Character(s): Katie Bell, Marcus Flint
Challenge(s): Written for prompt #3 Class
Word count: 14x100
Author's notes: My apologies for the lenght but Katie just wouldn't shut up. Set in the same universe as 'One of These Days'. Consider this as a prequel of some sorts.
There was just one thing that fifteen-year-old Katie Bell hated with a passion about Hogwarts, and it came in the form of a greasy-haired dungeon bat with an abnormally large nose and everlasting bad mood. No, scratch that. There were two things, no, no, there were three things she hated about attending Hogwarts. The general presence of the greasy bat was a given since you had to be dungeon dweller to muster up a smidgen of sympathy for the man. Serving detention with the greasy bat would be the second, and serving detention with the greasy bat and his Slytherins was a good third.
“No good, gormless arsehole,” Katie muttered under her breath and blew a sweaty lock off her face. After another death glare in the direction of Snape, who was reading a thick tome, she heaved the next cauldron onto the sink to scrub it clean. The three other students, upper year Slytherins, were ordered to write lines whilst she was sentenced to touch unmentionably disgusting cauldrons and make them shine again. “Making me clean without magic while those plonkers get to sit on their arses the whole night. I hope he accidentally poisons himself one day.”
Although Snape didn’t seem to have heard her, she must have something aloud because one of the Slytherins, Marcus Flint, glanced over his shoulder. His thick brows knitted together as he near unnoticeably shook his head at her.
Feeling caught, and a bit scared because this was the same Marcus Flint who’d pulled her off her broom by her hair more times than she cared to count, Katie dropped her gaze to the cauldron with the sickly pink goo at the bottom. For some reason the dungeon dwellers considered Snape a saint of some sorts; what if Flint decided to come after her for cursing at his favourite teacher? Even if it was under her breath and not meant to be heard by anyone.
“Sodding snakes and their freakishly sensitive ears,” she muttered and resumed her task. The sooner she finished the sooner she’d be able to get back to Gryffindor Tower. In one piece, preferably.
Luckily for Katie, the pink goo turned out to be rock hard despite its fluid appearance, which allowed her a safe outlet for her pent-up frustration. She was halfway breaking through the rock-hard goo with an old ladle when a large hand wrapped around her wrist.
“Do you need a hand with that?”
Katie froze in her spot, the ladle still in the air. The only part of her body moving were her eyelids. Those were blinking rapidly as she fixed her stare on the hairy hand around her wrist. The voice didn’t sound like Snape. Then again, she couldn’t imagine him offering to give her a hand.
As discreetly as possible, she dared a quick look at the front of the classroom. Snape’s wasn’t sitting behind his desk, the door to the corridor was wide open. Two of her three companions for the night, Bole and Pucey, had turned in their seats, observing her with wide grins plastered on their ugly faces. But the worst of all, the third desk was empty.
Swallowing slowly, Katie turned her attention to the large, tanned hand with the hairy knuckles. It hit her out of nowhere. It was completely random, and she should have thought twice before opening her mouth, but the contrast was so big that she had to say something. And to be fair, she might have been a little jealous, too.
“Your hand is so soft.” It came out awed, and for a second, she forgot where she was and who she was talking to. It was the only explanation for what she did next, which was stroking his hand with her free one. “So, so soft. How do you do it?”
“Don’t do that,” the voice, which most probably belonged to Flint, murmured as he released her wrist and took a step back. “You alright there, Bell?”
For the second time in a short time, he managed to startle her. Snape hadn’t returned yet, and Bole and Pucey were laughing aloud whilst pointing at her. Flint’s desk was still empty. There had to be a reasonable explanation for that Katie reckoned as she decided to study the classroom floor.
“…because he’s standing right here,” she mumbled as the noses of his boat-like shoes reappeared into vision. If he hadn’t come up to her to scold her about Snape, he was surely about to do that for petting his hand. Reminding herself that she was a true Gryffindor, she straightened her back and jutted her nose high in the air. She wasn’t scared of him, and she was in her right mind to show him how much she wasn’t.
The big oaf of a man didn’t give her a chance to do so, though.
“You ought to be careful around Snape. Keep your head down and do as he says. Look, he won’t be back for another ten minutes, do you need a hand until then?” he asked as he pointed at the cauldron. Mistaken the long stare and the confusion creeping onto her face, he leant in closer and whispered, “I'm gonna be honest, yeah? Snape won’t let any of us go until you’re done, and we have other things to do tonight besides detention. So, seeing that I’ve scrubbed a few times before, we thought… Uhm, Bell?”
Not having listened to a word he'd said, Katie nodded and flailed the ladle in the air. Flint had managed to distract her again. Much later, as she lay in her bed and tried to analyse what the hell had happened during detention, she’d unfairly conclude that one of those disgusting cauldrons must have held leftover Love Potion. Because what else could have caused those ridiculous thoughts taking over her mind?
But for now, Katie had lost the ability to do something more than wobbling her head and wave her ladle. There was something about Flint, something she couldn’t put her finger on. Why was he nice to her? Since when didn’t he smell like onions and sweat anymore? Not that she knew how he smelt before, but him being, well, him and her own preconceived notion of how a slimy snake ought to smell like, the scent of freshly mown grass and strawberry gum that surrounded him shattered all her beliefs. That wasn’t all. From this close, she noticed the colour of his eyes and the thick lashes she’d gladly use an Unforgivable for to have for herself. A hint of mischief glinted in those eyes, and she desperately wanted to be part of his dastardly machinations.
She wanted to see that hint of a smile again he had flashed her and determine whether it truly made him look more fortunate looking. She wanted to feel his soft hand on hers again whilst he whispered his secrets in her ear with that deep voice of his that had woken up the butterflies in her stomach. She wanted to run her fingers through his hair just to make sure it was just as soft as the fine hairs on his hand. Lick his face-
“What the hell?” Katie muttered as she shook her head to get rid of the intrusive thoughts. Perhaps she ought to stop by the infirmary on her way to the Tower.
As Flint made his now hysterical Housemates shut their gobs with a simple hand gesture and rolled up his sleeves to start on her dirty work, Katie forgot why she wanted to visit Madam Pomfrey. There was something oddly exciting about a muscled man, she mused, and judging by Flint’s bared forearms, he had to be one. Muscular and exciting.
There was something seriously wrong with her she reckoned, but as Flint began scrubbing the cauldron with a vigour she hadn’t seen before, Katie decided to worry about it later. For now, she was more than happy to lurk over Flint’s shoulder as he worked diligently.
And sniff him while she was at it.
Maybe, he’d need her help to wipe his hair out of his eyes.
And maybe, if he managed to make the cauldron shine, she’d see a hint of that smile reflected on the bottom. She’d smile back at him if he did so.
But mostly, she hoped to uncover the secret behind his soft hands.