Shadow Bound

Chapter 6

A day had passed but her tear-stained face remained etched in his memory. He had never thought he would have his attention taken by such a girl. No one has done that yet. In the two months of getting to know her, Fred never thought how important her friendship would be.

He could not deny her brilliance, her tact, and her grace; all of which shone like stars in the dark of night. She bloody brilliant in every class and most classes seemed to come easy to her. Fred found him enthralled when they shared Potions, he had moved back next to her. She reminded him of Hermione but Chelsea was different. Her eyes captured all who talked to her when she smiled she lit up a room. But the most enthralling thing about her was that she had no idea she did this. She was so unaware of how captivating everyone found her.

Yet Fred could not stop his blood from heating when he thought of the All-American boy; He thought it irrational but the ever-changing mood did not cease. She was his friend but her friend gave him a bad feeling; he knew the more Chelsea spent time with him, she was more likely to get hurt; Fred couldn’t shake the feeling she already had been. And he feared he would be too late to rescue her when the time came.

“Ya know Fred, ya may just fancy the girl.” George joked after getting his brother to talk. The thought had occurred to him, but he had not thought much of it. He had never truly dealt with this before. Every time he was near her, he felt as if he was suffocating. Air left his throat, pulling the pipe close as it left.

“Come off it,” said Fred, looking around to check that they couldn’t be overheard, his cheeks warm. “She is with that American, couldn’t keep her bloody hands off him the moment they were alone. I don’t stand a chance. Plus, she calls me a friend.” He shrugged his shoulders.

“You don’t know the full story yet,” George blurted, “It was just a kiss. Don’t get your wand in a twist just yet.” George felt for his twin but did not push. Instead, he pushed off from the bed where he was stationed, grabbed his wand, and left.

“I’ll see you at dinner. I’mma bother Lee for the homework in Herbology. I think you need to talk to her, I know Hermione would agree. She told me the same when I didn’t know how to talk to Angelina. ”

Fred made a faint sound of acknowledgment before turning back over in bed and groaned. Watching her cry, the sadness clouding over her made him even more aware of his feelings for her. But, of course, it was too late. Always seemed to be the case.

Fred thought matters would improve between him and Chelsea, hoping he would get used to the idea of the All-American, but the following day proved how mistaken he was. He could no longer avoid the rest of the school once he was back at lessons - and it was clear that the rest of the school, just like the Gryffindors, thought so highly of the American that he seemed to be everywhere. Unlike everyone else, he seemed the only one not impressed.

Going to class with the Ravenclaws meant seeing the students from Ilvermorny. Charles never seemed to leave her side during classes. From what his cousin whispered, hoping he would not hear but did, is that Charles spent more time with her than with anyone. Though she seemed to not enjoy the attention.

In Potions, Fred found himself sitting next to Chelsea while Charles was on her other side. He felt rather ridiculous but oddly competitive. Chelsea hardly noticed.

“Good afternoon,” Snape groaned. “Turn to page seven hundred and thirty-nine.”

The classroom erupted in giggles and whispers. A love potion.

“Silence,” Snape interjected, “If I find any of you brewing this outside classroom, I will deduct fifty house points.”

“Professor, isn’t brewing a love potion prohibited at Hogwarts?” Lesedi asked reluctantly.

“Miss Zulu, if it were, why would I allow such a potion to be brewed? Five points from Ravenclaw.” Snape turned on his heels and went into the ingredients cupboard. “Amortentia is one of the strongest love potions in the world. It is distinctive for its mother-of-pearl sheen, and steam rises from the potion in spirals. Amortentia smells different to each person, according to what attracts them. As we share curriculums with other schools, this potion is allowed. Now begin.”

“Wood, what smells attract you?” George turned around from the cauldron in front of her, waggling his eyebrows. Her cheeks flushed.

“Weasley, watch what you say. I wonder if yours will smell like warm cinnamon and sugar, if so I will tell Angelina.”

George’s ears grew as red as his hair. “Bloody hell, Wood. You better not, or you will regret it.”

“Both you and your brother have said that threat to me. I am still standing.” She stuck out her tongue. All their friends laughed quietly at the encounter. Everyone knew George liked Angelina Johnson but he would never admit to it.

“Watch it, Wood.” Fred laughed heartily, “You haven’t seen us in action just yet.” Chelsea mockingly smacked his shoulder before tying her brown hair back with a blue ribbon and pushing up her sleeves.

