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I Just Can't Help Myself... by Hazel Bludger
Chapter 5: I Just Need To Focus
Chapter Five! I'm super excited! This story is moving wonderfully. I'm very pleased. I'll shut up so it can move wonderfully right now. :)
Disclaimer: I wish I could accredit the awesomeness of Potter to myself, but no. That's not how this works. Just what you don't recognize. The rest is The Supreme One's.
Chapter Five: I Just Need To Focus
“You bitch! How did this even happen?”
Dorothy entered the Hufflepuff common room, her attention immediately pulled over to the notice board. Hope was standing with a steaming Fiona facing Tabitha Bruce, who was currently shaking a piece of parchment she assumed to be the Quidditch roster in her hand.
“Did I hear you correctly?” Fiona snapped. “I think that if anyone here is a bitch, it’s you, Bruce! After all, weren’t you the one who scared everyone off of trials in the first place?”
“This is my seventh year! How am I supposed to get scouted if I’m not even on my House team?” Tabitha shrieked.
“Maybe you should’ve thought of that before you skipped trials, Tabitha. The list is final,” Hope said without a hint of pity.
Tabitha’s pretty face turned a harsh shade of purple as she let out a muffled shriek. “I’m going to Finch-Fletchley about this. McGonagall if I have to.”
She spun on her heel and stomped away, dark curls flying out haphazardly behind her. Dorothy jumped out of her path and began making her way to the round door leading to the seventh year girls’ dormitory, located a few yards before the notice board.
“Longbottom!” Fiona called once Tabitha had disappeared up the passageway. “We’ve been waiting for you. Want to go up and get cracking?”
Dorothy cursed herself. She’d forgotten that she, Hope, and Fiona were supposed to look over her Quidditch notes tonight. She looked from her room mates’ smiling faces to the door beside her and shook her head. “I’m…I’m not feeling very well,” she said softly. “Can we do it tomorrow?”
“Well, I wasn’t going to do my homework either way,” Hope said, mulling over her Saturday plans in her mind.
“Isn’t it a Hogsmeade weekend?” Fiona asked.
“No, the first one’s in two weeks,” Dorothy said. Fiona pulled a face. “We can meet down by the lake after lunch,” Dorothy suggested.
Hope nodded. “Okay. Go and get some rest, I hope you feel better.”
Dorothy managed a weak smile. “Thanks.” She turned the handle and disappeared behind the door, climbing a few steps and entering the warm round room. Dropping her satchel in front of her bedside table, she fell face first into her pillow, letting out a choked sob. She’d lost him. Sure, things might be better this way, but she felt so…inadequate. Why wasn’t she good enough? What made Jen so special? How had it all meant nothing?
Dorothy clutched her pillow tightly, curling up into a ball with her quilt. She just wanted to go to sleep and dream happy dreams of rainbows and butterflies and a world where James had realized back before he’d even met Jen that he loved Dorothy and they grew happy and old together forever and none of this had ever happened. She sniffed loudly, hiccupping on her embarrassing tears. She squeezed her eyes shut, not bothering to change her clothes, content to just fall asleep and pretend that this night had never actually happened.
There was a soft beep by her head.
She snatched the book from beneath her pillow and opened it, snatching a quill and dipping it messily into her inkpot.
“Missed you at dinner,” Freddie had written on the page. “James find you?”
Dorothy wiped her face with her sleeve, quickly scribbling back, “Yeah.”
“We’re just friends. He ended things. Chucked me.”
There was a long pause. “How’re you holding up?”
“Not great,” she responded honestly. “Though I suppose it’s for the best.”
Dorothy watched as a tear dripped onto the page. “He’s serious about Jen. I can’t stand in that way of that. Or compete with that. Maybe…I dunno. I never really had a shot. Just some fling.”
Freddie didn’t respond, so she kept writing. “I shouldn’t have fooled myself. I’m Dorothy Longbottom, I’m not gonna end up with James. Especially when he’s in love with perfection’s poster child. I let my childish desires get it the way of my focus.”
Dorothy waited, staring at the page, anticipating a response. After a couple of minutes, he still hadn’t said anything. “I told him we could forget it.”
She stared for another minute, just waiting. “I don’t want to.”
