You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com
View Online | Printer Friendly Version of Entire Story
Chapter 5: A Plan of Action
For dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap for (ugh) inspiring me to write that one-shot bromance story with James and Albus. You know, when I have a thousand other stories to write.
James was the highlight of being in the dormitory. We exchanged homework answers, talked about girls, and planned out how to get my dad to agree to shop renovations. Work uniforms and liquor candy and the new displays in the front windows.
I did have three other roommates, though.
Andrew Parise was a stocky guy with great grades and a Quidditch build. The problem was – he had the build for a Beater. And he wasn’t getting his hands on that position. He’d been reserve since James and I were selected. Each year he convinced Rose to give him a private tryout to prove he could best us. Each year he was denied, accusing Rose of favoring her cousins. Each year Rose punched him in the face for it. His bed was on the other side of James’.
Chopper Mason didn’t talk much. In seven years, I knew little about him. He kept his marks to himself, grunted as a way of communication, and had a girlfriend in Russia. In fifth year, James asked if she was a mail order bride. Chopper never responded, but James said his toothbrush tasted weird the next day. He promptly replaced it.
Chopper was that deadly sort of bloke. He was quiet, but we caught him explode over a magic version of Exploding Snap. He lost and threw the cards, shattering a lamp in the process. I tried not to be afraid of guys, but his biceps could pop my head right off.
James and I had a theory he was in a wizarding biker gang. We swore he had a tattoo on his back of an eagle or something. Raven. No, not a raven. Like a fucking crow or something.
Lastly, there was Mox Quick. Mox was jittery and terrified of flobberworms. I swore he followed us up to the Tower after a hoax of a sorting and pretended to be a Gryffindor. I wasn’t one to say I could kill of a dragon, but Mox ran yelling if there was a spider in the shower.
And the guy has a wand.
Lucky for him, all the girls take pity and coax him to all the gatherings, smoothing out his hair and telling him how wonderful he is.
He doesn’t even do anything. He just sits there and nods and gets red in the face. He’s a pale bugger too. Dad said his skin used to be like that before he spent so much time in the sun after Hogwarts. He traveled for a few years after the battle, leaving the shop in the care of its employees for a few weeks while he went to ‘find himself.’ That was how he and Mum ended up together. She went after him and forced him to come home.
It was rare all five of us were in the dormitory at the same time. Usually it was just James and me, maybe one of the others. Mox liked to hang out in the greenhouses, something I’d never understand as I got sweaty in there. Chopper wandered the halls, probably finding a group for his biker gang. Andrew was always on the pitch. Always trying to figure out what he was doing wrong.
That was why it was so strange to find the five of us in there together on a Wednesday evening. There was an awkward silence in the air, filled every once in a while by James humming. Chopper would shoot him a look and he’d stop until five minutes later when he forgot he’d been eye-threatened.
“Oy – Mox. You want to kill that for me?” James asked lazily, rolling his Quidditch Weekly and pointed it toward the corner of the room.
“Kill what?” Mox looked up from his Potions assignment. He had shaggy, curly brown hair that covered part of his eyes.
“Something crawling over there.”
Mox’s lips parted. “What is it?”
“He’s lying,” Andrew said stiffly. “I’m studying.”
“Me too,” James said smartly. “I’m studying that bug over there.”
“Don’t you have a date?” Andrew snapped.
Oh, and Andrew dated Ollie. Technically, it wasn’t even dating. It was puppy love, as they had both grown up together and decided to date in second year. It was just a bunch of awkward hand-holding, but Andrew had never warmed to James. He and Ollie were still mates, but the bitterness was there.
“If there’s a bug, I’m leaving,” Mox announced. He sat up, tucking his legs under him, Potions forgotten.
Mental note: WWW bug-killing items?
Mental note: WWW things shaped like bugs.
Mental note: Bugs.
“When was your last date, Parise?” James asked, lounging back on his pillow. “Fifth year? Fourth? When was the last time you got laid, hmm?” It was a rarity to hear James speak like that to anyone but me, considering the way his relationship with Ollie was, but he could tell as much as I could that Andrew didn’t like him.
And James, that snarky bugger, loved to exploit it.
“I had a date last weekend if you must know,” Andrew said, the back of his neck reddening. He wasn’t looking at us.
“Bollocks,” James challenged.
