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Ever After by The Tired Magician
Chapter 5: Blah Blah Blah
"Baby shut up, heard enough. Stop ta-ta-talkin' that blah blah blah." — Ke$ha "Blah Blah Blah"
Friday had been a good day for James. He managed to absolve himself of any quidditch related guilt he felt by scheduling tryouts for the second Saturday in September. He then managed to schedule regular practices for the season on Tuesday and Thursday evenings after dinner and Saturday mornings (except for when a game was scheduled). Slytherin and Ravenclaw had also scheduled the pitch (Ravenclaw's primarily on Sundays and Fridays, Slytherin on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and every other Sunday). As per usual, when it came to quidditch, Hufflepuff were last to book any practice time.
Not only did he fulfill captain duties, but Al joined the family for breakfast. He was surly throughout the whole meal, but he was there! He even spoke cordially with Rose, but his gaze kept gravitating toward Lorelei. He became agitated with each glance, James even flinched when Al aggressively speared his scrambled eggs.
He was much more agreeable when he joined them for dinner. Lorelei was absent from the meal, something that Lily was quick to note. According to Rose no one had seen her after classes. As the evening progressed and curfew came and went with no sign of Lorelei, Rose grew worried.
This morning, Rose was preoccupied during breakfast. She kept searching the great hall, her fingers in her mouth. Lily would continually elbow her when Rose's fingers found their way to her lips. She had already chewed the nails down to the nub. James didn't mind his cousin's bad habit, but Lily found it disgusting. She sent James and exasperated look over the table, urging him to do something about it.
"Rosie, are we still on for today?" He asked, in an attempt to distract his worried cousin. Rose's eyes narrowed as they always did at James' use of the nickname she loathed.
"Of course, Jimmy. Why wouldn't we be?" James grinned. Rose was the only person who called him Jimmy. He didn't particularly like the nickname, but it didn't bother him as much as being called Rosie bothered her. He found it amusing and he believed that at some level, Rose enjoyed it, too.
"You've just been distracted, is all. Wasn't sure you'd be up for studying." Fred collapsed onto the bench next to James, leaning heavily on his shoulder. He was beside himself with laughter.
"Our Rose, not up for studying? Funny one, mate!"
There was a table in the Gryffindor common room that was tucked away in an alcove. It quickly became widely known as Rose's table. She chose it because of the remote location. It was one of the few places in the common room where she and James could do their work without being interrupted.
Studying with Rose was a bit like having a private lesson with one of Hogwarts' professors. Rose was organized to the point that she could find the answer to a question in less than twenty seconds. She knew where to look for information. Most of all, Rose was a very eloquent writer.
They tackled their mountain of homework immediately after breakfast. Rose had already finished a charms essay, organized her notes for the week for easy revision at the end of the year and done the reading that Professor Nott had assigned (three chapters, with notes). James had completed the essay that Professor Nott had assigned the NEWT class. Currently James was sucking on the end of his quill, pondering how to begin his essay for potions., while Rose fixed the essay he wrote earlier in the week for Care of Magical Creatures.
"James?" Rose asked tentatively. James hummed at her without looking away from his blank parchment. "Did you talk to Al about me?" James' lips parted in surprise, freeing the end of his quill.
"Yeah, I did." He admitted gruffly, staring hard at his parchment.
"What did you two talk about, exactly?" James sighed, throwing his quill down on the table and stretching over the chair.
"Well..." James reached for his quill, turning it over in his hands while he thought how best to explain the conversation he had with Al. "He was hurt by you tutoring Lorelei. He... felt that she left you, too. Basically he thinks you should have chosen him over her." Rose's fingers found their way into her mouth. She spoke to him around her thumb.
"And what did you say?"
"Well, I told him what he already knows. You're a nice girl, Rosie. You won't turn away someone you could help. I may have also asked him about your previous relationship with Lorelei." Rose smiled, pulling her raw fingers from her mouth.
"Thank you, James." She told him with so much sincerity that James felt a flush creeping up his neck.
"Don't mention it, Rosie." James' fingers began to shred his quill methodically, a habit that Rose often scolded him for. Today she kept silent and that's probably why he gave in and told her his secret. "Er, Rosie if I tell you something will you promise not to breathe a word about it to anyone?"
Rose raised an eyebrow in intrigue. James didn't often keep secrets from his family. "Of course, James. It'll be just between you and me." James held his breath, stilling his fingers, and gathered his courage.
