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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 17: Divination.

My head still hurt. The day after James and I had attempted hypnosis I’d woken up feeling slightly hung over and feeling like I needed a hell of a lot more sleep. Unfortunately, school didn’t cater to this desire for extra sleep and instead I’d spent the whole day walking through life feeling slightly numb and fuzzy (the influx of extraneous sensory data at Hogwarts was a real negative point when I was this tired).

So, after being dragged through dinner accompanied by Leanne’s usual continual chatter about things I almost cared about, before she more or less gave up and left me to eat dinner in silence, I’d decided to take refuge elsewhere.

The Hufflepuff Common room was one of the most violently friendly places I’d ever been in the way that it was impossible to be antisocial, but was still possible to not classify anyone as your friends. Everyone talked to each other, everyone inquired after each other, everyone knew each other: normally, that suited me fine as it allowed social interaction without involving me lying about my Dad and everything that came with it, but I wanted to be away from the seventh years asking about how classes were going, or the third years asking for advice and all the rest of it.

In the end I found myself in the library, which had a nice clean air about it – there’s only so many memories the walls can absorb in a room where people go to read books.

I’d pulled out a textbook from the self at random (something about Herbology) and retrieved my laptop to give the impression of being busy, but was really just staring at the book and massaging my temples.  The pain was barely noticeable, just an echo of how it had felt yesterday, but it was a  stark reminder that this was a slightly more dangerous quest than I’d previously anticipated. It was unlikely that any of us we’re going to get physically hurt (or was it? I was supposedly in mortal danger…), but… we could get in plenty of trouble. And I could seriously damage my sanity.

Although, I was beginning to realise that had been damaged enough already. James was right. I was crazy. Because I didn’t remember my childhood, my life didn’t make sense and my memories had been changed.

Speaking of James…

The fact that I could recognise the ball of energy making its way towards me before I looked up clearly meant I’d been forced to spend far too much time with him. The only person I was able to identify purely by how they sensed was Leanne and my father.

I was half tempted to offer up my greetings before looking up, just to freak him out, but I thought that might be indicative of more friendly things than a strict colleague relationship. Anyway, James possessed this desire to appear important and impressive at all times and it was easy to let him indulge in that then do anything to prevent it.

“I have had,” James Potter said, slumping down on the chair next to me with one of his usual dramatic flourishes, “a wonderful idea.” I still didn’t look up from my book, upping my pretence of studying by scanning a few lines.

 I also decided against voicing my doubts about this.

“You’re going to take NEWT Divination.” James concluded, slamming a hand down on the table as if to express how utterly wonderful this idea truly was.

“Why would I want to do that?” I asked, still not looking up. I turned the page of the textbook and screwed up my shoulders to protect myself from James’s plea for attention. Actually, it wasn’t a plea so much as a full frontal attack on my sense – he was loud, he was in my face, and his emotions were so overtly obvious that I could practically feel them myself.

“Because,” James said, “your mother was a seer, she abandoned you when you were just a little-Cassie and you want to know more about divination as a result. At least, that’s what you’re going to tell Professor Keitch.”

“Right.”

“Cassie,” James complained, “third year Herbology text book, I know you’re not reading it. Can you please pay attention to me?” I shut the book and looked up at him, maintaining my silence as I waited for him to continue the show. “Do you want to know why it’s such a good idea?”

Because James was a show, his whole persona was a perfectly put together piece of amateur-dramatics designed to perpetuate this impressive caricature of a person and, worse than being steadily more aware that James’s emotions did not match James’s expressions and outward appearance, was actually wanting to know why. Damn curiosity.

“I suspect I’m you’re going to tell me.”

“Sassy Cassie,” James said, causing another impressive blush, “okay, well, what if... you’re a seer.”

“I’m a seer?” I asked dryly.

“Yes!” James said. “And your mother had to leave because, er, you can’t know you’re a seer... so anything that reminds you of seer-dom had to be removed. See, genius!”

“Don’t seers usually make predictions?” I asked lightly. James seemed to be aware that he wasn’t making any sense, because he seemed to decide that violating my personal space and making me blush again was an appropriate course of action to distract me.

“Cassie,” James said seriously, looming much too close to my face with an amused expression, “do you ever have dreams that come true?”

James Potter had brown eyes. I didn’t really want to know that. I didn’t want him to be close enough to my face for that to be something I actively registered. Ah, diversion tactics.

“No.”

“Damn,” James said, still grinning, “still, you could have just not had a prediction for a really long time because you’ve never opened up your inner eye.”

