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Badgers, Blushing and Gods of Lurve by LaylaBethJagger

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Format: Novel
Chapters: 51
Word Count: 193,121
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Contains Slash (Same-Sex Pairing), Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: General, Humor, Romance
Characters: Scorpius, Albus, James (II), Lily (II), Hugo, Rose, OC
Pairings: Other Pairing, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione, Rose/Scorpius, OC/OC

First Published: 11/14/2009
Last Chapter: 09/23/2011
Last Updated: 09/23/2011

Summary:
HUGE THANKS to Flightless @ TDA for the Banner!




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False marriages, radical costumes, ahmazing tap dancing, some angry delinquents and angrier friends, unbreakable vows and then some.

And all of this after only six months of knowing Albus Potter.

 



Chapter 1: These Lips are Virgin Lips
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DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything you recognize. Nelly Furtado sings the song that the little cousins sing, and that is therfore not mine. All rights go to her. As well as JK. Rowling--all Harry potter characters etc. belong to her

These Lips are Virgin Lips






Dad is finally home. And he’s brought Uncle Andy with him. This is very annoying because as of this moment I am trying to relax myself be performing Tai-Chi in my bedroom, and expelling all my negative energy. This will make me happy which will mean that other happy people in the world will be naturally drawn to my superior ecstatic-ness.

How am I suppose to expel all my negative energy if all I can do is ponder possible ways for me to murder my stupid little cousins and find a way to permanently stick a toupee on my balding Uncle’s head?

Plus, as soon as they got home Mum decided that Uncle Andy – who’s Australian and up here for a holiday – should be out sightseeing, and she carted him out of the house, along with Dad, to go and see the Museum.

This should not have been a problem. I could have written a letter to Emily and possibly applied some of that new anti stress cream that I found in one of the local muggle shops.

But no—this is not possible as my traitorous mother and my annoying father have left me to babysit. For free!

How am I supposed to get money if I’m babysitting twerps for free?

“Thomas!” I shouted, at the stupid blonde devil child who was wearing my bra on his head like ear muffs. I am not exactly the most breast-y person you’d ever meet, but they’re existent which is what counts. “That’s not how you use those things.”

Thomas just laughed – more like cackled- and disappeared into my yard.

I froze.

My neighbours, who are relatively good looking muggle college boys, would be out in their backyard at this stage. They always have a barbeque on the last Sunday of every month.

And my cousin had just run out of the house wearing my pink and purple spotted size B bra?

On his head?!

Not good.

I hurried out of the house after him. The Neighbours live in a second story apartment, so their barbeque is always held on their balcony. Which meant they could just look down and see the embarrassing things that Thomas was doing with my Bra. “Thomas!” I hissed, “Give my Mother’s bra back.”

I couldn’t let them figure out that this was my bra, even though it was blatantly obvious that this did not belong to Mum, considering the contrast between her extreme water melons and my ...

“Thomas!” I hissed again, ducking my head behind our own barbeque, “Give it back.”

Thomas giggled and climbed up to the top of the green slide in my backyard. Why we even own a stupid green slide is beyond me. Mum and Dad tell me it’s because they have so many memories of me doing something cute on those slides and they couldn’t let it go.

Ha. I’ve seen some of those pictures and the only distinct memory they would have is the landslide of sick which had come from my small baby mouth.

“Nuh-uh...” Thomas laughed. He was grinning at me with a devilish smirk on his face. “I’m superman!”

“You’re not superman!” I said angrily. “If anything, you resemble and annoying toddler who wants to become Bugs Bunny.”

Not that my bras look like bunny ears.

“I like Bugs Bunny!” Thomas cackled. I risked a glance up at the veranda, where everything had gone dangerously silent to see a group of about seven boys staring down at us.

This is humiliating.

“Thomas Edward Dalton!” I scolded. “You give my mother’s bra back.”

Thomas shook his head. “This isn’t Auntie Helen’s! It’s yours, you silly...”

Oh, my god. Kill me now.

“I saw you dancing in it this morning.”

Do you think in such circumstances that use of the memory charm would be frowned upon? I’m sure I can remember it. Obliterate, or something.

“I can do it too, Kate!” William, the devil child’s twin, ran out in my Winnie the Pooh bra. To my horror the two broke out in song. “ Promiscwus girl! Whew eber you aw!” They started chanting.

Actually...

Right now, the Killing curse sound good to me.

After a war cry much like the ones in those movies I launched myself at the two boys. We all toppled off the ladder, me breaking the boy’s falls, but I had them caught.

“You little twerps are going to bed.” I muttered cheeks aflame. I had to tie William down, hands to his head rest, but once I convinced him that if he moved, a giant troll would come from the closet and eat him, they weren’t entirely necessary.

I frowned and walked back out side, much to my embarrassment. I had to put the slide back upright so my parents wouldn’t suspect that anything wrong had happened and I could hoodwink them into paying me for this day of hell.

Mark and Jacob- the muggle who live in the apartment next to our house – hadn’t refrained from introducing me to his mates in the half an hour since our encounter.

“Her name is Kate Dalton. She’s a bit of a kook.” Mark had introduced me as.

Gee. Thanks.

I don’t think any of them had noticed that I was back outside again, listening to the very unflattering descriptions of me. ‘Madwoman,’ was the one that held in my heart.

“I’ve never seen her around that house before.” One of his thickset boyfriends muttered. “All I’ve ever seen are those weird middle agers who are barely around the house anyway.”

Yes. They defiantly hadn’t noticed I was dropping the eaves.

“Nah. She may be weird but their families really rich.” Jacob answered. “She goes to this really elite Boarding school in the country. She only comes back for Christmas, usually. Sometimes she doesn’t come home for the whole year. But she’s always here in the summer.”

“Whoa.” Another of their beefy friends laughed. “Bring home any friends?”

Mark guffawed. “Yeah.” He laughed. “Her name’s Emily. She got massive...”

Time to stop.

“Oi!” I shouted pegging a piece of bark up to the balcony. It missed by a long shot, but my shout got their attention.

“Ah. Kate. Have fun tonight?” Jacob called down to me.

I frowned, crossing my arms across my chest. “You’re a pig!” I shouted. “And quit chatting about my best friend like that you stupid pervert!”

He feigned interest and turned back to her friends.

“I told you she was a weirdo...” He muttered.

Okay. He may be hot, but not good enough for me. I grabbed one of the small rocks on the ground and pegged it at him. This one went a little closer, missing Jacob and instead hitting Mark.

They both spun around to face. I smirked. “Whoopsie...”

“Nice, Dalton.” Mark sniggered tossing the rock back to me. I caught it. “Very mature.”

I frowned at him, stomping back into my house. But not before I could hear one of his stupid friends say, “How old is she any way? She’s hot.”

It was at this stage that I realised I was dressed only in my sexy purple Barney the Dinosaur shorts, Ug boots and a massive baggy T-shirt.

Excellent.






“Ow!” I shouted for the whole station to hear. I dropped my suitcase and lifted my foot, examining where the stupid pavement had hit me. “Stupid bloody station floor...” I muttered. “Supposed to be my friend.”

I heard the laughing from behind me, but before I could do anything about it. I was embraced from the side by a thin stick of a girl with a mane of sexy blonde hair.

“Em!” I shouted, gleefully wrapping my arms around her too. I let go of her before we put off all the boys present. “Have a good vacation?”

She scoffed, “Kate. I hate small talk. Do not make me recall the colossal events of my holiday.”

This tends to mean one thing in Em speak. She wanted me to beg more for her to tell me about her fabulous Italian Holiday and eventually become very jealous of her.

I sighed, “Emily Cook, please tell me of your fabulous holiday in which you swore to me you would hook up with hot Italian boys and be happy for ever more...

She sighed, “Sure. Because you begged.”

Drama queen. I swear to that girl, life is a stage.

As Emily began to recount her excellent holiday, of which I instantly became jealous of, I sighed. My holiday had, as usual, only consisted of extra embarrassment and PDA’s from my hormonal parents.

Honestly, it’s not so bad when you walk in on someone making out in an abandoned classroom, but when you walk into the kitchen to see you’re parent’s going at it above your soon to be Dinner it’s enough to trigger gag reflexes.

“I met this really sexy Italian, just like I said I would.” Emily continued. “His name was Romano, and he was excellent.”

This was implied in more ways than one, if you get my meaning. If I was put under the category of ‘Prude’ having never been kissed before in my life, than Emily was categorized under ‘slut.’

Not that I don’t love her. I adore her. It’s just people being stereotypical.

Plus, Emily wasn’t even really interested in that long term thing with guys. They were just exercise for when she finally met her one true love.

You see, Emily’s actually really pretty. Long blonde hair, curves every girl would die for and annoying twinkly blue eyes. Boys fall on their feet for her. She’s like the Hufflepuff version of Victoire Weasley. She graduated when I was in first year or something.

Back to my point, Emily is in the prime spot to find her true love. She’s gorgeous and has her pick of boys. It just doesn’t really work out with her because she’s convinced she will eventually end up marrying Daniel Wood – who’s the school new Quidditch teacher. He’s the son of Oliver Wood- that ex-keeper for Puddlemere United who’s really old now – and he’s about twenty five-ish.

Emily’s more into the Teachers of our school, compared to the boys.

Not that she’d go for Professor Longbottom or anything. That’s just weird considering his twin daughters are in the year below us.

No, Professor Wood is the one she’s intent on marrying.

“He was a great kisser...” Em babbled on. “But, he was nineteen. It was a shame to say goodbye to him, but it’s not like I was prepared for commitment.”

“Hurry up,” I urged, pushing her onto the train. “The trains leaving in a minute and we want to find a compartment. The guys will have--”

I tripped on the platform again and tumbled onto the train.

Emily had to lean on the train door to stop herself falling over she was laughing so hard. Blushing, I pushed myself to my feet. “Thanks, buddie.” I muttered irritably. “I knew I could count on my best friend to help me out.”

She was still laughing when we had found our compartment. Oscar Forest the Third was a bit confused when we arrived. I was fuming about how best friend were supposed to be comforting in matter like these and Emily was still wetting herself.

“And then...” Emily choked once we had seated ourselves, “She falls flat on her face.” She giggled here. “And she made this funny little ‘Oof’ sound.”

I scowled, “That tends to happen when you fall flat on your face.”

The two howled with laughter.

Eric the Clown and his younger brother Liam the Clownier came in next. Eric was in our grade but in Ravenclaw, and his brother was one year below us and in Gryffindor.

“Go find your own friends you little twerp.” Eric muttered to Liam as soon as they were both inside. “You’re in third year; you have to have some friends by now.”

Liam shot him an angry look. “I do have friends. They’re just with Rose Weasley right now.”

This confused me.

“Rose Weasley?” I questioned with a frown. “What are they doing with Rose Weasley?”

Rose Weasley was a particularly smart seventh year girl, and the daughter of not only the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and the world renowned healer, but two of the three saviours of the wizarding world. Why would small third years be hanging with her?

“Because she’s their sister.” Liam replied as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

I must have looked lost.

Liam rolled his eyes, in an annoying way for a fifteen year old. “Hugo Weasley? My best friend? Ring any bells?”

I was silent for a second. And then: “Nope, none. Nada bells a ringing in this head.”

There was a commune moment of eye-rolls.

“I met them on the train last year.” Liam sighed. “On the way to Hogwarts. Hugo was really funny and so was his cousin Lily. I’m pretty good friends with them.”

It all came back to me.

Not.

It would seem I wasn’t exactly what you call a person who excels at observation. I’m most definitely not the brightest witch of my age either- (curse those people that actually apply themselves – Lily Evans, Hermione Granger, Rose Weasley etc.)

“Guys,” Emily accepted. “Who’s going to ask me about my holiday?”

I shared a smirk with Eric. He pushed his brother out of the compartment with a “Shoo,” and sat down next to me. “I can’t believe my brothers friends with that stupid family.”

Eric didn’t like the Potter-Weasley clan. It wasn’t like he resented them for saving the world – he had worshipped them for it. And when he had arrived at Hogwarts he found himself ignored by James Potter—who was in third year when we started—just because he was in Ravenclaw.

And then, when he met Albus Potter, who was only in the year above us, he was bullied. Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy had become pretty close buds by that stage.

I suppose Eric felt kind of betrayed. The people he revered hurting him? It’s gotta hurt.

I shrugged, “What’s Hugo like?”

Eric shrugged. “The kid is cool enough, I guess. He better not turn my brother though. If Liam becomes an Asshole just because he hangs out with them, I’m shipping him off to Salem’s.”

What?

No, Eric isn’t drastically protective.

We turned our attention back to where Oscar was being bored to death by Emily’s recount of her holiday.

“And Romano did this totally hot thing with his tongue and—”

“Okay.” I interrupted, eyes wide. I did not even want to think about the multiple dirty things that Romano could do with his tongue.

Especially if it impressed Emily.






I let my head loll on Emily’s shoulder. The previous ecstatic-ism of being back and leaving my embarrassing family at home had ebbed away. Now it was just boredom and a faint longing to see the actual castle. I loved that building.

Usually, at this stage I would have fallen asleep, but it would seem that this wasn’t the case. I was kind of recalling everything embarrassing that had happened to me over the holidays and as a result my head was buzzing.

Oh. And did I mention Eric and Oscar were playing exploding snap right beside us.

That might have been the cause of my insomnia, if you think about it.

“Who got prefect this year?” I asked quietly.

Emily was prevented from answering when Eric jumped and the cards exploded. Oscar groaned but as Eric picked up the pile and began to shuffle them again, he turned to us.

“My brother got it.” He said smirking. “You know? Lindsay?”

I had always felt sorry for Oscar’s younger brother. It would seem their parents were a bit weird. They had named Oscar after his father and his grandfather, making him Oscar Forest Junior Jnr. And, because they couldn’t have two sons named Oscar they found the second most ridiculous boys name to name their second child.

“Who else got it?” I asked with a smirk, thinking fondly of the cute little Lindsay wearing his prefect badge.

“Professor Longbottoms daughter.” Oscar said smiling.

Emily laughed. “I’m assuming the one that’s in Hufflepuff?”

Professor Longbottom was the Head of Gryffindor. Dad told me that it used to be Professor McGonagall before Dumbledore and Snape died, letting her become Headmistress.

Let me tell you, Professor McGonagall as a Head of House must have made you a pretty good house.

But Back to the Longbottomed Prof. He has two daughters, Carson and Charmaine. They’re pretty cool girls. Charmaine is in Hufflepuff, and Carson is in Gryffindor which caused a good amount of Drama. Everyone used to think that family members were sorted into the same houses.

I always used to want to be Charmaine.

One, she had an awesome name. Charmaine. Their Mother’s name is Luna Lovegood (she’s the new editor of the Quibbler) and their grandfather’s name is Xenophilius. It was almost natural to have awesome names if you’re related to them.

Two, because she was the daughter of one of the guys who had helped Harry Potter. It wasn’t as though I wanted to be right in the limelight – like the Weasleys and the Potters were – but I had always wanted to be associated with one of those heroes.

My Mum went into hiding in the war--she's a muggleborn--and my dad's a muggle. Ever since the war my mum hasn't done magic. Unless its necessary. She's practically a muggle these days.

That’s defiantly something to be proud of.

“Charmaine got it.” Oscar said, a blush rising in his cheeks.

Well. This is an interesting new development.

“Oscar Forest the Third, do you fancy Charmaine Longbottom?” I demanded with a grin.

Oscar flushed.

Eric let out a little cheer. “Really dude?” He let out a bark of laughter. “I was beginning to suspect that you were gay!”

Oscar has never had a girlfriend. Actually, he had one girlfriend. But that was when he was small. Truth be told, both Emily and I had discussed the possibility of having Oscar come out of the closet. That would be awesome. Gay guys are always heaps fun to hang around.

Oscar scowled. “You guys can’t tell her.” He commanded. “She’s in Fifth year. She’s too young for me.”

I stared at him. “Are you, or are you not acquainted with Emily Cook? You know? The girl who’s crushing on a twenty five year old?”

Emily hissed and clapped a hand over my mouth. “Shut up!” She squeaked. “These walls aren’t exactly soundproof.”

Eric rolled his eyes and lifted his wand. He waved it in a peculiar fashion for a second and muttered something. “Sound proof now,” He said smirking at Emily.

She scowled.

“Eric…” she muttered, “Think about what would happen to me if people found out that I’m in love with Professor Wood.”

Eric was silent. “Right. Thought about it. What’s the problem?”

“I’m thinking it’s not entirely legal…” Oscar said slowly.

I nodded. “Tis not.” I agreed. “In the world of Muggles and Wizard-land.”

--

“Hogwarts!” Emily shouted as soon as she stepped off the train. “I’m home!”

I stared at her, trying to ignore all the amused looks we were beginning to receive. “Embarrassing much?” I muttered to her pulling her hands down from the air and tugging her towards the nearest carriage.

“Oh, please...” She giggled. “I’ve had to endure you for six years. Embarrassment is so natural to you, and that means I’m used to it.”

Quite frankly, this wasn’t something I expected from my best friend.

I frowned at her and pushed her into the Carriage. Said carriage was already partly occupied: a small third year Gryffindor girl and two of her chatty Ravenclaw buddies and a surly looking second year Slytherin boy.

When we got to the time that meant we had to change into our uniforms, Emily and I had booted the boys out of our compartment, so we could change without the peeping tom squad around. This was good, but Oscar and Eric proceeded to abandon us for some of their cooler guy mates like Robert Boot and Jonathan Tran.

As soon as Emily and I had seated ourselves, however, the Slytherin Boy made himself scarce – he literally jumped off the carriage and into another one. The small Third year girls also left, leaving us a vacant carriage, free of charge.

“I’m not that bad.” I muttered sullenly.

Emily snorted. “Right...” she said with a laugh. “Because you’re perfectly poised and sophisticated.”

I smell sarcasm. I frowned. “What’s that supposed to mean?’ I asked with a pout.

Emily laughed, leaning across the carriage and ruffling my hair. “You’re so cute and oblivious, Katie...” she giggled.

I frowned again.

We both jumped when someone else jumped into our compartment. I smiled are Carson and Charmaine. I love those two.

“How were your holidays?” Carson asked as soon as she and her twin were seated.

I groaned. Here we go.

Emily had already started. “I met this totally cute Italian boy,” she gushed, “His name was Romano.”

Carson, being a Gryffindor, didn’t really know what horrible devastation was caused if Emily was allowed to blab on too much. And I know I said that she and her twin were almost as mature and sophisticated as we sixth years were, but nothing would prepare you for an Emily fantasy.

Charmaine, being best friends with a girl in our year (her name’s Natalie Henderson and she’s the nicest girl in our dorm) has been invited to too many sleepovers in our dorm. As a result, she knew the catastrophe that followed listening to Emily.

“What about you?” She asked smiling at me.

I shrugged. “Nothing much. Utter Mortification and Humiliation for me, every day of the vacation.”

She rolled her eyes. “You exaggerate too much.” She giggled. “It can’t have been that bad.”

I narrated my tale of ‘The Cousins, the Bra and the Hot College Boys.’

“Oh.” She said, once I was finished. “Maybe you weren’t exaggerating.”

Ha.

Unfortunately not.

“Alas, no...” I sighed, putting a hand to my forehead in that dramatic sort of way, “it would seem that I have been doomed to a life of embarrassment since I was born.”

She giggled.

“At least I come free with the humour.” I said shrugging. “That’s got to get me brownie points?”

She laughed again.

“I heard Emily’s shout.” She said smiling.

I nodded. “I don’t think theirs a living soul you didn’t hear it.” I muttered.

Charmaine smiled. “Happy to be home?” She asked.

I nodded. “I missed everything.” I sighed. “Even more so considering my abysmal holiday.”

“I missed everything except for the classes.” Charmaine said smiling. “Those I could live without.”

Not really what I was talking about but I’ll manage. I missed the actual castle. I missed our awesome common room and the snugly-wugly cushions that you practically sunk into. I missed the sky light that was directly underneath the Greenhouse.

I sure as hell did not miss failing all my classes though.

I nodded. “Yeah. Those I don’t really need.” I agreed.

We were both silent for a second in which we heard Emily say to Carson, “I swear, Romano could do weight lifting, with me as the weights.”

“Well, what did you miss?” Charmaine asked.

“The smell.” I answered instantly. She raised a distinct eyebrow and I shrugged. “The smell of Hogwarts is so different to the gassy small of London. You know all those car fumes and stuff?”

Charmaine nodded but she looked a bit lost.

