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Thank you all for being patient with me. This chapter is a bit longer, and we're seeing some different sides of a few different relationships. As always, thank you for reaching and please please please review!



Dominique - sorry, Dom has been going out of her way to include me since she decided we were friends. I was glad she had too, because the only time David ever made an appearance was during classes, and he just changed the subject whenever I brought up where he disappeared to.

Katie was still sucking up to Vanessa trying (and unfortunately succeeding) at getting into the “popular” group at Hogwarts. Leaving me lonely and without anybody from home. 

Fortunately for me, Dom didn’t do anything halfway. Making me feel at home at Hogwarts became her new personal mission. She had already given me multiple extremely detailed tours of the castle, so I kind of knew my way around now. 

She insisted I sit with her during every meal, and introduced me to every person she knew here, which meant, that because she was - well, Dominique, I think I met every person at this school. Even including a select few of the house elves Dom had befriended over the years. 

Not that I really remembered anyone’s name though, I really tried, I just became incredibly overwhelmed. 

The weirdest thing that I started to realize though, is that everybody knew who I was, and more than that, any time Dom introduced me to someone, they seemed genuinely excited to meet me. I guess being somewhat popular (or at least people knew my name) came with the territory of being a Champion. I wasn’t used to it, but it was a good feeling.

Today’s mission was the joint common room, which I naively didn’t know existed before today. It was a place that was meant to promote “inter house unity” but Dom claimed it was “just a big room for people from other houses to either compete or compare themselves to each other”. I had no idea what to expect. 

Well - it was a large room, Dom had got that much right. The rounded walls and high windows made it feel very open and inviting. There was a banner for each house equally spaced along the walls, with a large Hogwarts crest hung directly across from the entrance, so it was the first thing you saw when you walked in. 

There were couches, there were tables, there were multiple fireplaces, and there were so many people.

Dom didn’t give me time to even glance around the room to see if I could spot any familiar faces before dragging me off. I was glad she took the lead, I was too overwhelmed. We headed towards a sitting area towards the back, where a few people were already . 

At first i didn’t recognize the people, but I was relieved as soon as I remembered meeting them - it was Dom’s family. They were a loud, opinionated bunch, but since Dominique had “adopted” me, they had deemed me worthy of their acceptance. Of course, except for Potter.

I hadn’t had the chance to really get to know any of them though, so I wasn’t entirely comfortable in this situation. I sat in an empty armchair and I noticed the specific faces in the group; Rose Weasley, Fred Weasley (for once without Potter), and Lily Potter. 

“Hello dearest family members,” Dom greeted them as she plopped into a spot on the couch next to Fred.

“Hi crazy,” Fred smiled at her, “Hi crazy’s friend” he nodded at me. Rose and Lily smiled at me as well.

Okay good, I think him starting out this powwow by making fun of me was his way this of inviting me into the group - and more importantly letting me know that he didn’t hold the same grudge against me that James did. 

I sat in the open armchair next to Rose, as she continued with the discussion they must have been having before we arrived.

“Tell me again why you and James felt the need to charm all the house elves’ uniforms pink?” It seemed like she had asked this question before and was trying to get Fred to justify it himself. 

“Rosie, I told you already - James and me can just tell that the house elves were tired of the boring white rags they always wear and since we can’t give them real clothes, we thought: why not just change the color?”

“So you decided on…pink?” Lily asked with a smirk.

Fred was getting impatient with their lack of understanding, “Pink is a color of power, fun, and excitement! We wanted to make them happy!” He huffed in his chair and crossed his arms defiantly.

“Did James tell you that?” Lily asked, holding back laughter like the rest of us.

“Well, yeah…” Fred answered uneasily, sensing that she would say something else.

She continued, “Did the house elves ask you to change the color of their uniform?” 

“No, but - “

“Did they seem happy with the color choice?” Lily continued her line of questioning.

“I haven’t had a chance to see them, but…”

Lily patted Fred consolingly on the shoulder before he could finish, “Sorry Fred, but you’re an idiot.”

He aggressively pushed Lily’s hand off his shoulder, and looked offended at first, then a look of understanding crossed his face, and ashamed, he put his head in his hands.

We all burst into laughter at this point.

“I can’t believe I let James talk me into something like this again!” he exclaimed, exasperated.

“To be fair, it’s not like you wouldn’t have done it for any other reason than ‘it would be funny’,” Dom challenged Fred, still laughing.

“Fair point,” Fred acknowledged, already recovering from his previous embarrassment.

