Most Charming Smile
Two: The Lion and the Fan Club
week brought two issues of Witch Weekly (the advance issue and the
regular one), more homework than ever (“O.W.L.s are next year,” Erin
reasoned), and of course, the first meeting of the Charms Club. Romilda’s first
week had gone by in a flash. The initial week of school had always felt to
Romilda like one big social event-- the kind of obligatory event where one must
smile a lot, say “Hello, how are you?” to everyone, and appear to be perfectly
comfortable and in the swing of things. In reality, the first week of school
was a perfect nightmare of really bad haircuts, failed trends, and reprimands
Romilda’s disappointment, Harry Potter sightings were few and far between,
though Harry Potter gossip was at an all time high. The girls in her dormitory
giggled excessively and had started a small collage with photos and clippings
of Harry. Most of the pictures had been taken from newspapers or magazines, but
Kate Tarleton revealed a collection of real photos she’d received from her
cousin’s friend’s brother in fifth year. These mainly depicted Harry Potter
doing regular, everyday activities that would’ve been unremarkable except for
the fact that it was Harry Potter doing them.
creepy,” Audrey sniffed when Romilda told her about the dormitory shrine.
“Taking pictures of someone without their knowing?”
creepy. It’s exclusive.”
“We’ve got a
picture of him in our dormitory,” Erin said. “But it’s just the one.
Charity Overton pasted him over one of the Quidditch Players on her Tornadoes poster.”
Audrey looked as if she had
a thing or two to say about Charity Overton’s Tornadoes poster, but she was
only able to mouth them, as Halimeda had selected that moment to take her turn
at the Silencing Charm. Audrey was surprised for a moment, then relaxed back to
her smirk. Silencing Charms were typically an O.W.L. level charm, but Professor
Flitwick had agreed to let the Charms Club tackle it with the ambitious younger
“Please use your toads, not
your partners,” a Club Officer chided, casting a quick Finite incantatum
on Audrey before moving on to another silent student.
“My toad isn’t making any
noise to begin with,” Romilda complained loudly, tapping it on the back with
her wand, which prompted no sound.
“It’s probably been silenced
so many times that the residue of the charm has permanently affected it,”
“Perhaps we should use it on
Audrey more often in that case.”
Audrey rolled her eyes. It
was a wonder that she didn’t have eye strain or a tick. “If the Silencing Charm
leaves a residue, we wouldn’t have to recast it on our Fwooper every single
month. It’s my grandmother’s,” she added quickly.
It was a quick save, though
probably not a truthful one. Fwoopers were possibly the most annoying creatures
in the Wizarding World. As they were all but banned by the Ministry of Magic in
the seventies, Romilda had never actually heard one. However, Charms Today
accused the birds’ song of being the inspiration behind the nine-stringed saw—
the sound of choice at such celebrations as Deathday celebrations. Romilda had
never been to one of these either, but she had attended an undead
orchestral performance with her parents in which a nine-string saw had had a
solo. This experience had been enough to make her wary of the Fwooper fad. She
thanked her lucky stars that Fwooper keeping had been a short-lived trend shot
down by Witch Weekly only a week after they first promoted the pet.
Audrey had probably begged
and begged for a Fwooper during the week that they had been cool and now she was stuck with it. Romilda tucked
this piece of information away for later.
“Anyway—“Audrey jumped right
back into a new topic, clearly wanting to forget her Fwooper slip. “—as I was
saying before you interrupted me— Charity Overton told Jade Pucey that she
heard from Ernie Macmillan that Harry Potter won a bottle of love potion in
“She didn’t tell me that!”
“It was a long time ago.
Like, last Monday or something,” explained Audrey, waving Erin off. “She
probably just forgot to mention it.”
“I can’t believe she’d tell
something to Jade Pucey before she’d tell her own housemate.” Erin seemed a
little hurt, possibly too hurt to realize the implications of Harry Potter
possessing a bottle of love potion.
“What could Harry Potter
possibly need love potion for? What kind of love potion? I wonder who he’ll use
it on.” Romilda pouted, eyes cast down on her toad. “That’s totally unfair.”
Double unfair! Not only did The Gorgeous Green-Eyed One not need a love potion,
he would probably waste it on some undeserving, soppy-eyed girl.
“Maybe Cho Chang,” suggested
Audrey. “Or his friend Granger.”
“I heard that he had a thing
with Ron Weasley’s sister,” added Erin knowledgably.
