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Chapter 34: Language of Gentlemen
For Miss, who had a panic attack on the forums for the lack of this story on April Fool's Day. You don't know how much that made my day. There are 50,000+ stories on this site and mine was the one you wanted continued. Also for Gaia. Because you have a cameo. And for everyone who has left even one review on this story. There are some days working 40+ hours a week that those reviews are what really get me through. So thank you.
I hated March for several reasons. It was cold, a dreary rain pounding on the castle windows as students made their way to classes they hated and some that they loved. Those were the Ravenclaws though. They loved everything if there was a book about it. Yes, even dissection of rhubarb plants. Other reasons included the name sounded too much like walking, there were still too many months until the school year ended, and the severe lack of awesome holidays.
I, on the other hand, kept walking with a bag slung over my shoulder toward the Entrance Hall. It was just after eleven-thirty in the morning and a few stragglers were pouring out of the Great Hall after lunch. I’d never get used to lunch so early since during the summer I came upon it somewhere around three in the afternoon. My stomach grumbled. Damn it.
Could have been nerves for all I knew. That morning I had, once again, received the silent treatment from Bink and Freddie and exploding giggles from Emerson Edwards. He looked particularly gleeful, humming to himself as he went back and forth from the bathroom to his bed, straightening his sheets. Once he left for class I pulled back the blanket just to be a rebel. I thought I saw Fred smile.
The cold, misty air slashed at my face once I opened the doors and the rest of my body wondered why the hell I was going into Hogsmeade to meet with my dad when it looked like absolute shit outside. Last resort, that was why. I tugged my cloak closer to my torso, casting a shield over my head as I walked down the stone path toward the village. It was lonely, walking by myself, but it gave me a chance to reflect.
I hated reflecting. Made me feel like a tool.
Like Emerson Edwards. I bet he reflected often about his bird book and well-tailored suits.
I wasn’t going to break up with Avery. I still wasn’t sure where my feelings were, but I knew I wasn’t going to break up with her just because Fred and Bink were peeved about the Code, about what happened before with Meta. No, Avery was mine. Well, I was totally hers, but I wasn’t going to admit that when I was wearing manly mittens. Which I was. Rawr.
At the same time, I couldn’t go through Quidditch practice with my players running more laps than drills. That wouldn’t win us the Cup. We almost didn’t beat the damn Puffers, and that’s saying something. I still owed Darian Bay a swift kick in the gut. I was so sick of that guy. Him and his square-jaw of ridiculousness.
The village loomed in the distance and suddenly I regretted everything. Well, mostly just asking my dad for help. He was an ace dad, even I could admit that, but Albus was wrong. He didn’t know what I was going through. When he was Captain they didn’t have the Code. He didn’t have to worry about slacking since, from what he told me, he was the biggest slacker on the team other than Uncle George and Uncle Fred. Ooh, sad moment.
What did Dad know about the Code? About betraying it? About a team being a family? About it being my entire life? Very little, I assumed.
And yet I was still walking to my doom.
Lecture: Full speed ahead.
The Three Broomsticks was a little crowded when I arrived, the curtains open and flooding the tables with unexpected light. I caught sight of Dad’s hair (my hair) behind a crinkled Daily Prophet, his hands firmly on the sides. I always thought blokes looked weird with wedding bands, but he seemed to rock the silver band around his finger.
I tossed my cloak onto an empty hook and slid into the seat opposite him, my eyes flickering out the window to village residents walking building to building in an attempt to avoid the rain. “Hey,” I said weakly, trailing my fingers on the wood absentmindedly.
Dad glanced over the top of his paper, large green eyes (Al’s eyes) finding mine instantly. I couldn’t figure out if the look was intrigued or disappointed. Usually, it was the latter, so I went with that. He folded the newspaper delicately and placed it to his left side. Then he crossed his arms on the table, still watching me.
I felt strangely naked. It was awkward. I wished he would stop looking at me.
“I ordered us fish and chips,” he said after a moment.
“Good,” I replied, looking away again. There was a woman across the street with a strange-looking crup. She was waiting for it to do its business on a small patch of grass. “I enjoy fish. And chips. They’re very fishy. And chippy.”
