TEMPUS INTERFICERE, HARRY POTTER

IV. the tales of daphne greengrass

FLASHBACK

𝕿he morning of August 18th, 1995 was off to a good start, minus the fact that the blaring heatwave was making Cordelia’s head pound almost more painfully than the previous weekend, where she had practically drowned herself in two bottles of her parents finest Firewhiskey. She wasn’t going to be doing that again in the near future, she knew that as a fact... but Marcus Flint, her older brother and also partner-in-crime, could say that his little sister did not often stray from her bad habits: one being, for example, her inability to stop drinking (and stealing) her parents’ liquor when she was very, very stressed.

The sibling duo walked together through the streets of Diagon Alley, their parents Carleton and Emilia Flint following close behind them as they strode through the sea of people. Marcus was careful to adjust his clothing, a forest green shirt and navy blue jeans, and fix his hair every time they passed a shop window, and never missed an opportunity to wink at any girl he found attractive as she passed. Usually, it would be a girl from school-- in fact, Melinda Fernsby, Ravenclaw and also Head girl, gave him a disgusted look when he winked, walking quicker to get out of his way. Marcus had looked at Cordelia and said, with a defeated look, “Today isn’t my day, is it?” To which Cordelia snorted in response.

“Cordelia, Marcus,” Emilia’s voice rang out from behind them, prompting the two to turn their heads to face the woman. She had stopped walking, hands clasped in front of her, as her husband moved to clasp his hand on his son’s shoulder. “Your father and I are going to meet with a friend. Get your supplies, and you’re to meet back here--” she gestured to the storefront that was called Terrourtours, a travel agency, “--in two hours. Do not be late.”

Cordelia and Marcus both nodded their heads. Carleton handed both his children a small sack of coins which they pocketed immediately. “Spend as much as you like. Get something to eat, too, because we’ll be home late tonight.”

Their parents turned and began walking in the opposite direction without a goodbye to their children, prompting Cordelia to raise an eyebrow as Marcus simply stared after them. He turned to his sister and said, “Interesting. Wonder who it is.”

“Lucius Malfoy, no doubt,” replied Cordelia, turning on her heel and walking down the stone street. Marcus quickly checked his hair in the shop window before following. “Surprised he didn’t bring Draco with him, though. He’s always making us stay with him.”

Marcus snickered. “Not our fault that the blonde bimbo can’t tell right from wrong.”

Cordelia looked at him with a look that said loud and clear, are you stupid? “Neither can you, dumbass. You--”

The eldest Flint held up his hand to shut her up. “I don’t need details, thank you very much.”

“You sure? Because I remember--”

“Cordelia, shut your mouth, please.” Marcus shook his head and turned the corner. Cordelia nearly had to run to catch up with him-- at six-foot-three, Marcus Flint walked at the same pace at which Cordelia ran. “We’re going to the Quidditch shop first.”

“No! You just got a new broom, you dingus!” Cordelia let out a sigh. “I don’t need to go to the supply shop, Marcus, I don’t even play Quidditch.”

It was too late. Marcus was already walking through the door, and Cordelia had to follow him in. The ding of a bell sounded as they stepped through into the threshold holding the many, many broomsticks, and she immediately wanted to leave. Marcus looked around, and when his eyes landed on a pair of gloves (the matching ones for his Nimbus 2001-- he didn’t have those yet... ), he said with a grin, “I could use a pair of new gloves... might have to go take a look!”

“Marcus!” Cordelia gritted her teeth and tried to grab onto his arm but he jerked it out of her reach.

“Calm down, Delia. Go get a bite to eat or something while I look around. I might be awhile...”

“We have to stay together, though,” huffed Cordelia, crossing her arms over her chest.

“They didn’t specifically say we had to.” pointed out Marcus as he inspected the new Quaffle by Nimbus. His eyes quickly snapped to the door as Melinda Fernsby entered the store with her father. “Besides, I have some business to take care of.”

