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Chapter 7 : Roxanne, Ravenclaws, and Rather Ridiculous References
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~Anything you recognise belongs to J.K Rowling, or the equally marvellous J.R.R Tolkien. Please read and review!~
"Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?"
I chuckled softly, closing the pages of my Dad’s slightly battered, extremely well-read copy of The Hobbit for what must have been at least the fiftieth time. I set it beside me on upon the crisp grass and stared out across the Black Lake. The early morning sun was dousing the grounds in its golden rays; the ice coating the lake seeming to glow, and the trees glistening with icicles.
I often wondered what it would be like to be normal. Where life goes to plan, all the time. Would it be boring? Perhaps it would be much nicer to make life non-boring in ways that didn’t involve dilemmas and mistakes, or, in Bilbo’s case, a wizard turning up on your doorstep and practically saying “You’re going to help these dwarves, ok?” Then again, Bilbo’s unexpected journey did ultimately have a happy ending, maybe certainty was overrated–
“Toast!” Roxy yelled, snapping me out of my daydream. I looked up at her, standing there beside the edge of the lake, smiling broadly and her long, dark red hair trailing behind her in the chilly morning breeze. In one of her hands balanced a tower of toast, golden and buttery, and teetering dangerously. Her other hand was intertwined with Lysander’s. Around their necks hung matching thick woollen scarves, embroidered with the words “Hippogriffs are people too.” The sight of them had me torn between letting out a long extended “Naw”, or letting out a little bit of vomit.
“Oh hey you two.” I said as I scrambled to my feet and deftly took charge of Roxy’s precarious toast mountain. Breakfast by the lake was just something we did every now and again, it didn’t matter that it was freezing cold.
“Hattie, I think you daydream too much. I’m beginning to think you have attention deficit disorder.” Roxy replied matter-of-factly, as her own way of greeting.
I raised one eyebrow, and shared a sceptical look with Lysander. Five seconds later we were laughing, bending over and struggling to breathe, the toast tower in more danger than ever. Roxy just stared at us, her arms now crossed and a faint frown gracing her petite features.
“What is so funny?!” She exclaimed, watching the two of us.
“Well it was that or say her brain was invaded with Nargles.”Roxy huffed. I shook my head. Lysander imitated something flying over the top of his head, making a whooshing sound as he did so – something else that went unnoticed/misunderstood by my dear Roxanne.
“Don’t worry you pretty little head about it Roxy,” I said, still breathless, “haven’t you got a busy day of pranking ahead of you?” I finally took a piece of toast and began to eat, offering the rest of the resilient stack to Lysander, who began to stuff the food messily into his mouth, in that way so characteristic of teenage boys.
“That I do, lovely Hattie. The list is shortening day by day, but the select few who remain are in for a real Christmas treat.” Roxy laughed; with an excited, slightly manic glint appearing in her hazel eyes.
Christmas had snuck up on me, there was no denying it. Winter had well and truly arrived, the castle grounds continually coated in at the very least a fine covering of frost, and increasingly a thick layer of snow that made even the walk to the lake feel like a battle. Unless you knew your spellwork, which of course, I did.
Christmas, however, I had somehow managed to forget, despite my wintery surroundings. Sure, Peeves sung his traditionally perverted and mutilated versions of carols, the teachers had decked the Great Hall with magnificently huge Christmas trees, and in two days the castle would become noticeably quieter as students returned to celebrate with their families. But still the Christmas spirit hadn’t managed to grip me. My thoughts were riddled with grumpiness unbefitting the season.
They bothered me, the constant reminders to “Have a good Christmas” even though quite frankly I would have been happy to give it a miss for a year. Why the insistence that everyone must be jolly and celebrate? I’m fairly certain everyone automatically becomes less jolly because of all the expectation! And I just couldn’t explain it, so I tried more than ever to disappear into my own little reverie, where Christmassy thoughts were neither forced nor frowned upon when absent.