The class passed quickly, both boys tired from helping but in the end, the potion glimmered iridescently from the gold-colored cauldron in front of them. Chelsea swore it was emitting one of the most seductive scents she had ever inhaled: Somehow it reminded her simultaneously of the woody smell of a freshly oiled broom handle, the warm scent of freshly baked pumpkin pasties, and something smokey she thought she might have smelled around the castle. She found that she was breathing very slowly and deeply and that the potion’s fumes seemed to be filling her up like a drink.

She noticed everyone else was doing the same at that very moment. Blood rushed to her ears when it hit her. None of the scents she smelled were related to Charles. He always smelt of Cedar, sea salt, and freshly laundered linen, and she smelt none.

“Was I right, George?” Chelsea chuckled, trying to ease her mind.

“Merlin! I am not answering, Wood! Sod off!” His cheeks flushed again. She was right.

“What about you?” Fred asked, turning to face her. His cheeks were a soft pink and flushed from ear to ear.

“Me?” Chelsea nervously laughed. “I don’t know. I couldn’t identify it.”

Fred’s eyebrows knitted closely together in confusion, and Charlies looked at her in surprise. But she avoided both of their eyes and began to clean up.

“Come off it, Chelsea. You are a bloody awful liar.” Elisabeth whispered to her friend when they escaped the Potions dungeon. She locked arms with her friend, keeping her close.

“It didn’t smell like Charles... It smelt like...Jesus, I can’t believe this is about to come out of my mouth. F-Fred!” Chelsea exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air.

“Oh.” Elisabeth acted surprised but Chelsea could tell she was giddy on the inside.

“Yeah, oh! Bloody oh! I can’t think about this right now!” Chelsea stormed off. Elisabeth just stood there smiling.

“Cough up, Georgie. She smelt Freddie, not Charlie. You owe me ten galleons.”

“Bloody hell.” George sighed, digging into his pocket. Fred shot his brother a curious glance, having heard nothing.

Over the next week, Fred spent more time with Harry and the others. Since becoming champion, Harry was miserable. Who could blame the kid? Everyone was upset. Everything seemed to happen to Harry and he was not adjusting well. Hermione had tried her best to help but there was not much to be done. The first task was approaching, and everyone was frozen in suspense. And he felt miserable for poor Harry, Ron was being a prat and Hermione was trying to balance her time in soothing both boys.

Chelsea noticed from afar the effect on her friends. She tried to reach out to Harry but he shrugged her off, saying he was fine. In actuality, the effect of Harry becoming an unintentional champion set the houses against one another, many were jaded from the action and did not believe Harry’s denial.

One morning with the sun shining brightly through the arched windows of the library, Elisabeth sat closely to Chelsea, Fred, George, Lee, Gideon Olivander, and another Ravenclaw named Georgina Lovelock. Georgina was in a serious debate with Lee about Harry; she was flabbergasted by what happened and angry that Cedric was not the prime focus. All of Hogwarts knew she fancied him, or so Chelsea heard. They were childhood friends. Chelsea and the others had agreed to research prior tournaments to help Harry in between their studies and Georgina was joining them to work on Arithmancy homework.

“Why don’t you just bloody sod off. Harry didn’t put his name in the goblet, someone had to have. If you’re really a smart Ravenclaw you would have figured it out.” Fred hissed. His head ached with the constant complaints he heard about Harry, the kid was a little brother to him. After spending most of a brilliant Saturday in the hospital wing, Fred and George both knew Harry wouldn’t and couldn’t have entered himself and now just wanted to help him. Madame Pomfrey made sure the de-aging process was slow to prove a point and they slightly regretted that potion. Both saw red when someone spoke ill of him. Georgina collected her books and walked off in a huff.

“You don’t have to be rude Fred,” Chelsea commented, annoyance apparent in her tune, not looking up from her research. “She meant nothing wrong, a lot of the other houses of upset by the turn of events. It is unfortunate for Harry but not everyone will agree or be nice to him.”

“Well, not all of us get to kiss Americans and live happily ever after. Sod off. It’s not like you care either.” He lashed into her without thinking. A knife cut into her skin, leaving a horrible tingling in her chest and she felt her eyes begin to water. Light from the arched windows hit her face, showing the tears threatening to fall.

“How dare you.” She seethed angrily. Her hazel eyes were ablaze with anger that no one expected from such a small girl who was known to be quiet and kind. Lee and the others stared. Most of the library stared. “You know absolutely nothing about Charles, nor have you tried. You have just been a bloody git towards him. Grow up, Fred. I don’t want to speak to you again. Grow up, you bloody prick.” She stood gripping the library table, sending daggers to Fred, who finally acknowledged what he said. The thin, underfed vulture that was Madame Pince sat at her desk, looking at the group. Waiting for them to step out of turn. “We are here to help Harry, you damned idiot! This wasn’t about bloody Charles!” She sneered before leaving in a storm of papers and textbooks.

