TEMPUS INTERFICERE, HARRY POTTER

I. the cons of firewhiskey

𝕿he sound of rain pattering on the windows and the soft humming of the train engine was the only thing keeping Cordelia Flint awake in the late morning hours of September 1st, 1995. Her eyes felt heavy, and the pounding headache in her temples just wouldn’t go away, and the smell of the pumpkin pasties coming from the compartment across the hall (she had a strong nose) just made her want to vomit.

The previous night had been nothing but an absolute disaster; Cordelia and her older brother, Marcus, had been fortunate enough for their parents to have gone out, and, being the mischievous-seventeen-year-old he was, Marcus had managed to pick the lock on Carleton and Emilia Flint’s liquor cabinet, steal three bottles of firewhiskey, and down two while Cordelia drank the other. It wasn’t like them, truly, to drink so much alcohol in a short period of time, but they were desperate-- and what do desperate people do? Well, they drink, of course.

You see, Cordelia wasn’t really one to down all that liquid courage without a reason. In fact, she had a really, really good one: one that involved heartbreak, and she was feeling pretty fucking destroyed on the inside. There had been a dull ache in her chest for the last fortnight, and she just wanted a way for it to feel better... and Marcus just happened to offer a perfect way out.

But she was regretting it now.

The compartment door slid open, and when Cordelia opened her eyes, she was immediately hit with the strong smell of chocolate. It did not make her stomach feel any better, even though it might have on a regular day. “I brought you something to eat.”

Winifred Bulstrode’s voice made Cordelia’s head pound even harder. The girl had a tendency to be a little too overbearing, and her nagging always made her feel worse. It wasn’t the first time Winnie had tended to Cordelia’s wounds, and it definitely wouldn’t be the last. She was used to it by now, but that didn’t mean that it would make her annoyance fade.

“I’m not hungry.” She told her.

“Cordelia.” Winnie’s voice was sharp.

Cordelia raised her eyes so that her blue ones met Winnie’s brown. She narrowed them as if daring her cousin to challenge her. “I said, I’m not hungry.”

Winnie raised an eyebrow. “You’re not serious.”

“I am.” Cordelia kept her voice steady, trying now to allow her voice to shake with the pain from her head.

“But you’re always hungry,” Winnie observed, stating the blatantly obvious fact that yes, Cordelia liked to eat. She took a seat across from her and crossed her legs. “You practically eat my entire pantry when you come over!”

The girl frowned and dragged her hands over her face. “Why can’t you take no for an answer?”

“You need to eat. Take a bite of the chocolate before I shove it down your throat,” Winnie’s voice was stern, just shy of being motherly (not that Cordelia would know what that sounded like) and it made her just want to scream. She wasn’t in the mood for the girl’s antics, even though she was just trying to help. But, at the same time, her stomach growled and seemed to desperately want to take a bite out of the chocolate...

“At least take a sip of water,” said Winnie, pushing the bottle of water towards her cousin, who took it with a scowl. “You’ll feel better, I promise.”

Cordelia rubbed her temples. “And how would you know that?”

“I just have common sense, unlike someone I know...”

“Winnie.”

Winnie giggled. “No, but seriously, you’re forgetting that I live with my dad. Now drink.”

“I’m not thirsty.”

"Drink!"

Cordelia lifted the bottle to her lips reluctantly and took a sip, and before she knew it she found herself downing the whole bottle in less than a minute. It soothed her dry throat and did not quite make her headache go away, but she did feel a tad bit better. She had to admit the fact that Winnie actually knew what she was talking about, and she wasn’t about to give the eldest Bulstrode girl the satisfaction.

Even so, as she somehow always did, Winnie could just tell that Cordelia’s demeanor changed, because she said with a knowing smile, “You feel better, don’t you?”

“No.” This was a bloody fucking lie.

“Just admit it, I was right, and you were wrong.”

“Oh, shut it.”

Winnie opened her mouth to retort but was unable to as the compartment door slid open again-Cordelia saw her eyes widen as she laid eyes on who had walked in, immediately biting her tongue as a frown replaced the smile that had been on her face.

