Fantastic chapter image by Mistress @TDA- thank you!
A/N: This one's for invisiblemaurader_1. Just a quick warning that the language is a bit stronger than usual for a small part. Enjoy
Exactly how I manage to make it from Transfiguration to the common room I have no idea. My mind is running around in circles as it attempts to work out what exactly has just happened. I don’t even think I said anything to McGonagall after my brain finally decided to kick in, at some point after Wood’s exit, and sent the message to my legs that it’s time to leave.
Its dinner time but I make my way to the common room because I just couldn’t deal with facing Jon and Beth until I can get my head sorted out.
You’re running scared.
That one sentence is on repeat in my mind.
You’re running scared.
Like our old muggle record player that Mum refuses to throw out, which only manages to play the same line continuously.
You’re running scared.
Of all the things to accuse me of that one I didn’t expect. I expected Wood to spin out all the usual crap about how I should do it for the good of the team, for the good of the house, how I shouldn’t waste talent since I was obviously going to be just like my sisters.
You’re running scared.
He gets full points for originality (for a change) as it is definitely something no one has ever accused me of before.
You’re running scared.
Is this really the whole reasoning behind my actions?
And if it is- how come it took Mr Oblivious himself to point it out?
I storm through the common room, attempting to take my frustration out on a misplaced chair that gets in my way.
Of course this only causes me to injure myself; punching a several centuries old wooden chair is never a clever idea.
So I now have a sore hand to add to my list of problems. I make my way up the stairs cursing the carpentry industry and Wood.
And my mind doesn’t fail to notice the irony.
Beth appears shortly after dinner is finished, cautiously opening the door to the dormitory.
“Safe to enter?” Beth enquires as she eases into the room.
I give no response.
I’m lying on top of my bed, my attention fixed firmly on the red and gold hangings above me. I’ve been in this same position since I had arrived in the dormitory over an hour ago.
The past hour hadn’t produced any moments of enlightenment.
“We missed you at dinner,” Beth continues, as she gently sits on the bottom corner of the bed.
“Hmm.” I half respond, my attention elsewhere entirely.
Silence fills the room.
I continue my staring contest with the hangings above me, as though I believe if I stare at them long enough they would have all the answers. If only life were as simple as drapery holding the answers to everything. It would be quite good on several levels; in particular you would have an excuse never to get out of bed again.
I can sense Beth’s eyes on me and feel her fidget on the bed.
“We were talking to Wood,” she blurts out eventually.
“He told us about the meeting.”
“Are you alright?”
I’m not really sure how I feel.
Oliver Sodding Wood has caused me to question myself in a way I didn’t really feel like doing on a Monday.
He’s made me rethink, really rethink something I had decided and set in stone years ago.
And what is particularly annoying about the whole thing is that if I am truthful with myself there is the smallest of chances he could be right.
I have always said that I kept clear of the house team in an attempt to avoid constant comparison to my sisters. But there has always been a small part of me that has wonder whether I am as good as they are, whether I would be worthy of comparison to them.
Fear of failure, fear of not being as good as they had has always been in the back of my mind.
It is sibling rivalry in the simplest form.
And Oliver-Frigging-Wood, Mr Captain-Obsessive, in his determination to take over the quidditch world, has dragged up feelings of inadequacy, of jealously that I had buried away years ago.
Beth’s voice drags me away from my thoughts and I end my staring contest with the bed hangings to glance at her.
“Are you, you know... alright?”
“I don’t know,” I respond with a frown.
“Well if it’s helps- Jon told me to tell you that you must have been channelling your inner Hufflepuff.” Beth informs me with a slight smile
“What?” I reply bemused.
“You manage to restrain yourself and you didn’t hex Wood,” she tells and continues with a thoughtful look on her face. “Then again maybe we’re just presuming he managed to retain all his body parts.”
This causes me to chuckle to myself as Beth drops her serious expression and laughs lightly too.
The moment is ruined slightly by the entrance of Lyn and Jane, who flounce through the door in an attempt at a grand entrance that fails miserably when the door swings back and clips Jane as she walks through.
