Chapter 4 : An Encounter in the Library
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It was quite hard to follow the different conversations, as everyone seemed to be talking at once, but that didn’t stop the cheery Melia Nott to chip into every single one of the discussions. Cassiopeia, who was a bit taken aback by the noise, blinked drowsily against the bright light of the rising morning sun.
Not particularly hungry, she half-heartedly picked at her scrambled eggs, pushing them around on her plate. Next to her, Idelia Bletchley sat equally tired as her, and buried her freckled face in her arms as she had dozed off on the table. With a disgusted look, Cassiopeia removed her friend’s honey blonde curls, which had spread across the old mahogany table, from her marmalade toast.
As the owls fluttered into the hall, most people looked up from their plates hoping for a small parcel or a letter, but as Cassiopeia didn’t expect anything from her parents - they had written on Monday and she still hadn’t replied – she kept her eyes on the table.
She was mistaken, however, because a small scratch of parchment tumbled down in front of her and landed on top of her breakfast eggs. Quickly she picked up the now greasy note, eager to find out who had written to her.
Need to ask something meet me in the library 2 pm Scorpius, had been scribbled hastily on the parchment, without consideration for simple grammatical rules. Would it be so hard to write a correct English sentence, Cassiopeia thought to herself grimly, but not without curiosity.
As the Gryffindor table was far off on the other side of the Great Hall, Cassiopeia stretched as far as she could without having to raise herself to her tiptoes. Because of her height it was impossible to look over the heads of the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws, and so she decided to simply wait to find out what her brother wanted until 2 o’clock.
Slipping the note into the pockets of her robes, she stood up. “Let’s go, class starts in 5 minutes”, she said, stirring up Idelia, who still had been snoring next to her. Melia joined them, and together, the three girls made their way to the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom.
Their fellow housemates were already waiting for them in class, occupying the last rows in the room, as it was customary for Slytherins. While Melia slid next to a boy who languidly played with his green and silver tie, Cassiopeia and Idelia sat next to each other.
Deep down, Cassiopeia was a bit relieved that Melia, who now cheerily chattered with the uninterested guy next to her, had not wanted to sit with them. Cassiopeia had barely got an Exceeds Expectations in her O.W.L.’s last year, and she really had to concentrate to get no more than average grades. Her friend, however, was quite a big distraction in class.
Defence Against the Dark Arts was Cassiopeia’s least favourite subject, and she had only taken it at N.E.W.T.’s level because her parents had insisted.
Bending down over an enormous pile of parchment and several stacked up books, Idelia groaned in agony. “I can’t believe that Professor Patil gave us this much homework already. A thirty inches long essay about Dementors and reading the whole chapter on how to defeat them!”
She continued to scribble her notes on the margin of the textbook’s pages, quietly muttering obscenities under her breath. It was early afternoon and as the most Slytherins, the girls had settled in their common room.
The Slytherin dungeon was a rather sombre, but no less homely place. It had large underwater windows that let a mysterious, iridescent lighting pour inside, dipping the room in shimmering green. Silver chandeliers provided an additional source of light.
Melia, who had stretched out on one of the button- tufted leather sofas, peered out from behind the Witch Weekly she was currently reading. “Oh come on, Idelia, it is Friday afternoon. If you don’t want to do your homework, simply don’t. You’re damping my mood, anyways.”
She wiggled her freshly pedicured toes. “We could do fun things instead. I could paint your nails”, she offered, raising her eyebrows expectantly.
At the thought of nail polish touching her chewed off fingernails, Idelia wrinkled her freckled nose. “That doesn’t sound like fun at all, Melia”, she said in her monotonous voice, biting on a strand of her blonde hair, that somehow had found its way into her mouth.
Unimpressed by her friend’s lack of interest to participate in her ideas of fun, the brunette just shrugged. “Fine by me, then. Let’s do something else. Oh, I just remembered, there are news I haven’t told you yet! A shame, really, the whole school is talking about it already.”
Not really interested, Cassiopeia, who was sitting on one of the broad windowsills, a pillow stuffed behind her back, half-heartedly payed attention to her gossiping friend, and Idelia turned her freckled, ink stained head in Melia’s direction as well.
When she was certain that here friends were listening, she whispered rather loudly: “Well, I’ve heard from Thomas who heard it from Emma who heard it from Matthew who heard it from Bonnie who heard it from, oh I forgot! But anyways, did you know that Albus Potter has a girlfriend?!”
While Idelia just sighed and turned back to her homework – “What do I care about Potter?” – Cassiopeia choked on the chilled pumpkin juice she had been drinking. Snorting and coughing she tried to recollect her composure.
