It is weird how easy it is to lie to yourself. In all honesty this morning when I agreed to not tell Potter what had happened I knew it was a bad idea but did I think Potter would ever directly ask me? No. I thought that I would only ever have to lie by omission.
“I want to know what you were doing with my sister this morning Nott.”
Naivety, it gets us all sometimes. And I don’t even consider myself an optimist.
“I am not sure what you are on about Potter?” Deflect, deflect and deflect.
“I mean, when you walked into the Great Hall with my sister at breakfast, why were you with her?”
“Oh, you mean this morning?” I looked up at Potter arranging my face in a coy expression trying to ensure no traces of guilt were present.
I didn’t particularity want to outright lie to Potter because I don’t give my word lightly. But I had also given my word to little Potter.
“Don’t play dumb Nott, I don’t want Lily to be corrupted by you. So I want to know what you were doing with her. Why are you talking to her at all for that matter?” The satisfaction of finally getting even the smallest rise out of Potter was incredible. Most people are so easy but Potter’s buttons are more hidden he always acts so unphased by everything. Family was an obvious one though and I went for the kill.
“Potter perhaps your sister wanted to talk to me? Did it ever occur to you that despite the fact you think the world only revolves around you other people might actually admire me?” There is no way that Potter will want Lily to be associated with me. ‘That slaggy blonde Slytherin’ isn’t the role model brothers want for their sisters.
“Look Nott I am not playing around here,” by this point Potter and I had stopped walking just by the stairs to leave the dungeons, ironically right near where I had found Lily this morning, all the other students had disappeared to their next class, “I just to know what Lily and you were up to.”
Potter was towering over me his eyes completely focused on me. At 5’10 it isn’t often anyone towers over me but Potter must be well over 6 foot and it was very obvious as I had to tilt my head back to maintain eye contact when he was standing so close.
The satisfaction of making him sweat was erasing all my worry about my parent’s letters in my bag. I was back in my element and I loved it. Toeing the line to keep both competing promises was far more interesting than whatever dear Papa had to say.
“I bumped into her when I was walking to breakfast Potter and so per your request I introduced myself so I could keep an eye on her,” always lie as close to the truth as possible. It makes you feel less guilty and it makes it less likely you’ll get caught in your lie later, “anyway great chat Potter but I really must run!”
By this point I felt secure I had maintained both Lily’s secret and my promise to Potter so it was time to depart before he got any ideas to ask what we had talked about as we walked to breakfast.
Comically glancing at my watch I gasped in what can only be described as an over the top manner. “I’ve really got to dash Potter I absolutely cannot be late for Arithmancy!” I took a small step back from Potter and then ducked around him walking determinedly towards the stairs.
“You’re not even wearing a watch!” Potter called out but he was too late and I was already away.
. . .
Arithmancy has always been my favourite elective at Hogwarts and Vector my favourite professor. Instead of assigning seats on the first day she simply let you sit where you like. However where you sat on day one was your seat for the rest of the term. After my little run in with Potter I had to boost it to try and get there so I could sit with Damon who was the only friend I knew in the NEWT level class. I did not want a repeat of the 4th year incident where I sat the whole term next to a Hufflepuff called Arthur Crabbe who loved to pick his nose and stick it under the desk.
Unfortunately when I arrived Damon had already situated himself at a desk with Natalie Smith, a pretty Hufflepuff. Damon and Nessa were always the most social to people outside our group. I am on casual terms with most of our year but didn’t endeavour to get close to them, Emmett was far too rough around the edges to make too many friends outside of Quidditch and Finn I think is more focused on his grades than making friends. Should have been a Ravenclaw that boy.
Damon on the other hand was always chatting and sitting with people outside the group. Honestly it was probably just because he was an absolute man-whore and he needed to spread around all the Houses. Actually, Nessa probably fell in that category as well.
“Nice of you to finally grace us with your presence Miss Nott, 5 points from Slytherin for your tardiness. I expect more from our Head Girl.”
I take it back Vector is a bint.
“I apologise Professor, I had to have a word with Professor Slughorn after potions and time got away from me!” I was not about to tell our entire class that I was late because of Potter.
“Very well, take a seat next so we can start the lesson Miss Nott.”