“You took OWL divination, didn’t you?” I asked, picking up the Herbology book (third year, apparently; so James either really knows his Herbology or memorises the syllabus and appropriate textbooks) and placing it back in the shelf where I’d retrieved it. Mostly, I just wanted to get away from James for a second. He turned around in his seat and watched my progress.

“Maybe.” James shrugged, raising his eyebrows in a so-what-if-I-did sort of way.

“I’m not allowed.”

“You’re an adult, as of like two weeks ago,” James said, pointedly, “tell Keitch that you don’t want your Dad to know because you don’t want to upset him by delving into stuff about your Mum – she’s soft, she won’t think anything of it.”

“What if there’s a humungous big note next to my name saying IS A SEER. MUST AVOID DIVINATION AT ALL COSTS.”

“Well,” James said, “she won’t think you know that, so we won’t have lost anything. Face it, Cass, I’m practically a Ravenclaw.”

“So I join NEWT Divination, despite not having studied it ever before, on my own?”

“If you wanted me to join, you should have just asked.” James grinned, slapping me on the back.

I was beginning to see where this was coming from. Ulterior motives. Well, I guess that made a great deal of sense.

“What did you get in OWL Divination?” I asked, sitting back down on my chair and flicking down the lid of my laptop. Dad had a habit of insisting I always shut them down properly, but given I’d helped out with some of the programing it was fair to say I knew full well it didn’t do any real damage.

“An E.” James said, lightly. Too casual. Could read him like a book.

“And in your other subjects?”

“A mixture.”

“Of?” I prompted, raising my eyebrows and half expecting him to bring out the Sassy Cassie nickname.

“As...”

“And?”

“I got an E in defence.”

“And the others?”

“If you’re trying to ascertain whether I failed the others, you might have just asked. I failed three. And given you’re probably going to read my mind anyway, there’s two other students who want to do NEWT Divination and the class was deemed too small, but I genuinely think it could be helpful. And if you think I’m bullshitting, by all means sense my emotions like the crazy bird you are.”

James puffed out his chest and slammed his eyes shut, as if that would help me sense what he was feeling. I rolled my eyes at him until he reopened his eyes and nodded pointedly.

“Yes, very good.” I returned.

“And,” James said, “We get to spend more time together.”

“And that’s... a positive?”

“I know I’m no Luke,” James said, grinning, “but I’m not so bad Cassie.”

I glued my jaw shut.

“Cat got your tongue? Where’s Sassy Cassie when you need her?” James asked, tapping me on the forehead. What was with all the personal contact today? It’s like James was noting down ways to get under my skin and employing them to make me feel uncomfortable when all I wanted to do was to go to sleep (that was probably the real explanation, if I was honest with myself, James was the singular person still amused by my blushing).

“Why are you in the library anyway?”

“Returning a book,” James said, “changing the subject? Oh, I forgot, you’re waiting for me to ask. So what is it about Luke?”

“Nothing.”

“So you want to date him and have his children?”

“No.”

“But you do fancy him?”

“He’s good looking, I suppose.”

“I’m good looking,” James said. I think my face just fell off from too much blushing, “and you don’t like me. In fact, most of the time you sort of detest me.”

“I didn’t until you got involved.”

“So that’s why I’m the bad guy?”

“You’re not the bad guy. You’re an irritating colleague, happy?”

“No,” James said, “given my current social situation, it’d be nice to have someone who didn’t think I was the worst person on the planet.”

“You’re not the worst person on the planet.”

“Who is?”

“I don’t know.” I said, shoving my laptop under my arm and assuming James would take the social hint that I was planning on leaving and he should stop talking right about now.

“I do, Natalie Broadman.”

“Well then, she and Ryan are made for each other.”

“She cheated on me.”

I slumped in my seat. It seemed James wanted to talk. Goodness knows what horrors I could have committed to have deserved to be exposed to an upset James but the curiosity seemed to have welded me in place. There was some part of me, apparently, that wanted to dissect James – just a little – to work out why he put on such bravado. Probably, it was just some typical male thing that I’d never really picked up on due to not spending enough time exposed to data, but it was… tantalisingly intriguing. I also knew that this whole thing was bad news, but it also didn’t look like I had much choice – if James wanted to whine to me about his love life, then there wasn’t much I could do to stop him. He’d probably silence me with a flick of the wand and stick me to my seat, if only to have a listener. My contribution to this conversation wasn’t important. He just liked to talk.

Continually. All the time.

“Yes.”

“I know four months isn’t a really long time,” James said, running a hand through his hair and staring at spot over my shoulder, “but...”