“Is everything okay with you, Cassiopeia?”, Melia asked her friend with a worried expression in her round doe eyes.
But Cassiopeia didn’t know what was wrong herself. “I’m fine”, she snapped, leaping to her feet. What was the matter with her? Why did she feel a sudden anger arising inside of her?
Apologetically Melia raised her hands. “Hey, I was just asking. Didn’t mean to offend you, Cassiopeia.”
“I’m so sorry, it’s… nothing. Don’t worry about me, Melia”, the Slytherin girl answered in a now much calmer voice, even though she still was upset. “Anyways, I should better get moving. Scorpius wants to meet me in the library.”
That was a lie, because it was far too early to leave, but she needed some fresh air to get her head clear again. Something wasn’t right, and she needed to figure out what it was.
Idelia’s head, which had been hunched over her books again, suddenly jolted up with a jerk. “Your brother Scorpius, you mean?” Her normally so detached voice seemed just a little more expressive than usual, and a faint pink colour crept onto her pale cheeks
“Ooooh, Idelia has a crush”, Melia teased her friend with a mischievous twinkle in her brown eyes. “Do you think he likes you back? I could find out if you want to!”
The embarrassed Idelia shot her a scathing look and said: “No, I don’t like him. And if you dare to tell anyone about this, I’ll put each one of the unforgivable curses on you!” She tried to hide her now deeply scarlet face in her hands. “Oh, this is terrible”, she mumbled through her fingers.
Her friend didn’t understand why she felt so awkward. “Of course I won’t tell anyone, Idelia. You know how discreet I can be!” When she saw the doubting looks on both of her friend’s faces, she protested: “Don’t look at me like that! I’m very good at keeping secrets!”
“Don’t tell Scorpius”, Idelia said weakly in the direction where Cassiopeia was standing, but she didn’t dare to look at her. Her head was still buried in her hands, and honey blonde curls fell like a curtain from her head, parting her heated cheeks from the rest of the world.
Cassiopeia shook her head. “Don’t worry, Idelia, my lips are sealed. I must say, as his sister, I truly am disgusted. But as your friend… well, good luck”, she grinned.
She then proceeded to walk out of the common room, hearing Melia interrogating the desperate Idelia, who wanted to forget that she had ever said something and focus on her essay instead.
As she was wandering through the castle, she tried to comprehend her thoughts which echoed as loudly through her head as her steps echoed through the empty corridors. Why did she get so irritated when she thought of Potter’s girlfriend? She didn’t even like him.
No, that was an understatement. She didn’t just dislike him, she hated his guts passionately with every fibre of her body! Whenever he was around, he was driving her insane. But still, she wondered, why do I even care that he has a girlfriend?
She came to the conclusion that she didn’t. She couldn’t, it wouldn’t make sense. Well, she better should return his Quidditch jersey now, because they both would have a lot of explaining to do if someone found it under her pillow, where she had hidden it.
But what was there to explain? It wasn’t as though anything had happened between them. Nor that it ever would. Ever!
Maybe she should give the shirt to the girl Potter was dating, just to spite him. His girlfriend probably would want to know why exactly she, Cassiopeia Malfoy, possessed a piece of her boyfriend’s clothing. That would be an awkward situation for him. On the other hand, she didn’t actually want to return it – he had given it to her, after all.
With a frustrated groan she started to make her way to the library, since it was almost time to meet her brother. Why couldn’t Potter just let her in peace? Now he even invaded her most private thoughts.
Since she had returned to Hogwarts, she had caught herself thinking about the boy with increasing frequency. That’s not fair, she thought grimly, I bet he doesn’t even waste a single thought on me.
But thinking about someone was a whole other thing than liking someone. And the idea of her liking Potter was downright absurd, she was sure. Well, she maybe wasn’t that sure about it, but she would never admit that.
Suddenly it hit Cassiopeia – maybe her frustration wasn’t directly connected to Potter’s new girlfriend, but rather to her own love life, which was rather unspectacular at the moment. This was the only logical solution.
Yes, that’s all I need, she concluded, pleased with herself, just a very good snog.
When she entered the library through the old lithic archway, she noticed her brothers silvery hair, which was so similar to her own, at once. The broad-shouldered guy casually leaned on one of the tremendous bookshelves, talking to a girl with bushy red curls in a vivid crimson colour.
Weasley hair, Cassiopeia thought with a glance at the red head’s freckles, clearly giving away her identity. She gracefully strode through the sizable room and placed herself next to her brother, interrupting their eager conversation.
“Don’t you want to introduce me, Scorpius?”, she chirped with a winning smile, stretching out her slender fingers. The perplexed Gryffindor girl shook her hand mechanically. “I’m Cassiopeia, Scorpius’s younger sister.”
