Chapter 14 : The Happening That Happened When the Queen Was Vulnerable + A Don Meeting & The Trojan War
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(c) to wildest dreams. @ TDA
"I watch your troubled eyes as you rest,
And I fall in love with every breath.
Wonder if those eyes are really shut,
And am I the one you're dreaming of?"
This Is What It Takes by Shawn Mendes
“I hereby call this meeting to order,” I called out over the crowd. I sat at an elevated table with Persephone, Arya, and Ariadne Selwyn. Genevieve, Carissa, and Felicity sat at a smaller table just below ours. I read off a scroll. “We will start with roll-call and then proceed to officer announcements. Daniela go ahead.” I motioned to our Don of Secretary and sat back down.
Daniela Ramírez stood and brushed off her dress. She had thick, glossy, black hair that looped in old Hollywood waves framing her face. Her brown eyes were the woody sort of brown that aren’t really noticed unless framed with loads of mascara. She was “exotic,” because she's from Colombia. Her father is a tycoon in the petroleum industry and moved to Britain when she was nine I think. Daniela’s dress was short enough to be considered slutty and I debated making her change, but decided against it.
“ArchDon Maxima Brankovitch of Gryffindor House?” She turned to face me, her accent was very prominent despite living in the UK most of her life and if she got angry enough no one could understand her.
“Here,” I replied flicking my hand.
“Vice Don Ariadne Selwyn of Slytherin House?”
“Here.” Ariadne looked up from admiring her manicure long enough to respond. Daniela then proceeded to go through each pledge class beginning with the seventh years. I began reading through the scroll with announcements on it and only looking up to check a few people’s outfits. The dress code for this meeting was cute casual and I see some took the casual a little too far.
“Don of the Treasury Hollis Macmillan of Ravenclaw House?”
Hollis stood and waved. “Here.” Her long, blonde hair was held back from her face by one of those wide-brimmed, farmer hats. She looked as Hollis always did like a bit of a slouch with her chunky forest green sweater/button-up combo, black skinny pants, and tan Oxford’s with the socks showing out the top.
Daniela then made her way through to the sixth years.
“Don of Hosting Aisling Bannister of Hufflepuff House?”
“Here.” Aisling shyly rose, ducking her head slightly and waving. She kept her blue eyes downcast and toyed with the few strands of blonde hair that weren’t in the bun on top of her head. The only reasons for Aisling being a Don were because her Father was the owner of the Kenmare Kestrels, she was the prettiest girl in her year in Hufflepuff, and she made it through recruitment without crying or making a fool out of herself.
I went to back to my scroll, but then lifted my head at the mention of one of my least favorite members of our club.
“Don of War Iris Mellark of Ravenclaw House?”
Iris’ hair was now blue and purple thanks to her Metamorphmagus ability. “Present!” She chirped, her blue/gray eyes glinting with mischief. She used to be normal, but the summer before fifth year she decided to backpack across the world and came back a vegan, feminist, bisexual who quoted Mary Wollstonecraft on the daily. I only wanted to know why she thought being a feminist wasn’t important in the first place.
As Daniela continued going through all the members of each pledge class checking to ensure they were here, I made note to tell her to start checking off people as soon as they entered and maybe streamline the process.
“Everyone is in attendance, ArchDon Brankovitch.” Daniela turned to me and handed Arya the attendance scroll.
“Thank you Don Ramírez.” I nodded and motioned to Hollis. “We will begin the meeting with a treasury report from Don Macmillan.”
The Ravenclaw stood up and held up her clipboard. “So, dues will be going out to your parents at the first of the month and the cost will be more than usual due to the Autumn Ball which will take place during this month…”
I sighed, this was going to be a long meeting.
An hour later, we were finally done. I walked out of Willow (favorite restaurant in Hogsmeade hands-down) and into the October chill.
I turned around and Albus Potter smacked right into me.
“Oh Maxima, I’m so sorry,” Albus mumbled as he held my shoulders to keep me from falling.
“Oh no, Albus, you’re fine.” I smiled at him. “What are you doing out here in the chill?” I asked, rubbing my own arms for effect.
“I was uh waiting on you to get out of your meeting.” He blushed. “I was thinking that we could you know hang-out?” He mumbled.
“You trying to steal my girl, Al?” Troy’s muscular arm wound around my shoulders and I laughed.
“He wouldn’t have to try very hard!” I teased. “You’re a terrible boyfriend.”
“Oh, is that so?” Troy laughed. “Well then fine, he can bloody have you! You’d drive any sane man crazy.” He poked my ribs.
“You’re annoying.” I pushed him away.
“But Max!” He dragged the syllables in my name out.
“I restate, you’re annoying.”
He stuck his tongue out at me.