Sighing I scanned the room for the least offensive spot. There were two seats free Crabbe and Thomas. I was a bit surprised that Thomas was sitting alone but before I would dwell on it I walked over to where he was sitting and sat next to him. No way was I repeating the nightmare of Crabbe and 4th year Arithmancy.
Damon caught my eye and mouthed an apology before pointing to Natalie behind her back and winking. I scowled half-heartedly and poked my tongue out at the tosser for not saving my seat just because he wanted a shag. It gave me perverse pleasure that it will likely backfire on him halfway through the year when Smith gets prissy that he has dumped her.
“Did I miss anything good Thomas?” I asked turning away from my stupid friend.
Anthony Thomas’ dark eyes were already watching me as I turned to him. It felt a bit weird to be honest staring directly in his eyes.
“Nope,” was all he replied popping the p as he said it.
Rolling my eyes at him he gave me a cheeky grin before turning to the front. Vector started to talk about the expectations of NEWT year and the fact it would be the hardest year we would experience. I wonder how many times today we would get this chat?
Turning to Thomas I saw he was still glancing at me occasionally. After the third time I caught him I snapped, “What Thomas?”
After I had finally acknowledged him he turned to me obviously pleased to have an opening to spit out whatever was on his mind. “I have been thinking Amelie, you and I, we really should be friends. I have also decided that you choosing to sit by me is your first act of friendship.”
Confused I continued to face the front pretending to write down the notes Vector was giving us on the properties of odd numbers. This was the second time Thomas had propositioned being friends with me which took quite a bit of nous. “I sat here because my options was you or Crabbe and I feel confident that you have better hygiene. Why would you possibly think we should be friends Thomas?”
“What?” I glanced at him confused.
“My name, friends call each other by their first name and my friends call me Ant.”
“I didn’t agree to the friendship thing yet?”
“I am a great friend Amelie, funny, charming, good looking and keeping an eye on your sister, therefore you should call me Ant.”
“I don’t usually trust people with two first names,” I shot back rolling my eyes at his logic.
“I don’t usually trust people with Death Eater last names but I am giving you a pass, aren’t I?”
Scowling I tried to completely focus on Vector now. Nothing pissed me off more than the Death Eater fact being thrown back at me.
“Amelie?” Thomas was clearly confused by my renewed determination to ignore him.
“Look Thomas, I just don’t think we can be friends plus I have no desire for you to be friends with me just because we have to see each other all year. Furthermore you will clearly never get over the ‘my grandfather was a Death Eater’ thing so there is no point trying.” I kept scribbling down notes without looking up keeping my voice low and flat. I didn’t want to be losing Slytherin any more points today.
“That’s not what I meant!” Thomas looked surprised that I had taken offence to his comment, “I mean we were joking around right?”
“Whatever Thomas, look I just don’t think we would be friends.”
“I think we should Amelie, it is decided and I have the whole year to convince you of what a good friend I can be.”
I hate to admit it but I kind of liked his tenacity and it wouldn’t hurt to get another Whip on side. Regardless though I don’t think being friends with him is necessary or desirable.
I shook my head at him holding back a smile. “Let’s just focus on the joy of magical properties of numbers... Ant.”
I swear to Merlin out of the corner of my eye I saw him fist pump.
. . .
“Damon abandoned me in Arithmancy because he is trying to shag Natalie Smith,” I huffed throwing my bag down at the Slytherin table. I swung my leg over the bench and complaining to Nessa, Finn and Emmett who were already there after having gone to Care of Magical Creatures.
Damon sat down next to me and threw an arm over my shoulder, “you didn’t get stuck with Crabbe again so I really don’t see the big deal.” I shoved him off me just as Emmett and Finn decide to congratulate Damon because apparently Smith is “hot” and “very shaggable” honestly boys are disgusting.
“Isn’t she as a thick as a mountain troll though?” This is why I keep Ness around.
“Who cares?” Damon replied as he starts piling food on his plate.
“You are all disgusting, also Damon how are you going to pass Arithmancy if you aren’t with Ames?” Always get yourself a friend who will fight for you while you eat.
“We can still study together, right Ames?”
