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Rumour Has It by lightyoureyes
Chapter 2 : Chapter Two: James Potter's Hair
 
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“Could you please move your feet off the bloody table?! I’m trying to focus here, and I don’t appreciate your bright pink toenails in my face.”

 

Frances rolled her eyes and removed her feet from the table dramatically so to make a point of it. I ignored her obvious ploy to irritate me and carried on reading my book, doing my best to ignore her. Frances being Frances, however, didn’t handle lack of attention very well.

 

She sighed dramatically, and I convinced myself not to look up. I was no longer reading the book, but I refused to acknowledge her out of principle.

 

She sighed again, even more so exaggeratedly if you could believe it, and shifted in her chair. I gritted my teeth and stared hard down at the book. If there were lasers in my eyes, I’d be burning the book to a crisp at that point.

 

Out of all the times I had been shushed for breathing in the library by Madame Pince, the one time when I needed her to tell my darling sister to shut the hell up, she held out on me.

 

Frances started tapping her foot – which was now back on the floor – rather impatiently. I was questioning why she didn’t have proper shoes on in the middle of October, it was bloody freezing and the girl was just sauntering around in flip flops. At least it made a change from those ridiculous heeled pumps she insisted on wearing with her uniform during the week, just looking at them made my feet hurt.

 

She began to sigh again but I had had just about enough.

 

“Is there something that I can help you with?” I snapped, glaring daggers at her. She smirked knowingly and sat upright in her chair.

 

So,” she started, while putting one hand on the desk in front of me. I internally groaned. I could tell that whatever she was going to tell me or ask me for (it would likely be the latter), it would be painfully awkward and/or ridiculous. Or just painful. Alas, I let her continue.

 

“You know how me and Fred Weasley broke up?” I rolled my eyes. Using the term ‘break up’ was a rather loose one. It was more a case of they were snogging exclusively for two weeks and then Fred decided to move onto some other poor girl. Unsurprisingly, Frances didn’t take it well, and resorted to throwing a sticky toffee cheesecake in his face. Super classy, and a devastating waste of a perfectly good cheesecake.

 

“Yes…” I replied carefully.

 

“Well, I left my necklace in his room, and it’s too awkward to get it ba-“

 

“You mean the extremely expensive necklace that Aunt Katie bought you for your birthday and said that if you ever lost – and I emphasise this – you’d be sent to live with Granny and her dribbling gnomes?”

 

I shuddered at the prospect, and judging by the look on her face, the thought terrified her just as much as did me.

 

“…maybe?” She said, her voice two octaves higher than normal. I groaned and put my head in my hands.

 

“Frances!” I groaned.

 

“It’s not my fault! I didn’t expect him to break off our relationship-“ Not a relationship. “-so suddenly!” she argued throwing her arms in the air for dramatic effect.

 

“What the bloody hell is your necklace doing in his room anyway?” I asked incredulously. I regretted the words the instant they left my mouth. Frances smirked and tilted her head.

 

“Well, if you really want to know, I-“ I held my hand up to signal her to stop.

 

“You know what, no I don’t want to know,” I sighed, “could you please get to the point where this little fiasco involves me?”

 

She smiled brightly at me, her eyes pleading.

 

“I was wondering, as my favourite ever sister-“

 

“I am your only sister,” I pointed out.

 

“What about Jude?”

 

I just stared at her.

 

“Jude is your brother, moron.”

 

“Okay, okay, whatever,” she exclaimed as she flapped her hands, “I just wanted to ask if you could pretty, pretty please with icing and cherries and pixie dust on t-“

 

“Get on with it!”

 

“Could you ask Fred for my necklace back?”

 

I blinked at her. She put her hands together in a praying motion and started mouthing the word ‘please’ to me over and over again.

 

“Have you gone completely bloody insane?” I said with utter disbelief, “why in Merlin’s left sodding sock would I do that?!”

 

She paused to think.

 

“Because you love me and support me with all of your being as my big sister?” she offered.

 

“Doubtful,” I quipped.