Still, there was no response. “Freddie?”
The door to the dormitory banged open, and Freddie appeared in it, breathing heavily, arms laden with two tubs of ice cream and two spoons, plus his beeping journal. “Sorry,” he managed through his labored breathing. “Had to wrestle Winky in the kitchen.” He tossed the stuff down on the foot of Dorothy’s bed and offered her his hand. “Come here.”
Dorothy took it and let him pull her to him, wrapping his thick, strong arms around her shoulders as she clung to his torso, burying her face in his chest as she let herself cry.
“I mean, I get what we were doing was slaggy, but I was going to take what I could get, you know?” Dorothy said. She was lying in bed on her side, facing Freddie, their legs intertwined. They’d called Winky to pick up the left over ice cream a while back, and had been laying there talking for a while. “I just got so caught up in this romanticized version of what was happening that it made reality that much harder to face.”
Freddie nodded, his eyes studying her face. Dorothy’s fingers toyed with his tie, loosening it and tightening it, just stroking the soft material, playing with its placement on his shirt. “I’m so stupid.”
“You’re not stupid, Dor,” he said softly. “You’re just…confused.”
Dorothy chuckled, looking up at him. “Confused? I let him use me, Freddie. I invited him to toy with my emotions and play games with my head.” She groaned, and pressed her forehead into his chest. “I’m not just stupid, I’m demented. Desperate. Masochistic. Pathetic.”
“Hey,” Freddie said, lifting her face to look at him. “Love makes a person do crazy, demented, desperate, masochistic, pathetic things.”
Dorothy shook her head. “Maybe this is for the best. I need to focus on my studies so I can get a scholarship to the Academy. I can’t do that if I’m running after a boy who’s in love with someone else. Maybe this is what I needed.”
“Just think, it’ll feel really good to block his shots on the pitch, won’t it?” Freddie teased, squeezing her hand.
Dorothy smiled. “It’s the little things, isn’t it?”
A little over a week passed before Dorothy saw Jen and James walking down the corridor together. But unfortunately for Dorothy, it wasn’t one of those times where she could walk quickly past them and shove the image to the back of her mind. No. Dorothy was headed to Potions, the class she and Jen shared. So she was going to have to follow them all the way down to the dungeons.
Picking up her pace to pass them, she heard, “Oh, hello, Thee!”
Dorothy turned her head and forced a smile. “Hey, Jen. James. What’s up?”
Jen held up their interlaced fingers. “We’re officially back together.” She turned to James and smiled broadly. “I just can’t say no to this one.”
James chuckled and pressed a kiss to her temple. Dorothy’s smile wavered slightly. “I’m…I’m happy you’re happy.” She let out a small breath of relief as she realized she meant it.
Jen beamed. “We are happy.”
“Extremely,” James agreed. Dorothy nodded, allowing her footsteps to fall in time with theirs. “What have you been up to?”
“Oh, nothing much,” Dorothy said, her gaze on the ground ahead of her. “School work and Quidditch, really.”
“Oh, right!” Jen said laughing as the three of them started down another flight of stairs. “I heard about Hufflepuff’s Quidditch team! Only four people came to trials because Hope Jacobs was made Captain over Tabitha Bruce, right? And then you and Freddie had to beg people to come? Honestly, I would’ve given the Captaincy to Bruce in the first place, she obviously deserved it more. I mean, she’s such a good player.
“I feel bad for Jacobs, really. A team made up of reserves and nobodies?” Jen laughed, squeezing James’s arm. “What an embarrassment. I would’ve just given up by now if I were Jacobs.”
“Well, it’s a good thing you’re not then, isn’t it?” Dorothy heard herself snap.
“Dorothy!” James said and Jen gasped.
“Sorry,” she murmured beneath her breath, face growing beet red.
“It’s not like you know anything about Quidditch anyway, Longbottom,” Jen huffed.
Dorothy’s gaze shot to Jen’s face in shock, her mouth moving so much faster than her brain she forgot to be nervous or shy. “Actually, I know more about Quidditch than anyone in this entire damn school, thank you very much. So much, actually, to be able to say with full confidence that the only way Ravenclaw will win a match this season is if you can catch the snitch before the other team scores against McLaggen fifteen times, which won’t be hard considering he’s too busy flirting to pay attention and his left side is weak while you’ve got a slow reaction time and are easily distracted by the game.
