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The Human Factor by SexyDoorFrames
Chapter 11 : The One Where Secrets Are Revealed
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 20


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Disclaimer: I don’t own anything.

Authors Note: I start college this week so I’m unsure how often updates will be but hopefully they won’t take too long! Chapter 12 is already half written. Thanks for all your support. Thanks for reading and thanks for the people who have told me that they like this story. This is for you. Comments and opinions are welcomed because…well, you’ll see. Remember to keep the language 12+ otherwise they’ll have to get deleted! Also bad language is used because a character gets angry, don’t read if offended!

Thanks so much to StEpH_M for being my beta.






Chapter Eleven –
The One Where Secrets Are Revealed      




Amazing chapter image made by  .asperity@TDA

“What the bloody hell have you just got us into?” - Pippa Nott




I have a tiny scar on my wrist from when I accidentally cut it on glass when I was twelve. I used to stare at it a lot as it healed and pondered how ugly it was. It was a blemish on my pale skin that was otherwise in good condition. I told my brother how I felt, that I was worried that I wasn’t perfect anymore. My brother laughed, he told me I wasn’t perfect because I was a person. He told me nobody was perfect. He later came to believe he was nobody. The body wasn’t made out of metal; it was flesh, bone and blood that flowed too easily. He told me that scars were little reminders of the past. They showed you that you survived the fall out and the pain. He told me that there were two types of scars; the ones that you could see and the ones you couldn’t. The ones you couldn’t see were often the worst. I wondered about the scars on my heart, I was still trying to figure out how to help them heal. If they finally closed, I decided I would never want to remind myself of how it felt. I would never go back to that place but I didn’t want to forget that I survived everything either. He had taught me many lessons, I could stitch myself together in seconds and I could swim in a sea of sadness and make it look like I was staying afloat.

In a universe that was ever changing, one thing hadn’t shifted; Damien still refused to look at me. He was sitting at the Gryffindor table, laughing with some girl I didn’t know the name of. I had distracted myself by threating to kill someone with a spoon earlier. She came up to me and asked if Albus and I were in a relationship as we’d been seen on a ‘double date’ in Hogsmeade. I’m just thankful that our night-time yelling was a secret between us. To be fair, I respected her for actually asking me but that didn’t stop me from wanting to kill her. Then again, in terms of looks, I look harmless, less than harmless really. I had inherited delicate features to snare myself a pureblood husband according to my mother but that is another story. So I threatened her with my spoon, told her I’d break her with it and the answer was no, I wouldn’t touch him even if I had a choice between that and being a pleasant person. She looked at me like I was weird, muttered ‘I thought not’ and ran away. I had gone up in the world again; I was now part of scandalous gossip. I had been here a few times and I still didn’t like it.

“He’s not worth it.” Cassie stated and I pretended not to know what she was going on about. She rolled her eyes. “If he’s going to be a big idiot about everything, it’s not worth bothering about.” She took a bite out of her toast and swallowed it. “I mean one day he’s going to wake up alone and you are-“

“-Also going to suffer the same fate?” I sipped my orange juice as Cassie frowned at me before flicking me in the forehead. “Anyway, I don’t care. I really don’t.” We both knew I was lying. There is a difference in getting over things and just getting through them. “Look the post is here!”  I pointed out as the flutter of owls flew into the great hall. A letter dropped into my lap. A proper letter unlike the pathetic notes I kept on receiving lately, telling me to watch myself. I opened it carefully before pulling out the letter.

Dear Pippa,

How are you finding playing Quidditch? I hope you’re enjoying it. Does your broom work alright? I tried to get you the best one on the market, anything for you my little weirdo. I have some brilliant news to share with you! Your mother and I have decided to renew our vows to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary! It’s going to be in the holidays around new years. We thought it would be a good time to celebrate it as neither you nor Damien attended the first time because you didn’t exist. Your mom wants to ask you if you’d be her bridesmaid. She’ll write to you soon to talk about dresses and other girlie stuff like that. Tell Cassandra that she and her family are invited. I hope you’re okay and tell Cassandra I said hi! Scorpius has been telling his father that you’ve grown closer recently! I was really happy to hear that as you need someone to help you fight your demons.

