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Curiosity by AC_rules

Format: Novel
Chapters: 22
Word Count: 88,749
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Strong violence, Scenes of a sexual nature, Substance abuse, Sensitive topic/issue/theme, Spoilers

Genres: Drama, General, Mystery
Characters: Albus, Hugo, James (II), Rose, Scorpius, OtherCanon
Pairings: James/OC, Rose/Scorpius

First Published: 04/19/2010
Last Chapter: 08/07/2013
Last Updated: 08/07/2013

Summary:
 Dobby Nominee 2012: best mystery 

It was probably my curiosity which would be the ruin of me. It was my curiosity which led to me falling into the Potter's back yard. My curiosity that led me to experiment with my ‘ability’ and it was curiosity that led me to ignore the one piece of advice my mother ever gave me - never look into your future.


Chapter 10: Reality check.

James was right. The ‘reflection room’ was a much nicer place to reside now that the walls had absorbed some of the memory of our laughter... but... how had he known that? He’d treated any mention of my abilities with such distain that I found it difficult to work out how he’d gained such a sound understanding...

I frowned and dipped my paintbrush into the pot before stretching upwards and painting words across the wall of the reflection room. Reasons not to trust James Potter: I painted – in purple – then watched as some of the paint ran downwards, towards the floor. I didn’t care. This room was for reflecting, and so... I would reflect.

1)      Before very recently he called me ‘crazy Cassie,’ attempted to make my Hogwarts life as difficult as possible, and yet now he seems to have developed some form of compassion.

It took me a long time to paint, and the words were messy and barely readable. I considered them for a few minutes. Possible explanations – given he knows what it’s like to have a famous father (ff) he appreciates the difficulty (unlikely as my ff is secret). Respects me due to ff? (Again, unlikely).

“Maybe...” I began – out loud this time – mulling over the possibilities in my head for a long time. If I was a Ravenclaw the apparent solution might have been more obvious, but... alas I wasn’t and it wasn’t.

2)      James Potter is an absolute prat all of the time. Why not now?

Possible explanations – not with his friends/family and thus has no one to impress (maybe). Not actually a prat and only pretends to be (I doubted it). Has grown up? (serious doubts).

The doorbell rang. Speak of the devil. I hastily painted over all the words I had written there, leaving a strange blur of purple paint and no words, placed the paintbrush in the water jug before slowly making my way down the stairs. Why was he acting so strangely? I didn’t understand this new, strange, James Potter who did nice things and didn’t call me crazy. Who didn’t have this wall of hostility up all the time...?

When had it started? I considered as I started down the top staircase. Things had been weird since the wearing-posh-clothes incident...

There was the slight possibility that James just felt guilty about that.  That, after spending a considerable amount of time in my company he’d decided I wasn’t as crazy as all that, and had since aimed to at least act as though he had a heart in my presence. He could genuinely feel sorry for me for having an always-absent-father and a huge house with no one living in it.

 I could just be over analysing things and being much too mistrusting because I held what he’d done and said to me in the past against him. Not that there was anything wrong with that.

“Hi,” I said, opening the door.

“You look nice today Cassie,” James said.

Okaaay...

 There was definitely something going on.

 

 

“Why are you in such a good mood?” I asked warily, now secretly typing out conspiracy theories about James’s behaviour on my laptop whilst he was otherwise distracted by his waffles.  I’d already managed to type up the key strange moments (including that awkward moment when James had complimented me) and other strange things I’d picked up about James Potter. For example, the fact that he was very easily distracted from anything when presented with waffles.

It was a good job his father didn’t have such a problem. Then all Voldermort would have needed to do was throw a waffle, yell ‘got fetch’ and get him with a killing curse whist he was desperately trying to retrieve the waffle from the dirt.

“Going to Italy this weekend,” He said happily, stuffing an absurd amount of waffle into his mouth and chewing enthusiastically. I think he was irritating me more now he was being nice than he had done when he was just being his usually prat-y self.

Considering I can sense emotions it wasn’t particularly hard to work people out. Hence I’d grown used to knowing what people were feeling and doing – working people out was simple. James was mean because he didn’t like me – it was simple. Now though, when James’s emotions and feelings weren’t making any sense to me at all, especially considering he was definitely hiding something, I found myself highly annoyed by his presence.

I closed my eyes and tried to pinpoint what exactly he was feeling. Excitement – probably due to his upcoming holiday... and... Curiosity.

Bugger. What was he curious about? It wasn’t exactly obvious...

