Like every Tuesday morning, I started my breakfast alone. After pouring pumpkin juice into my glass, I began to inspect the Great Hall with a misty look. The Ravenclaw table, my current house, was half empty. Not surprising since the captain of the Quidditch team, Emmett Young, thought it was a great idea to arrange extra training to prepare the team for its first match against Hufflepuff. And, that's why every Tuesday morning I waited half asleep for my friend, Rebecca Puckett. Rebecca had joined during the trial the Ravenclaw team as a catcher at the beginning of the year. Since then, Young had been pushing her beyond her limits both physically and mentally. After every training, I would find Rebecca exhausted while the day had just begun.
" Hi, Billie" Rebecca told me, spreading out on the bench in front of me. She grabbed the pumpkin juice.
" Young is still a lot on your back, isn't it?"
She nodded, yawning. I levitate two toast on my plate to butter them carefully. It took me a few minutes to notice that aside from sipping her pumpkin juice, Rebecca was not touching what she had in her plate. Worse, she seemed lost in her thoughts and was staring into space.
" Everything is fine? Usually, you swallow everything before I even get the chance to serve myself"
She smiled slightly before chewing on one end of her croissant. She looked from left to right and finally leaned toward me. Rebecca mumbled something I did not understand the first time.
"Why are you whispering? » I said.
She grunted and leaned closer. Her long blond hair was almost soaking in her pumpkin juice.
"Keep this to yourself, I'm not supposed to talk about it. Because of - you know the other teams could use it to destabilize us and Young would hate it if-"
" Could you be any clearer?" I interrupted her.
"I was going to if only you were not interrupting me every thirty seconds! » I pretended to lock my mouth and she laughed at my guilty look.
" So, as I was saying, during training, Felix Vembulom, our main chaser. You know the one who always has a spike shaped like a question mark on top of his head. (She clarified after seeing my lost expression) Well, he broke his wrist and Pomfrey said he had to rest for a while before he could resume training. "
My mouth formed an "O" of surprise. It was rather bad news.
"Young must be fuming?" I asked even if I already knew the answer. Emmett Young was a quidditch captain as brilliant as ruthless both on the pitch and in real life. Long story short he was an ass. Besides, I remember that in our first year he had shouted in front of Great Hall that one day he was going to win the Quidditch Cup. Since the years had sunk and his frustration had grown over time. We were now in our seventh and last year at Hogwarts, and no doubt he was struggling to deal with the fact that he was losing forever his chances to win the trophy.
"You cannot even imagine ... It sounded like my mother sent me a Howler! (She sighed.) The problem is that we do not have any substitute chaser, I guess we were too confident from the start. "
Speaking of the devil, Young entered the Great Hall, looking dark. I could hear sneers coming from the Slytherin table and Young shot a murderous look in their direction. As some say, the walls of Hogwarts have ears. Or rather, the Slytherins are real weasel I believe. Young met my eyes and headed towards us. He sat next to Rebecca in silence.
"Hi Young -" I tried softly. He gave me a look that prevented me from continuing my speech to raise his spirit. Rebecca looked down at her plate again when I looked in her direction for her support. The atmosphere was heavy and I hastily finished my pumpkin juice to get away from it. The pair in front of me gave me a quizzical look.
" I need to return these books to the library before Transfiguration otherwise Madam Pince will kill me. Keep me a seat, I'll meet you there." I felt the need to justify.
As I grabbed my bag, I tripped over my dress and I hurried to retreat from the Great Hall. Before leaving, I decided to cast one last look at Rebecca only to find her trying somehow to comfort Emmett. I sighed. I swear if the pair of them did not end up together at some point I am clueless.
With a quick pace, I headed towards the west wing of Hogwarts to attend my Transfiguration class. I took a look at my watch. 9:08. Merlin, I should have been in class for 8 minutes already. As if Madame Pince's reprimands were not enough...I hope Professor Dumbledore was going to be in one of his good days. Maybe I will not lose points?
After going down a few steps of the stone staircase, I walked to the front door of my class. I inhaled and knocked on the door before stepping inside.
"Excuse me, Professor. Madam Pince kept me longer than I expected to talk about my book loans" I justified myself after meeting his sharp eyes.
After what seemed like an eternity (when in reality it was only a matter of seconds), he nodded and silently told me to join my usual seat. Only then, did I start to acknowledge all the students' eyes on me. I was not used to having so much attention on me at once, not like the marauders.