A faint rose colour had crept to Scorpius’s cheeks, and with one hand he pushed back his dishevelled hair, as he always did when he was nervous. With the other hand, he grabbed his sister around the shoulders and pulled her behind the next shelf.
With an irritated look at him she asked: “What are you doing? Oh, don’t look at me like that, I was just being nice.”
Scorpius started to pace up and down in agitation, glaring at his sister reproachfully. “What’s wrong with you? Why did you have to embarrass me?” His hand rested on his head, still, as he was tearing his hair.
“Embarrassed you? Merlin, what are you talking about? You wanted to meet me here and when I walked in, I saw you with this girl. I thought you wanted me to meet her”, Cassiopeia said, raising one brow. Suddenly she grinned. “You like her.”
Her brother stopped his nervous walk abruptly, slowly turning around to his sister. As he spoke, his normally so deep bass voice quivered and seemed more like an alto. “No, I don’t! And her name is Rose.”
Cassiopeia shrugged her shoulders, unimpressed by her brother’s denial. “Fine, you like Rose”, she said, pushing back a strand of hair behind one ear, “but this morning, I believe, I’ve received an articulate note saying that you had to ask me something.”
With a look at the flaming hair of the girl, who had sat down at one of the tables and buried herself into a rather boring looking book, she added: “And I guess it’s not her you want to ask me about.”
The rose colour on Scorpius’s burning cheeks deepened, as he vehemently negated. “Oh, Rose just came here to study. I offered to help her, that’s all.”
Clearly amused, Cassiopeia crossed her arms in front of her chest. “Scorpius, you never study. I can’t even remember the last time I caught you even looking at a book. Merlin, we’re in a library and you manage it to avoid looking at the books”, she teased her older brother jokingly.
He rolled his pale grey eyes. “Very funny, you are. But as you said, I didn’t want to meet you to talk about Rose. No, I wanted to ask you something”, he said, looking at his sister with a pleading expression on his handsome face. “I know you won’t like it, but hear me out, please?”
Raising her brow once again, she scoffed reluctantly, but not without curiosity: “Fine, I will. But if it’s really that bad, I can’t guarantee for anything!”
“I’m afraid it is that bad”, he assured her. “Well, you know, I’m taking N.E.W.T.’s level potions, and so are a bunch of other Griffindors, including Albus. It’s very difficult, that was to expect, but we thought it wouldn’t be that hard, you know. I’m doing alright, you know, we just had a test and I managed to get an Acceptable, but Al, however, isn’t doing so well. He got a Troll, can you imagine how furious his mother had been?”
When her brother paused his confusing mumbling, that appeared to consist of actual sentences – although Cassiopeia wasn’t so sure of that – she looked at her brother questioningly. “Scorpius, what do I have to do with it? Why are you telling me all this?” And with a pleased smile she asked innocently: “So, Potter is failing potions?”
Scorpius closed his eyes and took a deep breath to calm himself, before he continued: “Yes, he’s going to fail. And that’s where you come into play.” He glanced at his sister with a pleading expression. “You’re an excellent potions brewer, Cassiopeia. You’re smart, you’re talented and you’re only a year behind!”
And then it dawned on her. “There is no way I will be tutoring Albus Potter! What do I care if he fails his bloody exams?”, she exclaimed furiously, throwing frosty glares from her icy grey eyes like daggers at her brother.
To pacify the livid girl in front of him, he put his massive hands, which certified that he was a Quidditch player, on his sister’s shoulders. “Please, Cass”, he said softly, “You’re the smartest witch I know. If you don’t do it, who knows who will. Besides, if he fails, you have to endure him a year longer.”
“Fine”, she said finally, clenching her jaw tightly. “I’ll do it. But he’s doing my potions homework the whole year. And don’t call me Cass.” She sighed. Merlin, what had she gotten herself into?
That night, as Cassiopeia laid with eyes wide open on her comfortable bed in the dormitory of the sixth year Slytherin girls, the sleep just wouldn’t come. She threw herself restlessly from one side to the other, her blankets tangling up around her legs.
A ray of shimmery green light fell through a gap between the closed curtains of her bed, making it too bright to sleep. As someone snored loudly in her sleep, Cassiopeia pressed her hands over her ears to find some rest. She groaned with annoyance, because the room was also far too stuffy, about fifteen girls were sleeping in it. The size of the Hogwarts classes had quite expanded after the war.