“Look who it is, my future wife!” said Theodore Nott as he took the seat beside Winnie, draping his arm over her shoulders. She squirmed out of the entanglement and stood up straight just as someone else walked into the compartment, lips pulled back into a thin line.

Claire Tamashiro, dressed like the others in her robes and green tie ( the only thing out of place was the large phoenix hairpin in her hair ), glanced over in Cordelia’s direction, raised a questioning eyebrow, and then turned in the way of Theo and Winnie, where instantly her face contorted into an expression of annoyance as she saw Winnie snap her hand up as Theo tried to grab onto it. “Oh, god, not this again. Theo, leave the poor girl alone!”

“No can do, Clairo, that poor girl owns my heart and soul.” Theo placed his hand over where his heart should be. Cordelia watched Winnie scowl as the girl stared down at the boy who was fighting for her affection and let a small smile grace her features. She kind of enjoyed the tension and seeing Winnie squirm.

“And that is my cue to leave,” stated Winnie blatantly, letting out a breath of air. She was at the door when she grabbed onto the handle and pointed her finger at her cousin. “Eat the chocolate. Clarie, make sure Cordelia eats. She was drinking last night, and-”

“Again?” Claire glanced over her shoulder to where Cordelia was curled up in the seat as Winnie sighed.

“Yes, again. I’m leaving now, take care of Cordelia and let me know if she protests.” She shot a glare at Cordelia, who pretended not to take notice as she stared in the opposite direction.

As she turned to leave, Theo called after her, “One day you’ll fall in love with me!”

Winnie gave him a look and rolled her hazel eyes. “One day you’ll get your head out of your arse.” She shook her head at him, obviously annoyed, and then slid out of the compartment and turned the corner, out of sight. Claire immediately broke into a fit of giggles.

“Theo, what the bloody hell is wrong with you!”

Theo jut out his lip. “She doesn’t love me as I love her. What a shame.”

“She’s not going to love you if you keep pestering,” groused Cordelia, pulling her knees up to her chest and wrapping her arms around them. “Can you both please be quiet? My head feels like it’s about to explode.”

“Maybe you would feel better if you ate the chocolate, Cordelia,” Claire spoke, watching her friend with caution. “Just take a bite.”

Cordelia raised her head to look Claire in the eyes and said, with a menacing glare, “Don’t test me.”

Claire gave Theo a questioning look, but he merely shrugged. They shared the look for a moment before she returned her attention to the girl, saying, “Cordelia.”

“What now, Claire?”

“You were drinking,” replied Claire, taking the seat previously occupied by Winnie, “And you only do that if you’re stressed.”

“Nothing’s wrong.” Cordelia’s reply was blunt, but her friends knew better-- even Theo, who could sometimes be as dumb as a beetle: he truly was intelligent, he just sometimes decided to not use his brain, and Cordelia was sometimes grateful for it. She would rather have him say nothing than say something stupid.

“Where’s Zacharias?”

A harsh laugh burst out of Cordelia’s lips. Claire sat up a little straighter as she fumed, “He’s probably with Greengrass. The stuck up bitch.”

“What are you talking about, Cory?” Theo’s voice practically dropped an octave, and Cordelia had to be wary of the fact that if she told the truth, Theodore Nott would not hesitate to beat Zacharias Smith’s arse-- so, she stayed silent, simply turning her head and staring out the window. She palmed her forehead, getting more and more impatient waiting for her headache to disappear. It didn’t help that Theo was getting angrier by the second. “What did he do? Do I need to-”

Cordelia held up her hand. “No. I’m stopping you right there.”

“What did he do, Cordelia?” Theo demanded, and Cordelia knew then and there that he was being serious-- he almost never called her by her full name.

She took in a shuddery breath, pretending that her eyes had not just watered up and tears were threatening to spill down her face. “I might have caught him with another girl.”

Theo went to stand as Claire slapped her hand over her mouth, but when the boy got to his feet, he was immediately pulled back down with Claire’s other hand. “Don’t you dare.”

