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Chapter 1: The Collecting
It was something about the way he walked.
He didn’t have that usual confidant swagger or swinging, carefree gait. The casual clothes were more rumpled than usual; his hair not so much stylishly tousled but just plain messy. His hands were sunk deep into the pockets of his jeans and were clearly balled into fists as he marched down the Hogwarts corridors, heading towards the Slytherin common room. This in itself was a clear sign that something was up; he never went to the Slytherin common room unless it was to meet Savannah Woods, his current girlfriend. He didn’t even visit his brother in there. But if he was meeting Savannah, then why on earth did he look so bloody depressed about it?
I frowned, chewing on my bottom lip as I walked nonchalantly several metres behind James Potter. His broad shoulders were slightly tense, and he started to drag his feet reluctantly as he neared the common room. I watched him step inside after uttering the password in a low voice (Savannah must have told him what it was), and finally caught a glimpse of his face as he turned. It was hunched up with anxiety, the handsome curves screwed into apprehensive lines and a spark of resentment growing in his dark, hazel eyes.
I couldn’t help but gasp a little as I recognised the expression; I’d seen it countless times before in my career as Hogwarts’ resident matchmaker. I frantically pulled out my crappy phone and dialled Dom’s number. She picked up after the first ring, and I ducked behind a tapestry quickly to speak.
“Dominique Anne Maria Carlotta Jane Weasley speaking!” she chirped cheerfully. “Who is it please?”
“It’s me, you idiot!” I snapped. “It shows up on the caller ID display, I’ve told you a billion times before.”
“Yes but Hollie, you always have to check!” Dom said. “What if someone had stolen your phone?”
“Who’s going to be stealing my phone?” I sighed.
“Perhaps a secret admirer who’s been desperately pining after me for years and wants to hear my beautiful, melodious voice one last time before he kills himself with despair, for the unattainable Dominique will never even give him a second glance.”
“That’s lovely Dom. But we have a code JPSW on our hands!” I whispered excitedly. “Is Eve with you?”
“A JPSW? Ohmygod!” Dom yelled down the phone, and I had to hold it away from me to spare my poor eardrums. “What’s your location? LOCATION?!”
“Tapestry by the Slytherin Common Room. Come quickly, and bring Eve!”
“On it!” Dom hung up, and I popped my head back round the edge of the tapestry again to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.
You see, I’d been waiting for this opportunity for months. James and Savannah, the ‘hot’ couple of Hogwarts, were ridiculously unmatched. Savannah was sly and greedy, with a pout like a duck (I mean seriously, girl. Just start quacking, why don’t you?), and no sense of humour. James however was fun and adventurous; always laughing and joking with his friends. The only thing the two had in common was surreally good looks and goddamn gorgeous hair.
But I’d known from the start that their relationship was doomed- completely and utterly destined for a painful disaster. And now, it seemed that the Frumptious Day had arrived.
Just then, Dom clattered down the corridor in a whirlwind of flying brown hair and tottering high heels. Eve Turner was behind her, curiosity lighting up her dark features as she spotted me hiding behind the tapestry.
“What’s going on Hollie? JPSW? Is it a Frumptious?” asked Eve, her brain whirring with the endless opportunities this could present us with. Eve was the brainy of our brawny. Just…minus the brawny part.
“If James and Savannah break up, we can use the commotion following to orchestrate some potential ScoRose action!” whispered Dom happily as she and Eve scrambled behind the tapestry, squishing me against the wall.
“Yes- OW, YOU’RE BREAKING MY NOSE!” I shoved Dom away and dusted my dignity down before planting an impish smile on my face. “But I have an even better idea of what we can do with this.”
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Eve asked, smirking a little.
“Guys!” whined Dom, “I don’t like being left out here.” I giggled at the doleful expression on her face.
“Savannah will be angry, Dom. Torpedo-explosion-earthquake-destroying-puppy-kicking-furious angry.” Dom did her Evil Grin as comprehension flitted across her face.
This whole operation was now balancing on a knife edge though; we weren’t sure how James was going to go about the break-up. If he let Savannah down gently, then my plan wouldn’t work. But if Savannah started screaming blue murder and tearing Hogwarts apart brick by brick, it was the perfect situation for us to do a little… ingredients gathering.
Sounding ominous? Good.
Our primary objective for this term had been Mission ScoRose; successfully setting up Scorpius Malfoy and Rose Weasley. I mean, you could see the sexual tension between those two from a mile away; it was a perfect matching.
But we were also in the middle of inventing a Very Special Thing which was Very Top Secret. We were in urgent need of this Very Special Top Secret Invention Thing right now, because Hogwarts just wasn’t romantic anymore. Hardly any of the classic set-ups were working these days, and the three of us were left scrabbling around in the dust for new ideas.
Basically, the invention was a love potion. But don’t be deceived; it wasn’t just any old joke shop, crappy pink, heart-covered junk. This was high-class, experimental stuff that we had been fantasising about for over a year, trying to figure out the right recipe. Because if we got it right, it would create actual, real love.