Love,

Dad.

I crumpled the paper in my hands into a small ball before rolling it in my palm for a little while. I then realized what I was doing, I unrolled it, straightened it the best I could and placed it on the table. “So, my parents are renewing their stupid vows.” I told Cassie who suddenly was overcome with excitement. “You’re invited, along with your family.”

“Oh my gosh! You’re mom showed me pictures of her wedding and it looked amazing! You reckon it’s going to be as fancy as last time?”

“There will probably be crystal, ice and I’ll look like a puff pastry.” I rolled my eyes, not feeling the joy of the situation that I was supposed to be feeling. “My parents are already married, why do they have to go and do it all again?”

“Because they love each other?” Cassie suggested.

I snorted. “Love? That isn’t a proper reason Cassie. Love is there to torture and break, it isn’t something that should be celebrated.” I grumbled and Cassie snorted. We’re very classy girls. “Life is short, too short to do something that you’ve already done before. I mean, especially something as depressing as a wedding.”

“Weddings are wonderful. I love everything about them.” Cassie went goo-eyed as the romantic in her poured out. Her romantic side always left a sour taste in my mouth. “I like the vows, the dancing and the food, especially the food!” She rubbed her stomach with glee.    Cassie firmly believed that one day, it was all going to slot into place, like placing the last piece of the puzzle into a jigsaw. The perfect someone was out there for everyone. I thought that maybe, you shouldn’t look for the perfect someone. Maybe you should just look for the one that you could put up with for the next hundred years. “I’m really excited! Your parents are making you bridesmaid right? I hope they put you in green, you’ve always looked good in green but not yellow because you’re not a very yellow person.”

“I sometimes wonder if we were switched at birth.” She was excited about this whole stupid thing and I was already beginning to dread it. I’d have to walk down some fancy decorated aisle, as I pretended to be everything I wasn’t. Everything I was fighting against. I would look like the perfect daughter who had it together. People would be staring at me and they would be most certainly judging me. The whole thought of it made me want to be sick.

Cassie smiled at me. “I wonder that sometimes too.”  Cassie downed her coffee in one. “What do you want to do on this lovely Saturday morning?”

“It’s raining.” I told her.

“So?” She shrugged.

“I was planning on reorganizing all my stuff.” I shrugged. “What were you planning on doing?”

Cassie sighed frustrated. “I want to go on an adventure!”

“An adventure you say?” We both turned around to find James smirking at us with Fred standing by his side like a little sheep. Cassie grinned as I mentally prepared for the fools plan. Whatever it was, I didn’t have a good feeling about it. “You should join us.”

Fred laughed. “You really won’t want to miss it.”

Cassie looked interested but tried to act casual. I think she’s pretty much mastered it. Lucky cow. I can probably turn any situation awkward though so life isn’t a complete fail. “What’s happening?” She faked a yawn like she was bored. James and Fred believed her because they straightened up, ready to fight for her attention and get her on board. 

“We’re going on a little mission.”  Fred grinned wickedly.

“And you’ll love it. Come on Cassie, if you agree to go, so will Pippa and then we’ll have a full team and-“

“I’ll have you know, I have a mind of my own.”  I interrupted feeling offended that they thought I was sheep like. I am a snake! I hiss to my own beat.

Fred raised an eyebrow at me as he leaned closer. I wondered if the boy had ever heard of personal space. I’m guessing not. “Yes, but your thoughts are muddled. You’re going to spend the whole day reorganizing your already legendry organized things.” He patted my head. “Sweetie, that just isn’t healthy.” I glared at him. I was perfectly odd in that normal way. “Come on, I know that curious part wants you to come.” He smiled at me and I felt the allure of Fred Weasley drawing me in. He was like sweetness that I couldn’t resist. Excitement was etched on his face and there was a promise of adventure in those dark brown eyes. “Plus, James accidentally invited Scorpius and you’re the only one who can control him properly.”