“Okay, James,” Dad said with a brief sigh. “Tell me what’s going on. What’s this about you being a rubbish captain? There’s no way.”
I groaned. Why did we have to talk? Couldn’t he just give me vague advice so I could leave? My body felt awkward and heavy. “Here’s the thing,” I mumbled, running my fingers through my hair and fluffing it up a bit. “Fuck, where do I start?”
“Language,” Dad barked. "Try to be a gentleman."
I narrowed my eyes. Right. Language. Because I was talking to my father about my problems. My broken team. “I should just go,” I said. “This wasn’t a good idea.”
“Son, come on,” he said, reaching out and putting a hand on mine and squeezing it a little before letting go. “Just tell me what’s going on. Just spill it. You’ll feel better.”
Hardly. Unless spilling could make Bink and Freddie stop hating me.
“Okay,” I mumbled, refusing to look him in the eyes. Mum had that effect on me too. Perhaps it was a parent thing. “Avery and I are dating.” I said it very fast, my heart hammering.
“You are!” Dad clapped his hands together in excitement. “Good! Bloody finally.”
My eyes snapped up. “What do you mean, finally?” I asked, jaw falling a bit lopsided.
“James,” he replied. “You’ve been skating around that for ages. Especially in Italy. Your jealousy is a little bit obvious.”
I should have worked on that. In front of the mirror or something. With Victoria.
“Guess so,” I said, averting my eyes again. “Well, we’re dating. Actually, first we were snogging. We were snog buddies—don’t look at me like that. It worked out well since I didn’t know if I fancied her or just wanted to kiss her every time I saw her. Turns out it was both. Found that out before the Quidditch match.” Another hand through my hair. “So now we’re dating. And we hid it for a bit because of—well, let’s just say there are rules.”
Dad raised a brow. “Your sister told me,” he said. “But don’t blame her for it. I sort of weaseled it out of her when she was talking about Wesley.”
“She talks about Wesley?” My eyes widened with anger. “No way. It’s not going to happen. She’s like, six. She can’t talk about boys.”
“James. Off track.”
“We’re going back to this, you know,” I said bitterly. “So you know about the Code. Right. Okay. So that’s why Aves and I hid it. Just to see if we did…you know…fancy each other. Or if it was just…lust. Can I say that around you? I have no idea. Whatever.” I groaned. “So we decided to wait a week, right? And then tell Bink and Freddie. And then we’d tell the rest of the team.”
“But what about the Code?”
“What about it?” I said, sighing dramatically. “I don’t know what about it! I don’t know what to do! I made Bink and Meta bald for a day for breaking the Code. Yet here I am. The captain. Breaking it outright because of a girl.”
“Not just a girl,” Dad added. “Avery.”
“Avery,” I repeated, my tone quiet and breathless. “Right. She’s not just a girl. She’s not a mysterious conquest like McLaggen. She’s…she’s Aves. But Twitwards caught us the day before we were supposed to tell the boys.”
“Twitwards? Who’s Twitwards?”
“Emerson Edwards,” I said halfheartedly. “He’s an idiot. Wanted to make Avery his lucky number seven since he fancies her pants off. Very close to literally, mind you.”
“Lucky number…?” Dad paused since the food was placed in front of us and he cut his fish, pondering this information. I didn’t blame him since I was practically speaking in tongues.
“Right,” I said. “So he caught us, threatened to out us unless Avery went on a date with him.”
“But she was dating you,” he pointed out.
“Exactly!” I said loudly, grabbing a chip and tossing it into my mouth. “So obviously Avery told him to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine and he didn’t take that too kindly. Went downstairs and outed us. The whole team was down there.” I pointed down to my ribs which only hurt when I bent a certain way now. “And that’s when McLaggen broke my ribs and Bink tried to hex me into next Tuesday. And next Tuesday isn’t a pleasant place to be.”
“She broke your ribs?” he asked. “I’m pretty certain she should get a detention for that.”