Our sniggering earns us a look of disgust from Jane as she stomps past to get to her wardrobe. Beth just rolls her eyes at me, both of us well used to their dramatics to care.
Meanwhile Lyn saunters over to the dorm mirror to the right of my bed, a large smirk on her face that is obviously directed towards me.
Resigning myself to whatever crap Lyn’s evil genius has concocted up, I lie back down and resume my study of the bed hangings while Beth starts to pick at the pattern on the bedspread, neither of us wanting to speak until the Plastic Idiots have left.
“You must be devastated.”
I raise my head and glance at Beth who looks just as confused as I am.
Lyn catches Beth’s questioning look as she turns around from the mirror.
“The news is all through the house,” Lyn continues with an attempted look of sympathy on her face that is ruined somewhat by the fact she looks like the cat that got the cream. “Everyone knows how Wood has picked some third year for the Seeker spot over you.”
By the look of triumph on her face, Lyn obviously thinks I would be prostrate with grief at the thought of someone being picked over me for the position. I just scoff in response and rest back on the bed, while Beth resumes her picking.
“Scoff all you want-everyone’s talking about how you weren’t picked for Seeker and since a notice’s just went up for Chaser Wood obviously doesn’t want you on the team,” Lyn snaps cattily.
Just like Wood to have the tryout sheet up already.
That idiot really has too much time on his hands.
“Ah Lyn, look on the positive,” I respond as I pull myself up out of the bed having had my fill of Plastic Idiot for the day, “this could be your big chance, you could find out you have all this secret quidditching talent hid away all these years.” Beth follows as I make my way to the door. “And you already have the chest padding sorted out.”
On that note Beth and I make our exit with Beth laughing her head off, leaving behind a very confused Lyn and Jane who take a few minutes to work out what exactly I meant. And by the time they do we’ve already reached the common room.
The common room is packed and silence descends as we appear. Everyone looks our way and it doesn’t take a genius to work out what the main topic of everyone’s conversation had been.
“Come on,” Beth nudges me gently in the direction of the portrait hole and we make our way towards it.
I keep my eyes firmly on the carpet, trying to ignore everyone’s stares.
This is what I have always hated- the constant attention that comes with having a famous manager for a Dad and three international Quidditch players for sisters. And with this whole Seeker/Chaser thing the staring and the whisperings have just gotten worse.
We make our way out onto the corridor and I barely notice Beth’s concerned look as the frown deepens on my face.
Why would I want this?
Why would I want to try out for the team and be faced with all this added attention?
I didn’t want to have to flee my own common room.
I didn’t want to join the team only to be forced to deal with the attention of not only my own house but that of the other three houses as well.
I didn’t want any of that.
Beth and I go down a few flights of stairs and find Jon sitting on the fourth floor stairwell. He puts away the book he was looking at and throws his bag over his shoulder as he gets up.
My hands are stuffed in my pockets and my shoulders are scrunched up defensively.
I dread that Jon will join the ‘Get-Kit-On-The-Gryffindor-Team bandwagon’.
“Here,” Jon pulls a bundle of napkins out of his bag and hands them to me, “since you missed dinner.”
I take the bundle from his hands and realise as the top napkin opens out that it contains a couple of bread rolls and some chicken drumsticks.
Why is it random acts of kindness always manage to leave you lost for words?
He doesn’t mention Wood.
He doesn’t mention Quidditch.
He just brings me some food because he realises I didn’t want to go to dinner to face them all.
We make our way along the corridor to find a window seat, since, as Beth points out; Madam Pince would hang you from the ceilings if you attempted to eat in her library.
We find a nice seat overlooking the lake and Jon plonks himself down on the ground while Beth and I take the seat. They talk between themselves about some Runes question, leaving me to eat my food.
It is at times like this that I realise most just how good a friends they both are to me.
They don’t bother me with questions. They just let me be and know I will talk in my own time. I know they are there for me no matter what I decide to do and they will support me fully.
Maybe we don’t do all the touchy feely crap like some people feel the need too.
Maybe we’re all hopeless at expressing emotion without being sarcastic.
But it is with the small gestures we make to each other that we show how we care.
