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Not Just a Bystander by AC_rules
Chapter 15: And then there is a deviation into toilet humour...
“Dom,” I said slowly, “you… you’re joking, aren’t you?”
“Autumn,” Dom returned in a voice that mocked my tone, “still working on that sense of humour, are you? No, I’m not joking.”
I paused in the corridor, frowning as I pursed my lips together, “you can put permanent sticking potion on someone else’s toilet. That’s not... that’s not funny that’s cruel.”
“James shouldn’t have crossed me!” Dom snapped, her eyes flashing dangerously. “Look, Autumn, he spiked my boyfriend’s drink and now we’re in the middle of a prank war. Don’t waste your bleeding heart on someone like James.”
“But it might not even be James who gets permanently stuck to the bleeding toilet!” I exclaimed. “Dom, any of the guys in his dormitory could have stumbled into the prank -”
“– well ? They’re all idiots.”
“You dated two of them!”
“Precisely,” Dom said, “Benson’s meeting us for breakfast again. He’s so nice, isn’t he?”
“You’re insane!” I said wildly, feeling my legs trembling slightly under me. “You can’t do this, Dom.”
“It’s a moot point,” Dom said with an eye roll, “it’s too late to discuss ethics – I broke into their dorm last night and did it.” I stood there, frozen for a minute, before jerking into action. “Where the hell are you going, Autumn?” Dom called out after me, an edge of something deadly barely concealed by her tone. “I hardly think you’re much of a knight in shining armour!”
That was probably a fair point. Ravenclaw or not, there wasn’t much I could do to undo a permanent sticking potion but there was still a chance that none of the sixth year boys had sat down on the toilet yet. My Aunt Flo always said that prevention was the best cure (usually she said this to avoid eating any form of fibre, but that was a different story all together) and I had to agree with her here.
So, that was how I wound up running flat out towards the Gryffindor Common Room, yelled the password to a confused fat lady, legged it up the stairs (and, at last, there was a decent use for my stupidly long legs) and burst into James’s dormitory.
I burst through the door to the bathroom yelling a “THERE’S A PERMANENT STICKING POTION ON THE TOILET SEAT!” to find myself face to face with the entire content of the dormitory standing around the fringes of the room facing Freddie Weasley, who was sat on said toilet seat. It took a few seconds for it to permeate through my brain that he had his pants down and then turn around very quickly.
“Really?” One of the guys asked.
I had this sneaking suspicion he was being sarcastic.
“Dom?” James suggested, looking like he found the whole thing really quite funny.
“Yeah.” I breathed, glancing back at Freddie but nowhere below his chest very deliberately. It looked like, upon realising that he was stuck to the toilet seat, Fred had tried to use his hands to push himself off the toilet seat – now both his hands and his thighs were stuck fast to the seat.
“First you try and blow me up,” Freddie said, “now you stick me to the bog. Did I do something to offend you, Pearce?” Freddie suggested, feebly trying to wiggle his way free.
“Nah,” James said affectionately, “she’s just a walking disaster.”
It struck me as slightly alarming that it was the same term Dom had christened me with and that, from her lips, I’d found it highly irritating. I mean, it had been my birthday at that point which automatically meant I was in a foul mood but, at the same time, I’d found the term highly derogative and offensive and now James was using the same damn term.
Maybe it was a Potter/Weasley thing.
“Hi, by the way,” James added with a grin, quirking his eyebrows upwards, “wasn’t expecting this when I woke up this morning.”
“Neither was I,” I returned, “Dom sprung this on me on the way to breakfast.”
“Can you not move at all, Freddie?” Geoffrey Archer asked, a bit stupidly I thought – no one from Ravenclaw would ever say something quite so stupid.
“Archer,” Freddie said pointedly, “I’m stuck here with my pants down, in front of my cousin’s girlfriend, my hands stuck on the bog so I can’t even cover myself up, with you lot standing around like I’m a flaming zoo animal – if you don’t believe I’m stuck, you feel free to stick a finger on the spare bit of seat and see if you’ve got wriggle room.”
“Okay, ladies, let’s not argue,” Graham, the bloke in our Herbology class, said pointedly, “and no one else touch the toilet.”
“And someone cover him up.” James suggested, grabbing a towel off the side and throwing it in Freddie’s direction.
“You just don’t want your girl eyeing me up,” Freddie said, winking at me deliberately, “It’s not a great angle, Autumn, but honestly -”
“– Fred,” Tim interjected, “if James punches you now, you haven’t really got an opportunity to duck.”
“Word.” Fred agreed.
“Fact,” James grinned, “right, what exactly did Dom say?” James asked me, slipping his hand through mine and half pulling me towards him in a way that would almost have been subtle, if we weren’t all stood around in the toilet. Nothing seems subtle when there’s six people chilling in the bathroom, really, and all together this was quite an unusual situation.