“Old news,” I said, waving the thought away. “She’s already run so many laps she might not be able to fly. So anyway—since then Bink and Freddie refuse to speak to me unless it’s to tell me to bugger off. Meta is still trying to hex me. They jinxed my robes so they were pink. Paloma doesn’t seem too concerned—probably because she hated the Code at the beginning since she wanted me and not Albus, but that was a whole big issue—nevermind. And Wesley tried to hex me but Lily got to him.” I took a deep breath. “Needless to say, they all hate me and I think they’re going to mutiny me for a different captain.”
Dad watched me, his fork halfway to his mouth with a piece of fish threatening to fall back onto the plate. “And you’ve tried sitting down talking to them?” he asked.
“Several times,” I said in almost a whine. “They just get pissed and walk away. Bink makes snide comments. Freddie is just going with it I think. I think he misses me.”
“I’m sure Bink misses you too,” Dad said. He took the bite of fish.
There was a pause in which I ate a little bit, my gut exploding with hated nerves. I couldn’t stand my mates being cross with me. They were all I had, aside from Avery and my siblings. But let’s face it. I couldn’t talk about PlayWizard with Albus. He would just stick it in a neat pile on the windowsill or something. Git.
“Have you tried getting them drunk?”
My eyes snapped up. “Did you just ask if I tried getting my mates drunk?”
“Sure,” Dad said. “Guys tend to open up and be more forgiving when they’ve had a bit to drink. Might be a good idea.”
I stared at him for a moment, completely dumbstruck. “Is this a weird sideways way of telling me that I shouldn’t be a professional Quidditch player because they’re alcoholics?”
“James,” he said finally. “We can talk about Quidditch some other time. Right now it’s important to get your friends back on your side. At least not on the same side as this Twitwards bloke.”
“He’s the Head Boy too,” I added for effect. I snickered as Dad wrinkled his nose.
“Try to take them out for a drink,” he said at last. “If that doesn’t work, tell Fred I’ll be speaking to his father.” His eyes glittered a bit.
I smirked. “Say,” I said, pondering the idea. “Would you be mad if I skipped school for a Tornadoes game?”
Dad surveyed me over his glasses, the look in his eye suggesting I might be more his son than he previously thought. “Get me one of those mini figurines. Your uncle Ron loves those things. And I like to gloat.”
“Deal,” I said, finally smiling outright for the first time in ages. It felt weird on my lips, but it was right. “Good too. Because I already owled Mum and she said she’ll send me the tickets.”
“So you want to get your friends drunk,” Avery said, raising a brow. “Somehow I worry about that.”
We were in her dormitory, both sitting across from each other on her bed. Falcon Cat was in my lap purring gently and getting damn cat hair all over me. Avery was brushing her hair with a wooden comb.
“Yup,” I said happily. “Dad said that boys open up more and forgive shit more when there is alcohol involved. So I intend on involving it.”
“And how are you going to get them to go down to the pub with you?” she asked quietly.
“Um.” Hadn’t thought of that. “Trick them into it?”
She sighed, setting the brush on the bed next to her. “When did you want to do this?”
“As soon as possible.”
“We have class in an hour.”
“It’s Potions,” I noted. “Who even likes that class?”
Avery narrowed her eyes at me. “Go ask them if they want to go get a drink with you. I’ll cover for you in class. You have some mysterious illness that is highly contagious except to the girl who is snogging you.”
“Convenient,” I said cheerfully, scratching Falcon Cat behind her ears. “Do you think they’ll go for it? I mean…they do sort of hate me at the moment. And I’m sure their legs hurt from the laps.”
“Going, love, going.” I set Falcon Cat down on her fluffy little cat bed and made my way for the dormitory door.
Bink and Freddie were at the table by the window swapping what looked to be class notes. I knew better. They were plans for another sheet fort. I sank down into the chair across the table.
“Hey,” I said nervously, watching them.
“Hi,” Fred said, moving his gaze to the paper. He scribbled the outline of the top of the tent. Bink said nothing.
“I wanted to know if you guys wanted to go get a drink at the pub.”
“Why?” Fred asked.
“So we can get drunk,” I offered.
“No,” snapped Bink. “I don’t want to go get a drink with you at the pub. I’m busy.”
“I can tell,” I said, motioning to the tent plans. “Come on, guys, you can’t hate me forever. At least let me explain.”