"The person I'm tutoring for Herbology is Lorelei Wright." He muttered quickly, flinching when some of his words slurred together. He didn't want to have to repeat himself, it was hard enough to say already. "Please don't tell Al."
"I know, James. She told me already and I think it's really nice of you. I never said anything and I swear won't mention it to anyone." Rose promised. James felt like the weight was lifted from his shoulders.
"Won't mention what?" Lily asked, rounding the corner to the alcove. Every muscle in James' body tensed at the sound of her voice. She dropped a stack of books on the table next to James with a resounding thud and leaned heavily on top of them, panting from the exertion. She pushed her hair out of her face and dropped happily into the chair James had woodenly pulled out for her.
"Don't worry about it, Lily." Rose dismissed, waving her hand and pulling James' essay for Professor Nott towards her.
"Fine, try to keep your secrets, but you know that I always find out." Lily warned good-naturedly. Rose rolled her eyes and James ruffled his sister's hair. There was some truth to her threat, though and that worried James. It seemed like nothing went on in the castle without Lily knowing about it. She single-handedly proved the rumour about Mr. Filch and the librarian Madam Pince true in her first year. The next year Filch and Pince had both retired. Lily has on good authority that they eloped.
"So, Rose, has Lorelei turned up yet?" Lily asked lightly. James' shoulders tensed and Rose's head snapped up, her features pinched in worry. Lily's curiosity melted quickly into sympathy. "Oh, Rose, I'm sure she's fine. It won't take long for someone to figure out where she's gone to."
"Yeah, that's partly what I'm worried about." Rose admitted darkly.
"Because it has something to do with why she disappeared?" Lily prodded. Rose's lips pressed tightly together, she gave her head one shake and returned to her work. Even though Rose hadn't said anything, Lily looked properly scolded.
They all worked in silence, except for when Rose had a question about James' essay or needed him to correct a fact (she'd fix his spelling and his grammar, but she wouldn't take away his opportunity to learn something). The noise level in the Gryffindor common room fluctuated, getting noisier as students began to head down to lunch. James was about to suggest that they do the same when he heard someone frantically looking for Lily.
"Have any of you seen Lily Potter? It's pertinent that I find her immediately!"
"I'm in here, Minnie!" Lily called, leaning the best she could around the corner to shout into the common room. Moments later Minnie, James' ex-girlfriend and one of Rose's dorm mates, slid around the corner. She was a sweet girl and his first "proper" girlfriend. Her best feature, in James' opinion, is her elegant neck. Many nights were spent with his lips pressed against the hollow of her throat.
Her hazel eyes were wide and sparkling with excitement. Her hair, the colour of Honeydukes chocolate, was falling out of her braid. James thought she looked quite nice, with her cheeks flushed that way. Minnie wasted no time with pleasantries.
"Lily, look what I've found by Lorelei's bed." Minnie punctuated her sentence by slapping a photo on the table between James and Lily. James didn't need to look very long at the photograph before he recognized it. "What do you think, Lily? Does this look like your niece?"
Lily slid the photo over to her side of the table and peered down at it. She deliberated silently, her nose nearly touching the picture before she came to her decision. "It's hard to say, babies just look like babies." Lily answered diplomatically. James kept quiet, though he knew that this particular baby definitely had the same eyes as Lorelei. "It could easily be her sister, a cousin, her niece or a newly printed picture of her as a baby. Where did you find it?"
If Lily's slight rebuff offended her, Minnie didn't let on. She smirked and tapped the photograph. "It was under her pillow. I don't know about you lot, but I certainly don't keep a picture of myself or my cousin under my pillow." James peered at his ex-girlfriend through his peripheral vision. He was starting to remember why their relationship hadn't made it past the fifth month.
Lily touched the edge of the photograph again. "Odd," she murmured to herself. Minnie was practically bouncing on the balls of her feet.
"And she still hasn't been back to the room. Her bed hasn't been slept in. If you want my opinion, I think Lorelei had to go home and feed the wee babe." Minnie arched an eyebrow and flicked her hair over her shoulder. Rose, who had remained silent and immobile (she hadn't lifted her quill out of its inkwell since Minnie showed up), chose this moment to join in the conversation.
"Some witches and wizards believe that if you stop breastfeeding too early in a baby's life that your child has a higher chance of being a squib." Lily, Minnie and James stared at her. Lily was the first to recover.
"Where did you hear that, Rosie?"
"Probably read it somewhere," Minnie muttered. Rose lifted one shoulder in a half shrug, her cheeks reddening before their eyes. James rolled his eyes and tried to focus on his essay again, but not before saying something to his cousin.
