Author: Louise Lux
Fandoms: Good Omens/Harry Potter
The New Boy
The new boy was fun, thought Neville as he chewed his slice of fruit cake. The cake was his favourite; dense and sticky with a layer of pale yellow marzipan and a layer of white icing.
Fun, perhaps, but there was something not quite right about him. For one thing, no one seemed to think it odd that a new pupil had arrived halfway through the summer term. They sat together now at the end of the Gryffindor table, but no one bothered them or asked any questions, unusual for such a noisy bunch.
'You're very clever,' the new boy was saying. 'I think you've got real potential.' He sipped delicately at his glass of pumpkin juice and made a face.
Neville didn't know the boy's name and he hadn't troubled to think of this as odd, yet. He smiled and blushed. He wasn't used to people saying things like that to him. It was exciting and embarrassing and he was growing to like the new boy, whatever his name was, more and more. The boy leant closer, his brown eyes glowing. Funny, they looked almost yellow from certain angles.
'He's a shit, isn't he?' the new boy said, gesturing with his head at the teacher's table and to the dark, glowering figure of Snape.
Neville giggled. Snape had turned to look at them, a deep frown on his face, the same look he wore when trying to work out exactly how Neville had melted another cauldron.
'I did something funny once,' Neville said. 'Want to hear?'
The new boy nodded and smiled and waggled his hand in Snape's direction. Snape's frown cleared and he went back to eating. There'd been a distinct tingle in the air around the new boy's fingers.
'Did you just do a spell on him?' Neville said, staring from one to the other. His cake fell from his fingers, ignored.
The new boy smiled, a wide grin stretching across his features.
'Maybe I did. Tell me your story.'
'We had this brilliant defence against the Dark Arts teacher, Mr Lupin ... '
The new boy laughed outright at Neville's tale about the boggart Snape dressed in his grandmother's clothes. Neville watched him peer over at the head table.
'I like the sound of Mr Lupin. Which one is he?'
'He had to go.' Neville told him about Lupin and the awful rumour that followed him, which he'd been assured by his grandmother was the absolute truth, and also a disgrace.
'Shame,' the new boy murmured. 'I'd like to meet him.'
'We all thought so. Anyway, I hate Snape more than anything,' Neville said reaching for another slice of the tempting cake.
'That's the spirit. He's pretty hard on you, especially. It's not really fair, is it?'
Neville didn't ask himself how the boy could know this. He'd never understood why Snape was so spiteful to him. It wasn't fair and the more he thought about it the angrier he got, until he was shaking. It bubbled inside him, making Neville drop his second slice of cake. It didn't taste so good when he thought about Snape.
'Neville.' The way the boy said his name made Neville's head snap up. His voice sounded older, somehow, more powerful. His new friend moved closer.
'What?' said Neville.
'I can help you ... '
'Oh, hello!' said a bright voice.
Another boy that Neville didn't recognise dropped down into the seat opposite them and smoothed down his robes, arranging them neatly.
'Oh, lovely, fruit cake. Are you going to eat yours, Cr-- oops, er, Christopher?'
So that was his new friend's name. Christopher's slice of cake was gone in a second and the other boy licked his fingertips.
'I'm actually quite busy, Az-- Anthony,' Christopher said. There was a pause. 'So you could leave.'
Anthony gave Christopher a rather poisonous smile. Neville wondered if he was a Slytherin. Christopher looked very annoyed.
'What are you doing here? You didn't tell me you'd-- started school too,' Christopher said.
'I have to keep up with you somehow, don't I? You know, I'm sure you didn't arrange this with me.' He glanced at Neville, then at Christopher.
'You two know each other already, then?' Neville broke in.
He was obscurely disappointed by the way they looked at each other, as though they shared lots of secrets. Secrets that Neville would never know. It was as though they'd forgotten he was there, until Anthony smiled kindly at him and shoved more cake his way.
'Too well,' Christopher said, with a wry grin.