Once no one could see her face, the tears fell down her cheeks. She made her way back to the Astronomy Tower where she continued reading on old account of the tournament, and laws and regulations to the challenges. But her thoughts were flickering between Charles and Fred. The Amortentia smell lingered in her nose, and Fred flooded her senses. What am I going to do?

Elisabeth ultimately decided to not follow her roommate but sat across from her emotional cousin. He had his face buried in his arms on the table, Fred had no idea what came over him and it pained him to know he was the one to hurt her. She was right on many accounts.

Elisabeth figured Fred fancied her roommate, and she did not like that American boy but understood the history better than anyone else at the moment. Even if it wasn’t her information to share.

“Fred, you need to apologize. You were bloody wrong. She transferred from Ilvermorny, and for a good reason. Charles Tanner, as much as we do not like him, they dated for over two years. There is a lot of history there and there was no need to be mean to him. If you fancy her, truly, you will apologize to her and Charles. He does not deserve the punishment you give him, he only kissed her. You may have a chance if you can clean up this mess. And she cares more than you think. ” She spoke calmly, placing her hands out onto the table towards Fred. George nodded in agreement. Fred got off and stalked off. Neither of them spoke or saw each other until the first task, leaving everyone on edge.

A few weeks had passed when it had come time for the first task, a buzz of excitement spread throughout Hogwarts like heat on a summer’s day in July, where the humidity touched anything in sight and seemingly slipped through nooks and crannies. Students of all Houses and schools wore appropriate colors of support as they made their way to the arena in the Forbidden Forest.

In distinct sections there were seas of blood red in support of Victor Krum, Durmstrang girls and boys and many of Slytherin’s were in that section; many from Slytherin house wore the ‘Potter Stinks’ badges. A sea of pale blue rivaled the sky in its brilliance as the silk of the Beauxbaton uniform shimmered and shinned as they moved, a few Ravenclaw’s could be seen among the crowd; many of who were boys. To one end of the stadium was the golden luster of Hufflepuff. Their numbers quite large for once and their pride for their champion could be felt. Cedric’s friends had made signs and could be heard chanting from outside. Ilvermorny found themselves between Beauxbaton and Gryffindor house, and they were as loud and full of spirit as the rest. Ilvermorny perfectly combined the blue of Beauxbaton and red of Gryffindor. By no account of her own, Chelsea found herself with Gryffindor, Elisabeth to her right and Fred to her left. George had moved next Lee with a smug smile resting on his lips.

Fred turned to look at her many times, trying to make eye contact but to no avail. Chelsea felt his eyes on her, but she was still angry. She hated crowds, hated being near all her old friends; though many waved and offered a sympathetic smile. Hated she couldn’t help Harry and was still shaken by Malfoy and the letter she received weeks before.

A whistle blows to her right, causing her to jump in her seat, almost falling into Fred’s lap. With clammy hands, he caught her off guard, before muttering an apology that went unheard. She righted herself, said thanks, and no more. Everyone else was disappointed by this interaction.

Ludo Bagman ran from the tent into the crowd, announcing Cedric. The crowd roared in excitement. With a large cloud of smoke emerged a blue-grey Swedish Short-snout. Those who cared about dragons were in awe, this dragon was rarely seen and breath-taking.

The dragon roared and breathed blue flames towards Cedric which he dodged before transfiguring a boulder into a black Labrador Retriever. Blue flames danced around the stadium, and everyone felt the heat. The dog distracted the dragon long enough for Cedric to retrieve the golden egg the dragon had been protecting. Hufflepuff roared in excitement as Cedric easily completed the challenge, and being the first to do so. Fred and George saw their brother Charlie on the side, watching and aiding with the dragons. Ludo Bagman cheered for the young man, giving his score.

After Cedric returned to the tent, out came Fleur Delacour. With another puff of smoke emerged a Common Welsh dragon, much smaller than the other dragon. With a swift flick of her wand, Fleur cast a sleeping spell on the dragon. Ludo Bagman and others questioning her decision to do so. Its large green head lowered itself to the ground and let out a snore, releasing a flame right towards Fleur. With a yelp and the smell of something burnt, Fleur looked to her skirt. The sleeping dragon set it aflame. As she put it out and grabbed the egg, Beauxbaton cheered and Fleur’s younger sister could be seen at the banister smiling proudly.