“Whatever Greengrass.” Damon would have had a fat chance of me helping him if I was stuck with Crabbe but Thomas wasn’t so bad that I would hold it against Damon.
“So who are you stuck with?” Emmett’s curiosity was piqued, probably for all the wrong reasons.
“Anthony Thomas” I replied before shoving some potatoes in my mouth.
“Oh he is fine! And such a good kisser!” Classic Nessa, despite calling the boys pigs she was just the same.
“When on earth did you snog Anthony Thomas?” Finn asked as the boys all turned around to search for the Hufflepuff table sizing up Thomas.
“Halloween last year,” Nessa just kept blithely eating her lunch.
“Well it isn’t like Amelie is going to find out about his snogging skills in class,” huffed Emmett.
“Well she might in Whip meetings?” How on earth did Nessa go from the most helpful best friend in the world to the least?
“Ness you are an idiot I am not planning on finding out if you’re right about his snogging skills. As far as I am concerned you can keep him,” I decided it was time to placate the situation before Emmett decided to enter a wand measuring contest with Thomas.
Emmett somewhat placated stopped staring daggers at Thomas and turned back to us. Emmett knew pretty well I was not one for sloppy seconds and in order to maintain our friendship Nessa and I had a well-known deal we wouldn’t share. Nessa’s favourite pastime however was unfortunately ‘how quickly can I wind Emmett into a jealous rage’.
“Oi, so I was thinking we need to hold trials for Quidditch tonight. We need to replace Zabini and Prewett so we can start training. No way we are going to lose the cup to Gryffindor again this year.” Emmett’s favourite ‘class’ was Quidditch so no wonder day one he was planning trials.
“I heard Davies has already set practices as well for the Puffs” I chimed in.
“Yeah they didn’t lose any players so they might be a big threat for the cup this year with being able to maintain continuity” Finn added, “Wait, how do you know when Davies is having practice?”
“Oh,” Was I supposed to be sharing this information? It was quite innocuous but maybe what was said at Whip meetings stayed at Whip meetings? “Well, um, Thomas may have mentioned it.”
“Wait Ames, how often do you have your stupid meetings?” Emmett was leaning in with a gleam in his eye I did not particularly like.
“Um, just once a week,” this was not going down a good path.
“This is great! You can spy for us, you can report back on what Potter and Thomas’ teams are up to!”
“Ames you can get us all the good information and since you aren’t on the team they won’t suspect a thing!” Dammit Finn why choose now to get involved.
Glancing at Nessa for help I can see she also loved this idea. Quidditch made these people fools.
“No. I meant it I won’t do it. Whip meetings are not for me to spy for Slytherin they are supposed to help House relations.”
“Don’t give me those puppy dog eyes Nessa I won’t do it! Plus you guys don’t need to know when they have practice to be able to beat them. I am not doing it so don’t ask me to.”
“Are you seriously choosing House relations over Slytherin winning the Quidditch Cup?” As if Damon wasn’t already on thin ice with me.
“No! It isn’t that I am choosing House relations I just don’t want to be a spy and you are all good enough of a team to win without me reporting back on any useless tidbits they give me,” Slytherins always want the upper hand so of course my friends were going to push this. Idiots.
“Whatever Ames I guess we can see where your loyalties lie” Emmett practically yelled as he got up and went to leave. If he could have he would have slammed a door I swear to Merlin.
I felt a few eyes turn to us after his outburst and I tried desperately to not look hurt that Emmett thought that if I wasn’t going spy for him it meant I wasn’t loyal to my friends and my House.
“Don’t worry about it Ames, I mean it would be great if you could help us out but we won’t force you. Emmett will get over it, he always does.” Finn was the permanent peace keeper of our group bless him.
“Thanks Finn, I just think there is so much risk and no reward you know? It isn’t like Potter or Thomas will say anything worth knowing about their teams with each other in the room.”
“Let’s just go to Transfiguration.” Damon got up from next to me clearly still a bit sour at my rejection of their plan.
Just as I got up to follow I noticed that just a few people down the table was Lily Potter sitting alone and she had clearly been listening to our whole conversation.
. . .
The rest of the days classes went by smoothly but I couldn’t put out of my mind that little Potter had heard all my friends begging me to use my Whip position to spy on her brother. I really didn’t need Potter to have another reason to distrust me but I also didn’t want to make it a big deal out of it by asking her not to say anything to him.