“I want to go confront him.”

“Theo,” expressed Claire, “I have this odd feeling that she doesn’t want you to...”

“Does it look like I give a crap?” He said harshly, trying to yank himself out of Claire’s grip.

“Theo, don’t.” Cordelia prayed. “Please.”

Theo leaned back in the chair and gave the girls a look. Then he let out a yelp as Claire’s hand hit the back of his head. “Listen to Cordelia and I won’t hurt you again, got it?”

“Fine, fine,” Theo complained. “But how about this, Cory, you eat the chocolate, and I won’t go talk to Zach. How’s that?”

“No! I’m not eating the fucking chocolate, how many times do I need to tell you-”

“Okay, then, I’m going to have a word with Smith.” Theo stood up again, but Cordelia shot up out of her seat and pinned him down-- he smirked as she stood over him, breathing heavily. “That’s what I thought.”

“Where’s the chocolate?” asked Cordelia, and Theo took the chocolate from beside him and handed it to her. She sat back down and unwrapped the wrapper. “I don’t want to eat it.”

Claire readjusted her phoenix pin. “You take a bit and I’ll eat the rest, okay?”

The brunette nodded and took a small bite out of the head of the chocolate frog. Immediately, she felt all the tension from her body release and her headache seemed to almost completely vanish.

Fuck. Winnie was right, wasn’t she? That wasn’t a surprise, though, she was always bloody correct-- but Cordelia didn’t expect anything less from the only lion in the family. They were wankers, but that didn’t mean they were any less brilliant. She took another small bite of the chocolate frog and handed the rest over to Claire just as the train came to a halt. It seemed that the rain had let up in the last few minutes, and the clouds still remained high in the gray sky, but at least she was finally feeling better.

‘Better’ was the keyword. She hardly ever felt good, but that was beside point.

Theo was finally able to stand without being pushed back into his seat. He wrapped his robe tightly around himself as the cold weather finally started to reach the students on the express, and Cordelia pulled herself up and out of her seat as well. She followed him out of the compartment as Claire followed close behind.

“Who did you see Zach with?” she questioned, her eyes trained on the windows of the other compartments.

“None other than Daphne fucking Greengrass,” replied Cordelia, turning her head to look at Claire. When she turned back around to take the step off the train, her body collied with another, nearly knocking them off the steps. “Bloody hell!” Her heart picked up pace as she processed the fact that she had nearly injured someone. They disembarked the train and, when they turned around, Cordelia nearly had a bloody fucking heart attack.

She just ran into Harry Potter.

Harry Potter held out a hand to help her off, and she stepped down lightly. She let go of his hand, which was oddly sweaty (maybe he was nervous?), and said apologetically, “Sorry about that.”

“Erm, it’s okay,” said Harry, and he shoved his hands into the pockets of his robes as his friends came up beside him. Hermione Granger gave Cordelia a polite smile, but Ron Weasley and his Slytherin-despising self gave her a disgusted look, which made Granger slap him in the arm, saying Ronald, be nice. Harry gave her an awkward wave as the trio got onto the last remaining spots on the carriage.

“Well,” said Claire, “That was awkward.”

Cordelia snorted. “No kidding. Let’s get out of here before Zach catches up to us, yeah?”

“I don’t think you’ll need to worry about that,” replied Claire, and she inclined her head in the direction of the other train exits where other carriages were picking up students. Cordelia saw Winnie getting on the carriage, followed by Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan, but just before the carriage drove off, the figure of her recently ex-boyfriend hopped in the remaining seat. She felt bile creep up the back of her throat as she watched them off-- and she knew that shit was about to go down just by seeing the face of Winnie’s sister, Millicent, on that same very carriage.

“How much do you want to bet that Winnie will have yelled at someone by the time we get up there?” Cordelia asked Claire as they got into the next carriage.

“I don’t see how you can tell that she’s going to yell at someone,” Claire replied.

“Oh, just watch,” Cordelia answered, a smile creeping onto her lips. “You’re in for a treat.”

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