“Cute, very mature.” I smirked and he rolled his eyes.
“Just kiss me already you little shit.” His voice was in my ear. His hot breath washed over my neck and made me shiver.
“Hmmm better not.” I nipped at his nose and looked back over to where Albus was standing. I opened my mouth to speak to him, but Albus was gone. Dang, he’s not hiding his feelings for me well. I’m pretty sure he is a worse actor than Arnold Schwarzenegger. No offense to the Terminator, but I mean really.
“So, sunshine, what do you want to do today?” Troy asked as he grabbed my hand. We walked down the street casually.
I looked around scanning the crowds for Albus. “Um, I’ve got some business to deal with actually.”
“Oh really? What kind of business?” Troy asked.
“What poor bint sent nudes this time? Or are you hiding some Quidditch bloke’s gayness so his daddy will love him?” He teased and I glared at him.
“Why don’t you go fuck yourself? That shit isn’t fucking funny, you know? What I do is actually very serious and personal for some people. Hogwarts wouldn’t run without me.” I sneered, shoving past him.
I stormed angrily off in a random direction. I wasn’t really mad at Troy just annoyed, but I felt like getting angry. I walked back to Hogwarts after grabbing a coffee and a sandwich to-go. I went back to my office in the HAC classroom to get some work done. I had some forms to sign for a few of clients.
I shut the door smiling at the blissful silence and found my brother’s Great Horned owl sitting on the windowsill. The owl’s name was Cerberus and he was gray, black, and white speckled. Cerberus and my owl, Chimera, were siblings and looked almost identical.
I opened the window and allowed him in as I scratched under Cerberus’ beak. I then gave him a treat before taking the letter off of his leg. He flew off right after. I sat down at my desk and opened Hadrian’s letter.
My dear sister,
I hope you’re doing well. I’m sure you are though, you’re very resourceful. I know we’re an ocean away, but I hope you know that you can always call me like a normal person. So, you know me, I’m not one to beat around the bush. Mom and Dad elected me to be the one to break the news to you. G-Ma is sick. Really sick. I’m not going to give you the gory details, but it’s Vanishing Sickness. The doctors say she has a few months at least, but they aren’t really sure. I know it’s a lot to process so you don’t have to respond to this letter if you don’t want to. Just call me as soon as you can.
With all my love, Hadrian.
My hands began to tremble as they seem do when I get scared or unreasonably stressed. They shook with a ferocity that scared me and I flattened them out on my desk, pressing down hard. I lifted them to rub my temples and sat down in one of the seats in front of my desk. Tears gathered in the corners of my eyes and I let them fall since no one was around. They fell in torrents, in sheets, in tsunamis down my face.
If there was one person in world I loved, it was my grandmother. G-Ma taught me how to play the Game, be a bitch, and make boys beg for mercy. While my grandfather (who we called M3, because he was Maximus the Third) was the person who first taught me how to fly. Between the two of them, I was breaking hearts and catching Quaffles before I could walk.
I’d spend months upon months at their house. It was my second home. It was damn well better than my own home filled my parents and their shit-show. Between both of my parents’ affairs, my father’s bipolar disorder, my mother’s alcoholism, my brother’s drug problems and nasty habit of embezzling money (something he picked up from dear old dad), it was a miracle I’ve made it this far without a diagnosis myself.
Oh Godric, what’s M3 going to do? Without G-Ma, he’s going to be so lonely.
I just sighed and grabbed some alcohol from my desk before I let my head fall onto my folded arms. I cried and sobbed and held myself together, wishing someone was here to comfort me. I wished for my brother, for JT, and for Albus surprisingly.
I don’t how long I’d been sitting there or how many drinks I’d had when there was a knock at the door. I raised my head and wiped away the watermarks left behind. Thanks to the alcohol, my vision was hazy and my mind was foggy, but my hands still trembled.
“Come in.” My voice cracked miserably and I hoped it wasn’t Troy who walked in.
I heard the door open and shut softly. “Max?” Albus’ gentle voice asked.
“Hi.” I looked over my shoulder at him. I was too exhausted to put on a façade this time. He walked closer and put a hand on my shoulder.
“What is it?” His green eyes were completely serious.
I placed my hand over his hand, but turned away. “It’s G-Ma, I mean my grandmother. She has Vanishing Sickness. My brother just told me.” I handed him the letter.
Albus skimmed over the contents before putting it back on my desk. “Max, that’s awful.”
“Yeah.” I replied listlessly, dropping my hand off of his.
He was silent for a moment before he stepped in front of my gaze. “I’m not going to tell you that it’s all going to be okay, because that’d be a lie and I’d never lie to you. Losing someone hurts like nothing else, but it does get better. It’s cliché, but it’s true.”