And I’m beginning to sound like a greetings card.
The thought of a greetings card talking about ‘touchy feely crap’ causes me to chuckle to myself, which is never advisable when attempting to swallow a bread roll. I immediately start coughing, which causes Jon to swiftly search through his bag
“Here,” he pulls out a flask of pumpkin juice, which he opens and passes to me.
I gulp down the juice and it helps abate my coughing.
“You alright?” Beth asks with concern.
“Fine, fine,” I manage to reply.
“Sorry, I should have giv-” Jon stops mid sentence as all of our attention is drawn to a loud shriek of pain from the far end of the corridor.
We stick our heads around the wall of the alcove but a bend further down the corridor prevents us from seeing where the noise had came from.
“Well what do we have here?” Beth’s question is cut off by a male voice. His question drifts up the corridor to where we sit, but even from this distance there is no mistaking the sneer in his voice.
“Looks to me like some stupid little ‘Puff has strayed from the flock,” a second voice replies, in a tone much more menacing from the first. Both Jon and I get immediately to our feet with our wands drawn. “Or maybe even they didn’t want some worthless little Mudblood.”
A loud thump follows this and another yelp of pain.
Jon and I take off at a run down the corridor, with Beth following closely.
“My glasses...” a small voice utters.
Fury fills me as recognise the voice instantly.
The muggleborn first year Hufflepuff, with his milk bottle glasses and determination to learn how to fly properly.
“Aw, is the little ickle firstie gon-”
Jon and I round the corner at the same time and simultaneously launch stunning spells at the two figures standing over Burns, who is huddled against the wall. They barely manage to turn before the spells hit and knock both of them out.
We immediately rush forward to Burns.
His nose is a bloodied mesh and his glasses are in pieces on the floor.
“K-kit-t?” Burns’ eyes scrunch up as he attempts to make out who we are without his glasses. Scrunching his eyes causes him to wince in pain due to his broken nose and rage fills me.
What sort of bastard does things like this?
“Yes it’s me, Jon and Beth,” I reply keeping my anger in check as I crouch down in front of him. “Oh Burnsy, we’ve got to get you to the hospital wing straight away.” I turn to Jon to get him to help me pull Burns up only for a small hand to reach out and grab my arm.
“No!” I turn back to him. “I can’t go to the hospital wing-I can’t get the teachers involved! They told me what they would do to me if I ever got the teachers involved!”
“Burnsy, you’re nose is a mess- we need to get Madam Pomfrey to look at you straight away to make sure there is no serious damage done.” I tell him as I start to straighten up, determined to get him checked over.
“Kit please!” His hand tightens on my arm as he pleads with me. “It will only make it worse if you get teachers involved. It’s only some blood-I’ll be fine! I always am. Please Kit.”
Those two words rip right through me.
“Kit,” Jon’s voice cuts through my deepening horror and anger. He speaks in a tone I have never heard him use before and as I glance up at him I realise I have never seen him looking so infuriated. He holds my gaze and I realise right away what he’s trying to convey.
Jon had experienced this. He knew exactly what Burns was going through and he knew the trouble it would cause involving the teachers. Jon never talked about the prejudices he had faced because he was muggleborn. Back when we were in first year there was always the odd cut or black eye that he was never keen on explaining how he had gotten.
This is the world muggleborns have to face.
Constantly judged not by ability.
Constantly judged by something as inconsequential as your blood.
Constantly judged by something that had no bearing whatsoever on your ability to achieve.
“Okay,” I finally reply. “We won’t go to the teachers but we’ve got to do something about your nose I think it’s broken.”
“Here, let me look at it.” Beth’s voice is quiet as she crouches down and starts to examine his nose. A concerned look flights across Burns’ face as he contemplates being on the receiving end of Beth’s wand.
“Don’t worry,” Jon says with an encouraging smile as he too crouches down, “she’s quite good at healing spells- she’s used to dealing with all my quidditch ones.”
Burnsey relaxes slightly at this and Beth begins to clear up the blood on his nose with her wand so she can see it better. Jon reaches for his glasses and gives them a few taps with his wand to repair them.