So this wasn’t just a love potion, this was an M&S Love Potion.
Actually, I was kidding there. M&S could never invent a love potion as fantabulous as our one. But anyway, we called this true-love-potion-in-progress ‘The Awesome And Supreme Brain-Child of Eve’ in public.
…What can I say? We’re inventive people.
The sort of ingredients we needed for the potion was tricky to get, though. It wasn’t just a simple ‘raid the potions cupboard like a badass’ job, because a potion that created an emotion as powerful as love couldn’t be brewed just using material ingredients. No, we had to collect feelings.
We’d watched love enough times over the years to get the gist of how it worked. When you were in love, properly in love, it consumed your every thought and action and word. Love obliterated all other emotions- which could only mean that it could be created by collecting every emotion and stewing them together.
So now you probably think Hollie Parker’s gone off her rocker; you can’t collect feelings you blithering idiot. But that, my dear friend who I’ll probably set up with a cute guy anytime soon, is where Zoey comes in.
Zoey Turner, Eve’s older sister and occasional partner in crime, is officially the genius of Hogwarts. The stuff she can think up blows the rest of us into the last millennium. So naturally, she’s the person we turned to, to discuss our theory about the ‘The Awesome And Supreme Brain-Child of Eve’ being a possible course of action.
Turns out, it was possible. You see a while ago, Zoey invented something called a love-o-meter. When Eve and Zoey’s parents were getting divorced, Zoey had wanted a way to measure the feelings whizzing around the house so they could make their escape before any earth-shattering rows broke out. The love-o-meter did this for her; identified an emotion and the quantity of that emotion at the same time. All you had to do was hold it near the person.
But we had to be able to harness the emotion too, and then transport it to the common room and pour it into one of the many glass vials we had in the dormitory. So Zoey made a few… adaptations to the love-o-meter. And then she sold it to us.
I know right? She didn’t give it to us free out of sisterly affection or friendship or anything. She bloody sold it to us for twenty galleons and told us that it was an incredible bargain.
But we paid the money, because we were mega-excited that the potion was now actually very possible and not going to remain a child of Eve’s brain. Because Eve’s brain really wasn’t ready to have children yet.
So far, we had collected fifteen emotions (the easiest one to find being boredom in History of Magic classes). We only needed twenty, if Eve’s calculations were right. Five more… just five. One tiny little integer, and then Hogwarts would be filled with love and happy couples again *cue excited, girlish squeal and heart-shaped confetti raining from the sky*.
And it was all resting on Savannah Wood’s bitchy little shoulders. We needed to get some anger! Hopefully her imminent anger at James would be enough.
Silence fell as the three of us stood in the tapestry’s alcove, squashed together like sardines.
“Err, Hollie?” Eve asked.
“Why don’t we just go into the common room? We are Slytherins after all.” I flushed,
“Good idea! Why didn’t I think of that?”
“Because you're an idiot."
We crept towards the entrance of the Slytherin common room, and with a quick mutter of the password (“Handyshnack!”), we were through and stepping into the familiar green and silver surroundings of Slytherin. A warm fire was burning in the hearth as we looked around furtively, trying to spot JP and SW. If it was indeed a Frumptious Day (our code for the break-up of a longstanding couple), then we would know about it soon enough.
I couldn’t help but worry though; the pair where nowhere to be seen. We couldn’t take some of Savannah’s anger if they were in our dorm- she always locked the door on us. Pushing this out of our minds though, we collapsed onto a sofa near the stairs with big sighs.
“I’ve got a bitch of an essay to write later,” Dom complained. “And I wanted to go to that big ‘dares’ game the Gryffindors are organising later.”
“Gryffindor are idiots,” I snorted. “They can’t come up with a decent dare to save their lives.” Eve nodded,
“Namby-pansies, the lot of them.”
“They got the fittest guys though!” Dom tutted with approval. “Dang, Michael Jepson’s filled out over the summer- don’t you agree?”
“Ew!” I grimaced. “No! He’d be cute with Gabby in Hufflepuff though,” I added thoughtfully.
“If we get a spare moment, let’s arrange a classic broom cupboard meeting. They always work.” Eve said.
“I don’t know…they’re getting more and more unreliable these days.” Dom nodded in agreement, about to speak, but trailed away as a horribly familiar girl graced the dormitory stairs with her cow-like presence- James Potter trailing after her and looking a little scared.
“Psst,” Dom nudged Eve subtly. “Target approaches.”
“It’s not World War Three, Dom,” I smirked.
“It could be, actually. A bomb could land on you at any second of your life- it’s called the great mystery theorem of the unknown. And Savannah’s the kind of person to drop bombs.”
“Right…” Dom liked to think she was all philosophical and wise. We didn’t have the heart to tell her that she talked utter gibberish half of the time.
Meanwhile, James and Savannah had sat down nearby and were deep in conversation. I couldn’t hear everything they were saying, but I could get the gist of it: James was breaking up with her.