“With who?” asked Mox. Chopper just played more Exploding Snap with himself like he was training for a tournament.
“Annie,” Andrew said. He smiled fondly.
James turned to me immediately. My cheeks were flushed in a very unintentional way.
Last weekend I’d stayed in the dormitory pretending to be damn-near fatally ill. I stayed up late pouring over notes for the shop and attempting to keep my mind off Ryan. Clearly my mind was off Annie as well.
“Ah,” James said, pressing his lips together. He slid back against the headboard. “What did you do? Didja shag?”
“Don’t be crude,” Andrew said.
“It’s a legitimate question!”
“For Freddie maybe. Not for me.”
“The hell does that mean?” I snapped. Was he assuming I just went into bars, told girls to have tequila chips, and shagged them in bathroom stalls?
“You’re his cousin,” Andrew replied. “You two are close. I don’t share things like that.”
Oh. Well. He was still an asshole. And other colorful words James had uttered in the past when seeing Andrew and Ollie hang out after practice.
“Going to go out again?” Mox piped up. He had clearly forgotten about the spider.
“I asked. She said she would.” Andrew smirked and it wasn’t a happy, cheerful smirk.
It was an arrogant smirk. And the bastard was looking right at me.
“I’m going for a walk,” I announced, shooting out of bed and heading for the door.
“It’s late,” James said. Thanks, Mum.
“I’m a Prefect.”
I took the stairs two at a time, which was dangerous to do on a spiral staircase. The common room was nearly empty, save for a few third years putting their heads together on a Charms essay. When I was a third year I had better things to do than Charms.
“Where’re you headed?” Ollie was just walking in the portrait hole with a lollipop in her hand. She caught my arm, steadying me. “What’s wrong, Freddie?”
“Annie didn’t tell me she was going out with Parise,” I announced as if I had a say in any of it. I knew I didn’t.
“What?” Ollie said. Her eyes widened too.
“He just told us upstairs,” I explained. “They went out last weekend and they’re going out again.”
“I thought she went out with you.”
Ollie was quiet, candy abandoned at her hip. She wasn’t looking at me. I wondered if she was playing back her conversations with Annie, trying to figure out if it was ever mentioned between her own gushing about James. When her eyes narrowed, I concluded that was a no.
“She didn’t tell me,” Ollie said.
“Andrew didn’t tell me either.” She didn’t seem to be listening to me as she brushed past and toward the girls’ staircase.
“What’s that matter?” I called. A third year shot me a scathing look.
“He should have.”
I shook my head and left the common room, moving swiftly down the halls. I didn’t meet anyone as I walked and listened to the conversations of the portraits. They were animated for so late at night.
I went to the Prefect’s office, sinking down at the desk and straightening papers. I’d been a Prefect since fifth year and everything was second nature by now. It was easy. I put a few sticky notes between pages that whoever was on duty failed to do.
I just needed some time to think.
Granted, didn’t I need a lot of that lately?
I had no right to be upset that Annie had gone out with Andrew. Other than the fact that it was Andrew and he was generally annoying when it came to people I could tolerate, he wasn’t a bad guy. He didn’t mistreat people, he got good marks, and he didn’t snore. Besides, Annie and I went out once. We’d been mates for ages, we went for milkshakes, we snogged, then we snogged some more, and she fell asleep in my bed. And we snogged again.
Then she went on a date with Andrew.
Was I wrong in thinking there had been something there?
How valid was I in being concerned, considering I had recently gotten a girl pregnant?
Oh, hell. Ryan. I’d seen her in class and she still hadn’t said anything to me. Not that I expected her to knock at my door once she made a decision, but I felt like I was in limbo. In a strange place between knowing where I was and having even footing. She avoided my eye.
All I wanted was an answer. From Ryan, from Annie. Heck, I wanted an answer from my Transfig quiz from Monday.
While I was busy wanting answers, the office door burst in and my cousin Molly stumbled backward into the room.
Oddly enough, her lips were attached to Rune Douglas, Head Boy. Ew.
Molly’s arms were around his neck and she had her fingers tangled in his white-blond hair. One of his hands was on her bum, the other grabbing at the material of her shirt. Their kissing was sloppy at best, but both of their faces were flushed and blotchy.
Her back slammed into the cabinet and he pressed her into it hard.
