Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter world or Characters.
Chapter One: A Functional Member of Society
I was following them again. If I were a functional member of society, I might say I wasn't proud of it but truthfully; I don't really have any shame when it comes to them. I was completely fascinated by the four Sixth Year boys and everything they did or said. Marlene wasn't impressed when I suggested that we walk three floors out of our way to watch them, so she left me alone in favour of getting to Charms on time. I didn't see what the fuss was about - Flitwick was a slap-on-the-wrist sort of Professor, which was much preferable to our Head of House, Professor McGonagall – the maim-and-torture sort.
"He knows he almost lost us the Cup last year, surely he must have guessed that he'd have to try out again," James Potter said, sweeping a hand through his messy black hair and scowling at nothing in particular.
"Maybe he just assumed everyone on last year's team would be invited back," Remus Lupin suggested as he pulled a worn piece of parchment from his pocket and studied it for a moment. "Let's go down the Charms corridor, Filch is up ahead and I don't fancy explaining where we disappeared to this morning," he added. How Remus could be sure that Filch was up ahead when he was nowhere in sight was puzzling to me, but at least that meant that I wouldn't have to circle back around in order to get to Charms.
"That doesn't mean that I'll have to make the rest of the team try out again, does it?" James asked the boy on his right in alarm. Sirius Black, easily the most handsome of the group, with his dark wavy hair and brooding grey eyes, squinted and pulled a face. I fought not to sigh too loudly in response.
"I don't see why you have to go through all the fuss. He wasn't that bad – we worked quite well together," he said with a shrug.
"That's because he was so crap, he let you do everything!" James replied and Sirius exchanged a grin with Remus and Peter Pettigrew, the last and shortest of the four boys.
"Isn't that a good thing?" Sirius asked, winking at James cheekily.
James laughed. "Yeah, until you take another bludger to the skull and we're left with him to save the day."
Peter patted Sirius on the back and said, "Better not risk it, mate – you have a habit of getting hit in the -"
"Oi! Bottle-Specs – your skirt's tucked in to your knickers!" a loud, irritating voice called, covering up the rest of Peter's joke and the laughter that followed and forcing me back to my own pathetic life. After I'd subtly checked to make sure my skirt wasn't actually tucked in to my knickers, I sighed deeply and turned to face Bertram Aubrey, a fellow Fifth Year but a Ravenclaw and also, one of the worst humans I'd had the displeasure of meeting. He and his friends laughed hysterically at me before making circles with their fingers and holding them up to their eyes. Several people in the corridor laughed as Bertram smirked and shoved past me.
"You're such a loser, Effie Savage," he said as he and his friends exchanged high fives.
I wish I could say I wasn't affected by his rather lame insult but since he had invented the nickname that the majority of Hogwarts knew me as, unfortunately, I was.
'Bottle-Specs' wasn't a particularly clever nickname but sadly, it was a pretty accurate description of my appearance. Since starting Hogwarts, I had worn round glasses with thick, ugly, black frames and even thicker lenses that magnified my eyes to three times their actual size. My parents were muggles and not particularly very well off and hadn't able to afford much better until recently when, as a fifteenth birthday present, my mum had begged my father to buy me contact lenses – something I'd wished for since I was eleven. The trouble was, now that I was fifteen and had spent four years getting teased and ridiculed, I found that I didn't really want to wear the contacts anymore. I knew my parents would be disappointed at the wasted money, my dad especially, but I figured what he didn't know couldn't make him angry.
I know…I know - you are probably wondering why on earth I would choose to wear spectacles that likened me to a bug when I could have my 'Ugly Ducking turns to Swan' moment. The problem was; that every time I changed something to do with my appearance, either no one noticed, or I was teased even worse. There was the time when I figured out how to make my mass of frizzy, curly hair look nice with some very expensive potions from Gladrags in Hogsmeade, and not one person seemed to notice that the ugly Third Year Gryffindor didn't resemble someone out of a loony bin anymore. Even worse, was last term when I'd been allowed to remove my god-awful braces and Wendelin Warcroft had said, "Aw babes, did you think that taking all of that stuff off your teeth would suddenly make you pretty? That's so cute."
