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Complicated by mymischiefmanaged
Chapter 5 : Cassie Misses The Train
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 19


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Chapter Five: Cassie Misses the Train




“And you must write regularly, darling. I do miss you desperately when you’re gone. Let me know everything that happens with Scorpius. And you know you only have to ask if you’d like me to send you a new dress to make you pretty...oh, Olivia, what am I going to do without you?”

My mother bit her lip, arranging her face into her well rehearsed expression of abject piteousness.

I murmured a vague response, glancing over her shoulder in the hope of spotting Scor and/or Cassie. I find it difficult listening to my mother’s goodbyes. They drag on for a very long time, and tend to drift into self-centred rambles.

“You’ll come home for Easter, won’t you?” She continued. “Of course you will. You wouldn’t leave me alone, would you, darling? You know what your father’s like. He didn’t even come to see you off today. I expect he’s with…her.”

It’s always reassuring to be sent back to school with a quick reminder of Dad’s rapid decline into a truly despicable human being. Mum blindly continued, ignoring my vacant expression.

“I mean, I don’t want to go on about it, darling. You know I’d hate to burden you with my problems. Scorpius is waving you over, sweetheart. Here, give me a kiss.”

I stayed still to let her kiss my forehead, keeping my arms rigidly by my sides as she embraced me. She held a hand to my cheek for a moment, looking down at me from her stiletto-endowed height. Her pale pink lipstick was thick and looked dry, and had smudged a little onto her teeth. I didn’t point it out.

The whistle blew, signalling five minutes until the train departed, and Mum jumped and let go of my face. As usual, tears were glistening in her eyes, and I took a step away from her in case she decided to go in for another hug.

“Oh, Olivia, you’ve messed up your hair,” she said, producing a comb from her pocket and attacking me with it for a moment. “There you are. Now you look beautiful for the first day of term. Now, please don’t forget to write. I’ll be waiting to hear from you, darling.”

“Bye, Mum. I’ll see you at Easter.”

She started to reach for another hug but I took another step back, settling instead for a strange, jerking nod towards her before dragging my trunk towards the train. My owl cage wobbled precariously on top of the leather and Harvey, my owl, gave me a disdainful glare. I stuck my tongue out at him.

Scor saw me struggling with my trunk and shouted out to me to wait. I watched him lean down to kiss his mother goodbye - she looked frail in her wheelchair, wrapped in a thick blanket on top of her coat, but I was glad she’d made it to the station this time - and then shrug in response to something his dad said. He waved one last time to them both and then jogged to catch up with me.

“Long time no see,” he said when he reached me, nudging my arm and then leaning forwards to rescue Harvey.

Scor wasn’t carrying a trunk. Mr Malfoy always makes sure they arrive at Kings Cross early enough to get him set up in a carriage before saying goodbye.

“Here,” Scor said. “I’ll take the trunk.”

He shoved the owl cage into my arms and lifted my trunk with relatively little effort. Harvey looked at me suspiciously. I stuck my tongue out again and he ruffled his feathers and looked unamused.

“I got our carriage,” Scor was saying, pushing past smaller students to get down the narrow corridor on the train.

“Is Cass there?”

Scor laughed. “Cassie’s never here earlier than two minutes to eleven. But she has a prefect meeting at the beginning of the journey so she won’t see us until later anyway. We’ve got the usual seats. She’ll know where to find us.”

“I’m getting withdrawal symptoms.” I rearranged Harvey’s cage in my arms to make it easier to squeeze through the miniscule gaps between students.

“From Cass?”

“Yep. I haven’t seen her since New Year’s. I haven’t had anyone to bitch with.”

Scor raised an eyebrow. “Some people might argue that bitching isn’t a necessity.”

“Yeah, well, those people haven’t met my mother.”

“Fair.” Scor slid open the door to our compartment.

We always sat right at the back of the train. I could see his trunk already carefully placed on the luggage rack, S. H. Malfoy embossed on one side in glittering silver. He lifted my trunk up on top of his and then flopped onto a chair by the door, resting his head on the opposite seat.

I sat on the other side of the compartment and put my feet up next to Scor, then leaned against the window. We deliberately chose the compartment that didn’t face out onto Platform 9 ¾. Scor understood my need to get away from my parents as soon as possible.