“James just gets a kick out of fucking with you, you should know better by now,” Lily said. I was slightly taken aback with her harsh language, she seemed so innocent and young - I didn’t expect that type of language to come out of her. 

“Speaking of my manipulative brother,” Lily changed the subject, “how are you and him doing nowadays Ella?” She turned to me. 

I hadn’t expected the subject of the conversation to turn to me, but I decided to go along with it. Dom told me it wasn’t worth it pretending to act differently than how I felt about Potter towards the family.

“You mean has he done anything other than glare at me or insult me recently? That would be a solid no.” 

It came out harsher than I expected it to. There was an awkward silence.

Rose broke it, “Typical James.” 

“Always on his high fucking horse,” Lily agreed

I let out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding, I was so relieved I hadn’t offended them. I did not want to be on these people’s bad sides. 

“I’ve tried talking some sense into him,” Fred told me apologetically.

“Really?” I asked, touched. Fred and I had never even had a real conversation, and he took the time to try to talk his best friend into being nicer to me?

“Yeah, but he won’t hear it from anybody. James is convinced you’re evil incarnate,” he paused and suspiciously eyed me, “- you’re not evil incarnate…are you?”

“Of course not!” I exclaimed, about to get defensive, but apparently my three words were good enough for Fred.

“Just making sure,” he shrugged.

“James is just being an ass,” Rose offered, “he’s always been like this - making snap judgements and running with them.”

I didn’t realize it would make me feel this way, but hearing his own family take my side over his in our feud made my heart swell; their acceptance of me made me feel so much better about the whole situation, it didn’t make me hate Potter any less, but it let me like his family.

“That’s kind of hypocritical Rose,” Dom accused.

“What are you talking about,” Rose counted, obviously annoyed.

“Does the name Scorpious Malfoy ring any bells?” Dom raised her eyebrows at her.

I knew about their relationship from Scorpious, but had never heard Rose’s views on it. This would be interesting.

I could tell this subject got Rose heated, “That’s different.”

“You judged him from the second you saw him on platform nine and three quarters your first year, and you have never once given him a chance.”

I hadn’t known Dominique Weasley long, but we had talked about Rose and Scorpious’ relationship before - and she was convinced they had feelings for each other. I was sure this was just another one of Dom’s tactics to try to get Rose to admit her feelings.

“Do you not remember all the shit he’s pulled on me since we met?” Rose challenged.

“Do you not remember all the shit you’ve pulled on him?” Dom countered.

I could see Rose’s ears starting to turn red with anger, “Since when are you a member of the Scorpious Malfoy fan club?

I’m not,” Dom stressed, “but I’m starting to think you might be.”

Lily and Fred were sitting back enjoying the whole argument, this didn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary. I’d bet that these two have had this exact argument before,  and I had to say, it was pretty entertaining. 

“I thought Ravenclaws were supposed to be smart,” Rose responded aggressively. She started talking to Dom as if she were speaking to a child, “let me explain this to you so you can understand, okay? When two people don’t like each other, they fight. I don’t like Malfoy. He doesn’t like me. We fight. End of story. It’s not complicated.”

Dom just shook her head, not believed a word that came out of Rose’s mouth. Dom’s bitchy side was coming out.

“Rose, let me explain this in a way you should understand, okay? He’s hot. You’re hot. You obviously have a weird tension. It’s going to happen between the two of you, whether you’re expecting it or not.”

Rose just rolled her eyes and turned a slightly brighter shade of pink.

“What about Ella and James then, huh?” Rose didn’t even look at me, she was still staring Dom down.

My eyes widened, and  snapped to attention. Why was I being brought into this?

“What about them?” Dom asked, exasperated.

“They fight just like me and Malfoy fight, and I don’t see anybody trying to make it seem like they like each other, or ever will.”

I was a little stung by her words, but she was right. I knew I would never be on good terms with Potter, let alone like him, and I knew the feeling was mutual. 

“It’s different, and you know it’s different.” Dom still would not be swayed.

“Actually, -” the sound of Fred’s voice caught us off guard. He looked a little scared to be inserting himself into this argument, “Ella and James fighting kind of reminds me of Rose and Scorpious, or at least how they used to be.”

Rose and Dom both looked confused. I was curious as well so I asked him a question.

“What do you mean, how they used to be?”

Under the glares of his two riled up female cousins he explained himself. 

“Well, uh, so a while ago - years ago, when Rose and Scorpious used to argue it was - uh, meaner I guess? But, I feel like now you just kind of tease each other if that makes sense…well not really tease, that’s not the right word…more like pester - yeah pester. It’s like you argue for the sake of arguing..” Fred trailed off, looking anxiously at his cousins, trying to see how they would react. 

