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Chapter 4: How Aberystwyth Can Reflect A Girl’s Internal Strife
Q, I wrote on the scrap of parchment Freddie had enchanted to entertain us with an interactive gang of hangwizard. We couldn’t really say our guesses aloud, really, since we sixth year Gryffies were allegedly paying attention in History of Magic. But Professor Binns isn’t getting any more interesting; supposedly, he’s been boring students with his nonsensical goblin rants since before my parents’ time.
The parchment crumbled itself up, then rolled out again, revealing that my guess of Q had been dismissed and a leg had been added to the stick wizard on the gallows. “Frick,” I mumbled, passing the parchment on to J.D.
He stared at it and frowned. Tegan had definitely come up with a hard word (but she’s the clever Gryffie, I s’pose). So far, all Fred, Micah, and I had been able to come up with was A, space, space, R, space, S, space, space, W, space, space, H.
J.D. pouted and scribbled something on the sheet, and I peeked over and saw that it was a U.
The parchment rolled and unrolled again, mocking J.D. with the addition of another leg to the hangwizard.
Micah grabbed the paper and shook his head. He jotted down a C and mouthed to the rest of us, “C is the most common consonant, you ponces!”
But the parchment rejected his guess and further detailed its drawing of the hangwizard.
“Teg!” whisper-shouted Micah. “What stupid word goes ‘A, space, space, R, space, S, space, space, W, space, space, H’ wiv no C?”
She narrowed her eyes and smirked. “If you lot don’t figure this out,” she whispered back, “you’re pretty rotten friends.”
Fred grabbed the parchment from Micah and wrote a large E with his quill. “How has no one picked E yet?” whispered Fred.
Instead of crumpling itself up and continuing to detail the hangwizard, the parchment added an obnoxiously sparkly E, so it now read A, space, E, R, space, S, space, space, W, space, space, H.
“Who’s awesome?” whisper-shouted Fred in delight.
“But we still don’t know what the frick it is,” grumbled Micah.
‘Twas my turn, so I daintily swiped the parchment from Freddie and began to think, feather quill tickling my chin. Hmm, what to guess…?
I carefully wrote a Z, but the parchment rolled up and added a head, completing the hangwizard.
“You moron!” whisper-sneered J.D. “We were one mistake away from losing and you pick zed?”
“Fine deductive skills!” added Micah sarcastically.
“Don’t blame this all on me!” I whisper-implored. “We all made wrong guesses, and this is obviously the most random, weird word in the English language!”
Tegan angrily grabbed the parchment and scribbled something. “Aberystwyth!” she whisper-snapped, showing us the paper. “Ahh-bear-ist-with! How hard is that?”
“Hard?” whispered Fred.
“That’s what she—” began Micah.
“Do not go there,” mumbled J.D.
“And it’s not English!” continued Tegan.
“What is it, then?” I whisper-asked.
“Gobbledegook?” asked Micah.
“It’s Welsh,” whispered Tegan shrilly. “It’s the town where I grew up!”
We all stared at her blankly.
“Aber?” she continued. “By the sea?”
“I thought you were from Belfast,” said J.D. bluntly.
Tegan’s face was bright red, and her freckles seemed to pop. “How can you lot not remember my hometown?” she whispered in disbelief. “I’m certain I’ve mentioned it in the six years we’ve been friends!”
“Miss Llewellyn,” droned Professor Binns. “Kindly refrain from interrupting any more of my lecture on the controversial ownership of goblin-made treasures.”
Tegan clenched her jaw and looked like she was about to shout at the ghost, but the bell rang and the rest of the class woke up from their naps and began to file out.
I sensed that something was not right with my Seeker, so I said her name and tried to grab her arm, but she threw her books in her bag and hurried out of the classroom.
I grabbed my own things and followed her, leaving the other Gryffies to slowly mosey their way out. “Tegan!” I called again, jogging through the busy corridor.
She looked straight ahead when I caught up with her, and I think she rolled her eyes. “What’s wrong?” I asked quickly.
Tegan snorted, clearly irritated. “Even you, James,” she muttered.