“Savannah, I just told you in the dorm! It’s just not going anywhere- I know it, you know it and-“
“I certainly don’t know it!” Savannah hissed, her eyes spitting flames. James recoiled slightly, and I almost felt sorry for the poor bloke. “I think you’re bored of me, aren’t you? Why don’t you just fucking admit it, James?”
“That's not fair. I still think it was you who I saw getting off with Ian at the party last week.” Savannah’s face flushed slightly but she hid it with a sniff of disbelief,
“You can’t break up with me over that! There’s no evidence whatsoever!”
“What, so it’s true?” James raised his eyebrows, shocked. “I’m sorry, this just…isn’t working for me anymore…” He shook his head, cringed and made to get up. But Savannah switched tactics and immediately turned on the tears. Big, fat blobs of l’eau de Savannah were rolling down her cheeks as she gripped James’s hand desperately.
“B-but…I love you James! Please don’t do this…” I shook my head, and stifled a snort of disgust. The only person Savannah loved was her reflection…she was consecrating the meaning of love by uttering those sacred words through such unworthy lips… Okay, I sound like a priest. I’ll stop now.
James dithered, unsure for a moment, and his dark eyes met my blue ones briefly. I betrayed no emotion, even though I was internally screaming RUN JAMES! RUN FAR AWAY AND NEVER LOOK BACK!
“Goodbye Sav,” James said awkwardly, pulling his hand away and walking away quickly. A few people tittered, and that was all we needed to light the fuse. Before James was even out of the door, Savannah’s face was turning purple with fury and humiliation. A small first year let out a frightened squeal as she stood up and kicked the table over. Another person yelled, “Save yourselves while you can still walk!” and scarpered. We’re Slytherins, get over it.
Dom however, was grinning with malicious delight as Savannah rapidly transformed into a bloodthirsty ogress; complete with blotchy face, hands clenched, and a roar of frustrated anger.
“Wish I had a camera,” she giggled in my ear. I nodded in agreement,
“Quick, get the LOM out, Dom!” Dom scrabbled in her bag for the precious love-o-meter, bringing it into view furtively. It was quite small and cylindrical; it looked like it was made out of liquid silver, but with a transparent centre. There were strands of precious, golden cupid hair- a part it had taken Zoey months to find- stretched through the middle. It was the cupid hair that transformed the emotion into a smoky, visible form.
Dom hid the LOM behind a cushion as Savannah continued to rant and storm about the common room like a rhinoceros with toothache. I watched it attentively, hoping that we’d get the right levels of anger; it had to be pure anger, not a mixture of, I don’t know, sadness? Her boyfriend had just publically dumped her after all. But I wasn’t disappointed, and the red smoke of anger soon appeared in the bottom of the love-o-meter.
I resisted the urge to fist pump as we sprinted up the stairs to get into the dorm before Savannah had the same idea and started smashing our belongings about. Dom handed the LOM to Eve, before collapsing onto her bed.
“That went well,” she stretched out with a yawn.
“Yeah…” I chewed a strand of hair, thinking about James and Savannah’s relationship.
“You’re analysing again, aren’t you Hollie?” moaned Dom. “Why do you do it?”
“It’s good to have a reference Dom! You learn from experiences- if I know what went wrong with their relationship I’ll be able to recognise the signs earlier next time.”
“I hate the word ‘analyse’ though. It’s so…analytical.”
“There’s an English teacher if ever I saw one.” I grinned and chucked a pillow at her, disturbing her cat, Pythagoras, as I did so. Yes, Dom has a cat called Pythagoras. Or rather, she called her poor cat Pythagoras- after the Greek triangle guy.
Apparently, nerdy is the new sexy. I’m not seeing it.
“Hollie, where are all the stoppers for the empty bottles?” Eve asked, rummaging through the cupboard we stored all our ingredients in.
“Aren’t they there? I put them in a little cardboard box by the side…”
“Oh, I’ve found them. S’okay.” Eve poured Savannah’s anger into a small, glass jar and quickly capped it in. She wrote a label and then locked the whole cupboard up safely. “Well, that’s a day well spent! Only four more to go, guys!”
“Four more what?” spat a voice from behind us. We turned to see Savannah leaning against the door with a nasty look in her eye. “What do you three freaks even keep in that cupboard?”
“Oh, nothing much…just, err…”Dom blushed, looking around wildly for inspiration.
“Eve’s precious soap collection!” I blurted out, smiling sweetly. “It’s very valuable you see- wouldn’t want anyone getting their hands on it.”
“A soap collection?” Savannah rolled her eyes. “Should’ve known.” I could not believe she’d fallen for that.
“ANYway,” Eve grabbed my arm, “We’re off to dinner. Sorry to hear about James, Woods. Get over it quickly if I were you.” Then we ambled out of the room trying to look cool.
I hate to say it, but we very much failed.
Author’s note: Haha, sorry about the Marks & Spencers jibe- couldn’t help it :P So…yup. New story, and I’m excited about this one! It’s been in the back of my head for a while, but now it’s all laid out and planned and stuff. YAY!! :) Please review, it's always lovely to know what everyone thinks of my writing. x