My dark green eyes raised to meet his own emerald gaze. I reached for my cup and my hand was still trembling vigorously. Albus looked when he heard my ring clink against the glass and watched as my shaky hand poured liquor down my throat.
“Your honesty is appreciated.” I hiccupped and set my cup down. It almost toppled completely over. “But if you don’t mind, I’d enjoy it if you could lie to me for a bit.” I grabbed his hand. Albus sat down in the chair beside me and I stumbled into his lap.
“Of course…” He drifted off uneasily. “Everything’ll be okay, Max.” He stroked my hair as I curled up against his chest. “You’re going to be fine and so is G-Ma. There’s nothing to worry about.” My eyelids began to flutter close. “You beautiful, intelligent, wonderful girl. If I could take away your pain, I’d do it without a second thought. I hope you know that. I’d put up with it all, you moron, but only if you’d let me…”
I don’t know what else he said because with the sound of his lulling voice, the rise and fall of his chest, and the gentle feeling of his hand stroking my hair, I fell asleep peacefully and quickly.
I woke up the next morning with a splitting headache and an aching back. The chair I was sitting in then fidgeted and I looked curiously into the face of Albus Potter.
“Al?” I startled.
“Good morning,” he mumbled sleepily. His jade eyes were sleep-bleared and he stretched, his long limbs sprawling out everywhere. “That chair is not very comfortable.”
“True.” I laughed. I stood up and brushed off my green and black plaid dress and straightened the collar of the button up underneath it. I went back behind my desk to grab a NHP and downed it just as there was a knock at my door. “Come in!” I called and it swung open to reveal JT.
I was surprised since I’d only seen him out and about with Artemis. Arya told me that JT wasn’t allowed to talk to me. Artemis thought I was trouble. What a bitch.
“Hey Max.” He walked in and stopped short when he saw Albus. “Uh Albus, hey.” He smiled.
“Hey JT,” Albus replied and stood himself. “See you around Max, everything’ll be fine.” He promised before smiling at me and walking out.
The door shut behind him and there was silence.
“So, you’ve already replaced me?” JT’s tone was like ice.
I sneered at him. “Oh, come off it! You’re the one who isn’t allowed to talk to me.”
“My girlfriend doesn’t trust you.” JT looked over at me from under his thick lashes. “So I decided to say okay and keep my distance instead of ending yet another relationship for your convenience. Is that a crime?”
“What happened to fuck-buddies before slut-tees?” I questioned.
“That’s not a thing.” JT rolled his eyes. “We’re not doing that anymore anyway. You have your own relationship, Max.”
“Don’t call me that,” I told him. “Only my friends get to call me Max and, obviously, you’ve chosen your side.”
“Oh, get off your fucking soapbox, Brankovitch!” JT snarled. He stormed past my desk just to loom over me. “I’m not here to wait around on you hand and fucking foot while you date and screw whoever you damn well please! That’s not my job! You’re not my fucking job!”
My cheeks turned a scorned red as I screamed back, “No, I’m not a fucking job, JT! I’m your friend! You don’t get fucking vacation days on being a friend! You don’t get to call in sick! You’re supposed to be here and comfort me through everything! You! You were supposed to be here…” I felt all that anger and emotion building in my chest and I felt like I could explode.
“You need emotions before you need comfort.” He snapped back. “And I don’t think you have those.”
That’s when the bottom fell out.
“Fuck you, JT!” I screamed. I hit his chest harshly with my balled-up fist. “Just fuck you! You weren’t here last night when I was crying myself to sleep! I was sobbing until I couldn’t breathe while you weren’t fucking here! And I hope you burn in hell for it!” I glared at him.
“And just why were you crying?” He asked sassily. “Pray tell.”
“Because G-Ma has fucking Vanishing Sickness you, asshole!” I snarled. “Hadrian’s letter came last night. So, fuck you, JT, and your fucking bullshit!”
JT’s mouth dropped open. “G-Ma has…Vanishing Sickness?” He knew what she meant to me and how much something like this would hurt.
“Yes.” I tried to finish strong, but it came out a whisper barely audible.
“Fuck…” He looked at me somberly and opened his arms. “Come here.” He enveloped me in his arms. “Max, I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay,” I whispered against his chest. Despite the utterly devastating topic I wanted to smile, because it was nice to have JT back in my corner. (G-Ma would be so proud.)
“That’s a blob of seaweed.” Troy laughed as we stared up at the clouds. He decided to take me on a picnic for lunch to make up for being a dick yesterday.
“Your creativity astounds me.” I chuckled as he rolled over and propped up on his elbow.
“You look gorgeous.” He grinned.
“I know.” I kissed the tip of his nose. “I always look gorgeous.”
“Okay Narcissus.” He laughed.