So, if people could make fun of me when I'd lost my metal mouth, I was quite sure they'd do the same if I suddenly stopped wearing my glasses. I was used to the bullying I got now and had even learned to become immune to the usual taunts. I had no interest in conditioning myself for a whole new set of insults, thank you very much.
I must have looked depressed when I walked in to Charms ten minutes late because Professor Flitwick merely frowned, but Marlene rounded on me immediately.
"What's wrong? I thought stalking the Marauders was supposed to make you happy not look like you've just been to a funeral," she asked as I fumbled with my wand and squinted from behind my foggy glasses to read the instructions on the board.
I shook my head and focused on the toad that was staring at me rather evilly.
"Silencio," I tried and frowned as the toad continued to croak spitefully.
Marlene didn't give up easily though and waved her wand, quickly silencing her toad and then mine for good measure.
"What's wrong?" she repeated.
I sighed. "Just a run in with Aubrey."
Marlene made a little noise at the back of her throat. "What did he do this time?"
"The usual. Anyway, it put me off my walk so I decided I better come to class."
"You have such inventive ways to describe your stalking. Did you hear anything interesting? Ooh, oh! Did Sirius get an owl yet?" She asked sarcastically.
"Actually I don't think he has. I expect James will get him one for his birthday," I smiled and tried to reverse the silencing spell on my toad.
"And of course you know when that is…" Marlene said, shaking her head in a resigned sort of way.
"So do you. It's right around the end of term and he has a huge party in the Common Room every year!"
Marlene laughed and put her hands up defensively. "Yeah, yeah. It's still an unhealthy obsession."
"I was going to tell you about what James was saying about Quidditch trials, but now, out of spite, I don't think I will!" I said, folding my arms and sticking my nose in the air dramatically.
"Effie! Did he decide on a date yet?" She asked eagerly, ignoring my expression.
"No – he was mostly whining about Dean. Apparently he's being replaced at Beater," I explained watching as her eyes grew wide and her face lit up.
"They're trying out new Beaters?"
"Apparently, so. Is that what you want to be? I thought you were going to try for Keeper," I said, scratching my head and accidentally forcing an unruly curl to stick up stubbornly.
"I've always wanted to be a Beater – they never have girls playing Beater! I would've settled for Keeper, but if I want to be a Holyhead Harpy then I'll need to stand out," she said, clicking her tongue and smoothing the piece of hair down on my head. It flew back up with a spring and I heard the sound of laughter from behind me.
"It'll take more than that to make her look presentable!" a sugary sweet voice said from the tables behind us. I didn't have to turn around to know it was Wendelin Warcroft giggling with her sidekick, Florence Shipley. Emmeline Vance, their much less irritating friend, let out a labored sigh.
"What did you say, Warcroft?" Marlene said, turning and glaring at the laughing girls. I stared straight ahead but grabbed her wrist and squeezed.
"Don't…please," I whispered. Marlene was braver than I was and didn't have any problems standing up to bullies. It was probably because she might've been popular if she'd really wanted to be. Since she was one of the more talented students in the year, people generally didn't pick on her, but she was also friends with me, which meant spending a lot of time getting in to fights on my behalf. I was grateful to her but that didn't mean I enjoyed the extra attention it brought.
"Oh nothing, babes - inside joke," Wendelin smirked as she twirled a piece of her long, glossy and very straight hair around her finger.
Marlene turned back after a moment and pulled her wrist free from my grasp.
"Merlin I hate that girl," she muttered, waving her wand angrily. Surprisingly, the toad in front of her did not stop croaking but it did grow to about twice its normal size. This distracted Marlene enough to yelp and hurry to put the spell right, but when the toad was once again ordinary sized and silent – she dropped her wand and sat down.
"I wish you'd have let me turn her in to a toad. We could have practiced on her instead."
I laughed, despite myself. "Marlene! You can't do human transfiguration yet."
She smiled and looked at me through one eye. "Yes, but I feel irritated enough to perform extraordinary magic right now!"
"Well…let's leave her human for now and you can teach me how to do this lowly, ordinary magic," I said, elbowing her playfully.
A/N: Please review and let me know what you think!