her anyway, and c) she really didn’t give a fuck, so she pulled a yeah all right face and nodded.
“Anything else you want to know?” she asked, because Athena seemed to be doing a good job of setting the pace for this whole thing.
“Do you still have feelings for her?”
Christ. “Isla?” she asked, though she knew perfectly well who Athena was talking about. “I got her out of my system a while ago. Am I still hurt by what she did? Absolutely. But I don’t – I’m not still in love with her.”
“How do you feel about me?”
“Generally pretty positive.”
“That’s not an answer.”
“It is an answer, just not the right one. But to actually answer your question, I don’t know. You’re secretive as all fuck and you’ve managed to find out my entire life story while giving me only the barest minimum of details about yours. I mean, enigmatic and alluring tend to go hand in hand and you’ve got that down to an art, but that’s all I know. I know your parents are Aurors because you told me, I know you play Quidditch because Oliver told me, and I don’t need anybody to tell me that I’m very, very interested.”
“That is an answer,” Athena said at length.
“Come to the next Hogsmeade weekend with me.”
“Is this a date?”
“It can be anything you want it to be.” Damn, that was smooth.
“You didn’t say what you wanted it to be.”
“I’m enigmatic.” And just to prove her point, Athena kissed her again – light and sweet and entirely too short – and walked away without looking back.
Amelia watched her go, transfixed and more than a little incredulous. “Damn,” she muttered, shaking her head, and finally let a grin break across her face.
“Where have you been?” Oliver asked when Amelia finally returned to her common room.
“Who gave you our password?” she responded.
He raised an eyebrow. “Hi, I’m Oliver Hobbs. I’m the Head Boy, in case we haven’t met.”
She flung herself down onto one of the jade green couches in front of the fire. “I think I’ve seen you in here about three times in the last six years. What gives?”
“I was looking for you.”
“Just haven’t seen you all evening.”
She frowned. “When did we get so codependent?”
“About fourth year.”
“Sounds about right. And I was tutoring Athena Selwyn in Transfiguration.”
“For – ” Oliver checked his watch – “Five hours?”
“It’s quarter to one, Amelia.”
“Time flies when you’re having fun.”
He eyed her suspiciously. “Transfiguration fun?”
“Don’t tell me you’re doubting my enthusiasm for the subject.”
“I’m doubting your student’s enthusiasm.”
“Ehhh. Don’t call her my student.”
“It makes things seem a lot more inappropriate than they are.”
Oliver stood, hands on hips and looking far more like an exasperated mother of teenage boys than a teenage boy himself. “Amelia Greenslade, what did you do?”
“In my defence, she kissed first.”
“That’s not a defence! You can’t go round kissing fifth-years in empty classrooms – ”
“There’s nothing about that in the Code of Conduct – ”
“There is and you know it.”
Amelia leapt over the couch and bolted for her dorm, power-sliding into the room and sending Cicero racing out from under her bed. The hefty Hogwarts Code of Conduct was where she left it on top of her trunk, and she hurtled back into the common room holding it aloft.
“Did you just – ”
“Yes,” she said, panting, and shuffled aggressively through the pages. “Aha! Section B point eleven – Boys and girls may not engage in inappropriate romantic or sexual behaviour on school grounds, including but not limited to – huh, they get pretty detailed.” She slammed the tome shut triumphantly. “Boys and girls. God bless heteronormativity.”
“That doesn’t give you free reign to – ”
“It does. It totally does.”
Oliver sighed. “Look, Amelia, rule breaking aside – ”
“There was no rule breaking involved.”
“ – Or generally inappropriate behaviour considering you’re the Head Girl and she’s a Prefect and you’re in a position of responsibility – ”
“I haven’t gotten to my point yet. She’s a Selwyn. You know what that means, right?”
Amelia shrugged. “Her parents are old-fashioned? She’s rich?”
“They’re an old-school pureblood family. They’re up there with the Malfoys and the Blacks in terms of aristocracy – the only difference is they fought for the other side in the war. When it comes to the honour of their house, they’re absolute.”
“And she’d be impugning that honour by kissing me? That’s some Romeo and Juliet shit right there.”
“It’s unlikely to end with the two of you dead in a mausoleum a few days from now, granted, but you’re honestly playing with fire.”
“If you say so. But I’d rather cross that bridge if I come to it, because for now I’m pretty happy making out with cute girls in empty classrooms.”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Oliver said ominously.
“We have to meet in your common room next time. You get…morose down here.”
“Have you seen this place?”
“You get used to it.”
“I should head to bed. Unless you want to work on Binns’ essay?”
“It’s not due till Monday, go to sleep.”
Everyone was asleep but Isla when Amelia returned to her dorm. Feeling strangely self-conscious, Amelia pulled the hangings around her bed as she changed into her pajamas, maintaining an awkwardly polite whispered conversation as she did.
“I’m having issues with Terence,” Isla confided. “Amelia? Could you come out for a sec, I need to talk to you.”
She hurriedly tugged on her pajama pants and pulled back the curtain. “Listening,” she said noncommitally, because she had no desire whatsoever to hear Isla’s boy troubles.
“We slept together. Me and Terence. You’d probably gathered that already – ”
“Is there any reason you’re telling me this?” Amelia interrupted harshly.
“Yes.” Isla perched on the edge of Amelia’s bed. “It’s not the same. Not like with you.”
Isla leaned forward and kissed her, self-assured and insistent, and for a splitsecond Amelia thought about kissing her back, falling into that old familiar pattern, but alarm bells were going off in her head instead of fireworks, and she pulled back sharply.
“What are you doing?” she demanded.
“Amelia – ”
“No. You don’t get to – come back to me like I’m some faithful old dog when you get bored of being with Terence. That’s not how it works, and you can get fucked if you think you can hurt me again.”
“It’s just a bit of fun.”
“Yeah. Fun. Are you even listening to yourself? Am I a game to you? Or are you just telling yourself that’s all it is because you’re too fucking cowardly to admit that god forbid you like girls?”
Their dormmates were waking up now, and the panic in Isla’s eyes spurred Amelia onto new heights of ruthlessness. “Of course, you’re backing down now that there are other people around to hear you. Give me one good reason why I should be keeping your dirty little secret after the way you treated me.”
“Don’t tell them,” Isla said quietly. “Amelia, I’m sorry – ”
“I don’t think I need to tell them.” She turned to face her classmates, dishevelled and sleepy and glancing between her and Isla with dawning comprehension. “And believe me, I’m not normally one to spill secrets that aren’t mine, but the moment you decide that I’m something you should be ashamed of is the moment the rules change.”
She gathered the clothes and books on her bed in one sweeping movement and made for the door before turning for her final parting shot. “And Isla, dear – I’ve moved on. I suggest you do the same.”
A/N: Romeo and Juliet belongs to William Shakespeare.
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