Viktor Krum’s dragon was the smallest yet, but the Chinese Fireball did not seem to like Krum and immediately went after him. Krum in turned used the conjunctivitis curse, rendering the dragon blind. From the crowd, the Weasley brothers saw Charlie shake his head. Becoming blind enraged the dragon, causing it to thrash and flail about, breaking some of its eggs in the nest. But it was distracted enough for Krum to finish the task. Durmstrang cheered as the others had.

With bated breath, the Gryffindors and Ilvermorny students waited to see who would be next. Out from the depths of the tent walked Charlie. He smiled, waved, and waited. When the smoke evaporated, there was a hush over the crowd as they reveled in the opulent Antipodean Opaleye. With its pearly scales that lined its body, glimmering as if diamonds under the sun, and glittering multi-colored eyes, the dragon scanned the crowd before locking eyes with Charles. The dragon was massive in size, larger than all those before it. Charles ran between rocks, baiting the giant. The Opaleye reared its head in defiance before releasing a magnificent red flame. From his robe, Charlie removed a vial of what seemed to be a potion. He threw it at the dragon, its almond color is seen through the crystal as it flew into the dragon’s mouth. With a cough and a short gag, the dragon swallowed it. Instantaneously the pupil-less multi-colored eyes began to droop before the dragon calmed down and turned away from Charlie, the aggression brought to peace as Charlie calmly took the egg.

All that was left was Harry. Fred and George and even Ron saw their brother pale when he realized Harry was next.

“George” Fred whispered, “Charlie’s face doesn’t look good... what in the bloody hell is next?”

“I have no bloody clue but Merlin’s beard I hope it isn’t the one he mentioned at dinner this summer that made Mum drop the treacle tarts.” Fred nodded in agreement and sat quietly.

“Which one was that?” Elisabeth whispered, almost not wanting to know. Before the boys could answer, out walked Harry. With a similar entrance to the other, on the other end of the compound, there was the Hungarian Horntail, crouched low over her clutch of eggs, her wings half-furled, her evil, yellow eyes upon him, a monstrous, scaly, black lizard, thrashing her spiked tail, heaving yard-long gouge marks in the hard ground. The crowd was making a great deal of noise, both friendly and not so much so.

“Oh, Merlin’s beard...” Chelsea breathed out, utterly terrified. Fred and George looked at each other and looked at Ron and all nodded, this was indeed the one that frightened their mum the most.

“Accio Firebolt” Harry shouted. Everyone had their eyes on him, holding their breaths, all that could be heard was the snarling of the Horntail.

And then they all heard it, speeding through the air behind him; Harry’s Firebolt hurtling toward him around the edge of the woods, soaring into the enclosure, and stopping dead in midair beside him, waiting for him to mount.

The crowd was making even more noise now; releasing the breath they held, many cheers erupting from the Gryffindor side, Ludo Bagman was shouting something while everyone watched young Harry swing his leg over the broom and kick off from the ground. He soared upwards until he was nearly out of sight. suddenly he dove, speeding towards the Hungarian Horntail.

The Horntail’s head followed him closely as she shifted around her eggs; it was as if Harry knew what it was going to do and pulled out of the dive just in time; a jet of fire had been released exactly where he would have been having he not swerved away

“Great Scott, he can fly!” yelled Bagman as the crowd shrieked and gasped. “Are you watching this, Mr. Krum?”

Harry soared higher in a circle; the Horntail was still following his progress; its head revolving on its long neck - if he kept this up, it would be nicely dizzy. Harry plummeted just as the Horntail opened its mouth, but this time he was less lucky - he missed the flames, but the tail came whipping up to meet him instead, and as he swerved to the left, one of the long spikes grazed his shoulder, ripping his robes. The crowd screaming and groan when the tail made contact, but the cut didn’t seem to be deep.

He zoomed around the back of the horntail, calculating his next move. It was in that moment that Chelsea realized the same thing he did, the Horntail didn’t seem to want to take off, she was too protective of her eggs. Though she writhed and twisted, furling and unfurling her wings and keeping those fearsome yellow eyes on Harry, she was afraid to move too far from them. He began to fly, first this way, then the other, not near enough to make her breathe fire to stave him off, but still posing a sufficient threat to ensure she kept her eyes on him. Her head swayed this way and that, watching him out of those vertical pupils, her fangs bared.

Harry flew higher. The Horntail’s head rose with him, her neck now stretched to its fullest extent, still swaying, hike a snake before its charmer...Harry rose a few more feet, and she let out a roar of exasperation. He was like a fly to her, a fly she was longing to swat; her tail thrashed again, but he was too high to reach now. She shot fire into the air, which he dodged but drawing out shouts from the crowd. Her jaws opened wide, waiting to get him. Harry continued to bait her.