After Transfiguration McGonagall had pulled Louis and I aside, asking us to see her in her office that evening for a Head Prefect meeting. McGonagall was Headmistress now but she still taught Transfiguration, I think because she really preferred teaching to her Headmistress duties.
Emmett had used his time after storming out of lunch to prepare Quidditch trials for that night obviously motivated to get going on the team and likely also to give him an excuse to avoid me a little longer as he got over his anger. Everyone in the House had received a message that trials were happening tonight except me, not that I was going to try out, but that was pretty petty by Emmett.
After dinner I wandered down to the common room to see the Quidditch team all holding their brooms about to head off to trials. The team currently was just my four friends and Scorpius Malfoy who was Damon’s cousin and a fifth year.
“Good luck! Hope you put all these guys back on the team Rowle or we will have to have words,” I poked Emmett in the side where he was ticklish. Playing tension off like it wasn’t there and avoiding conflict we my usual MO.
“I will follow your example Ames, no loyalty for friends just pick the best players,” Emmett shot back at me. Ouch. I guess he was going to need a bit longer than usual to let this one go. I didn’t really owe him an apology but the path of least resistance was always best with Emmett and I could understand that he really did need the team to play well this year in order for him to get a professional playing contract. Therefore, if I had to, I told myself I would seek him out later and apologise.
Letting out a low whistle at Emmett’s comment Finn and Damon chose to start heading out to the pitch obviously not keen to get into an argument. I let the comment slide by just giving them all a wave as they walked out.
Just as I was about to go get ready for my meeting with McGonagall I saw little Potter sitting on the couch in the corner with a broom.
“You know first years don’t try out right Potter?” I wandered over to her deciding now was a good time to tell her that if she wanted to tell Potter I was being asked to spy she also had to tell him about the incident this morning.
Getting closer I realised she was looking rather nervous and gripping her broom quite tightly. “I can fly better than my brothers and my dad made the team in his first year you know, I always catch the snitch before Al when we play Quidditch together,” was her reply.
“So why are you sitting down here then and not heading down to trials?”
“I am worried they won’t let me try out and then I’ll just be humiliated.”
Sitting down opposite her I contemplated that this precocious eleven year old was still a child and might need some guidance.
“Are you really that good?” I asked.
Laughing I got up and reached out to pull her up with me. “Well come on then little Potter, one way to make sure Slytherin accepts you is to win us some Quidditch matches.”
Jogging out of the common room with Lily in tow I caught up to Nessa who was walking with Damon just behind Finn, Scorpius and Emmett in the Entrance Hall.
“Nessa!” I called down the hallway to get her to stop.
All five of the current team turned to look at me with a tiny redhead trailing behind me broom in hand. Waving the rest of them on I pulled Nessa over.
“Just a second guys she will catch you up,” everyone in general was pretty used to Nessa and my secret conversations. Usually they didn’t involve first years and a Potter though. Looking curiously at us Damon walked to catch the rest of the boys up and they kept walking sending occasional glances back at us.
“Nessa - this is Lily Potter,” I introduced them as if Nessa wouldn’t know who Lily was.
“Nice to meet you,” Lily shot a charming smile, that looked oddly like her brothers. I swear Nessa almost melted.
“Hi?” Nessa still looked a bit confused as to what I was up to.
“Look, I know first years are not supposed to try out but she says she is as good as her brothers and you know as well as I do no-one in the House is currently going to be able to beat Albus Potter as a seeker.” Nessa still looked a bit confused so I continued, “so I want you to take Lily down to the pitch with you and convince Emmett to at least let her try out.”
Lily was beaming now practically fizzing at the idea of getting to play.
“Amelie she is a first year we would have to get Professor approval even if Emmett did let her try out and by some miracle he also wants to pick her. That is a lot of maybes to risk here.”
“Trust me Nessa if she is the best one there Emmett will pick her and leave the professors to me, all I am asking is you convince him she can try, after that it is on me and him to convince Slughorn to let her play.”
“As long as you know what you are doing Ames?”
“Ok little Potter come with me it is time to make the big bad Rowle cave to our desires,” Lily gave a hug just before she followed Nessa down to the pitch.