I hastened to sit next to Rebecca and Young while I felt my cheeks beginning to warm up. I curse my hair for being so short because maybe if they had been longer they could have hidden the crimson color that my cheeks took. When Professor Dumbledore resumed, the students looked away to focus on the lesson again.
The transfiguration classes were one of the few courses we, Ravenclaws, shared with the Gryffindors. Scratch that. These annoying Gryffindor. By the way, speaking of annoying Gryffindors, the marauders were sitting just behind us.
Young was tense like a shaft of a Nimbus 1900. I did not particularity appreciate the marauders either but I have grown to tolerate them. Strangely, Young had become a kind of radar for me and I did not have to bother anymore to know when the marauders were around.
However, today Young seemed particularly annoyed (even he is most of the time). He had a crumpled paper in his clenched fist. I put my chin on my palm to have a better view of what was going on behind me. From the corner of my eye, I could see that James Potter and Sirius Black were taking pleasure in tearing up bits of their parchment to write something on it and make it fly to Young's desk.
I grabbed my wand discreetly as Young turned to throw one of his murderous glances at Potter and Black. They only chuckle in response. I gently shook my wand and one of the paper birds flew to my desk.
While unfolding the parchment, it took me a few minutes to process what was written on it because the writing was illegible
Ready for Saturday's match?
I rolled my eyes. Idiots. I met Rebecca's gaze and she gestured me to send her the piece of parchment. I complied trying to pay no attention to the bickering of the three boys. After giving his instructions, Dumbledore asked us to practice our nonverbal spells. I was going to cast one if only Young did not elbow me every time he turned around to face the Marauders.
"It's so sweet that you worry about my team. But I think you should pay more attention to yours, you need it. Trust me" Young said ironically.
Rebecca, who was on his left, sighed as she crumbled the paper. Potter and Black looked at each other and exchanged a big smile. Oh no, that was not good. They finally obtained what they were looking for. Potter leaned forward, eyes shining with mischief.
"Is that a threat, Young?"
"No, I would rather say a warning"
Pettigrew found nothing better to do than a sneer. Dumbledore began his rounds between the rows in order to check how the exercise was going on. He would soon reach our desk if I did not hurry. I focused as much as I could to cast the spell. With ease, the cup turned into a delicate butterfly.
"With one of your chaser at Pomfrey 's? I wonder how he's going to play from the infirmary" Black eventually commented.
I glanced in their direction. Sirius Black had a wide grin spread all over his face. Everything about him was annoying as if he took pleasure in bothering people around him. Of course, I could understand why he was so successful at Hogwarts. Black hair falling over his gray eyes added to that an athletic physique largely due to his position of beater in the Quidditch team. He made himself comfortable in his chair and folded his arms. His attitude was really provocative as if temping Young to lose his cool.
For his part, James Potter was laughing while casually casting a spell. I was surprised that he succeeded at his first try given his lack of concentration. Potter was the captain of the Gryffindor team and although it was hard to believe, he was very similar to Young. Both were obsessed with winning the Quidditch Cup. Their rivalry was well known at Hogwarts because of the large number of duels that had in the corridors.
"You really think I do not have a substitute player for Vembulom? "
For real? Rebecca started to protest but fell silent as she met Young's gaze.
"Who is it?" Black asked suddenly calmed by this revelation. Potter, on his side, frowned. Obviously, they did not expect that either. I had to admit that seeing the marauders speechless was funny.
Young did not even bother to answer them and finally turned to face his desk and cast a spell on his cup.
"Do not play the Slytherin and answer me, Young! "
Silence. Young was already on his third attempt and seemed absorbed in his work. I could have believed it if Young did not have a satisfied smile. Not wanting to admit defeat, Black began to send back a bird of papers. A second. A third. Then a fourth one. Salazar the kid was stubborn! It was when the fifth bird collided with the butterfly that I had metamorphosed a few minutes ago that I turned around like a fury.
I was ready to send him a Bald-Fury spell when Professor Dumbledore decided to walk to our row. He cleared his throat and made me spin around to face him.
"Can you explain to me what is going on here Mrs. Chapman and Mr. Young?" Professor Dumbledore asked us with an accusing look.
I looked down at my desk. Appearances were against me. A lot of paper birds littered our shared desk with Young. Obviously, if someone had not witnessed the whole scene he would have thought we had a parchment battle. In addition, my butterfly had suddenly disappeared Merlin knows where!