The train started to pull away and I breathed a sigh of relief, feeling lighter as we started to leave London. I get closer and closer to being late every year. I blame my mother and her excessively time consuming goodbyes.

Scor reached up and pulled down a copy of Transfiguration Today magazine. I rolled my eyes and nudged him with my toe.

“I hate the Cass is a prefect. The train’s no fun just with you.”

“Aw, thanks love.”

“It’s true. You’re just going to sit and read your nerdy magazine and be all grown up and boring. I miss gossiping and eating chocolate the whole way to Scotland.”

Scor opened his magazine and started to read, ignoring my complaints. I spent a long time drawing swirls in the condensation on the window, enjoying the cool glass against my fingertips. When everywhere in reach was full of spirals I looked back at Scorpius.

“Scor?” I poked him with my foot again.

“Mm?”

“Don’t you miss having Cass for the whole journey?”

“Mmm.”

“Have you reconsidered buying me a pygmy puff?”

“Yahuh.”

“Are you listening to me at all?”

“Mmm.”

“So I think I fancy Albus Potter,” I said lazily, giving him a particularly hard jab from my big toe.

What?!”

“Hello pal,” I beamed. “Nice to know you’re still capable of communication.”

“You fancy Potter? Smaller Potter?”

“Yeah, you know, I really liked how he came to rescue me at New Years,” I said, smiling innocently. “Gryffindor hero complex and all that. Turns me on.”

“You’re not serious.”

I gave him a wide eyed, earnest smile, managing to keep a straight face for what I thought was an impressively long time before bursting into laughter.

“You’re an idiot,” he said.

I reached out and took his magazine. “You were ignoring me. I needed to get your attention.”

“I regret telling you where I was sitting.”

“You don’t mean that. You love me.”

“Always,” he grinned. “Honestly, Ollie, you’re going to give me a heart attack. We don’t mix with Gryffindors. Especially not Potters. What would Cassie say?”

“I think she’d fully support it. A whirlwind romance with Albus Potter. I can just imagine her approving gaze watching over us.”

He laughed and shook his head. “Right. He was in the Prophet again this morning.”

“Smaller Potter?”

“Yeah. More stuff about him and Lavinia Buchanan. Not sure why it’s supposed to be so interesting to be honest.”

He reached back up to the luggage rack and threw a copy of the offending paper onto my lap. I flicked through it and found a large photo of Albus Potter looking distressed and trying to shield his face from the camera.

“I guess they like having something to say about him,” I said. “It’s usually Big Potter that causes the gossip, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, but they’re really giving him a hard time of it,” Scor said with a frown. “Damn. Never thought I’d feel sorry for a Potter.”

The carriage door slid open and Alani Montague stepped in, followed by Titania Urquhart. Alani had already changed into her school robes and with her straight, shiny hair and bright smile she looked like a model student. Titania was wearing a low cut, floaty muggle summer dress, bright against her dark skin, and had a turquoise scarf tied into her curly hair.

Alani mouthed an apology to Scorpius, who lifted my feet off the chair beside him so he could shuffle closer to the window and further from Titania. I put my feet back down in his lap. He didn’t push me away.

“Is it okay if we sit here?” Titania said, already sitting herself down next to Scor. “Everywhere else is pretty full.”

“It wasn’t full, Tania,” Alani sighed. “You just didn’t want to sit with any of the people in the carriages with space.”

Titania shrugged and slid along the chair, closer to Scorpius. “Well, yeah, it was a choice between you two, Lavinia Buchanan and her gaggle of hags, or Emilia Belby. We sat with Belby for ages but you know what she’s like. I didn’t want to do a whole journey in silence.”

“We left our trunks in with her in case there wasn’t space anywhere else, but it was beyond awkward sitting with her,” Alani explained. “I swear she’s worse than she used to be. I know she’s always been quiet but she didn’t even say hello.”

“And she looks like she didn’t wash her hair at all over the break,” Titania added. “The dormitory's going to be revolting this term.”

Emilia Belby was the fifth and final girl in our dorm, and was very much the odd one out. She hardly spoke and hid behind long, greasy blonde hair, and she spent her whole time by herself in the dormitory with the curtains drawn around her bed. Titania might be aggravating, but Emilia was the one I wished slept somewhere else.

“How was your christmas, Scorp?” Titania tipped her head towards him.

Alani caught my eye and grinned, taking a seat beside me. Scor was scowling. I looked at him and mouthed ‘be nice’. He smirked.