That redhead is going to ruin my reputation at this rate.
. . .
As I was walking up the staircase into the Headmistress’ office Louis caught me on the stairs and we walked in together.
“Good evening Professor,” I announced so she would look up from her papers.
“Ah good you’re here, please sit.” McGonagall gestured to two seats by her desk. “Now I always have a meeting with my new Head Boy and Girl early on in the term so that they feel I am available for them to come talk to and this year I have something else I want to discuss with you.”
I glanced at Louis a bit nervous about what McGonagall was about to talk about.
“That’s great Professor, we had actually talked about how we would love to have your guidance on how to be the best Head Boy and Girl possible,” Louis was clearly laying it on thick for McGonagall.
“Good,” McGonagall was never visibly swayed by sucking up so I have no idea why Louis even tried, “I see from what you have submitted that rounds and partners are already sorted so from that perspective there isn’t an issue. I will expect you to keep an eye on the prefects and let me know if any issues arise.”
So far so good, this was classic prefect stuff, as in completely bloody boring.
“Now the real reason I wanted a meeting with you was around the increased instances of contraband being found on and being used by students,” and here it was poker face at the ready.
“Oh really Professor? I didn’t realise that was a prolific issue?” Oh Merlin Louis calm it with the innocent act.
“It was a bit last year and we just want to have the prefects keeping an eye out and an ear to the ground, telling a professor of any issues. Just between us we have set up new spells to catch owls that are bringing in anything against the school rules so hopefully that will reduce the issues.” Professor McGonagall misses nothing and so I resisted the urge to send Louis a panicked look.
“We will pass this along to the prefects immediately Professor, we absolutely want to help you prevent contraband being snuck in! Do you have any suspects of who is behind it?” Louis is so bloody eager and his voice keeps getting higher and higher which is like the most obvious sign that someone is lying.
“Thank you; we don’t want you spreading it around that we are checking the owls though because we don’t want them changing tactic. We aren’t sure who is behind it but we hope that it was someone in the year above and it won’t be an issue this year.” Professor McGonagall was giving us a sharp look and it felt like she was reading every thought.
“We really appreciate the heads up Professor, we will do our best.” I jumped in immediately to prevent Louis babbling on any more than necessary.
“Good. Well I won’t keep you any longer and you can always approach me or another professor if you need to tell us of anything.”
Standing up and ushering Louis to get up I thanked McGonagall before making sure Louis walked first out the door to prevent any more of his awful lying. Just before I followed him however I turned back to McGonagall.
“Professor, I just have one last question?”
“Yes Miss Nott?”
“What are the rules around first years playing on the Quidditch team?”
“It usually isn’t allowed Miss Nott.”
“But it has been allowed in the past, right Professor?”
"I suppose it has been allowed before but very rarely and considered on a purely case by case basis. May I ask why you want to know?”
“I just wanted to be sure of the rules – thank you again Professor.”
“Very well, if it is something you want to explore the captain would have to talk to their Head of House. Goodnight Miss Nott”
Taking that as dismissal I left her office. When we reached the hall Louis started pacing and clenching and unclenching his fist.
“Weasley, we need to walk away from here in case she comes out.” Louis completely ignored me obviously panicking. If McGonagall saw Louis going mental out we were completely toast.
“Weasley follow me,” I grabbed his arm and started to pull him along the hallway until we finally turned a corner to where there were some deserted classrooms. I opened the door to one and entered it.
“Look Weasley, this is an issue.”
“An issue? A fucking issue Nott? This is as disaster! We are going to be expelled you get that right? I am never going to be an Auror and you’re never going to be whatever the bloody hell you want to be! We are going to get caught! I never even wanted to go along with James’ stupid plan,” Louis was steadily working himself up more and more.
Finally he stopped pacing and he turned to look at me still breathing heavily, “what Nott?”
“It is going to be fine, we are going to have to re-adjust our plan. You need to talk to Potter and I will talk to Anthony in Arithmancy, don’t tell them too much. Make sure you tell Potter not to make any moves. We will then discuss it on Sunday at our meeting.” I kept my voice steady and slow so as to make Louis calm down.