“I’m sorry I didn’t guess Aber…Abery…”
“Ahbearistwith,” she said crisply. “But everyone calls it Aber.”
“Well, even if I had thought of it,” I said hesitantly, “I probably couldn’t’ve spelled it. You would have won hangwizard anyways. And hey, you won! Winning’s good, yeah?”
“James, my four closest friends can’t remember where I’m from. How do you think that makes me feel?”
I thought for a moment. “Like crap on toast?”
Tegan finally made eye contact with me (oh, those soulful olive eyes!). “I at least thought you cared about me, James.”
“Of course I care about you!” I said too enthusiastically. “I mean, the team cares about you.”
She chortled. “J.D. thinks I’m Irish, Micah has a man-crush on my dead Great-Uncle Dai, and last spring Freddie asked me why I always change in the girls’ locker room.”
“Well, J.D. recognized that you weren’t English, which is really observant for him, and Micah isn’t just friends with you because your great-uncle was a Quidditch legend—or I hope not, cos then he’s probably only friends with me because my dad’s sort of famous, and Fred, well, Freddie knows you’re a girl. Now.”
“I guess I just have to face the fact that I’m a tomboy,” sighed Tegan. “My best mates are blokes, I spend all my free time sweating on the pitch, and no member of the male sex will ever see me as anything other than a tall twig with no discernable mammary growth, a tangled mess of brown hair, and dressed in a muddy Quidditch kit.”
I gulped. “Er…you have discernable mammary growth. A little bit. Maybe.”
Tegan looked slyly at me. “Thank you. I think.”
“I think you’re wrong about guys not taking a fancy to you,” I said without thinking. “I mean, your hair’s only gross right after you’ve been flying, but your face is nice and freckly, and faces can’t get windblown. And your Quidditch kit is usually the cleanest on the team, though sometimes Arlie’s has less caked on mud. And some blokes like twiggy girls who are almost as tall as them, cos they probably have good legs.”
She narrowed her eyes. “You have quite the way with words, James Potter.”
“Uncontrollable, incoherent babbling is both a gift and a curse, I’ve found,” I shrugged.
Tegan smiled slightly. “So you’re saying that blokes more perceptive than Freddie Weasley might notice that I’m a girl?”
“Of this, I’m fairly certain,” I replied, trying not to blush. “And, we Gryffies love you and appreciate you and usually listen to stuff you say, but we’re sorry that we forgot you were from Aber—”
“Just call it Aber, it’s easier.”
“—Aberystwyth,” I said slowly.
She grinned widely. “Not so hard now, is it?”
I smiled back and stopped myself from kissing her. “Not when you’re showing one of your best friends that you appreciate and care for them.”
“You’re so corny, Potter,” said Tegan as we walked into Transfiguration.
“But I love corn, that vegetable comprised of sweet yellow kernels indigenous to the North American continent,” I said, following her.
I lay on my stomach at the foot of my bed, elbows propped and head bent over my Imagination Journal as I furiously wrote in it. It was Friday afternoon and we had a match against Slytherin (hisssss!) Saturday morning.
“Wot you doing, Cap’n?” asked Micah absentmindedly as he gelled his hair with Herr Salzwedel’s Premium Hair Salve. As a side note, Micah Horowitz has the most glorious head of hair I have ever laid eyes on. A rich, deep shade of brown, meticulously coiffed in a windblown, devil-may-care style…
“Planning plays for tomorrow’s match,” I answered automatically. Though I wasn’t!
Micah double-checked his outstanding gel job in the mirror, and quipped a quick, “Bye!” before running down to the common room.
Phew! Now I could return to my important Imagination Journal work.
James hearts Tegan
J.S.P. loves T.R.L.
James Sirius Potter & Tegan Rhiannon Llewellyn
Mr. & Mrs. James Sirius Potter
Mrs. Tegan Rhiannon Llewellyn Potter
The parents of Miss Tegan Rhiannon Llewellyn are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter to Mr. James Sirius Potter, on the 31st of October, in the year two thousand twenty-three…
“An autumn wedding would be lovely,” I remarked, continuing with my writing.
