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Rumour Has It by lightyoureyes
Chapter 4 : Chapter Four: Absolute Loveliness
 
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Connie my lovely,

 

Arrived in Bulgaria! Absolutely lovely country, lovely faces, lovely people, just fabulous! Your Uncle and I have met this couple from America who are travelling for work just like us and their tent is wonderful – ten times bigger than ours, mind – but I’ve never met such a lovely couple. Apparently, they have a gorgeous son back home going to magical boarding school just like you, I’m sure we can arrange to meet you two up at some point over the holidays.

 

Anyway, your while your Uncle was at one of those ministry meetings, I talked to a wife of one of the officials, turns out she is friends of a friend of Viktor Krum’s new wife. Can you believe it?! Viktor Krum was the absolute dream back in my day, absolute loveliness he was. He was the only reason I watched Quidditch back then, I imagine your sister is doing the same thing with those handsome boys at your school. Is she still seeing that Fred Weasley? He seems like such a lovely boy, not to mention awfully well connected, if you get what I mean.

 

I imagine you and our Jude are still pining after that newspaper? Your mum and dad would be so proud that you are now editor in chief, I bet you’re the absolute talk of the school. Make sure that Jude lets me know if he needs new robes, that boy is growing an inch a day! Me and your uncle are missing you all terribly, we can’t wait for you to join us at Christmas. I imagine we’ll either be in France or Egypt by then, but I’ll owl you to let you know.

 

Stop feeding Earl too much, he’s getting so fat he can barely lift his own weight.

 

Lots of love my darling, write back soon,

 

Aunt Katie

 

I smiled at the end. Earl was my monstrous owl who was notorious in the owlery for stealing other owls’ food. It was quite the scandal in fourth year, it took the school months to figure out what was happening to the food in the owlery. It became clear when Earl was the only one who’s weight was expanding at an impressive speed. It stopped happening as much when the owls were starting to be fed snails, they were the only thing Earl hated to eat.

 

The bloody thing was still at least double the size of all the other owls.

 

My Aunt also tended to overuse the word ‘lovely’ and all of its variations. She once referred to a Muggle bank as ‘absolute loveliness’ because they don’t force goblins to work there. Aunt Katie was very much an advocate for equal rights for all creatures of the Wizarding World. When she was younger, she used to trick Granny’s friends into freeing their house-elves when they visited the house for dinner. Needless to say, they weren’t happy.

 

Aunt Katie was susceptible to gossip. Merlin, she loved gossip. Even more so than Frances if that was even possible. Sometimes, it was like speaking to a fourteen-year-old girl than a thirty-eight year old woman, especially the way her eyes lit up and her nose twitched every time a new piece of gossip was on the table. She was so unlike her sister, my mum, in that sense. Mum didn’t care for celebrities or gossip like Aunt Katie did and she didn’t tend to show affection in the way Aunt Katie did. It was a lot harder to connect with Mum, especially in the later days, but I knew she loved us all.

 

I smiled sadly at the parchment.

 

If only she knew, I thought as I read the last paragraph. I wasn’t sure if mum and dad would be proud if they knew what I had to do to keep the newspaper going. Was it worth it? Was I really that desperate that I had to go through with doing an article on James Potter?

 

James Potter?!”

I winced. Jude evidently didn’t think so. I snapped out of my thoughts and looked up to see my brother, who had appeared in the doorway of my dungeon office, looking extremely displeased. His arms were folded and his eyes blazing, I should have known that Jude wouldn’t be happy about my proposal for what could potentially be our last issue.

 

I smiled weakly.

 

“Actually it’s Connie, you know, your sister,” I internally slapped myself for that God-awful attempt at a joke. I never was one to be good at easing the tension, and if Jude’s face was anything to go by, it had the opposite of the desired effect.

 

“Are you sure?” He said, walking over to me, “Because, I know for a fact that my sister wouldn’t agree to an idea like this.” He placed both of his hands on my desk and was looking at me with furrowed brows. Despite being my little brother, he towered over me and I couldn’t escape his gaze. He looked confused, angry, and – worst of all - disappointed. I would have loved nothing better in that moment than to melt into a pile of goo onto the ground.

 

“I hate this as much as you do, Jude,” He cocked an eyebrow and I hoped his look would soften ever so slightly so it didn’t feel like I had two holes burning through me. He took his hands off my desk and stepped back, running his hands through his dark hair roughly and dropping onto the chair opposite. I almost winced. If I’d sat on my ancient chair that hard I imagined it would’ve collapsed.