“I mean, I love the smell of parchment, and that everywhere in my castle.” Hmm. That came out differently that I expected. “That was weird. But I speak only the truth.”

Charmaine let out a small giggle. I glanced outside to see where we were and I could almost see the doors to the castle. Sweet Home Hog-Wa-arts! I’m almost home!

“Its just the atmosphere, don’t you think?” Charmaine asked.

I nodded.

“I mean,” She continued. “Its different at home. It’s just you and your close family. Then you get back here and it’s like, everybody you know is stuck in the same building as you for nine months. It’s pretty damn cool.”

“Seconded.” I said with a knowing nod. I knew exactly what she was talking about.

The carriage skidded to a halt and I turned to see how Carson had gotten through the brief but scaring ride.

She looked a bit ill.

She was a Longbottom, after all.

As we all climbed out of the carriage, Charmaine and I continued our little discussion. “What else did you miss?” She asked holding out a hand to help her sister out.

“I also missed the smell of the forest, you know? It’s so earthy and ... yummy.”

SMACK!

“Oh.” I muttered from the ground where I had tripped. “The dirt smells the same too.”

Charmaine let out her tinkling laugh. Carson was desperately trying to hold in her laughs. Emily wasn’t holding it in. She was practically wetting herself with how much she was laughing.

At least the Longbottom twins had manners.

--



Please review. I hope you like this story. I’ve been working on it for a while, and I’m liking the direction it’s going in. The whole: Unknown Hufflepuff prone to mortification really strikes my fancy as it’s my life rolled up into Witchy-goodness.

Reviewing would make my day fabulous. I would wake up with a smile on my face, and you would have done your good deed for the day.

It’s a win-win situation

Also, for those of you who are a little iffy about the continuation of this story. There is absolutely NO student teacher relationship. It is hinted at, but that is simply the character misunderstanding an interaction between two other characters.

THERE IS NO STUDENT_TEACHER RELATIONSHIP IN THIS STORY.

Gracey::


Chapter 2: Is Dating a Professor Even Legal?
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I don’t really like giving out information about the upcoming chapters or the story in the long shot. But right now, the story may be cancelled, so I think it’s important. So here we go.

To those whom it may concern: Despite the title and the wants of my OC’s, there will be NO STUDENT/TEACHER relationships. NONE! ZIP! ZERO!!

DISCLAIMER: I don’t own any of the Harry potter characters—that all belongs to the wonderful J. K. Rowling. Also, I don’t own Orlando Bloom—he’s a real person. And I don’t own star wars. That’s a movie.

2. Is Dating a Professor, Even Legal?





“What’s so impressive about him anyway?” Oscar asked us, very grumble-y.

I shushed him and continued to stare.

It was Emily that ended us answering him. “Scorpius Malfoy,” she explained, “Is rich and famous. That is explanation enough.”

I nodded, “Plus the fact that he’s totally gorgey-porgey.”

Oscar was silent for a second, letting us take in all of Scorpius Malfoy’s fabulousness. “It’s weird, you know?” I muttered to Emily, “He’s like, the son of Harry potter’s arch nemesis not to mention the guy who practically killed Dumbledore and he’s one of the most loved guys in the school. Isn’t that weird?”

Emily shook her head, “Not...” she said slowly, “When you look like that.”

Hmm. Point taken.

Scorpius Malfoy was literally a gift from the gods. People told me that he took after his Dad, who even at Middle-Age was still sexy. If this is so, then Mrs Scorpius’s Mum is a very lucky woman.

How many boys do you know with grey eyes? With grey eyes that made people feel like they were practically melting.

“You look like obsessive fan-girls.” Oscar grumbled.

I didn’t take my eyes off the blonde god. “Obsessive fan-girl number one, present...” I muttered distractedly, raising my hand. Emily’s hand lifted as well.

Oscar scoffed.

“I wonder what conditioner he uses.” I said after a moment of silence.

Oscar and Emily both snorted at this. I shrugged, “Hey. His hair looks... Make-out-able...”

Emily nodded, “Mh-hmm...” She said nodding. “So Soft and...Blonde.”

Oscar sounded disappointed for a moment. “My hair is blonde...” He said grudgingly, looking at a strand of his own hair.

At this I had to look at him. “You’re hair is light-brown.” I corrected him. “There is only a smidge of blonde about it.”

He shook his head. “Nu-uhh... A girl I met told me it was blonde.”

I smirked. Emily pulled her eyes away from The God momentarily to smirk with me and look at Oscar. “Charmaine told me last night that she liked brunette boys.”

Oscar was silent for a second.

“It’s only blonde in the summer. It’s brown the rest of the time.”

I slapped my palm against my forehead, and grabbed a piece of my toast. While crunching, I looked at Emily. “Where’s Eric?” I asked, once I had swallowed.

Emily shrugged, “What am I?” she demanded, “His personal GPS? How should I know where that weirdo is?”

I shrugged, “I figured you would have seen him this morning.”

Eric was on the Hufflepuff Quidditch team. We were winning on the ladder. We weren’t beating Gryffindor, obviously, or Slytherin, but where the actual beatable competition lay was with the Ravenclaws and this year, we were beating them. This meant technically, we were coming third.

But, this aside, Emily had gotten up at who-knows-when o’clock this morning, just to go watch practice. Why would this have been?

Because she was a good friend? Ha.

Because she was a patriotic Hufflepuff? Pfft, No.

Because Professor Wood had told the team that he would personally take them out and give them some pointers this morning? Aha! We have a winner!

“Sure I saw him,” she muttered, picking up a piece of bacon with her fork. “I just didn’t pay much attention to him after my beloved came out.”

Merlin, this girl was far past reasonable.

I remember once, when I tried to convince Em about how horrible it was to actually crush on your teacher. It had resulted in one of the largest fights we had ever had. I had ended up grovelling for her forgiveness, which she had given to me.

“Did you see him after practice?” I asked with a frown.

Emily turned to me, pointing at me accusingly with her bacon-ey fork. “Why all this sudden interest with Eric? You fancy him or something?”

I choked on my toast. Oscar hastily handed me his juice, which I drank after swallowing the chewed up toast. Once I had fully recovered I turned to Emily. “What are you talking about?” I spluttered.

“You’ve been asking heaps of questions about Eric,” Emily said with a shrug, “That’s all.”

I had to splutter for a couple more minutes. “That is the most disturbing assumption you have ever made.” I coughed, taking another gulp of Pumpkin juice.

“Even the one about Professor Slughorn and Professor McGonagall.”

I winced at the memory.

“Okay.” I said graciously. “Second worst.”

Emily looked ready to reply but I missed it on account of Professor MacMillan walking down the aisle between us and Ravenclaw.

“Ah, Miss Cook and Miss Dalton?” The Prof said smiling down at me. “Good holidays?”

Emily nodded, but I kicked her in the shin before she could recount the vivid tale of Romano and his tongue to our Head of House. She flinched but stopped talking.

“They were great, Professor.” I said smiling.

He laughed, “Very good. Here are you’re timetables.” I looked at the parchment and frowned. The first thing I had today was Charms and then Transfiguration. That was going to be a problem.

I used to be excellent at Charms. Then I got all lazy and forgot to study for my final exam, forgot everything that happened last year and got a P in my OWLS. So naturally, it was bad.

“Now, Miss Dalton...” Professor Macmillan said slowly. “I saw your Charms score on your O.W.Ls.” I flushed. “I need you to meet me in my office this afternoon, after classes, and we’ll talk about what we can do.”

I nodded, and looked right back at my timetable, the blush so obviously rising in my cheeks.

Great, just what I needed. Embarrassment this early in the morning can’t be good for you.

“Right then, sir...” I muttered. “See you there.”

He smiled at me and then move don to Oscar with a bright, “Good morning, Mr Forest.”

I turned to look at Emily with a frown. “Hot boys can be the only remedy.” I sighed, letting my head rest in my arms.

Emily nudged my leg. “Or late afternoon meetings with certain teachers.” She wriggled her eyebrows at me.

I gagged. “You know what Em...” I said after swallowing the bile that had risen in my throat. “That goes past all those creepy assumptions.”




I smirked as I drew the smile onto the small smiley face on the corner of my parchment. This problem I had with doodling would be the death of me.

“Miss Dalton?” I heard my teacher asked coolly. My head swung up and I blushed. “Are you paying attention to my class?”

Professor Dennis Creevey was a small man. Not as small as his predecessor- Flitwick was a small man. But Creevey was relatively small. He had curly blonde hair and a scar across his eyes from when he fought in the war.

And according to my horny best friend he was the second best looking male teacher in this school.

I mumbled something that I didn’t even understand. There was a small round of giggles from everyone else in the class.

My face heated up.

“Uh...” I stuttered. “Yes?”

Professor Creevey smirked at me and leant down on my desk. “Then, would you kindly illustrate the action and spell I just spoke about?”

I nodded, and reached for my stupid wand which was sitting on the corner of my desk. Looking around I saw Oscar holding up a piece of parchment that said in large capital letter “CIRCLE AND POKE!”

I lifted my wand, and blushed to see my own hands shaking. I twirled the wand in a circle and then poked through the middle of it, sending a jet of yellow light towards the black board at the front of the class room.

A piece of chalk exploded and there was a round of impressed murmurs. I smirked and turned to the Professor.

He was laughing.

“Very well done, Miss Dalton,” He said smiling, “Unfortunately, Mr Forest will not be able to exhibit signs for you during your exams.”

I blushed. Darn it.

“Please try to focus in my class, in the future, Miss Dalton.” Professor Creevey said smiling. “I would hate to see you fail.” Again.

I winced at the words he left unsaid. I turned back to my paper and scribbled out the jovial smiley-face. After mortification like that, smiley faces seemed only mundane.

I bent my head and let my hair fall over my flaming face. Everyone was chuckling to themselves.

I turned to look at Oscar, who shrugged. I saw him scrunch up the paper in his hand and toss it to the side. It missed the bin by a long shot, but he just pointed his wand at it, levitating it into the bin.

Poo head.




I stumbled into Professor Macmillan’s classroom with a groan. My trip to get there had been less than entertaining.

After fleeing my last class for the day, (potions, unfortunately) I had realised that I was at the bottom of the school and the Professor’s office was on the fourth floor. Plus I had to be there in five minutes.

Silently cursing the stupid prick who decided to put the Potions room in the Dungeons, I had galloped my way up to the office. Only, my being the fabulous sophisticated person I was, I managed to slip on the trick step and topple gracefully back to the bottom of the stair where I face planted.

Thank Merlin that Emily had given me that self-cushioning charm necklace to put on. So my fall didn’t really hurt when I fell. The only thing that I lost was the tiny remaining part of my dignity after sixteen years of this.

“Ah,” Professor Macmillan said smiling, “You’re finally here.”

I contemplated calling him multiple bad words.

He chuckled, “Best not to think things like that while in the presence of a mind reader.” He said smirking.

“You’re a legimens?” I squeaked. Crap. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry!

Professor shook his head. “No. I just know what you’re thinking when you pull faces like that.”

I quickly tried to straighten my traitorous face.

“Alas,” The Prof continued. “I did see you’re fall on the way up to my office, so I forgive you.”

I spluttered.

“You saw that?” I coughed. “Wha…”

Professor laughed. “I think I can be expected to actually check your timetable as I give them out. I didn’t expect you to be immediately in my office this afternoon.”

Oh God. Now he tells me.

“I’ll let you off for being three minutes late next time. Best not stress yourself.” The Prof laughed, “Please, Dalton, take a seat.”

I frowned and plonked myself in the nearest chair.

With a sigh, the Professor followed me, sitting down in his yellow, Hufflepuff crested armchair.

“I understand I must speak with you about your grades in charms.” He said, his face quickly becoming serious.

Gulp.

“Dalton, do you have any idea what you want to do when you leave school?”

Not a bloody clue. As a matter of fact, I’ve been freaking out about it since my fourteenth birthday.

“No.” I answered out loud. “I haven’t thought about it.”

The Professor was silent for a second. He stared at me, his eyes almost pouring into my soul. Please don’t tell me that he was lying and is actually a legimens.

“Think about it for a second now. Tell me what automatically comes to your mind.”

I frowned and thought. I knew exactly what I wanted to do right after Hogwarts. I wanted to leave this school and get a job. Possibly find a hubby, and I could even become a wife for a living.

I figured that wasn’t what the Prof was talking about, though.

I had contemplated many jobs. I could follow in Professor Longbottom’s shoes and become the Herbology teacher. I could write a book like Gilderoy Lockhart (who is still good looking without a mind and being middle-aged,) and get really rich. I could even be the person who commentates for the world Quidditch games (even though I’d probably pass out from stage fright.)

But Hufflepuffs don’t do smart things like that—The Jobs, I mean, not the passing out—especially when they have grades like mine.

The best job offer I would probably have after leaving, is working as Goyle’s—the care-taker who I suspect has the IQ of a small chipmunk– second hand man.

Even though that guy could probably pass himself off as three guys, and therefore, would not need a second hand man.

“You see, Professor…” I started slowly. This was going to bug him, I was sure of it. I was wasting his time and he’d tell me to get out of his office and never return.

“Yes…?” The professor urged, smiling brightly at me.

I sighed and slouched in the chair. “I really have no clue.” I said seriously. “I mean, I’ve thought about it, and thought about it, but I just can’t figure anything out. I’m totally and completely lost when it comes to my future.”

He shrugged, “I’m sure it’s not that bad.”

I nodded my head vigorously. “It is!” I said. “It becomes... horrible mind-numb-y thoughtless mush in my brain, and I can’t think of anything. Plus, if anyone mentions it to me, I freeze up and become all pale-ish and unresponsive-y...”

He smiled a bit at that, “Really?”

I nodded again. “It’s not pretty, sir.”

Professor Macmillan chuckled, and leaned forward in his chair, resting his arms on his desk. “Right then...” he sighed smiling. “I suppose we’ll just have to start from scratch. What do you enjoy doing.”

I stared at him for a moment. This meeting was going to discern my future?

Great...




“What did he say?” Emily demanded as soon as I had returned.

I grumbled something incoherent. So incoherent even I didn’t really understand it. I wouldn’t have understood it anyway, considering I was still in a state of minor shock.

“Gave me more choices to mess around with my brain.” I muttered in reply. I threw my tired and partially dead body onto my bed, and let myself sink into the bright yellow and dull grey duvet. “Bloody Pillock.”

My mattress groaned and sunk lower as Emily sat down beside me. She stroked some of my hair away from my face and then lay back, using my stomach as a pillow. “I thought you liked Professor Macmillan.” I lifted my head from my pillow to regard her with a dry look. She rolled her eyes. “Not what I meant...” she said with a frown. “I meant as a Professor.”

I shrugged, letting my head fall back into my feather pillow. The plushiness was one of the upsides of the Hufflepuff common room was the constant softness that just plagues the room.

Even our ghost – the Fat friar would mark his three hundred and thirty fifth death day anniversary next Monday – and he was bordering obese. The mounds of ectoplasm-y skin that he had sort of just added to the softness.

I really just thought that didn’t I?

I pushed the thought of the Fat Friar’s see through skin flab and focused on my internal point. I still bet Slytherin didn’t have plushiness that came with the Hufflepuff tower. I bet all they had in their common room, was... pointy things.

I groaned, thinking about Emily’s point. Sometimes she was the most self absorbed girl and other times she just really knew what was going on.

“He’s smart. And I used to think he was cool. But not anymore.” I mumbled.

Emily sighed and I heard her giggle slightly. “Katie, darling,” She sighed, “I’m not an idiot. It’s sounds like one Professor Macmillan did something that pissed you off?”

I grumbled to myself.

“Did he come onto you?” Emily demanded. “Because he can get fired for that sort of thing.”

I lifted my head once more to stare at her. “Emily.” I said bluntly. “Not every man in this universe is an animal.” She frowned to herself, so I added, “Just the ones you date.”

She frowned deeper for a second, and then she shrugged and nodded her head. “Professor Wood isn’t like that.”

“No,” I sighed, shaking my head, and resting it back on my pillow, “Of course not.”

“And stop trying to change the topic.” Emily scolded. “What did Macmillan do that has you so evil-Katie-mode-ish?”

I sighed, and closed my eyes as tight as they could go.

It wasn’t as though I did dislike Macmillan. But did he need to highlight the fact that I am obviously not intelligent enough to get myself somewhere in life, by myself? I know I’m an idiot, but I can do some things.

I groaned. “I’m getting tutored.” I muttered really quietly under my breath.

Em was silent for a second. “Pardon?” she said quietly, and slowly, after the second. I wasn’t sure whether her voice sounded funny from disbelief or from actually not hearing what I had said.

“He’s signed me up for tutoring.” I said angrily, pushing myself to a sitting position. Emily’s head rolled off my stomach, and she too pushed herself up. “And he’s already gotten a volunteer.”

Emily shook her head. “Tutoring?” she echoed. “No way. Katie you don’t need tutoring.”

I frowned and lent moodily against my bed stand. “Obviously, I do.” I groaned. “Because he’s found someone already?”

“Who?” Emily asked instantly. Then she started blabbering. “That’s ridiculous. We’ve only been back at school for a day. No one’s stupid enough to start a new school year and then add a heap more onto the work pile.”

I didn’t move. She leaned forward again and took my hands. “Katie. Who’s tutoring you?”

“Rose Weasley.” I mumbled, letting my head fall back and hit the hard head of the bed stand.

Emily let out an outraged scream of frustration. She then leaned forward and grabbed my face, pulling my to look at her. “You listen to me Katie.” She said sternly. “You do not need tutoring. You are a fabulous, smart person and it’s not up to the poofter who calls himself the head of our house to dictate your brain.”

I smiled at her, nodding, then pushing her hands off my face. “I know.” I punched her lightly in the arm. “Hey, what about you?” I asked instantly. “I saw who you were with before I pulled you in here.”

She blushed slightly.

Ten minutes earlier, when I had returned to the common room fuming with anger – I didn’t want to get tutored by the reigning Gryffindor Princess, Rose Weasley – and had run head first into a little conversation between my Emily Cook and her beloved, Professor Daniel Wood.

I had been so shocked I had just stared for a while, before Emily had begun to blush and I pulled her away. But I didn’t miss the loud, “I guess I’ll see you at Dinner!”

“Spill!” I urged, laughing.

This broke her blushing façade and she let out a gleeful giggle. “I know!” She screeched laughing happily, flopping back onto her own bed. “And I didn’t do anything! He totally came to me. Started talking about Eric, and the team, and whether or not I thought that our house needed extra advice. He said he’d be totally willing to give it to us.”

I smiled at her. This whole business with the teacher was really exciting her.

“And then I asked him how his day was, and he totally told me about the Quidditch!” She gushed.

Oh yes. I can see the Romantic intent there.

Not.

I laughed at her. “You’re lovesick!” I giggled. “Totally and completely...”

“Head over heels?” Emily finished for me. “I know!”

And even though I was in a state of depression moments ago, I couldn’t help but smile with her. I flopped back with her on her bed and hugged her. “I’m so happy for you!” I squealed.

For a couple of seconds, the fact that I was miserable and the subject of her crush was a professor meaning said crush was probably illegal made its way back into my mind. Professor Wood was old, Twenty Six or Twenty Seven. It wasn’t right for a sixteen year old to even hope she had a chance.

But her smile was amazingly contagious, and for a minute, I smiled back at her as though I was ecstatic for her.




“Lucius Malfoy was born in 1954, to Abraxas Malfoy and his wife.”

There are a few things in life that make life unbearable. I will list them for you, because honestly, I have nothing better to do. The Teacher talking in Monotone; Topics that make no sense; Homework that doesn’t end, no matter how much time you spend on it.

Plus, Eric, who was sitting behind me in class, was entertaining himself pulling my hair, doing artwork on the back of my shirt, moving my chair, stealing things from me. Etc. Etc. Etc.

“He started Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1965, and was sorted into the Slytherin House. In his fifth year, he was elected Slytherin Prefect. He was part of a group of bullies in Slytherin, which contained almost all the Hogwarts students who graduated to join the dark side.”

Professor Binns, being a ghost, was around in the time of Lucius Malfoy’s school days. You would think that would make this class a tad bit more interesting for us. But alas, Professor Binns had a way of making the dark side sound boring.

And also, he made our war sound Star Wars-y.

That was a bit entertaining, I suppose.