I moved my chin to my palm, propping my elbow onto the desk in amusement. Personally, I didn’t know Rune had it in him. After Ryan pants’ed him all those years ago, I was sure he was afraid to make a move on any girl.
Molly wrapped a leg around him. And there was my cue.
“I thought Head Boy and Girl snogging is frowned upon,” I noted. “Or did you ditch that rule, as the rule-makers?”
Molly shoved Rune away so hard his back hit the door. She let out a small cry and looked over, chest heaving. Her face was darker than our Gryffindor Quidditch robes. “Freddie…”
“Is this office really ideal?” I said, a smirk on my lips. “I mean, I know I’m not on duty tonight, but a broom cupboard would have worked well. No, you’re right. It’s just less clean in there, you know?”
“What’re you doing here?” Molly said, her voice breaking a little. She had a thing with being embarrassed. When James and I used to play pranks on her she would scream her lungs out until Uncle Percy told us to behave. More often than not Dad would be in the corner laughing.
“Organizing.” I pointed to the sticky notes.
“You’re not on duty,” Rune added.
“You make the schedule, so I’m glad you knew.” I shot him a clever smile. “China sends her love, by the way. She loves being partnered with a Gryffindor who is willing to lead the way in the dungeons. Is it true you won’t?”
“Fred,” Molly said shortly. “Leave.”
“Going to pay me off?”
“What? Of course not. I don’t have to pay you to stop you from telling people my business.”
“James is upstairs.” I stood, popping my back loudly. “Molly and Rune. You would make such cute babies, but the hair would be an odd mix. How about it, Molls? His hair or yours?”
“I’ll do your Transfig essay,” she said dryly.
“How long have you two been at it, anyway?” I asked seriously. “A few days? Weeks? Summer?”
“If you push it I will change the schedule and make you do walks after your Quidditch practices,” Molly said. “And then I will owl Uncle George.”
“Bint,” I muttered, hip-bumping her as I moved toward the door. “Treat her well, Runey. If you don’t, she has a lot of cousins.” I shot him a wink. “A lot of cousins who practice hexes in our spare time. Experimental hexes.”
I shut the door just in time to see Rune’s face explode with color.
On Thursday, all I wanted out of life was for Rose Weasley to leave me the hell alone. I had sweat pouring down my neck and back as I hit the Bludgers hard toward Beckett and Ollie and Gee. They were working well together, but it was strangely warm that day and the mandatory stadium lights weren’t helping any. Rose insisted they helped us prepare for game day.
I insisted she shut the hell up and get a margarita.
“We can’t win unless we’re prepared!” Rose shouted when I flipped her off for the fifth time.
“We can win if I off you!” I shot back. “Then I’ll be well rested!”
“You can sleep when you’re dead!” she cried.
“I’ll sleep when you’re dead, damn it.” I swung the bat, making contact with a Bludger. Ollie dodged it at the last second, letting out a yell.
I hit a second, which smashed into the tail of Gee’s broom.
“Watch it!” she cried.
“That is seriously the point of what I do on this team,” I shot back. “You bloody watch it.”
“Don’t make me come over there.” Gee narrowed her eyes.
“Going to go all romance novel on me?”
Turned out, no, she was not going to go romance novel on me. Instead, Gee waited ten minutes, stole my bat, and clubbed me over the head with it.
I went to the hospital wing and got seven stitches.
That was when I saw Annie for the first time outside of class since I’d found out. She pushed open the door sheepishly, her teeth chewing on her bottom lip in that adorable way I loved. As she moved toward my bed, she tucked a few strands of hair behind her ear.
“Hey,” she said.
I tugged the blankets up around my middle. I was on four different kinds of pain drugs, so I just stared for a minute, taking her in. She was beautiful.
“Hey,” I eventually echoed.
“Andrew mentioned he told you.”
“Yep. Told me. And James. And Mox and Chopper.”
“Ah.” Annie’s face darkened. She looked away.
“Would you care to explain before I jump to conclusions?” I asked. I could give her that much, though I knew I had no right. Alessandra was that way. Always jumped.
You’re a cheater, Freddie. You’re snogging other girls. You love Quidditch more than me. You love James more than me.
Me with that bloke? Meant nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was an accident.
Onto his lips.
And we were naked.
I shook my head. Whoa. I needed to stop.