 

I looked at Jude properly. He looked tired. I could tell that things were getting to him, trying to get through his OWLs and doing his Prefect duties as well as stressing about the paper. Jude was smart, there was no doubt about that, so he wouldn’t have a problem with his exams. I felt like there was something else I was missing, but I knew it wasn’t the time to pry about it.

 

“What were you thinking?” He asked. I wasn’t sure if it was a rhetorical question or not as he was still staring at the floor, but I decided to do what I always did and not answer the question.

 

“Who told you about it, anyway?” I knew it wasn’t Stefan or Felicity, they knew I wanted to tell Jude in my own way, especially as it meant that his piece was getting demoted from the front page for it.

 

“Who do you think?” He said dryly. It clicked, and I sighed. Bloody Frances, I thought, of course the bint couldn’t keep her mouth shut.

 

“Look, Jude,” I started, leaning my elbows on the desk, “we need something to keep us afloat, something that people really want to read about, even if that does mean we have to do an article on James Potter.” The words tasted bitter on my mouth, I felt like I was betraying every value I had or that I wanted for the newspaper.

 

“But James Potter?! The guy bloody loves himself! He won’t talk about Quidditch for a second, mark my words.” I raised an eyebrow at Jude. It wasn’t like him to be so bitter, I always assumed he was just as indifferent to the Potters and the Weasleys as I was. He looked angry.

 

“Have I missed something?” I asked. He refused to look me in the eyes. He clenched his teeth and I could see him visibly tense up.

 

“It’s just – I mean – it’s him and his bloody family, walking round like they own the place, and the way they treat girls….” He shook his head. I raised my eyebrows. I had a feeling this was about something completely different.

 

“Is this about Frances? And Fred? Cause you know – Frances is OK, I mean she’s bloody mental in general, but she’s fine about it…” I tested. He looked up at me, although his eyes didn’t quite meet mine. He sighed and nodded.

 

“Yeah…that’s it, it’s Frances, I’m worried about her.” I didn’t buy it one bit, but again, I didn’t want to pry. I didn’t doubt that he cared about Frances, but there was clearly something on his mind that he didn’t want to share and I didn’t want to force it out of him.

 

“I’m sorry, Jude, this is something we just have to do for now, I know it’s crap, but I just don’t see another solution.”

 

He nodded reluctantly, and I could see he understood. I could tell how hard it was for him though, and it hurt to see him like that. It was always as important to Jude as it was me to keep the integrity of the paper, but it just wasn’t viable.

 

“I understand, just promise me this is it, that after this article we won’t have to do anything like this again.” He pleaded with me. I bit my lip. I knew I couldn’t promise that, of course I couldn’t. I knew that one successful issue wouldn’t save us on its own. Deep down, I knew that if we were to keep going we would have to constantly put articles like this in. However, at that point, I couldn’t admit it to myself, and I certainly couldn’t admit it to Jude. I had to lie, even though I’d regret it, I had to. I couldn’t see my baby brother break down like I knew he would. So, I said it, and saying those words made me want to bite my tongue clean off but I did it anyway.

 

“I promise.”

 

*

 

“Did you hear about Albus Potter? Apparently he’s now dating Dahlia Zabini!”

 

I tried to blank out the mindless chatter that was happening around me, but they were being so bloody loud. I was internally begging for Professor Macmillan to tell them to shut up, but he either could hear, which was doubtful, or was actively ignoring it. He seemed to be doing a better job than I was.

 

“Ugh, she’s vile,” Someone whispered quietly. I rolled my eyes at that comment, before registering that that person who had whispered that comment was sitting right next to me. I looked at Felciity, raising my eyebrows.

 

“What? She is,” She said, shrugging and turning back to look at Professor Macmillan who was talking animatedly about Silencing charms. We’d already done these charms back in fifth year, so it wasn’t really imperative that we listened to him, but the chattering girls were getting on my nerves. I didn’t care about who Albus Potter was dating or how said girl apparently had a slightly crooked nose.

 

I rolled my eyes at Felicity.

 

“- I mean, that’s almost as bad as Fred Weasley dating that Frances girl,” My ears perked up when I heard my sister’s name. I saw Felicity glance at me nervously and my eyes were still trained forward, but my hand froze and tightened around the quill that I was taking notes with.