“What are you writing?” James asked, bending over to take a glimpse at my laptop screen. Maybe it was that obvious. I slammed my laptop shut quickly.

“Nothing.” His curiosity exploded. My face flushed. “Poetry,” I said, naming the first thing that came into my head. “I was writing poetry.” No doubt, when James returned to normal he was going to tell the whole school that in my spare time I liked writing poetry. I suddenly wished I’d come up with something a little less embarrassing.

“Really, wow, I’d love to read some at some point.” I stared at him incredulously. Was he serious? What the hell was he trying to pull? I flushed all the same. Maybe this was another one of James’s ridiculous schemes to make me blush? Not that it was a particularly hard job. It seemed, especially when James Potter was invading the confides of my house, blushing multiple times an hour was inevitable.

“We need to sort out light fittings today.”  I stand standing up and placing our plates in the sink.

 

 

 

 

“So... what about Hogwarts?” James asked, holding the ladder whilst I was trying to fix the lampshade onto the light with difficulty. It didn’t help that I was so distracted by James Potter’s steadily more ridiculous questions (since when did he even try to talk to me?) that ever so often I nearly fell off the ladder.  “I mean, terrible things happened at Hogwarts... how can you stand to be there?”

Especially when the ridiculous questions were actually well thought out.

I suppose that it wasn’t altogether surprising that James Potter would come out with such a question given that his parents had been central to the former mention terrible things that happened at Hogwarts. It was just because that question implicitly implied that James Potter had actually been thinking about my abilities to a greater extent than just to discard them with the rest of the bullshit. It meant that James Potter was taking the time to spare some of his precious thoughts on me.

“Hogwarts is so full of magic, and memories, and emotions that a lot of the good counteracts the bad. Some places are worse than others. I can’t go near Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom. All her crying and whining has ruined the place. Plus that chamber of secrets and that stuff.”

“You know where that is?”

“Of course I do, I can sense magic.”

“Dad wouldn’t tell me – he said he thought I’d use it for my misdoings.”

“And you didn’t go looking for it?”

“Well yeah, but all the sinks look the same,”

“They don’t look the same. One of them doesn’t work and has a snake carved onto it.”

“Party in the chamber of secrets!” James grinned. I rolled my eyes at him.

“All right, this one’s done. Next room?” James manoeuvred the ladder out the door and into the corridor. I thrust my hand into the box of light fittings in an attempt to find the correct one. “So are there good spots then, too?”

“Sure,” I said. “The Quidditch pitch is crazy. Not in a good or a bad way, just in a crazy way.”

“So many emotions?”

“Yeah,” I said. “Think about it, the whole school goes out there about six times a year. But there’s always a winner and a loser. Plus... well, Cedric Diggory’s body was brought back there by your dad. That’s a lot of horror.”

“Does it get annoying then?”

“Not really,” I answered, starting up the ladder again. “I’ve always been able to do it. It’s normal for me.”

“Even before your Mum left?”

I stopped, mid rung, and turned around to stare at him. What the hell was he trying to do? What right did he have asking questions about my Mum? And how did he even remember that my Mum had left? I’d been almost a hundred percent sure he hadn’t been listening when that had come up in conversation.

“Yes,” I answered stiffly, resuming my climb up the latter. “I was born with it.” I paused for a long moment, trying to fix the bloody light without little success. I paused. “The kitchens are the best,” I said. “I don’t think anyone’s ever been unhappy in the kitchens.”

“You know where the Kitchens are?” James asked, the ladder shaking dangerously due to his unadulterated shock at my words. “You’re a Hufflepuff!”

Precisely.” I said. “Anyway, considering I can sense magic it’s not particularly hard to find secret passageways. The hard bit is working out how to get it.”

“You amaze me.” James said. I raised another eyebrow at that, privately logging it against his name in my head. I may ‘amaze you,’ but you confused me, James Potter.

 

 

“So when’s your dad back?” James asked as we ate lunch, a pizza straight from the freezer and into the oven – mostly due to my complete lack of enthusiasm for cooking. It was hard trying to find inspiring things to cook twice a day which meant by this late on in the summer my fancy dishes had regressed to freezer food and salad. I had better sense than to serve salad to James Potter. I’d probably get laughed out the place.

We were outside today. It seemed to be impossibly sunny – something that almost definitely wouldn’t last – and there was no point wasting such weather inside. Knowing England, it would probably be gone tomorrow.

“Two hours ago,” I replied, glancing at my phone to check the time. Two new messages. Meeting got delayed, be back for four – and then – make that six. “He’ll be back about eight.” I told James, continuing to eat my pizza unperturbed. It wasn’t unusual for his promise of ‘finishing early’ to be proved entirely false. There were definitely downsides to being a multi-billionaire.

