by: The Raven Dark Angel
"AAAAND POTTER GETS THE GOLDEN SNITCH, BREAKING THE TIE WITH SLYTHERIN! A TRICKY MANEUVER, THAT! LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER, I ALWAYS SAY! 160 POINTS TO GRYFFINDOR, AAAANNND SAY HELLO TO YOUR CHAMPIONS FOR THE SIXTH YEAR IN A ROW, GRYFFINDOR! Good show, Gryffindors! A far cry from the dismal showing during the match with Ravenclaw, but I suppose it hardly matters now—"
Amidst the boos of Slytherins, and the fierce scowls of the Quidditch players, the Gryffindor players whooped and hollered, joining the cheers of their counterparts in the grandstand. Even Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, who could not stand to see Slytherin win, expressed their relief by applauding loudly.
Seventeen year old Jessica Potter was mobbed on her broom by delirious teammates, and she thought fleetingly that she was about to go deaf, what with all the shouting and crying in her ear. The Golden Snitch beat uselessly against her clenched hand even as she was hugged, thumped on, and cried on. Caught in the moment of sheer joy and delirium, she joined in the celebration.
The sixth time in a row! Wiping at the tears of joy on her cheeks, she took the huge silver Quidditch Cup from the beaming Headmistress McGonagall, held it triumphantly up to the deafening roar of all the students in the stadium—with the exception of the Slytherins—and was promptly mobbed again, and this time she was joining them, laughing and crying. Scarlet rosettes fell all around them, and she felt her heart soar at the sight. We've won!
Everything else passed in a delirious blur for her, as she and the team were hoisted on the many shoulders of the equally ecstatic, cheering Gryffindors. She supposed that was why Dad loved Quidditch so much. The thrill of flying, of catching the Snitch, of winning six times in a row…
"Oh, we've won again, have we?" Higurashi Kagome asked absently, looking up from the script she had been working on to see Jessica blazing into the room like a mini-tornado, followed by the rambunctious lot of the other Quidditch players and students, who were chattering excitedly. Tim and Pete Weasley, the notorious, prank-loving twins who caused trouble more often than not, yelled for Butterbeer and food to celebrate.
"—the whole night, mate!"
"SIX times in a row--!"
She watched in fascination as Charlie Thomas came up with a whole package of Wet-Start, No-Heat fireworks, courtesy of Tim and Pete's father, who still seemed to think that rules were meant to be dungbombed.
"Yeah!" Jessica crowed, her startling green eyes bright with joy. Kagome felt herself grinning along with her best friend, whose enthusiasm had always been infectious. "You should've been there, Kagome! I mean, there was this whole feint thing I did, and—and you should've seen how I grabbed that—"
"Wotcher, mate?" Lesley Spinnet thumped her on the back heartily and handed her a bottle of fizzing Butterbeer. The sound of fireworks resounded in the room, and brilliant sparks shot everywhere. "Come on, give us a blow-by-blow account of it, eh?"
As he steered her towards the fireplace where an eager crowd was already waiting, Jessica turned and yelled to her friend. "Come and join us, Kagome! GAH, geroff my neck, Spinnet!"
Despite herself, Kagome giggled. It was times like this where the Gryffindor common room blazed to life. It was as if a blanket of celebration had settled on the room, igniting everyone's excitement like a bushfire. Although she never really saw the point of Quidditch and vastly preferred to do other things than watch the matches, she couldn't help but feel excited for her best friend. Scriptwriting never really seemed so exciting when people were celebrating.
Deciding to put that off until the next day, she accepted the Butterbeer a gleeful Tim offered to her and joined the others at the fireplace.
Of course, lessons had resumed the next day—Slughorn was still smarmy, Trelawney was still as barmy as a bat in the daytime, and Snape was a lot more antagonistic to the students than usual, actually hexing Patricia Longbottom 'by accident' when she decided to tell her Hufflepuff friend Sherry Davies about the celebration that had gone on last night—but all the Gryffindors were still too immersed in their celebratory haze to really care.
"Oh, I can't believe I messed up the Jelly Legs jinx!" a frustrated Kagome ranted as soon as Snape released them with the instruction to submit two parchments on the merits of the uses of non-verbal commands by the next lesson, and a waspish command to Kagome to report to him for detention tomorrow. "I mean, I've never messed up before!" She dug into her bag and took out her copy of The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 6 and flipped through it. "I followed the instructions, look!"
She shook her head, sighing. Instead of making Flora Brown's legs wobble, she'd made foot long tentacles sprout from her face. The poor girl had to be sent to Madam Pomfrey's hospital wing to be treated. The Slytherins had had a kick out of watching the whole thing, and were enacting the entire scene until the end of the lesson. It was humiliating.
