Alaska's calm breakfast was interrupted several times and by the time she was able to eat her cereal, it had become one soggy bowl of mushy cereal-soup.
The first interruption was Nico, Tyler and Isaac joining her, which was probably the most favourable out of them all.
"Good morning, sunshine," Alaska said as Nico grumbled and rubbed the stubble on his chin.
"Sunshine," He muttered, "Only you're cheery at the crack of dawn's ass."
"Well, we've got a new year ahead of us to win the cup, my mother hasn't sent me anything and I have not yet run into Ben, so yes. I'm cheery. You look tired already."
"I am. We were up all night talking."
"Did you braid each other's hair? Paint your toenails?" Alaska asked, laughing.
Nico frowned, "No, but good to know you think that's what we do when we hang out without you."
"Timetables," Una sung as she bounced up to the group. Alaska had never understood how the elder girl managed to stay so peppy all the time, but she didn't envy it in the slightest.
"Good morning Una, I was wondering if we could have -"
"The pitch for trials on Sunday morning? Saw your poster, I've already asked. You're all clear for it."
Alaska tried to smile in a friendly manner, but it still managed to look forced. "Thanks. Have you got our timetables?"
"Oh yes! Here," Una flipped through the stack of papers in her hands, "Thorne, A. Ooooh - you're doing Alchemy? I heard that's super difficult."
Alaska said nothing, but offered her strained smile once again. Potions in the morning, a Transfiguration lecture and afternoon Herbology. Her Friday was the most forgiving day, with the latest start, but it was then she noticed that her timetable was a lot busier than the boys were. She was half expecting it, but she still wasn't pleased.
"Have you guys heard from Ben yet?" She asked as Una greeted the next group of people to arrive at breakfast.
"Nope. He wasn't in the dorm when we went to bed at like half one this morning and he wasn't there when we all got up. His bed was made though." Nico said through a mouthful of egg and sausage.
"Alright. I'll try and pin him down today, but we might have to get another Chaser if he decides to throw a hissy fit."
"You're really gonna throw him off the team?" Tyler asked.
"If he's going to continue being a complete wanker, yeah. I guess we'll see. If I have to send him a Howler to get his attention, he's fucking gone." Alaska said, stabbing her own breakfast with far too much gusto. "What lesson have you guys got first?"
"I've got Potions, Tyler has Divination." Nico said as he read Tyler's upside-down timetable.
"Oh, cool! I've got Potions too, I hope Holloway decided to have mercy on us and let us work together."
"Probably not, knowing him," Tyler said as he reached for more orange juice, "Every time you get used to working with someone, he moves you, I swear."
Unfortunately for Alaska and Nico, their Potions professor saw it fit to mix the entire class up.
"Alaska!" Professor Holloway called as they entered the classroom. "You're here."
He tapped one of the workbenches in the front row and Nico offered a pitying smile as Alaska walked up alone. "Nico, you're over here."
Alaska felt an overwhelming sense of dread as the rest of the class gradually filed in and got seated. The place next to her remained empty, despite the bell ringing to signal that class was starting. Who was she going to be working with? All of the people she expected to see in this level of Potions were already here.
"Alright, welcome everyone to NEWT Potions! Congratulations to all of you for achieving so well on your OWL exams, I hope you're ready for things to get even more complicated. Everyone should have a copy of Advanced Potion Making?"
The class collectively reached for their textbooks and Alaska could've sworn she heard someone distantly yelling as they ran. The footsteps got louder and closer and the sound of the yelling began to get clearer.
"WE'RE FUCKING LATE! WE'RE FUCKING LAAAAATE" The entire class heard someone repeat at the top of their voice, steadily getting closer and closer with the sound of running. The sound of footsteps came to a complete stop outside the door and the entire class had turned, completely mesmerised by what was going on in the Dungeon corridors. Professor Holloway strode across the classroom and flung the classroom door open.
"Mr Potter. Mr Weasley. Congratulations on being late on your very first lesson of the year. Five points from Gryffindor for both of you."
Fred at least tried to look guilty, taking up a sudden interest in his shoes and the floor of the Potions classroom. James, on the other hand, strolled in and dumped his books on the nearest workstation, which was already occupied by a rather serious-looking Ravenclaw and the smallest Hufflepuff Alaska thought she'd ever seen.