I lifted my head from my arm, and managed to wipe away the soon to be drool coming out of my mouth. I looked around at my classmates. I had accepted that Eric was entertaining himself with my embarrassment, so I hastily grabbed my ponytail before it ended up in an Ink pot.

Emily was doodling on her note pad. Little stick figures holding hands inside hearts, and scribbled words of Mrs Emily Wood, covered the margins of her page.

Beside her, Oscar was folding a small paper crane. Three others which he had already made were contained, with their feet stuck between his books. They were all struggling to break free though.

Right in front of me, Sabriel Malfoy was scowling at Professor Binns. Next to her, her best friend Indiana Stephens, was angry too.

Though I didn’t blame Malfoy, I guess.

It was one thing to be bored out of your mind at this stage, but to be listening to a lesson about your evil and demented Grandfather? It would have annoyed me to the end as it obviously had Malfoy. Her finger was twitching violently and she was sending horribly vivid death glares in the good Professor’s direction.

She was the younger sister of Scorpius Malfoy, with the largest crush on James Potter. It was almost disturbing how much she worshipped the feet of her brother’s best friend’s brother. It was almost worse than Emily’s crush on the good Professor.

...

Almost.

But it did bode for entertainment. The whole feud between Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy at school was something everybody knew about. And while Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy (currently being best friends) had set that fight aside, James Potter most certainly, had not.

He spent a majority of his time reliving his grandfather’s days and wreaking havoc on the school, and teasing the Malfoys. His brother Albus, who had obviously fallen into the fabulous looking category even before he was seventeen, was the target of his jokes too. It would seem that every single generation has the tricksters in the Weasley or Potter family.

I would probably die of embarrassment if any of my family members attempted to be funny.

Especially considering the only wizards and witches who could do that is my Mother and my father who are both embarrassing enough as it is.

Yes. I would pass on that whole entertainer phase.

I was halted from my thoughts, when a piece of scrunched up paper collided with my nose. I jumped and let out a small yep which gained the attention of everybody in the class.

“During the absence of He Who Must Not Be Named, Malfoy denied ever willingly working for him. He claimed to be under the influence of the Imperius curse...”

Everybody in the classroom, save for Professor Binns, it would seem.

I blushed and looked down at the note, opening it up without trying to make much noise. Everyone reverted their attention to their previous actions. Before reading the note, I looked up to see who had thrown it.

Emily was smirking at me, pink in the face from not laughing.

I scowled, and looked down at the parchment.

You taking notes?

I frowned at her, glaring. “No!” I mouthed to her and she rolled her eyes. I grabbed my quill, turning briefly to steal some ink from Eric’s ink well. I know this stuff off by heart. Who doesn’t know about the war? Anyway, shouldn’t you be taking your own notes, Mrs Emily Wood?

I threw the parchment at her, aiming to hit her in the nose, but I missed and she caught it as it rolled onto the desk.

She read it, rolled her eyes once more and then scribbled something furiously onto the paper. Then she tossed it back in my direction. This time I caught it, lunging forward and catching it right before it smacked into Sabriel’s Malfoy’s head. I pulled it back to my chest before throwing Emily a murderous look.

I heard Eric’s snort behind me and Oscar was smirking too.

Don’t even go there. Crushes are a normal part of a teenage girl’s life. You’re the odd one out here. When was the last time you liked a guy she had replied on the paper. And I’m willing to bet you ten Sickles that you are the only one in here that already knows about Lucius Malfoy.

I smirked down at the paper. Sure. I scribbled back almost instantly. I threw it at her and this time it landed neatly in her lap. She lifted it and read it speedily. And Crushes are normal but not when their crushes on teachers. That’s disturbing. And I liked Orlando Bloom last year.

She smirked when she saw the writing. You’re on. Ten Sickles. We’ll ask when class is over. And Orlando Bloom doesn’t count. He is a muggle, he’s famous and he’s never ever going to meet you in his life. Plus he’s like forty.That is so hypocritical of her. And you just don’t understand the bond that Professor Wood and I share. It’s an immortal love. You have to be emotionally mature to grasp concepts such as our love.

I stared at the paper. Emotionally mature? What was they supposed to mean? I’m emotionally mature.

And as for the Orlando Bloom comment, she is obviously mad.

Probably correct, but mad all the same.

“Lucius Malfoy lived in Azkaban Prison for the rest of his life, until he died three years ago. He is buried at the prison in a marked grave, paid for by his widowed wife and son, Draco Malfoy. His Wife, Narcissa Malfoy, is still alive and was freed from Azkaban a year before her husband’s death. Draco Malfoy recently married Astoria Greengrass and has two children, Scorpius and Sabriel Malfoy.”

Honestly, the man is so out of it. He is educating one of the students about her grandfather and father and herself!

It’s ridiculous.

Sabriel Malfoy seethed so much it was almost as though steam was exiting her ears. Everyone leaned away from her a bit.

I received a hit in the head from another ball of paper. I glared at Emily while undoing it. You’re hair’s got ink on it.

I turned in my seat and threw a murderous look at Eric who was smirking brightly back at me. “You.” I hissed, “Are buying me new shampoo.” I risked a look at the back of my shirt. “...And a new uniform.” I added angrily.

Eric just smirked. He could be a fabulous Quidditch Player ready to help Hufflepuff win the Grand Final, but he was a Dork for the rest of the time. Grumbling I turned back around, examining my pony tail.

Poo-head.

The class ended after about five more minutes of unnecessary rambling courtesy of Professor Binns, and when he did finish everyone leapt to leave. Emily stopped them, standing on her chair and clapping her hands together. Professor Binns had already floated through the wall, so we were all safe from detentions.

“Who already knew about Lucius Malfoy?” She asked loudly.

No one raised their hand. Emily looked triumphant for a second before Sabriel scoffed. “Get off the chair, you freak. Of course I know about him.”

Emily frowned. “Merlin, Malfoy...” she said quietly. “Bitter because James Potter has left and he left poor Malfoy behind? No need to bitch because the unfortunate recipient of your affection has gone.”

Sabriel scowled at Emily but strutted out of the room, with a small “Hmph...”

Emily jumped off the chair and I greeted her with a high five. “You beat Sabriel Malfoy in another banter of wits, congratulations.”

Eric and Oscar joined us. “It wasn’t exactly a battle of wits, Katie. Malfoy called Em a freak and Em, being superior in every way, shot her down.” Oscar corrected me.

Eric shook his head, “I don’t know. I saw some wits a battling.”

Everyone laughed at that. I held out my palm in Emily’s direction. “Sickles, please.” I demanded smirking.

Emily scowled but dug around in her shoulder bag pocket. She produced the silver coins and dumped them, grumbling, into my open hand.

“Ta...” I said smugly.




Review Please. I hope you liked it. There will be more appearances of Rowling’s characters coming up. I hope you liked this chapter. It has a little more insight into the Emily-Katiey relationship – Friendships are a good thing. And it also has more about Katie’s insecurities which I figured would be good to introduce.

Please Review!!!

Gracie::




Chapter 3: Oh My Sweet Chicken Drumsticks
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3. Oh, my Sweet Chicken Drumsticks




“Hi!”

I really hate that. You know? Loud energetic voices that everybody supposes put you in a good mood and make you feel comfortable but actually make you feel unconfident and poo-ey? You know the ones?

The way my new tutor used this voice in her first session with me, really did not bode well for the rest of our encounters.

“I’m Rose Weasley,” She said brightly, “Please. Sit down.” She indicated at the chair opposite her. She had already organised the table so that not one bit of the actual table could be seen beneath the new layer of books.

Goodie. Here we go.

“Professor Macmillan told me that you wanted help with your Charms.” She explained to me. Wanted here being the operative word. “I’m pretty good at Charms,” she continued, “and I need the extra credit for Community Service if I want to have a chance at the work experience I’m interested in.”

Community Service?!

I am so going to murder Professor Macmillan.

Rose Weasley was a Seventh year student, who was into that whole I’m going to excel at school and at life after school. I’m also shockingly pretty and nice to everybody I meet, not to mention my parents have become two of the three most well known people of this wizarding age phase.

She just gave off that sort of vibe.

“Katie Dalton.” I introduced myself, forcing a smile onto my face. I may be inwardly bitter, but I wasn’t a bitch.

Benefit of the doubt. Benefit of the Doubt. Benefit of the doubt.

Mantras are good. I shouldn’t be blaming Rose Weasley for this horribly unjust deed done to me by the Professor Macsmelly. She doesn’t need to be punished for being smarter than I am...

Come on Katie. Focus!

“What are your strong points and weak points?” Rose asked, getting to the point immediately.

“Yeah, you know,” I said with a slight shrug. It was obvious from her expression that she didn’t know, so I continued to explain. “I kind of have a problem with Charms?”

It seemed to be more a question than an answer to her question.

“Oh?” She said smiling warmly at me, “Which part?”

I shrugged. “Oh, you know...” I said again. “The Charms.”

She giggled slightly at that, and then flicked a strand of her fabulous red hair over her shoulder. It was so unfair. She got everything in life, you know. Famous parents, money, intelligence, good looks? I just got all the left over’s.

It really is quite depressing.




We have been studying for an hour and a half. Non-stop, talking about Charms and Professor Creevey and all the fabulous things I could do if I actually had the capability to focus on actually getting somewhere in my life. I’m so over this. As soon as this thing is over, I’m going right to Professor Macmillan and giving him a choice.

Stop the Tutoring or I transfer to Beauxbatons.

French Food has always been yummier than English food anyway. All we have is Pie. The French have frogs!

I must have grumbled or something, because Rose looked up, and halted in her ‘Accio’ explanation.

“Is something bothering you, Katie?” asked Rose, slowly. She laid her quill down neatly on the parchment and folded her hands together, ready to listen.

I choked. She didn’t notice because I was forcing it down, but I was choking on my own air. She must think I’m so rude! What happens to the people who are rude to famous people’s kids? Will I be dragged off to Azkaban for rudeness? I couldn’t handle that. Those freaky Dementors give me the willies.

Frilly Heck! I’m going to die in Azkaban just like Lucius Malfoy did!

I managed to smile forcedly at her, and struggled to make my face look like I wasn’t attempting to swallow a pine-cone.

“Sorry if I’m being rude...” I said hastily, blushing again. “I want us to be friends, and I am happy that I get a tutor. It’s just...” I sighed. “...I always wanted my future to be that. You know? My future. And the whole, ‘I need a tutor to get by,’ thing? Didn’t do my self esteem so great...”

Rose nodded knowingly, and she smiled. “It will be your future. Professor Macmillan, and I, we can’t live your life for you. We’re just helping you along the way. Just like your mother gave birth to you. That was helping. You wouldn’t be alive without all that pushing.”

Okay! Definitely a visual I didn’t need in this lifetime.

But I definitely doubt that wiser words were spoken.

Even by Dumbledore himself.

I was about to reply to her wise words, possibly with something stupid sounding and embarrassing, when Rose’s chair was pushed roughly, and her gut went right into the corner of the table.

Ouch.

I glared at Elodie Higgins—she proves that it is possible to be pretty initially and then lose it to a bad attitude later in life. She was in my year, and in Slytherin. I don’t think Rose would know her.

“Who was she?” Rose coughed, trying to breathe after her Table encounter.

Bingo!

“That’s Elodie Higgins.” I explained, smiling sympathetically at her. “She the bully of Sixth year.”

Rose still looked in pain, but she nodded knowingly. “I’ve heard about her. Never met her though.”

I sighed. “Rose Weasley, meet Elodie Higgins. She was already smoking in second year. Once I was lookout for her...”

Rose chuckled to herself. “You're bad to the bone.” She said smiling.

I nodded my head vigorously. “Oh yeah,” I agreed. “I'm a rebel.”

“You alright?” I asked with a slight smile.

She nodded, rubbing her stomach (which was almost as flat as a board – even through the puffy sweaters) and sighed. “I’ll live.” She said reasonably. “She does things like that often?”

“Almost daily.” I replied brightly. “I tried to keep a Tally once in third year, but she found out about it and she came after me. I spent the whole day hiding in the chest of Potions equipment in the Dungeons. I sat on top of something pointy though and I had the indent in my back for like, three days afterward.”

Tis True.

Rose laughed. “Great. It’s funny I’ve never heard of your before Katie,” She said smiling.

I shrugged, “You probably have. Something like: ‘I just saw a really silly looking Hufflepuff girl face-plant herself into my mash.’ Or possibly even: ‘I found some toiletries belonging to some weird Hufflepuff chick. Her name’s Katie Dalton? You know her?’”

I finished my self impersonation with a flourish. She giggled again. “You’re really funny Katie.” She said laughing.

Did that mean Funny as in amusing funny?

Or funny as in funny to look at funny?

I shrugged, “I tell it like it is.” I said simply. “Intense mortification usually follows me around.”

There was a bang of the Library doors and both of us looked up to see Emily and Eric arguing, at the top of their lungs, about whose place we’d all be staying at, at Christmas.

“And...” I said slowly. “Rose Weasley, may I introduce you to Intense Mortification...”

Rose smiled at me, a little sympathetically.

“I have to go,” I sighed, looking at Emily, who looked ready to kill Eric. “But thankyou.” I paused in my actions of walking away. “Seriously,” I said to her. “I may get pissy some days, but I do appreciate this whole tutoring gig.”

I hurried over to my best friends, grabbing them both by their collars and dragging them out of the library. “Do you have no respect for my dignity?” I demanded angrily, once we were out of the Library.

Emily scoffed, “Hunny,” She said slowly, patting my hair down at the back of my head. “There’s no such thing.”




I dropped myself into the bench and frowned at Emily. “Whose the blonde Eric’s talking to?” I questioned curiously, picking up my plastic knife and stabbing a finger sandwich, prepared by one of the House elves that Oscar knows, from the basket in front of me. I brought it back to my plate and then reached for another.

Eric was standing, about a metre away, down at the bank of the lake, chatting jovially to a pretty blonde girl. I was sitting on a small bench accompanied by the picnic basket, and Emily was leaning against the base of the tree munching on her own apple.

“You are so crushing on Eric!” said Emily who was obviously convinced of this matter.

I contemplated spitting out the yummy cheese and Lettuce I had just put in my mouth, which suddenly didn’t taste so great after all. I swallowed, with minimal Gag reflexes and rolled my eyes.

“Emily,” I said seriously. “I do not like Eric. He is... Eric. I am simply serious as to who she is. It would be totally cool if he got a girlfriend.” I explained.

Emily sighed and rolled her eyes. “I know...” She said smirking, “Just like seeing you so irritated in the morning. Makes my day.”

I stared at her. “Gee,” I said slowly. “Thanks, Peaches...”

Emily rolled her eyes. “Her name’s Penelope Ryan. Eric says they call her Penny. Also says she cute, bouncy and really nice. She’s also really smart because she’s in Ravenclaw.”

This seconds my, “Good-looking-and-smart” theory. It is very unfair.

I highlighted this to Emily and she rolled her eyes. “You’re plenty pretty Katie.” She said, “For the millionth time.”

I waved her compliment aside. “You’re just saying that.” I said.

She rolled her eyes and scoffed, but said no more.

That moment was the time when Penny sat down next to me. She didn’t pay much attention to me as she seated herself. She was spending mucha time smiling and blushing and flirting with Eric.

I quickly prepped myself. I had to say something sophisticated, and make a good impression. Eric seemed to really fancy this girl and if he wanted her then she better like us because we’re his besties.

I repeated my mantra in my head.

Smart, Sexy, Sophisticated.

Smart.

Something along the lines of calm and collected conversation about the weather, or the current political situation. That would interest her. Her father’s the Minister of International Grass Growing... or something else impressive.

Sexy.

Must get across to her that I am a perfect person in all respects, but she did not need to feel threatened by my friendship with Eric.

Sophisticated.

What about: “It’s very nice to meet you Penny, we’ve heard so much about you?”

And will not. Under any circumstances. Mention the fact that Eric and I were once an item.

“Hi...” Penny said smiling turning her head of golden curls to face me. I hate the way she’s just another glamorous Hogwartian.

Eric smiled at her brightly, and then encouragingly at me.

Mustn’t mention the way we used to date. Mustn’t mention how we used to date.

“Do you like my Ex-Boyfriend?” I asked her brightly.

There was a stunned silence. All the blood temporarily left my brain and swelled to my cheeks. I tried not to let it get awkward and continued to smile my Grinch smile at her.

Penny looked a bit (alright, a lot) confused but she looked hastily between me, Eric and Emily. “I guess...” She said unsurely. Then she nodded, convincing herself. “Yeah. I do.”

I smiled brightly at her. “That’s good.”

Then her eyes narrowed slightly. “But you and him?”

Eric looked ready to murder me.

I shrugged. “Yeah. But that’s long over. We broke up.”

Penny frowned. “Why?” She asked curiously. “Anything bad I should know about?”

Eric would kill me if I made up some story about him being horrible in the hay. So I avoided my possible assassination.

He already looked angry/murderous enough.

I sighed, and shook my head. “Nothing important...” I said with a sigh.

She raised a beautiful almost non-existent eyebrow.

“Just remember...” I continued. Eric’s glare darkened. “Keep your Barbie Dolls out of reach at all times.”

There was more silence.

Penny frowned, “Excuse me?” She asked confused. “Barbie Dolls?”

“Oh.” I said brightly. “We were eleven.”




I had my first little encounter with Sabriel Malfoy that afternoon. I was rushing through the castle, anxious to watch Eric’s Quidditch practiser to make up for my annoyingly embarrassing speech at Lunch. Luckily enough, Penny seemed to still like Eric, and me.

Despite what Emily calls, ‘Scaring-Off’ tactics.

They had sent me to my dorm after my embarrassing show, and I had taken the time to unpack my things and put them into the wardrobe.

I had a couple (Alright thousands) of used shopping bags that had accumulated over the years and I had filled a majority of them with junk. I had a couple of empty bags, but they were all destined for the same place.

The Rubbish dump outside the Kitchen.

Anyway, as I was hustling through the empty corridors, I spun around the corner and went right into Sabriel Malfoy and her bunch of Clones.

“Watch it, Dalton.” She sneered at me.

From my new position on the ground at her feet, I stared up at her. “You know my name?” I demanded with a frown.

She and her Clones sniggered at me, and Sabriel let out a flick of her long blonde hair.

“You’re Katie Dalton.” She muttered lazily. “Supreme slacker and a clumsy fool. You fall over your feet every morning and you don’t realize that everybody at this school is laughing at you, and no one needs you here.”

Her comment hit me with as much cruelty as was probably intended.

I frowned. “That’s not true...” I’m not a slacker.

I didn’t say that last part out loud.

She then sighed another annoyingly lazy sigh, “You’re not unique at all, and you’re completely boring. And only idiots fail at Charms.”

How the Heck, did she know that?

Defence for my brain, and its other important parts sprung up and without even thinking I barked out, “You’re Sabriel Malfoy, James Potter Devotee and completely untalented at anything that isn’t sneering.”

I then found myself hanging upside down from one of my ankles.

That was potentially problematic.

I frowned, mentally thanking Merlin that I had chosen to not wear that white skirt I had bought in the summer. “Real Mature, Malfoy,” I muttered.

I began to spin around, really fast.

God work Dalton, Good work.

“Whooooaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh....” I called out watching everything get blurrier and blurrier. “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

And then I had stopped and was on the ground. Everything continued to spin, including the ceiling. It looked pretty cool, watching the corridor’s chandelier suddenly have three thousand more copies.

I rested my cheek against the cold Marble floor.

Ah....

Things were still spinning but I slowly began to regain control of my eyes. I could hear what was going on now.

“Scorpius...” Sabriel was whining. “...She and her buddies embarrassed me yesterday in History of Magic...”

Put a sock in it, you stupid cow, I moaned inwardly.

There was loud bark of laughter, and then a scuffle and then I heard Sabriel shouting at me.

Maybe I didn’t say that in my head...

Meh. Her fault for mentally unscrewing my head.

“Calm down, Sab.”

It’s Scorpius Malfoy!

“You don’t have license to curse her Malfoy, just because she probably said something silly.”

Oh My Sweet Chicken Drumsticks— ALBUS FRACKING POTTER????

That I didn’t say out loud. Seriously, this time.

But if Scorpius Malfoy was a gift from the gods, than Albus Potter was the God. With his beautiful Green eyes and his messy black hair that any girl in this school would gladly run her fingers through.

The room rocked and I focused myself.

I was still in dire danger of a scalping, you see. Courtesy of Sabriel Malfoy.

“She said that I was obsessed with James Potter.” Sabriel whined.