Dom smugly looked at Rose and said, “see? now you just argue because you need an excuse to talk to each other. Because you’re in looove with him.”

‘You’re wrong.” 

Rose got up, and furiously walked away without saying another word. I had just witnessed my first Weasley family argument, and I had to say that this family lived up to their reputation.

The rest of us looked at Dom a little accusingly because she was the reason Rose got so mad. 

“What?” She shrugged, ‘it’s for her own good, just you guys wait.”

She didn’t seemed bothered at all by the argument. 

“Now that you mention it though,” Lily chimed in for the first time in a while, “Ella and James do kind of remind me or Rose and Scorpious.”

“Hah! I told you!” Fred looked pleased with himself.

“I guess I do kind of see the similarities…” Dom reluctantly agreed.

This statement bothered me more than it should have. I was friends with Scorpious, how could they compare him to Potter? I knew them both, and liked them both - and a small part of me even agreed with Dom, maybe they did have feelings for each other deep down. No way Potter and I were the same as them, my feelings for him would never change.

 





We - the champions - were all sitting in the empty classroom, unsure of what we were supposed to be doing. There were six tables in the classroom, but only three were occupied. David and Chase sat together, as did Potter and Vanessa (the devilish duo of course would be sitting together), and I was sitting with my slightly psychotic new friend Dominique.

The only clue we had received to base our research and practice on was the theme “earth” - thats it. We had no idea what a challenge in the Valor Championship would mean for us. I thought once the champions were chosen, this competition wouldn’t be shrouded in so much mystery, and I would finally understand what was going on. I was grossly mistaken.

Nobody spoke. Nobody had any educational materials out in front of them. I looked around and we all seemed to be thinking the same thing - where do we start? David seemed to be mentally counting, Chase had been looking for “something” in his bag for almost five minutes, Dominique was absentmindedly doodling on a spare bit of parchment, Vanessa was touching up her makeup, and Potter was just staring forward, his eyes glazed over, lost in thought.

I was chewing on my pen (yes, at Ilvermorny we used school supplies from this century, and when I came here I didn’t want to start using a quill and inkwell), and trying to come up with an idea - any idea - that would be useful in preparing for the challenge next month. The only possible area of study I could think of that related to earth was herbology. Plants, earth, there was a connection right? And rather than sit in the stony silence of the deserted classroom, I decided I should just go to the greenhouses and check out some of the plants for myself.

As I stood up, eager to leave the stressed silence of the classroom, I heard the squeaking of a chair. I whipped my head to the sound and saw Potter standing up as well. The other champions were looking at us, welcoming any distraction from their mental stalemate.

Potter and I walked to the door, both speeding up with each step, trying to beat each other to the door. We were practically running by the time we reached it, Potter reaching the handle a split second before me. 

Vanessa glared at Potter, mentally trying to convey to him not to be alone with me, and especially not to leave her. He shrugged, and now even angrier, she directed her glare at me, as if of course I had planned to be stuck in this position alone with Potter, trying to “steal” away her prized possession. 

Dom just raised her eyebrows in amusement at the still silent battle and turned back to her doodling. Potter opened the door, and I quickly followed behind him. 

I yearned to ask him where he was going. Did he have the same idea as I did to go the the greenhouses? Did he make some other mental breakthrough? Was I missing something that he understood?

In silence I tailed James through the castle. He walked with purpose and he knew where he was going. The layout of the castle still somewhat confused me, but it seems like he was going in the direction of the front door, so I followed him. 

We finally reached the front entrance and he slipped out, not looking back. 

We reached greenhouse three at the same time. Professor Longbottom had given us all keys when we were chosen, and I opened the door. 

This is where the more dangerous plants were housed; it seemed our brains worked alike because we had the same idea to start here. Neither one of us wanting to talk first, we went to opposite sides of the greenhouse. 

Breaking the silence at this point after so long would be admitting defeat. It would let the other person win. Potter and I, in the short span of knowing one another, were in a constant state of competition. Each victory and loss mattered. 

I walked over to a glass case with a slow moving green lumpy plant in it. I opened my herbology book and started researching the plant in front of me which I identified as Devil’s Snare. 

Native to Britain; can be found in Peru, Ecuador, Iceland, and parts of Norway. Devil’s Snare that is fully grown to maturity can grow infinitely large in dark areas if not maintained. Because this specimen only survives in darkness, it cannot thrive while exposed to any sunlight so it will most likely live in dark caves or deep under cover of forests.  

