Chapter 1 : He Who Casts the First Stone...
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I stared into the mirror a moment more, making sure I had my most winner-y smile down to a T. If there was one thing a leader needed to be, besides a brilliant liar, it was a winner -- nobody wanted a loser telling them what to do, and there was absolutely no way I was going to be seen as a loser.
This was a do or die situation, and to lose the campaign meant nothing but certain social death.
The name, in case you’re wondering, is Minerva Rowena Scammander. I’d be shocked if you hadn’t heard it at some point, since I’m quite well-known pretty much everywhere, at least to everyone who matters, but I suppose not everyone is quite as, well, “in” on everything as everyone else. It’s a pretty bloody weird name, I know, but it all makes sense when you look at my parents. Or, more specifically, my mother. I come from a rather unfortunate gene pool when it comes to sanity, having been raised by an only half-lucid woman who wore garden vegetables as earrings and talked about invisible creatures only she could see. I absolutely adore her, of course, but what my father saw in her I’ll never know. What I do know is that somehow, by some divine miracle clearly orchestrated by the heavens above I was blessed with complete sanity, scathing wit, heaps of charm, a scheming mind, and painfully good-looks.
Modesty? Not so much, but at least I can admit to my faults.
However, faults aren’t what the people -- my people, at least soon-to-be -- are going to see. All they’re going to see is silver hair and porcelain skins and coal black eyes and a pretty smile, and the only things they’re going to hear are sugary-sweet promises and a dash of lies and just a pinch of the truth, and exactly the things they want to hear.
Because Hogwarts had eliminated the prefects system and was now looking for a new Student Body Minister, a student who was practically in charge of all other students in the entire school, a student who could change the castle into whatever they wanted it to be, and in the name of Merlin’s shiny purple socks, I was going to be that student. Even if it killed me in the process.
Well, maybe not quite then, but I would get bloody well close. Horrifically maim, perhaps?
If I was being perfectly honest -- which, as is common with most successful political figures, I rarely am -- the position? It was pretty much already mine. I didn’t even need to try half as hard as I was, because everyone else who was running for the spot was either completely deranged or just painfully loser-ish. No one in their right mind was going to vote for the creepy emo girl who was promising all-vegan meals, or the random bloke who wanted to make meal times shorter so that we could increase the amount of time spent in class -- those weren’t the things the student body wanted. I knew what the student body wanted, because to tell the truth?
I was the student body.
There’s a reason the popular girl in muggle movies is pretty much always the head of everything. It’s not exactly rocket science, and it’s not just because she’s pretty and everyone wants to be like her. It’s a lot deeper than that, when you break it down, but it’s really quite easy to see. She’s popular. She does what popular people do. People want to be popular and do what popular people do, so they try to do just that. If the popular person says the do something, they do it. If the popular person says they want something, they want it. Mokey-see, monkey-do. That’s all it breaks down to.
And I really hate to stroke my own ego, but why deny it? I’m a popular girl. Always have been, always will be. So who is there more qualified than me to decide what the people want?
They wanted more school dances, more school clubs, more Hogsmeade weekends. They wanted less homework, less responsibility, less things that they felt were a waste of their time. And I would give it to them -- I was the only person I could, and even if they didn’t believe that I would be able to do everything that I said, well, I always had my charm to win them over.
One last time I looked into the mirror, repeating the words I said every single morning after all the other girls had cleared out of the dormitory and headed down to breakfast. “You’re a winner.”
“You’re a freak is more like it,” the familiar voice called out from the doorway, and I turned to face its owner with a grin. Red hair, freckled complexion, Rosie was my other half, and the one who was spear-heading my campaign. “Talking to yourself now, Mins? I don’t think insanity is a good quality in a Minister.” Rose gave me a teasing smirk, eyes glinting, and I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Every good leader’s got to be a little insane, Rosie. It’s just part of the job description. And,” I added, raising an eyebrow, “Everyone knows the second-in-command is the one who ends up losing it in the long run, so it’s me who ‘aught to be concerned for you. Sure you’ve not made any plans to ‘Avada’ me and steal my position yet?” Rose giggled, rolling her eyes and entwining her arm with mine as we made our way out of the common room and into the dungeons, ignoring the awed (and, honestly, occasionally slightly malicious) looks we received as we made our way through the crowds.
“We’ve got this in the bag, Mins,” Rosie whispered in my ear as we walked, her trademark smirk on her lips, and for once I knew with absolute certainty that it was nothing but the truth.