Romilda laughed. “Where did
you hear that? He’s never had anything going with Ginny that I’ve heard about.”
She wondered momentarily if perhaps Harry Potter had dated Ginny Weasley
without her knowing about it. But no-- “Ginny is dating Dean Thomas, the cute
artistic one in sixth year.”
“Maybe he will use it on
Cho,” said Halimeda, who was pocketing her wand. “She was pretty unimpressed
with him last year. And as for Hermione Granger, it doesn’t sound to me as
though Harry Potter would need a love potion for her. You read Witch
Unfortunately, the whole
world seemed to share Hermione Granger’s feelings for Harry Potter. He was the
desire of every girl Romilda knew. He was tall, athletic, and fearless. His
hairstyle was imitated by rock star Kirley Duke of the Weird Sisters. There was
no doubt that he could date whomever he chose to—even the Cho Changs of the
world who couldn’t possibly begin to understand him.
“I’m going to head to the
library,” Halimeda said, breaking Romilda of her train of thought. “I told my
study group I’d meet them there if we finished Charms early.”
“Are we finished?” asked
Audrey, looking relieved. “This is so boring.”
“I don’t know if the club is
collectively finished, but I certainly am,” Halimeda replied airily. “This is
easy. I got it on the first try.”
Audrey jumped to her feet
and followed Halimeda to the door. “If you’re leaving, I’m leaving. See you
They slipped out unnoticed,
leaving Romilda and Erin to tend to two stubbornly
quiet but unsilenced toads. The Silencing Charm might be easy for Halimeda in
all of her Ravenclaw glory, but Romilda had found it difficult and boring.
There was no way she would be able to concentrate on the task of learning it
when Harry Potter was in the castle somewhere, trying to decide which girl to
give his love potion to.
The situation called for
lots of mysterious smile (as mystery was said to be the #1 trait sought by
young men, according to Young and Magical), lots of lip gloss
(Peachy-Keen flavor) and a way to hook Harry Potter’s attention. They were
halfway through the second week of school— someone must have worked out his
schedule by now. She could make a point of passing him in the corridors between
every class and sit reasonably far away from him at meals (though not so close
that she looked like she was trying to get close). Witch Weekly
had recommended subtlety: the trick was to appear available but uninterested.
As she walked back to
Gryffindor tower with the other Charms Club Gryffindors, Romilda thought hard
about what to do. Opportunities usually presented themselves in a timely
manner, and Romilda trusted that her destiny would fulfill itself naturally.
She shouldn’t push for things this week— that’s what her horoscope said.
Romilda was one of the last
people to climb through the portrait hole. Half the group of people she’d been
walking with had scurried over to the announcement bulletin on the other side
of the common room and become part of a larger, louder group. Romilda hurried
over to see what the commotion was about.
“Tryouts for Quidditch!”
Kate Tarleton exclaimed, running up to Romilda and clapping her hands together
excitedly. “I’m going to do it.”
mysteriously—it was almost natural now— and then grinned broadly. I told you
so! Her intuitive inner voice bragged. It was the perfect opportunity, and
she hadn’t had to push for it at all. The news had even come to her without her
needing to push to the front of the crowd. Saturday would be the day.
* * *
As the weekend approached,
Romilda found herself at the center of a Quidditch revolution. Of course, she
wasn’t surprised that half the girls in Gryffindor were knocking on her door
begging for favors, tips, and miracles. Romilda had the golden answer to the
one big Quidditch question on every girl’s mind:
“What do I do with my hair?”
Romilda smiled inwardly and
outwardly as more people squashed into the fourth year’s dorm, seeking last
minute hair and make-up help. It wasn’t even six in the morning yet, tryouts
were hours away, and Romilda felt oddly relaxed among the frantic girls around
her. Some were groggy and puffy-eyed, but most of them seemed not to have slept
at all and Romilda nearly despaired over the bags under so many otherwise
lovely eyes. She herself had had a round eight hours of sleep.
“You should have come to me
last night,” Romilda chided a fifth year as she tried to lasso an unruly amount
of hair with a length of ribbon. “I could’ve done a twelve-hour Mane-Taming
She tapped the ribbon with
her wand and muttered a simple reinforcement charm to keep it from coming
loose. Turning slowly and stepping carefully over the many girls sitting on the
ground, Romilda made her way over to her own bed to supervise Kate’s braiding.