“I swear there is no way we can keep this on the down low.”
“Louis it has been kept out of the way of Professors for years. We just need to be smarter, it is our job to make sure professors don’t find out so we are just going to have to work it out. Plus no-one has ever been expelled for this.”
“If James’ plan isn’t perfect you cannot vote yes,” Louis looked at me worryingly clearly still concerned he was going to have his future crumble before his eyes.
“I have dreams outside of Hogwarts too Weasley, I will not let us get expelled ok. Trust me?”
“Don’t let me down Nott,” Louis then turned and left the abandoned classroom.
At what point did I become the trusted secret keeper and protector of these people’s lives? Merlin what a mess.
. . .
“Hey Ness, how were trials?” Throwing myself down on Nessa’s bed as I walked into our dorm room. Pushing her over a bit so I could fit onto her single bed better.
“Good – Mike Prewett’s younger brother Archibald tried out for beater and was really good so I reckon Emmett will pick him.”
“And little Potter?” I hate that I am invested in this.
“Emmett threw a bit of a fit before he would let her try out but eventually he caved. She was really good Ames, like really good. But Emmett said he wasn’t going to announce the team for a bit, I mean if he wants to choose her he will have to get permission I guess? But the people who tried out for seeker were awful so I don’t know.”
“Well I am glad she wasn’t the awful one, that would’ve mean I stuck my neck out for naught.”
“Yeah, she did get a bit of heckling from the other Slytherins though. Are you planning on clueing me in on when you decided to befriend little Potter?” Nessa quirked an eyebrow at me clearly trying to hold in her full curiosity on the matter.
“I ran into some Slytherins giving her a hard time this morning, I guess when I saw her wanting to try out I thought that might help her fit in you know? I mean she is just a kid.” I shrugged not willing quite yet to admit I was doing Potter a favour by looking out for Lily.
“Do you think Potter is going to mind that his sister might be on the team?”
“I have no idea Ness, I mean I don’t even know him.” Nessa was giving me a look which indicated she thought differently but obviously decided to drop it.
“Spit it out Ness,” she clearly wanted to ask something more.
“I mean we haven’t really spoken since my party! I need to know the gossip Ames like what’s is the deal with Seb then after my party? And is that why Emmett is acting so shitty?”
“You know the deal with Seb, it is nothing. I haven’t even spoken to him since then!” I knew this was going to come up eventually and to be honest I was a bit surprised Ness took so long to confront me over it.
“Emmett is always going to want more from me than I want to give him and that always means that it won’t work out. But you know as well as I do that keeping him happy means my parents won’t pressure me about what I will do after Hogwarts.”
“I guess Ames, but he is one of our best mates and stringing him on is not exactly fair. Even if he is a bit of a troll sometimes.”
“I know Ness, but he also knows the deal, he might want more from me but he is also using me to keep his parents happy so it isn’t like I am the only user?”
Ness gave me a long look before sighing and saying nothing.
After a long pause I thought she might never answer my question but eventually she took a deep breath as if fortifying herself for whatever she was going to say, “did it ever occur to you that he might be pretending to need you to keep his parents happy just so that you would stay with him? I mean his family have always seemed quite relaxed about the whole thing to be honest.”
Nessa had a habit of vocalising things that I was always pushing down into the corners of my mind. “What do I do about it if that is true?”
“You can do what you want Ames and I will support you because I love you. But at the end of the day don’t break a friends heart to make your life a little easier. If it were me I see two choices, give him a proper chance or tell him it is over completely and you’d be better to stay just mates.”
I didn’t answer that, not sure exactly what there was to say. Ness seemed to understand and we lay there in silence for a while before eventually I got up and told her I was going for a walk. I had some thinking to do and the deserted hallways would hopefully bring me the answers.
A/N Thanks for reading up to chapter four! Amelie is weaving herself a very tangled web so far… Should Lily make the team? Will James be mad if she makes the team? Should Amelie give Emmett a proper chance? What will Louis and Amelie do about the McGonagall meeting?
ALSO! Has anyone picked up on who Anthony’s Hogwarts-Era family is? I have kept it kind of vague so far (not necessarily on purpose but mainly because saying it outright hasn’t fit anywhere) but also not vague because last name! J
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