"Malfoy must've messed up your spell again," Jessica pointed out. "I mean, he had his wand pointed out the same moment you did."
Before she could reply, however, the object of Jessica's statement strutted past, his pale, pointed face scrunched up in a pug-like sneer that—Jessica had heard her father mutter—looked so much like his father's it was unnerving. He was, as usual, flanked by two of his ever-present fangirls, who tittered and whispered among themselves.
"Heard Snape's going to need someone to dispose of all those dead Grindylows and Flobberworms in the cabinets. Good luck cleaning them out, Mudblood." Damien Malfoy paused deliberately, a mock-thoughtful look settling on his face. "Maybe you'll finally find something you're good at, for once."
The girls' tittering increased.
Kagome regarded him calmly. The undesirable nickname did not bother her so much anymore, and besides, she knew for a fact that Malfoy was nowhere near where she was academically.
Nowhere near anyone with a bit of brains, actually.
"For all your talk, you should really start trying to be better than a Mudblood in something, for once." Her glare was cold. "Makes one wonder which one's worse, innit? A Mudblood or someone consistently stupider than a Mudblood."
Turning on her heel, she turned to leave, her heart pounding. She'd just insulted Malfoy back! What she normally used to do was to ignore him or yell at him angrily, peeved that he'd actually said something like that, but today, it gave her a thrill that made her smile. She hated being mean, but people like Malfoy really deserved it. The term Mudblood was just so vile. So what if she had Muggle parents? It was not like it was a crime, right? Voldemort was gone, and no one was hunting Muggleborns and slaughtering them anymore. Unfortunately, though, even with the death of the Dark Lord, old prejudices—especially those of the aristocratic class—never really seemed to change.
"Nice," Jessica giggled as they resumed walking down the corridor that led directly to the Great Hall. "Did you see that shade of puce on Malfoy's face?"
Kagome shook her head, laughing lightly. "He had it coming. We've got to hurry, Jess, before the cauldron cakes all get wiped out!"
"Dobby makes great cauldron cakes," Jessica agreed eagerly, mouth watering at the prospect of the sweet treat. It had been awhile since they had appeared on the tables, and she'd been wondering where Dobby had gone to. The House Elf had kindly given Jessica a large bag of the treats for Christmas for six years now, which she greatly appreciated and had given him Gran's horrendously knitted sweaters in turn, which seemed to delight him.
"A pity he, like the other House Elves, didn't get paid." A voice muttered darkly beside them. The girls turned to see Emmeline Weasley, the studious cousin of Tim and Pete Weasley. Apparently, she was the first in the Weasley clan to be placed in Ravenclaw. The bushy-haired girl—who looked like her head was perpetually on fire because of the hereditary fire-engine red hair all Weasleys possessed—glowered darkly at the Great Hall. "Slave labour, that."
"Hello, Emmeline," Kagome greeted her with a broad smile, her inherently kind nature not allowing her to be unfriendly to anyone save for Malfoy. Jessica, on the other hand, didn't really bother. Emmeline had always been a strange and stand-offish one, the one she liked least out of all the Weasley children. Even though Emmeline was technically Jessica's cousin, Jessica still didn't see the need to get too close. The first few times of getting rudely rebuffed had been deterrent enough.
Emmeline, on the other hand, held out two badges. "Here. Will you two join?"
"Join?" Kagome echoed blankly, looking over at the badges. She saw the word S.P.E.W, decided that she was seeing things, and blinked, squinting at it.
"Spew?" Jessica asked, looking a little sick. "There's a throwing-up club?"
"Not spew," Emmeline replied, a tad impatiently. "S-P-E-W. Society for the Promotion of Elvish Welfare. It was the club Mother was in charge of during her days here. She gave me these pins."
"Elvish welfare?" Jessica was even more confused. House Elves were pretty happy with the way they were, weren't they? So what other welfare did they need?
"I've never heard of it." Kagome shook her head, thinking along the same lines with her friend. Being Muggle-born, she hadn't known about the existence of House Elves until she came here and Emmeline made her read Hogwarts, a History. But the few times she'd wandered down into the vast kitchens in search for food, she'd noted that the House Elves had never been happier. She had felt bad for them at first, until Dobby reassured her that they were perfectly happy here with things to do, and how would the school run without them around?
"Of course," the other girl replied, tossing her bushy mane haughtily. "It's exclusive."
"Oh." Kagome paused for a moment, then asked curiously. "Well then, who's in it?"
She hesitated for a moment, looking temporarily humbled. "Well…if the two of you join…three."
