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Chapter 1: Little Bottle
If Lucy was going to be honest with herself, she would admit that she was to blame in part. But there’s no danger of that ever happening, so she’ll always say this was all James Potter’s fault. James Potter had, and still has, the ability to always be at the center of everything, so no one can really blame Lucy for deciding that her cousin was the linchpin that started this whole mess.
According to Lucy, the whole thing started three days after she was sorted into Ravenclaw and her older cousin came up to her one morning dragging another second year by the collar and introduced Lucy to the only Ravenclaw who wasn’t an absolute pain, who was supposed to look out for her -- Gregory Wood. This, of course, is an extreme exaggeration on Lucy’s part; though she is right in saying that if she had never met Gregory then none of this would have happened.
There’s another thing she blames James for, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Wouldn’t want to spoil the story, now, would we?
If you were to ask me where it all began, I’d say it began with a bottle of Felix Felicis.
“I thought you used it all up,” said Lucy, staring at the tiny bottle filled with what looked like liquid gold. “I thought that you—“
“You know I’d never cheat on anything,” interrupted Gregory. “Even a Quidditch game. We won that cup fair and square, regardless of what your cousin says.” He was smiling a little. The accusations had only been playful jests between friends, but James was still sore about Gryffindor losing the Cup the year before.
Regarding the bottle in her best friend’s hand with new appreciation, Lucy said, “And you really think it’s worth it?”
“Course it is.” Gregory clearly had already made up his mind on the matter and nothing Lucy would say would ever change it, but still, she couldn’t help but argue.
“But don’t you think you should save it for something important? Maybe not the NEWTs since they’d catch you, but you’ve got job interviews in a couple of months. Don’t you think you should save it for after graduation?”
Gregory resolutely shook his head. “If I got the job because of some trick, then I wouldn’t want it.”
Rolling her eyes, “You sound like a Gryffindor.”
“I was raised by two. You sound like a Slytherin.”
“Well, now that you mention it the Hat did say—“
“I don’t want to hear it,” protested Gregory. “That’s between you and the Hat. I don’t want to get muddled up in that business.”
“But really,” persisted Lucy, “do you think it’s worth it just to sneak into the Forbidden Forest?”
“Are you ever going to tell me what exactly it is you’re planning on doing?” sighed Lucy, realizing she was defeated.
Shaking his head, “I gave my solemn word—“
“You didn’t make an Unbreakable Vow,” interrupted Lucy. “Can’t you tell your best friend?”
“If you knew, you’d try to stop me,” said Gregory as he ruffled up her hair.
Lucy knew he was right, but still she wanted to know exactly what it was that Gregory, Roxanne and James were planning on doing that required so much secrecy and sneaking around. She’d try to worm it out of James, and he said, “Saving the world” but James Potter was a known liar.
“So I’m just going to have to sit up all night worrying?”
Gregory gave her a look that made it clear that the matter was over. Pocketing the vial, he murmured, “I’d tell you but I can’t.” He honestly meant it. He hated keeping secrets from Lucy, but he knew that it was in her interest not to get involved. And besides, the more people that knew, the less likely they’d be able to succeed. He wasn’t in Ravenclaw for nothing.
Scowling, Lucy went back to doing her Charms homework.
Lucy had never been patient. Ask her mother, and she’d tell you about how her youngest would pitch a fit if she was told to wait. It was her lest favorite word, closely followed by Ministry of Magic, which is really three words, but for Lucy it was impossible that a ministry could refer to something other than what her dad spent all of his waking hours focusing on. As a little kid, she hadn’t even realized she had a father until one day he was forced to stay home or risk infecting the entire Ministry with something that Lucy couldn’t remember the name of, but was clearly highly contagious. The way she tells it, here she was sitting in the living room playing with building blocks, when suddenly a strange man appears in the fireplace. She started screaming her head off and wouldn’t stop until Molly whacked her with a doll and told her to stop being an idiot, that man was their dad. Both girls were sent to timeouts and Percy Weasley was allowed to recuperate in peace.
Though, now that you mention it, now’s probably not the time to discuss Mr. Weasley, but let that story serve as an example you’ll remember next time I mention Percy Ignatius Weasley.