“And before you claim that I’m full of shit, I’ll have you know that I have correctly projected the last six House Cups, as well as five out of six of the last World Cups, the only reason for being wrong was a horrible call by Roseworth which he later stated once he viewed the replay was absolutely bollocks on his part. I can fix any player and any position, I can predict potential, I can even tell you the exact history of any professional Quidditch team from their first team to their current one. I know every rule, every player, and every call ever made, when it was made, where it was made, and who it was made by.
“And before you insult my Captain in front of me again, I would have you know that she is the only one Finch-Fletchley should’ve considered for the Captaincy because she’s got more heart and passion into this game than anyone I’ve ever met. You don’t know everything, and you’re not some entitled little princess of perfection, so please, just stop acting like you are.”
Dorothy finished, and took a breath, her face tight with anger. She glared at Jen and James as her thoughts caught up with the words that had just flown out of her mouth, and she felt her cheeks burning with embarrassment. Tears flooded her eyes and she bit down hard on her lip. “What the hell was that?” James asked, staring at her.
Dorothy took in a shaky breath and said, “I’ll see you in class,” and ran off down the hallway.
It was only later, while she was brewing Doxycide in class that was to be used for an outbreak on the third floor, that she realized how good it had felt to speak her mind.
“You told off Jen Brady?” Fiona asked that night. “Like, out loud? Not just in your head?”
Dorothy scowled at Fiona and threw a pillow at her laughing expression. “Yes, it was out loud,” she said. “I just…flipped! My mouth was moving faster than my brain, and before I really knew what was happening, I was telling her that she wasn’t an entitled princess and to stop acting like it.”
“Holy hippogriff shit, Dorothy!” Hope cried. “Can we celebrate this? I think we should celebrate this. I want chocolate anyway, so let’s give it a reason so I can feel less overweight about snacking in bed.”
“Hook me up, slag,” Fiona demanded, catching the chocolate bar Hope chucked over to her. “Oh, Merlin, yes, all the calories.”
“You make eating less enjoyable for me,” Hope said, tossing Dorothy a Honeydukes Bar and then breaking off a piece of her own. “So you really stood up for me?”
Dorothy nodded, unwrapping her candy. “Why wouldn’t I? We’re Hufflepuffs, aren’t we supposed to be loyal?”
“That doesn’t mean we all are,” Fiona said. “A prime example sleeps in that bed over there.”
Dorothy took a bite of her chocolate. “What happened there anyway? Weren’t you guys all really close at one point?”
“Oh, yeah, Tab and I were best friends first through fifth,” Hope said, shoving more chocolate in her mouth.
“We were three from first to fourth,” Fiona said. “I went a little crazy for fifth year. Totally changed. You noticed that, didn’t you?”
“Yeah,” Dorothy agreed. “You didn’t sleep up here as much. Always down with, oh, what are they now, sixth years?”
Fiona nodded. “Henrietta Langley. The Curse of Hettie. All three of us had our share. Mine was worse than Hope’s and well, Tab’s still in hers.
“Fifth year, I was supposedly best friends with Hettie. Hettie and I didn’t play Quidditch, but Hope and Tab did. I felt like it was tearing us apart. I got sucked into Hettie. Completely changed me.
“Then, once I finally realized Hettie wasn’t even my friend and was spreading my secrets behind my back, I came back to Hope and Tab, expecting to be welcomed with open arms. But I wasn’t.”
“She’d been a bitch,” Hope explained.
“Yeah, we know,” Fiona said, an edge on her voice. “But I got better. Started apologizing for what I’d done. Meant it, too. Started cutting ties with Hettie. That was hard, especially since she’s so charismatic and shit. But I found myself again. And Hope believed me.”
“Tabitha never did, though,” Hope said. “She wanted it to just be the two of us, Hope and Tabitha. Forget about Fi, she’s just going to hurt us again. She couldn’t let Fi back in, and that’s what drove her to Hettie.”
“First half of last term, Tab and I fought. When Hope and I went home for Christmas and she stayed, she got picked up by Hettie.”
“When we came back, it was too late. She was gone,” Hope said.