The Great Hall was packed with people -- which I supposed was to be expected, since it was Sunday morning, and everyone in the castle knew that Sunday morning breakfasts were the best meals of the entire year, not counting Christmas and Thanksgiving. However, I knew that it was also packed because of one very important event that was about to occur -- I was going to make my first ever candidate speech.
The entire thing was perfect. I knew it was, because myself and Rosie, along with Albus, my social coordinator/other best friend, whom Rose had dragged along despite all his protests, had spent countless hours in the library working on it, not leaving until it was completely flawless. There was no freaking way anyone else would be able to top my speech, not even the Ravenclaw book boy holding a novel-lengthed speech who looked like he was sweating bullets over in the corner. Both of my opponents had spoken before I had arrived, because I had made absolutely certain to make a dramatic entrance, and from the general lack of interest that was emanating from all the students in the Great Hall, they hadn’t done a very good job of it. Which basically meant that the entire thing was mine for the taking, even more so than it had before.
Trying my best to look casual as I walked between the tables up to the podium, Rosie behind me, Al now flanking her side and Poppy Longbottom, my publicist and best frenimy not far behind him. Chin up, back straight, eyes forward. Smile. And I did, lighting up my face like a Christmas tree, and right then and there a hush fell over the entire room.
Oh yeah, I had this. No doubt in my mind.
The hall was silent, the audience was ready and waiting, and I had some good-old fashioned presidential lies to deliver.
Deep breath. Alluring smile. Begin.
“Students of Hogwarts, I come to you today to ask you a single question. It’s a simple question, but a question that I guarantee none of my fellow candidates have asked you, and even if they have, I can promise you that they were never really listening, not the way you need them too. It’s the only question that really matters, the only question that a leader should ever have to ask. It’s the most important question in the world,” Pause for dramatics. Sympathetic smile. Continue. “My question is, students: what do you want?”
Challenge the opposition.
“Now, Cassidy here has a unique idea, there’s no denying that.” I glanced over to the veggie girl in the Hufflepuff robes, tossing her a wink before continuing. “She’s suggesting all vegan-meals in to be served. No more chicken legs or steaks, no more of the desserts we know and love. Just healthy stuff packed full of soy goodness! Which, I mean, wow, that’s totally safe, right?” Dramatic pause. Mischievous giggle. Continue. “Um, yeah. Not quite. Because really, who gives a shit? Certainly not me!”
Pause for laughter. Cute blush. Continue.
“Or how about Michael? He wants to cut into meal times to make classes longer. Like, that’s exactly what teenagers need: more time in class learning about things we couldn’t care less about! Cheers, Michael, for the brilliant idea of taking away from our favorite thing and replacing it with the one thing no one wants to have.” Giggle. Give opponent friendly, acidic smile. Continue. “I’m not here to offer you things you couldn’t care less about. I’m here to promise you things that you need. I know you guys -- I’m one of you. I want the same things! I want more school dances and less school homework. I want more Hogsmeade weekends and less detentions. I want more freedom and less responsibilities. And, unless I’m horribly mistaken, I’m pretty sure that’s what you guys want, too. Am I right?”
Pause for applause..
More like ‘pause for worship’. At this point I had practically every single one of them trapped, hook line and sinker. Even the weirdos who had been in support of vegan-book freaks looked excited, although I supposed they got excited over pretty much anything. Which meant that I was winning, that I had the entire thing in the bag, that there wasn’t a chance in hell anyone could beat me --
That was, of course, until one Scorpius Malfoy stood up on his bench over at the Gryffindor table. That was when things started to get a little complicated.
“What about Quidditch?” he asked, and it was such an innocent question that at the time I didn’t even think it deserved the slightest bit of panic.
Oh, how wrong I was.
“Of course! Everyone knows that I’m a huge Quidditch fan. Aren’t we all?” Cute laugh. Continue. “Which means that there will be extra emphasis put on the program, more games, more tournaments...”
“Not good enough,” he cut in, interrupting me half-way through my sentence. Another hush fell over the hall, similar to earlier, except this time it wasn’t in awe. This was full-blown shock, fear, and perhaps, if I wasn’t mistaken -- and I rarely was -- a good deal of excitement. The tension in the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife, and I was almost positive that somewhere in Malfoy’s cool blue stare, there was just the slightest hint of amusement. It took everything I had in my body not to lunch at the prat, hands clenched into fists at my sides, but I kept my face calm and collected, trying not to let him see that he was getting to me. Because he wasn’t, really.
Not in the least.