Cassiopeia shut her eyes as tight as she could, but her head was just too full to fall asleep. Thoughts were racing through her mind at the velocity of light. What a day it had been! A day of absurdities, indeed. And in the centre of everything, bloody Potter! Potter, who was an arrogant idiot, whom she hated with a fiery passion – and whom she was tutoring now, apparently.
Moving in a more comfortable position, Cassiopeia remembered the very first time they had laid eyes on one another.
“Mother, mother, look what I made”, an exited 4 year old Cassiopeia exclaimed loudly. The melodic voice of the little girl echoed over the whole wizarding playground that was overcrowded with playing children.
Mrs Malfoy, who sat on a bench nearby, was deep in conversation with a couple of other witches and only smiled at her daughter absent-mindedly, before she returned her attention to the exchange of parenting tips and magical recipes.
The little girl was still amazed by the huge sandcastle she had built, and her pigtails bobbed up and down on her head as she clapped her hands together merrily. “It looks just like Hogwarts”, she explained matter-of-factly at the five year old Scorpius next to her, who thought that it rather looked like a pile of wet sand than a castle.
“Oi, Scorpius, come play with us!” Looking up from her masterpiece, Cassiopeia’s gaze fell onto a boy about her brother’s age, whose emerald green eyes blinked mischievously. His trousers were muddy, torn and full of holes, and he seemed to have scratched his knee pretty badly.
Narrowing her grey eyes, she answered: “Can’t you see that we’re busy? Scorpius can’t play with you. But if you’re nice, you can play with us.”
“I want to play with Scorpius, not with annoying little girls and their stupid little sandcastles”, the boy said and flashed his gap-toothed grin at Cassiopeia’s brother, who was looking back and forth between his playmate and his sister.
Blushing angrily, she jumped to her feet and shouted: “Take that back! It’s not stupid, you are stupid! You’re the biggest stupidhead I’ve ever seen!”
The boy, whose snotty face was now just as red as Cassiopeia’s, climbed into the sand box and screamed back at her: “No, I won’t take it back! It’s stupid, and it stinks!” With his last words he vigorously stepped on the sandcastle that was separating them, crushing it under his feet.
As Cassiopeia saw her beloved pile of mud being destroyed, she threw herself at the boy with a cry of fury, punching him in the nose. They both fell onto the ground, where they fought on, tangled up into a ball. After a short while, Cassiopeia managed to press the boys head into the sand, screeching “You destroyed my sandcastle! You destroyed my sandcastle!” in her penetrating voice.
The mothers on the bench hurried to the children, looking like a flock of alarmed owls, and tried to separate the scrambling children. Mrs Malfoy had to drag her daughter off the little boy by force, as she wouldn’t let go of his untidy hair.
Mrs Malfoy then grabbed both of her children by the hand and apparated home as quick as she could. She was really embarrassed by the behaviour of her daughter, who was still screaming “He destroyed my sandcastle!” again and again.
Having returned home from work just a few moments earlier, Mr Malfoy noticed immediately that something was very wrong. “What’s the matter, Astoria, love?”, he asked his agitated wife with concern, before his gaze fell onto his youngest child, who looked truly horrible. “Merlin, what happened to my little princess?”
Cassiopeia was covered in mud and sand, her summer dress was torn and ruined and her dirty hair fell untidily onto her shoulders. While her left hand was covered in blood, there were several bite marks spreading out over her arms.
“Your little princess beat up Ginevra Potter’s youngest son”, Mrs Malfoy said, her voice quivering with anger. She started to pace up and down in the hall, pushing her auburn her back with her hands, like she always did when she was not at ease.
Her husband picked up his daughter and started tickling her. “Did you give him what he deserved, princess?”, he asked gently, while the little girl squealed and giggled in his embrace. “You’re just like your father!”
Mrs Malfoy glared at her spouse in exasperation. “Don’t encourage your daughter, Draco!”, but after she had turned around, Mr Malfoy winked down conspiratorially at the dishevelled Cassiopeia, who was nestling comfortably into her father’s protecting arms.
Replaying the retrospection behind her inner eye, Cassiopeia finally fell asleep with a big, peaceful smile resting on her tranquil face. Her right hand had slipped under her feathery pillow, clutching tightly around the piece of cloth that was her nemesis’s Quidditch jersey.
A/N: Hello my lovelies!
Here's yet another chapter for you.
Believe it or not, I'm writing as fast as I can- have a little patience with me!
I'm glad you seem to like it so far, I haven't heard any negative comments. Again, I have to mention how much your comments brighten my day.
Feel free to leave me some more! Even if they are critical, I want to hear your opinion, because your opinion is what's going to help me to evolve and to better myself.
What do you think about this chapter? Or the story as a whole, so far?
As always, lots of love- wanderlust xxx
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