Cordelia followed his gaze and saw the older girl, and nodded. “Ah, of course. What a ladies man.” She leaned in close to whisper in his ear (she had to get on her tip-toes in order to do so. Cordelia hated that he was so tall), “You’re business--” she used her finger’s to make air quotes, “is something that I doubt Mel Fernsby would like to encounter.”

Marcus shot her a glare, whisper-shouting, “And how would you know that?”

“You’re not as lucky with the girls as you might think. They think you’re a jerk, Marcus.” Cordelia was still whispering as she poked him in the chest with her finger. “You just want to get in their pants, and--”

“Just shut up!”

“Fine then, If you won’t believe me,” Cordelia lowered herself back onto her feet, backing out of the way so someone could walk past. “Then I’ll just let you embarrass yourself.”

“I’m not going to embarrass myself,” scoffed Marcus, rolling his eyes. Cordelia quirked an eyebrow.

“You are. Trust me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have better things to be doing than putting up with your rubbish!” She turned on her heel and exited the shop, pushing her way through the door just as someone tried to get through. She muttered a weak apology that she doubted they heard as she turned the corner and out of the line of sight of her brother.

She walked down the busy street, her feet carrying her and deciding where her next stop would be rather than her brain. She stopped outside Madam Cornwell’s Cafe, taking in the sight of brightly-colored umbrellas and the vibrant letters hanging over the door, and opted to drown herself in tea here rather than the odd-looking coffee shop next door. She opened the door, which, like Quality Quidditch Supplies, dinged a bell as it popped open. She made her way to the counter and stepped behind the man who was currently in line, staring at the menu as she waited for her turn to order.

When it came, she ordered her usual tea (black, with two sugar cubes and a small amount of milk, quite the normal thing for any English person to drink), paid, and found a seat under the window on the opposite side of the cafe. Cordelia usually didn’t like to sit on her own, but it had to do because Marcus was likely still trying to get Mel Fernsby to notice him and her parents were off with who-knows-who at who-knows-where, leaving her alone for the moment. Letting her eyes wander she spotted a familiar face sitting alone at a table meant for two on the opposite end of the floor-- her boyfriend, Hufflepuff Zacharias Smith. She furrowed her brow and suddenly found herself very paranoid, because hadn’t he told her he had already visited Diagon Alley for his supplies and had plans with his family that morning, and because of that they weren’t going to be able to meet as they planned?

She tried not to let it bother her as the waitress brought over her tea. She sipped it as she attempted to read his body language, trying to convince herself that this was the plan he had with his family, but when she spotted the bag of books and a new robe hanging out of a shopping bag at his feet, her heart fell into her stomach. He lied.

What was so important that he had to lie about already getting his school materials? They had met up for the last three years straight (second year, when they were best friends, third year, still best friends, and fourth-year when they were just a few months into their relationship), obviously when she was able to get away from her parents of course, but he had specifically said he wasn’t going to be able to this time. So what was the big deal--

Then she saw it. A girl, who she recognized as her fellow dorm mate Daphne Greengrass, brought two cups of tea (or coffee? She knew that Zach never drank coffee, and he only would drink tea if it was an herbal tea because he was just that picky) and sat down at the table. She set his teacup down in front of him, and he most likely said a ‘thank you’ (Cordelia couldn’t tell, she was too far away to hear their conversation). As watched the two talk, she felt as if she had been slapped across the face by Zach himself as he put his hand over Daphne’s, leaning in as if to kiss her. Kiss her! Zach was her boyfriend! Which means, off-limits! Seems like someone didn’t get the hint...

Cordelia’s eyes widened and tears filled them as their lips connected, moving so in sync as if they had done this before. She felt one slip down her face as her hands started to shake violently, and she couldn’t bear to drink anymore. She stood up, her chair nearly flying backward due to the force of it, and she felt her heart break into pieces as she stormed angrily (and very, very upset) out of the cafe. She heard her name being called behind her in Zach’s voice, who had ultimately spotted her (which means that she failed to keep herself hidden from him. What a shame), and the sounds of footsteps and the voice of the boy she loved followed her as she tried to find her brother, who was the only one whose arms she wanted to be in right now.