“We don’t need to put an emphasis on Quidditch. We need to make Quidditch our emphasis,” and then he started pacing forwards on the bench, students clearing out of the way for him as he placed his hands behind his back, and it was only then that I realized what he was doing.
Oh, hell no.
“Too long has academics been placed before sport in this school. What’s been the most important thing? Studies. And rightly so, for everyone knows that you need to have brains to succeed -- but what about brawn? What about the students that plan to achieve their success through sport? What happens to them?” Cocky smile. Dramatic pause. Merlin, he was even stealing my speaking techniques! “They get cast aside, and when they don’t do as well in their academic studies they’re marked as failures. But I say: to hell with that!” Pause for applause. Taunting smirk. Continue. “So what I’m proposing is, quite naturally, this:
“Quidditch classes as subjects. Not just flying classes for first years, either! Real, top-of-the-line Quidditch classes, no matter what year you’re in. Quidditch intramurals on weekends for those who don’t make the team. Quidditch training camps! Quidditch parties! More Quidditch, more sport, happier students throughout the castle!”
It was stupid. It was a completely idiotic campaign. It didn’t even make an ounce of bloody sense. Seriously, who wanted a school based entirely around Quidditch?
And then the entire hall broke it thunderous applause, and I got my answer.
“Vote Scorpius Malfoy for Student Body Minister!” was the last thing I heard before the entire world went red.
I didn’t even realize what I was doing until it was too late. It was like the entire world went black, and then seconds later I was dragging Malfoy out the hall by the collar of his shirt, and then in the blink of an eye I had pulled him into an abandoned alcove, pinned him against the wall, and was seconds away from ripping his throat out with my bare hands, or kneeing him right where it hurts, or poking in the eyes with my extra-long gel nails, or simply decking him in the face.
But I did none of that, because the last thing I needed was detention for beating up a fellow student, fellow candidate, even if it was a complete prat like Scorpius Malfoy. Instead, I just glared.
“Malfoy. What. The. Actual. Shit.”
Perhaps the most infuriating part about the entire situation was that he didn’t look the least bit phased. Most people would be shaking in their boots, were standing where he was, but the only shaking he was doing was from his laughter, which was coming continuously and at full-force. “It’s not funny you prat!” I exclaimed, smacking his face in an attempt to knock some sense into him, but it only seemed to make him laugh harder. There was nothing even close to funny about what was happening, but he was treating the whole damn thing like it was a joke, and it was getting old, fast.
“You should see the look on your face, Minerva. You look like I’ve stolen your favorite toy,” there was that same glint in his eyes, the one I had seen in the Great Hall just moments before, and it only made me want to severely damage him more.
“I know you couldn’t care less about the election, Malfoy. And I know even you certainly don’t care that much about Quidditch -- and don’t even think about lying to me. I know you well enough to tell when you’re lying.” A friendship from age seven to eleven had made me an expert in the inner workings of Scorpius’ Malfoy’s mind, and five years of not speaking hadn’t changed that fact one bit. “So tell me: what in the name of Merlin is going on here? Is this some kind of twisted revenge for first year or what? It was like, five years ago. Move on already.”
More laughter. More of an urge to punch him.
“Even I didn’t think you were that shallow, Minerva,” he sneered, pushing himself forward so that it was me backed against the wall instead of him, teeth glinting in the shadows, making him look like even more of a snake than he was. Clearly they had sorted him into the wrong house, because there was no way he was a warm and fuzzy lion. “No, I’ve just decided I really, really care about making my fellow peers happy, right? And what better way to do that than run for Student Body Minister. Although,” he backed up, putting his hands in his pockets and grinning in amusement. “I suppose getting to see the look on your face when I beat you will be an added incentive to win.”
And then, leaning so close his lips were brushing against my ear, breath hot against my neck, he whispered the words I dreaded hearing more than anything else.
“You’re going to lose, Minerva. And there’s nothing you can do to stop it.”
Blink, he was gone, leaving me with a flyer in which my face had been altered to look like Lord Voldemort’s, and then flashing to a picture of himself with a lightening bolt scar, round glasses, and the caption, ‘Order of the Scorpius’.
“Pathetic,” I muttered under my breath, crumpling the paper into a ball and tossing it aside for Filch to clean. As I stepped into the hall I kept my face calm, walls up, a leader’s smile firmly in place, but in my veins there was a white-hot rage threatening to make it’s way to the surface.
If it was a war Scorpius wanted, it was a war he was going to get.
A/N: Random, I know! Reviews are always appreciated, even if you hate it. Thanks for reading xx
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