“Don’t want to hear about you shagging the Keeper, thanks.” Bink rolled his eyes and took the paper back.
“I am NOT shagging her!” I snapped angrily. “She’s my girlfriend! Don’t talk about her like that!” Girlfriend. That word sounded strange on my tongue.
“Go away, Potter.”
I stood up, the chair toppling to the ground behind me. “Fucking fine,” I said, turning and moving back toward the girls’ staircase. Avery was perched at the bottom. She had been watching with narrowed eyes, dark hair falling into her face. “They don’t want to get a drink and told me to go away.” I sighed again. “And called me Potter!” I added in a whimper.
“Oh, bloody hell,” Avery said, throwing her arms in the air. “This is getting ridiculous. I am sick of this!”
“You and me both,” I mumbled.
“No. This ends here and now.” She flipped her hair back in irritation and marched over to the table, her hips swaying as she walked. I stared. Obviously. “Bink. Fred.”
Their faces moved up and met hers. Freddie looked scared.
“This is fucking ridiculous,” she snapped.
I moved closer to hear everything since her voice was dangerous and quiet. And quite sexy, might I add.
“What is?” Bink said, huffing a bit as he scribbled on the paper.
“This.” She motioned to me and then to them. “I am fucking sick of it. You guys are best friends. And he’s trying. Which is a feat in itself for James. And you two are being fucking stubborn and you’re not even letting him explain what happened.”
“He didn’t let me—”
“Shut it,” Avery snapped. “I’m the one that kissed James first. In Italy. On a balcony. He spazzed out and ran away.”
They stared at her.
“Now you two are going to go to the pub and drink away James’s money or I am going to hex you into next week,” she said, her eyes on fire. “And that would mean Quidditch try-outs for reserve Chasers.”
Bink looked dumbstruck. Fred twirled his hair in his fingers.
“Go!” she said loudly, shoving both of the back of their head’s. Then Avery turned on heel and marched back toward the staircase. As she passed me she whispered, “There. That’s what girls do best, love.” She winked and retreated upstairs.
My heart melted a little, but I couldn’t say that because it wasn’t a very manly thing to say. Instead, I moved forward a couple paces to see the expressions on Fred and Bink’s faces. Still rather dumbstruck. Though Fred looked a bit guilty.
“Fine,” Bink said at last, standing up and folding the piece of parchment. “Let’s go drink. But this doesn’t mean we’re okay.”
“Course not,” I mumbled and led the way out of the portrait hole.
When I thought about the pub things sounded good. I mean, three blokes at a bar ranting and drinking. It was the walk over I hadn’t considered. Even though we took the short cut through the Honeydukes cellar, it was still absurdly awkward and silent. For most of the way all I could hear was our shoes scraping against the floor. Bink cleared his throat a few times. Fred hummed a bit and then stopped when it started echoing.
“How’s Abigail?” I ventured, chancing a glance over my shoulder.
“Okay,” Fred replied quietly. “She’s into handcuffs now.”
“Sometimes,” he said.
“Pfft,” Bink said. “The whole Herbology lab heard you sometimes fighting this morning.”
“She just doesn’t like me looking at other women,” Fred noted. “I mean, I don’t like her looking at other blokes. That’s not so wrong, is it?”
“Is the sex really that good?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Fred replied. “It’s better than Kay.”
“Davies was insane.” I paused, glancing back before pushing open the door to the cellar. I peered around. No one was there. I pulled myself out, pausing only to grab a licorice wand from a display that wasn’t out yet. “But Abigail freaks me out.”
“Why?” Fred asked. “There’s nothing wrong with her.”
“Except that she has you whipped.” Bink made the whip sound. “With sex.”
“Can’t you find someone else to shag?”
Fred narrowed his eyes. “Hey. Stop talking about her like that. She’s my girlfriend. And stuff. I’m not talking about Avery like that.”
We had been getting on so well bitching about Abigail I almost forgot we weren’t exactly mates at the moment. So I led the way in awkwardness upstairs, into the shop, and out the other side (Bink made sure Fred didn’t buy any chocolate). I crossed the street through a downpour of rain and into The Three Broomsticks.