“I don’t control Scorpius.” I told him. I had this sickening urge to protect him but not to manipulate him, which was weird as I always liked to be ten steps ahead of everyone and to get there, a little bit of control and persuasion had to be applied. It was a flaw that I couldn’t control. People are capable of anything; I have learnt that the hard way.

“I didn’t mean it like that, he just listens to you.” Fred ruffled my hair. “Life is for living strangely enough. It’ll never get better if you just sit there, watching. ” Fred stared directly into my eyes. I rolled mine, trying to break the connection but I couldn’t. I was trapped, listening to him sprout his words of crap at me. This was hellish. I hated advice almost as much as people. Advice was useless, no one ever listens to what you tell them, yet they still whine when everything blows up in their face, just like you warned them it would. Fred trailed his fingers through his hair. “Are you game, Nott?”

I stared at him for a few moments before looking at Cassie. She winked at me. She wanted to do this and she wanted me to join her. It didn’t matter if I agreed or not, I was going on this stupid adventure. She would drag me kicking and screaming. The girl had a will of steel. I was worried because I didn’t have adventure in my bones, I had caution. I would never be the person who dived into a situation before thinking of the consequences. That is called being stupid. 

“I still don’t understand what I’m agreeing to.” I sighed, giving in. I mean, what ever these boys have come up with, it can’t be too bad right? “But I am in, I suppose.” James and Fred smirked at me like they knew this was going to happen all along. Stupid twats. “Though if I die, tell my parents it was all your fault and don’t let anyone touch my stuff. Keep it like a shrine.” I stood up. “It’ll be a place where you can weep when missing me gets too much.” I told them grumpily.

James raised his eyebrow, Cassie sniggered and Fred just looked amused. Not one of them looked upset about my hypothetical death. I understood though because sometimes it’s hard to show your true emotions. I almost laughed at my own joke. Most of the time, my head was a nightmare to be trapped inside. These moments of nothingness were a blessing.

“You’ve thought about this haven’t you?”  Cassie asked. She looked a little scared and I think she had every right to be. She doesn’t think about things like that, she doesn’t even think about tomorrow but it is okay.  I mean, I think the sun and the moon must not understand each other some of the time so we were perfectly normal to occasionally look at each other and remind ourselves how odd the other one is.

I shrugged. “I have a lot of time to waste when you’re sleeping.” I also thought about food, animals, random crap and how great life will be when I can finally escape this castle.

“Right, we’re getting off track.” James pulled the subject back to our soon to be adventure. “Meet us back here in an hour. Don’t wear anything bright, think like a spy and think the colour black! See you then!” he told us before grabbing Fred and running out of the great hall like crazy people. Those boys could never be spies because idiot runs in their veins.

That’s when I turned to Cassie, glaring at her before asking, “What the bloody hell have you just got us into?”

“Something you can’t figure out.” She laughed before standing up. “What are you waiting for? Let’s go and get our freak on.” I rolled my eyes at her but I got up anyway and followed her to the dormitory. Once in the dormitory, Cassie began to rummage through her clothes, once she decided that whatever garment she had wasn’t for her, she would chuck it on the floor. Of course, I couldn’t stand the mess so I was going around picking up all the discarded, unloved clothes, folding them up and placing them on her bed. “I have nothing to wear that’s dark! I suppose this t shirt is black, but it has a butterfly on it? Could that work?” She held it up.

“I just can’t believe you have a t-shirt with a butterfly on it.” I told her. “I’m disgusted.” I placed another pile of perfectly folded clothes on her bed.