"I can explain everything, Professor ..." I stammered.
"No need, Mrs. Chapman. I withdraw 10 points to Ravenclaw for your behavior and the one of Mr. Young. » He walked away from us, his back facing us as Young began to grumble.
On top of that, Black threw one last paper bird in our direction. In the heat of anger, Young cast an Incendio on it. The bird lost its trajectory and ignited before crashing on Dumbledore's hat. Black swore softly. The Professor turned to face us with the speed of light.
"Apparently it's not sufficient punishment. Detention tonight"
We shared a look of pure horror with Young. I was going to kill Black. In seven years of attendance at Hogwarts, I never had detention! Merlin, it wasn't fair. Professor Dumbledore's impassive glare prevented me from trying to plead my innocence. Potter, Black, and Pettigrew giggled. Only Lupin was busy taking notes of the course.
The rest of the day went peacefully, although Young struggled to cool down. After asking for some precision on the Cobra Plant to Professor Beery, I left the greenhouse. This day had been particularly busy and I could not help yawning. If I hurry I'll probably have time to go back to the common room before going to detention.
On the way back I met Rebecca. She told me how the rest of her day went because we did not choose the same classes to pass our O.W.L. After throwing my bag on my bed I began to walk in the direction of the Trophy Room.
From the other end of the corridor, I saw Young arrive simultaneously in front of the room.
A comfortable silence settled. When I thought about it, it would always surprise me how close Young and Rebecca were, while Young and I would only exchange polite sentences. I guess we can not please everyone. At least it had the merit of staying cordial between us.
Hagrid appeared a few minutes later in the hallway, out of breath.
"You are already there! Excuse me, Arac- I had a hard time" he stammered.
He took a large gold key out of his pocket and opened the thick wooden door that protected the Hogwarts trophy collection.
"Albus told me what happened, so since it's your first time, I'll explain to you how we are going to process. But first of all, give me your wands"
We handed him our wands silently.
" Well. You will polish all of these trophies without magic, I want it to shine and see myself in it. When you are done with it you will be able to leave. I'll ask a house elf to return your wands when it's over. "
I took a few steps to grab the rags and tossed one to Young. Hagrid smiled warmly before leaving the room. I could see he was doing this reluctantly, Hagrid liked the kids too much for that. Unlike Filch.
Faithful to himself, Young rushed to the row of Quidditch trophies as I started polishing medals from the other side of the room. After polishing several medals, I decided to break the silence. Who knows maybe I would understand what Rebecca sees in Young.
"Young, earlier. Why did you tell the Marauders that you had someone to replace Vembulon? "
The boy who was scrutinizing a trophy took a few seconds before raising his head. When I met his eyes I knew he had something in going through his mind that would not please me.
"Apparently, you, Billie Chapman, was an excellent quidditch chaser two years ago."
This sentence alone left me speechless. Why was he saying this out of nowhere? I knew I was not going to like it. Screw me!
"Do you not want to know how I learned all of this?" He tells me with a smile.
"Tell me then. I'm curious to know who made up something like this"
"Rebecca. You know, I've talked a lot with her lately. She had this idea. She wanted to ask you to join the team. I was supposed to be with her to do it but you have made it much easier
"It's a lie" I replied "Even if I could fly on a broom, I don't even know the rules of Quidditch. I hardly attended a match "
He dropped his rag and came closer to me, still holding the cup in his hands.
"Rebecca did not tell me why you were hiding your gift. And I won't ask. I guess everyone has the right to have its private domain. But...Could you read what is written on it? "
He handed me the cup and I read the inscription as he told me to do so. In golden letters was written:
Milton Chapman, captain of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team - 1920
My eyes widened. Nobody has ever made the connection, how?
"Do not worry your little secret is well kept. Although I do not understand why someone would want to keep this a secret." Young shrugged.
Rowena, I would have started to cry if I have not been so upset against Rebecca. She did not know how to hold her tongue. Young took the cup from my hands and continued to rub it. I was without words. Seeing my confusion, Young felt the need to clarify.
"Your secret will be well kept with me only if you become my chaser for this season. You need my discretion, I need you to win the tournament. It's a win-win situation. Don't you think? "
I was trapped. Rowena. I had no choice but to accept his offer against my will. The last thing I wanted to was for all Hogwarts to discover what Young knew.
« Deal » I whispered.
He added with a carnivorous smile.
"Oh, and by the way you can call me Emmett, you know that right ?"