“You trusted her?”

“I need a rebound,” James said decisively. Silence, I decided, was my friend. “What’s your friend called? Luke’s brother... Leanne, isn’t it? You reckon she’d date me.”

“Probably.” I admitted, because Leanne’s taste was definitely lacking to the point where she might consider James to be a viable dating option.

“That’d probably piss you off though,” James said, “I’d be up in your grill all the time. Right, well, it’s been a pleasure Cassie – I’ll see you in divination.”

“I don’t believe in divination,” I muttered under my breath, once James had disappeared, “because no one could have predicted this.”

*

“Right,” James said, bouncing slightly on the balls of his feet as we waited outside Keitch’s office, “do you know what you’re doing?”

“Yes, James,” I replied, “I’m asking Keitch if I can take NEWT Divination because you want to study it and there’s not enough students.”

“No,” James said deliberately, grabbing hold of my shoulders and looking at my seriously, “you’re desperate to study Divination because you think it will help you learn more about your mother. You don’t want your father to know. That’s why you didn’t do it at OWL. Come on, Cassie, take this seriously.”

“Don’t patronise me, James. I am aware of the stakes.”

“Good good.”

“Will you stop fidgeting?” I hissed. “For God’s sake, you can’t keep still for one minute.”

“Driving your sense haywire?”

“Yes, actually,” I said, folding my arms, “and as I’m doing you an indirect favour which will clearly not help the cause, you could stop being so annoying. Don’t look at me like that, I’m tired and I don’t want to do this.”

“Then don’t,” James shrugged, “I’m not making you.”

I had no answer to that. I want to fume some more, but suddenly all the steam of my argument had gone flat. I looked away and felt the familiar hot burn of my skin.

“I’m getting under the cloak,” James said, grinning at my lack of movement away from Keitch’s office door, “I’ll wait until after you’ve finished. When she gets out your file… see if you can take a peak, but don’t make it look like you’re looking. We should have practiced this more.”

“Do you have a silence cloak?”

“Sassy Cassie.” James’s disembodied voice said, with the usual note of approval.

“Shut up.” I muttered under my breath, folding and refolding my arms uncomfortably till the worst of the blush had lessened slightly. Keitch had said she’d be able to meet me at seven to talk, but she was so aggressively nice that she came across as abrasive, and often ended up being late to everything because she was trying to save someone from an emotional breakdown. James was right, a sob story was perfect.

“Great comeback.” James returned, in a mock whisper.

“She’s coming now.” I said needlessly, fidgeting slightly.

Professor Keitch was impossibly tall and thin and was so genuinely lovely that the prospect of lying to her was less than inviting. Her primary way of dealing with disciplinary issues, which there weren’t very many of anyway, was her genuine belief in people: if she thought you were breaking the rules to do someone harm, her disappointment was so palpable that you couldn’t help but apologise, and if she thought you were being righteous in your rule breaking she’d break her heart over you and be so sympathetic that it felt like you were being crucified – at least, that’s what Leanne had told me.

The apology for being late bubbled from her lips as she arrived and I nodded and shrugged and blushed in response, following her into her office feeling increasingly awkward.

“So, what was it that you wanted to talk to me about?” Keitch asked, smiling gently.

“I want… I want to take Divination.”

I couldn’t quite believe this was happening. I was directly disobeying my father for the sake of studying the most ridiculous subject ever invented.

“NEWT Divination?” Keitch asked, beginning to search through a magically enhance draw and pulling out a thick file with my name scrawled across the front in her familiar handwriting. Thanks to James heightening my paranoia beyond usual levels, half of my brain was wondering whether my file was thicker than the usual or not. “You’ve never studied the subject before?”

“No,” I said, feeling the word heavily in my mouth and letting myself blush scarlet, “it… my mother was a seer. She left me and my Dad when I was young…. I guess I’m just curious.” I looked away, feeling like for the first time in my life my blushing habit was actually being helpful.

“Ah.” Keitch said, seeming to reduce her height so she could seek out my gaze.

“My Dad wouldn’t want me to but, I’m an adult now… it’s, it’s what I want. If that’s okay, I mean, I know that strictly I shouldn’t be allowed but -”

“- actually,” Keitch said, “due to lack of popularity, there’s several Sixth Years unable to take NEWT Divination this year. I’ll talk to the headmistress and I’m sure she’ll be able to make an exception…” Keitch turned over a piece of paper from my file in her hand, then paused slightly as though something had caught her attention. I tried to stretch upwards in my seat to take a glance, but given her height Keitch’s desk was bizarrely high up and I could see nothing but the edge of the parchment.