There was a second silence and then— “Sab. You are obsessed with James Potter.”

I held back my own snort. Sabriel Malfoy was a little less than mysterious.

“Fine.” She said stubbornly. “Play the hero... Again”

What better heroes than Scorpius Malfoy and Albus Potter?

None.

I heard the hoard of stiletto wearers walk away, and expected to hear the boys sneakers or dragon skin boots to follow, but instead their footsteps got closer to me.

I felt a hand placed under my head and it was suddenly lifted from the soothing cold marble.

Put me back, Dammit!

“You alright?” The silkily sexy voice of the god otherwise known as Albus Potter asked me.

My eyes were still clenched closed. I wasn’t opening them to see three thousand of Albus Potter’s faces.

I snapped my eyes open.

Ah... Pretty Potter.

Then I moaned.

“Al...” Gift from Gods said to God. “I think she’s pretty sick. We should take her to the hospital wing.”

I opened my mouth to protest this. You haven’t seen intense hate until you’ve seen the glares I get from Madame Bellows, the Matron.

But before any words could come out, I felt that familiar feeling.

I pushed the two Gods away and lunged forward, grabbing one of the discarded old shopping bags that I had been on my way to get rid of.

And them I promptly—and hopefully sexily—hurled in said bag.

What can I say? Dizziness has never mixed well with my stomach.

I felt two hands go around my hair and hold them out of the way, while I continued to spill my breakfast.

“Sabriel got her good.” I heard Potter tell his friend.

Malfoy made some noise of affirmation. “I’ll kill her.”

That is all I ask.

When I was finally finished giving the send off to my recent breakfast and lunch, I lifted my head away from the bag, and wiped the edges of my mouth with my wrist.

“Sorry...” I choked out, making sure I didn’t spew any more. Potter let go of my hair and smiled at me.

If it weren’t for my dizzy and nauseous state, I would have swooned.

“Don’t worry.” Potter told me in that sexy voice of his. “It’s not your fault.”

Malfoy nodded. “I’ll kill Sabriel for you...” He suggested again.

I smiled grimly at him.

“Tha—”

I spun around, cutting my ‘Thank you’ short and grabbed the bag again.

Once I was sure I had finished again, I lifted my head. “—nk you?”

They both laughed.

I MADE SCORPIUS MALFOY AND ALBUS POTTER LAUGH!!!

Granted, they were laughing at me but it was a start.

“Let’s get you to the Hospital wing.”

This is how I found myself leaning, arm draped over Albus Potter, as I stumbled down to the Hospital wing. Malfoy had gentlemanly taken all the bags I had been carrying when I had run into his sister.

We got to the Hospital wing with minor problems. The largest of said problems being, running into Rose Weasley who screamed after taking one look at me.

Didn’t boost my confidence in how great I looked, but once she had regained control of herself se assured me she had screamed only because I looked half dead, and she had thought that Potter and Malfoy had killed me and were taking me away to bury my corpse.

My confidence still remained shattered.

But it was worse when we actually got there, though. Rose had deserted her friends, and was coming with us now, to make sure that I was okay. Scorpius had vanished to dispose of my things and I was still leaning on Potter.

The three of us ambled into the Hospital Wing and interrupted Madame Bellows from curing a boy with acne that was slowly making his face grow.

Seemed he had had a run in with Sabriel earlier on.

“Don’t tell Scorpius.” Potter told Rose and I. “He’ll have a brain aneurism.”

Hear, Hear.

“Katie Dalton!” I flinched at Madame Bellows’s angry tone. “Third day of the school year and you’re already back here?”

I shrugged grimly at her. She rolled her eyes and then looked at Potter. “Bring her over here. I’ve learned to always have a bed spare for Miss Dalton, seeing as she’s an almost permanent patient of this Hospital.”

I blushed, which must have clashed brilliantly with the green tinge everybody had told me I had taken.

I stopped thinking at all, though, when Albus helped my lie down on the bed.

DREAMING!

Though, granted, my dreams didn’t involve me very nearly puking on him.

I revelled in the feeling of the soft hospital bed. “Might as well tell me what happened.” Bellows ordered at Rose.

Rose looked surprised, “I wasn’t there. I didn’t see.” She defended herself. “I came to make sure she received help, after running into them on the Third Floor.”

Everyone turned to Potter.

He sighed. “Didn’t see much. Me and Scor were on our way back from the Quidditch Pitch, when we heard this loud scream.” —Must have been me— “Walked round the corner to see Sabriel Malfoy had her upside down by the ankle spinning around. We got her down but she managed to spill her guts twice before she let us take her down here.”

I became aware of The Bellows angry stare. “Miss Dalton,” She said sternly, “How many times have I told you that you must not let personal feelings for this place stop you from coming? You could become seriously injured one day, and from your track record, that day is soon coming.”

Oh she’s good at these inspirational speeches.

I nodded, and said, “Yes Madame Bellows, I understand.”

“Don’t take that tone with me, young lady.” She scolded, “You’re to lie down and have some rest. And next time this happens, you will come to me immediately.”

She took one look at the bag in my hand and frowned. She lifted her wand and in pulled itself from my hand. It landed in the bin, which made an odd swallowing noise and was then silent.

“Having a good day, Bernie?” I asked quietly.

The Bin sighed. “It’s alright Katie. Got to eat three broken quills this morning.” I smirked at the bin, which had been my friend since my first visit here in First Year.

“Good for you.”

Bernie smiled. The Bellows scoffed, lifting Bernie and taking him over to her previous Patient’s bedside. I smiled contentedly, and closed my eyes, letting my head sink into the pillow.

“Erm... Katie?”

Whoops. Forgot they were still here.

I opened one eyes and looked at Potter and Rose. “Yeaoup?” I said popping the ‘p.’

“Were you just talking to a wastepaper bin?” Rose asked curiously.

“You haven’t met Bernie?” I demanded, opening both my eyes and staring at them. “Bernie the Bin?”

They both shook their heads, obviously amused. I was too nauseous to care about the weird looks. I sighed, “Let me tell you the Tale of Bernie the Bin.”




I know this chapter is shorter than the others, but I hope you still liked it. First contact with some real characters today! Rose Weasley and Albus Potter!

I Know Scorpius was mentioned in previous chapter but there was no dialogue courtesy of him.
Hope you enjoyed, and please Review.

GRACE



Chapter 4: Otherwise Known As Oz
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Otherwise Known as Oz




I slumped into the fluffy yellow arm chair of our common room and groaned. Instantly, the other chairs in the room were occupied by Oz and Emily.

“I am going to beat the Magic out of Malfoy next time I see her!” Emily threatened, still fuming at my apparent mistreatment. “The stupid cow won’t know what hit her.”

I didn’t doubt that.

The weekend was long over, and considering that I had only visited the Hospital wing once, on a Saturday Afternoon, it was classified as one of my better days.

The seat directly beside me, which up til that point had been miraculously empty was suddenly filled. Charmaine smiled at me, resting her hand on my arm.

“I heard about Saturday,” She said apologetically, “Are you all right?”

I nodded with a shrug. “Trust me,” I told her seriously, “I have dealt with so much worse.”

She smiled at me. “I’ll bet you have.”

Hey.

I sighed and let my head fall backwards. The ceiling, which was an exotic shade of black, that sparkled dark grey sparkles every now and again. It was a general habit of a majority of us Hufflepuffians to try and predict the sparkles.

Oz always gets it right, but he tells no one his secret.

“Heard you called Sabriel Malfoy as Stupid cow, though.”

Oh yes. Word had gotten around. For some reason, puking my guts up and having something to say about it now ranked me as a general Hufflepuff Hero.

Boy, do they have the wrong girl.

“Yup.” I muttered reluctantly. It’s not as though I wanted the attention of the entire house. It’s annoying and not all it’s cracked up to be. “And now I’m on Sabriel Malfoy’s Most Wanted list.”

Was it me, or did she just lean a little away from me. “She can’t do anything to you. She’ll be expelled.”

I don’t think that she understands the free pass that she has when it comes to Bullies considering her father’s head of Gryffindor, and all.

“What about Albus Potter though...?” Em said slowly, smirking at Charmaine.

Char rolled her eyes. Apparently she didn’t see the lure of Albus’s sexy face and hair. Everyone knows that the Longbottom’s have been good friends with the Potters and the Weasley’s ever since the war. Char says that Albus lost the appeal to her at the age of five when she saw him nude in the kiddie pool.

She fails to see how lucky she is—Albus Potter must have been a very sexy five-year old.

“Katie actually touched him!” Emily continued completely ecstatic by my good fortune.

Have I fully explained the perfection that is the Gryffindor Three?

It consists of the three sexiest boys in entire existence: Fred Weasley, Scorpius Malfoy and (the one, the only) Albus Potter. They are the three Poster Boys of perfection, also making themselves the most wanted bachelors in the entire school.

Emily, despite being devoted to Professor Wood, was even dazzled by the perfection of their mere smiles.

“And your hands had actually touched him. His arm was around you, holding you up!” She continued to blabber. “What was it like? Oh, my Merlin I still can’t believe you actually touched him!”

It was a good thing Eric wasn’t here— He’s not allowed in the common room, considering he’s not in Hufflepuff— but his dislike of the Weasley-Potter clan was still as distinct as ever.

And their presence at my rescue and bedside had irritated him more than impressed him.

Char stared at Emily, who had continued to gush about Potter, and then looked at me. “They’re not just pretty faces, you guys.”

I nodded, holding up my hands defensively. “I know...” I reassured her. “..Emily’s just have a fan-girl moment.”

“And they’re so hot.”




Food.

Food is good.

At the moment, I was able to actually think about some things. The day had gone relatively well actually.

I hadn’t been gruesomely murdered by Malfoy. Emily hadn’t bashed the magic out of said bully. I hadn’t embarrassed Eric any more. I hadn’t been caught doodling on my notebook in charms, and no unnamed plants had attacked me in Herbology.

I would eat dinner with a self-fulfilled feeling tonight.

Emily had gone to talk to Professor Wood about the upcoming Quidditch match and Eric was sitting next to Penny at his own house table for a change. It was just me and Oz, which meant that we were sitting in silence.

Oz is a general non-talkative person.

At this moment, he was looking at the Gryffindor table, obviously looking at one of the specific Longbottom twins. Charmaine was sitting next to Carson at the Gryffindor table, probably talking about some things in their lives.

Oz’s devoted eyes just continued to look at Charmaine.

Which is really cute. Oz is a nice kind of guy. He’s got that whole, cute nerdy style going on which girls like Charmaine like. And Charmaine is perfect for him. She’s funny, and pretty and they’re both amazingly nervous and shy.

They’re like a match made in heaven.

Time to interfere.

“Oscar Forest.” I said sternly.

His eyes flicked to me, a little lazily. “The third...” He added sleepily.

I ignored him. “Whatever. Oz. It’s time you did something about that specific Longbottom twin.”

Oz suddenly didn’t look so tired. His back straightened, his eyes widened and he looked me right in the eye. “What are you talking about...?” He demanded shakily.

I leant across the table and patted him on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, Oz.” I told him. “It’s obvious that you like her. It’s what we’re going to do about it that’s not so easy.”

Oz shook his head quickly. “No. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t like Charmaine.” He defended himself.

“Aha!” I shouted. Then I cringed, feeling the eyes of half of the student body on my head. I sunk into my seat slowly; until I heard the regular chit chat begin again. “I never said it was Charmaine that you liked, which proves that you like her.”

Oz opened his mouth a couple of times, obviously to protest, and then he sighed. “Yeah? So what?”

I frowned, “Don’t get your wand in a twist, Forest,” I scolded him, frowning. “I’m trying to help you.”

Oz shook his head when I got to: ‘Trying—’

“Please,” He begged me. “Katie. Leave it alone. I kind of feel like I need to do this by myself. Not with the help of you and Emily.”

I raised a sole eyebrow. “Who said anything about Emily?” I asked him frowning. “And I’m not going to say Anything to Charmaine.”

Then he raised the eyebrow.

“What?” I demanded defensively.

He continued to stare at me all accusingly like.

I frowned. “Look.” I told him. “I’m your friend Oz, I’m not about to go out and try to ruin your life. I’ll go undercover. I’ll be your secretive spy informative on all things Charmaine. How does that sound?”

His frown wavered. It seemed I was breaking down his touch wall barrier.

Make way for Super Katie!

“Come on, dude.” I persisted.

He looked torn between two thoughts now. “Emily and Eric never find out?”

I nodded. “As long as Charmaine doesn’t find out about this when you’re making with the snogging.”

Emily took this moment to sit down beside me. “Hey guys...” She cooed. “Whatcha talking about?”

“Dinner.” Oz replied instantly.

At the exact same moment I said, “Charms.”

She stared at Oz, while I tried to murder him with my eyes. Could he be any less conspicuous?

Emily brushed it off though. “Right. That’s not suspicious at all...” She said raising her eyebrows.

I shrugged, “We were talking about charms at the Dinner table.” I hastily excused us.

She shook her head. “I don’t care guys. I’m in happy land.” She said, reaching across me to grab the steak slices that were directly in front of my. I snagged a couple of pieces before she pulled it out of my grasp, poking my tongue out at her.

“What happened to make you so happy then?” Oz asked.

Conversation turning away from Plan Hook-Up-Shy-Birds. YES!!!

“You don’t tell me your news then I won’t tell you mine.”

Or not.

I opened and closed my mouth in a similar fashion to Oz, five minutes ago.

‘We were...” Oz stammered, hastily trying to explain. “Um... talking about...”

“Manicured Pink Pigs.”

Everyone looked at me. I grinned at them and took an obvious bite of my lamb. “What?”

Oz seemingly decided to ignore that. I looked at him, and he frowned. “I have more pressing issues, than... Manicured Pink Pigs.”

I stared at him. “Like what?”

He was silent for a minute. Then he looked between me and Emily and frowned. “It’s very weird and possibly scaring.”

Emily and I exchanged and glance. “Bring it on.” Em said loudly.

Oz hesitated one more second. And then:

“Lindsay had a girlfriend.”




Who: Team Dynamite: (Mrs Wood) aka Emily Cook, (Junior Jnr) aka Oscar Forest the Third and (Blushing Cabbage) aka Katie Dalton. (Emi-ahem- Mrs Wood chose the code name names.)

What: Operation: Find out who Lindsay’s crazy and Blind girlfriend is. Aka. FOWLCABGI. (We are looking for new name.)

Where: Where ever Lindsay goes once Lunch has finished

When: 1900 hours. (For those of you anti-twenty four hour people, that’s 7:00pm)

Why: This is becoming a bit self explanatory.

How: I think this “who what when where” thing is getting the tiniest bit pointless.

This is your Mission if you choose to accept it. Simultaneous nod. We do.



Lindsay excuses himself and says, “I have another prefect’s meeting,” for the third time this week.

His twerpy little Fifth year friends look annoyed. “This is the third one this week.”

He shrugs.

They let him go.

Twerps.

Team Dynamite stands slowly, and makes way to door. Walk out doors just in time to see Lindsay walking around the corner.

Team Dynamite follow, putting on secret identity masks whilst walking. He ducks into deserted classroom.

Door closes.

Lock clicks.

Goddammit.

Blushing Cabbage is closest to door. Puts ear to wood, and listens. Mrs Wood starts to complain so Junior Jnr puts hand over her mouth.

Lindsay: Am I still seeing you tomorrow. Same place, same time? I haven’t seen you in ages.

Mystery Love: that’s Nonsense, silly. I saw you this morning. But yeah... here tomorrow.

Lindsay: was it really just this morning? It seems like years (Merlin, fifteen year old romance…nngh…)

Mystery Love: Lindsay. You’re such a dope (agreed)

Lindsay: I do try –

Then Blushing Cabbage stubbed toe on the wall trying to get closer to the door, and though there was a faint attempt to muffle scream, it was futile. Scream possibly woke up all the sleeping babies on this hemisphere.

Team Dynamite forced to sprint back to the Great Hall, but are stopped when Blushing Cabbage runs into Professor Creevey





“Hi Professor...” I said slowly, smiling up at him.

Professor Creevey let his eyes pass across me, Em and Oz before looking back as me. “What are you three doing?” He asked accusingly.

Oh, By Merlin, We’re done for.

“Nothing...?”

Why did that sound like a question?

“I heard a shout, and I came to investigate. You three wouldn’t know what happened would you?”

Huh, you would have guessed that my big toe swelling to the size of a small nation, would have given something away. And my limp.

But he seemed unaware of these things.

“What is on your face?” He continued to quiz us.

I realised belatedly that our stealth masks were still on our faces. They weren’t much. Black felt masks that Emily had packed in her bag for reasons that I don’t even want to know.

“Erm...” I began to explain. “Magical skin refreshers?”

Creevey smirked. “Really?”

I nodded. “Oh yeah. I bought them after hearing an ad on the wireless.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Is that so? Well, why do they look like cheap imitations of muggle burglar masks?”

I was silent for a moment. “Halloween special...?”




“Well...” I moaned as I crawled through the entrance to the common room. “That was a bust.”

Oz shrugged, munching on the muffin that the House elves had given him. Having a Common room situated right beside the Kitchen did have its upsides.

Mmm. Blueberry Muffins make the pain go away.

“We know they’re meeting in the same place again tomorrow.” Em said optimistically.

I sighed. “I still can’t believe that Lindsay got a date.”

Em frowned, “I still can’t believe that you stubbed your toe, while you weren’t walking.”

I threw my muffin at her, and then dove to retrieve it before she could eat it.




The Elf Rebellion, by Katie Dalton

The Elf rebellion began in the year of 1666, when a particularly strong willed Elf purposely set fire to the Bakery in which he worked. His master, Thomas Farrinor, told the Muggle population that he awoke in the middle of the night to burning. He told the Ministry of Magic, however, that his Elf, Manny, and he had been in an argument earlier that evening and he had walked into the kitchen to see said elf fuelling an open fire in the middle of his kitchen—


“This is ridiculous.”

I looked up at Rose, with a tired expression, and when her face showed no concern, I let my head fall to the desk with a ‘Thump.’

I received several ‘Shushes” for my efforts.

Rose sighed. “You just have to apply yourself, Katie.” She told me comfortingly. “You have the capability and you know the content. You just need to work on your delivery and determination to get it done.”

“I’m determined.” I told her indignantly. “I’m plenty determined.”

“Then why are you having trouble?” Rose asked me pointedly.

I frowned, “Because History of Magic is a subject for Pansies.” She stared at me. I shrugged indifferently. “Don’t even try to deny it,” I told her sternly.

She rolled her eyes and impatiently tapped my parchment. “Keep on going.” She ordered in a stern-er voice than mine.

Stupid Weasleys.

I can only imagine what her parent’s went through. Apparently, according to James Potter III, Ron Weasley was sort of like me. You know? A Slacker.

And his aunt was like Rose Weasley. Hermione Weasley’s scary enough on the news paper, or in interviews. Imagine what she would have been like pubescent?

Her maiden name is something Muggle-ish. Like...Grant... or Griffin...

Anyway, they were best friends become Weasley saved Hermione from a troll or something in their first year— FIRST YEAR! I know! In first year I could barely lift my wand let alone defeat a mountain troll with it— and they spent the next seven years of their lives fighting.

Talk about tiring. If I’d watched a dude go through puberty everyday, I would so not end up marrying the dude—

“Katie!”

Rose’s disapproving shout distracted me from my internal rant. I stared at her for a moment. “Yeah...?”

“You’ve been staring into space for the last three minutes. What is possibly so important that it will distract you from passing the grade?”

“You’re parent’s marriage.”

I didn’t say that out loud.

Instead I said:

“Charms.”

Rose was about to yell at me, but then she actually registered my answer. “Oh. Well, I suppose it is time we moved on. You can finish the Essay later, correct?”

I wasn’t entirely sure how to answer that. Corrective?

I settled for a nod, which she seemed to be satisfied with too.

But miraculously, before I was forced to pull out my charms textbook (I swear to God it’s possessed), Albus Potter and Fred Weasley seated themselves next to Rose.

“Aloha Rosie.” Fred acknowledged her presence. “Sup?”

I painfully refrained from snorting. People who laughed at Fred Weasley generally tended to wake up with purple skin. I could not however, stop my face from twisting unflatteringly into a nasty sort of amused shape. Weasley noticed.

Good Merlin—I’m dead.

“Something funny?” He asked me with a smirk.

I shook my head. “Nope...” I said hurriedly, “Purples not my colour.”

The three seventh years must have momentarily wondered where my brain had escaped to.