“It was decent,” Scor said, not looking at Titania. “Cass stayed round most of the time.”

“Do your parents not mind?” Alani asked.

She didn’t look like she was particularly interested in the answer. I thought she was probably just joining in the conversation to help out Titania, who looked unsure how to respond to Scor’s reminding her of the existence of his girlfriend.

“Nah,” Scor shrugged. “They know there’s no point trying to stop us seeing each other. They’d rather just know where we are. And Dad loves Cass. She makes him laugh.”

He spoke with enthusiasm. Cassie is his favourite topic of conversation. He didn’t mention that his mother’s less of a fan. She’s very ill and Scor would love it if she approved of Cassie, but she hardly leaves her room when we’re round. I only ever see her when I visit without Cass. I’m not sure what it is about Cassie that Astoria Malfoy doesn’t like, but Scor finds it difficult.

“Where is Cassie?” Alani asked. “I thought she’d be sitting with you.”

“Prefect meeting,” Scor grunted, looking back at his magazine.

“But they finished ages ago,” Alani said. “We ran into my brother on our way over here and he said they were done.”

“She probably ran into someone on her way back,” Scor said, looking unconcerned. “I wanted to see your brother actually. Did he get that new broom he wanted for christmas? I forgot to ask when we saw each other in Diagon.”

“Oh, yeah, he did,” Alani smiled. “The Wanderer. He loves it.”

“That’s good,” Scor said, looking genuinely pleased by this news. “He’s too tall now for the Comets, I think. They’re made for a stockier build. His balance was off last term and that’s not what we need for the Ravenclaw match.”

Alani smiled again but didn’t seem particularly engaged in the conversation. She’s actually a decent Quidditch player, and has on occasion been persuaded to join us in five a side matches at weekends, but she’s never had anything like the same passion for the sport as Kai. She’d rather spend her time practicing her spellwork.

“Yeah,” she said, still committed to the conversation despite her probable lack of interest. “He said his balance is better now. And he can accelerate quicker too. Oz has been round a lot to work on high speed passes. They think they’ll be able to get the Quaffle halfway down the pitch in a few seconds and then Ollie can wait nearer the goals without being marked.”

“That’s brilliant,” Scor said, excited. “We’ll definitely work on it. Ozan’s good at long distant throws and if the Ravenclaw Chasers aren’t focussing on Ollie at the beginning of the run she’ll be able to shoot. And you won’t miss, will you Ollie?”

I tapped my fingers to my head in a salute. “Course not, captain.”

Scor grinned. “Of course, we won’t be able to use the same play many times in a game without them catching on, but it’s a good one to keep in mind. And it’s new so it’ll give us an edge.”

After ten minutes of talking about Quidditch tactics we were joined in the carriage by Kai and Oz, who immediately and enthusiastically joined in with the conversation. Alani held her own, still contributing, but Titania sighed and opened a copy of Witch Weekly. She leant on Scor’s shoulder to read. He frowned at her but chose not to create conflict by making her move. I noticed Alani shoot him a grateful smile.

“I want to practice the Porskoff Ploy this term as well, Scor,” I said when Kai had finished running through his list of reasons why the Wanderer was a better broom than the old Firebolts. “Even Hufflepuff can do it better than we can. It’s embarassing.”

“True dat,” Oz said with a solemn nod.

“Never say that again,” Kai advised. “But yeah, I agree with Ollie. We can’t play Ravenclaw the same way we played against the Puffs.”

We all looked to Scor to respond, but the discussion was interrupted by the door opening again.

“What are you doing here?”

The speed with which Scor manipulated his previously enthusiastic, innocent expression into a cold, hard sneer was admirable. When he does that it reminds me how happy I am to be on his good side. He’s not a nice person to have as an enemy.

James Potter was completely unphased by Scor’s hostility. He glanced around the compartment, looking faintly amused, and when he spoke it was to me rather than to Scor.

“Bell,” he said lightly. “You seen Cass?”

I shook my head and opened a chocolate frog, uninterested in why Big Potter was talking to me. I didn’t like him calling Cassie Cass. It felt too familiar. He didn’t have the right to use an informal name.

“Well,” he said, sounding a little more tense. “Do you know where she is?”

I shrugged, mouth full of chocolate frog. “Haven’t seen her all day. Why?”