 

“Please Connie! I’ve got no one else to ask!”

 

“Why don’t you ask Teardop or whatever her name is?” I said, looking back down at my back. She glared at the side of me head.

 

Tiara, is no longer talking to me because I said her boyfriend was a creep, which he is.”

 

“Caroline?”

 

She scoffed.

 

“Don’t even get me started with her.” She growled. I went to think of other friends my sister had, but there had been so many fleeting ones over the years that they all blurred into one.

 

“Besides, I wouldn’t trust anybody else to do it apart from you!”

 

“I’m sorry, the Connie Whittle Sympathy line is unavailable, please try again later!” I sang.

 

“Please, Con!”

 

“No.”

 

“Please!”

 

“No, Frances!”

 

“Pleaaaaaaaaase?”

 

“Nooooooo,” I sang.

 

“Please?”

 

“No!”

 

“Please?”

 

I slammed my hands down on the table, and turned towards my sister, fury and adrenaline running through me.

 

“No, Frances, I will not bloody go searching for your ex-whatever-he-was and beg him to give your stupid sodding necklace back that you shouldn’t have damn well lost in the first place!”

 

“Miss Whittle, please keep it down!”

 

So Madam Pince had finally decided to show up. After sincerely apologising, I turned back to my sister who had her arms crossed and was sulking. After a moment of blissful silence, it was ruined.

 

“Ple-“

 

“Do not make me hex you.” I warned in a low voice. She rolled her eyes and sighed.

 

“Fine then, I’ll convince one of the first years to do it.” I ignored her and tried to concentrate on my book. I was pretty sure I had read the same line that said something about the complications of the Draught of the Living Death about fifty times. It was hopeless.

 

I was fully expecting my sister to leave, after all, the library was never Frances’ first choice of places to be on a Saturday afternoon. However, she’d pulled her chair to the other side of the table I was on and started getting things out of her bag. I stared at her as if she had a bowtruckle on her head.

 

“What are you doing?”

 

“Catching up on some reading,” she said nonchalantly, making my eyebrows shoot up to my hairline.

 

“You? Reading? Are you feeling okay Fran?” I asked in all seriousness. She rolled her eyes and pulled out a Witch Weekly mag and flipped it open. Of course, I thought, it’s not like Fran to actually read a proper book.

 

“Why do you read that dribble anyway?” I asked, as she continued to read whatever pointless article was in there.

 

“It’s good.” Frances said plainly, not taking her eyes off the magazine.

 

“That’s a bit of a stretch, don’t you think?”

 

“Not all of us like to read about politics and boring Ministry officials like you insist on filling that bloody newspaper with.” She commented. I knew that well enough, pretty much every student in this school clearly had no interest in it.

 

“Well it doesn’t matter anyway, because they’re pulling the plug on us.” I said sadly, dipping my head down ashamedly. It felt hard to admit to my sister that the one thing I had been proud of, the thing that kept me close to our parents, was being shut down. She looked up from her magazine and raised her eyebrows.

 

“Why?” She asked, seeming genuinely shocked.

 

“Students don’t read it, it’s just a waste, apparently.” I mumbled, not meeting her eyes. Her face fell a bit. Although Frances had no interest in the Hoggy Herald, she knew how important it was to me and Jude.

 

“I’m sorry, Connie,” she sympathised, and I offered a small but weak smile. I sighed.

 

“Felicity is convinced that if we ask for one more issue, we can change it around, but I just don’t see how.” I replied. I was drained at this point, I had been working ridiculously hard on this paper for years and it was all coming to nothing. However, Frances’ eyes lit up.

 

“You know, maybe the crazy pixie bitch has a point,” she said. I glared at her. Frances and Felicity did not get on, to say the least. They were both stubborn and temperamental, and having them in the same house for two weeks over Christmas in third year did not end well. Frances is still traumatised by having her eyebrows hexed off, as amusing as it was.

 

“Could you please stop calling her that?”

 

“She belongs in a loony bin, so no, I wont.” It was a helpless argument.