And then she reared her head, spread her great black, leathery wings at last; and Harry dove. Before the dragon knew what he had done, or where he had disappeared to, he was speeding toward the ground as fast as he could go, toward the eggs now unprotected by her clawed front legs - he had taken his hands off his Firebolt - he had seized the golden egg.

And with a huge spurt of speed, he was off, he was soaring out over the stands, the heavy egg safely under his uninjured arm, and it was as though somebody had just turned the volume back up - for the first time, he became properly aware of the noise of the crowd, which was screaming and applauding as loudly as the Irish supporters at the World Cup.

“Look at that!” Bagman was yelling. “Will you look at that! Our youngest champion is the quickest to get his egg! Well, this is going to shorten the odds on Mr.Potter!“Harry saw the dragon keepers rushing forward to subdue the Horntail, and, over at the entrance to the enclosure, Professor McGonagal, Professor Moody, andHagrid hurrying to meet him, all of them waving him toward them, their smiles evident even from the distance between them.

“That was excellent, Potter!” cried Professor McGonagall when Harry landed safely- which from her was extravagant praise. The head of Gryffindor house phrased exactly how everyone felt. The crowd continued to cheer at a deafening volume. Before anyone moved, Hermione and Ron were gone, off to see Harry. Chelsea cheered, relieved of what happened, and how all made it out.

As the sea of spectators rose to leave, she and the others followed suit. Fred grabbed her arm while they were walking and pulled her behind a tree.

“Let go of me!” She nearly screeched as she glared at Fred. His face was red and sheepish. “What do you want? I told you I didn’t want to speak to you again.”

“I know that but I need to speak with you. These last few weeks have been awful and it is my fault they are this way. I am taking my shot and trying, so please, listen.” Fred grabbed her hand again and started walking. The ground was littered with fallen leaves as the air had recently turned crisp and Autumn had officially settled in. Their boots crunched in the grounded foliage.

His hand felt nice in her’s as much as she hated to admit. They walked in silence until they reached the lack. Since the start of the tasks that day, clouds flooded the sky, turning the sky dark. Fred sat at the tree line and patted the seat next to him.

“I need to be upfront with you, and I hope you listen,” he sighed, “I messed up, big time. I never meant what I said towards you and Charles. I was a git and I deserve what you gave me. In many ways, I was denying myself and hadn’t come to terms with it until I saw you kiss Charles. And I never wanted to identify it because it was something that I never encountered in my life until I met you.” He paused to look directly into her eyes. His green ones found soft, glistening eyes staring back at him for the first time in weeks. “I-I fancy you, more than I ever thought possible. But more of the point is that I am sorry. My actions hurt you and I can understand why you are upset with me and I understand if you cannot forgive me.”

They sat in silence for several minutes while Chelsea processed his words. Her world spinning out of control and she had no idea how to slow it down. Her heartbeat rapidly, threatening to escape her chest. Her mind’s eye kept looking at Charlie and Fred and was so torn.

“I forgave you a while ago, Fred. You were my first friend here and I still hope you will be that. But there is too much going on in my life at the moment to decide what you said before. Charles means a lot to me and we are still figuring some things out. My reasons for leaving Ilvermorny are hard to explain and even Charles doesn’t understand it. Seeing him again and being around him again made me realize my feelings towards him and I need to make right by him. Please understand that for me. ” She stood up and walked towards the lake, looking at the ombre fall foliage while taking deep breathes. Fred sat still for several minutes, his heart hurt from rejection but understood. From this moment on, he had to make right by her and be a better friend.

“Chelsea, I understand. I want to make right by you and be a better friend.” He forced a smile on his face when she turned and embraced him in a hug.

“Thank you, you’re a good friend.” They walked back to the castle together, better than when they had left it earlier.

Many hours after Elisabeth and everyone went to bed, Chelsea found herself in the Astronomy tower alone, reading under the moonlight. The ethereal glow washed over her, and she felt herself at night. The air shifted only slightly and Chelsea felt a shiver run down her spine.

“Did you think you could come back to this country without me knowing about you?” a voice whispered in her ear. “Your mommy couldn’t save you from Him even if she tried. He can’t wait to meet you when the time is right.” The gloved hand extended a letter towards her, and she looked towards the face to only find the mask of a Death Eater. In a blink of an eye and a throaty chuckle, they were gone. With trembling hands, she opened another letter. It was written in the same silver ink as before.

The script was messy yet written in sharp, hasty strokes, and the letter smelt of the sea. She burnt the letter and ran to the safety of her dorm. Moonlight crept through the curtains of the room she shared, and the light offered no comfort as she quietly cried herself to sleep.

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