The Bent Boy
There I am in the morning.
I don't like what I see.
So Jealous Tegan and Sara
"Yeah, but did you see it?"
"What do you mean, did I see it? Why would I see it?"
"I don't know! Geoff saw it –"
"Geoff is a sodding pansy."
"This is true –"
"Do you remember what happened with him and –"
"At the closing feast last year? How could I forget?"
Nate and Colin nattered on like a flock of gossiping geese. Their voices rose and echoed off the shadows of the castle walls. Carter, Vanessa, and I led the other two down the slope. We were going to get caught if they didn't stop it soon. The caretaker wasn't deaf, after all. Every time they spoke I held my breath, certain someone was going to come out and see what the ruckus was.
"Guys, be quiet! We're not far from the castle, and Filch could hear us! Do you want to get expelled just because you won't stop giggling to each other like a pair of girls?" asked Vanessa. The guys shut up. I looked behind me and grinned when I saw their sullen expressions.
As we continued on in blissful silence, scavenging over the grassy terrain, we tried desperately not to trip over some obscure rut in the moss. Finally – gratefully – we reached the path. We followed it for a few short minutes before reaching the closed and locked Hogwarts gate.
"Here, help me up!" I hissed. Nate and Colin came over and flattened their palms so my feet could comfortably step up on them.
I used their hands as leverage and pushed myself up to reach the nearest knot in the gate. I grasped it and flung my foot over. There was a loud ripping noise. "Damn," I swore.
"What is it?" Carter whispered, revealing his always-considerate nature. The only person he ever was irritated with was Colin – mostly because Colin teased him nearly to the point of insanity.
"I tore my robe."
"No!" Vanessa moaned. "Wasn't that your favorite one? The one with the blue lining and silver buttons that look positively stunning with your complexion. Oh, and your eyes –"
"As interesting as girl talk is, I'm afraid we're going to have to keep going," said Nate.
Through the darkness, I saw Vanessa glare at him.
I wasn't too concerned as I could always get my mother to spell the rip closed later during break, though I'd have to change the story of the tear a bit. I didn't think she'd approve too much of me sneaking out on a school night.
Rolling my eyes, I continued over. I swung my opposite leg over the fence and climbed down using the metal indents on the gate. I jumped the last bit, landing on my old sneakers a bit harder than intended, and I fell over.
My friends laughed at me through the vertical bars. I glowered at them, stood quickly, and brushed the dirt off the front of my jeans. "Are you lot just going to stand there all night like lumps, or are you going to actually have some fun?"
They laughed a little bit more at me before following me. Colin went first, denying help when offered from Carter and Nate. Out of all of us Gryffindors, he was the most enthusiastic about proving himself. He called it pride. I called it arrogance.
Within minutes, all five of us were over the gates – Carter hopping over last as he was the most agile if not strong like Nate.
"The Scalding Cauldron, right?" Vanessa asked.
"I'll scald your cauldron if you'd like," said Nate, slipping his long arm around Vanessa's shoulder.
She pushed it off her shoulder roughly. "You're so vile!" She pretended to be irritated, but she loved the attention.
It was a well known fact that Nate had been pursuing Vanessa since second year. Not as well known was that she liked him back just as much. She hadn't told anyone, to my knowledge, except for me.
"Aw, don't be like that, Ness!" Nate complained. She ignored him, instead lagging back to loop her arm through mine. He always called her Ness, and it always made her furious.
"Maybe next time, mate," said Carter, patting Nate lightly on the shoulder.
"How's Anita?" Colin asked as the Scalding Cauldron came into view. Anita was Carter's older girlfriend by three years – a practicing witch beautician, and Colin's favorite topic of discussion. Carter was rather sensitive about his girlfriend, and the subject riled him up rather quickly, especially when it was Colin doing the goading.
"Just because you're bitter you don't get any action doesn't mean you have to take it out on me, Colin," said Carter. He looked absentmindedly at his nails.
Colin muttered something that sounded like "bloody ponce." Carter shot him a look.
Ignoring Carter, Colin tried to surreptitiously sneak a glance in my direction. As I caught the look, I rolled my eyes. "It was one date, for Merlin's sake, and it's over," I said. Colin and I had been friends since day one, but I never saw him as more than platonic. He saw me differently, though, and once I had foolishly agreed to go on a date with him on a Valentine's Day trip to Hogsmeade. Nothing happened, but he had yet to let it go. He was convinced we were soul mates or something.
"It could always be more," Colin suggested. He rose his eyebrows at me.
I raised my eyebrows in response to his attempt at flirting. "Carter's right," I said. "And please shut up."