It struck me as interesting as well.

Rose rolled her eyes. “You don’t make sense at all sometimes...” She told me seriously.

I frowned. “Weasl—Rose.” I corrected myself. “I am trusting your capable hands with my delicate brain. Please don’t insult me when you’re bestowed with such trust.”

I heard a snort from across the library. I head shot up to meet the gaze of Indiana Stephens. (For those of you who have forgotten, that’s the She-Malfoy’s best friend.) “What brain?” I heard her mutter.

“My brain...” I said slowly and loud enough for her to hear, seething through my teeth, “It existent, large and functional, I’ll have you know.”

She snorted again. “Could have fooled me.”

Ouchies.

She didn’t stop there.

“Why else would you need tutoring if you’re not an idiot?”

I looked right back at her. Then I sighed, and snapped my own book close. I looked at Rose, trying to stop the tears from forming. “We’ll have to pick it up later.” I told her hastily, pushing myself to my feet and stalking away.

I spoiled my exit by tripping over the chair leg of the nearest table.

Indiana burst out into calls of derisive laughter and the tears in my eyes that had been threatening to form suddenly spilt in large buckets.

“She’s such a stupid clumsy cow. No wonder she can’t walk around straight. Her body weight takes up the entire isle.”

I hastily scrambled to gather my books again before pushing myself to my feet and walking away. I didn’t need to look back to know that Weasley and Potter where both laughing, and Rose was smirking one of her secretive smiles.

Hufflepuff klutz falls again.




“Katie.” I heard Emily’s persistent voice at the bathroom door. “You have to come out some time.”

“No I don’t.” I called back out to her. “I’m never coming out of this bathroom again.”

I heard Emily sigh. I heard the two other girls who occupy our dorm, Shirley Turner and Lauren Mercer, ask her what was wrong, and Emily briefly explained.

Tell the whole world why don’t you?

“What will you do for water?” Lauren asked through the door.

I thought about this for a moment, looking around the well equipped bathroom Hogwarts had provided for me. “I’ll drink from the tap, and then the shower. And if things get really desperate—”

“Don’t even think about finishing that sentence, Dalton.” Emily warned me stonily.

I frowned, patting the toilet on the lid. “I understand you.” I told the motionless marble.

“Does she mean you or the toilet?” I heard Shirley ask Em.

“Don’t ask...” I heard Em reply darkly.

“What will you do for Food?” Lauren asked this time.

“I’ll survive on toothpaste.” I told them stubbornly.

“Oh.” Shirley said quietly. “Well, at least her teeth will be clean?”

I heard the distinct sound of Emily hitting Shirley across the head.

“Hey guys, what’s going on?” Charmaine sounded interested as she too joined the party. This meant that Natalie (the final member of our dorm) must have arrived, and brought Char with her. Char was actually in the year below us.

“Katie’s threatening to stay in the Bathroom permanently.” Em explained.

“And live on toothpaste.” Shirley added helpfully.

I heard the intake of breath from both Char and Natalie. “Because of what happened in the library today?” Natalie said nervously. Then she sighed. “I was there. Stephens was a right cow.”

“I wouldn’t know,” Em said, “She hasn’t told me anything, save for, ‘I’m never coming out again.’”

“Let me talk to her.” Natalie said quietly. And then there was a creak n the door from the pressure.

“Katie?” Her voice called out.

“What?” I demanded, a bit more harshly than I had meant to.

“I know that it must have been horrible, but you’ve do have to come out. I was sitting near the Transfiguration section, and after you walked out you should have seen the way Potter and the Weasley’s stood up for you.”

What?

“What?” I croaked, quieter now.

“Yeah...” She continued, hearing my question. “They told Stephens she was a right minger, and a real cow for being so mean. And then Potter said that if she ever said anything like that ever again to you that he’d make sure points were taken from Slytherin, because he knows the Head Girl.”

The Head Girl?

That’s—

“And then Rose stood up and said that Slytherin had lost fifty points from their house for intentionally hurting another student. And then Fred Weasley said, ‘I think you should leave now,’ and she did. And she was fuming the whole way out.”

There was momentary silence.

Albus Potter defended me.

To the sexiest girl alive? Indiana Stephens?

Albus Potter.

Defended.

Me.

“Really?” I asked my voice breaking.

“Yeah.” Natalie told me in that fabulously reassuring voice.

“Can we come in now?”

I pushed myself to my feet and slowly opened the door.

Then I was bowled over by five sixteen year olds who had been set on making me feel better.




Hey. Sorry for that depressing bit at the end, but I wanted you guys to get a feel of the bad side of being quirky and clumsy.

Plus I felt the need to have a heroic Albus Potter in there somewhere.

Please Review. Makes my day.




Chapter 5: Who Needs Intelligence When You Look Like That?
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Who needs Intelligence when you look like THAT?





I sighed, sipping my orange juice as I sat at the table. Emily had once again, attended Quidditch practise with Eric in the hope of seeing Professor Wood, and Oz had been invited to sit with Carson and Charmaine, and so I was all alone.

So naturally, I jumped when a book was placed next to my bacon, and the Red Headed Head girl was suddenly sitting beside me.

“Um...” I said slowly, staring at Rose Weasley as she smiled at me.

“You looked lonely.” She told me brightly.

I stared at her. “So...” I slowly concluded. “You decided to remind me about some Charms homework I forgot about...?” I looked pointedly at the book.

“This is Transfiguration...” She said slowly.

What?

“What?” I said loudly. “I have Transfiguration Homework?” She stared at me. “See? This is why I’m failing!” I complained.

She rolled her eyes and nudged me slightly with my shoulder.

...

“You’re a silly dolt, Katie.” She told me with a giggle. “This is my reading book. I picked it up from the library for a bit of light reading.”

...

...

“Uh...” I said brilliantly.

She laughed loudly now, and nudged me again. “You’re so ridiculous.” She muttered once she had finished laughing at my original response to her extended hand of friendship.

I looked back at the “Light” reading. “You call that Light?” I demanded, frowning.

She sighed. “It’s fascinating, Katie. If you read a bit sometimes...”

I stared at her with horror. “Me?” I echoed. “Reading that?”

She sighed again. “It’s not that horrible.”

I nodded in agreement. “You’re right. It’s worse.” I concluded. “Those books don’t even star in my nightmares. They’re living monsters. They haunt me from underneath my bed.”

I was saved the humiliation of more embarrassing truth spilling from my lips by a loud Owl call, and suddenly the air was full of ‘flapping.’

Rose looked up to the ceiling with a smile. “Mail.” She said quietly, as if alerting us all to the presence of the screeching decibels of the owls.

As if we hadn’t noticed.

A single envelope landed in Rose’s hand neatly, and then a large tawny owl landed beside her. She rubbed the bird’s feathers fondly. “Good work, Minna.” She cooed to it affectionately.

My mail’s arrival was less perfect.

There was a clatter as the letter landed, balancing precariously on the edge of the jug to the orange juice. And then the plate of easy-over eggs that was infront of me was suddenly combined with my fluffy black owl.

I grabbed the letter before it could get ruined by the orange juice. “Morning, Scrubs,” I muttered to my owl.

Regular occupants of the Hufflepuff table continued their breakfast normally. They had been used to my mail arriving in this clumsy fashion since first year.

Rose on the other hand, wasn’t so used to it.

“Oh, Merlin, is he okay?” She asked anxiously, leaning forward to look at the Scrubs.

I stopped attempting to open my letter to look at Scrubs, still face down in the eggs. I leant forward and tapped him on the nearest wing. He leaped up, and shook himself slightly. Then he fluttered over to perch himself on the back of my chair.

Professor Macmillan walked past at this moment. “Morning Dalton.” He said smiling at me. “Once again, your bird has made an excellent entrance.”

I smiled up at him, “Thanks, Professor.” I said smiling at him brightly.

Rose then went into hysterics.

She began giggling like a mad thing, her hands shaking and her smile widening.

I stared at her cautiously. “Weasley? You alright? Weasley?”

She continued to laugh.

“Rose?”

Still laughing.

I bet I could say anything right now and she wouldn’t even notice.

“I think my father is secretly a transvestite.” I muttered quietly, trying to gain her attention.

She continued to laugh, but I don’t think she heard me.

“I think my father is secretly a transvestite.” I said again, louder this time.

Still she didn’t hear me.

“I THINK MY FATHER IS SECRETLY A TRANSVESTITE.”

I flinched as the hall fell silent.

And then Rose snorted and was laughing again, encouraging the whole school to laugh.

Darn.

--

“Have they stopped looking yet?” I hissed.

Rose stared at me. “Katie.” She muttered. “You’re being ridiculous.”

I shook my head. “You’re not used to this, Weasley,” I muttered. “You’re always in the limelight, but for the good reasons.”

She snorted. “Don’t be so sure.”

I rolled my eyes. “Oh yeah? When was the last time you declared your Father wears drag?”

“Does he?”

“Nah. Sometimes though, he wears these really ugly pink cardigans, and I can’t help but wonder.”

Rose giggled slightly, and then stopped. She sighed, and then scanned the perimeter.

“No one’s looking, Katie. You can come out.”

I slowly pushed myself out from beneath the table, where I had vanished too ten minutes previously, amongst the hysterical laughter of nearly everybody in the school.

I looked at my plate, leaning my head forward so my hair hid my face.

I suddenly became aware of clapping. My head jolted up and I saw Scorpius Malfoy, Albus Potter and Fred Weasley grinning wildly at me.

They all smiled and then seated themselves opposite Rose and I. “Bloody. Brilliant.” Weasley said to me, giving me the thumbs up. “Hilarious. Almost wet myself—OW!”

Rose frowned at him, pulling her foot away from where it had collided with his shin. “Don’t be rude.”

Fred rolled his eyes. “It was a compliment, you crazy woman...”

Rose seemingly pretend to ignore him. Potter and Malfoys both rolled their eyes. “Don’t worry.” Potter assured me. “No one thinks the less of you.”

I risked a glance around the room. Everybody seemed to have resumed their natural eating course, save for Indiana and Sabriel, who were both miming me tripping in the Library last weekend.

I frowned and glowered in their general direction.

All of the four Gryffindors turned to see who I was looking at, and when they saw, they all rolled their eyes simultaneously.

“Don’t mind them.” Weasley assured me. “They’re cows.” He looked at Malfoy. “No offence dude, but I lead the rebellion to kill them both.”

Malfoy shrugged and, with a snort, said, “Get in line.”

Potter continued to look at me. “Seriously, though.” She assured me. “They’re just people who thrive on playing each other’s weaknesses.”

I raised and eyebrow. “Having a potential Drag queen as a father doesn’t classify as a weakness in my books.”

“Classifies as bloody fantastic.” Weasley gushed.

The Ravenclaw Quidditch team took this time to appear through the doors. Professor Wood was talking to Eric, animatedly. I couldn’t se Emily though.

Eric took one look at me, surrounded by Weasleys, Potters and Malfoys and his face fell. He frowned at me slightly, before turning his back and walking towards the Ravenclaw table.

... Sigh...

Professor Wood, However, continued his path past our table. He paused when he saw Potter and the Crew sitting here. “At the wrong table, are we boys? Rose?”

They all shook their heads. “Technically,” Rose hastened to explain. “We’re displaying a show of inter-house unity.”

Wood smirked and shook his head. “No matter. I don’t mind. I think it’s good you’re making friends outside of the family. Don’t want even more inbred children.”

He looked pointedly at Malfoy, but Malfoy didn’t defend himself like I expected.

Instead he smirked and said: “It’s better than being a weird Quidditch obsessed maniac.”

There was a beat of silence and then:

“You are a weird Quidditch obsessed maniac, Scor.” Potter corrected him.

Malfoy turned a glare at him that clearly accused him of being a traitor. “Yeah, but I have better hair.” He stuck a hand into Potter’s hair and ruffled it, before turning his smirk to Wood. “Than the both of you.”

Potter pushed his hand away. “Scorpius my dear friend, that is impossible.” Then he ran his hand through his own hair, and struck a model pose.

Swoon...

Wood chuckled at them. “Have a good day, boys. Rose. Rose’s friend.”

Oh my God. I’m known as Rose Weasley’s friend?

I grinned at him like a maniac.

I’m Rose Weasley’s friend!

THE Rose Weasley

He turned to continue walking, when Fred Weasley suddenly said, “Oh! And congratulations Professor.”

What?

He smiled at Fred. “Thanks you Fred. We’re really happy and I know that she’s thrilled. But remember,” he said in a whisper. “It’s a secret.”

What?

He smiled one more time before turning and walking away.

What?

They all turned back to the table and I stared at them accusingly. “That is so unfair.” I whined.

Potter sighed. “Considering it was Weasleby here that spilled the beans, he can tell you.”

Fred shook his head. “And risk the wrath of Dominique Weasley? No thankyou...”

There was a momentary silence. Then...” What the Frilly Heck is going on?” I demanded angrily.

Hey— I wasn’t moody.

I was being loyal. Any juicy gossip on Professor Wood was an excellent best friend good books ticket.

They all sighed. Then Potter leaned forward. “You have to keep it quiet, alright?” I nodded in affirmation.

This gossip was definitely of the juicy variety.

“Professor Wood came to our house over the Summer, for Christmas.” –WHY!?— “He’s been dating our cousin, Dominique Weasley for yonks.”

Oh no.

“Well, finally, this Summer...”

NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

“No...” I breathed.

It must have sounded excited because Potter nodded his head with a grin. “Yeah... He proposed.”




“So...” Emily said, seating herself in the seat next to mine. History of Magic was about to start, but Binns wasn’t here yet. “Saw you at Breakfast this morning, talking to Potter and Co.”

Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap.

“Find out any juicy gossip?”

No. Say No. Say No. Say No.

I didn’t answer her. She groaned. “Don’t leave me hanging, Katie.”

What about the Code of Women? We had a duty to our friends.

“Anything about our mutual friend Professor Wood...?”

No. Say No. Yes? No. No? Yes.

“Yo.” I cringed at my annoyingly subtle and calm answer. “I mean, Nes!”

She raised a quizzical eyebrow. “You been holding out on me, Katie?”

“No?”

“Spill.” She urged. “Come on!!!”

I sighed.

Time to play it coy Katie.

“It’s not Gossip, per say.” I improvised. “Just... good news.”

Come on, Broad way actress. You can do it.

She looked interested.

It’s working.

“I...”

“Yeah...?”

“I...”

“Yes?”

“I...” Just found out that the love of your life is engaged to a Weasley?

“Speak, Katie.” She ordered.

“I... I’m doing a tap-dancing performance in the Entrance Hall tonight, as part of a bet.”

Bollocks.




I used to be able to tap dance. Pretty well, in fact. I student taught it when I was seven.

Mind you, it was a muggle class and also a class for four year olds, but the basics are still the same.

So I had decided to work on a routine, that would work on not completely humiliating me.

This is also what had sent me careening into my tutoring session with Rose ten minutes late, but frantic.

“I. Need. Help.” I panted, leaning on the desk.

Rose stood instantly, looking ready to help me dislodge whatever piece of food had lodged itself in my throat causing my panting.

I brushed her away and proceeded to tell her the whole story—including the part with my best friend’s obsessive crush on her cousin’s fiancé.

Rose didn’t seem too shocked.

“Right.” She said slowly and calmly. “You have somehow, managed to shanghai yourself into Tap-Dancing in the middle of the Entrance Hall tonight. And you haven’t tap danced in years.”

I nodded. “We know this!” I said frantically. “We’re trying to figure out how to fix it!”

Rose regarded me with a look my mother usually gave me. “You have to be reasonable. Panicking will get us no where.”

My God, I would hate to be this girl’s daughter.

Off topic.

Focus Katie.

I nodded, sitting down in the seat opposite her. She was silent for an annoyingly long moment, and then:

“I know what we can do.”

--

“You are joking. ”

Rose Weasley has gone officially insane.

She shrugged, apologetically and shrugged. “It’ll be good. He can dance.”

I stared at my potential performance partner.

This was awkward.

This was embarrassing.

This was too frilly hecking good to be true.

Albus Potter smirked back at me. “My Mum had a themed ball a couple of years ago. It required that I learn Tap-Dancing.”

No Way.

I repeat: This was too frilly hecking good to be true.

“Don’t want to dance with me, Dalton?” Potter asked smirking.

I do want to dance with you! I do! I do!

My mind was chanting like that Peter Pan Movie.

THIS is what this guy does to me! Makes me quote BOOKS!!!— Even though technically, it’s the movie.

I sighed. “I do. It’s just...” I don’t want to fall on my ass and embarrass me infront of the guy of my dreams? “I still can’t remember how to dance.”

Rose smiled. “I can help you there.” She walked over to her back pack and pulled out another Bible sized textbook. “I brought this for your charms tutoring...” She explained, “And I was skimming through it yesterday and I saw this.”

The slammed the book down on the table of the abandoned classroom we were in, and pointed to the top left of the right page.

“Risus Memoriam?” I muttered sceptically. “Sounds dodgy.”

Potter made a tutting noise. “Never doubt Rose.” He warned me seriously. “Ever.”

I looked at Rose, alarmed for a moment, but she just smirked. “It’ll re-awaken your memories of the classes you used to take. Since I don’t have a spell specifically for tap-dancing, it’s the best you’ll get.”

I stared apprehensively at the pages. Then I swallowed. “All right.”

Maybe this would help me? I’d become a fabulous tap dancer and dance the evening away with Albus potter.

Granted, Tap-Dancing wasn’t the most sexual of dances, or the most intimate. Or even serious. Or slow.

Merlin, who am I kidding?

“You can’t breathe a word of this being a last minute thing to Em, or anyone.” I told them both sternly.

Rose Nodded.

“And I’m going to say that I bet Potter that I could tap dance better than him. That’s the bet I was talking about...”

Potter nodded, then looked like he had something to say, but I interrupted him.

“—And I also don’t have twenty galleons to spare, considering I’m broke, so you’re going to have to let me win...”

Rose nodded, but Potter looked ready to protest. Rose shot him a look and he nodded reluctantly.

“Typical.” He muttered, “I save your ass—and what a very nice ass it is—and then you take twenty galleons off me.”

In a nutshell. HE LIKES MY ASS!!

It’s a tad chauvinistic, but I’ll take it!

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Rose told him. “She can give it back to you when everyone’s not looking.”

WHAT!!! Aw... come on.

Potter smirked at me.

I pouted. Rose rolled her eyes. “While you two act like children, I’m going to go see what time it is. We need time for you to practise, even if the spell works.”

IT MIGHT NOT WORK?!

“Let’s see what you can do without the spell?” Potter suggested.

I swallowed, and stepped over to the cleared part of the Library. Step, Toe, Click, Heel. Repeat. I finished my shifty routine and Potter looked vaguely pleased.

“Not so bad, Dalton.”

He then jumped up, did a little spin in the air and landed with an intricate tapping move.

“Not so bad, yourself, Potter.” I complimented him, not sure if I was talking about his tap dancing or the way I could see his abs through his shirt.

Probably the latter.

“Albus.” He said bluntly.

I stared at him.

He was a fitty. So what if his packet of crayons lacked a couple of colours? His tree didn’t need to go to the top branches for me to be satisfied, so I played along.

“What about you?” I asked.

He chuckled. “No, you Ninnie.” He told me.

I’M the NINNIE!?

“Call me Albus. My teachers call me Potter. And Scorpius.” He chuckled, a very sexy and manly chuckle, “Neither of which you want to resemble.”

I smirked. And then Rose Weasley returned and messed up our moment.

I KNOW! I WAS TOTALLY HAVING A MOMENT WITH ALBUS POTTER!!!!

“Whats the time?” I asked quietly.

Rose swiftly checked her wrist watch. “Five Forty-One.” She said quietly.

“Dinners at Seven...” I told myself. “Which means we have about half an hour to practise. Emily’s done a pretty good job at spreading the word already. Can you do the spell?” I turned to Rose, apprehensively.

“Sure.”

She walked over to the book, whilst pulling her wand out of her pocket. The lifted the book in one hand and looked down at the book.

“Right...” she said slowly. “I need you to sit down, and relax, and focus on all you can remember about tap dancing.”

I sat down and tried to relax my body.

I’M THE TEST DUMMY!

Tap dancing. Tap dancing. Tap dancing.

“Ready?” Rose asked.

Tap Dancing. Tap Dancing. Tap Dancing.

“Risus Memoriam!”




DUH DUH DUUUUHHHHNNNNN!!!