“You could join us for dinner again?” James suggested. He sounded hopeful. This was all just so wrong. I put my pizza down and stared at him for a long moment, debating whether or not to speak my mind.

“What are you trying to achieve through this?” I asked suddenly. Wow. Huge step for Cassie.

“Achieve through what?”

“Through pretending to be all ‘nice’ and considerate.” Predictably, my face flushed scarlet as I spoke. I didn’t care though. This was a huge leap forward. Somehow, whether part of James’s scheming, I had become comfortable enough in his presence to be able to accuse him, and ask him questions and wait for answers.  “I don’t believe it for a second,”

“What?” James asked innocently, but I could feel his sense of disappointment at being exposed. “I just don’t want you to be eating alone.”

“Don’t even try to deny it, I can sense your feelings you know.”

“That’s creepy, Cassie, really creepy.”

“There we go, that’s the James Potter I’m used to – insulting and degrading. Now, what are you trying to do?”

“Why would I be trying to do anything?”

“That’s what I want to know.” I said irritably. “You think I’m just going to trust you? I’m not that stupid.”

“I take offence to that,” James said, apparently mulling over my words in his head.

“You’ve stuck a ‘Cassie’s crazy’ label over my head for the past five years and I highly doubt that your opinion of me has changed at all.” I was miraculously not blushing anymore. If James could sense my emotions he’d probably be surprised by the degree of excitement and pride that I was feeling right now. I was actually having a conversation with someone that was relatively embarrassing, and I was not blushing.

Which did sort of mean I was more comfortable with James Potter than my best friend. Or I was just angry. Yeah, will go with that, angry Cassie.

“You just want to think badly of me,” James returned.

“My opinion of you is irrelevant. The fact is you’ve been trying to do something... and I want to know what.”

“I was curious,” James said defensively.

“About what?”

“About you.”James said, leaning forwards and looking at me seriously. There was a strange quality to the expression in his eyes that I didn’t recognise. It wasn’t hard to work out what he was trying to do though. I jerked backwards away from him suddenly feeling mildly horrified.

“Are you trying to...?”

“You caught me. I had a master plan,” James said. “Get in the friendship zone, get a bit closer and then -”

“You were going to try and bloody seduce me?” I demanded. I couldn’t quite bring myself to feel angry, I was too freaking shocked. He made no move to contradict me. “You’re so... arrogant.” I said in disbelief. “And did you really think I was going to fall for you if you just asked me questions?”

“Well why don’t you tell me how to seduce you?”

“You’re still doing it!” I exclaimed, standing up and skipping backwards as if by getting to close I’d accidently fall in love with him or something. What bullocks. What utter trash.

“It would have worked,” James grinned stupidly. I stared at him. Incredulous. How the hell could he be so...? Such a...horrible human being?

“You’re despicable.” I said. James grinned. “That’s not a compliment.”

“Oh I think it is, I knew you’d warm up to me eventually Cassie.”

“Why?” I asked, staring at him still in my state of disbelief. “Say you did manage to seduce me, what were you going to do then?”

“I... okay, sit down Cassie.” James instructed. The pure audacity of the instruction meant I followed it without meaning too. “I eavesdropped,”

Eavesdropped?” I demanded.

“Are you going to listen to me?” He asked in frustration. “Okay, so, remember when you were eavesdropping on my parents outside my house?” I flushed this time. “You got me interested,” I remembered that.... now he mentioned it – I distinctly remembered that intrigued look in his eye. “So I pulled out a pair of extendables and... listened to what they were saying.”

“And?”

“And they were taking about you.” He took a deep breath and looked at me seriously again. There was sympathy in his eyes again, and it must have been genuine, because I could feel it seeping out towards me in a wash. “Cassie, your life doesn’t make sense.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Think about it,” James implored. “Why did your mum leave? Why do you move around so much?” I stared at him blankly. “You deleted your spellbook after two days. Why?”

“Because my dad said he didn’t want pictures of me on the internet,” I said slowly. James nodded as if this proved his point. “But he’s just big on internet security – he knows what it’s like. He got really angry, wait... did you set that up? Were you testing him?”

“Yes, but that’s not important.”

“Not important? So it’s okay to mess with my life and set things up and -”

“-Cassie.” James interrupted. “Someone changed your memories.”

I stared at him for a long moment in complete shock. His words didn’t exactly comprehend in my brain. Instead they were just sitting there, senseless and meaningless. My memories couldn’t have been changed? They were my memories.