I looked at him curiously. He sounded worried, or maybe just cross, or some combination of the two.

Big Potter stood up straighter.

“She didn’t turn up to the prefect meeting,” he explained.

“Why would you care?” Scor was scowling again. “It’s not like what Cassie does is any of your business.”

Big Potter looked irritated. He was holding a cardboard box under one arm, but drummed the fingers of his other hand against his thigh. He very obviously didn’t want to be here having this conversation.

“I’m Head Boy, Malfoy,” he said, exasperated. “I need to get all the prefects doing their jobs properly. Cass can’t do that if she doesn’t turn up to meetings.”

Scor laughed. “You can’t blame her for not wanting to spend extra time with you.”

It was a cheap line and I think he probably knew it. But Scor’s always been insecure around the Potters.

Big Potter rolled his eyes and ran a hand through his hair, messing it up so he looked like he’d just been flying.

“Look,” he said, turning back to me. “If you see her later can you just...tell her to come find me?”

“Will do,” I said, reaching for another frog.

“Not making any promises, though,” Scor said, voice hard. “Not sure she’ll bother, really. Don’t see why she’d go out of her way to talk to you.”

“Well,” Big Potter said icily. “We’ll let her make that choice, shall we?”

He looked back at me, this time turning his body as well as his head so that Scor was cut out of the conversation.

“Bell,” he said. “Jason wanted me to give you this from his mum. She wanted you to have it.”

He passed me the cardboard box he’d been holding and then strode out of the compartment without closing the door behind him.

“He’s lucky he’s pretty,” Titania said thoughtfully, standing up to close the door. “Otherwise he’d be completely intolerable.”

“What’s in the box, Ollie?” Scor leaned forwards.

I pulled off the Spellotape that sealed the box and found two silver photo frames. Both contained photos I hadn’t even noticed being taken. One showed me squeezed onto an armchair with the Moron, tucking my hair behind my ear while he offered me a Quaffle. The christmas tree twinkled in the background and we were surrounded by ripped wrapping paper that floated gently to the ground below us. The other photograph was of Aunt Katie pulling me into a tight hug next to the fireplace. Looking at these pictures you wouldn’t realise how dysfunctional the family really is.

“Family photographs,” Kai said with a smile. “That’s not very you, Ollie.”

“I suspect that the whole box will stay under my bed all year,” I said. “I don’t particularly want a reminder of this year’s christmas fiasco.”

But I carefully put the photos back into their box and sat with the cardboard box on my lap, holding onto it tightly.

I turned to Scor. “That’s strange that Cass wasn’t at the prefect meeting.”

Kai nodded. “Big Potter looked like he was going to spit fire when he saw she wasn’t there.”

Scor frowned. “She must have missed the train. I guess she’ll need to get the Knight Bus of something.”

“She won’t like that at all,” I said. “She gets travel sick.”

“Only when she’s drunk,” Scor sighed. “I don’t know. Maybe it’ll encourage her to start being on time.”

“I seriously doubt it,” I said.

Kai laughed and then changed the conversation back to Quidditch, a topic that lasted us the majority of the remaining journey.

Cassie wasn’t at Hogwarts when we arrived and didn’t turn up during the feast. I sat between Scor and Kai, slapping Kai when he repeatedly pulled my hair and stole bits of my dinner because he couldn’t be bothered to reach across the table to fill his own plate.

It felt strange and unfamiliar to go back to the Common Room after the feast without Cass. I sat with Scor on a plushy green sofa near the fire, chatting about nothing in particular, neither of us acknowledging that our main reason for staying up late was that we were waiting for Cassie.

“We should go for a run tomorrow morning,” Scor said, looking at the flickering fireplace instead of at me.

“Haha. No.” I leaned back on the sofa and stretched my legs out across my lap. He glared at my toes.

“Come on, Ollie,” he said. “I need you in good shape for Quidditch.”

“You saying I’m not in good shape already?” I jabbed his thigh with my toes, hard, and smirked when he winced.

“We’ll all be able to play better if we’re in better fitness.”

“But running is evil,” I stated.

“Ollie…” Scor raised an eyebrow.

“It’s so horrid,” I whined. “Please don’t make me do it.”