Jessica shook her head. "You don't seriously think we're going to walk around school with the word spew on our fronts, do you?"
"It's S-P-E-W!" Emmeline shot back hotly, looking very affronted at the look on Jessica's face. "Don't you care about those Elves? Mother said that Elf enslavement goes back centuries, and no one has done anything about it!"
Temporarily speechless, the two of them just stared at her.
Emmeline suddenly beamed—something that, quite frankly, freaked the duo out the most—and held out the badges to them. "Well? It takes two Sickles to join. And then we can spread the word! Jessica, you're the Captain of your Quidditch team, aren't you? Well, you can send the message out to your teammates, make them wear it as endorsement—"
"Uh," Jessica started, looking utterly horrified at the prospect of handing out spew badges to her members.
Kagome fought to keep from laughing at the look on Jessica's face. Not wanting to disappoint anyone, least of all someone who looked like she needed a good friend, she handed over her two Sickles amiably. What was the harm in joining something like this? It was for a good cause, anyway. Okay, so the name was strange, but still. At least Emmeline was happy. "All right, then. I'll join."
"Thanks," Emmeline said, a look of faint relief passing over her pretty features. Then she turned to Jessica expectantly. "Would you like to join, too?"
"She'll take one," Kagome nodded firmly. Jessica was her cousin, after all, and a little familial support never killed anyone.
"Thank you, Miss Dictator." Jessica replied sourly. Before either one of them could say anything else, though, a loud, smooth voice sounded. "Ahhh, Miss Potter, Miss Higurashi! Just the ladies I have been looking for!"
Upon recognizing the voice, Jessica slumped. Out of the pan, into the fire. The ancient Professor with his walrus moustache and whale-like potbelly sidled out to them and led the both of them away, all the while beaming happily. "Just where have you been, young ladies? You've been scuttling out of my classes so fast I couldn't even manage to have a word!"
"Uhm…was there anything you wanted, Professor Slughorn?" Kagome asked politely. The Professor was a little too...strange for anyone's liking, but at least he was pretty harmless.
Horace Slughorn tilted his head amicably at the giant doors of the Great Hall. "Going for dinner, then?"
"Yeah, Professor." Jessica replied politely, dreading what he was about to say very much. The walrus-like man had pounced on the pair of them ever since they stepped into the gates of Hogwarts in their first year, and had subjected them to the asinine little 'parties' he always held. It wasn't until a year ago that Jessica had actually succeeded in not going—being made Captain of the Quidditch team had it's perks, which she gleefully utilized, conveniently scheduling practice whenever he announced his little parties. She'd been able to dodge all his invitations so far this year, which was quite a feat, considering how eager he was for her to sit in.
She supposed the daughter of the great Harry Potter deserved quite a mention, or something. It wasn't altogether bad, though. She liked the crystallized pineapple he would slip to her occasionally, though. Unfortunately that was the only perk.
"Well!" Slughorn seemed to wobble all over as he bobbed his head. "What do you ladies say to dining with me in my rooms? I'm having a little party there with the fourth years. Marvelous Miss Arabella Zabini, Poppins, and I believe Jessica, you know fiery little Catherine Scrimgeour, daughter of the Minister for Magic?"
She hesitated. "We're not exactly friends."
That was an understatement. Her father detested the upper echelons of the Ministry with a passion, and would have nothing to do with them at all if he could help it. Jessica supposed it was something about the Ministry mocking him and undermining his credibility during the great Wizard War. Then when he had defeated Voldemort, they all had come to ask him to join their ranks. Faith in the Ministry of Magic had, apparently, waned to dangerous levels and they had needed all the help they could get. He had declined, and it was crystal clear that the Ministry had not forgiven her father for that slight.
Nor had he, for that matter.
Slughorn winked at her knowingly. "Your father's influence, eh? Always thought you took after him more than your mother. Personality-wise, of course. You have your mother's face." He laughed. "No matter, you could always get acquainted with the lovely girl. She's a little spitfire, of course, but nothing a little Butterbeer wouldn't sooth. Dear Harry wouldn't mind if you made a friend or two in the Ministry, does he? He's got friends in very high places too, after all. One of the best boys I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, really. His bravery, his talent, that famous scar that sets him apart—"
"Er…I'm sorry, Professor." Jessica interrupted. Personally, she wondered why the Professor felt the need to emphasize her father's name in front of her whenever he could. It was all-too-annoying. So what if she was the daughter of The-Boy-Who-Lived? It was not like she was actually there when he killed Voldemort, or did anything, or really wanted to get a blow-by-blow account of what really went on in the last battle.