Unlike that morning, it was completely empty. The tables were all wiped down, gleaming in the dying lack-of-sunlight outside. At least it was warm in there. A fire was crackling away across the room and Gaia Bacania was behind the bar dusting off the surface with a white cloth. She had been the bartender there since were third years and she graduated from Hogwarts. Her parents owned The Three Broomsticks and she loved the village. And giving her absolute favorite Quidditch captain free drinks.
That was me. I was her favorite.
I led the way toward the bar, my eyes trying to decide which seat to take (it was complicated). I grabbed one toward the middle. Fred sat to my right. Bink on the other side of him. I ordered three firewhiskies and three shots of tequila. Bad combination, but I needed them to forgive me. Go big or go home.
Go to the hospital wing or go home, in this case.
“How’s my favorite Quidditch captain?” Gaia asked pleasantly, sliding the glasses of firewhiskey to us and pouring the tequila shots. She had dark hair and a brilliant smile.
Told you I was her favorite.
“I’ve been better,” I said honestly. “But we won the last two matches. You weren’t there!”
She groaned, another smile catching on her lips. “I know, James, I’m sorry. I had to work.”
“Should have just closed up and came to see me,” he said. “The last one was a shoot-out.”
Gaia raised a brow, sliding the shot glasses over to us. “That sounds amazing. I’m glad you won.” She fixed her hair a bit and stacked the bottles back where they went. “I saw you in with your father today.”
My cheeks colored. Bink and Freddie rounded on me.
“You came in with Uncle Harry?” Fred asked, dumbstruck. “But you haven’t had a conversation with him that didn’t involve yelling for the last nine months or so.”
“I know,” I mumbled.
“So why were you having lunch together?” Bink asked. “That’s why you weren’t in lab today!”
“Yep,” I said, grabbing the shot and holding it up for a moment. It we were going to talk about my father, I needed it. I tilted my head back, pouring the dark liquid down my throat. It burned and I choked a little. Fortunately, I was able to disguise it as clearing my throat. In a manly sort of way.
“Why did you have lunch with him?” Bink asked, pausing to take the shot, cringe, and then look as if nothing was wrong at all. Bloody wanker.
“Because I needed help.”
“With what? Learning all about how to be an Auror?” Fred asked, taking his shot. He cringed, choked a little, and then took a large gulp of his firewhiskey. This was clearly not a good idea as he sputtered, his eyes watering a bit.
“With the team,” I mumbled.
“We’re winning, aren’t we?” Fred asked.
“If that’s what you call the practice we had the other day.” I rolled my eyes. “We’ve gone backwards.”
“Well, you’re the one breaking the damn Code!” Bink snapped.
“Don’t you think I know that well enough after being in the fucking hospital wing with broken ribs?” I cried. I glanced at Gaia and she placed another shot in front of me. I took it easier this time. “I’m well aware of what the fuck I did. What I am doing.”
“And what are you going to do about it?” Bink said loudly. “Meta and I broke up.”
My eyes narrowed darkly. “Don’t pretend for a fucking second my relationship with Avery is anything like you and Meta. Because it isn’t.”
“Then what is it?” Bink said. He took a large drink of his firewhiskey and stared at me intently.
“Do you really want to know what happened?” I asked halfheartedly. “Or are you just going to ignore me and be dramatic?”
“If you’re going to tell the story,” Bink said. “You might as well start now.”
I groaned. Put on the spot yet again. “The whole thing?”
“Start with Italy,” Fred said, taking his second tequila shot with a grimace. “Because after what Avery said I sort of want to know what the hell went down there and why the hell we didn’t know about it.”
“I knew you guys would tear me apart!” I whined, throwing up my hands. Gaia glanced at me with a puzzled brow. “We only snogged—well, she snogged me. She was flirting with Twataso and went on a date or whatever and I fucking HATE that guy he was almost as bad as Twitwards!”
“You’re really original with nicknames,” mumbled Bink.
“Shut it,” I snapped angrily. The mere mention of Costaso made me livid. Smooth operator indeed. I took a large breath and explained all about it—about Italy, Twataso, and how during the dinner Avery kissed me on the balcony. I even mentioned the squirmy feelings inside my stomach, but I did it quietly so Gaia wouldn’t hear. Then I blushed, telling them about the muffins, how Avery was crying on the beach (Fred gave me a look) and then how things got painfully awkward between us.