I know, when I stole that bleeding invisibility cloak, that I’d vaguely been expecting something to happen – but honestly, it hadn’t been to end up in a communal discussion in a men’s toilet.
“She said that she was thinking about putting a permanent sticking charm on your toilet, I told her that was a tad unethical and then she said that she’d already done it and I ran off to come warn you.”
“Permanent?” Freddie asked, an almost distraught expression crossing his features. “Sod, guys, I’ve already been here for bloody hours.”
“Freddie got up in the middle of the night,” James grinned into my ear, “couldn’t get off the seat, thought he was just tired, fell asleep on the loo… woke up when Graham came in to brush his teeth. Then he realised he was stuck.”
“Yeah,” Freddie said, “it might be funny and all, but that’s not really the point right now, is it?”
“The point is,” James said, “we need a sodding camera.”
Freddie swore at him.
“Okay, let’s think logically about this,” I said, it was a little more comfortable to glance between them all now Freddie had a towel on his lap, “where would Dom have got a permanent sticking potion from?”
“She’s crap at potions.” Freddie added.
“I… I don’t think she brewed it. She’d have asked me.”
“Right, so, what about the boyfriend. Anyone know if Flint can brew?”
“Not a clue,” Graham shrugged, “permanent shit tends to be quite complicated.”
“I know, Graham, I’m stuck on a bloody toilet.”
I think that’s when I started giggling like an idiot. As much as Dom was a first class bitch who was probably going to kill me for interfering with her plans (oh pants, I’d just realised that I’d ran off to help the enemy – she was going to permanent stick me to something worse than a toilet and then let me die of starvation and no one would even noticed until they found a bag of bones and James started wonder whether I’d finished all my essays yet or something), it was a sign of someone who wasn’t comically deficient to stick to someone to a toilet.
I mean, if you ignored the fact that Freddie might actually be forever, it was quite funny.
I turned around and let most of my near-hysterical laughing be directed into James’s chest. He wrapped his arm around me and appeared to be silently laughing, too, so at least I wasn’t the only horrible person around.
“It’s fine,” Freddie said dejectedly, “you guys go to breakfast, bring me up some bacon or something… I’ll just live here for the rest of my life.”
“Yeah?” Tim said. “What happens when we need to crap in the middle of the night?”
“There’s probably room for two on the seat.”
“Not with Potter’s fat arse,” Graham put in, “anyway, that’s a bit grim, isn’t it?”
“Go crap in someone else’s toilet, then,” Freddie said, “here I am being nice and offering you half my seat, and you just got shove it in my face.”
“Al’s toilet is nicer,” James said, “it’s not like any of his mates could stop us using his toilets.”
“I’m not walking down the stairs every time I need to pee.”
“Fact.” Tim agreed, nodding slowly, “guess we’ll have to remove you in some way.”
“Guys,” Freddie said, “my towel’s slipping. Could someone just -?”
“No.” James said, quickly.
“I’m not going anywhere near there,” Tim grinned, “you’ll have to get it yourself.”
“How?” Freddie demanded. “My hands are stuck too! And if I could get it with my teeth then, frankly –“
“Let’s keep it clean,” James said, “There’s a lady present.”
“Point. Autumn, can you just get my towel for me?” Freddie suggested with another grin, raising his eyebrows challengingly at James. “It’s for your benefit, really, you’re the one who doesn’t want to see –“
“No one wants to see.” Tim added.
“No one complained before she got here!”
“I complained a long time ago,” Graham said in a slightly bored tone, “you attempted to wiggle your hips in response and ripped some of the skin off your arse.”
“I’m sodding bleeding down there!”
“Don’t move then.” Graham said. “Okay, thinking logically – Autumn, your expertise is it not?”
“She’s dating James,” Freddie said, “doubt it.”
James counteracted that by pulling me round to face him and kissing me roughly on the lips. Well. There was a fair bit of jeering from the others in the toilet and Freddie was muttering ‘can’t even cover my damn eyes up’ and then James seemed to have considered his point, whatever it was, well made and I was released again.
“Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes,” I said, turning round to face the others again as James’s arms folded around my waist, “she could have got it from there.”
“Yeah, actually,” Freddie said, frowning slightly, “we sell some permanent sticking gel, stuff, but it’s not permanent. It wears off after twenty four hours.”
“Right,” James said bracingly, “see you tomorrow then, mate.”
“I’ll bribe a House Elf to bring you up a bread roll!” Graham added, kicking open the door and heading towards the exit.