“Okay.” She chucked the top onto the floor. “Lemme see.” She rummaged for a little while. “How about this?” She held up black tank top and a pair of black jeans.  She was obviously taking James advice.

“That works.” I shrugged, as I looked through my own stuff. I realized that I owned too many dresses. You could tell that my mother still buys my clothes for me. I owned dresses, skirts in various pastel shades but I didn’t own trousers. I had never noticed how much my clothes sucked before. No wonder no one took me seriously when I owned a cardigan in the shade of lilac. “Strangely enough, I own too many colours too.”

Cassie grinned as she walked over to observe my findings. “Your mom sure does love pastel.”  Cassie held up a pair of camouflage shorts.  “Chuck one of your girly belts around these so they’ll stay up.” She eyed the rest of my clothes and picked up a white tank top. “Go get changed!”

I emerged a little while later in my outfit to find Cassie smearing black lines across her cheeks. Her hair was in a ponytail. “What are you doing?” I asked, but she said nothing. She just walked over to me and smeared the gunk across my cheeks and placed a black beanie on my head.

“This is what they do in the movies.”

I sighed. “You ready to go?”

She saluted me. “You got it Rodger!”

I blinked. “My name is Pippa. You should know that by now. I’ve never been called Rodger.”

Cassie smacked her own forehead. “Never mind…Pippa.”

I decided to let it go as we headed back down to the great hall. People were giving us weird looks so I glared at them all as Cassie didn’t even notice. I think it might have been better if I had just gone with something from my pastel wardrobe after all.

We arrived to find James and Fred already waiting there. Both all decked out in black. For some reason, they had black gunk across their cheeks too. James had his wand tucked behind his ear and Fred hummed an annoying tune, as he stuffed various coloured interesting things into his backpack.

“What you got in your backpack?” I asked. Fully expecting things that could be used to protect, hurt and save us from any unexpected danger we might come across.

“Mostly I’ve just got sandwiches.”  Fred replied.

“Sandwiches? You’re bringing food?” I asked, fearing that this would be my last adventure because I would be coming back dead.

Fred shrugged, looking confused. “What else would I bring?”

“I don’t know, maybe something that would help us if we got attacked. You know the crap that everyone always brings.”

“We’re witches and wizards, that stuff isn’t needed.” He laughed. Oups, I forget that sometimes. He pulled out his wand from his pocket. “Remember one of these?” He twirled it in his fingers. 

I pointed to my boot. “It’s in my sock.” 

Just then Scorpius came running towards us, followed by a moody Albus. I was surprised that Albus had even bothered to come but I didn’t think about it for too long because I finally noticed what Scorpius was wearing.  Scorpius was wearing a top hat and a cape. I put my hand in front of my mouth to stop me from laughing unfortunately; Cassie wasn’t as tactile as me. 

“What the hell are you wearing?” She asked before she started laughing. “You look like a vampire, not a spy.”

Scorpius shrugged. “Vampires are dark. The theme was go dark. Am I missing something?” Cassie just raised her eyebrow. “And I can’t help it if I’m pale. It’s my natural colour and the sun makes me feel like I’m melting.”

James laughed. “Just lose the hat and we’re good to go.”

Scorpius sighed. “The hat was my favourite part.” He stuffed the hat in a corner. “I hope no one steals it.” He smiled, cheerily. No one would steal that hat. It’s far too ugly. And no one wears top hats anymore. “I’m keeping the cape though.” No one argued with him because he’d probably cry if you took away both and no one wants a weepy Scorpius.

I finally glanced at a sullen Albus who had arrived in his normal, slightly crumpled clothes. He caught me looking at him and I quickly stopped and stared at the floor instead. I heard him snicker.

“So what’s this all about anyway?” Cassie asked.

“Nathan Morgan is up to something.”  James stated. “And it’s our job to find out what. We’re going to spy on him.”