“Because you liked her,” Fred said in a matter-of-fact tone.
“Apparently,” I murmured. I reached over, nodding to Gaia as I took the other shot she had set in front of me. Supposedly stories about how someone fell for someone else warranted more alcohol. My body felt warm and a little heavy. “Then there was the grotto.”
“We were there!” Bink said. “Nothing happened at the grotto.”
“We left early,” Fred noted, swishing his drink around in its glass. “Avery was asleep.”
“I kissed her,” I whispered. “I leaned over her and I kissed her right there and I couldn’t stop myself and she has these lips that are so soft and she sorta tastes like mint and she’s so damn pretty I felt like I broke her in Italy and I was such a git but there she was and I just needed to do it and she woke up and she kissed me back and then I couldn’t stop but I didn’t know what to do because I don’t even know the first thing about stuff like feelings so we were snog buddies!” I took a deep, chaotic breath.
They both stared at me.
Gaia leaned over the bar. “Snog buddies? Really, Potter?”
“I know it’s stupid!” I whined. “But I’m the Captain! I don’t do girlfriends, right? I don’t do much of anything really. Stupidly. And she’s my best friend—so that’s weird, right? So we decided to do snogging to, you know, see if it was just a weird quip or we actually liked each other. Or something. Fucking hell, I don’t know! But I liked it!”
“How long did that last?” Bink asked.
“Until the Quidditch match,” I grumbled. “Up until the Quidditch match I had a level-head and everything was fine.”
“And what happened at the match?” Freddie said. He stared at his next tequila shot, looking a little scared. His words were already slurring a bit.
“Before the match,” I corrected. “Edwards asked her on a date.”
“That bitch,” Fred said with a confident nod.
“We agreed that we could see other people since we were just snogging,” I said. “But I couldn’t handle it. I went a little…well, let’s just say I was jealous. Since she said yes. And I really think she said yes just to get to me. Crafty woman.” I narrowed my eyes with a small chuckle. “So we were snogging in the locker rooms and then suddenly the showers turned on and I just went crazy and told her I didn’t care about anything I just…I wanted her. For myself.” My face was now a bright red and I absentmindedly sucked on a nearby lime.
“Holy shit,” Bink breathed. “That’s why you guys were soaked.”
“Bingo,” I mumbled into the lime.
“So it was ironically before the Quidditch match that you broke the shit out of the Code,” he said.
“Yup.” I placed the lime back on the napkin and sighed. “Listen, guys. I wasn’t sure what it was. If I knew right then and there that I would fall for Aves like I did…I would have marched in there and told the rest of you to bugger off and that I liked her. But I didn’t know if it was feelings or just lust because I’m a horny git. So we decided to do a trial run. One week. We’d do the boyfriend/girlfriend bit and then come clean.”
“But it was a week,” Bink said angrily.
“No,” I corrected. “It was six days. Avery and I went on the most amazing date that night too. I took her to that new Quidditch sports bar. It was fantastic. And we were upstairs in the dormitory trying to figure out how to go about telling you two.” I ruffled my hair and took a small sip of my firewhiskey. “That’s when Twitwards found us.”
The boys were silent for a moment, both had their lips on the edges of their glasses but weren’t drinking. I was fairly certain Fred had enough to drink already. His eyes were a glazed over, jaw lopsided.
“But you broke the Code,” Bink said. “When I broke the Code you gave me the silent treatment and made me bald.”
“When you broke the Code,” I said, “I tried to ask what happened, you got pissed at me, I went to Italy and came back and you still weren’t speaking to me. Then I made you bald because we thought it would be funny and you laughed about it. When you said you were sorry I forgave you. Then you told us everything on the Quidditch pitch while I lost feeling in my fingers.” I put back another shot.
“Sort of the same,” Bink said quietly, not looking at me.
“Not at all.”
“So what now?” he said, finally glancing up at me. “What’s going to happen with the Code? What happens if Al and Paloma break up and I want to date her?”