“You make Hettie sound like a disease,” Dorothy said.
“She almost is,” Hope said sadly. “She’s manipulative. She changes you.”
“She’s pure evil,” Fiona said. “Should’ve been a Slytherin.”
“But it’s not just Hettie,” Dorothy said. “You’ve got to let her change you. It’s not like she Imperiused you or Bruce. You had to agree with it.”
“Have you ever been friends with Hettie?” Fiona asked.
“No,” Dorothy said. “Too much time in Gryffindor.”
Fiona nodded. “Hettie is like a drug. You live on her support and praise, even when she’s terrible to you. It’s hard to get out of. That’s why we didn’t hate Tab at first. We had the hope she’d come back.”
“But?” Dorothy pushed.
“But then she started dating Louis,” Hope said.
“That’s not what makes me hate her!” Fiona insisted.
“Fiona’s madly in love with Louis Weasley—”
“I AM NOT, I HATE THAT WANKER!”
Dorothy laughed as Hope flicked her wand, silently silencing Fiona’s outburst. “She thinks she hates him. But she really wants to have his Veela babies. When Tab started dating Louis, Fi and Louis’s relationship got worse than ever, because Fi went bat shit crazy anytime she saw him.
“When Louis was hospitalized after he got hit in the head with a Bludger in the Gryffindor-Ravenclaw match, he murmured Fi’s name. Not Tab’s. She never forgave either of them for that.”
“So, why’d you start hating her?” Dorothy asked Hope.
“I don’t hate her,” Hope answered. “I’ll always love her. But I hate who she’s become.” Hope lifted the silencing charm.
“Tabitha hexed Hope and she was in the Hospital Wing for two days. Unprovoked. That’s why we hate her. Not because of Louis bloody Weasley,” Fiona grumbled.
“So, you’re saying you have no feelings whatsoever for Louis?” Hope asked.
“Other than hate, none.”
“Then who do you write letters to everyday?”
Fiona’s face flooded with color. “He says he’d hate to think a day went by without him insulting me! There’s nothing sweet there! Nothing! They are letters that are mean and hateful!”
Dorothy laughed with Hope. “She’s got it bad,” Hope said, grinning.
“I can tell,” Dorothy agreed. “Lou does too. All he would ever talk about was Fiona when I was in Gryffindor Tower.”
“Really?” Fiona asked, perking up. “Not that I care.”
The next morning at breakfast, Jen approached Dorothy. “Thee? Can I, uh, talk to you?”
Dorothy set down her toast and nodded, scooting over. She was nervous. Jen sat down on the bench next to her. “Look, I just wanted to apologize. I had no idea that you were such a Quidditch expert, or that what I was saying about Hufflepuff was offensive to you. I didn’t even realize you played. I hope you can forgive me, I feel awful.”
Dorothy was a horrible person. This just proved it. She was just a terrible human being, taking pleasure at making this girl feel so awful. “It’s okay,” Dorothy said quickly. “I was mean as well. I shouldn’t have exploded like that. Honestly, I’ve never done that before, I don’t really know where it came from.”
Jen smiled, its brilliance slightly shocking. “It’s perfectly alright, I deserved it. I’m so glad that you can forgive me, I’m sure Hufflepuff will bring a lot to the table.”
Dorothy smiled. “I sure hope so, Jen. Hope really deserves a fantastic team.”
“I’m sure she does.” Jen stood, straightening her already perfectly crisp uniform. “I’ll let you finish your breakfast. I’m sure James is looking for me anyway, he invited me to go for a walk before class. See you around, Thee!”
Dorothy swallowed the large lump in her throat at the mention of James. Not only had she screamed in this girl’s face, but she had hooked up with her boyfriend on multiple occasions.
Maybe Dorothy was the one who belonged in Slytherin.
“See you,” Dorothy muttered. She was so absorbed in self-hate that she didn’t even hear Jen mutter, “Crazy bint,” beneath her breath as she left the Hufflepuff table.
Some fun Freddie-Dorothy love! Not to mention a look at Dorothy's room mates! What do you think will happen there? And is there hope for Tabitha? What about Jen Brady? What do you think she's hiding?
I hope you enjoyed it! Please rate and review!
Peace, Love, and Potter,