Mr. and Mrs. James Sirius Potter are pleased to announce the birth of their first child, Daniel Llewellyn Potter, on the 31st of July, in the year two thousand twenty-five…
Mr. and Mrs. James Sirius Potter are pleased to announce the birth of their second child, Max Weasley Potter, on the 1st of March, in the year two thousand twenty-seven…
Mr. and Mrs. James Sirius Potter are pleased to announce the birth of their third child, Caroline Rhys Potter, on the 19th of September, in the year two thousand twenty-eight…
The Potters: James, Tegan, Dan, Max, Caroline, and their dog Snuffles
Dan Potter: prefect, Head Boy; earned 8 N.E.W.T.s, 7 Outstandings, 1 Exceeds Expectations (Potions); Quidditch Cap’n and Chaser
Max Potter: earned 397 detentions in seven short years at Hogwarts (for mischief, primarily); earned 6 N.E.W.T.s, 2 Outstandings, 3 Exceeds Expectations, 1 Troll (Potions); Quidditch Beater
Caroline Potter: prefect, Head Girl; earned 9 N.E.W.T.s, 8 Outstandings, 1 Exceeds Expectations (Potions); Quidditch Cap’n after Dan and Seeker
The blissfully happy Potter-Llewellyn family: James, the kind-hearted father, who heads the Auror Department, following Kingsley Shacklebolt and Harry Potter; Tegan, the stern but forgiving mother, who followed in her great-uncle’s footsteps and became the renowned Quidditch Seeker “Tenacious” Tegan Llewellyn on the Caerphilly Catapults before retiring from the professional leagues to devote more time to her children; Dan, the confident, bright, kind Head Boy and Gryffindor Quidditch Cap’n; Max, the mischievous, rebellious, clever Gryffindor Beater two years below Dan; Caroline, the diligent, intelligent, responsible Head Girl and Gryffindor Cap’n after Dan, who is four years above her; and their quirky black mutt, Snuffles, who is terrified of rats and loves to eat kumquats…
I heard someone enter the room and instinctively shielded my Imagination Journal. ‘Twas J.D., looking smugger than usual.
“Oi, J.S.,” he said, gravitating towards me and my Imagination Journal, “you writing in your pink diary?”
“How many times do I have to tell you guys that it’s an ‘Imagination Journal’…completely different,” I sighed.
“What’re you writing?” asked J.D., smirking.
I clutched my journal tighter. “Plays. For the match against Slytherin tomorrow. I’m not done yet.”
“Well,” said J.D. slyly, “as your favorite Beater and Assistant Cap’n—”
“Assistant to the Cap’n,” I corrected him.
“—I should get a sneak peek at the innovative plays I’m sure you’ve cooked up.”
We stared in defiance for a moment. I was prepared for a physical assault in attempt to gain access to my Imagination Journal, as had been the case with Tegan. But J.D. thought very differently from Tegan.
“Accio J.S.’s diary!” proclaimed J.D. after he pulled out his wand. My precious pink journal (adorned with the unicorn) flew from my grip to J.D.’s hands.
“Nooo!” I cried. “Secret ponderings, secret ponderings!”
But J.D. was already whipping through the pages. I lunged at him but he quickly cast a Shield Charm, and ravenously read the most recent entry in my Imagination Journal.
“Fie!” I yelped, unable to get around his Shield Charm. “Villain, release my poor journal from your tainted hands!”
“Whoa,” was J.D.’s reply as his eyes scanned my handwriting.
I tried not to whimper as my very best mate violated my most private thoughts. Oh cruel fate, please reverse your sadistic ways and somehow make J. Dizzle avoid the bits about Tegan and our fictitious offspring!
“Holy frick,” mumbled J.D. “And you’ve dated all these fictitious events.”
“Fine!” I exclaimed. “I fancy Tegan Llewellyn, Seeker extraordinaire and fellow Gryffie! She’s tall and quite fit and has a pretty face and pretty olive eyes and pretty freckles on her nose and obvious and very nice mammary growth, whether she realizes it or not!”
J.D. took down the Shield Charm, his jaw dropped in shock. “You wanna marry her?”
