“Here, let me.” Roger said, cutting off Claire before a profanity slipped out of her mouth. They were in the middle of Herbology, Claire’s worst subject. They were trying to extract the juice from a corsero plant before them.
Claire put her finger in her mouth and sucked on it where the plant had stabbed her with its thorn.
“I will never understand why my parents insist that I take this class. Sure it is necessary if you want to be a healer, but I don’t. I don’t want to be anything that has to do with Herbology or plants.” She said as she inspected her finger.
Claire was not the only one sporting a wound. Most of the class had scratches on their faces and hands. The plant was too small to work with if they were wearing their dragon skin gloves so they had to take the pain of it all.
Roger managed to get the juice out of corsero better than anyone else in the class. He seemed to be the only one patient enough to kindly coax the juice out of the plant instead of trying to take it by force. Everyone else just dived right into it and ended up getting hurt somehow. At the end of the class period Claire and Roger had the most corsero juice and were awarded ten points to each of their houses by Professor Longbottom.
“I can’t wait until Remembrance Week.” Claire said as they made their way up towards the castle. “I am going home and am going to celebrate my seventeenth birthday all week long!” Claire was the oldest person in their year and she was looking forward to turning seventeen before anyone else. She was going to take her apparition test as soon as she could.
“Don’t forget what Remembrance Week is supposed to be about.” Roger said to her as they entered the Great Hall for lunch. “We are supposed to spend this time remembering what everyone sacrificed in the first and second wars. It is not just a break for you to go off and party.”
“I know that.” Claire said as they sat down at the Hufflepuff table. Claire hardly ever sat at the Gryffindor one. Everyone there was a part of the James Potter fan club, or so it seemed. “Hey Albus.” She added as she looked across the table and saw the raven haired Hufflepuff sitting there.
Albus was one of the three of the Weasley and Potter clan who was not sorted into Gryffindor. He was almost the complete opposite of his brother James. Albus was very quiet and to himself. His dark hair fell into his emerald green eyes as he sat quietly and observed everyone around him. It was well known that he was the handsomer of the two boys but most people thought him odd and steered clear of him.
Albus greeted the two of them with a simple nod of the head. To outsiders it might seem like he was being cold towards them but that was just about as friendly of a greeting that anyone could hope to get from him.
They ate their food mostly in silence; Roger was always too busy eating to talk at all. Just then Traci sat herself down next to Albus and across from Roger. Even though she was in Ravenclaw and a year younger than Roger and Claire the three of them had begun to spend a lot of time together. It was strange at first, Claire and Roger were used to it being just the two of them, but it did not take long for them to adjust to this bubbly, talkative girl.
“Hey guys! How was Herbology?” She asked them with a brisk smile. “Oh, are these cauldron cakes?” She said before either Roger or Claire could answer. They were used to this by now, Traci was always talking. “I was hoping there would be some at lunch, I have been craving some all morning and now I get to have some at last. Mmmm, these seem to taste better than usual, or maybe it is just because I have been wanting them so badly. Oh, hello there.” Traci had just noticed Albus sitting next to her, looking at her oddly. He probably resented the intrusion into his quiet little world.
“Traci, this is Albus, Albus, this is our friend Traci.” Claire introduced them.
“Oh I know who you are Albus, of course I think everyone knows who you are, but we have had Charms together since we were in first year, though I don’t think we have ever really spoken have we? Well it is nice to finally be introduced to you.” Traci finished with a smile at him.
“Hi.” Albus said with the corners of his mouth turned upward ever so slightly into what one could only hope was his attempt at a smile.
Claire stared at the two of them. Did Albus Potter just willingly speak to someone he had never talked to before and did he just try and smile at her? This was something new indeed. Claire wondered if he was feeling alright or not.
As Friday rolled around Claire was preparing to head home. She was busy packing her trunk when there was a knock on the door to her dormitory. She turned around and saw Traci standing there.
“Hi Traci, what brings you up here?” she asked her friend.
“I know your birthday isn’t until tomorrow but I wanted to give you your present now.” She said as she held out a small brown package.
“Oh, Traci, you didn’t need to get me anything.” Claire knew that Traci’s family didn’t have much money and she didn’t want to take from Traci’s small purse.
Claire slowly opened the package and saw a small silver necklace in the shape of a C.
“It’s nothing much, but I thought you might like it.” Traci said, it was obvious by the expression on her face that she was afraid of Claire not liking it. “I mean, it is okay if you don’t, I just thought-”
“I love it Traci. It is beautiful.” Claire said as she pulled her friend into a tight hug. “Thank you so much.” Claire clasped the necklace around her throat and smiled. She really did love it.
“Are you staying here for the week?” Claire asked. Most people did tend to stay at school for Remembrance Week; Claire was only going home because it was her birthday.
“Yeah, I don’t feel like going home for a few days only to have to come right back here. If it was a longer break I would probably go home.”