“WAIT!” Freddie yelled at the sort of volume that made my ears ring slightly after he’d finished making it. “There’s an antidote that stops it sticking immediately.”
“Yeah,” Tim said, “but we don’t have any of that. I’ll bring you a book.”
“Guys,” Freddie said, “please. You can’t leave me stuck on the toilet all bloody day. It’s inhumane. It’s cruel. This is your fault James! Actually, sod that, it’s all Autumn’s fault! She bloody drugged her best friends boyfriend and then got you into this damn prank war. Now I’m an innocent civilian stuck on the toilet for twenty four hours when it should have been you, Potter!”
“All’s fair in love and war.”
“I’M AN INNOCENT BYSTANDER.”
“How would we get the anecdote?” I asked.
“My Dad,” Freddie said, urgently, “come on, Autumn, you know I’ve always loved you. Favourite of all of James’s girlfriends, really, and even though you blew a cauldron up in my face I’ve always thought you were –“
And that’s when Freddie’s towel slipped to the floor.
Tim and Graham were still pretty intent on exiting the scenes, it seemed, and I glance at the watch April had brought me sent a stab of anxiousness through my gut – I was already fifteen minutes late to class, Fred Weasley was currently accidentally exposing himself to me (and was now attempting to reach for the towel with his teeth) and Dom was sure to be dreaming of ways to punish me for mutiny by now.
But this was my fault and I could hardly leave Freddie stuck on the loo. I had a slight suspicion that the only way James was going to do anything to help him was if I insisted up on it, and I could hardly insist upon it then run off to stop myself being any later to Herbology.
All in all, this was a bad day for my studies.
“Stuff it, Freddie,” James said wearily, “my Owl’s half way to my parents.”
“Mine’s with Hagrid,” Fred said, “I tried to use it to test this spell on and now it can only fly backwards.”
“Autumn,” James said with a heavy sigh, “we’re going to need your owl.”
“I can’t believe I’m skipping class,” I muttered as I sat nervously on the edge of James’s bed, “I’m probably going to be chucked out of Ravenclaw and then die.
“Have you never skipped before?” Roxanne asked. She was sat cross legged on the floor of her brothers dorm, penning out a letter to George Weasley to politely request an anti-sticking potion to be sent as soon as possible. It was decided that Roxanne was the woman for a job, as apparently George was a sucker for anything his daughter asked of him, but then had followed the forty minute debate as they tried to decide whether it would be beneficial to the cause or not to tell George that his son was stuck to a toilet.
At first, Fred had been all for informing his dad of his predicament and Roxanne wasn’t. Then James had pointed out that his Dad would find the whole thing really funny, would send Dom a bouquet of flowers and bribe Roxy for a photograph. After that Freddie was against it and Roxanne was all for it. I was given the deciding vote, had voted no, and now Roxanne was making up some elaborate story which involved a small child getting stuck to Hugo’s foot and how they were under threat of expulsion unless they could release him in the next two hours, or something.
“Yeah,” I said, “I have but… not when I was this behind.”
“Autumn is doing a billion NEWTS.” James substituted, exiting the bathroom, kicking the door shut behind him (in doing so muffling Freddie’s loud, expletive filled call of protest) and coming to sit next to me on his bed.
And that was a bit odd.
When I’d been in his room for our little chat, I’d purposefully not sat on his bed and had instead opted for sitting on the floor – there’d been that slightly awkward moment when I’d come up to his room and had to make the decision about where to sit, and James had been stood there with his eyes slightly raised waiting for to decide. I’d been glad about opting for the floor, too, because with the kissing that had followed our talk I’d have felt pretty bloody uncomfortable if I’d been sat on his bed.
Now though, I hadn’t been given a choice and I felt a bit weird about the whole thing. Not that sitting on your boyfriends bed with your boyfriend meant anything in any way, it was more just… the whole sentiment around it.
There was a chance I was overthinking things.
“Not so bad getting more time to spend with me, is it?” James asked, squeezing my hand slightly. “Don’t judge her, Roxy, it’s the Ravenclaw disease.”
“What? Being sensible.”
“Don’t pull that card on me,” James grinned, “you lost the right to claim ‘sensible’ quite a while a go – didn’t you poison Benson Flint?”
“Right,” James said, then he brushed a piece of hair out of my face and then kissed me. I was getting quite used to this whole James kissing me, lark, and it was quite nice – but I did feel a tad awkward about kissing James, on his bed, with Roxanne sat on the floor and Freddie glued to the toilet.
And that was something I never thought I’d think.
“Why is Dom such a bloody stick in the mud?” Freddie asked, really quite loudly, from the bathroom.
“Is that supposed to be a pun, dearest brother?” Roxy asked without looking up.
James was still kissing me. Ack.