(So, as one could tell, these emotions were something that Cordelia was not pleased in having to relive again. Watching Daphne’s smug face pretend to be one of pain and sadness made her want to retch. She absolutely did not want to hear the tales of Daphne fucking Greengrass, because she knew she was going to be sick.)

Daphne was still quiet as she and Cordelia walked together out onto the campus grounds. Their footsteps echo had vanished as they ended up outside, and Cordelia took in a breath of the fresh, afternoon air which (sort of, not really) helped calm her nausea. She waited anxiously for Daphne to speak, and as the girl in question was still looking at anywhere but her with her fingers still twiddling nervously in her hands, Cordelia had had it. “Get on with it!”

Daphne’s eyes snapped to Cordelia’s face, which was pale, and the rosy color that usually adorned her cheeks was gone. She was quite clearly and rightfully upset. “Okay. Um, how do I start--”

“Just please, start! I don’t care how you do it, I just want to get this over with.” Cordelia sounded (and looked!) exasperated, her arms folded tightly over her chest as she stared intently at Daphne, who gulped nervously. She sat down on one of the benches, while the other, much angrier girl thought to herself that she would rather stand just so she could get the hell out of this situation as soon as possible when the time was right.

“Well, you see,” said Daphne, clasping her hands together in her lap so she would stop nervously moving them. She sucked in a breath. “We had been seeing each other for a few weeks by the time you had seen... us, at Madam Cornwall’s.”

Cordelia’s heart sank again. The look of absolute boredom and anxiety was immediately replaced with one of shock. “A few weeks? A few weeks! Are you fucking kidding me?”

“I’m not. And I wish I was,” Daphne added, seeing Cordelia’s pale face get even whiter. “I swear. It meant nothing to me.”

Cordelia scoffed and twisted her tongue in her mouth. “You’re telling me that I visited him and cried in his fucking arms while he was messing around with you?”

Daphne nodded, making Cordelia groan with displeasure. “And don’t give me that stupid ‘it meant nothing’ because that’s what they all say. That’s what fucking Deirdre Wallace said before she cheated on Marcus with a muggle over summer! And now she and the muggle are so in love and she’s pregnant at seventeen, going to a muggle school.”

“What does that have to do with--”

“It has everything to do with the situation, Daphne!” Cordelia was yelling now, getting some of the other students in the vicinity’s attention. “I gave myself to him and you took that away from me. I loved him.”

Daphne bit her lip. “You still love him.”

“Of course I do. But we’re not together because you fucking ruined it for me. The one time I’m happy, it all falls apart because of a fucking bitch--”

“I didn’t know you two were together!” Daphne cut in angrily, getting to her feet.

“That’s rubbish!” Cordelia spat, taking a step backward. “It’s not like we were the talk of the school after we showed up to the Yule Ball together or anything.”

“Cordelia, you know that’s not what I meant.” Daphne’s voice was soft as she spoke, trying to reason with the girl who’s temper was going off the rails.

“No, I don’t know what you meant. Enlighten me.”

“You’re not going to like it.”

“I don’t like this whole fucking situation!” she hissed. She dug her heel into the grassy floor as more onlookers started to gather. She paid them absolutely no attention.

“He told me you cheated on him,” said the youngest Greengrass, staring up at the other girl, whose eyes widened in surprise and her hand drifted to her mouth. “With Draco Malfoy.”

Cordelia stood there stunned, as did the onlookers-- she heard whispers among them, saying things like ‘We knew she always had a thing for him!’ and ’Of course she would cheat on Zacharias! She’s Marcus Flint’s sister!′ And as they talked among themselves in low voices, she decided that she couldn’t ignore them any longer: she turned to them slowly and said with a dead stare, “Get the hell out of here. Now!”

Most of them scurried around the pillars and out of sight but a few, like Draco fucking Malfoy himself, stood still beside Pansy Parkinson, whose face had turned a beet red as she stared at her boyfriend in disbelief. “What did you say, Daphne?” Draco’s voice was cold and menacing, which was not far from his usual voice, but it was sure as hell intimidating. Not to Cordelia, of course, having grown up with the bastard, but to Daphne and her sensitive self, it was definitely something that would make her explode with anxiety.

