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Sweeter Than Revenge by scintillated
Chapter 1 : luck of the irish
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 1

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There was no doubt in my mind that Sawyer Lee was the most annoying girl on the planet. From across the Potions classroom, wisps of her conversation - if you could call it that - curled inside my ear. Normally, it was fun to hear a little bit of gossip while making a potion, as it livened up the place, but Sawyer’s dry prattle? Most of our ears had become numb.

“Do you think she’ll ever shut up?” I questioned, pouring the chopped stewed Mandrake into my cauldron.

“Do you not know Sawyer?” Jeremy Everson cracked a grin from besides me, and my lips curved upwards in response. We had been in the same house for ages, but had only properly met last year in Potions class. I was glad I met him when I did, especially with the events of fifth year causing most of the others to give me a wide berth.

Speaking of avoidance -

I let the potion sit for a moment. “You never know, maybe someday she’ll realize James isn't interested in her.” My gaze drifted to the back of the classroom, a desperate laugh bubbling up in the back of my throat at the look on his face. I recognized it all too well.

And somehow, Sawyer was still talking. It was ironic, really, how someone so smart could be so daft.

Jeremy chuckled. “I think we’re all hoping that, Potter most of all.”

Somehow, it was as if Sawyer heard Jeremy. We weren’t exactly being quiet, but she just happened to be so loud and overwhelming that everybody else faded away. But Sawyer did what Sawyer does: after Jeremy finished uttering his sentence, she got even louder.

“So then, I hexed her so that she had these huge buck teeth, and they just kept growing! Do you know the spell, James? It’s-”

“Densaugeo, I know,” James interrupted, a bored tone evident in his voice.

“Okay, well…”

I rolled my eyes and got back to my potion, adding Syrup of Hellebore into my cauldron. My attempt to ignore her hadn’t gone unseen; from next to me, Jeremy snorted. “You can’t ignore her Willa, she’s like that fly buzzing around your ear.”

I just sat back, letting my potion boil on top of the fire. “I normally can.”

“Not today, she’s even louder than normal,” he commented. For once, his observation was actually true, even if it was slightly on the ruder side. That was how Jeremy was, I guess.

A few moments later, however, Sawyer was increasing in annoyance. Maybe she was getting desperate; it was halfway through seventh year and she still hadn’t snagged Potter yet. There were only five months left to claim her prize. At this point, even Professor Rowland looked at his wit’s edge.

“How about this,” I finally said, “If she’s not any quieter by the time I finish my potion, I’ll just blow up her cauldron.”

Jeremy just pointed to my potion. With a slight amount of dread, I looked down to see pleasant yellow in my cauldron, the substance sparking faintly, exactly what the book specified the Volubilis Potion to look like. I was done with my potion. And Sawyer wasn’t any quieter.

“Oh,” I started, “Great.”

“This is great, Willa, you need to grow some balls anyways.” Jeremy handed me his stewed Mandrake. At my confused expression, he waved his hand. “It’s the beginning of the semester, do you think Rowland really cares right now?”

My vision wandered over to the professor in question, who was currently scribbling on a piece of parchment with an incredibly bored expression on his face. How the teachers at Hogwarts managed to survive without any sort of technology - Wizbook, for one - was a question that all the students had to chew on at one point. Rowland apparently wasn’t surviving.

“Alright, fine,” I sighed, tucking my hair behind my ears. I focused on the Mandrake carefully - it sometimes took me a while to cast charms - and levitated it into the air. Sawyer, of course, was so fixed on her conversation it was impossible to distract her. The same couldn’t be said for every other student. Eyes curiously flicked up towards the floating Mandrake, although nobody bothered to say anything - everybody wanted to see Sawyer get it. Even Professor Rowland’s eyes flicked up curiously.

Just before dropping the Mandrake into her cauldron, I spotted the color of her potion. “Oh crap,” I muttered, hands flying up to cover my mouth. My concentration drawn away from the spell, the Mandrake free-fell through the air, and straight into the purple substance below.

In that split second before her potion blew up (why had Sawyer gotten so distracted? Why did she have to let her potion turn purple?), I could have sworn James turned to look at me. And I could have sworn his mouth curled up in a small smile.