What will happen next?

Will the spell go alright?

Will Katie be alright?

Will Albus Potter fall head over heels in love with her?

Will I shut up?

WARNING: None of those questions will be answered in reviews, but if you do review, I’ll update sooner, and so, in the long shot... they kind of will be.

Save for the last one. Cus No. That’ll never happen

Gracey!




Chapter 6: I Could Live Without the Mocking
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I Could Live Without the Mocking



There was a momentary silence. I looked around the room for a second, frowning slightly.

Pot—Albus snorted. “That was an anti-climax.” He said simply.

I frowned, looking down at myself. “Um...” I said slowly. “How do we know if it worked?”

Rose shrugged. “I guess we put on the music and see how it goes. If you know what you’re doing, then I guess you’re okay.”

I stared at her. “We have max thirty minutes to get this routine perfected, and we’re going to go about it in a trail and error survey?” I questioned.

Rose frowned. “Oi.” She said stonily. “I’m saving you’re butt, Katie. You do things my way.”

Ooh. I forgot what they say about those Red Head tempers. I swung my hand into a complying salute, not wanting to bear the brunt of all that magic brains. Whoever wants to duel Rose Weasley is definitely not sane.

She pointed at the space that Po—Albus and I had cleared.

I mentally swooned in the bask of that smirk. Naturally, it took my mind off other things and I nodded. Then I flinched realising what I was doing.

Suddenly, my mind was buzzing. I staggered from the force of all the old memories flying back into my head. I could recall every lesson I had ever taken, the students who danced with me. I could remember the holey pink cardigan that I had insisted on wearing every lesson, and my blue wrap skirt. I could even remember the blemishes on my instructor’s old and wrinkled face. I had named her large mole, Mr Hair, when I had attended the school.

My feet seemed to act of their own accord, my arms coming out, horizontal to the floor and I spun around for an interesting start. I tapped around the floor for a couple of minutes.

When I finally stopped, I looked up at Rose. “You did it.” I said energetically.

She was grinning fondly at my feet. “Looks like.” She said smiling. “Hopefully you learnt enough to pull of an impressive performance later.”

I nodded. Then I looked down at my sneakers. They wouldn’t do.

I hadn’t own tap dancing shoes since I was five. Where would I get good shoes?

As if Rose was reading my mind, she waved her wand at my feet. My heels rose, the heel at the back of the shoe extending. Slowly, the white sneaker transformed into a shiny black tap dancing shoe, and I smiled fondly down at them, tapping them experimentally.

I looked over at Albus, raising an eyebrow. “You have shoes?” I questioned with a slight frown.

He grinned at me, and walked over to his back pack, withdrawing some tap dancing shoes. “Like I said,” He explained. “It was required that I learn, and buy shoes.”

I grinned at him, looking at the female looking shoes.

“They’re pansy shoes.” I told him.

Albus looked affronted. “I beg your pardon?” He said indignantly.

I pointed down at his shoes. “Those shoes?” I explained. “They’re for pansies.”

Albus frowned. “You’re wearing them.”

I rolled my eyes. Honestly

“Yes.” I agreed, obviously. “But I’m a girl. They’re alright on girls, but on boys they make you look—” I trailed off, trying to find a word.

“Devilish?” He suggested. “Sexy? God Sent?”

Yes.

“No!” I shouted, more so at myself than him. “Pansy-ish.”

Potter frowned at me. Rose cleared her throat, watching our banter with amusement. “No time to waste, guys.” She explained.

Albus and I automatically faced each other, with about three of his steps in between us. “You can start.” I told him bravely.

“Ladies first,” he replied with a to-die-for smirk.

I stepped forward, tapping my right heel into the floor. I tapped my toes down twice before hitting my heel down again. I then stepped forward on the same foot and did the same rhythm with my left foot. I then spun around, and pointed at Albus, cuing him.

I caught Rose’s eye. She was grinning widely.

Albus’s dance was much more intricate than mine. His heels tapped and his toes tapped, and he spun around a couple of times, making his part look much more impressive. I swatted his arm.

“What happened to letting me win?” I demanded frowning.

Albus smirked at me, and shrugged, pointing at me to cue me in.

Before I could do anything, however, Madame Reed came storming around the corner, demanding to know where the disgusting racket was coming.

Needless to say, we scarpered.

“This is good.” Rose told us as we three walked briskly out of the library, leaving a tutting Madame Reed behind. “It gives us a place to find in the Entrance Hall, before it gets too crowded.”

I swallowed nervously. Now that I knew I could do it, it was becoming more of a matter of whether or not I wanted to do it.

Everyone in the entire school would be watching me tap dance. Including Sabriel Malfoy, Indiana Stephens and their Plasticisers. Also, Eric would see me actually being friends with the Potter-slash-Weasley clan, and not be very impressed. And al the teachers would be there, to scold me for being stupid when I could have been studying.

And then there was the rest of the school that I had to worry about.

“Are you sure I have to do this?” I asked them both anxiously.

Rose looked at me sympathetically, but nodded all the same. “Unless you want to explain to Emily why you lied and made the whole thing up. And then you’d have to tell her about the engagement—”

“No.” I interrupted her there. “You’re right. The Code of Womanhood is more important than my dignity.”

Albus snorted.

Soon we had found a classroom that Rose and Albus had found. Albus had pulled out this quirky piece of parchment, and then decided that this room was the closest to the Entrance Hall. How the Paper helped him I will never know.

But I could hear the loud voices of the crowd assembled to watch. I stuck my head out a few times and frowned. There was a sea of black robes and multicoloured striped ties. In the back was Professor Creevey talking animatedly to Professor Macmillan.

They saw me with my head out the door, and Creevey smirked.

I struggled to hold in the spew that was threatening to spill. I slammed the door shut, and heard a few shouts of surprise, but I had already turned back to Albus and Rose.

“Rose.” Albus said loudly. “I think she’s hyperventilating.”

Rose looked up from the book that she was reading. Her eyes watched me as I walked across the classroom, breathing heavily, and then they rolled. ‘Calm down, Katie.” She told me. “Everything will be fine.”

I frowned. “Easy for you to say.” I muttered, “You don’t have fifteen and a half years of being a klutz on your record.”

Rose sighed, put her book down and walked over to me. And then she pulled me into a hug.

My eyes must have widened to their limits. Rose Weasley was HUGGING ME?

What is wrong with the world? It must have had a glitch that now makes me happy or something.

After getting over my initial shock, I returned her comforting hug, trying to not look as though I was completely shocked. Albus seemed to see right through me, and smirked at me. I ignored him, looking away and continued to hold Rose close to me.

When we finally pulled away, I was still just as shocked at her actions.

So shocked, in fact, that when she spun me around and smirked at Potter, I didn’t suspect a thing.

So shocked that I found myself being pushed through the classroom door and was suddenly in front of the entire student Body.

Oh. My. God.




I burst back through the doors, a hysterical grin on my face. I turned around and flung myself into Albus’s arms. “We did it!” I shouted.

I froze.

I flung myself where?

I pushed myself away from Potter quickly, blushing furiously. He laughed and grabbed my arms, pulling me in for a hug.

Oh.

Sweet.

Mother of Merlin.

I am hugging Albus Potter.

I grinned, trying to subtly inhale every single scent that surrounded Albus Potter. I could smell pumpkin juice in his breath, and his shirt smelt of faint mint.

Oh my god.

It was all I could do to not start hyperventilating.

I felt Rose’s dainty hands pushing me away from Albus and then I was engulfed in her hug. “You did so well.” She told me excitedly.

I hugged her back. She smelt like Lilies and new parchment.

Hmm.

Then a third pair of unfamiliar hands pushed me away and Scorpius Malfoy crushed me to his chest. “You’re a champion.” He told me. “A real champion.”

I pushed myself away from him, enough to ask him what he was on about.

“Getting up on stage with that loser,” He motioned to Potter, “took guts. You’re my hero.”

I frowned, and then giggled as Albus’s shoe collided with Scorpius’s head.

“Oh,” Scorpius added. “And I’m never going to call you Katie, or Dalton again.” He told me offhandedly

I gulped.

Was I in for one of Scorpius’s infamous nicknames?

I GET A NICKNAME!!

Oh god.

I get a nickname.

“Twinkle Toes.” He said finally. “Because that dance will remain in my mind forever.”

I was silent for a second.

Albus let out a bark of laughter.

I continued to stare at Scorpius Malfoy in horror.

Rose giggled quietly.

*blink*

Fred Weasley sniggered.

Twinkle Toes.

Twinkle Toes.

TWINKLE TOES!!!

“What?” I asked feebly.

Scorpius just smiled cheese-ily at me.

I stared back in horror.

“Why doesn’t Albus get a stupid nickname?” I demanded.

Scorpius snorted. “Albus’s name is stupid enough without my help.”

Hmm. Point taken.

Albus’s second shoe collided with the left side of Scorpius’s face. Scorpius caught it as if fell towards the ground and frowned, looking at the man’s tapping shoe.

“Dude.” He muttered. “You’re wearing pansy shoes.”




I clumsily lifted my goblet to cheers Rose on a show well done. I was sitting at her side, at the Gryffindor table, as Scorpius recounted a story about his father’s youth.

“And then, Moody sends this spell at Dad, and Dad’s a ferret.”

There was another round of uproarious laughter.

Hey— it was funny.

It was annoying though, how at ease everybody was to these abnormally beautiful people being here. They were laughing along with them as though it was natural.

Maybe their abnormal beauty matched my abnormal clumsiness at the Hufflepuff table. They were all amazingly used to that.

“And…” Albus was just as lost as Scorpius was, “Then Malfoy Senior climbs into Goyle’s pants.”

I shook my head. “No…” I laughed. “The caretaker?”

I whispered this in a horror filled voce, which the boys thought was hilarious.

I, on the other hand, was freaking out at the thought of any one going near Goyle’s pants.

So disturbing.

“Yes!” Malfoy shouted.

Albus shook his head. “My Dad said it would have been the funniest thing he had ever seen; only he was freaking out about the tournament.”

I shook my head. “Not the Goyle I know,” I informed them grinning. “His waistline is forever,”

There was another round of laughter.

I don’t think we were all quite well.

Even Rose was partaking in the conversation as much as we were. Her glass and Mine rested in the middle of the air, suspended in a forgotten cheers. I noticed this and jerked my hand away suddenly. Rose’s hand slipped, but the spill of her pumpkin juice landed in the table and spilled onto my lap.

“Bollocks.” I muttered.

Rose’s shocked intake of breath made Weasley, who was sitting next to me, turn to see what was going on.

“Damn,” he muttered, taking in my drenched shirt. “That’s a spot of bad luck.”

My cheeks bright red I managed to reply, “Tends to happen to me a lot.”

Fred sighed, and grabbed a handful of napkins. “Here you go.” He muttered, handing them to me. I took them with a grateful smile.

“Thanks.” I muttered, trying to force the blood from my face.

“What do you mean?” Fred asked. “This happens to you a lot?”

I shrugged, dabbing at my shirt. Thank Merlin I hadn’t decided to wear my new white shirt. It would have been demolished in Pumpkin Juicy goodness.

“You know?” I explained. “I tend to be embarrassed about fifteen times hourly.”

He snorted.

I nodded seriously. “We counted.”

He smirked. “Right. And what sort of embarrassment does this entail?”

I shrugged. “I fall over things. Say things that I mean to stay in my head. Day dream myself into ignoring teachers which has dire consequences. And my parent’s come with their own ‘I must embarrass my daughter’ t-shirts.”

Fred patted me comfortingly on the shoulder. His eyes drifted over in the direction of all the other house tables.

“Does your friend get embarrassed too?” He asked quietly.

I frowned, my eyes shooting up. “Emily?” I asked. I squared my gaze on her, and she was glaring in our direction somewhat fiercely. Her face was red too.

“Jeesh.” I muttered, seeing her look. “I’m in trouble.”

Fred frowned. “Why?”

“She’s not embarrassed,” I explained. “She’s pissed.”

“Why?”

I shrugged. Whatever she was pissed at, it looked as though it was one of the people in my direction. It wasn’t me. She would have seen me looking.

But boy, she was upset about something.

And I wouldn’t want to be that something.

Fred sighed and look away from her. “I wouldn’t want to be whatever she’s angry at.” He told me.

I laughed. “You read my mind.”




I woke up, rubbing my eyes. For a millisecond I was satisfied with my life, when the events of last night came thundering back to me.

I rolled over and attempted to bury my head in my pillow.

But Emily was awake and it seemed like no such courtesy would be allowed.

“Up.” She ordered.

Ooh. That’s bad.

She has her, “I’m angry at Katie,” voice on.

I sat up straight and gave her my most innocent smile.

“Don’t smile at me.” She ordered.

I wiped my face clean of any snivelling and gulped. She was angry.

“Why Katie?” She demanded. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Oh heaven forbid.

She had found out about Professor Wood and Dominique Weasley.

“This thing is...” I stammered to explain. “I only just found out and I thought you’d be upset.”

She interrupted me. “I don’t want to hear it,” She told me sternly. “I just want to know why you didn’t tell me.”

“I thought you’d be… jealous…” I stammered trying to push possible ideas for my execution.

“Jealous?” She echoed. She laughed.

She laughed?

She’s gone hysterical.

God, I am so dead.

“I’m your best friend. I expect news like this— it was important to me, and it’s up to me to choose my reaction.”

So very, very dead.

“I would have told you something like that, so next time I expect the same courtesy.”

What?

“Next time?” I frowned up at her from my bed. “Next time?”

She grinned. “Of course...” She gushed. “Next time something like this happens to you, you will tell me all about it.”

Me?

Nothing had happened to me?

“What are you talking about?” I asked with a frown.

I was genuinely confused now.

Even though, that’s not a new occurrence.

She leaned over and flicked me on the head. “Duh, you dunderhead. You and Albus potter are so chummy these days.”

OH!

That’s what she was talking about.

I scanned the conversation to find any hint of the engagement.

No.

All Clear

I was safe.

Then I heard what she said. “Hey.” I protested. “We’re not chummy.”

Lauren, who had until that point buried herself in her duvet, threw back her blackest and scoffed. “Oh, come on.” She told me. “You and Potter danced together last night, in front of the whole school.”

I shrugged. “Got a solid twenty quid from the deal.” I smirked, grabbing my wallet from my bed side table and waving it around the air.

Lauren shook her head, “Right.” She muttered sarcastically. “You had to be bribed to get up and make every girl in Hogwarts jealous, including McGonagall.”

Natalie groaned from under her bed covers. “Lauren.” She moaned. “That’s disgusting. She was an old lady when his Dad went to school.

I shuddered.

Shirley was the next to withdraw herself from her blankets. “So?” she asked Natalie. “Albus Potter is a god. There is no woman who can ever be impervious to his charms, that isn’t related to him.”

“Potter and I,” I interrupted, cutting this weird conversation to an end. “Are barely even acquaintances. We are not chummy, as much as I may wish we were.”

Natalie rolled her eyes. “You’re deceiving yourself Katie.” She told me. “You’re only letting yourself down.”

Shirley, Lauren and Emily all snorted. “I dunno,” Emily muttered. “I’m feeling pretty let down.”

“Face facts Katie.” Shirley told me. “He saved you from Sabriel Malfoy. Then he defended you to Indiana Stephens. Then he danced with you in front of the whole school. And then he spent the rest of the night laughing and hanging with you and his friends. You’re really close to Rose. And Scorpius and Fred seem to like you too. You’ve been accepted into the world of cool.”

I shook my head.

“They only talk to me because Rose makes them. I’m the dumb tutor-ee, remember?”

I could hear their eyes rolling.

“Anyway,” I continue. “It’s before Ten o’clock, meaning that talk to Katie time is off. Make an appointment at a normal hour of the day.”

I then face planted into my pillow, and to my own shock, no one disturbed me.




Alright. Tap dancing sequence went off without a bang, considering I didn’t write it. I figured that it would have gone something along the lines of: ‘Tap-Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap,’ which wasn’t that fun to write. More Roommates appearances and some COOL GANG/Katie bonding.

Cools.









Chapter 7: A Dork in All Other Respects
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A Dork In Any Other Respects.




“Why are these things considered enjoyable?” I demanded over the howling wind.

Sitting in a stand, three hundred feet in the air, in the middle of a freezing cold wind, and a knee wobbling height below us, was not my ideal pastime.

Usually, I enjoyed watching the fit boys fly around on their brooms, showing off their manliness. The problem with this specific match was that the fog was so bad, that you couldn’t see the players.

Only blurry outlines.

“There’s Eric!” Penny shouted. She had joined us, abandoning her housemates to watch her boyfriend— they’re official now— with his friends.

“I thought that was him.” I shouted out, pointing at a player on the opposite side of the field. He had a massive shoe, and Eric’s feet were big.

It must have been him.

“What?” Oscar asked. “That’s Bigfoot, not Eric.”

I snorted. “What’s the difference?”

Penny threw me a dirty look, and I sobered up instantly. She saw my reproachful look and look satisfied. “That’s him over there.” She pointed at a new player all together.

“How can you tell?” Emily demanded.

Penny shrugged. “I just can.”

I’m glad I’m surrounded by such genius’s.

I eventually gave up trying to decipher who was who, and began to focus on the height.

So high.

So very high.

I could easily imagine my brains soiled into the grass if I fell.

Oh Merlin.

“Guess who?”

I screamed at the top of my lungs and spun around grabbing onto the nearest solid thing I could.

It was Oscar.

“Whoa.” He said when I grabbed him. “I know I’m attractive, but remember I’m interested in someone else?”

I scoffed, and unlatched my arms. “You wish.” I muttered. “I was scared,”

“Of what?” Oscar asked amusedly.

I frowned. Someone had shouted:

I spun around to see Albus, Rose, and Scorpius smirking at me. I must have flushed a very unattractive pink.

“What were you frightened of?” Albus asked me.

I frowned at him. “Nothing. I’m fearless.”

Scorpius smirked. “Right. That would explain the: AHHHH! Save me, save me!” He adopted a crude high pitched voice, and then jumped into Rose’s arms.

I stared at him. “Was that supposed to be me? ” I demanded.

Scorpius shrugged, and then Rose pushed him away from her. I could see a faint tinge of pink on her cheeks though.

Hmm.

“So…” Albus asked again. “What were you scared of?”

I shook my head. “Nothing.” I repeated firmly. “I have a slight aversion to heights, is all.”

Scorpius snorted. “So now you’re Twinkle-Toes-that-are-Slightly-Averted-to-Height.”

I punched him lightly in the arm. I was becoming more and more at ease with these gods.

Whoo!

“It’s not my toes that are averted to height.” I told him. “It’s my whole body.”

Scorpius just snorted again.

It was Ravenclaw versus Hufflepuff, which meant that I was torn between going for my own house or Eric.

I still hadn’t decided.

“Whose side are you on?” Albus asked.

Bollocks.

I shrugged, trying to look like I didn’t care who won. I was cool enough to let the other house team win, and still be awesome.

My face pulled an ugly smug-cross-grimace look.

Scorpius threw his head back and laughed, while I dropped the look immediately, looking for somewhere to hide my face.

Albus laughed and shook his head. “Ignore the blonde junior ferret.” He told me. “He’s jealous of how cool you are.”

Scorpius laughed harder.

Gee, that’s comforting.

I frowned and turned my back on Scorpius, focusing on Rose and Albus. I smiled at them, attempting to ignore the now muffled snorts coming from The Malfoy’s direction.

Rose sighed, smiling comfortingly at me. “What were you doing before we showed up.”

I frowned, and thought for a minute.

Emily, who seemed annoyed at my obvious mind of a goldfish, butt in before could even figure out the answer.

“We were trying to figure out which one Eric is.” She informed them. She rolled her eyes in my direction and I shrugged.

Albus frowned and looked into the snow. “That’s him there…” He said, pointing at a blurry outline.

Everyone else analysed the new figure through the fog, but my mind caught onto something before everyone else.

Yeah, yeah… Alert the media.

“You know who Eric is?” I asked.

Penny threw me another annoyed look, but I was only interested in the suddenly sober Malfoy and The guilty looking Rose and Albus.

“Erm…” Albus managed to cough out, the back of his neck turning red as he avoided my gaze. “…seen him around you?”

That sounded a whole heap lot more like a question.

I frowned, and opened my mouth to ask about their weird reaction to one of my best friends, but I was interrupted.

“AND RAVENCLAW SCORES FIRST! 10-0 TO RAVENCLAW!