“I’m not breaking up with Avery,” I said defiantly. “I’m not and some Godric-damned Code is not going to make me.”
“You really like her, don’t you?” Freddie asked, biting his lip.
“Guys, I like her more than you understand,” I said in almost a whimper. “She’s perfect. She knows exactly what to do. Exactly what to say. She’s my best friend and I’m lucky enough to get to kiss her too.”
“And if you break up?” Bink asked. “What if it does to the team what me and Meta did?”
“Then we survive,” I said, raising a toast. Gaia grabbed a glass and raised it too. “The Code is still in place. But it is my act as Captain to personally defy a rule my team is not allowed to defy. We’ll figure this shit out later. I just want to be mates again.” I paused. “Please.”
They all clinked glasses with mine.
“I didn’t like not being friends,” Fred noted. “It’s inconvenient when you want to laugh at someone for wearing pink robes.”
“Low blow, by the way,” I said.
“I thought they brought out the color of your eyes,” Bink said.
“Brown? They brought out brown?”
The boys snickered. Gaia nudged me a little and poured us all another round of drinks. The rain pounding on the windows suggested we wouldn’t be leaving for a while.
Stumbling back to Gryffindor Tower was never easy. I should have learned that by now. Instead I was giggling through the cellar passageway, bumping into walls. There would be bruises the next day, of that I was certain. I couldn’t see straight ahead of me. I just hoped I was going the right way. Everything was sort of a fuzzy version of its former self.
“So you and Avery really haven’t had sex yet?” Bink said from behind me, snorting at the word sex. He was mature.
“No!” he said, my arm hitting the wall again, scraping some skin. Ouch. That hurt. Like, painfully hurt. Full of pain.
“Only virgin left in Gryffindor is the most sought after,” he said, snickering again. “Unfathomable.”
“It’s a choice!” I said.
“You’re full of shit,” he said, patting me on the back.
“You’re full of…alcohol!” I cried.
“No, you!” Bink laughed.
“I could totally have sex,” I said confidently. “Tonight. Totally could.”
“Then do it.”
“No,” I said. “I mean, I just started dating Avery. I don’t want to rush things.”
“What a gentleman,” Freddie said from behind us. I could barely understand what he was saying. Captain Slur.
“How long did you wait?” I asked, turning to look at them and almost toppling over.
“Two dates,” Bink replied.
“Twenty minutes,” Freddie said.
“Fuck,” I mumbled.
So what if I still had my v-card? I mean, who even cared that much? Other than Nia. No one, that’s who. Not a single person. Did Avery care? I wondered about her. I shouldn’t have been wondering about that. What a perv I was. I shook myself out of it as we arrived back at the castle.
Just in time to see Albus and Rosey walk by with their Prefects’ badges gleaming in the candlelight.
“Ohshit!” Bink cried, giggling and falling into the stone wall, narrowly missing one of the torches.
“Shh!” Fred shoved him harder into the wall with a couple elbows for good measure.
And of course, Al and Rose turned slowly, both with eyebrows raised and wands up.
“Heya, broface!” I said cheerfully, waving in a sloppy way. “How’s your life? I see you’re on walks. Catch any vandals? Or arsen..als?” I paused. “That’s a word, right?”
“James, what are you doing?” Albus said with a brief sigh, lowering his wand.
“Nothin’,” I said. “Just checking out this wall. Yep, totally a wall. Stoney and all that.” I poked the places between the cracks in the stones. Definitely a wall.
“Stoney,” giggled Fred.
“Are you drunk?” Rose asked, walking toward us and prodding Bink with her wand.
“I don’t even know what alcohol is,” Bink said, grabbing her and tugging her to the wall. “Check out this mother fucking wall.”
Rose wiggled from his grip and prodded him again. “Do that one more time and I’m giving you a detention, Legace.” She narrowed her eyes, but she was smiling. “What are you three doing out anyway?”
“Bonding,” I said with a confident nod. “And being mates again.”
“Finally,” Albus said with another sigh. “Good. Dad owled me to say you talked to him.”
“Did not,” I mumbled. “You guys talk too much. Stop talking. Bad enough you look alike.”