( What was he doing - )

“Wait, fuck, this is going to make Sawyer louder, we’re a bunch of twits-”

That was when everything exploded.


“-I swear on my life professor, it wasn’t me.”

There were few times in my life when I condoned lying, but when faced with an impossible amount of detentions, one only had a single possible option: lie their arse off. However, the professor in question had a look on his face which made me feel quite certain that my fibbing skills needed some improvement. He was a stick in the mud, anyway. Surprising, considering how young he was.

I still remembered back in the third year, when he was an assistant professor, and all the girls were just swooning over him. Now, anybody seen doing that would get laughed at, all right. Served Rowland right, he shouldn’t have been rude to all his students. Especially considering that he had just lectured me for all of an hour. Now, if I were a teacher -

“People saw you, Willa. You can’t just expect to purposely put the wrong ingredient in someone’s cauldron and not have anybody notice.” There was a hint of sarcasm evident in Professor Rowland’s voice, but I chose to ignore it. I was facing life or death stakes here - another detention, and the moment I got home, I would never come out until my demise.

Clasping my hands together, my voice echoed around the empty room. “It was an accident! My wand was glitching! Look-” Here, I hastily pulled my wand out, demonstrating the scratches it had earned over the years. “It’s in the worst condition possible!”

Was Professor Rowland - he was rolling his eyes at me. Berk. “I would suggest going to Ollivanders over Easter break,” he replied scathingly, “And you can stop lying through your teeth, I’m not going to give you detention.”

My shoulders immediately relaxed. “Oh thank Merlin Professor, you won’t regret it-”

“Hold on a second.” He held out a hand. “You won’t be receiving any detentions, because instead, you’ll be tutoring a fellow student in Potions.”

My mouth immediately dropped. “Isn’t that like illegal or something? Forcing a student to do your work for you-”

“Miss Lynch, please, just leave, and take your idiotic questions with you. I’ll inform you of the details later.” With that, Professor Rowland made a shooing motion, ushering me out of his office. And there I was left, standing outside his office with an open mouth and a sentence on the tip of my tongue. Too bad I would be talking to a closed door.

Turning around, I jumped at the two figures standing about two inches away from me. “Relax, guys!” The laugh that came out of my mouth was slightly hysterical; relax, my foot.

“So, how many detentions did you get?” Naina Patil was eternally curious. From the moment I had met her on the Hogwarts Express as a tiny eleven-year-old, that had been made clear - then again, it was perfect for Ravenclaw. She was the smartest girl in our year, yet somehow she didn’t give off the impression of a school obsessed nerd. Maybe it was the fact that she resembled a beanstalk, towering over every girl in our year. Or possibly it was just because she was the seeker of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team, and in Hogwarts, Quidditch trumped all.

Lydia Moore was the other half of the duo. “I heard you sent half the class to the hospital wing. Winnie was walking around the school complaining about how she had to go to the hospital wing with elephant ears.” Ever the pessimist, Lydia was full of what one could only call snark. I, on the other hand, called it annoyance.

“In my defense, I only meant to put the stewed mandrake into Sawyer’s,” I counteracted defensively, “It’s not my fault her potion was purple. Otherwise, the mandrake’s hyoscyamine wouldn’t have mattered as much.”

“So why did the potion go boom-boom?” Lydia questioned, then shook her head a moment later. Potions weren’t her strong suit. “Actually, you know what, I don’t really want to know. Let’s just go to lunch, it’s almost over.”

I frowned. “I’ve lost my appetite after that class.”

Lydia laughed. “Oh, sweet Willa, do you really think that you can lose your appetite? You’re hungry, trust me.” Lydia was always like that - carefree, forever living in the moment. Sometimes it was a curse, and other times it was a blessing.

As we began walking down the hall towards the Great Hall, I casually began to speak. “Oh, and I didn’t get any detentions.” Both of their mouths dropped, but my face twisted into a grimace. “Instead, I get the honor of tutoring a wonderful student in Potions!”