James was going to be very disappointed in my efforts.

Professor Keitch frowned for a second before glancing back at me.

“I’m sure it won’t be a problem,” she finished with one of her bright smiles, “how’s Sixth Year been so far?”

“Good.” I said, standing up quickly and nodding to her: half to see if I could get a glance at the piece of parchment and half because Keitch had a habit of engaging you in very long conversation about your welfare if you didn’t get away fast enough.

The words special circumstances and observe progress carefully were all I manage to pick out before I had to look away, dragging myself to the door as Professor Keitch asked whether I was able to keep up with my homework.

“She’s… friendly.” James said, quietly, once I’d shut the door behind me.

“Head of Hufflepuff,” I shrugged, “I think there’s something important written in my file.”

“We need to break in then.” James said, as if it were something simple and mundane that he did every day, but it wasn’t – and that seemed to be the key to James Potter. He was pretending to be an awful lot of things he wasn’t.

*

“There are a lot of stairs.” James said, unnecessarily, as we climbed towards the North Tower. I’m not sure whether Leanne or I had been more confused when James had turned up outside my Arithmancy lesson in order to walk me to Divination so I didn’t get lost: Leanne, because she had no idea that I was planning to take Divination and me because I wasn’t expecting such a charitable gesture. Now, after I’d scaled the height of the entire castle, it was beginning to dawn on me that if he hadn’t I’d never have arrived at the North Tower. “Trelawney’s mental,” James added, conversationally, “and I don’t mean crazy like I call you crazy, I mean she’s a proper nut case. It’s gotten worst with age, I think.”

“Oh.”

“She predicted that either my Dad or Voldie had to die, you know. She didn’t realise she had though. Forgot she’d ever made a prediction. So, It could be possible Cassie. You could be a seer.”

“By that definition, so could you.”

“Too right,” James said, grinning, “I predict that… you’re going love Divination almost as much as you love spending time with me.”

“Who are the other two?”

“Lorna Cartwright and Tabatha Gray,” James said, “Tabatha is a bit of a gossip, but it takes something a little more than me sitting with you in Divination to start her talking and Lorna is practically silent, so don’t worry, Cassie – no one needs to know you’ve switched your timetable to match mine.”

“I haven’t,” I countered, “I haven’t switched anything. I’ve just taken on another subject.”

“You overachiever you,” James said, nudging me pointedly with his elbow, “up the ladder!” He added cheerfully, nodding in the direction of a ladder hanging down from a trap door.

This was ridiculous. I couldn’t believe it was happening.

“Our new student,” Trelawney said, seeming to emerge from nowhere due to her bizarre get up blending in entirely with the rich crimson fabric of the curtains that hung around the room, “welcome!”

Her glasses seemed to make her eyes double the size and the fact that the air was so thick with incense that it made me dizzy didn’t help things, I felt as though I’d been drugged on something: my head was fuzzy and she didn’t seem quite real.

“Cassandra Jones.” James said, throwing himself down on a richly embroidered poof. The décor… it reminded me of a more intense version of my own bedroom, maybe that was what that was throwing me off… or, no, it was something about the smell… had Mum burnt these plants, once?  Something about the room reminded me of something I shouldn’t remember. This was a very very bad idea.

James helpfully grabbed hold of my arm and pulled me downwards so that I was sitting.

“Okay?”

“Fine.” I returned in a clipped voice, wrapping my arms around me. What was it?

“Named after my great-great-grandmother?” Trelawney suggested. “Your parents were interested in Divination, my dear?”

“Her mother was a seer.”  James said.

“Sort of,” I countered, sending James a look, “not really.”

“Well,” Trelawney said, closing her wide, startled eyes for a second, “the inner eye is rarely dictated by such close blood links, but you may well possess… the inner eye.”

“She’s never studied any Divination before.” James said. I wasn’t entirely sure when he decided to start talking for me, but I could feel my hands shaking slightly and I couldn’t think of anything to say – so I supposed that it was a good thing, even if I could feel my face flushing significantly.

Then again, in a room this dimly lit no one could see.

“Show her the tea leaves.” Professor Trelawney said, before retreating back into her shadowy corner and continuing to stare at her crystal ball.

James got up fairly cheerfully and returned with two porcelain cups and an enchanted teapot which, minutes after James had placed it on the table, began to whistle.

“What’s up?” James asked, beginning to busy himself pouring out two cups of tea.