Albus chuckled. “Get upstairs before I give you a detention.”
“I’ll give you a detention!” I cried, throwing my hands into the air. “You’ve got one! Right there—just then! I gave you a detention!” I beamed.
Albus rolled his eyes. “Get upstairs, James. Maybe I won’t give you a detention but Rose will.”
All three of us stared at Rose, our eyes wide.
“Oh, I will,” she said with a cocky grin. My cousin, ladies and gents.
Bink nudged her. “Don’t give us a detention, Rosey. I’ve gotta stop breaking the damn Code.”
“What Code? The man Code?” she asked.
“BINK!” I rounded on him and kicked him hard in the shin.
Fred tugged at Rose’s robes. “Why isn’t Roxy this cool? Or this ginger?” He grabbed a fistful of her hair and twirled it around.
“Genetics, Fred,” she mumbled.
“OR! Or hair coloring,” he said. “I’m voting the latter. Sometimes I think I can see her roots.”
“Let’s go!” I grabbed both of them by their arms and led them away from Albus and Rose. “We have to go toilet paper Edwards’ bed.”
We slammed the door behind us, Bink sliding against it giggling like mad. “I really think she would have given us the detention,” he said. “If it was anyone else I would have just batted my eyelashes but I don’t have any effect on your cousins, mate.”
“Bloody right you don’t,” I said, kicking off my shoes. One may or may not have landed halfway out the cracked window. “Because they’re halfway intelligent.”
“Could you please keep it down?”
Fred through a pair of unlit candles at Emerson’s hangings. “Nope,” he said. “It’s practically the afternoon.”
“It’s the middle of the damn night!” Emerson snapped, throwing open his curtains in a sober rage. His hair was sticking up at silly angles. He was about to say something else and then paused, his brows knitting together. “Are you drunk, Weasley?”
Fred swayed. “Depends on your definition,” he said casually, pulling his shirt over his head and tossing it onto a stack of Potions ingredients (maybe Falcon Cat living with Aves was a good idea). “If by drunk you mean loathing you then yes. Very much so.”
“Oh, me too!” Bink cried, crawling on all fours to his wardrobe. “I’ll be drunk then too.”
I grabbed my bedpost to hold my balance. “Head Boys don’t know about drunk,” I announced. “They know about liver sandwiches, mascara, and disloyalty.”
“Rich, Potter,” Emerson said, smoothing out the material of his bedclothes. “Coming from the almighty bloke who betrayed his whole team.”
His voice sounded like honey bees minus the honey. So…annoying.
“Oy Bink—Freddie,” I said. I grabbed my pajamas and did a little dance while trying to find the leg hole. “Did I tell you that Edwards snitched because he tried to blackmail Avery into a date and snog?”
“Avery?” Bink said, scrambling to his feet. “Like—our Avery?”
“The very same.”
I grabbed an empty sheet of parchment as Fred and Bink hexed Emerson, sending him flying backwards off his bed shrieking about detentions and blood-sucking insects and thumb wars. Or maybe just the detentions. I probably made up the rest.
Thumb wars were sweet though. I wished Lily didn’t always beat me. Crafty wench.
I dipped the end of a quill into some ink, making silly blotches all over the paper. I studied them for a while, allowing time for Emerson to mutter darkly and close his curtains. Bink blew out his candle. Fred got into bed, fell out of bed, and then hexed his hangings so he couldn’t fall out again. Then he forgot and freaked out momentarily.
I bit my lip.
P.S. Tequila shots with lime. Try it.
P.S.S.S. Say that. Sounds like a fucking snake.
P.S.S.S.S. I know. Language.
A/N: What a beast of a chapter. Harry convo and the makeup of the BOYZ. And alcohol to boot. I hope you all enjoyed the chapter and got some laughs! Feel free to share your favorite quotes. Thoughts on the chappie?
Thank Godric Spring is here. This whole cold weather thing isn't doing well for my creativity. Thank you for your continued support. It really means the world to me.
OH. And I thought I would tell you all that today I applied for my DREAM JOB. So cross your fingers for me, HPFF!
NEXT UP: The actual team meeting. Seventh Year Skip Day. Secrets.