Privately, Romilda felt that she was the superior stylist, but Kate had offered
her help. Just as she was about to make a comment about wandwork versus
handwork, a troupe of wet-haired first and second years appeared.
“Over here, ladies,” Romilda
trilled, jumping from her bed to the next. The curtain was closed, but Romilda
sailed right through it. There was a squawk of dismay from the lump of blankets
within. “Hey, Leslie. I need your bed.”
Leslie Stimpson sat up with
a tired but furious look on her face. “You broke my Soundproofing Charm,” she
rasped, and then caught sight of the crowd outside the curtain. “What are you doing
“Quidditch tryouts are this
Romilda had never pegged
Leslie for a Harry Potter fan, but she was soon blow-drying the hair of younger
students like a pro. The promise of a hair charm and Quidditch with Harry could
motivate anyone, Romilda decided. She returned to her work of curling, twisting
and scenting hair and tuned into Stephanie Caldwell reading horror stories from
the new Young and Magical.
“‘I ran to the loos and
realized that the charm had also turned my hair purple. I panicked, and
immediately tried to Apparate home. In my hurry, I splinched myself’”—Stephanie
paused here to let the girls nearest to her groan and clap hands over their
mouths— “’leaving behind all of my hideously hued hair and my left leg. When
the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad showed up at my flat, the dreamy squad
leader handed me my purple hair and said “Here’s your wig, madam.” I was too
embarrassed to correct him, so I let them reattach my leg and had to have a
friend fix my hair after the A.M.R.S. left.’”
By this time the whole room
was listening. Horror stories commanded attention like nothing else Romilda had
ever encountered. Stephanie Caldwell had the perfect voice for reading them so
that even the dumb ones sounded unbearably
traumatizing. That was probably why she was so popular— that, and the fact that
she shared a room with Ginny Weasley, whose brother Ron was Harry Potter’s best
“Here’s an appropriate one,”
said Stephanie. “‘A few years ago, I spent the summer with an older relative
who needed help with yard work. The roof needed a new Impervius Charm, and
though I am a terrible flier, I insisted on going up to recast it myself. I was
only a few feet off the ground when I lost my grip on the handle and fell. The
broom drifted away across the street, and before I could catch it, it had
crashed right through the window of another house. Horrified, I knocked on the
door only to come face to face with my Hogwarts crush. I explained about my
fall, but could never look him in the face after that.’”
A new kind of silence filled
the room that had nothing to do with the fact that the story hadn’t been the juiciest, most embarrassing one.
practiced Quidditch since August,” stammered a seventh year with perfectly
crafted curls, courtesy of Romilda.
“I haven’t been
on a broom since last winter,” another girl said, pulling anxiously on her face
and smearing some of the glitter.
The first years
on Leslie’s bed all exchanged worried looks. “I’ve never been on a broom
before,” one of them confessed.
hours slipped away as they camped out in the packed dormitory. Anxiety mingled
with the fumes from the hair potions and curling charms as the conversation
turned to flying fears. Everyone was worried about making fools out of
themselves in front of the Gorgeous One. Romilda also saw many of her hair-dos
exchanged for supposedly more Quidditch practical styles. As they marched in
procession through the common room and out through the castle, she felt
privately that it would now take a small miracle to earn any of these girls
Harry Potter’s love potion.
practices for tryouts,” Romilda reassured Kate for the umpteenth time.
They had arrived at the pitch with their group of prancing girls. She reapplied
her trusty peach lip gloss and smoothed her fringe to one side. Had there been an actual category for appearance, Romilda
would have received a top score.
As Harry Potter marched on
to the pitch, he seemed to survey the potentials with a professional air.
Romilda had a sudden image of him lifting the Quidditch World Cup trophy to his
lips, kissing it, and thanking his beautiful Romilda for being such an
inspiration from the moment he met her. She laughed this vision off
good-naturedly, as Harry was already an inspired Seeker and thus needed no
inspiration from anyone. It would be more likely that he would thank her for
her support and unique understanding.
First, though, she would
have to catch his eye.
With a start, Romilda
snapped to mysterious smile attention: for a moment, she thought that Harry
Potter had been looking right at her. But no— he was greeting Cormac McLaggen.