"You need to stop spending so much time with that Lorcan Scamander," James told her sternly, pointing the end of his quill at her for emphasis.
"And you need to learn how to spell Elemental Transfiguration." Rose informed him smugly, sliding his essay for Professor Nott across the table to him. James' eyes immediately moved to Minnie who looked back at him unabashedly. James was sure that the whole school would know about his weak spelling within the hour. He cleared his throat and willed his flushed cheeks away, but knew it was futile. He slumped over the edited essay and began to make the changes Rose suggested.
"Well, I better get this back." Minnie said awkwardly, pulling the photograph away from Lily. James raised a hand in a half-hearted farewell, and Lily stared after the girl. It wasn't long after she left that Rose broke the silence.
"What's the matter, Lily? You've been staring into space for ages." James sat up and looked at his younger sister. She looked back at him, her warm brown eyes wide and glassy. Her jaw was slack and she was so pale that her freckles practically leapt off her face.
"I'm pretty certain that Lorelei Wright doesn't have any siblings." She said it to the table, but stared straight into James' hazel eyes.
"Oh bugger," Rose muttered to herself.
James, Lily and Rose left to get lunch not too long after Minnie interrupted them. Rose's eyes immediately looked to the Slytherin table and James followed her gaze. He found Scorpius Malfoy and his matching blonde sister, but no Albus. James spotted him sitting with Roxanne and Louis in the very middle of the Gryffindor table. Lily waved goodbye and sped ahead to her friends. Instead of sitting amongst them, she leaned over them, speaking lowly. All three of them gasped audibly, drawing the attention of surrounding students.
She stood up and walked to the Ravenclaw table. Her friends began to chatter excitedly amongst themselves. They eagerly invited people into their conversations. There was a similar reaction from the group of Ravenclaw girls.
"You don't think she's telling anyone about the picture, do you?" James asked, hopefully. Rose patted his back sympathetically. Of course Lily would tell everyone. She had a reputation to keep.
Forty minutes later everyone in Hogwarts, including the staff, had heard the new rumours about Lorelei Wright and Al Potter's love child. James was proud of the way Al was handling the situation. He ignored people who asked him about it and remained coolly indifferent for the duration of lunch and the entirety of dinner.
James' mind often wandered to Lorelei that evening. He wondered, with a twinge of sympathy, if she knew what she was coming back to, if she was coming back at all, if the rumour was at least half true. He wouldn't believe that it was true. Rose confronted Lily about the rumours after lunch, but Lily adamantly denied that she told the school that Al had fathered Lorelei's child.
"I only told people that Lorelei had a picture of a baby under her pillow, and that she hadn't turned up in Gryffindor tower all weekend. I can't help that people added to the story."
James' gaze kept drifting to the fire crackling in the common room. He was about to give up on his essay and head up to bed when Lily threw herself down on the couch behind him. Her arms were crossed over her chest, hair ruffled and a glare set on the stone wall.
"What's the matter?" James asked, after she unleashed an angry sigh.
"Some Ravenclaw girls got me thinking. They were giving Minnie and me a bit of a timeline and it makes sense that if the baby in the picture is Lorelei's, which I'm beginning to think it is, that Al would be the father."
"So you're angry because you think Al's got a kid?" James asked.
"No, you idiot. I'm angry because I don't think he has a kid." Lily exploded, throwing her arms to the sides and letting them drop on her stomach. She began to tap her fingers against her abdomen in an irritated high speed drum.
"I'm completely lost." James admitted, leaning back on his hands and stretching out his long legs. He let out a content sigh as it stretched his muscles. Lily groaned in frustration and rolled over onto her stomach so that she could look James right in the eyes.
"If Lorelei has a kid, and if Al isn't the father, that still leaves her having been knocked up. While she was still with Al. I'm angry, James, because I think that bitch shagged someone while she was still with Al. And I'm pissed because I think Al has come to that same bloody conclusion."
"Oh." James responded stupidly.
"Yeah," Lily huffed, burying her face in a throw pillow.
Perhaps James didn't feel so bad for Lorelei after all.
The next chapter is already written, so I'll submit it after this is validated!
Do we like Minnie or hate her?
Blah Blah Blah belongs to Ke$ha (with a dollar sign). J.K. Rowling created this really awesome world of witches and wizards and these characters. She owns them. I just own Lorelei Wright (and some other characters you haven't met yet). Also I made the chapter image of Lily.
Thanks for reading. Please review.
xoxo The Tired Magician