Unfortunately, my avoidance tactics had proven overly effective, such that it was now December the 18th, with only a week to go, and I was surprisingly unorganised. I needed to buy so many presents...Bloody hell -
“Hey!” Roxy appeared centimetres from my face, wobbling forwards and backwards slightly as she stood on tiptoes to be eye level with me. “You’re doing it again Hattie, seriously! I don’t care how scatterbrain you think I am, you’ve been holding that toast in the same position for the last five minutes and you’re eyes have gone all weird and misty.”
“That is a rather Scamander look you’re sporting there Hattie, although my brother and I do tend to try and look happy when we escape to our thought palaces, especially because mine is modelled upon the Indian Taj Mahal, except with a modern twist and plenty of dirigible plums...” Lysander’s ramblings were cut off by Roxy’s arm stretching back behind her (seeing as she was still seriously invading my personal bubble), and her index finger gently pressing on his lips.
“What’s on your mind Hattie, spill.” She stared me down. I raised my hands in surrender and she finally leaned backwards. Space to breathe again. Cheers Roxy!
“Just random things really...nothing to worry about. Except that in just under a week it will be Christmas Day and I haven’t done any Christmas shopping at all.” I shook my head tiredly and threw my hands up in the air. “I suppose heartfelt owls will have to do this year.”
“Ah.” Roxy winced. “But that’s so...not you. I mean, I have billions of relatives but even I managed something, and you’re always so...on top of everything.”
She was right, and I was somewhat ashamed of my disorganisation. I wasn't a last minute person, rather a month-in-advance person. Normally, I had this convoluted brain management system. It was like a net, it caught everything and kept it at the forefront of my mind so I didn’t miss things, or forget to do stuff. It was weird, but I was proud of it. But now it had failed me, like something had punched holes in it – how rude.
“I know, Christmas just snuck on me this year.”
Roxy hesitated and shot Lysander a nervous look before replying. “That wouldn’t have anything to do with a certain one of my cousins would it?”
It was four days since what I now called the “Great Hall Incident”. Of course it was still on my mind! The rumours were practically ancient history, the tabloids had decided I was far too boring, and had begun to concentrate on Lily and Lorcan, “Lilyan”, “Lory”, “the unlikely couple”. But that didn’t stop Albus ignoring me except for our tutoring sessions, and which were going well in that his Potions grades were definitely improving, but were on the awkward side as neither of us had properly addressed recent events. It seemed we both preferred to pretend they had never happened. I hadn’t even plucked up the courage to thank him for the flowers...
“Maybe.” I said vaguely, unwilling to divulge. Although both of them did already know about the kitchens and the flowers...I needed to thank him for the flowers.
“You still like him don’t you? You’ve never really stopped, I can tell.” It was Lysander who spoke this time, his voice mellow and slightly husky, and as always, his words ringing eerily true.
Unsure what to say at first, I nodded, smiling faintly. Then I found my words. “But everything always seems to go so wrong. I just wish things were more normal.”
Roxy snorted loudly. “Normal? What could ever be normal about this? You think Albus is hot! My cousin Albus!”
I had to laugh at that, the look on her face was a hilarious mix of disgust and confusion.
Lysander chuckled too, wrapping a long gangly arm around her and giving a squeeze. “Seriously though Hattie, Roxy has something right.” He flashed her a bright smile, which she returned. How adorable, I thought. But semi-sickening.
“Al is a Potter, so normal is impossible. You’re ignoring him and your feelings, instead of all the people who are trying to make your life hard. You just have to be like Lorcan, be strong and not care.”
“Thank you, resident agony aunt!” Roxy teased, sticking her tongue out at Lysander when he rolled his eyes.
“Hmmm.” Was my brilliantly eloquent response.
“You’ll listen to us in the end! Whoever thought a Gryffindor would be the voice of reason!”
Lysander shook his head in a disbelieving fashion, still smiling warmly at my other best friend. Then, with unspoken agreement, we all began the walk back to the castle, heading to Charms together.