“I think my Mum used some of this incense.” I returned stiffly, quietly, glancing at the other two occupants of the room who were sat, cross legged, around a little table with a pack of cards.

“Good,” James said, “we can use it then. I’ll find out what it is from Trelawney. Old bat, I’ll tell her I think I’m on the edge of a vision and she’ll do anything. You need to drink your tea. I think her inner eye is particularly observant today, so she probably won’t be talking much. Expect her to start making predictions, though.”

“Predictions?”

“About your life,” James said, taking a sip of his tea, “all sorts of mad stuff. You’ll be doing the dream stuff soon, that’s always fun.”

“How do the tea leaves work?”

“You, well,” James said, and a sensed a degree of… embarrassment? Shame? “The shape of your tea leaves at the bottom of your cup tells your future.”

I decided that it was best if I didn’t comment on that. I knew my mother had a degree of talent when it came to this area. She’d made a living out of it, at any rate, and it was enough that even my Dad couldn’t deny that she was a seer… but beyond natural talent, I couldn’t quite buy into the idea that my future was written in a stodgy brown mess at the bottom of my cup of tea.

“Don’t silently judge me,” James said huffily, “just drink your tea.”

“No judgements.” I said dryly, forcing the tea down even though it was a little too hot.

“Because you can’t talk. You say you can sense emotions.”

“Okay.” I agreed.

“Right,” James said, “I haven’t got my textbook… but, I remember a lot of it. Mine is… well, I’ve got the rat… so that’s betrayal. As if I haven’t had enough of that.”

“Maybe the tea’s out of date.”

“I think I preferred you when you didn’t answer back,” James said, rolling his eyes and reaching out for my cup, “well, you’re going to die,” James said, placing it back down on the table, “I’ll get peeves to write an elegy for me to read at your funeral.”

“Thank you.”

“Okay, so, I was joking, You’re not –“

“What’s this?” Trelawney asked, swooping down on the table and picking up my emptied teacup. For a second she was frozen, then Trelawney took in a great shuddering gasp, dropped the tea cup and sank back onto her chair looking horrified. “My dear!” She declared, a hand hovering over her chest as she blinked at me. “Oh, my dear! You are… you are in great danger! The vulture,” she continued, “someone, waiting, circling overhead – searching for you…”

“Huh, my prediction was right then.” James said sardonically, bending down to pick up the broken pieces of china from the floor.

“No!” Trelawney half yelled. “You mustn’t touch them!” She turned back to me, her wide eyes blinking rapidly. “It is no accident you have been brought here today,” she said, pulling her chair forwards slightly, “you were drawn here. You will agree, dear, it is better to know that a great threat lurks overhead.”

I blinked straight back at her.

It seemed she’d been waiting for me to tear my heart out of my chest, or throw my body around in wracks of woe, because my stillness jerked her out of her madness and she immediately returned to her position in the corner of the room, occasionally muttering about how I was doomed.

“Need a cup of tea?” James suggested lightly, nodding towards the teapot with a hopeful smile. “Don’t worry about that,” James said, “she’s always predicting doom and damnation. My Dad says he predicted his death and doom every other lesson, nothing to worry about.”

“Yes, James,” I countered, “and your Dad was repeatedly nearly killed by Lord Voldemort who wanted to kill him; you can hardly say it was inaccurate.”

James looked slightly uncomfortable.

“He’s still alive.”

“He did die!”

“Yeah, but,” James said, “he’s fine.”

“An official government document says I’m in mortal danger.”

“I don’t see anyone trying to kill you.”

“They’re… circling overhead!” I spat out, then I began to realise just how ridiculous the whole thing was. James raised his eyebrows at me. I smiled slightly and shook my head, taking the cup of tea he was offering me without further comment.

“We’ve got this,” James said, determinedly, “we just need to break into Keitch’s office.”

“And the Head’s office,” I added, “and acquire a new laptop, learn Occlumency and visit all my old homes.” I sighed, taking my time drinking my tea this time and silently wondering how the hell any of this had happened. 
 



Hey everyone! I wanted to really apologise for how long it’s taken me to get to this point in the story in terms of updates. Classic case of taking on too many stories at the same time (not that I regret it, because I love all my stories) but, yeah, as an apology I think this definitely classifies as a speedy update? Yeah? So this is my speedy sorry chapter combined with a I-promise-this-story-won’t-be-left-to-rot type message. Cause it won’t. I have a plan now. I’m going to get this finished, eventually. And after all this time I’ve fallen in love with again, so there we are. Thanks for all your lovely reviews! They really make my day :D


 
 


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