"Yeah, nothing good ever comes out of trying to seduce our Gin-Gin here anyways," Nate mocked. I began to protest loudly at the nickname, but, before I could finish, Nate pulled Colin into a headlock worthy of my brothers', Fred and George.
I decided to just drop it and join in on the laughter as Colin frantically tried to escape Nate's hold, but to no avail: Nate's training as a Beater on the house team had made him strong enough to easily overpower Colin.
When Nate finally let go of Colin, Colin shoved Nate forcefully, but Nate barely stumbled. Nate kept giggling and Colin kept scowling, but, for the most part, we made it into the Scalding Cauldron unscathed.
The night went as planned. We used our homemade aging potions to get into the club so, that when they checked our age, we were able to stay and order alcohol – Firewhiskey to be exact. I didn't think I had that much – just two glasses – but I began to feel a little woozy. The world kept spinning, and I couldn't stop giggling. I grabbed Colin, and, a sure sign of my inebriation, I pulled him onto the dance floor. My friends soon joined in, and I thought that this was going to be a good night to remember.
At least, I thought that until a tall, formidable man grabbed my arm. On a reflex, I pulled back from the stranger, but his grip was steady and I couldn't escape. I saw something as I struggled – a badge. It was small and gold. It adorned the wizard's chest officially and contained words that made my stomach drop.
WLEC: Wizarding Law Enforcement Crew.
I gulped reflexively. "Run!" And then I did an incredibly idiotic thing: I kicked my captor in the shin. Knowing I was going to be in even bigger trouble if I got caught but unable to stop, I ran after my friends who had fled on my order. I couldn't keep up though – first because of the crowded pub – next because I couldn't keep my footing as the world swayed precariously. I fell, and, when I stood up, three of the officers surrounded me.
Knowing there was no way I was getting out of this one, I groaned and held out my hands to be tied.
It wasn't until the next day that I was called into the headmaster's office. I entered the enormous room with a debilitating headache to find Dumbledore sitting behind his desk in a high backed chair. I never thought he was intimidating until that moment. I realized he had the potential to expel me or, worse, tell my mother what happened. Ultimately, my fate was in his hands. Even so, he didn't seem the type to expel students for things as trivial as leaving the school grounds for a night of partying.
Finally tearing my eyes away from the headmaster, I noticed McGonagall standing off to the the side, eyes surveying me with discursion.
"Please, sit," said Dumbledore. I considered saying no, but, deciding I was in enough trouble, I took a place in one of the three leather armchairs surrounding the desk.
First, he had me explain where and why I was the night before. I explained my intentions for the most part, but I left out my friends. If anything, I wasn't a snitch.
Dumbledore, after a silence that lasted too long for my comfort, spoke. "Since you're a student and school is still in session, the law enforcement crew has decided to let me decide your punishment. Professor McGonagall and I have decided that detentions would not give you the lessons you need, so we have settled on forty hours of community service for the school." My stomach dropped. Detentions were over fast, but forty hours of community service would take forever.
"Since you must be supervised as you follow through on the community hours, we have asked a fellow student if he would not be too troubled to help us, as he is already an enthusiastic asset to the school's community services."
Just then, a knock came from the other side of the office door.
"Come in, Harry," called Dumbledore.
The door opened to reveal a boy. And not just any boy – a boy my friends and I mock quite a lot. There was a lot to laugh at: large eyes behind goofy glasses; messy hair that surely had never met a comb; ugly, baggy clothes. He was a quiet loner. One thing I had noticed, though, was that he was immune to all the criticism he received. He seemed impervious to students' mockery of him. While some might have found this a positive asset, I just found it irritating. It was as if he had no emotion: just a shell of a boy.
It seemed inhuman to not care so much.
One thing was for sure, though: he was weird. Bent. Stranger than even Loony Lovegood with her radish earrings and made up animals.
Potter approached me, and, holding out his hand to me, he broke into a shiny grin that could potentially shame the sun. "I'm Harry Potter. We're in the same house."
I barely glanced at the hand, and I certainly didn't shake it. His bright smile faltered, but he didn't seem too fazed by it and lowered his hand.
Like I said – he was nearly emotionless.
"Then I guess you know who I am," I said. I stood, ignoring the aghast expression on McGonagall's face and Dumbledore's sad eyes, promptly walking out of the office.
A few thoughts ran through my mind as I made my way through the stony halls. Community service. Forty hours. Harry Potter as my overseer.
This would be hell.
A/N: I did an extreme rewrite of this chapter 04/07/10. I moved a lot of things around and added a few more details. If you already read the preexisting chapter, I highly recommend you read this one. It's a million times better, as my writing has significantly improved since I first posted this story over a year ago.
Also, for all you Star Trek fans, Ginny thinks Harry Potter is like a Spock. That's what I was thinking about when I rewrote it anyways LOL.