I frowned in the direction of whatever kid was over the loud speaker today. Someone loud and obnoxious and—

Holy Poo.

Is that Todd Williams?

I looked instantly to Emily, who was staring in horror at the megaphone box. She made an interesting gurgling moan of pain.

I stared at her. “Todd Williams?” I demanded turning my head to look back to see if I could make out his face.

“Todd Williams is back!?”




It was our fourth Year when Emily met Todd. We were the quiet Hufflepuff girls and he was the hot Slytherin with the dreamy brown eyes and jet black hair. And he paid attention to Emily.

They dated for the entirety of our fourth year, and half of our fifth, until it happened.

In fourth year, if you had a boyfriend you were cool. In Fifth year, if you had slept with your boyfriend, you were cooler.

So Emily did.

We got the first message the next day. A filmed message— Merlin knows what he used to film it— of their dirty act. He told us that he had thousands of copies ready for distribution.

The next second, every one in the entire school had a single owl flying towards them.

Emily had seen them all flying in and screamed loud enough to silence the whole hall. Professor McGonagall, obviously concerned with Em’s nearing emotional turmoil, asked what was going on.

When she figured it out—an anonymous tip, courtesy of moi – she confiscated every single letter and then took both Emily and Todd to her office.

I saw Emily that lunch time later, and I didn’t see Todd again. He had been suspended for the rest of the year.

It never occurred to me to think that he would be coming back. To think that Emily had probably been dreading this moment since the first day she didn’t have to deal with Todd last year, to now.

And I had been too worried with my embarrassment and my failing grades to even think about it.

And Emily was now sitting on her bed, hyperventilating.

“It’s not that bad, Em…” I told her. “He’s a dick. The entire school knows that now.”

Emily shook her head frantically. “He’s still got it. I know he’s still got a copy.”

I’m assuming she means the tapes.

“He wouldn’t do that. Remember what McGonagall said to him last time? That he was expelled if she ever caught whiff of anything like it again.”

Only she said it in a wiser and more McGonagall-ish way.

Emily rolled over and buried her face in her pillow. Not good.

I leaned forward, playing with her hair. “Em, think about all the good things in your life. You’ve got all your friends… you’re in the best Quidditch playing house aside from Gryffindor and Slytherin… and you have me…”

Emily made a sobbing noise into her pillow.

“Plus…” I said optimistically as I patted her on the shoulder. “You’re friends with the most popular boys in the school, right now.” I told her.

“What are you talking about?” She demanded.

I frowned. “Well…” I explained. “As if Todd Williams is going to do anything when Malfoy, and Weasley and Albus are looking out for you?”

Emily looked up at me like I had grown a second head. “What?”

What part of this didn’t she understand?

“They’re our friends,” I told her slowly. “And they’re looking out for us.”

Emily stared at me. It was clear the lack of air had affected her brain.

Comforting. I will be comforting.

“Katie.” She told me in a cold stone voice. “They’re your friends.”

What?

She must have read my expression, because she continued.

“Malfoy, and Weasley and Albus don’t care about me. You’re the one that they hang out with. Not me. I’m the sideline girl.”

What was she talking about?

“You’re the one who Potter did tap dancing with in front of the whole school. You’re the one who Rose Weasley talks about all the time in Study Hall. You’re the one who has a Malfoy Nickname.”

I stared at her. “That doesn’t mean they’re not your friends.” I protested. “They like you.”

Emily rolled her eyes. “Katie.” She said quietly. “I don’t mean that they don’t like me. And I don’t mean that I don’t like them. I’m sure they’re good enough people.”

Good enough?

What?

“But Todd is a guy with a whole heap of influence in this school—I mean, seventh year Slytherin?” She verified for me at my confused look. “And Scorpius Malfoy? His whole family is just like that. He’s not going to have too much trouble listening to his side.”

I stared at her.

Had she met Scorpius Malfoy?

I asked her this and she gave me an irritated dry look.

But honestly, how could she think that? It was ridiculous. It was hysterically stupid!

It was really annoying.

Like she believed every single she heard about my new friends.

“Are you saying you believe everything that people say about him?” I asked incredulously, “About them?”

Em rolled her eyes. “How can you not?” She demanded angrily. “They’re in the news tabloids every second week! Rose Weasley’s too insufferably perfect to associate with us. Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy are too arrogant to care about anyone. Fred Weasley would betray anyone just because he thinks it’s funny. And that’s not even including what they did to Eric.”

Okay.

I am so over this.

“Why does everyone keep throwing that in my face?” I demanded angrily. “What did they do to Eric?”

Emily scowled at me, a look of intense anger directed at me. “If you can not know, and even consider your new friends as good people, I don’t think you deserve that friendship.”



“Wh… What?” I stammered quietly.

No.

No. no. no. no. no. no. no.

Em shook her head. “Our friendship. You don’t deserve our friendship.”

I was silent for a second, waiting for her to burst out laughing or punch me and telling me she’s joking.

It never came.

I stood silently from the side of her bed, and reached for the hangings of her bed curtains.

“Right now…” I said coldly, “I don’t even want it.”




I was out of that castle before anyone could even ask me where I was going. The tears that had leaked in the common room now fell as though they felt they needed to fill the Nile.

I didn’t care about the rain, or the intense cold that I had barely stood earlier. I didn’t care about the wind or how horrible it was out here.

It couldn’t be any worse than it was inside the castle.

My fight with Emily was only an hour ago. Already, Eric, Penny and she had begun the silent treatment. Oz wasn’t not talking to me, but had hadn’t talked to me either.

He just sat by Charmaine, and avoided my gaze.

And what made it worse was knowing that they were right.

I mean, I had grown up with those people. I had lived with Emily for the entirety of my time at Hogwarts. And Eric and Oz had always been my rocks.

What on earth would I do without them?

And as for the people we had based our argument on?

I hadn’t seen them yet. After the game they had gone to a victory party for which ever house had won. I don’t know who won, but judging from the enthused Ravenclaw faces I’d say that I should have been over there congratulating Eric right now.

But no.

I was sitting alone, with the space for about two of three people on either side of me, and no one sitting opposite me, left with the company of my Chicken Drumsticks.

I lifted Patrice (the rounder and rather burnt drumstick of the two) and stared at her solemnly.

“You’ll never leave me, will you?”

As if to answer me, the piece of chicken slumped off the bone and fell to my plate.

That—that—

That’s just not nice.

“Fine.” I said angrily, grabbing my fork and stabbing Patrice angrily. “You don’t deserve love. You don’t deserve anyone’s love. Not mine, and definitely not Wallace’s.”

I looked to my second, thinner drumstick, Wallace. He’d stuck by me through it all.

It’s a pity I would have to eat him.

I glared at Patrice one last time before biting of the area where I roughly guessed her head would be. She tasted bitter. But that was no surprise.

Once I had finished eating Patrice, I looked down at Wallace. He looked kind of disappointed in me.

I pouted, “What?”

He said nothing.

“What?” I repeated.

Oh great, I’m also getting the silent treatment from the Chicken. The world hates me.

The world doesn’t hate you

...

Wallace?

I don’t hate you, but I’m pretty sure the rest of the world does. I will remain your ally.

HELL YEAH! I have a friend!

After you apologise.

Apologise for what?

You know...

I sighed. I did know. And it was so good to have a friend that I could very easily swallow my pride.

“Very well, Wallace. I am extremely sorry that I ate your girlfriend. But she tasted kind of bitter.”

That’s alright. She was a bitch any way.”

Ha-ha!

Who need Emily Cook, and Oz, and Eric, and even bitchy little Patrice?

Me and Wallace are taking on the world.





Yes, that was extremely depressing, but I hope you also liked it. I’m really sorry to not have much of Oz, Eric, Emily, etc. in the story for a bit, in anything but a negative like. You know what teenage dramas are like.

Also, sorry if you classify “Bi#*%” as a swear word. There is a warning on the story.

Please review. Your previous responses have been great.

ROCK ON!

Gracie



Chapter 8: Better Friends Than I Could Have Asked For
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Better Friends Then I Could Have Ever Asked For




“So, Wallace, I’m like, ‘they’ll help us out’ but then Emily’s suddenly like, ‘you’re not my friend anymore, and we don’t like you just because you’re making friends who aren’t us and you secretly know that Professor Wood is engaged and I don’t have a chance with him.’”

I clapped my hands together.

“Just like that, Friendship terminated.”

Incidentally, I had not yet eaten Wallace, even though he was technically last night’s dinner. He spent last night sitting on my beside table in on a serviette napkin and under a glass.

I did a teensy-weensy non-decomposition spell, so that he would stay as fit as he is now.

Note to self: Find out whether a non-decomposition spell will make me look sixteen forever

I was running out of things to say to Wallace.

It’s like our friendship is unspoken.

Both Wallace and I were sitting in the garden outside, leaning against a tree trunk. It was Sunday morning, and I had some of my charms stuff out to study.

Merlin, I hate charms.

Cept for this one that helped me save Wallace. That spell I’ll be keeping.

“Do you want to hear a story, Wallace,” I sighed, looking at my wonderful best friend. He was my favourite little guy.

I drew a couple of eye on him. He’s such a good looking little chicken leg.

“Once upon a time there was a small little—” Katie. “Kitty.” I amended.

“And this Kitty was all alone, and unloved and everyone who was once her friend deserted her and left her by herself. And she could never do anything because she was so alone and unloved—”

“This is a very upsetting story.”

I didn’t say that.

Wallace?

There was the distinct sound of a throat clearing, and I peered incredulously down to my friend (who, let us all remember, was once the leg of a now ex-chicken)

I frowned and looked up.

“Hey, Katie...” Rose sighed sitting down next to me.

“Oi,” Fred, who had obviously accompanied her. “You didn’t let her finish the story.”

I frowned. But Rose was the one who replied to her cousin. “Then the Kitty’s red headed friend pushed Fred Weasley into the lake.”

Fred swallowed nervously.

“You’re right. It is an upsetting story.”

Rose glowered at him.

“Hey Katie, how’re you feeling?”

It was extremely difficult to think that Emily didn’t like Rose. Rose was so wonderful. Pretty for one thing, but also really smart and helpful. And she was considerate. At least that was one person who was a little bit concerned for my welfare.

What had Em called her?

Rose Weasley’s too insufferably perfect to associate with us

“Like a menstruating Hippopotamus with the worst possible mood swings you can get in the Hippopotami world, and a sonuvabitch cramp.” I said with a pout.

Fred took a step away from me, eyes widening, alarmed.

Rose seemed to understand, though, and pulled me into another of her wonderful hugs.

“Aw, Katie...” she sighed, releasing me. “We would have all come over last night, but we didn’t hear about it until we asked about you at breakfast.”

Ah breakfast.

Wallace and I had decided to brave the dangers of the Giant Squid, rather than go into the man eating shark pit that was the Great hall.

The Squid looked lonely. What would you have done?

“People said that you got into a fight with all of your friends, but no one would tell us why—was it something that we said wrong? Did you accidentally tell your friend about Professor Wood.”

I blanched.

Oh Crappers.

I had forgotten about that.

Now that Em and I aren’t on speaking terms, it will make it easier for me not to tell her. However, it will also mean that (as her enemy) I will be the brunt of her anger for days when she does find out.

Because she can’t take anger out on Professor Wood.

“Yeah,” Fred chimed in. “Because we were getting a whole heap of dirty looks so we figured that you must have told her, and then they thought that we told you and they were angry at us too.”

Rose looked at me with big round beautiful eyes—only the beautiful people—and smiled comfortingly.

“What happened Katie? We don’t want to guess? Why did they get angry at you?”

Double Crappers.

Even outside the shark pit had gotten to me. How was I supposed to explain to these people that the reason I had been outcast and left to my two remaining friends, Squidly and Wallace, because of them, and something that they did to Eric year ago?

Quick—say something inconspicuous, that will change the subject.

“Did you know that Squids are telepathic?”

YES! Score for the KATEMEISTER!!!

“They’re not.”

Dammit. Must learn to not burst out random facts to the girl who is tutoring you.

Attempt No. 2:

“So...” I said with a shifty grin. “What’s for breakfast this morning? I couldn’t make it due to all my—”

“—making up random things about the Squid?” Fred interrupted.

I glowered at him. “Number one, his name is Squidly! And number two, I’ll have you know I was out here doing my potions homework.”

Everyone took a glance down at the Charms book at my feet.

“...with a little help from Charmsies?” I said with a smile.

“Kate. You’re a weird person.”

AHA!!

And opening!

“Yes!” I said; glad to take an opportunity I could have. “Yes, I AM a weird person. And you should not want to get your information’s from me because I am SO WEIRD.”

Fred and Rose exchanged a glance.

I did not stop.

“I mean, it’s a WONDER that you even SPOKE to me. I am THAT weird. You shouldn’t even want to LOOK at me, because of how WEIRD I am, and I think that any information you ask for, the answer will ONLY BE really, REALLY WEIRD.”

Take, that Broadway.

“Rose, is she alright?” Fred asked, wearily.

Rose frowned, “It must be the studying, It’s got to her.”

For extra measure, I shouted out, “BECAUSE I’M EXTREMLY WEIRD—”

“Should we take to her to the matron?” Fred suggested.

Oh, god no.

“Nah.” Rose shook her head. “You should have seen her last time we were in there.”

“...so... DON’T ASK ME ANY ANSWERS FOR QUESTIONS!!”

Something in Fred’s face changed and he began to grin. Rose frowned at him.

“What is it? Do you know what’s wrong with her?”

“Don’t you get it yet, Rosie?” Fred said, smirking.

My eyes widened and I shook my head frantically, while Rose wasn’t looking at me. She turned her head back to me and looked puzzled.

“I’M WEIRD!”

That seemed to satisfy her and she looked back at Fred, while I continued to beg him to not rat me out.

“She’s trying to get you to not think about what we just asked her. No one else wanted to tell us why her friends got angry and she’s just the same. Only, she can’t just brush it off.”

He is such a poophead.

Rose thought for a moment, before looking back at me.

“Kate!” She said looking rather astonished.

“I’m weird...?”

Maybe... just maybe

“Stow it, Kathryn.” Rose scolded.

Ai. She called me Kathryn. I’m done for.

“I kind of prefer Kate...” I trailed off at her look.

“Katie, why won’t you tell me?” she suddenly changed her tactics and I was hit with the full frontal puppy dog eyes, combined with her annoying beauty.

And there goes my last little peace of resolve.

“Emily thinks that I’ve stopped spending time with them, because I’m spending too much time with you guys. And I KNOW—”

I hastened to confirm that I agreed with them, and that we’re not even that close.

“—that we’re not good friends, but that’s the perspective that they’re getting. And also they’re angry that I even talk to you because of something you did to Eric once, but I never figured out what they did to him.”

It was then that I took the moment to look at Rose’s face.

She looked like I had slapped her in the face.

She opened her mouth, but before she could tell me how offended she was with my ex-friends, I beat her to the punch.

“I know,” I held up my hands, “they totally jumped to conclusions, and its weird that anyone would really want to replace my friends, but it’s fine. I don’t mind. I just hope you don’t get too embarrassed by the rumours—”

“Shut up.”

I frowned, looking at Fred, who had spoken. “What?”

“I said, Shut up,” Fred repeated. He was looking wearily at Rose, who was still looking upset. “You upset my cousin, so I’m telling you to shut up.”

I looked at Rosie. She did look upset. “Whoa...” I said. “I know that you really don’t want to be classified with me, but come on, it’s not that bad.

Rose stared at me now, her eyes watering.

“Yeah, Katie, it is that bad.” She said to me.

I am officially, extremely confused.

“You think that? You think that we want nothing to do with you?” Rose said, “You think that we’re people who are so bad that they wouldn’t associate themselves with other people.”

I must have resembled a gold fish at this point. My mouth was hanging open.

“You think that me, and Scor, and Fred and Albus are all so shallow that we don’t want to hang out with you?” She echoed.

“Scor, Fred, Albus and I...” I corrected her grammar.

She exploded.

“Oh my God! You are so infuriating sometimes. Did you know that Kate? You judge people, before you’ve even met them. You just listen to everything that your stupid friend Emily tells you, and she’s never even spoken more than a couple of words to us. Yeah, what happened between our family and Smither’s family was bad—but it’s no reason for you to think that our family is shallow and mean!”

I stared at her.

“You do everything that your Emily tells you to, and you believe everything she says. And now, you’re sitting out on your own while she’s inside bitching about how much of a traitor you are and how much they don’t need you any more.”

I knew it.

“It’s not fair how much you take what people say about others, and then apply it. I thought you were different to your friends. But you’re not. You have to learn to stop judging people.”

Rose pushed herself to her feet, thought about it for a second, before leaning back down and hugging me one more time.

Then she got up again and walked away.

Fred stared at her retreating back for a second before lifting two fingers in the peace sign.

“Peace out,” He said, before running after her.

I looked down at Wallace.

“What just happened here?”

Wallace looked just as bewildered as I did.




“Everyone needs to pair up and find the correct ingredients for today’s potion.” Professor Levett, the head of Ravenclaw and Potions Master since I arrived here, told us.

In Emily’s List of Hot Teachers he was number four on the scale. That was pretty high up on the standards, but he was a little too old. Plus, wedding ring, which made him decidedly less attractive.

He had sandy blonde hair, and grey eyes with glasses that suited him. They were no Harry Potter glasses (I had a replica of those in my bedroom—which I won’t have to destroy now that his children are no longer my friends) but they weren’t exactly fashionable either.

They were just Professor Edmund Levett glasses.

“Can we choose our partners?” Hilary St.Claire asked from the front.

God, she annoyed me. Her hair, died so many colours that she looked like a multicoloured skunk’s tail. Her face was caked with makeup and her lips rather large. She filled her stereotype relatively easily.

“Yeah, can we?” Indiana Stephens mimicked her.

She was sitting behind Hilary, and she faked a dumb blonde face and chewed at her own cheeks when Hilary turned around to look. “I really want to get another girl partner so that I can melt away their fake boobs—just like last time.”

Hilary stared at Indiana before bursting into tears.

“Stephens. Twenty five points from Slytherin for bullying. Hilary, it’s not that bad, Stop crying. Now everyone partner up. And yeah, you can choose.”

I would usually partner up with Emily at this moment. However, she was sitting next to Natalie from our dorm and pointedly not looking at me.

Shirley and Lauren separated me, from Emily and Nat. They weren’t angry at me, but they were obviously torn between me and Em.

I lifted my hand ready to say that I didn’t have a partner because clearly, I was unloved, and I couldn’t make a potion with a piece of chicken with eyes drawn on.

I took one last glance at Emily, to see her smirking slightly. She seemed excitedly at the prospect of more embarrassment on my side.

I looked away from Emily, towards the front of the class but before I could say anything, I saw Hilary— mascara already blotched—looking down at her feet.

“Yes, Miss Dalton?”

I frowned, staring at Hilary, and slowly lowering my hand.

“Never mind...”

I continued to look at Hilary, who hadn’t noticed me looking at her.

Rose had said that I judged people because of what Emily said to me about them. And granted, Emily was the one who told me that Hilary was a bitch. And that she was a cake face with seven boyfriends back in her home in Atlanta (she was sent here from America.)

Rose had said that I had to stop judging people because of Emily’s opinions. And that I needed to think for myself.

I made up my mind.

“Hey,” I shouted out, across the class, loud enough that Hilary heard me. “Be my partner?” I asked when she looked up and caught my eye.

She stared at me. I felt the gaze of multiple persons on my back. Sabriel Malfoy, and Indiana Stephens, as well as Emily, Natalie, Lauren and Shirley, all who were behind me.

Hilary stared at me as well. “Me?”

I nodded, and patted the seat beside me. “Partnersies?”

“You want to be my partner?” She asked me quietly. Not many people had noticed what was going on, but those who had were silent.

“Sure,” I said shrugging. “Plus, my boobs aren’t fake so I don’t have anything to worry about.”

Hilary, instead of being offended—which I was worried about for a second after it left my mouth in a moment of word spew—smiled at me, and pulled out the chair.

“Thanks.” She said. “They just make me so upset. They always get to me, you know?”

I nodded. “Been there, done that. You’re just Potions girl. They cornered me in the hallway and I had to go to the hospital wing, and then they got me again in the library.”

Have somehow begun to make my life sound surprisingly like I am in a Cluedo Game.

“So, do you know what we’re doing?”

And just like that, everyone who had been staring at us, looked away. Except for Emily. I couldn’t help the smirk that crept onto my face.