“You were hiding something,” Annie began softly. “And you weren’t letting me in. Or anyone, I guess. I just figured you wanted to be left alone when you faked sick.”
“I was sick!” I countered.
“You weren’t sick.” She sat on the end of the bed. “So Andrew asked if I wanted to head down to Hogsmeade for the evening and I said yes.”
“Where did you go?”
“I’m allowed, you know,” Annie said. “We’re not dating. We’re not together.”
“I’m aware.” My tone was strangely dry.
“We got dinner and had a couple drinks,” Annie explained. “He didn’t kiss me. We came back and he asked if I wanted to do it again sometime. I said sure. Stop giving me that look, Freddie. You can’t be mad at me.”
“You didn’t tell me.”
“I didn’t have to!” she countered.
“Yes, you did!”
Annie’s arms folded in a stubborn, womanly way. Godric, she looked adorable when she was mad. Her nose scrunched up and her lips tightened. I nudged her with my foot and she shot me a scathingly mad look. “I did not,” she said. “I don’t owe you anything.”
“All this because I faked sick to be by myself?” I asked, letting my anger subside once she met my eyes. She was enough to make a guy melt.
“Well, he asked.” Annie shrugged.
“You going to stay down there all night?”
I nudged her again. “C’mere. I’m on drugs and can’t throw you over my shoulder and teach you a lesson.”
Her lips were tugging upward, fighting a smile. “And if I don’t want to be around you right now?”
“Then I’ll offer to kiss it and make it better,” I said in a sly way, grinning. “C’mere. Keep me company in the hospital.”
Annie conceded, crawling up the bed and curling up beside me. She pressed her head against my chest. “Is everything better now?”
I was quiet, head pounding dully. I needed more medication. “It will be,” I said. “It’s going to be okay.”
She drew circles on my torso with her index finger.
I had to find Ryan.
It was easier than I thought it would be. The following day I was discharged from the hospital wing in time to make it to Herbology lecture. James and I sat in front of Ryan and Gemma again.
“Why’s Molly’s face all red?” James whispered, busting out his parchment to start writing notes to Ollie.
“Maybe she fancies Smith?” I grinned and watched my cousin’s neck get two shades darker in front of me. “Or maybe she fancies Ollie? Twist of fate, James.”
When Smith allowed us to talk amongst ourselves to come up with an answer about some plant with blue leaves, I turned to the Ravenclaw girls.
“How’s it going, French?” I asked with a crooked grin. “You’re looking like a bitch today.”
“You always look like a bitch, Weasel,” Gemma shot back. “It’s the breeding.”
“You sure they didn’t just kick you out of Slytherin first year?”
“Smart people don’t get into Slytherin.”
I smirked. “Like I said. Are you sure?”
“Fuck off, Weasel.” Gemma flipped a few more pages in her notebook.
I focused my attention to Ryan, who usually avoided me in class, especially now that we had slept together. “Flying lately, Davies?” I asked.
“I’ve been sick.”
Decision hadn’t been made yet. At least it wasn’t a last-to-know sort of situation.
“I heard flu’s going around the Hufflepuffs,” I noted. “It’s probably because they hug too damn much.”
Gemma snorted and continued with her notes.
“I heard that as well,” Ryan said shortly. “Can I help you with something?”
I met her dark eyes with my own. If we stood beside each other, we could be relatives. Same darkened skin tone, same brown eyes. The only difference was her hair was a pile of silky waves and mine poofed after a shower.
“Have you ever been good at planning?” I asked casually.
“Kind of fucking question is that, Weasel?” Gemma asked. “Need to plan your graduation party already? What’s the matter? Mummy can’t handle it?”
“I have,” Ryan said, shrugging. “It just takes me a while.”
“Time estimate?” I asked, aware that my heart was beating faster than usual.
“Not long.” Ryan’s lips tightened and I was staring.
Thankfully, James twisted around. “Do you Claws have the fucking answer because I forgot we were in class and I’ve been drawing pictures of Gemma on fire.” He held one up.
“At least my breasts are to scale,” Gemma replied nonchalantly.
So you’re saying you didn’t punch that Andrew kid in the face? I know he’s your roommate, but you have to exert power quickly. He has to know you mean business … you know, seven years in. He sounds like a bit of a tool to be honest. Didn’t he know you were seeing Annie?
My apologies. You were snogging her after getting milkshakes.