Cormac was a distant cousin, and Romilda was only thankful that his burly frame
had clearly not made it into her own branch of the gene pool. When Cormac
slouched off to the side, Harry Potter cupped his hands and called for
Romilda (and several other
girls) giggled as the echoing pitch fell instantly silent and Harry looked charmingly
startled at his own power and influence. He mumbled, cleared his throat, and
asked for them to split into groups of ten. Romilda braced herself against the sudden rush of nerves and adrenaline that rushed over her
and looked around for the gang of Gryffindor girls she had arrived with. To her
shock, Erin was standing behind her, clutching a Twigger 90 and smelling
strongly of raspberry perfume.
exclaimed, and could think of nothing else to say.
goes my group!” Erin grinned eagerly and skipped off to join a group of mostly
“Why are there
Hufflepuffs here?” asked Kate, looking mutinous, even accusatory.
know,” Romilda protested, feeling suspicious and rather put out.
However, by the
time she spotted Halimeda in a group of Gryffindors across the pitch, Romilda’s
spirits were too high to be brought down
by confusion. She was sure that Harry Potter had spotted her this time. Perhaps
he was already planning his approach. The very thought made her feel giggly and
excited and ready to play some extreme Quidditch. The first group to take
flight failed to actually leave the ground. The hilarity of the situation and
the look on Harry’s face were enough to leave a girl on cloud nine for the rest
of the week. Romilda managed a wave and a loud, clear laugh for Halimeda that
also caught Harry’s attention.
This time, there was
definite eye contact. His expression was unreadable and madly attractive.
Romilda braced herself, mounted her broom and took the hand of the girl next to
“I’m holding on to your
tail!” Kate squealed.
And they were off. At least,
Romilda thought they were. Were they? Some of them were rising up, others were
still on the ground, and all of them seemed to be connected. There were many
squeals, giggles and unanswered cries for assistance as the tangled net of all
of Harry’s biggest fans rose and fell in strange, shifting waves. Romilda
laughed, finding herself in the rather awkward position of Kate being higher up
but still clutching her tail end while Olivia, whose hand she was holding,
refused to leave the ground.
Romilda tugged her hand free
of Olivia’s stubbornly grounded one and reached up to clutch Margot Sinclair’s
robes instead, hoping this would help bring her high enough to be noticed from
the ground. Unfortunately, their warbling energies faltered at just the wrong
moment, and the group returned to the ground. Romilda was by no means disappointed;
Harry sent them all off the pitch, but gave her a good long look. He couldn’t
have seen her play properly through all of the tangled limbs and tumbling hair,
but perhaps she would make call backs anyway.
With their energy back at
full strength, the Gryffindor girls traipsed to the stands, talking loudly and
making catcalls. Romilda jeered and laughed, clapping her hands and singing
along with the rest of the people cheering from the bleachers. She was inwardly pleased when Halimeda’s group had a mass collision
near the west end goal hoops and was forced to land, but she saved Halimeda a
seat among the Gryffindors nonetheless.
“Why are you at Gryffindor
tryouts?” Romilda demanded the minute Halimeda seated herself. “Why didn’t you
“Audrey dared me to, and I
owed her one,” Halimeda said simply. “Imagine if I had made the team!”
“You could’ve mentioned it.”
Halimeda tilted her head
back with a tinkling laugh. “You didn’t mention you were trying out,” she
countered. “Audrey said that I should surprise you.”
“How did Audrey know?”
Romilda asked, becoming suspicious again.
“I think she probably heard
it from Jennifer Diuguid. Jennifer plays Gobstones with Kate Tarleton, and Kate
knew you were trying out, didn’t she?”
nothing, but was annoyed with both Kate and Audrey—Audrey for being such a nosy
gossiper, and Kate for not only gossiping but for accusing Romilda of
somehow being responsible for Hufflepuffs trying out for Gryffindor Quidditch.
How hypocritical and ridiculous could one get? The girl had no shame.
“Why is Erin
here?” she asked at the same moment
Harry Potter realized he had a whole group comprised of Hufflepuffs.
“If there’s anyone else here
who’s not from Gryffindor, leave now, please!” he shouted, his voice still managing
to echo over the chatter from the stands.
“I’m not sure. I didn’t know
she was coming.”
Erin ran up to them, cheeks
pink, slipping slightly in her hurry. “That was so cool!”
“Erin!” Romilda exclaimed
again, conjuring her most sour face.
“Audrey suggested it,” Erin
tittered. “She said that loads of people from other Houses would be here. It’s
a sponsored Fan Club event!”