“Shit you guys,” I exclaimed as we reached the top of the marble staircase. “I’m going to have to catch you up, I left my book by the lake! I’ll see you there in five, promise.” I didn’t miss the pointed look Roxy gave Lysander. It basically screamed “What has she become?”
Distracted, forgetful, and late, I ran all the way back down the stairs. I felt my face getting flushed and my hair becoming messier and messier as I pushed my way past the students going in the other direction, the right direction. I had cast a charm on it so it wouldn’t get damp whilst I was outside, but I didn’t trust it enough to last for the whole lesson. And it was my Dad’s copy of The Hobbit, it was...precious.
But when I finally reached the lake, it wasn’t where I’d left it. Cursing loudly, I frantically scanned my eyes across the grass. Surely I hadn’t forgotten where! Not something else...maybe there was something wrong with me...
“Looking for this?” a voice called out from behind me. I turned to find to the source, knowing already who I would find. Low and behold, there was Albus, leaning casually against a tall beech tree, half hidden by shadow. He pushed himself off the trunk, holding up my book as he ambled towards me, all the while giving me a beautifully crooked half smile. 3,2,1 nervous wreck.
I nodded in answer, pushing a strand of stray hair behind me ears, and feeling butterflies take flight in my stomach. When he was less than a metre away, he held the book out, his green eyes gazing intently at me.
“Thank you for the flowers!” I blurted as I took the book from his outstretched hand, feeling my face flush red as the words tumbled from my mouth.
He chuckled, the lines on his face crinkling slightly with amusement. “You’re very welcome.”
There was a moment's silence as he just looked at me, still bemused but also looking maybe a little puzzled, his head tilted a bit to the side.
“They were beautiful...did you conjure them yourself?” I asked quietly, burning curiosity winning out over simpler small talk options.
“Perhaps.” He smirked, stuffing his hands into his pockets and looking down as his feet briefly before gazing at me once more.
“And thank you for my book.” I said nodding gratefully. I turned to leave, but his arm reached out to stop me.
“Wait, I’ll walk with you.”
I made a disbelieving noise somewhere between a snort and a scoff. Oops, how unattractive. “I thought we were supposed to be hiding.”
“Well, I say a lot of things I don’t really mean.” He smiled slightly, as he seemed to think back...oh right. Now I saw where he was coming from. “Besides, there’s no one around is there, we are, you know, meant to be learning right about now.”
There was nobody around it was true, just Albus and I standing alone, our thick cloaks becoming lightly dusted with snow that had started to fall, and our breath forming pearly clouds before us. It was nice.
But we had all of two minutes to get to our next classes.
“Yes you’re right, I’m going to be late to Charms and earn myself another detention...” I started to walk, well, practically run, back towards to castle. One detention was quite enough for me.
“Ah yes I meant to ask, just quickly, have you got detention tonight with McGonagall?” asked as he strode along next to me, his long legs meaning he could easily match my pace.
“Yes, why?” I replied, followed by a long pause filled only with the sound of the ground crunching beneath our feet, and our breathing as we sped along.
When he finally had an answer, it was merely a simple shrug as he pushed opened to door to the Entrance Hall and held it for me to walk through. How elaborate.
“Anyway, I have Potions now so I’ll see you around. Have a good morning.”
“Do you wish me a good –" stopping myself mid-quote as he began to walk away towards the dungeons. Shaking my head slightly at my own Tolkien obsession and my inability to act normal around Albus, I watched him for a few seconds before remembering where I was meant to be.
But then,just as I made to climb the marble staircase once more I heard him call out, laughing,
“All of them at once!”
A/N: And so another chapter appears. This is most definitely a filler, but I still enjoyed some of its contents so I hope you do too.
The quote at the beginning of this chapter is taken from The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien, page 4 in the 1996 edition.
I couldn't resist Hobbit references; I hope non-Tolkien fans don't get too weirded out. If non-Tolkien fans exist...
***This chapter has been edited to fix minor plot issues re. dates/timing***
Anyway, if you can spare the time to review that would be brilliant, reviews do make me rather happy :D
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