"Mr Weasley, sit next to Mr Reyes."
Alaska felt her stomach drop. Was Professor Holloway really about to torture her with Potter as a Potions partner for eight weeks? Was he really condemning her to work with the same person who knocked out half the class for several hours with his stupid Mandrake stunt in second year?
Time seemed to slow down as Professor Holloway opened his mouth to say the words that would damn Alaska Thorne.
"Mr Potter, next to Miss Thorne."
At that exact moment, Alaska decided that Professor Holloway was the entire reason she created her very own Shit List. James strolled up as though he was going for an evening walk, dumped his already filthy bag on the desk and sat down in the empty seat next to Alaska.
"Alaska, a word please?" Professor Holloway called from the open doorway.
Resisting the urge to audibly growl, Alaska stood up and left the classroom with the eyes of her classmates on her. Nico looked concerned and resolved to ask what Professor Holloway wanted.
On the other side of the now-closed door, Alaska tried as hard as she could to smile.
"Listen, you know you're one of my brightest students, so please don't see this as a punishment."
Being formal was something that did not come naturally to Alaska when Professor Holloway was around. Almost every girl had once had a crush on him, as he was a lot younger than most of the other professors and always seemed to have an air of warmth about him. She had not been immune, but she had been a naive second year with a crush.
"It's hard to not see it that way, Professor." Alaska replied, folding her arms across her chest.
"Look, it's not my choice that he's in here. He didn't do great, but I'm sure you two can work together just fine."
Alaska's eyebrow rose, almost of its own accord. "I got an E, you only take E and up. How badly did he do?"
"Not that badly. And you didn't do poorly, Alaska."
"If you forget the fact I panicked and ended up making something completely different."
"The potion you ended up making was well above what they were expecting in terms of complexity. You only dropped because that wasn't in the marking."
Alaska frowned, her brows knitting. "If he blows anything up, Professor, I want to work alone."
Professor Holloway nodded and extended a hand, "Hufflepuff's honour."
Alaska laughed and shook his hand and walked back into the classroom. An hour and a half of trying to not rip James Potter a new one would be a first for her, although the ninety minutes would start her new record of playing nice with a Gryffindor. She walked past Nico and gave him a small smile as they made eye contact, he had probably got the better end of the deal since it was common knowledge that while Fred behaved stupid, he was just putting on an act. Potter, of all people, was just plain idiotic when it came to paying attention. And naturally, Alaska had drawn the shortest straw of every other member of sixth year NEWT Potions.
"Alright, I hope you've all got your textbooks," Professor Holloway started. "I'd like you to read through the safety information first, then please open up to the Developing Solution on page twelve and I'll talk you through the process."
Alaska cracked open her textbook and began to read the typical warnings that came with every single magical class.
She felt a soft prod on her arm less than thirty seconds later, and turned to look at one very sheepish James Potter.
"Yes?" She whispered.
"Er, I didn't know I was going to be in this class until this morning. Could we share for today?" James asked.
Alaska felt her eyes roll involuntarily, but pushed her book to the middle of their shared desk space. The class began with a little revision of the very basics, that Professor Holloway claimed was to keep them 'fresh'. They were assigned to make a Developing Solution for the day's practical, and Alaska was not pleased in the slightest. She disappeared into the storeroom immediately and stayed there for a good ten minutes wasting time.
"You're not getting executed, Alaska," Nico chuckled quietly as he appeared behind her in the cupboard. To her surprise, she felt him rest one of his huge hands on the small of her back. He used the other to lean on one of the shelves, laden with supplies, effectively caging her in the corner of the Potions stock room.
"Feels like it," She mumbled, squinting to read the label on a particularly dusty looking bottle. "Holloway basically told me that he got the worst grade out of everyone in this class. I don't want to become an accessory to a Grade 4 Potter explosion, Nico."
Nico struggled to muffle his laughter, "I'm sure you'll come out as an innocent bystander."
Alaska punched him in the stomach, "Jesus! Did you grow an eight-pack in the summer or something over the summer? If I have to start slapping you I might as well retire."
Nico's smile was smug, "I thought if you're going to continue swinging at my abdomen, I'll give you something decent to hit."
"I thought it would've been something about getting muscular so you could start matching Tyler's tally of ex-girlfriends."