“I’m bored,” Freddie added, “James, come back and entertain me.”
“He’s busy.” Roxy said, pausing in her scribbling for a second to glance up at us. I pushed James away slightly feeling a tad embarrassed. “Nearly finished, Freddie. And then all you have to count on is the speed of Autumn’s owl and Dad’s compassion.”
“True, that,” Roxanne sad with a final flourish, “right, where do I find this Owl?”
The payment for a tube of anti-sticking-goo was, apparently, a photo of whatever was really going on. Roxanne was positively gleeful about taking a photo of Freddie still stuck on the toilet, before handing him over the tube of anti-sticking-goo and telling him to ungloo it himself. She took a photo of that, too, before sending them off with a letter of thanks to her dad.
Eventually, it was left to Roxanne and James combined to unstick Freddie’s hands and then leave him to sort his arse out himself.
James emerged from the bathroom looking utterly disguised and swearing off touching a toilet seat ever again, which then led to Fred rubbing his goo covered hands all over James’s hair – once he was finally out of the bathroom, at any rate.
“It’s possible,” Freddie had said with a mock-thoughtful expression, “that some of my but-skin is still stuck to the toilet seat.”
“Note to self,” Roxanne had returned, “never share a bathroom with Fred Weasley again.”
Now, I was wondering back to the Ravenclaw Tower wondering how, exactly, I was going to get away with skipping a hole day of studies for absolutely no reason what so ever. Given Professor Vector was already on my back, I didn’t much rate my chances at surviving the week without adding a detention to the things designed to drain my time.
Of course, James was walking with me.
“Look,” James said, pausing in the corridor, “if we’re going to continue this whole… secret relationship thing for a little while, we should probably be a bit more careful about the whole Dom issue.”
James pulled out the invisibility cloak and the map from his bag, “I nagged Al for the cloak, and he’s agreed to a month long lend in your name. He quite likes you, I think.”
“You’re giving me the cloak?” I asked, my face scrunching up slightly in surprise – it really was very practical and logical and nice of James to give me an implement of deceit, especially considering he was dead set against keeping our relationship a secret in the first place.
“And the map,” James said, “just for a little while.”
“A month less four days,” James said, pointedly, “and, for now…” James dug something out of his pocket and handed it to me – some sort of sweet in a shiny purple wrapping, by the looks of it.
“Erm, thanks?” I suggested, taking it from him, “but you know I prefer Exploding Strawberry Creams.”
“Yeah, I found that out the hard way. No, Autumn, trust a Ravenclaw to not recognise a skiving snackbox. It’s a fainting fancy – you take it, then I’ll take you to the hospital wing and say I found you passed out in the corridor. I know you don’t want a detention for skipping class. Plus, they might let up with some of your essay deadlines if you’ve been in the hospital wing.”
“What?” I asked, stupidly. “James, I can’t -”
“They’re not going to catch you, Autumn. It is technically against the rules, but no one’s going to suspect you -”
“No,” I said, frowning, “not that. You guys are all going to get into trouble. I can’t… I can’t not get into trouble when it was my fault, anyway.”
“Yeah, you can,” James shrugged, “Freddie deserves a detention for whining so damn much, Roxy only skipped a double period of Muggle Studies – I doubt anyone will notice – and, well, another detention won’t hurt me.”
“But, James – ”
“Anyway,” James interrupted with one of his nice grins, “Dom will freak out if you’ve skipped class for no good reason. Really, I’m saving my ass. Now, be a good girl and eat your sweet.”
I frowned, reached forwards and kissed him. Dom was obviously full of crap because, really, James was one of the sweetest blokes I’d me – it was really cute, giving me a backup plan to get me out of trouble when the whole thing had been a bizarre escalation of something I’d done on a whim.
“Don’t worry,” James said as I unwrapped the sweet and considered it, “I’ll catch you.”
I could well believe that.
So, I took a bite. It took a couple of seconds for my vision to go cloudy, my head to start spinning and my vision to start to switch to black. And then I could hear the conversation I’d had with Flint all over again, spinning around my brain.
“I’d rather put off dealing with one of Dom’s catastrophe’s for as long as possible.”
“So you’re hoping James and I break up before we have a chance to tell her?”
“Isn’t that what you’re hoping?”
And there was a chance that Benson was partially correct. That I was half expecting Dom to be right, and for James to systematically break my heart and tear me to pieces just like she’d always said and given all the data I’d collected… that seemed unlikely.
So Dom was actually going to find out. In less than a month.
So, this didn't entirely turn out according to my plan. As in, the plan has no mention of a toilet at all which... well, turned out to be quite the plot point (who knew?) but, well, I haven't had inspiration for this for a little time. Well, I hope you guys enjoyed it :)