A/N: For several weeks, I have tried to write a prequel to "For the Love
of Hufflepuff" recounting the schooldays of my original villain, Rupert
Balin. I have since abandoned the idea and decided instead to write a
sequel to FTLOH which should be coming soon. In the meantime, here is
a little vignette—actually the opening scene to my prequel—that I thought
might explain exactly why I decided I couldn't handle writing an entire
story revolving around the little SOB.
Eleven-year-old Rupert Balin's mother backed away from her son warily,
almost running into a young girl and her parents, just as they came through
the secret entrance to platform nine and three-quarters at King's Cross
station The girl, like Rupert, was laden with bundles and a trunk full
of supplies for the new year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
"I thought it best if you stay at Hogwarts over the Christmas and Easter
holidays," she said timorously, obviously fearful of the boy's response.
"I've already arranged it with Headmaster Dippet."
Rupert just smiled. As his mother prepared to breathe a sigh of relief,
he asked, "Aren't you going to kiss me goodbye?" He wouldn't miss his
mother, but she had been useful, beyond giving birth to him. She had protected
him—as much to protect herself—from prying neighbors, not to mention the
authorities. His father…well, Rupert hadn't seen his father since his
fifth birthday and that nasty incident with the kitten Daddy had foolishly
given him as a present.
His mother stiffened with fright. She looked about her, openly envious
at the sight of other mothers gratefully holding their children, smothering
them with kisses, and showering them with tears. She took a few tentative
steps towards him. The hate and fear in her eyes was as funny to Rupert
as ever. She placed a quick kiss on her son's cheek without incident and
backed away, but her escape was once again thwarted.
Rupert held out his hand. "Money."
She dug in her handbag, pulled out a leather pouch and took out a few
coins. Rupert shook his head. "All of it."
"But I need five Sickles for the Knight Bus," Mrs. Balin protested, but
then sighed and cursed under her breath as she shoved the pouch into her
son's hand. "For once in your life, Rupert, behave yourself!"
"Don't worry, Mummy," he smirked, "I'll be good." He would at least give
the appearance of being a good boy at Hogwarts. He couldn't afford to
be expelled before he learned what he needed to. As soon as he was a full-fledged
wizard he could do what he liked. Trouble was, that for reasons Rupert
himself didn't understand, it was next door to impossible for him to even
pretend to be good.
Mrs. Balin snorted and walked away towards the barrier separating platform
nine and three-quarters from the Muggle parts of the station, but not
before she pitifully begged a wealthy-looking wizard couple for bus fare.
At the sight of his mother's humiliation, Rupert laughed out loud.