Nico jokingly dropped his jaw, but Alaska had already ducked underneath his arm and left the cupboard. She returned to the table, having successfully wasted fifteen minutes of their lesson and postponed any possible Potter explosion.
"The hunter returns!" James said as she approached their workspace.
Hiding her frown, Alaska busied herself with measuring out the ingredients.
"So," James began, rubbing his hands together awkwardly, "Developing Solution. What a potion. Great idea."
"Potter, I'm not working with you if you're going to fill every silence with the bullshit that leaks into your stream of consciousness." Alaska snapped, dropping the pestle she was using to grind up Lacewing flies with a soft thud. "Are we clear?"
James sat back on his stool, "We've barely been working together for five minutes, you've said nothing and done all the work. I wouldn't call this working with each other."
Alaska picked up the mortar and began grinding the Lacewing flies with a new vigour, "Perhaps if I knew you could be trusted with a cauldron, then I might let you participate. Until then, I'm doing the work. And I'm not talking to you because I have nothing to say."
"Maybe you could talk me through what you're doing so I can be trusted with a cauldron sometime this term? Or we could chat about something?" James scoffed.
"What I'm doing," Alaska said, pointing at her textbook that lay open in front of her partner, "Is in that book you do not own. You can read the instructions, or do you not have working eyes? As for chatting, we have nothing to talk about. At all."
"That's the whole point of chatting. You share information about yourself so the other person gets to know you."
"I have no interest in getting to know somebody who thinks that Slytherin is full of, and I quote - 'baby Death Eaters and wannabe Voldies'." She hissed, reaching for another ingredient.
James' jaw dropped. He hadn't imagined that Alaska would have paid attention to anything he said, much less things he had said in second year, when the Gryffindors and Slytherins had shared the Charms classroom. The year after that, Professor Flitwick had taken over as the Headmaster and rumour had it that it was that specific class that led to him wanting to officially retire from teaching.
"And? For all I know, your lot," James waved at Alaska's silver and green tie, "Might as well be. I dunno why we still have the house when all it's made is misery."
To James' surprise, Alaska said nothing. In fact, she didn't even look up from the cauldron. James didn't know what was worse - the fact that his mouth was running away without him when he had basically been given a free pass to be around Alaska, or the fact that she wasn't even talking back.
Despite the talking everyone else seemed to be doing - including Nico and Fred, Alaska remained silent for the rest of the lesson, leaving James to stew in his own mistakes. Nico approached her desk after clearing up with Fred and nodded at James as means of greeting.
"Everything alright over here?" He asked quietly, a gentle hand settling on Alaska's waist once again.
"I'm fine," Alaska replied a little too quickly. "I was just clearing everything up."
Nico said nothing, but the look they shared spoke volumes. Whatever it was, Alaska would end up venting about it at dinnertime, in the common room after, or if she was feeling particularly angry, over a sandwich at lunchtime.
"Have you got a lesson after break?" He asked once she returned from the storeroom.
"I've got a quick Transfiguration lesson. What about you?" Alaska said as she stuffed her timetable into her blazer pocket. She noted that James had disappeared to talk with one of his many cousins while she was putting the leftover ingredients back in the cupboard.
"Same. You need to get anything from the dorm?"
"No. Do you?"
"Yeah, gotta grab the Transfiguration book. I can't believe Dubois set us essays to read over the summer though."
"You didn't read them did you?" Alaska laughed as she picked her bag up from under the desk. The pair left the classroom and entered one of the Dungeons' many hallways.
"I tried. They were really dull and complicated."
Ignoring Nico's complaints, Alaska looked up from the textbooks in her hands and saw James stood with Fred Weasley and Ethan Wood. Her anger had cooled slightly, but she was still seething on the inside.
"Hold these for me," She said, quickly thrusting the books into Nico's arms. "Anteoculatia!" She said calmly and with a firm wave of her wand, antlers sprouted from the forehead of James Sirius Potter.
Fortunately for Alaska, Professor Dubois was an easier ally than Professor Holloway. She wasn't a particularly lenient teacher, but she had no interest in seating plans, which resulted in anyone who thought her classroom was the place for gossip getting thrown out. She arrived early, ignoring Nico's complaints as she dragged him along the ground floor corridors.
The pair rounded the corner to the Transfiguration rooms and to their surprise, found Ethan Wood leaning beside the door frame. The pair stopped laughing and straightened up instantly.