The defense mechanism for Devil’s Snare is advanced, and deadly. While a sapling would only cause mild discomfort, the vines of a full grown plant can fatally constrict any threat coming near them.

Yikes. 

I examine the plant again and see its tendrils moving, ready to strike.

I looked up to see Potter examining a vicious looking fanged flower a few feet away. The tension in the room was thick and uncomfortable; both of us too stubborn to say a word. 

I walk down one aisle of the greenhouse and see individual boxes housing smaller, potted versions of Devil’s Snare lining the center table. Annoyed and frustrated (I couldn’t tell if it was at myself or at Potter), I “accidentally” pushed one of the potted Devil’s Snares out of its box, and off the table, towards him. 

The pot shattered on the floor. The vines immediately constricted his legs and worked their way up.

“What the fuck, Chambers!”

He tried charging at me, but instead fell face first onto the dirty greenhouse floor due to the thick green restraints around his legs. He wriggled around as the vines progressed from his legs to his midsection, binding his arms to his side, rendering him, for lack of a better world; helpless.

I should have felt bad for acting so immature and pulling such a childish prank. I knew this small, still developing sapling of the plant couldn’t do real harm to him, so when I started giggling at his stumble, I couldn't find it in myself to feel remorse. 

Imagine it, James Potter helplessly grabbing at the plant while stuck, withering on the floor. He dropped his wand on his fall down - it had rolled under the table, out of reach. Whatever anger and frustration I was feeling vanished as soon as Potter hit the floor. I finally won something over him!

He looked up at me from his place on the ground. I could tell he needed my help but had entirely too much pride to ask for it. 

Still laughing, and wanting to further prove my dominance over him, I lit the tip of my wand with a bright fire, effectively holding back the tendrils of the plant, and freeing Potter. 

“You’re welcome,” I smirk at him.

He stood up and brushed himself off. I stopped laughing as soon as I saw the look on his face; hatred. But behind that hatred I saw something else, he looked hurt. He took a few steps forward and was now standing inches away from me. 

We were sanding close, uncomfortably close, but I found myself frozen. I couldn’t move, in this moment, I was scared of him. He was staring at me, either too mad to speak, or trying to formulate exactly what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it. 

I had never been this close to him before, and didn’t realize how tall Potter was; my head only came up to his shoulder and I had to crane my neck up to look at him properly. I noticed how symmetrical his face was, except one eyebrow went a little higher than the other. You couldn’t tell from far away but he has very faint freckles across his nose too. And his eyes did not have a definite color; I saw a mosaic of hazel and green and blue, and it was mesmerizing. 

James Potter was standing incredibly close to me, staring at me, and I realized he was attractive. Not just normal “kind of good looking” attractive though, he was hot. 

This was all purely observational though, I felt no attraction to James Potter whatsoever.  Nope, not me. He had been nothing but a complete asshole since I got here. Anyway, he was my competitor. Moment over. 

I did finally understand though why the entire female population of Hogwarts was so enamored by him - I digress. 

Still waiting for him to say something, I look around the greenhouse, looking anywhere but at him. I could feel his eyes bearing into me, I could almost feel anger radiating off of him. I couldn’t stand the silence anymore, so I boldly decided to break it.

“I’m sorry?” I asked uneasily, looking into his eyes, trying to gauge his reaction.

“No you’re not.” He said blankly, not breaking eye contact. 

Not knowing how to respond to that I try to take a step back, but Potter was quick and he grabbed my wrist roughly. 

“Don’t pretend you belong here. I know who you are and where you come from.” 

His voice was slow, deep , and measured. He leans down so he is speaking directly in my ear, “And don’t even for a second think that you have a chance at winning this competition.”

He let me go and walked out of the greenhouse. I just stood there, stunned for a minute after he was gone. I don’t know what I was intending his reaction would be when I knowingly pissed him off, but I definitely didn’t expect that. 

He took everything I did so seriously. To anybody else that would have seemed like a prank - I’m sure James Potter had probably masterminded pranks that were way worse. But, no. Since I was so evil in his eyes, anything and everything I did was evil.

I wanted to prove his wrong, but at the same time I know it wouldn’t be worth it to try. I was a good person, and it wasn’t my personal responsibility to make sure other people didn’t stereotype me without giving me a change to be myself. 

I know that if I let him get to me this will all be over. I’ll give up on the championship, and I’ll go home defeated. I will use his hatred and his anger as fuel. I am even more determined to win this competition because Potter is sure I can’t. I am stronger than he thinks I am. I will prove him wrong.

 

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