Your mum would be proud.
Sold out of pygmy puffs again today. I have to get in another order. We’ve got some babies in the back, but they’re not old enough to be sold yet. They’ve got that cute high-pitched hum your mum loves. She accidentally used one to powder her nose the other day.
Picture a small bite and then a shriek. Made my day.
Meeting with the attorney tomorrow about Hogsmeade, but it’s not looking good. Zonkos has a boycott going of our products. We’ll see what happens. It’s not my fault their shop is dreary and half their products copy ours. Snack bags? Really? What shit.
From your letters it sounds like Rose is going a bit mad. Maybe sit her down and dump some water on her? She’s only a sixth year. Maybe I can convince her to work in the shop this summer. That could be fun, but she raves about her summer job at Quality Quidditch. Blah blah blah.
Molly mentioned something in her letter to Percy that you and her are getting on quite well.
So you’re blackmailing her.
I found Ryan the next day. Unfortunately, it was in a bathroom. Fortunately, she brought a hair tie. I locked the door and hoisted myself onto the sink, swinging my legs as she threw up. It wasn’t the most pleasant sound in the world, nor anywhere near remotely pleasant, but I was a patient guy. At least Dad told me that. Apparently I used to wait all day for one of the shop girls to finish her shift and change into her regular clothes. Then I’d stand against the register just to watch her walk past. It was nothing extravagant – just jeans and a t-shirt or jacket. But I was fascinated.
He told that story at one too many parties.
Ryan must have perfected this morning sickness thing. When she emerged, she had already used her wand to brush her teeth and the tears had been wiped from her eyes. They were still puffy, but she looked all right. She moved to the sink beside me, switched it on, and splashed cold water onto her face.
“I fucking hate this,” she said, bitterness filling her voice. Her fingers clutched the porcelain sides of the sink hard. “I have been in this bathroom three times today.”
“And only French knows?” I asked, still swinging my legs.
“Yes. Pretty sure the others think I have an eating disorder.” Ryan shut off the water and looked at herself in the mirror. She slipped a piece of stray hair behind her ear. “What’re you doing in here?”
“Making sure you’re okay.”
“Do I need a reason?”
“Of course you do.” Ryan’s gaze moved to me, suspicious. “You don’t need to be in here. Besides, it’s a girl’s loo.”
“You think this is the first time I’ve been in a girl’s loo?” I smirked, thinking of the pub bathroom. Not too fondly, though. She rolled her eyes in response. “We need to talk, Davies.”
“No, you need to talk.” I adjusted myself on the sink since my arse was falling asleep. “Anything I say you will just use against me, so I want you to talk to me.”
I thought about all of the things I could say to her in that moment. That I needed to know what was happening for me. For my future. For Annie. It was all selfish, wasn’t it? I wanted to know for me. I needed to know if I was going to be tossing and turning at night for months on end. I wanted to know for me, which wasn’t going to be the most ideal topic of conversation.
Never in my life had I felt so selfish as in that moment, watching Ryan’s face regain the color from before she threw up.
“I don’t want to talk to you.”
“Because it’s me or because you don’t like me?” I guessed.
“Both.” Ryan busied herself fixing the collar of her blouse. “I have nothing to say. I’m just tired, okay? I just want to go to sleep.”
“So head upstairs and go to sleep,” I said.
“I have Charms.”
I arched a brow. “Look, Ryan, you don’t study. You do your homework in class. You’ve never failed anything and you get way better marks than me. You don’t have Charms to do.”
“Can you explain to me why you give a shit?” Ryan’s eyes moved around the empty bathroom. Maybe she was looking for an escape route.
“Can you explain why I shouldn’t?” I shot back, irritated. “This isn’t just all about Ryan Davies, okay? It took two to tango, and though I don’t remember pieces of it that doesn’t mean I don’t have a right to know what the fuck is going on.” My voice raised toward the end, which wasn’t very common unless I was on the pitch screaming at Rose for being a tightwad. My fingers tightened on the sides of the sink.
“I don’t need you for this decision!” Ryan cried. The piece of hair fell out from behind her ear. “I don’t need your influence or your expertise or your Gryffindor idiocy!”
“Idiocy?” I asked. “Pretty sure the hat says bravery.”