"Reyes. Thorne." Ethan said by means of greeting, nodding at the pair.
"Wood," They replied in unison, taking up similar positions on the other side of the doorframe.
Alaska avoided making small talk with Ethan as if her life depended on it. Whenever her mother had her monthly brunches with the other members of the Department of Mysteries and their benefactors, Ethan had been dragged along by his mother in the same manner her own mother had brought her. She had no interest in talking to him, but they always ended up sat at the same table and forced into some kind of small talk. Like they weren't regularly hitting Bludgers at one another during the school year.
"Congrats, man." Nico said, after an awkward pause. He nodded towards the red and gold badge on Ethan's lapel.
"Oh, thanks. Did you get the spot for Slytherin?"
Nico laughed and opened his mouth to say something, but Professor Dubois opened the door to her classroom, and let her early students in.
Alaska's two free periods after Transfiguration were spent alone in the library. Nico had gone to take a nap and she wasn't entirely sure where the rest of the team was. She had sworn she heard Ben's voice while she was studying, but when she looked up, he was nowhere in sight. Ben remained a mystery until the Herbology lesson after lunch, where he had seemingly turned up early to talk with Professor Longbottom. He glanced her way too often for his behaviour to be anything other than awkward and worked amongst a group of Ravenclaws that Alaska had never liked. Instead, Alaska worked between a shy Hufflepuff and one of the sweeter girls from her dormitory.
Trying to talk to Ben throughout the lesson proved fruitless, as he avoided her like she had dragon pox and chasing him down after class wasn't an option after Professor Longbottom asked her to stay behind.
"How can I help, sir?" Alaska asked once the rest of the class had left. She silently hoped this wasn't about the antlers she had decided James Potter needed to grow after Potions, as rumours were going around that someone hated him. The rumours weren't far off the mark, but Alaska didn't want a detention for something as harmless as making horns sprout out of his forehead, so she couldn't be blamed.
"I just wanted to congratulate you, Alaska. You got perfect marks on your Herbology OWL!"
"Oh, thank you Professor."
"Did you discuss becoming a Herbologist with Professor Khan in your careers meeting? I think it might be something you've got the skills for."
Alaska smiled, "Not particularly, but we're choosing to keep my options open."
Professor Longbottom smiled back, "Of course, I must confess that we're all worried you're going to push yourself too far with this many NEWT subjects, Alaska. Especially with the Quidditch matches and training."
"If I feel like I'm struggling, I promised Professor Khan that I'd let her know."
"Of course. Don't let me keep you, Alaska. I'm sure you're busy."
Alaska smiled in response, gathered her belongings and left the greenhouses to go and study in the Great Hall before dinner. She thought that it would make for a good setup, the tables were empty so she could litter her workspace with books, there would probably be other students around and a little background noise might help her focus. The trek to the library and an argument with the stairwells wasn't worth the hassle this soon before dinner. Alaska was looking forward to studying alone, but the universe had other plans. She turned a corner too sharply and managed to walk straight into Scorpius Malfoy.
"FUCK!" She yelped, dropping her books across the empty corridor.
"Merlin's beard!" He exclaimed as Alaska banged her head on his shoulder.
"Fuck I'm so sorry," Alaska began as she immediately began gathering her books. "I should've known better than to take that corner so quick."
Despite not knowing Scorpius well, the two lingered in similar social circles, often greeting one another in the common room or at meals. She rarely spent time with him one on one, but he seemed alright enough, but she was completely taken aback by his laughter.
"That's quite alright, it's a bastard of a corridor down here," He said as he smiled. "I'm surprised it hasn't got me sooner. Where are you off to?"
Alaska smiled back warmly, "Ah, I'm off to the hall to study before dinner. Were you on your way to something?"
"I was supposed to be going to a Herbology lesson… but I can't be bothered."
"Wanna come up to the hall with me?"
Scorpius smiled again and they took the small flight of stairs together, "I'd love that. How was your summer?"
"Pretty dull, actually. A lot of exercising, weights and meal plans. How about you?"
"Not that interesting. I did an internship at the Ministry in the Department of Co-operation. Dad got me the interview."
"What was it, a lot of paper-pushing?" Alaska asked as they climbed one of Hogwarts' few stationary staircases.