“Oh shut-up.” I rolled over on top of him and proceeded to stick my tongue down his throat.
“Max,” Troy pulled back, his voice thick with fake shock. “What are you doing making-out with a boy in broad daylight? What would your parents think?” He grinned.
“Maximus and Helena are often too busy cheating on each other and covering it up to notice what I do.” I laughed as I traced circles on his collarbones. “It’s one of the perks of having adulterers for parents.”
Troy didn’t really look like he knew what to say and just laughed nervously.
“Oh, don’t worry, they both know about it. Neither will own up to it though. It makes for awkward dinner conversations, but other than that it’s fine. What about your parents?” I asked conversationally. “What are they like?”
Troy just shrugged. “Oh, you know, just parents.”
“Well, what do they look like?” I pried, very curious.
“Um my Mum’s very pretty. She’s Filipino you know, so she’s got long, curly, black hair like me and really tanned skin.”
“Your Mom’s from the Philippines?” I asked curiously.
“Uh huh,” he mumbled, “And my Dad, he’s got blue eyes and brown hair; he’s a big, burly fellow.”
“That’s nice, the way you talk about him it seems you two don’t look much alike.” I smiled.
“No, not really.” Troy admitted.
“Well, I look like my Dad,” I told him. “My brother looks like my Mom.”
“You have a brother?” Troy asked.
“Yep, Maximus Hadrian Brankovitch the Fifth.” I laughed, “We just call him Hadrian though.”
“So, Maximus, Maximus, and Maxima?” Troy asked with a slight grin.
I giggled, “The Brankovitches are obsessed with their legacy.”
“So, it seems.” Troy laughed.
“Well, where’d your name come from?” I asked poking his chest.
“My Dad likes Greek mythology,” Troy said simply. “He wanted to name me Ares, but Mum intervened. She said that Troy was better, more normal. Dad got his way by giving me the middle name Achilles.”
“Who’s Troy in Greek mythology?” I wondered genuinely curiously.
“Not a who, but a what. Troy was the city that belonged to King Priam in The Iliad by Homer. It was this huge fortified city with walls had never been breached. But one of the princes, Paris, loved this lady named Helen and so he stole her away from her husband Menelaus. When everyone found out they were pissed especially Prince Hector, Paris’ brother. But Paris claimed he loved Helen and so that was that. He started the Trojan War over a woman.” Troy smiled at me with excitement all over this face. “That’s why they call her, the face that launched a thousand ships you know?”
“No, but how does the story end?” I asked. “Did the Trojans win the war?”
“Oh no…” Troy shook his head. “Achilles, my middle namesake, slays Hector and parades his body around a bit before the Greeks begin the Sack of Troy with the help of Helen, who was homesick, and a big wooden horse. Achilles dies too, because he got shot in the foot with an arrow. And um then the Greeks massacre all the Trojans and rape the women. Priam dies too and there’s lots of massacring. The important women are given away as slaves like Hecuba, Cassandra, and Andromache. Hector’s little son Astyanax was thrown off the walls of the city and killed in case he ever grew up and wanted revenge for his family… I think that’s all the important people…”
We sat in silence for a bit. “That’s a sad story,” I told him.
“Most stories are sad…” Troy stroked my hair.
“Pessimist.” I poked his cheek.
“Realist.” He smiled. “Are you coming to my Quidditch match?”
“Of course, I am.” I smiled.
“Good.” He then sat up. “Now, I’ve got practice in a bit.” He grimaced and rubbed his back.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Nothing, just strained my back at practice and now it’s sore.” Troy gave me a fake smile. “Don’t worry, I wrap it up during practices now.”
“Alright just be careful.” I warned and we stood. Troy grabbed our towel off the ground.
“Aren’t I always?” Troy smiled against my lips as he placed a delicate kiss on my mouth.
“Uh no.” I teased, words muffled by his lips.
“Oh hush, who asked you anyway?”
I laughed in return.
Thank you to everyone who is still with me! I hope you enjoyed getting to know Maxima a little better and seeing another side of her! And Albus is just precious isn't he? Disclaimer: Anything you recognize I don't own! Also next chapter is McCartney's POV so get excited! And leave a review if you're feeling it, but thanks for reading too!!
Daniela Ramírez is portrayed by Selena Gomez
Hollis Macmillan is portrayed by Suki Waterhouse
Aisling Bannister is portrayed by Josephine Skriver
Iris Mellark is portrayed by Chloe Nørgaard
In the next chapter...Fred threatens to do kinky things to McCartney. A threesome is made a foursome. McCartney debates fighting dead people to marry Cary Grant. Wood and LP are very sketchy at breakfast. McCartney athletes in the Quidditch match. And regrets it. James meets McCartney's family for the first time.
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