I sat uncomfortably on the wooden bleachers of the Hogwarts Quidditch pitch, and took out a notebook. The wind blew at my face harshly, which was not the most ideal, but I really did need help with how the tryouts would run. I watched James as he arranged the prospective team members up by position. “If you are here looking for a Seeker position or a Keeper position, you can leave now!” he bellowed out over the crowd. There was a collective groan, and around fifteen people left the field.
The amount of people on the field almost made me feel bad for James Potter. The Gryffindor team had to fill three spots, more than they had in the past few years. Ravenclaw only had to fill one spot, our Keeper, who graduated last year. Anyway, James Potter did tend to attract a lot of attention. It wasn’t just James Potter perhaps, but the entire Gryffindor Quidditch team. Although the Slytherin team also boasted a fair amount of wins, James Potter and Sirius Black brought the fanaticism to their team.
Another thing that I would never understand: the school’s obsession with the Marauders. The girls that swooned over them, the boys that swooned over them, it made no sense. And while their features are appealing, in different but somehow very equally attractive ways, and their attitudes are agreeable, in different but somehow very equally attractive ways, they were no more than average.
Of course, no one was anything more than average, because being average is being the mean of all the variables. In which case, one must only change the control group to change the average. Anyone could be the average of something. So if no one was anything more than average, how would there even be an average?
Besides that, I did feel a bit for James Potter, who had to deal with people who clearly did not want to or have the ability to play Quidditch for the Gryffindor team.
“Hey you!” I looked up from my notebook, and saw Sirius Black flying towards me. “What are you doing?” he asked indignantly, stopping his broom quite close to me.
Sirius Black had long, black hair that flew behind him in the wind. He had a certain complacency on his face even though his words implied otherwise. He had several birthmarks on his face, but no freckles. There was a scar that cut across his left eyebrow, and he became uncomfortable as I stared at it. Sirius Black clenched his jaw when people didn’t answer him right away.
“Hey!” he said again, hovering in the air across from me. I held up my notes.
“I am taking notes.” Sirius leaned forward and grabbed my notes without asking. I stayed quiet as he flipped through my notebook, tightening the scarf that protected my neck from the cold wind.
Sirius Black had cheeks that were very pale, except for the fact that they were very red from the wind.
“Can I have that back?” I asked, looking from Sirius to my watch. It was almost five o’ clock.
“No,” he said, turning his back to me and waving for James to come over. I rolled my eyes at the dramatics.
“Have you no manners?” I asked, holding out my hand for my property back. Sirius didn’t respond as James flew up next to him.
“This chick has been writing down our tactics!” he cried, handing my notes over to James. James glanced up at me.
“Hello, Charlotte,” he said politely, flicking through my notes. I crossed my arms.
“James,” I said shortly, holding out my hand for him to return my notebook. He handed it back to me, and I fought hard to restrain the smirk that grew on my face as Sirius’ jaw dropped open.
“Mate!” he exclaimed, hitting James on the shoulder. “Last year when I was with Hestia you made me break it off so our ‘secrets wouldn’t be compromised’,” he mocked, making James roll his eyes.
“Fine,” James agreed, waving Sirius off. “I can’t really have you sitting in on our tryouts anyway, Charlotte. I’m sorry.” I plastered a quick smile on my face, and tucked my notebook into my satchel.
“That’s alright James, I understand,” I said amicably. I stood up from my seat. I really did have go, anyway.
James nodded, and flew back down to the pitch to attend to his tryouts, but Sirius stayed hovering in the air as I collected my bag.
“What do you care about our Quidditch tactics, anyway?” he asked without provocation, peering over my shoulder as I turned away from him.
“I don’t,” I said truthfully, walking across the top of the bleachers to the stairs.
“Well then why were you here?” he posited, flying slowly next to me.
“Sirius, it really doesn’t seem to be any of your business!” I said in exasperation, checking my watch again in what I hoped was a discreet manner.
“Well, well, well, little underclassman’s got a tongue on her,” he provoked in a completely incorrect way. I took a beat for Sirius to compose himself, and turned to face him.
“I am a seventh year Ravenclaw, Sirius. Are you really that self-involved?” Sirius opened his mouth to interrupt, but I had not stopped talking. I had only just begun my rant. “I mean, not only have we been in classes together since first year, but we have both been on Quidditch teams since fourth year! I am the team captain, for Merlin’s sake!”
“I joined third year,” he volunteered, all too happy to correct me. I opened my mouth, but nothing came out. Sirius Black was exasperating.
“I have to go,” I said with an exhalation, turning my back to Sirius.
“Hello, Madame Pomfrey,” I greeted, sitting down on the bed nearest to her desk. She stood up from her chair without a greeting, bustled over, and closed the curtain around my bed. She let out a short huff, and then turned to face me.
“Here we go,” she prompted, holding out a hand for me to take. I did not take it. She canned her wand down my body as I lay there, stiff as a board. “All set.”
I sat up to look at the examination that appeared on the white sheet hanging across from me. My bones, a glowing white, were normal as ever. My tendons, a slightly less opaque white, my organs even less so, my skin a sealant around the photo of my cross-sectioned body. Then a sliver of silver, just a hint, edging around my brain. Another hint of silver, emanating from where my bellybutton might be. I looked up to Madame Pomfrey for clarification. She looked down, frowning.