“Well it is time I was off. Write to me and tell me all of the exciting things that are happening around the school because I know Roger will forget.” Claire said as she dragged her trunk off her bed and made her way to the door.
“Bye Claire, I’ll see you in a week.” Traci said as they gave each other one more hug.
“Bye Traci, keep Roger company for me.” Claire said with a smile before she made her way to Deputy Headmistress Sinistra’s office where the floo network had been temporarily opened for those few who decided to go home.
Claire had the best Birthday she could have hoped for. Her mother made her a breakfast that was fit for a king. Then she proceeded to go to the Ministry of Magic to get her apparition license. She passed with flying colors and apparated home.
“Mom!” Claire yelled as she entered her house. “Mom! I passed!” She said as she walked into the living room, looking for her mother.
Claire jumped, she had not been expecting to be greeted by three people yelling surprise at her.
“Roger, Traci! What are you two doing here?” She asked as she rushed forward to hug them both.
“We flooed over as soon as you left to take your test. We wanted to surprise you.” Traci said as she jumped up and down excitedly. “I was so excited when Roger told me the plan. Did I do a good job of fooling you yesterday?” She asked with a big grin.
“It was your mum’s idea.” Roger added.
“You did great. I had no idea that you all were planning this. Thanks mum for coming up with the idea and thanks to you two for coming!” Claire said happily.
The three friends spent the rest of the day doing absolutely nothing, something they tended to do a lot of even when they were at school. When six o’clock rolled around they settled down for dinner, if Claire had thought that her breakfast was fit for a king than dinner was fit for a god. It was the best food she had ever tasted. It was even better than the feasts they had at Hogwarts. And then there was the cake. It was three layers thick and each layer was a different type of chocolate. By the end of the meal everyone was fuller than they could ever remember.
“That meal was awesome Mrs. Bowen.” Roger said sleepily as he patted his stomach fondly.
“Yeah, thanks mum.” Claire added as she stifled a yawn. It was still early in the evening but it had been such a fun day that she was already feeling sleepy.
“Don’t forget about your presents.” Mrs. Bowen said as she flicked her wand and a pile of colorfully wrapped gifts appeared on the table in front of Claire where the food had been seconds before.
Claire’s eyes snapped open at the mention of presents. Claire loved all of her gifts, but her favorite was the one from Roger. It was a small leather bound notebook with her name written on the lower right corner.
“It is so you can organize your thoughts better.” Roger said as he looked slightly awkward, usually he just gave her a packet of chocolate frogs or something like that.
Claire, Traci, and Roger all played a few rounds of exploding snap before heading off to bed. Traci fell asleep right away in the bed next to Claire, but Claire for some reason could not seem to fall asleep. She was tired but unable to cross that final barrier to dreamland.
After what felt like hours of lying in bed staring up at the ceiling Claire decided to go downstairs and get herself a glass of water. Perhaps that would help her to sleep.
Claire started to make her way down the stairs to the kitchen but froze when she heard people arguing.
“You can’t do this. I won’t let you.” Claire heard her mother say.
“Calm down, we had an arrangement.” Claire heard an unfamiliar female’s voice speak up.
“I will not calm down and I don’t care about any bloody arrangement!” Claire knew that it had to be something serious if her mother was swearing.
“Don’t get hysterical mother. You knew this day would come.” Mother? Who was this woman who was calling Claire’s mum mother? Did Claire have a sister? Why had they kept this from her for so long? A million questions raced through Claire’s mind at that moment. She was so busy thinking about all of this that she almost missed what her mother said next.
“Well I won’t let you take her away from me. You can tell her, but you will not take her away from me.” Why was her mother afraid someone would take Claire away from her? No one could take Claire away from her mother. The mere thought was absurd.
“I knew that you would see reason” The sticky sweet voice that Claire was starting to hate more and more answered.
“But you can’t just spring this on her, she is a young girl. You need to be gentle about how you tell her.”
Claire had had enough with playing the guessing game. She wanted to know what they were talking about and she wanted to know now, especially if it had anything to do with her.
“Tell me what?” Claire asked as she entered the kitchen. She stopped short however when she caught sight of the person who owned the unfamiliar voice. She gasped quietly as she recognized the tall brunette instantly. Lavender Brown was standing in her kitchen.
“Claire!” Her mother said, obviously surprised to see her out of bed so late. Her mother stepped in between Claire and Lavender Brown as though that would hide the model slash singer from view. “What are you doing up so late?”
“I was wondering what you two are talking about and I want to know now mum. Don’t beat around the bush; just tell me please, I am an adult now after all.” Claire said as she stood up a little straighter in an attempt to look older and more mature.
“See, the girl has got more sense than you give her credit.” Lavender Brown said as she stepped out from behind Mrs. Bowen.
Mrs. Bowen hung her head in defeat. She knew there was no way of stopping it from happening now.
Lavender Brown took that small gesture as permission to go on. “Claire Bowen, you are more special than you could ever know. In fact, your real name is not Claire Bowen at all, your real name is Clarissa Brown, and you are my daughter.”
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