I turn away and get up on to my feet as Beth starts to mend Burns’ nose while Jon keeps him talking to distract him.
My emotions are surging too strongly to remain beside them. I need to punch something, preferably the two unconscious arseholes responsible.
My eyes fall on the two stunned bodies before me. One lies on is front, the other his side. I can see from their robes they’re Slytherins, which is in no way surprising. I don’t recognise their faces but they don’t look to be more than forth year.
I glance down the corridor and find what I am looking for just a few feet further on.
Casting a levitating charm on the two bodies I direct them towards the broom cupboard as I walk towards it and open the door. I manoeuvre the pair of them in, making sure to bang both of their heads to against the side of the door on the way thru. I set them down on the floor and transfigure some old rags into rope which I then charm around them, tying them secure.
I shut the door behind me and I make my way back to the others.
Beth has managed to straighten out Burns’ nose and clean up all the blood, while Jon is teaching him the spell to repair broken glasses and I feel so utterly saddened by the fact he has to do so, because it means they both know this will happen again.
That this innocent little first year will get beaten up just because his father is a postman and his mother a nurse.
It just wasn’t fair.
There is a tug at my sleeve and I’m pulled out of my thoughts by Burns.
“Is it true?” He removes his hand from my sleeve and his faced is turned up towards me, alight with curiosity.
“What true?” I respond puzzled.
“That Wood doesn’t want you on the Quidditch team?” Burns asks with a look on his face that clearly says the he thinks Wood is crazy if this is true; when really Wood is crazy regardless.
I can never cease to be amazed by the male capacity to worry about quidditch.
“Oh no, he wants me on the team.” I reply. “He wants me at tryouts on Sunday.”
“Are you going? “ He asks eagerly.
“I don’t think so; you know I don’t play quidditch.”
“But why!” Burns ask, clearly thinking I am some deranged person for not wanting to play quidditch. “You the best flyer I’ve ever seen, you have so much talent! If I could fly like you I couldn’t wait to play for the team!” His eyes light up at the thought of playing quidditch, of being part of the house team. “I would show them all if I could fly like you, show them all that muggleborns just as good as they are.”
“No, you’re better than they are,” I cut in. “A hundred times better and don’t ever let them make you think otherwise. Burns don’t let them think you are any way inferior because you are not. You shouldn’t have to prove yourself to them.”
“No offence but that’s kinda easy for you to say. When you’re a muggleborn you’re prejudged and you never really stand much of chance of changing how people think.” Burns says with a shrug.
“Do you not think I might know something about people judging you before you have a chance to prove yourself? My whole life I have been judged by my sisters. People don’t bother to judge me as an individual, they just see my as ‘another’ Anderson.” I retort.
“Well then why don’t you try out for the team?” Burns questions. “None of your sisters played Chaser and if you tried out you could show them all what you could do. You could show them all that they shouldn’t just judged people by their family.” He glances down the corridor to the broomcupboard containing the two Slytherins. “Kit I would give anything to be able to prove to people like that that I’m not as worthless as they say I am. You have the ability to shut them all up. You shouldn’t waste it.”
There is such a wistful look on his face that I struggle for a reply.
“Anyway, I better get back to the common room,” Burns says as he turns to pick up his bag, Jon has already picked it up and hands it to him. “Thank you for helping me out, I’m really grateful. You always seem to be looking out for me. And I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t came along,” he finishes awkwardly and quickly turns to head down the corridor.
“I’m heading that way, mind if I walk with you?” asks Beth.
“Sure,” Burns answers with a confused look on his face, clearly wondering why on earth Beth was heading in the direction of the Hufflepuff common room. But he quickly shrugs it off, putting it down to another oddity of Beth.
Beth shares a look with Jon and I, as Burns turns and makes his way down the corridor. She sees we understand and follows Burns.
“Oh and Kit?” Burns stops and turns around.
“As my dad told me, you can’t escape from what you are. I’m muggleborn and proud of it.” He says with a fierce look of pride on his face. “You were born to be a quidditch player- you shouldn’t run away from that just because some people are arseholes.”
“Michael Burns!” I say in mock outrage, which causes a cheeky grin on Burns’ face.