Cassie rolled her eyes. “I don’t know why you all hate him so much, I can think of hundreds of people that are ten times worse than Morgan.”

“I thought you didn’t like him.” I pointed out feeling confused. If she didn’t like him, why would she stick up for him?

“I don’t.” Cassie shrugged, “He just hasn’t done anything to make me hate him personally.”

Fred shook his head. “Morgan is trouble.”

Cassie laughed. “People could probably say that about us too.”  That was true. I had bad news plastered on my forehead because I had managed to mess up everything that I had ever been given.  Cassie was known to accidentally break up relationships when her niceness is taken as her flirting. Scorpius needed to be watch because his dad was a Death Eater. Fred could make you fall in love with him but he’d never love reciprocate. James was always after the next adventure and he never looked back. And Albus was like a hurricane that only ever left devastation behind because nothing good could come from him.  

“Let’s go then?” I suggested because the air had grown slightly dark around us. Everyone agreed and we began following James. “Where’s Damien?”

James stopped for a minute, turned to me and shrugged. “I have no idea.”  I thought this was odd because James and Damien were as close as anything but I also knew that Damien was being a complete twat at the moment. James began walking again with a slight thud in his step. “We’re checking the library, look like you belong there.”

“I have never stepped into the library in my life.” I told him. “There are too many dirty books lying around. I mean, think about how many people have touched them and the amount of germs that each book harbours. It’s enough to give anyone a heart attack.”

James arched one of his eyebrows. “You’re weird.”  We had arrived at the library but before we could go into the dreaded place, James decided to give us our instructions. “Let’s split up and meet here in fifteen minutes.” All of us nodded before entering germ heaven.

It was dimmer than I expected. Thousands of books lined the shelves. There were different sections dedicated to magic that I would never bother to learn. It was massive. I looked around to find that everyone had already left me. I spotted Albus just sitting at a table reading a book. I rushed over to him. “You’re supposed to be working.” I scolded. “Not sitting around here doing nothing.”

Albus rolled his eyes. “I’m pretending to read. It is a lot easier to pick up information when I look normal rather than lurking in the shelves like Scorpius.” He pointed to Scorpius, who was trying to look normal, but just ended up looking creepy because he had a suspicious look on his face. “I’m taking this totally seriously.”

“Do you know why Fred, James and…Damien hate Morgan so much?” I felt stupid for asking but I really wanted to know.

“Yep.”  He said simply. “I know a lot of things, including the reason why my brother will never be sipping tea and having a jolly good time with Morgan.”

“Aren’t you going to elaborate?” I asked.

“Nope.” He didn’t even look up from the dirty book.

“Why the hell not?”

“Because you don’t need to know.”

I huffed as I sat down. “Fine, be like that. I won’t tell you any of the secrets I know then.” I was being childish, but I couldn’t help myself. He was giving me nothing for once and that pissed me off. If I wanted attention, I got it.

“You don’t know any secrets, Nott.” He told me.

“How would you know?”

“Because you’d have to know people to get them to tell you their secrets and you don’t even know half of the names of people in your class.” He yawned.

“I might know their name if they weren't so boring,” I muttered. “Anyway, I do know secrets.”

“You know nothing Nott so just kindly shut the hell up right now.” He said it without a hint of nastiness which was quite simply scary.

“Cassie drools.”

“I don’t care.”

“Damien is afraid of wasps.”

“I don’t care.”

“Scorpius once got slapped by a fish.”

“I don’t care.”

“Lily went on a date.”

“I don’t-” He realized what I had said and I suddenly became interesting to him again. “What did you say?”  It seems that Albus actually cared about what his little sister got up to.

“Just that Lily went on a date.”

“And?”

“Well, wouldn’t you like to know?” I teased, but truthfully, I still knew nothing because I hadn’t managed to talk to Lily yet about how her part of my plan had gone. I only knew it had worked and I was thankful for that.

Albus eyed me with a suspicion. “How do you know this?”