"Pretty much. I had to sign something before I was allowed in that basically means I can't talk about what was on any of the papers, but I learnt a lot about how the Ministry works and stuff."
Alaska laughed, "If I wanted to hear about low-quality Fanged Geraniums I'd join the Herbology study group."
"Oh!" Scorpius exclaimed, nearly startling Alaska. "Rumour has it that you guys haven't met with Davies since the term started. Is that true?"
Alaska frowned as they entered the Hall. To her surprise, a fair few other students had set up little study stations across their tables. She recognised some of the members of her Herbology class - Potter included, who was now deantlered - was sat with his cousin and near-Siamese twin Fred on the Gryffindor table.
"You've got to keep this quiet, but yeah. We did the shop in the holidays together but I haven't heard anything from him since."
Scorpius looked puzzled, "That explains why I didn't see him with a broom on the train."
A small group of seventh-year Hufflepuffs turned and looked at the pair. Alaska only offered Lorcan Scamander a smile and let Scorpius drag her away to the end of their table.
"He didn't fucking bring a broom?" She asked as soon as they had sat down, her voice hushed.
"Nope. I watched him bring a suitcase and his owl and that's it. I overheard his parents say something about it being a lighter load at last?"
"I'm gonna fucking finish him," Alaska grumbled.
As if on cue, Nico appeared behind the pair with a hand on both of their shoulders. Alaska remained calm, completely used to her teammates' antics, but Scorpius jumped.
Nico laughed, "Alright Malfoy, how are ya?"
"Not bad, Reyes. Yourself?"
"I'm pretty good thanks man, don't you have a lesson right now?"
"We walked into each other on Death Corner." Alaska said without looking up from her notes.
Scorpius chuckled, a sound Alaska didn't think she'd heard before their encounter today. She could hear the smirk in his voice as he spoke. "Yeah, and I was looking for a reason to skip Herbology anyway. It's strange how things work."
Nico let out a small laugh and began to talk to Scorpius while Alaska ignored them and continued looking through her Potions textbook. She found thirty minutes passed quickly when she tried to teach herself the steps on how to make Amortentia. The other students began to pour in and she found herself surrounded with familiar faces as the other boys returned from their lessons. Tyler greeted Scorpius with a shake of his hand, Isaac simply nodded as he dropped his bag and dug into his dinner and Max hardly noticed him until later in the evening.
Alaska simply waved whenever someone joined them, keeping her eyes fixed on the archway that led to the lower parts of the school, Slytherin common room included. As soon as she saw Ben, she tracked him right down to the other end of the dinner table where he sat with one of the seventh years that Max shared with. She jumped up and strode down the length of the hall, ignoring Nico calling after her.
"Hi, a word?" She said, leaning into Ben's conversation.
Ben looked offended, but Alaska paid no mind as she forced the seventh year to scoot up the bench and plonked down.
"How can I help you, Alaska?" Ben asked as he resumed cutting up his dinner.
"How can you help me? How about you tell me why you were seen without your broom yesterday morning?" Alaska said, voice deathly quiet. "Why don't you tell me why you avoided us for the entirety of yesterday, went to extremes to avoid Nico and Tyler and spent the entire Herbology lesson using Trevor Jackson as a human shield?"
Ben stiffened. "Who told you?"
"It doesn't matter who told me. Why are you being a complete and utter shithead?"
"I quit the team."
"I think the fuck not!" Alaska grabbed Ben's shirt collar and tie in her fist and forcibly pulled his ear to her. "You don't get to ignore us - hell, you don't get to ignore me - and then pull this kind of bullshit."
Ben made no move to escape Alaska's death grip on his shirt, but merely shrugged. "Then I-"
"Get. The. Hell. Off. My. Team." Alaska growled, throwing him away and into some third year that she didn't know. Standing up, she brushed off her skirt, casually strolled back to her team and sat down calmly.
"Thank you, Scorpius. It's all resolved now." She said with a beaming smile. "Boys, we have a new spot to fill. Chaser."
a/n: wow another chapter? shocking. completely bizarre character interactions? from me? groundbreaking.
this is your regularly scheduled reminder that the cursed child does not exist in this house, please do leave a review/fav or w/e and make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. it's free, why not? also i changed some character names (Tim is now Max) for... reasons.
mandatory copyright thingy that will leave you Shooketh: i own my own characters. enjoy ur day.