 

“Anyway so what did you mean when you said that she ‘has a point’?” I asked. She looked at me as though it was obvious.

 

“Come up with something great, obviously.” I noticeably deflated. I hated how no one could give me anything but vague answers. Ambiguity was the last thing I needed in my life.

 

“Thanks for that. So helpful of you.” I deadpanned.

 

“I mean,” she started, “why don’t you do one piece that the students will be super interested in? And then add in all that other fluff around it.”

 

Although I didn’t appreciate her referring to people’s hard work and well-written articles as fluff, I pondered on her idea.

 

“I’m not going to put some gossipy celeb rubbish in like that bloody Witch Weekly mag if that’s what you’re suggesting.” I said defiantly. No way would I let the Hoggy Herald be lowered to that sort of level.

 

“Not quite ‘gossipy celeb rubbish’ as you put it so kindly,” she said shooting me daggers, “but you’ve got to cater to the masses.”

 

I thought about what she said. Shockingly, it didn’t sound like such an appalling idea, which was how I knew I was getting desperate.

 

“How do you mean?” I questioned thoughtfully.

 

“Give Hogwarts something they can’t ignore, something they want to read about.” She sounded like Felicity, but it was starting to make a lot more sense in my head. However, due to my apparent detachment from the social spheres of Hogwarts, what the students wanted to read about was unbeknownst to me. I had always put in what I thought was interesting.

 

It seemed Frances had read my mind.

 

“As much as the stuff you put in interests you, you’ve got to realise who the newspaper is for.”

 

“A bunch of teenagers whose biggest problems include who’s kissing who in what broom closets?” I offered dryly. She smiled.

 

“Exactly. We aren’t dealing with the aftermath of a war and loose Death Eaters like mum and dad were, Con, it’s not the same world.” I hated to say it, but she was right.

 

The generation of Harry Potter and the likes had fought a full-on war and went through a lot to make sure that our generation lived as comfortably as it did. To make sure that our teenage problems stayed as teenage problems and to make sure that that would be the biggest thing we would have to face in our adolescence. Not like Harry Potter, who had fought off the world’s darkest wizard when he was my age.

 

I nodded in agreement, as much as it pained me.

 

“So,” I started, straightening up, “as someone with a mind that likens to the masses, what would students want to read about?”

 

Frances grinned.

 

“Well, that’s easy. Quidditch, the seventh year boys’ Fittest Witch List in the second floor toilets, and, of course, James Potter’s hair,” she started, “and by the way, I’m currently number four on that list!” Frances exclaimed excitedly.

I raised an eyebrow.

 

“So you expect my team, a bunch of serious journalists, to write about the state in which Harry Potter’s son’s bloody hair stands?!”

 

Frances rolled her eyes.

 

“You don’t have to sound quite so shocked, you must have seen the poll that was going around last year about whether it looked better short or long?”

 

I wanted to repeatedly smack my head off the table and feed myself to a Hippogriff. Maybe then I would lose enough brain cells to comprehend what on earth goes through the heads of the girls at this school. Instead, I resorted to one single bang of my head on the table, which hurt enough, I might add.

 

“Ow,” I said, rubbing my head.

 

“Judging by that, I’m guessing you didn’t.” Frances deduced. I shot her a glare. I was completely done for. There was no way I was going to put a piece in my magazine that was as menial as what Frances had just suggested, despite my appreciation for my help.

 

When I told her this, she merely shrugged and carried on reading her magazine.

 

I buried my head in my hands again, thinking that I hadn’t got any further than I had yesterday with Felicity. I couldn’t demean the magazine to the point of pointless gossip, but I needed something to catch the attention of the readers.

 

I just needed something in the middle, something news-worthy but interesting, something current but not trivial.

 

There couldn’t possibly be a worse idea in the world than an article about James Potter’s hair, right?

 

A/N:

Hello dear readers, thank you for the views and lovely comments. Thank you to my sister for being the inspiration for the equally frustrating Frances.


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