“I won’t make you. I just...I really want to win this year,” he said quietly. “This is my first real chance to prove I’m good, you know? To show that I can do this. That I’m not just…”

He didn’t finish his sentence and I didn’t ask him to. I know Scor wants to show people he’s a different person to his father. He arrived at Hogwarts to find that everyone had preconceived notions of who he was, and has spent the last six years trying to carve a reputation based on his own achievements without changing his personality to try to impress people. The Quidditch Cup is a chance to do this.

“Fine. We can go for a run,” I said, sticking my tongue out at him.

“Good girl,” Scor smirked.

“You did that on purpose!”

“Did what?”

“Guilt tripped me into saying I’ll go running.”

“I did nothing of the sort,” Scor said, somehow keeping a straight face even though his laughter made his voice waver.

“You’re so mean.” I jabbed his thigh again. “You should be ashamed of yourself.”

“Whatever.”

“But I don’t want to go running. I hate running.”

Scor snorted with laughter. “It’ll be good for you. Hey, I’ll give you a chocolate frog afterwards.”

“I do like those.”

“I know you do,” he grinned. “Look, I’m going to go to bed. When Cass gets here tell her she can come wake me up if she wants?”

He waggled his eyebrows suggestively and I groaned.

“Ew.” I stood up at the same time as him.

“Be nice,” Scor said, reaching out to ruffle my hair quickly. “Meet here at seven tomorrow? We can run before breakfast.”

I glared at his back as he headed up the stairs to his dormitory, and then opened the door to my own room. Alani was sprawled across her bed reading a textbook. Titania was painting her nails a deep forest green. The curtains around Emilia’s bed were closed. My owl, Harvey, was perched in her cage on my bedside table and my trunk had been left at the end of my bed. I opened it, vaguely thinking about getting ready for bed.

Titania looked up from her nails, waving her fingers to try to get the varnish to dry more quickly.

“Oh,” she said. “It’s just you. We thought Cassie might have arrived.”

“She’s not here yet,” I said distractedly, frowning at the mess in my trunk, “Accio pyjamas.”

Four pairs of pyjamas flew out of the trunk and draped themselves over my head. I shook them off, spitting cloth out of my mouth, and started to change.

“Do you know where she is?” Alani closed her textbook with a snap.

“Cass?” I pulled my pyjama shirt on. “Nope.”

“Well...aren’t you worried?”

“She’s always late for everything,” I said with a shrug, stepping into my pyjama trousers.

“But she’s never been late for school before,” Alani pressed on.

“There’s a first time for everything.”

“You think she’s okay, though?”

“Of course,” I said, nodding. “Yeah. She’ll be here tomorrow.”

“Okay,” Titania said, putting the lid back on her nail varnish and crossing her legs to face me. “So, I saw you were sitting with Scorpius downstairs. What were you talking about?”

“Not much.”

“Did he mention me?” Titania looked hopeful.

“No. We were waiting for Cass,” I said, ignoring the way Titania’s face crumpled in disappointment. She knows how Scor and Cassie are. I don’t know why she still thinks he might be interested. “I should get some sleep. We have class tomorrow and I want to go for a run.”

I bounced onto my bed, closing the curtains around me and burrowing down under my covers. I closed my eyes and let myself sink into the pillow, pulling the green sheets up around my shoulders and rolling over to cocoon myself in duvet.

It felt strange to be at Hogwarts without Cass. I’d never slept in the Slytherin dormitory without her before and I found myself missing her. Usually she’d be sat at the end of my bed, making plans for the new term and rolling her eyes at Titania’s comments. I wished she was here.

When the dormitory was finally quiet I sat up. I couldn’t sleep and Alani’s concern had shaken my confidence that Cass would be here the next day.

I reached out for a quill and my sketchbook, tearing out a piece of paper and chewing my lip while I thought about what to write.

Dear Cassie,

Missed you on the train today. We had to sit with Urquhart and Montague. You would have hated it.

Where are you? I’ve not heard from you for nearly a week now. Are you okay?

It’s strange in the dorm without you. I can’t sleep here without your snoring.

I guess I’ll see you tomorrow? Or are you still on holiday or something? Let me know okay? I need you here. Scor’s making me go for a run tomorrow. I need you to remind him that exercise is a waste of time and all that jazz.

Love,

Ollie xx


Part of me felt silly sending the letter. Cassie would be fine. She was always fine. I didn’t need to check up on her, but I still found it much easier to sleep after watching Harvey fly away with the folded over piece of parchment.


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