“Well it’s true!” He defends as he starts to make his way along the corridor again. “And anyway,” he calls down at us over his shoulder, “it’s not like I haven’t heard you say worse!”
Jon and I stand and watch them both continue along the corridor and turn out of sight down a stairwell.
“Wise advice from his Dad.” Jon comments.
“Yes,” I reply my tone noncommittal.
“And not to bad advice from him either.”
“No, but why the hell would someone want to hurt him?” I reply, my anger back in full force.
“I can’t believe what they did to him!” Jon’s anger is back and his hands clench into fists. “He’s a bloody first year! Why the hell don’t they ever pick on someone there on size instead of a someone half the height of them!”
“Because they’re bloody dickheads. Merlin, how I wish they would all bloody realise blood means absolutely nothing bar the fact your mothers most likely you cousin as well!”
“Well,” Jon turns to me with a grim look on his face, “time to put the fear of Merlin in them.”
We both turn and make our way towards the broom closet, about to teach them a lesson in why you don’t pick on innocent little people.
Threats are more effective than actual violence, as the fear of the unknown mixed with an imagination can normally create situations far more frightening than a few hexes.
The two Slytherins we leave tied together in the broom closet are left contemplating a most unpleasant fate if they ever laid a finger on Burns, or any other muggleborn little person again.
Beth joins Jon and I in the library not long after we have just sat down. We don’t talk about what just happened except for Beth saying she gave Burnsy some advice to avoid any more bother from the pureblooded arseholes.
We don’t talk about it because what can you say?
A little 11 year old boy got his nose broke by two prejudiced Slytherins. This wasn’t the first time someone was attacked because of their blood and it wasn’t going to be the last.
You can rant and rave all you want but some prejudices just weren’t going to go away overnight. They were centuries ingrained and would probably take as long to remove.
The other two work on some form of homework while I pretend to flick through a charms textbook. I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on any work but also knew from previous experience that it was best to look occupied otherwise Pince would attack.
I spend the time thinking about all that had happened.
The record in my head alternates between Wood accusing me of running scared and Burns making me feel like a coward for not standing up to everyone and proving myself.
And it is Burns voice that seems most effective.
We’re chucked out library at closing time and go our separate way from Jon at the staircases. By the time we reach the fat lady I have made my decision.
The image of Burns with his broken nose and smashed glasses is stuck in my mind.
It’s not the fact he had been hurt but the fact he had such a determined glint in his eye.
It’s his determination to show them all wrong.
And it’s his pride in what he is and where he comes from that makes me realise it is time for me to set up and embrace who I am.
And proud about it.
Beth gives the password and we scramble through into the common room, which is still as full as earlier and our entrance goes unnoticed over the general din. Beth moves in the direction of the girl’s dormitories but I put out my hand to stop her.
“Wait a sec,” I tell her. “There’s something I have to do first.”
I turn and weave my way around the various chairs, tables and people to the back wall, most of which is taken up by a giant notice board.
Various posters and notices are stuck all around it; there is a large calendar giving the dates for Hogsmede weekends and a section for posters about lost pets, books, ties and various other things people have somehow managed to lose.
A quiet hush descends over the common room as everyone stops what they are doing to watch my progress across the room. I feel as though a collective breath is being held as I reach the board and glance around it.
I find the sheet I am looking for and I pick up the self-inking quill sitting on the ledge of the board and write my name.
I return the quill and take a step back.
It is done.
I have just done something I had promised myself many years ago I would not do.
I have just put my name down on the sheet for quidditch tryouts.
Time to show the world what 'Another' Anderson can do.
A/N: slight delay which I apologise for but I got some fantastic news this week that means my world has finally righted itself. Which means, most importantly for you, that updates will flow much more regular. I'm aiming at getting one chapter a week of this in the queue, so fingers crossed that works.
Hoped you enjoyed it and thank you to everyone who reviewed the last chapter, sorry my responses were slow but this last week or so has been pretty hectic.
Track This Story: Feed
Write a Review
JOIN HARRY POTTER FANFICTION
Get access to every new feature the moment it comes out.Register Today!