 

“Oh Merlin, that was awful, everyone knows that she’s been around the whole of Gryffindor,” One of the girls said.

 

My eye twitched.

 

“I’m pretty sure the Ravenclaw lads have got a bet going to see who can shag her first, although I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s got though them all already,” The other laughed. My teeth clenched and I was no longer even trying to focus on what Professor Macmillan was saying. How dare those girls talk about Frances like that? Sure, Frances was free-spirited and liked the attention of boys, but those girls were no different. I didn’t care who Frances had or hadn’t slept with, she was my sister and she didn’t deserve to be talked about like that.

 

I could see out the corner of my eye that Felicity was looking at me sympathetically, but I decided to stare at my parchment and try not to react.

 

“Don’t worry, Connie,” she whispered, “Those girls are just jealous.” She said, offering a small smile which I returned. I decided to try and re-focus on what Macmillan was saying, knowing my luck he would tell us to write an essay on this for next week, and I’d have no clue what he said.

 

“…clearly got issues, the girl spreads herself round like a disease…”

 

“Apparently her dad left when she was younger, probably realised what a slut he had for a daughter and ran off…”

 

I cracked. The girls began laughing afterwards and I couldn’t take it anymore. How in hell those girls knew anything about my parents I didn’t know, but I didn’t think about it in that moment. I just knew I’d had enough. I couldn’t stop mindless gossip, but I could give a bloody good go at stopping mindless girls insulting my sister and family with something they knew next to nothing about. My whole body felt hot with anger and adrenaline, and before I knew it, someone had interrupted my thoughts.

 

“Do you girls have nothing better to do than bitch about people? Or are your lives that fucking worthless that it’s your only entertainment?”

 

I felt relieved. I wanted to kiss the feet of whoever that was that spoke up. However, I realised as my hands were shaking and as my face hit the temperature of the sun, that everyone was staring at me.

 

Shit, that voice had been me. I didn’t even register that I was saying it or how loud I was saying it. In fact, I think I had more shouted it than anything. I could see that I’d probably done so by the faces of the students in the class, all of whom looked shocked, and some even looked amused. I wanted to slap myself when I realised it hadn’t just caught the attention of the class, but Professor Macmillan as well, who had finally stopped talking and was looking straight at me with a raised eyebrow and a displeased look on his face. The girls who had been talking about Frances looked equally as shocked as the rest of the class, and that satisfied me slightly. At least it had shut them up.

 

“Miss Whittle, I’d appreciate it if you did not shout at people across the room in my lesson,” I looked at the floor ashamedly, “Detention, seven o’clock this evening.”

 

My whole face started to heat up more if that was possible. I had not had a detention in all my years at Hogwarts, I had barely even spoken in lessons let alone shouted at anyone in them. I was half irritated and half ashamed. If those girls hadn’t been whispering horrible things about my sister in the first place, I wouldn’t have shouted at them. I was annoyed that I was in trouble and they got away with being nasty. But I knew I shouldn’t have said anything, I should have listened to Felicity and ignored them. But the comment about our dad irked me, it was a particularly sore subject for the family, and not one that those girls had any right to comment on.

 

Professor Macmillan continued with his lesson and the whispers continued, but this time they weren’t about any of the Potters or the Weasleys and their latest dates, but they were about me.

 

“Who is she?”

 

“…fucking mental case…”

 

“Is she new or something?”

 

“…is she the one that shagged Scorpius Malfoy last year?”

 

I almost gagged at that one. I internally chastised myself. All I’d done was something I spent my whole life at Hogwarts trying to avoid, I’d only added more fuel to the rumour mill that was Hogwarts. I only gave people more opportunity to gossip and make up silly stories. I tried to blank out the whispers for the rest of the lesson, to no avail, and tried to figure out how I’d tell Aunt Katie and Uncle Wes that I’d got my first ever detention.

 

“Did you hear her? That was bloody brilliant,”

 

I smiled down at my parchment. However much I regretted blurting it out, I agreed. That felt bloody brilliant.

 

 

A/N:

Thank you to all those who are reading and havent been bored to death yet, I commend you all :) I know it's off to a slow start, but I wanted to introduce a bit of background to Connie and her life. I wonder if any of you have any guesses about what's happened with Connie's parents or what is going on with her brother? The next chapter will feature James Potter, not to worry everyone.


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