Lydia began cackling, and even Naina couldn’t hold back her laughter. “It’s a good thing you blew something up in this class.” Naina lips curved up in a wry smile. “In Birch’s class, you would have gotten a month of detention.”

“Guess it’s just the luck of the Irish. And Transfiguration is for chumps, anyways,” I snorted, “Potions is where it’s really at.”

Naina patted my shoulder paternalistically. “You keep telling yourself that, Willa.”

“Drat, lunch is about to end soon,” Lydia noted, lifting her wrist up to check her watch. “Like now.” As soon as she spoke, small groups of students began to filter out of the Great Hall. Lunch was beloved in our school, due to the vast amount of animals that populated it. Naina and Lydia were two of them, as demonstrated by their sprint into the Great Hall. I stood outside, tapping my foot, for what seemed like half a second, before the two of them burst out.

“Chere was no foot lewft,” Lydia said as we began to head towards the Transfiguration classroom.

With a smile, I grinned. “And you’re chewing on air right now?”

Lydia’s response was a thumbs up.

The three of us walked to Transfiguration in an amiable silence. At this time of day, Hogwarts was always crowded. In the morning, students often had frees - right after lunch, however, happened to be the busiest time. Especially since it seemed like half of our year took Transfiguration; too many dreams from the war had been passed down through nostalgia for glory days. The need for Aurors was no longer as urgent as it had been before - the Death Eaters had been caught. Now was not the time for war, but repairing wizarding society. It was too bad teenagers thirsted for blood, for anger and heat thrumming through their veins instead of the calmness that came with peace.

As we entered the room, I slipped into my normal seat. Out of my friend group, five of us had ended up taking the class: me, Lydia, Naina, Amelia, and Heather. Furthermore, the class was split up into tables of four, and the first day, I had ended up the odd one out. The only seat had been one sandwiched between two Gryffindor boys, the two of them bitter contrasts to one another: Jonah Walker and Louis Weasley. It was alright, though, because I had quickly become fast friends with the two of them. Jonah, who was currently sitting at the table, was a quiet type of boy, one who gave off the impression of the whole ‘moody, emo boy’ shtick. “How’s it going, Jonah?”

He glanced up from his parchment. One thing about Jonah was that he was a brilliant artist, as one could see from the various sketches taking shape around his paper. Not one for taking notes, though. “I think I should be asking you that. I heard about Potions class.”

I laughed slightly, taking out my things. “From who?”

“Well Alcott was complaining about her elephant ears, but I heard about it more in depth from James,” Jonah said, and I glanced up slightly in curiosity. There was no reason to be surprised, really, he had obviously been affected by the incident. But still... “Apparently Lee was annoying your arses off?”

“That’s all he said?” I remarked, before frowning at the look on his face. “Yeah, um, I was getting really frustrated with her. Good intentions, but didn’t manage to follow through on them.”

A faint hint of a smile appeared on Jonah’s face, eliciting a grin in return. Jonah wasn’t the type to smile all that often, and it was a matter of personal pride every time he did, a warm feeling fizzling in my chest. “He needs her intelligence.”

“What?” I asked, only half paying attention. Class was about to begin any minute now, and paying attention was a matter of utmost importance. I was barely averaging an Acceptable in the class, teetering on the edge of a Poor. It was something to do with my magic; it flowed through my body coughing and sputtering, like a broken down car. If I was being honest, I was practically a Squib.

“He’s not doing that great in Potions, but he needs to take the class,” Jonah finished.

“I remember. Welcome to the club,” I muttered under my breath.

“Aw, Willy, you’re not doing good in Potions? No wonder you blew up half the classroom.” There was a thump of books from beside me, and I turned to face Louis Weasley. Louis, with his floppy blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes, gave off the impression of living life as if every day were his last. That impression wasn’t wrong, either.

“Is that all everyone’s talking about?” I questioned, genuinely curious. “Isn’t there some sort of relationship drama going on? This is Hogwarts, after all.”

Louis chuckled. “It’s only been an hour, and you know Winnie Alcott. She and Lee could have a talking competition, and neither would win.”

“Because they’d just keep going on and on, right?” My mouth spread into a smile.