“You’re lying.” I said quickly, remembering Mr Potter’s uneasiness about being in that memory that I’d showed him... he’d questioned me about it... and...

“No, I’m not.” James said. “I overheard Dad talking to Hermione before they left to go to the burrow. He’s seen memories like that before, but last time the person purposefully changed it... and, you didn’t lie, did you?”

“No,” I said dumbstruck. It was a bloody good job I’d sat down. Otherwise I would have fallen over due to the shock of it. “No I... but, my memories can’t have been changed, I’d know...”

“But that’s the point, isn’t it?” James asked. “You wouldn’t realise anything was different but... someone changed your memories Cassie and I want to know why.”

“Why?” I asked, suddenly snapping out of my reverie and staring at him.

“Curiosity,” James smiled. He bent forwards again. “Come on Cassie, help me, we’ll work it out together.” He seemed so determined and curious and set on the idea that I couldn’t tell if he was still trying to seduce me or not. The idea was certainly seductive: answers.

“So,” I said, standing up and desperately trying to clear my thoughts. I was too confused and too shocked to make any sort of decision right now. I hadn’t even decided if I believed what he was saying yet. There was too much to consider. “You find out that my whole life is a lie and your response is to try and seduce me.”

“I... that was stupid.” James admitted.

“You think?” I said angrily. “Not only doesn’t it completely devalue me as a person – as if you think I would just –”

“Maybe I underestimated you.”

Underestimated me? Underestimated! You decided I was crazy in first year because I said my father was famous, which I don’t know if you’ve noticed – is true – and since then you devoted your life to trying and failing to make me miserable. Now you think I’m stupid enough to be fucking seduced by you?”

“I’m sorry okay. I was a kid.”

“Not anymore, what’s your excuse now?”

“That I’m an idiot whose far too used to things going my way... and like you said, it never had any effect on you so -”

“- it used to!” I was yelling now. The last time I’d yelled was in first year.

“I can’t apologise for everything I’ve ever said.”

“You could apologise for thinking you had the right to butt into my life and manipulating me into helping you.”

“Just forget it Cassie, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have brought it up -”

“You think I can just forget it now? Your memories aren’t the ones that have been changed. Now I don’t have any choice. Now I have to find out why, you knew I would, you knew I’d be curious...”

“I’m going to leave,” James said. “I’m really sorry, I am. I didn’t think I... I’ve been really stupid. I’ll... I’ll buy you a present or something, but Cassie just think about what we –”

“I’ll show you to the door,” I said stiffly. Folding my arms and walking towards the door. My memoires had been changed, James Potter had apologised, and this was the strangest day ever.

“Cassie,” James said, his voice low and apologetic. I didn’t trust him. Even if I could feel the dank regret and his undeniable shame I was entirely sure that I would never, ever, trust James Potter again (had I ever trusted him?). “I want to help you. I can find out more from Dad and you can tell me about all the weird things and... two brains are better that one?” I very much doubted that James Potter had a brain. I stayed silent, exercising my control over him in my old way of silence.

It wasn’t quite as successful as normal given that James Potter was talking enough for both of us. “You wouldn’t even have to like me, or anything Cassie, we’d just be working together – like a school project. No! Not a school project, no, I don’t see it like that Cassie – I didn’t mean to offend you – I just mean that we wouldn’t have to be friends or anything if you don’t want to, I just figure that... you’ve got to find out now, and... I can help. It’ll be like me redeeming myself for being such a -” We’d reached the door now. I looked towards it pointedly.

“Okay, fair play,” James said. “I won’t come back, if you don’t want me to, I go to Italy at the weekend. You won’t see me again till Hogwarts if you don’t want to.”

He took another step towards the door.

“Oh, and Cassie... if I were you I wouldn’t mention this to your Dad,” And then he was gone, his final words weighing heavily in the silence.

Because he was right. If my memories had been changed, then my dad must know about it. Which meant he’d been involved. Which meant he’d lied to me.

Then, quite understandably, I burst into tears.

A/N - I'm finally back into this story! This chapter is definately the swinging point for me... even though it's a lot earlier than I intended (I believe I have it over several chapters at the end of the summer in my plan). That means I'm going to carry on updating at this relatively fast pace! Yay!

Anyway, what did you all think of my twist? Of James (as it seems he's not really being nice after all... or is he...)? Of Cassie's Dad? Of the alleged memory-change? Anyone got any explanations or it yet?  Of poor little Cassie? Tell me what you think :D
 
 
 


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