“I set them up.” I grinned at him like the happiest person on earth as he became the angriest. I sure did love having power over people.

Albus breathed in deeply as he checked his watch. I felt the jealously rise in me. One day, I would steal that watch. “The times up.” He chucked the book on the table. “This isn’t over Nott.” He strolled over to the entrance to the library where we were meeting. I sighed before joining him. We only had to wait in a few seconds of awkward silence before everyone started to turn up.

“So” James said. “Did anyone find him?” We all shook our heads. Morgan wasn’t in the library. “Dammit.” James cussed. “Okay. Did anyone learn anything interesting?”

“The rumour mill is in overdrive.”  Fred muttered.

“I learned that Fred likes jam on his toast.” Scorpius shrugged. “And there is a girl called Penelope who doesn’t like pineapple.”

James just nodded. “Anyone else?”

“Lily had a date.” Albus muttered.

“Holy crap. Lily? Lily! Our Lily!” James yelled. “It better not be with Damien because I know she ‘loves’ him,” He made air quotes over the word love. “But he’s too old for her.” Poor Lily, she’d be crushed if she finally understood that her dream of dating Damien was just that, a dream. “I told her she’s bloody banned from boys until she’s fifty after that all crap happened.” She also wouldn’t be pleased with that fact either. “Do you know who it is?”

“The old Slytherin seeker.” I muttered. Albus just stared at me, looking at me like I was the most disgusting thing he had ever laid eyes on. He’d figured it out. He knew I had used his sister and the very thought made me a monster in his eyes. He wasn’t going to let this go. He was going to try and destroy me. I could see the hatred in his eyes because he said nothing and that was the worst part. I could stand someone screaming at me but I never could stand silence.

“That twat!” James cussed.  We stood there in silence as everyone tried to digest the information and I tried to forget that Albus hadn’t stopped looking at me. He gave me a knowing smirk. “I can’t believe she’s gone and done that after everything, after-“ James stopped speaking. He had almost revealed a secret. I was curious to know what is was but I knew that this was not the time to be pushing it.

“I think I know where we can go.” Albus spoke. “I think I know where Morgan is.”  We followed him silently. “I know he goes to this place to gather his thoughts.”  We walked for a little while until we got to the edge of the forbidden forest.

“I can’t see anything interesting.” I muttered.

Scorpius nodded towards the silhouettes of two people in the distance that I hadn’t noticed before.  I blinked several times because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I felt goose bumps cover my skin like a rash, the cold wind attacked my lungs and my hope evaporated. Damien was standing on the muddy grass and he was kissing the queen of the devils.

“Ah, what are the chances,” Albus tried to make himself sound genuinely shocked. “Damien also uses this place as well? Fancy that!” He tried to look innocent but I knew this was no accident. He smirked at me and I smirked back. I had finally found my match. Things were going to get ugly and bloody. It’s all downhill from here and I couldn’t wait for the games to begin but first, I had to deal with my twathead of a brother.

“What the fuck is going on around here?” Cassie asked and for once, nobody had a single answer to give her.  It takes a lot for someone to render us all silent, but Damien had managed it without realizing. My heart broke a little more as I lost a little bit more my faith in Damien. He had betrayed me in the harshest way. I should have expected it really, but I was stupid. I actually believed in him.

I realized I was the idiot he called me in that hospital room as I stood there and watched my brother kissing the queen of the devils.













The Next Time On The Human Factor


“They don’t work on him.” She replied softly which made me think that she may have tried. Just when I thought I knew everything about her, she says something that takes me completely off guard. “Telling someone that they’re wonderful when they already think that doesn’t do anything but make you look like fool.”

I eyed her suspiciously. “What are you trying to tell me?”

She smiled at me and shook her head. “Nothing.” She whispered before kissing me on the forehead. I knew something was there, but I didn’t push it, I let it go because it was her. “But we have to sort this out.”

 


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