“What is it? You can tell me,” I assured her, letting her imagine that I wasn’t smart enough to figure it out on my own. The Inferius was spreading.
“Your, your affliction,” she emphasized, “has taken over more of your body.” I nodded, and sat up straighter on the bed.
“Well, is there anything wrong with me?” Madame Pomfrey frowned again.
“Charlotte, I don’t think you understand the situation. You are part inferius,” she whispered, even though no one had walked into the hospital wing. “You are somehow made up of the unintelligent monster that can be controlled by its creator.”
“When I start having violent tendencies, I’ll let you know,” I appeased her, perhaps a bit too casually.
“Charlotte, this is no joke. If Headmaster Dumbledore’s predictions are true, you could end up in the hands of some of the most dangerous wizards in history. You haven’t seemed at all different? Heard any voices? Had any new urges?”
At this, I opened my mouth just to close it again. I had not heard any voices, I had not, seemed different. Or had I? I had a recurring dream, but it didn’t seem dangerous. Or did it?
“Charlotte,” Madame Pomfrey prompted me, shaking my arm slightly.
“No,” I decided, there on the spot. “No I have not felt any different.”
“Bloody Madame Pomfrey and her bloody examinations,” I muttered, rubbing the bend of my right elbow where she took a blood sample. “Can I just get one good night’s sleep without thinking about my little affliction, as she so calls it?”
Walking back to the Ravenclaw tower on Saturday night was always a nice break from the constant bickering in my room, the incessant talking from Mary, or the annoying interruptions from anyone else who happened to be nearby. It was exceptionally quiet, and the quiet was nice because it left more room to ponder.
I mean, it didn’t really matter if I could get a good night’s sleep anyway. I didn’t need to sleep, not really. I went to bed when I was done with my homework; I’ve always done it, and I never really felt too tired. And then, there’s the other thing that’s a bit odd. I could go days without eating, if I was ever in a situation that called for that. I’ve never actually tried it, but one tends to notice that while everyone else is hungry, you aren’t I keep up my appearances, though: I go to bed, silencing the curtains to accommodate my human roommates, and I go to lunch with Mary, even if I don’t actually eat that much. It’s easy enough to cover up if you try hard enough.
More to the matter is that I wanted a good night’s sleep. Although it is very useful to have such an active, uncluttered brain, it is also very difficult to grab a moment of peace. Even when alone, I tend to bother myself with my own ramblings. And even if I tried to stop thinking about everything, about anything, I am quite certain I would think about actively not thinking, and what that says about myself.
Maybe that’s why I was bumped around innumerable foster homes until I finally figured out how to disguise my innate habits. Okay, not innumerable, I think it was number ten. I finally figured out that I was a little different than most of the other children, and I stopped talking about it. When I met Mary, a small, ridiculous child that our foster parents adored, she told me that she was magical; it was then I realized that being a bit different would be fine.
When I found out that I, too was magical, it was a fond surprise, but my reaction was nothing compared to Mary’s. And so when I didn’t react in the way a supposedly normal eleven-year-old would, I was put under a much more careful watch by Headmaster Dumbledore, a lover of all things slightly out of the ordinary, including himself.
“Oh Charlotte, there you are!” Mary said as she turned the corner. I turned to see her as she rushed over to me, hooking her arm in mine and continuing me on my way to the tower. “I just came back from tryouts, and guess what?” she asked excitedly, skipping and slightly dragging me along.
“Did you make the team?” I guessed absently, still a little stuck in my own thoughts.
“Well, no. But I did get picked to come to the second tryouts tomorrow!” Typical Mary, never without a positive spin. “But anyway, that’s not the most important part!” she squealed. I removed my arm from hers, and Mary did not protest, well knowing my aversion to contact.
“Sorry, Char,” she said, leaving my arm alone, “but guess again!” I let out a small sigh.
“Did James Potter kiss you?” I dared aimlessly, hoping that if I pushed just the right buttons she would tell me or leave me alone.
“Well, no, Char,” she groaned. “You really are bad at this.” She paused waiting for me to guess again. I would not give her the satisfaction.
“Ugh, fine.” We started heading up the final set of stairs towards the tower. “Well after tryouts we were all walking back to the lockers, and I was walking with Dorcas, who is pretty good friends with Marlene who is really good friends with James, and she said that she was talking with Marlene and James, and apparently Marlene thought that Sirius had a thing for you.”
At this I rolled my eyes, but let Mary continue her elaborate story.
“But then James said ‘Well even if he did, he couldn’t do anything about it because someone else has got a thing for her’ or something like that! Isn’t that crazy? A marauder has a thing for you!” Mary exclaimed, whispering as we approached the portrait for the Ravenclaw tower.
“Yes, Mary I do think it’s crazy because I really couldn’t give a shit who had a thing for me and who didn’t,” I said, a bit grumbly in responding to such a cheerful person. Mary’s face fell, and I instantly felt terrible. “I do apologize Mary, but I just don’t care.” I placed a hand on her shoulder. “But congratulations on getting asked back for tryouts tomorrow.”
A/N: Please let me know what you think about the story! Thanks for reading
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