“A sponsored what?”
Romilda demanded. “When I get my wand on Audrey, I am going to jinx her into
the next dimension.”
“A Harry Potter Fan Club
event, sponsored by his Official Fan Club,” Erin rambled. She pulled up her
sleeve to reveal a scarlet wristband adorned with the golden silhouettes of
roaring lions. In painfully bright green lettering were the words “Official HP
Club VIP Member.”
“I didn’t know there was a
fan club,” said Halimeda, scooting down to make room for Erin to sit.
“Audrey told me about it.
She’s the one who got me in,” Erin said, twirling the wristband around.
“Apparently it’s very private, like a secret society.”
Jealousy and contempt fought
for center stage in Romilda’s mind. Audrey was supposed to be her best friend,
yet she went out of her way to wrong foot Romilda. Not only that, but she
invited Erin to the secret society and managed not to say a word about it to
the first person she should have told. Romilda was more jealous of Audrey’s
favoritism than Erin’s club. The idea of a Fan Club was too primitive for her—
it was the sort of thing she might have done in first or second year.
Romilda sat silent throughout
the rest of tryouts, noting that her brooding air and expressionless gaze made
Erin uncomfortable, which served her right. It would be much worse for her to
have Romilda giving her the cold shoulder instead of ignoring her outright.
Erin would be apologetic and pretty much at Romilda’s beck and call until she
was certain she had been forgiven. Serve her right indeed.
As tryouts progressed,
Romilda found it increasingly harder to maintain her cold, hurt persona. As
Harry Potter narrowed down the talent pool to the final players, it was nearly
impossible to keep from turning around to gasp and gossip with everyone else.
Harry wasn’t just making a Quidditch team; he was bestowing kids with pure
popularity like nothing a potion or a charm or a set of designer robes could
The biggest surprises of the
day were Ritchie Coote and Demelza Robins. Demelza was a nondescript third year
with few friends. Romilda didn’t really know her, but she knew Coote and was
flabbergasted when Harry gave him a first string Beater position. It was like
the Loony and Longbottom fiasco all over again— Harry just didn’t have it in
him to let down the little people. Coote was easily the most unpopular person
in the entire fourth year. His appointment to the Quidditch team would give him
a whole new social status.
“Eurgh, not Coote!” someone
behind them exclaimed as Romilda fought back the image of Ritchie Coote sitting
with her group at meals.
Lavender Brown was behind
her, sharing a despairing look with Parvati Patil. Romilda nodded her
understanding. “At least he isn’t in your year,” she sighed.
To Romilda’s delight,
Lavender laughed. “Too true. We have Neville,” she exchanged another look with
Parvati. “But at least Neville is sweet. Coote is a total cad.”
“You’re so lucky you’re in
sixth year,” Romilda gushed. She could hardly believe that she was carrying on
an amiable (and almost personal) conversation with Lavender Brown. “You’ve got
all the interesting people in your classes— no real weirdos like Coote or the
rest of them.”
For a moment, Romilda
thought she had lost Lavender’s attention for good as the older girl suddenly
stood halfway up in her seat and shouted “Good luck!” at the top of her voice.
Ron Weasley was up at the goal hoops, and Romilda would have been very
interested to watch if it weren’t for her near-conversation with Lavender. A
moment later, Lavender had buried her face in her hands.
“Ron used to be pretty
strange,” she said at last, peeking out at Romilda through her fingers. “Not
totally eurgh-gross like Coote, but he was strange. Oh, I can’t watch!”
Romilda’s attention ventured
gleefully back to Weasley. She was playing all the cards right, and more
importantly she seemed to have all the right cards for a change. Lavender Brown
was talking to her.
“Anyway, boys usually come
around in about fifth year,” Lavender reassured her at last. “That’s not saying
that Coote will be any less gross, even if he’s being picked up by the
social Radar Charm now.”
“And if they don’t come
around by fifth year,” Parvati interjected, having also determined that Romilda
was cool enough to be spoken to, “you can always go for older guys.”
“Older guys,” Romilda
echoed. Ron Weasley blocked the fifth penalty and cinched his spot as Keeper,
causing a great, cheerful ruckus to rise up from Romilda’s section and drown
out her lone, dreamy voice.
Uber-Quick A/N: I just
wanted to say thank you to everyone who reviewed chapter one— your feedback and
encouragement is more appreciated than you know J.