I sighed. “Mostly I’d like to snog her, but we’d have to be dating for that to happen cos Tegan’s classy, and if the snogging and the dating go well then I’d probably be interested in shagging, but we’d have to be at least in talks about marriage for that to happen. And if the shagging’s good, and we get along well and are happy, then I wouldn’t be too freaked about marriage.”
“J.S.,” said J.D. slowly, “you’re nuts. You haven’t even told the Tegster that you fancy her, and you’ve set the wedding date.”
“And named our kids,” I added quietly.
“Interesting clan,” remarked J.D. “Troupe of Quidditch-playing children and a kumquat-eating dog.”
“I know I’m mental,” I said dramatically, “but my Imagination Journal is how I sort through my mad thoughts.”
J.D. clicked his tongue. “You gotta tell her, mate.”
“But she’s Tegan,” I said breathlessly. “She’s a Gryffie, ergo one of my closest friends. Telling her I fancy her would change our friendship forever.”
“Maybe she fancies you back.”
“I’m me, J.D. How could a girl as normal as Tegan fancy me?”
J.D. groaned. “You can’t go on pining like this. It’s weird.”
“I know, I know,” I mused. “But I have to go about this the right way. I have to devise a plan.”
“Will this plan replace the crackpot one you devised to break up me and Rose?” asked J.D.
“I believe so,” I said. “Tegan is more important to me than whether or not you are shagging my cousin. By the way, are you shagging my cousin?”
J.D. chuckled. “Not at the moment. But will it make you freak out less if I promise not to pressure her into doing something she’s uncomfortable with?”
“Ya,” I sighed in defeat. “But know that if you hurt my baby fifteen-year-old cousin, our best mate contract is terminated and I will jinx and/or hex and/or curse you. And I will round up all the other Gryffies too, because they will side with me as I am their cap’n, and we will make you go ‘ow’.”
He nodded. “Fair enough. But you have to tell Tegan you fancy her.”
“But I’m not ready,” I whined.
“If you don’t tell her, then I will,” grinned J.D.
“Nooo!” I exclaimed.
“I’ll give you till…Halloween to sort this out,” said J.D. “A month and a half should be sufficient time to proclaim your true feelings to your lady love.”
I pouted. “A deadline? I don’t do well with deadlines!”
J.D. patted my shoulder. “It’s for your own good, mate. I don’t want to read a full-length novel about your fictional perfect life with Tegan, the kids, and Snuffles come graduation day. I want you to go out there and make that life, or some variation of it, happen.”
“You’re a good man, John Dorian Nott,” I conceded. “But you’re mean sometimes.”
“I do what I have to ensure that you, my best mate, James Sirius Potter, are happy. And happiness for most guys is a girl to snog.”
I smiled distantly and cocked my head to the right, imagining how wonderful it might be to one day kiss the lovely lips of Tegan Llewellyn. For realsies, not like the time I randomly snogged her in a futile attempt to break up Rose and J.D.
“J.S.!” exclaimed J.D., snapping his fingers. “You’re daydreaming!”
“I daydream a lot,” I said distantly.
“No more daydreaming, you’re wasting valuable time,” ordered J.D. “You have to woo Tegan eventually, but first priority is the Gryff v. Slyth match tomorrow. Right, Cap’n?”
I snapped back to reality, realizing the pressure and stress and significance of this first Quidditch match of the season, and how I really, really, really wanted to win.
“Right, Assistant to the Cap’n!” I replied enthusiastically.
“What team?” proclaimed J.D., though only he and I occupied the dormitory at the time.
“Gryffindor!” I shouted alone. “Whose house?”
“Godric!” was J.D.’s answer. “What team?”
“Gryffindor! Whose house?”
“Godric! What team?”
A/N: Ahh. 1:17 AM. Wrote this chapter all night. I admit that I had none of it planned out and just rolled with ideas as they came to me. Also wrote it while watching Scrubs and The Daily Show and The Colbert Report and I Love New York, so that’s why it probably isn’t fantastic. But I felt guilty about not updating, so…I hope you liked it okay. Please review! And I love it when you quote certain lines that you really liked. But if you have critical feedback, that’s welcome too. I just want you guys to like my story, and if there’s things I need to improve, by golly I’ll try to fix them.