And did he have to look so…orgasmic while he was talking about her dad? "I'm—holding Quidditch practice later."
Liar,Kagome mouthed accusingly to Jessica when the Professor was not looking.
Slughorn's face fell visibly. "Another practice? Oh dear, it seems like I am always catching you at the wrong time, Miss Potter!"
Turning to Kagome, he smiled eagerly. "What about you, lovely girl? Will you join us?"
Kagome racked her brains for an excuse, but came up with none that was remotely believable. Darn, she hated being so honest. "I…suppose I will, Professor Slughorn."
She hated his little tea party sessions with a passion, because all he seemed to be doing was to ask them about their family's backgrounds, what they wanted to do, or simply introduce them to someone else. Kagome had been given contacts of various people in the Ministry because according to Slughorn, she had a lot of 'potential' and would go very far in life. The typical sort of things one would like to hear, but not in such abundance. She shuddered as she contemplated the fact that her name would be spilled off his lips to the next batch of unknowing wizards and witches who had 'potential', and he would be acting like he was her mentor and she owed everything to him or something.
Not that Slughorn was bad, really. But the way he gathered contacts and made sure that almost everyone who was going to be famous and/or powerful knew him was just…unsettling. The blatant show of favoritism was what made her uneasy, Kagome being a person who was fair and had expected others to be the same.
"Excellent." He smiled, showing slightly yellowed teeth. "I shall see you in ten minutes, then?"
There really was no way to get out of this. Nodding, Kagome forced a smile. "See you, Professor Slughorn."
The Professor patted Jessica affectionately on the shoulder. "Send my fondest regards to your beautiful mother, Jessica. She did make the most effective Bat Bogey Hexes, and taught young Malfoy quite a lesson, if I remember correctly. She was always quite talented with hexes, the cheeky little girl!"
He left, still chuckling to himself.
"Bat Bogey Hexes?" Kagome repeated to Jessica blankly. She'd never mentioned anything about it.
Jessica rubbed her face, looking thoroughly embarrassed. "Something Mum did when she was a student here. Don't ask."
"Anyway," Kagome went on, her tone admonishing. "That was a really dishonest thing you did back there. The annual Quidditch matches are over; you guys don't even have to practice so much any more! What if he finds out that you lied to him?" She paused for a moment and glared at her best friend. "And you could help get me get off the hook, too!"
"You got me into Spew" Jessica pointed out sulkily.
"It's S-P-E-W," Kagome corrected. Quite frankly, she'd already forgotten what it meant. All she remembered from that little speech Emmeline had given was that it was a club for freeing elves. Or something.
"Whatever." Jessica shrugged, then cheered up considerably as she glanced towards the Great Hall. "Anyway, I've got to go."
Jessica winked at her mischievously before leaving. "Thing about being Captain is that you can call for practice whenever you want. So technically I'm not lying."
Jessica's parting words floated back to her over the familiar swishing of her black school robe. "And if my team gets forced to wear 'spew' on their chests, I'm going to tell them it's your fault, 'gome."
"Speaking of fault," Kagome raised her voice slightly so that Jessica could hear. "We're due tonight. You-know-who's going to pitch a fit if we're back late."
Jessica simply gave her a wave, and disappeared into the dining chaos of the Great Hall.
Sighing, Kagome started walking down the mostly deserted corridor, dreading Slughorn's little dinner party and the disgusting crystallized pineapples he was most surely bound to be eating in abundance. Why he actually liked practically inhaling them was far beyond her. Oh well. At least maybe he would be too busy eating to talk her ear off about people that he knew and to drop all-too-obvious hints of what he could do for her if only she asked. She thought about it for a moment. Nah, Slughorn would never be too busy to talk about the people he had 'helped', and describe, in full detail, how he had done it, and what presents he had gotten as a reward for his…services.
I wonder who they're from this time?She wondered to herself, adjusting her bag and avoiding an almost head-on collision with a small knot of giggling Hufflepuff second-years.
AN:This is technically an AU, and I used the first chapter to set up the atmosphere of Hogwarts. And if you look closely enough, the conversation between Emmeline and the girls are vaguely familiar, yes? And no, I've not copied them. I deliberately put it in there for kicks. SPEW is still fondly remembered even after 27 years. Anyway, what do you think so far? Inuyasha and the others will come in the next chapter, I promise! I had wanted to put Jessica as a kind of Squib or something, thereby ensuring a whole well of issues to deal with, but then again, she's going to need a few skills so she doesn't get killed by rampaging youkai. And the point of Kagome in Hogwarts is to ensure that she's not completely helpless, innit?