“Yeah, well, in Ravenclaw we change the song lyrics.” Ryan shrugged. “Fuck, Weasley, I don’t know, okay? I don’t know what to do. I’ve never done this before. How do you decide if you want to have a kid and support it for eighteen years or live with the selfish guilt of not having that kid? It could grow up to cure cancer or something.”
“Could grow up to be a murderer.” I mirrored her shrug.
Ryan slowly looked over, meeting my eyes. I still couldn’t get over seeing her this way. Ryan Davies was cool and confident and didn’t care about anything. Life came easy to her because she didn’t let people (or emotions) get in her way. Now she was in a girl’s bathroom being ruled by hormones she didn’t understand. And it was obvious.
“Can you just tell me what you think?” Ryan conceded, her anger subsiding as she let out a small sigh.
I paused for a moment, wondering what I really did think. The truth was, I’d been thinking since she told me and I hadn’t come to any conclusions. Maybe letting her decide everything was my way of taking the pressure off me. Like if I had no input, I couldn’t blame myself for anything that happened.
Great way to look at it, Freddo. Dad would be proud.
“I think either way things are really complicated,” I said slowly. I felt like a sports player diverting questions about a team scandal. “If we decide to get rid of it … is that the right term … if we decide not to have the kid, what happens? We go about our lives. We obviously get that what-if feeling. Probably won’t be able to look each other in the face again.” I shrugged. “And I guess we’ll live with the fact that we’re cowards.”
Ryan raised a brow. “Cowards?”
“Everyone is different,” I explained. “But when I was twelve my father sat me down in the back room of the shop and explained all about safe sex and proceeded to give the most awkward demonstration with my sister’s dolls I will never recover from. But he told me to only have sex when I’m ready to accept the consequences of it. If something happens, I’m ready to take responsibility. And trust me, I know not everyone is like that and every situation is different, but I’d feel like a coward the rest of my life for taking the easy way out of something I could have prevented.” I frowned, thinking of my dad. And trying not to think of the dolls.
“You really think that?” Ryan said. “Isn’t that just like taking the noble way out? Doing something simply because it’s the right thing to do?”
“It’s less selfish than wanting to go live your life and party it up.”
Her eyes flashed. “Do you think that’s what this is about?” Ryan asked. “That I don’t want to have a kid just because I want to go drink tequila shots and party with Gemma?”
“How would I know? You haven’t told me otherwise.”
“You know very little about me, Fred Weasley. I would tread lightly.” Ryan’s dark eyes narrowed, her cheeks tinted an angry pink. “There are a lot of reasons I do not want to be a mother at seventeen and to your idiotic surprise, partying with Ravenclaws is not anywhere near the top.” She grabbed the band out of her hair and let it fall over her shoulders. Then she added, “So fuck off.”
“Make a decision, Ryan.”
I wanted to look away. Hell, I wanted to storm out of that bathroom because no girl in Gryffindor Tower (okay, maybe Rose) got under my skin like she had in the last month. However, my kid or fetus or whatever was in her belly and I wasn’t leaving without an answer.
Besides, how could I face Annie without an answer of if I was fine or not?
In which situation would I actually be fine?
Ryan looked furious. Her left hand tugged at the bottom of her blouse, probably stopping her from punching me in the face again. “I’m going to keep it,” she said through gritted teeth. “But I have absolutely no reservations throwing a butter knife at you during dinner.”
“Always the charmer,” I muttered, my stomach filled with nervous and discomfort. Felt like I was the one about to lose my lunch. “That’s the plan then, is it?”
“We’ll come up with a plan later. I can’t stand being in a room with a Gryffindor this long.” Ryan rolled her eyes and brushed past me. She unlocked the door and headed out into the vacant hallway, disappearing around the first corner.
I stayed in the bathroom until a third year Hufflepuff walked in and shrieked, then went upstairs to tell Annie I was just fine.
I was kidding myself to believe I’d ever be just fine again.
I needed a pygmy puff.
A/N: Okay, let's pick back up the humor, shall we? You know, now that things are getting crazy for Freddie, why not throw in some typical Mistress character intoxication? That's what's up next. Along with Ryan's announcement.
Thanks to everyone who has already been over to check out my new Rose/Scorpius fic, which I was also totally peer-pressured into doing (kidding!).
Happy late my-birthday gift. Is that a thing? I'm sure it is. If not, I've made it a thing.