“Just like the two of you, Miss Lynch, Mr. Weasley.” I started as Professor Birch directed his gaze towards Louis and I. From the corner of my eye, I could see Louis give a salute. I cringed and sank down in my seat.

“Sorry, professor,” Was my meek response. I had had enough of defying teachers for one day.
“As I was saying-” Here, he gave me a sharp glare and I sank down further. “-today is going to be more of a practical day. I’m going to draw a design on the board, and I want you to conjure an object that involves this design. No paintings allowed, and a minimum size of one square foot.”

As he turned around, the class erupted into chatter once more. Staring down at my empty parchment, I commented, “You know, the only reason I did it was because Jeremy told me to. But at least I didn’t get detention, I just have to tutor somebody instead. I wonder if they’ll be a first year?”

Jonah snorted. “Willa, you’re pretty damn amazing at potions. He’ll definitely give you a sixth or seventh year.”

At his response, I shuddered. “Could you imagine me tutoring someone in my potions class? Who would it even be?”

Louis was currently staring at his wand in a pensive manner, but at this, he perked up. “If I took potions, then it would definitely be me.”

There was silence for a moment. And then: “You got a Troll on the OWL.”

“Wow, a Poor, so much better.”

“At least I didn’t think I could still take the class.”

“Yeah? Well at least…”

While the two of them bickered back and forth, I stared at the pattern on the board. It was a complicated one, perfectly suited for seventh year Transfiguration. I looked back down at my wand. A few sparks shot out of the tip, stinging as they hit my fingertips. A slight hiss escaped through my teeth, but I quickly diverted my attention back to the task at hand. Professor Birch already didn’t like me; I didn’t want to give him another reason to.

However, by the end of class, I had ended up with nothing to my name. My mind had ended up off on a tangent, my fingers red from sparks - it was a wonder I hadn’t accidentally Transfigured Jonah into half an owl, or Vanished the desk.

As Birch walked around the room, he halted at our table. Louis had Conjured up a whole other table, the design swirling around the table legs. “Miss Lynch, where is your object?”

Humiliation stained my cheeks red. “I don’t have one.”

Pursing his lips, Professor Birch gave me a long look. “Alright, Miss Lynch, that’s an automatic failure for the day. If you fail another task, I’ll be forced to assign you a tutor.” I nodded, fingers twisting together in worry. Louis was already packing up his stuff, but on my right, Jonah shot me a concerned look.

After he left, Jonah muttered quietly, “You know it’s okay, right? Everyone needs help at some point.”

With a disappointed smile, I began to pack up my belongings for the last class of the day. And finally, Jonah and Louis wrapped up their argument.

“You know what I need?” Louis remarked, as I began to drift away. “A nap. This day has been utter crap. Hey, that rhymes,” I stopped in my tracks and turned around to look at him. Before I could respond, Jonah interrupted.

“Aren’t you throwing a party for Asher?” He seemed as if he was about to laugh at Louis’ forgetfulness.

“Oh, right.” Louis faded off, lost in his memory. “But sleeping is so much better.”

“I agree,” I sighed, looking off into the distance.

“Lunatics, both of you.”

“It’s what makes us so special, Joney!”

“You can’t just add a y to everybody’s name to make it a nickname, Louis.” Jonah and Louis were back at it again.

“But you just did it, Joney!”

Stifling a giggle, I headed over to Amelia, who was still packing up her things. “So, how’s it going?” I twisted my fingers in the straps of my bag. Amelia and I hadn’t talked as much as I would have liked since last year. But maybe this time it’d be different.

“It’s going alright,” she responded, all in one breath, “I’ll see you later? Got to rush to Arithmancy, I’ll be murdered if I’m late again.” I could barely wave her away before she dashed off.

Sometimes, it felt like I alienated everybody in my life: my parents, James, and now, finally, Amelia. Maybe I was cursed. But more likely, I was just an idiot.


a/n: and as crucio comes back, so does this one! although while crucio has just gone through minor edits, this story has changed. a lot. probably more than you can tell from this first chapter, but i'm really excited for this new and improved str!



“Willa! Come over here!” Louis beckoned me over with his hand.

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