Daphne stared at the three Slytherins, who were all glowering at her now. “He told me you cheated on him with Malfoy, and you two were broken up. I believed him. And I’m so sorry, Cordelia.”

“It’s true, then?” said Pansy, her eyes filled with tears as she looked from Draco to Cordelia. They both immediately shook their heads.

“No, Zach was lying! I swear to it,” said Cordelia, moving closer to Pansy, but the girl put her hands in front of her to guard herself. “Pansy, I’m being serious. I was in love with that son of a bitch--” she stopped for a moment, looked to Draco, and then continued: “--not that son of a bitch, but you know who I mean. Hell, I still am in love with him.”

“She’s right,” said Draco, entering the conversation himself. He wrapped his arm around Pansy who let a tear fall. She wiped it away hurriedly with the back of her hand as he squeezed her comfortably. “We never... had any, well, encounters. We’re just friends. We have been since we were little, too. Family friends.”

Pansy huffed. “You promise?”

Draco nodded, and then Pansy threw her arms around him and cried into his shoulder. He patted her on the back (Cordelia noticed it was in a very, very awkward way, as if he didn’t know what the hell to do with himself), giving Cordelia a grateful smile as Pansy poured all her emotions onto his robes.

Daphne cleared her throat. “Cordelia?”

She spun around to look Daphne in the eye. “What?”

“Do you believe me?”

“I... I guess,” replied Cordelia with a shrug of her shoulders. “It just hurts that he would lie about that, you know? I mean, you wouldn’t know. Or maybe you would? I honestly have no idea. I’m sorry--”

“Don’t apologize. It’s on me, I should’ve probed him more. And it doesn’t help that he’s a good liar.” Daphne said with a sad laugh, making Cordelia chuckle. She remembered a particular incident, while over Christmas break the year prior, Zacharias had told his parents that he was going to stay at Hogwarts over the break but in reality, he stayed in an empty room (one of six) in the Flint Manor (yes, Cordelia’s family is wealthy. No, she isn’t spoiled-- in fact, she often refuses expensive gifts and/or large sums of money that will somehow end up on her bed), and her parents somehow never found out! Never! But, in her defense, they were on a two-week-long vacation to the Netherlands with the Notts, so they were able to do absolutely nothing but drink, smoke, and do other things (if you know what she means) while Marcus snuck girls in and out of the house as Theodore lazed around the house and Winnie occasionally making herself welcome to the Flint family home and turning a blind eye to her cousin’s unruly shenanigans.

“Look, I’m still really sorry, Cordelia,” said Daphne. She rubbed her elbow. “You don’t deserve any of it. If it makes you feel better, I’m pissed at him too for playing me like that, you know?”

“Yeah, I get it. And sorry I snapped at you,” Cordelia apologized, giving her former friend (or was she a friend now? She didn’t know)a soft smile. “You didn’t deserve that, either.”

Daphne grinned. “Thanks, Cordelia.” She opened her mouth as if she was going to say something else, but she closed it again. She paused for a moment, obviously deep in thought, before saying, “Are we okay?”

Cordelia nodded. “Yeah. Thanks for telling me all of that. Now I can actually fucking put him in his place when I see him.”

Daphne let a smirk form on her face. “Speaking of... wouldn’t it be funny if, you know, we got him back together? I mean, Winnie already did that stunt this morning at breakfast. But we should confront him together because--”

Cordelia finished her sentence: “He would never expect us to be talking. I’m usually too fucking stubborn.”

“Yeah. Not in a bad way, though.”

“Sure. Sure.”

The two girls finally shared a mindset-- they were both feeling the same way towards a boy that fucked them over. For Daphne, it was for lying and pretending he was single. But for Cordelia, it was the fact that the boy she loved, so much, had betrayed her in such a brutal way. And she was going to destroy him, with or without help, so Daphne suggesting that they do it together was just a bonus. And so, when Cordelia walked away from the girl that late afternoon, she decided that hearing the tales of Daphne Greengrass wasn’t a bad thing after all, but it could be good in the end-- just not for Zacharias, of course.

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