Stubbornly, Lucy had stayed in the common room waiting for Gregory. He was probably the only person she’d wait for, but that didn’t change the fact that she did not like sitting around the common room not knowing what was going on. By the time she’d been the only one in the common room for nearly two hours, she had fallen asleep despite her efforts to keep herself awake.
She felt someone lightly shake her shoulder. A little disoriented by waking up in the common room, it took her a moment to realize that Gregory was sitting on the floor beside her.
Reaching out to touch his face, she whispered, “Hey.”
“You didn’t need to stay up.”
“I wanted to.” The common room was so dark, Lucy knew that the fire must have burnt down to the embers, but she could make out his face by the moonlight. “You’re smiling. That means all is well.”
“Better than expected.” He gently stroked her hair, and half-awake she watched him, saying nothing. They were so close, but he leaned in closer to her.
A jolt when through her body as she felt Gregory’s lips brush hers. She was no longer half asleep, but wide-awake.
Pulling away, he whispered, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I did that.” He was wide-eyed and nervous, heart pounding. If it hadn’t been dark, Lucy would have seen just how deeply red he blushed.
Steadily meeting his gaze, Lucy whispered, “I didn’t say to stop.” The words were out of her mouth before she even thought of what to say. She hadn’t planned to say it, but she did not regret it. Looking at Gregory it was impossible to regret what she had said.
Those unintentional words hung in the air between the two of them for what felt like an eternity before finally Gregory leaned in once again and kissed her. This time neither pulled away. Instead, Lucy wrapped her arms around Gregory and held him close.
By the way he touched her – so gentle and lovingly – Lucy became vaguely aware that this was something he had wanted for a long time. And at that moment, while the two of them were so close, Lucy didn’t mind.
I suspect, however, that at some point during the rest of the night as she watched her closest friend sleep, she realized that the love she felt for him was not the sort that justified what they had just done.
Somehow, Gregory knew what Lucy couldn’t tell him, because the next week he made sure not to cross her path. If he did accidently cross her path, Lucy would run past him, looking anywhere but at him. Their housemates noticed, but knew better than to say anything. James, however, made a point of asking Gregory what was going on between him and Lucy whenever the opportunity arose. Gregory was tempted to avoid him as well, but he knew that would be impossible given how many classes they had together. So he just grinned and bore James’s interrogations.
Eventually, James stopped asking and people stopped noticing that Gregory and Lucy were no longer talking to each other. It just became the norm. Gregory was always with James or Roxanne. If he wasn’t he was in the library studying for NEWTs. Lucy spent all her time with her other friends, and eventually she didn’t even feel as though she was missing something important. Very quickly people seemed to grow bored of Lucy and Gregory’s troubles, and soon began to turn their attention to other dramas. Two best friends having a fight was fairly common, and therefore not very interesting compared to everything else that was going on.
Of course, that’s until Lucy dragged Gregory into an unused classroom.
“What?” asked Gregory, crossing his arms. He didn’t really want to deal with her just when things were beginning to look better and he was able to see a Lucy-free life.
“I needed to see you.”
“Look, Lucy, I’ve moved on… Things didn’t work out, but I’m not—“
Gregory’s heart nearly stopped. “Late for class?” he asked desperately.
Looking down at the ground, Lucy shook her head.
“Well, that’s not too late.”
“It is for me.”
“Maybe you’re just stressed?”
Lucy laughed half-heartedly. “Of course I’m stressed I might be pregnant.” She almost choked on the last word. Until now, it had just been an idea – intangible, a maybe that might never be realized. But now that she had said it, suddenly everything became almost real.
She looked at Gregory, trying to decipher his face, because she knew that he would never tell her what he was thinking now. She couldn’t tell if he was upset, happy or disgusted. She knew he was shocked. She was shocked. There was no way in hell that he wasn’t shocked. He had been stunned into silence.
Somewhere very far away, a bell tolled.
As if waking up from a dream, Gregory shook himself. He wasn’t supposed to be on the fourth floor. He was supposed to be in the greenhouses. “I’m late.”
“Yeah,” said Lucy giving Gregory a withering look, “me too.”
Author's Notes This story marks many firsts. My first next-gen fic, my first story written expressly for a challenge, and my first experiment with this narrative style.
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