“Yeah,” I said, smirking. “We’re attempting to make a batch of Doxycide—

Professor Levett, seemingly being psychic, shouted out, “Remember these potions are for Mr. Goyle. His detention students will be using our batches to tackle an infested classroom on the sixth floor.”

“Note to self,” I muttered, “don’t get detention.’

Hilary heard and giggled. “Tell me about it.”

“So, we need some wormwood and melted silver.” Hilary said, pushing herself to her feet. “Do you want me to grab them?”

I nodded, looking down at the book.

‘Yeah...” I said, “And I’ll make this fire start...”

After a minor incident with the fire, where Professor Levett had to hasten to my side to put out my flaming robes, Hilary returned with the things and we set up.

“So...” I said, attempting to start conversation. “What house are you in again?”

Hilary grinned. “Gryffindor.” She told me. “By some fluke of nature that I will never recognise. I think the hat might have been bribed.”

You can do that?!

“No...” I told her shaking my head, while internally promise to figure out how to bribe a piece of head wear. “Why would you think that?”

Hilary smirked at me. “Thanks for being polite, but it’s kind of obvious. I’m not really brave, at all

“Alright, now we need the chopped wormwood,” I said, looking to Hilary, who had up til that point been chopping.

I had been stirring our boiling water. It was radical fun. Life changing, really.

Not.

She put that in, and then I continued stirring.

“What house are you in then?” Hilary asked, as we worked away.

“Hufflepuff. The House of Gods.” I struck a pose, likening myself to Zeus.

Hilary stared at me, as if unsure whether to laugh or to agree.

I dropped the pose that I had adopted. “Dude, totally kidding. Relax.”

She exhaled with a big sigh of relief. “Sorry, it’s just, you know what they say about Hufflepuff.”

Funnily enough, I wasn’t even offended.

“Hufflepuff will someday be the home of dictators, kings, queens, and even the odd duchess or two.” I said with a shrug. “You’ll all learn to respect us some day.”

Hilary once again looked torn between laughter, or agreeing with me.

“That was another joke.” I told her.

She laughed.

By the end of the lesson I had learnt that Hilary had three brothers living back in Atlanta. She was sent over here when she didn’t pass the test into her local school, and she figured that English Guys have hot accents.

(I can’t even hear their accents. And everyone talks about them. So what am I missing?”

She also had one boyfriend back in Atlanta. His name was Brett and he was a muggle. He didn’t know about her and she figured he never would, although he didn’t think she wore a little too much make up, which is why she continued to wear it.

He obviously didn’t know that, that was probably why she was bullied (although, I was aware of the bullying.)

She said he was the best boyfriend she could have asked for. He knew she went to school in England, but he still stayed with her, even though a girl who went to her muggle primary school named Sofia was trying to get her claws in him.

Oh, and she was also muggleborn.

Not like I cared. It just meant we had something else in common. Well, except that my parents a clearly insane….

“Well,” I said, taking a breath. “My name is Katie Dalton. I have two parents, and mother and a father—both magic, but have sworn off it and haven’t used anything magic since the War. I used to have a best friend Emily Cook, but she has since ditched me and has now been relaced by Wallace my Chicken Drumstick from Saturday Night.”

Wallace was sitting in the bottom of my bag.

“I suck at Charms and am being tutored by Rose Weasley, who is also quite upset with me it would seem. I tap danced in the Entrance hall with Albus Potter, because I made up a stupid lie about Tap dancing when I tried to cover up for something that I didn’t want to know. I’m sixteen years old and am in Hufflepuff house.”

Hilary grinned at me. “Very enlightening.”

“Now, girls...”

I jerked back when I realised that Professor Levett was standing in front of our desk. “This isn’t a quiz game, or a get to know each other session. This is Potions class. How is your brew coming?”

I looked down at the black liquid that had formed from us following the instructions. I was relatively good at Potions.

Levett reached into the potion with a gloved hand and a vile, when he brought it back up the vile was full of the liquid. He put the vile in the container he had in his other hand, and then brought his hand up to his nose.

He inhaled briefly, before darting the glove away from his nose. He was silent for a minute before smiling down at us.

“Good work St. Claire, Dalton.” He said, “This will be going to Mr. Goyle immediately.”

He moved on to Lauren and Shirley.

Hilary turned to me straight away. “You’re good at this. You just said you didn’t know how to do anything.”

I shook my head. “I said, I didn’t know how to do Charms. Or History of Magic. Or Transfiguration. Or much else. Potions is a strong point of mine.”

Hilary stared at me. “How? How can potions be your strong point?”

I shrugged, “Potions is easy.” I told her. “It's a lot like Muggle Chemistry, only...”

I paused, thinking of a good way to explain it.

“...more newt.”

Hilary stared at me. Levett dismissed the class as he finished doing Emily’s and Nat’s sample, and putting that in the container.

“You’re kind of weird,” She told me.

I stopped stirring, thinking of everything that’d happened today. ‘I AM VERY WEIRD!!!!!’

I smirked. “So, I’ve been told.”




I was feeling good about myself as I walked down the hallway. I had befriended someone who I once thought was a bitch, but turned out to be a wonderful person.

I had gotten through potions without any life threatening injuries, and I was about to have a wonderful Monday dinner in the Great Hall—Emily, and co. be damned.

Plus, with all my free time I have the space I need to do everything I never got to do with them around. Like, write a novel on astrophysics for Muggles, and then pass Charms.

I might also conquer and nation, and go back in time just so that I can meet Helga Hufflepuff and kick her ass for being such a pushover.

My day has been too good, I thought suspiciously. Something must go wrong soon. Maybe I’ll slip in the Hall, or I’ll be attacked by a newly mobile Whomping Willow.

That was my last thought before a big black sack was thrown over my head and I was lifted into the air.

Ah.

Called it.





There you go. I hope you’re happy with how the stories’ progressing, but if you could tell me about it then I just might be extraordinarily interested in reviews.

Plus, everything will get better soon.

Grace

REVIEW PLEASE!!!





Chapter 9: Both Kind of Idiots
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Both Kind of Idiots


“You know!” I shouted at the top of my lungs as I was being carted down the hallway. “Someone’s going to hear—slash—see this. And when they do I’m gonna get this stupid thing off my head and kick all of your poopers...!”

I heard a snort, but that was the extent of their response.

“Someone’s gonna see this! Or they’re gonna hear me screaming.”

A spell-ularly modified voice sounded confused. “You’re not screaming.”

I screamed. “I AM NOW!!! HELP ME! HELP ME! HELP ME! I’VE BEEN KIDNAPPED!”

I turned my head in the direction of wherever we were going. Everyone was at the great Hall right now, so they probably wouldn’t hear me shrieking.

Besides, I’m pretty sure after my first scream someone had taken away my voice and “silencio-ed” the crap outta me.

I took the time to bask in the glory of silence. Once again, there were so many un-thought thoughts that I finally had time to think.

Like, who the hell was carrying me—which, by the way, nice change from walking everywhere—and where the hell we could possibly be going.

Also, I haven’t said goodbye to any of my old friends.

I should have told Emily to shove her crap where the son doesn’t shine, and then for extra measure, I could have told her spitefully that she was obviously not as good as Dominique Weasley.

That would have been mean, but she deserted me. Totally deserves it.

I’d tell Oz and Charmaine to grab a hold of reality and get together already. I mean, for the love of all things magic.

I’d ask Eric what happened to him that made him hate the Potters, and the Weasleys and then I’d tell him to dump his ice queen of a girlfriend Penny and then give him a hug.

Then I’d tell Penny that she’s an ice queen.

And I should have already told Rose that she rocked as a tutor, and that she was just that level of perfection that I was, admittedly, a little jealous.

And I probably should have told Scorpius that it’s obvious Rosie has a thing for him, and that he’s quite funny despite how godlessly annoying he can be.

Same for Fred. Except that Rose doesn’t have a crush on him, because hello? Cousins?

Ew.

And Albus? Well, I probably wouldn’t have told him that he is a god in my eyes and I may or may not have had dreams about having his babies.

And I mean the having part.

Not the making part.

I would not have told him any of that, if I didn’t want him to get a restraining order from my grave when they found my beaten body after these kidnappers are done with me.

I would have told Mum and Dad that even though they make me babysit little children who I kind of hate, that they’re wonderful. And that I would have been glad to take all of their money when they died.

I should have done more yoga.

That would mean that I was going to heaven.

Or something along those lines.

If I live through this encounter, I swear to god that I will change my ways. I will begin every morning with a salutation to the sun, and the morning.

Then I will have a healthy breakfast and run a triathlon.

...or a five minute jog to the lake and back.

“Can you hear me right now?” I said out loud, content with my plan for my future. Sure enough, I could not hear my own voice.

“Lollypops. Ice creams. Puppy Dogs. Cat. Horses. Poop. Smelly. Stinky. Cousin William. Cousin Thomas. Uncle Andy. Stupid Muggle neighbours.”

This is kind of fun. This’d be a good way to go.

“Muggle things. Judo. Violin. Party. TV. Celebrities. Harry Potter. Ron Weasley Hot guys. Do you think that Harry potter’s hot for an old guy? He might be... Ron Weasley kind of hot for an old guy. Like Draco Malfoy.”

Hang on a second. Did someone just say that? “Draco Malfoy.” Once again, the voice said Draco Malfoy at the same time.

“Draco Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, Draco Malfoy—”

That’s easy to guess. They won’t get this.

“Yabbedy yebbedy Yibbdey yobbedy yubbedy—Bamenga beminga bimonga bomunga bumanga—Katanooga—wikkiwally pop—timeny topedy totedy lolety—mennalows mannaluppykins—”

“Does she know we’ve lifted the Silence Spell.”

Ooh.

That’s rather embarrassing.

I opened my eyes. The bag was definitely around my head, but when I tested my voice.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...” I tested.

Yep. That’s definitely my voice.

“Well, that’s embarrassing.” I concluded.

Whoever had me, and was holding me on their shoulders had halted somewhere, and were all laughing at me for whatever I said.

I have a hunch.

There is more than one of them.

“Oi,” I heard a new voice say. They all had these spell-ularly differentiated voices. “Make sure she can’t hear the password.”

THESE ARE STUDENTS?

“You’ll do no such thing!” I exclaimed, shocked at their behaviour. “I demand you unhand me at once.”

“You hear that? She demands that we unhand her.”

That sounds strangely like Fred Weasley. But he wouldn’t do something as terrifying as this. He wouldn’t stoop that low.

But that was all I heard. One more word, “Muffliato” and then there was a strange buzzing in my ears that had me instinctively swiping at my ears to kill what I thought were oncoming killer bees.

I watched a documentary on those guys one. It was really scary. They killed a lady.

Then I was moving again, then set me on my feet. The black bag, or blanket or what not was removed from my head and a whole lot of moving lights were pushed before my blurring vision.

“WE’RE SORRY!!!” a couple of people shouted at me.

I fainted.




“That was the funniest thing I have ever seen.”

“No it wasn’t. Be quiet, Scor.”

I woke to voices.

“Are you joking? It was hilarious. We went to all that trouble to carry her up here conscious. And then when we get her to your dorm, she ganks it—and faints.”

Not very nice voices, if I do say so myself.

“She’s fainted you insensitive pig.”

“Yet another adventure of Twinkle toes. She tries again, and she succeeds in making everyone who was around, piss themselves laughing.”

Wait a second. I know those voices.

“Whosere...?” I muttered blindly, pushing myself to a sitting position. The entire room swam into focus and I saw Rose’s anxious face staring at me. Then I saw Albus, Fred, and Scorpius, along with Hugo Weasley and Lily Potter as well as Liam Smithers.

“What. The. Hell.”

Scorpius was set off again, falling onto the nearest bed because he was laughing so hard.

I must have missed the humour.

“Now, now,” Fred shushed me. “Language in front of the children.”

I stare at him.

“Now, now,” I mimicked him. “Kidnapping in front of the children.”

Fred shrugged. “Nah, they’ve done that before.”

I stared at him.

I caught Liam’s eyes. “Hey Katie.” He said brightly. “I heard my brother’s angry at you.”

I frowned at him. “Did you now?” He nodded. “And how did you hear that?’

Was I the stuff of gossip for third years?

“Penny told me.”

My eyes narrowed.

Her...

“Don’t worry bout it, Kid,” I said, whilst still devising ways to kill Penny. Conniving little—

“Katie. You’re here for a reason.”

I looked around the room, thoughts of said ice queen leaving my head. “Aha...” I said nodding. “Speaking of here, anyone care to tell me where here is?”

Scorpius coughed, as if trying to cover another laugh.

I glowered at him.

“You’re in the Gryffindor Tower. The Seventh year dorm.”

My eyes bugged out of their skull.

“You mean the Gryffindor Tower? Boys or girls?”

Rose frowned. “Boys. Otherwise the guys couldn’t have come up the stairs.”

I began to hyperventilate.

“Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod!” I said excitedly. “So many famous people have slept here...” I said, looking around the dorm.

“Katie,” Rose said seriously. “Focus.”

I looked at her, and caught her expression. I sobered up. “Rightie-Roo. I’m focused.”

Once again, Scorpius smirked.

Then a thought hit me. “Wait, why am I here?” I asked. “I thought you were angry at me too?”

Rosie sighed. “You looked kind of alone today, and I felt bad.”

“I wasn’t alone.” I said stubbornly. “Wallace and I are comrades in arms.”

“Who’s Wallace?” Albus asked, frowning.

“My Chicken Drumstick from Saturday Night’s dinner. I couldn’t bring myself to eat him. He was my only ally. I did eat his girlfriend though.” I explained brightly. “She was a bitch,” I added on.

Albus stared at me. Scorpius was silent. Then, “Dude. Just stop asking.”

Albus nodded to his friend.

“Anyway,” Rosie said pointedly looking at me. “My feeling sorry for you isn’t the point.”

I should hope not.

“The point is, I heard about what you did in your potions class this morning. With Hilary St. Claire. If your friend Emily is anything like I thought she was, then I guess she told you Hilary was a slut.”

Yes.

“No...?”

Why am I still defending her?

“Why are you still defending her?” Rose asked frowning. “She did, didn’t she?”

I nodded.

She nodded. “Exactly. She does judge people, and the point is that you didn’t judge. You took my advice and did what I said.”

That had been what I was thinking about when I asked Hilary to sit with me.

“Yeah...?”

Rose shook her head. “We weren’t angry with you, Katie. I couldn’t convince these guys to be angry with you because of what they thought was your friends fault. Plus, you need all the friends you can get.”

It has been a little lonely talking to someone who can’t talk back.

“But I made them not talk to you this morning at breakfast, or anytime on Sunday—” bother very lonely times. “—I needed to see if you could survive without someone to lean on, like you do with Emily.”

I wouldn’t say lean.

Maybe just sway in the general direction of...

“And you could! And I am so proud of you!”

I was once again engulfed in a hug from Rose. And then the boys congregated together in an effort to lift the both of us into the air.

I leaned away from Rosie, still midair, to look at her. “Is this normal?” I asked.

Rose nodded, with a light laugh. “Yes...”

I frowned, “That’s weird.”

This time, they did drop us, all of the boys laughing so hard it was almost deafening. Rose giggled away as well, and Liam joined in.

Lily and Hugo, both who had no idea what everyone else was laughing at frowned. I walked past my hysterical friends and sat down next to them.

“Your family is very weird.” I told them.

Lily frowned. “I know,” Lily said seriously. “Once, Albus has a pet cat named Princess, and he used to play tea parties with him.”

I frowned. “Him who?”

“Him Princess.” Hugo chirped.

I smirked. “Princess is a boy?”

Lily nodded. “Yeah. And Albus used to dress him up in bonnets and dresses and then have tea parties with him.”

As this piece of juicy new information settled in, and Scorpius, Fred and Rose having overheard, burst out laughing once more, Albus stopped laughing.

He stood stiffly and walked forward, grabbing my arm “Time to go.” He said to me. “You’re not even supposed to be up here anyway. You’re not in Gryffindor, your not Seventh year, and your not a boy.”

That’s when it hit me exactly where I was.

“Oh my god.” I exclaimed. “This is the Gryffindor Seventh Year Boys dormitory.”

Albus nodded as though I was insane.

Everyone else seemed to have sobered up at this point. Rose looked excited.

“Do you want to go downstairs now, Katie?” she said, “To the Gryffindor Common room?

I shook my head, launching myself onto the nearest bed.

“Was this Harry Potter’s bed? Did Harry Potter sleep here? Was this where he slept? This is the ceiling that Harry Potter looked at when he went to sleep, thinking about all the life saving he’d need to do when he got up?”

Albus exchanged a look with Fred.

“Uh... yes?”

“HOMIGOD!!”

Albus walked over to me, and lifted me by the shoulder, steering me to the door. “Okay Katie. Really starting to think twice about inviting you to my place at Christmas.”

“I’M COMING TO YOUR PLACE FOR CHRISTMAS!” I stared at them all, feeling tears form in my eyes.

“This is the best day of my life...”




“A naked blonde walks into a bar, carrying poodle under one arm, and a two foot salami under the other. She lays the poodle on the table. The Bartender says, “I guess you won’t be needing a drink” and the naked lady says—”

There was a moment of silence. Then, “Yes?”

I shrugged. “That’s all I know. The next part he falls through the roof of the library shouting out hilarious profanities,”

I loved recalling The Breakfast Club, to wizards. No one ever knew what it was, but it was my favourite movie.

“So, people,” I said loudly. “We’re looking for correct punch lines! I bet you can make up one that’ll fit.”

Fred frowned.

It was Albus, Scorpius, Rose and I seated at a table in the Great Hall. Since they kidnapped me on the way to Dinner it was only fair that they escort me to dinner and host me at the Gryffindor table.

After I escaped and lay on Harry Potter’s bed a little more.

Fred seemed to be in deep thought about this, while Albus and Scorpius seemed to be in great debate, heads huddled together as they tried to find the answer.

“Has this ever worked?” Rose asked me with a frown.

I was staring hopefully at the boys.

“Never.” I told her. “And this is my chance.”

Rose frowned at me. “Why is this, your chance? “

I stared at her with raised eyebrows.

“You’re kidding right?” I said to her in astonishment. “Fred Weasley? Humorous genius unrivalled since his Dad’s era. And Albus and Scorpius are supposedly pretty good too.” I shook my head. “It’s really just their looks.” I told her.

Rose’s nose wrinkled in disgust. “Albus? Seriously? He’s not very good looking is he?”

...

Then, “Call the Matron. We’ve got an emergency. She’s gone blind!”

Rose hit me in the face and I dived away from her hand, landing in Albus’s lap. He jerked in surprise and looked down at me.

I pointed an accusatory finger at Rose. “She hit me.”

Albus smirked while pushing me up again, then he turned back to Scorpius.

I was bright red by the end of it. “How can you not think that that is god sent?” I demanded.

Rose grinned. “He’s my cousin.” She said. “Duh...” Then she narrowed her eyes. “Katie, do you have thing for my cousin?”

I clapped a hand over her mouth and flushed what must have been by now, purple. “Whisper, fool.” I told her hastily. “And no, I don’t.”

She smirked at me, and under the gaze of such smartitude, I had to change the topic.

“What about you and the bleached wonder, eh?” I said pointing to Scorpius, as subtly as possible.

Rose went as red as me and my eyes widened to their limits.

“How did you know?” She hissed in a whisper.

I shook my head grinning. “I didn’t. That was a total fluke of a guess.”

Rose went even brighter red. I smirked as I watched her pedestal reduced in size.

So the girl could get embarrassed. By jove, she’s human.

Rose stared at me for a moment. Then,

“He doesn’t bleach his hair...” She said defensively.

I stared at her with a raised eyebrow. “If I call him bleach boy, it’s gotta be his own fault. He’s calling me twinkle toes.” Then I turned to Scorpius.

Rose frowned. “He hasn’t recently...”

I stared at her silent for a moment with a smirk on my face. Then I twisted in my seat and leaned forward, so that I could see past Albus to Scorpius.

“Oi, Scorpius,” I got his attention.

He looked up from his talk with Albus. “Yeah?”

“Are you gonna call me Twinkle Toes forever?”

Scorpius nodded cheesily at me.

I nodded and then pretended to turn back to Rose. I stopped halfway and looked back at him. “One more thing,” I said. “Do you bleach your hair?”

Scorpius almost fell off the stool. Albus spat his mouthful of food all over Fred, who was laughing so hard that he didn’t even care.

Rose was grinning. People who had overheard went silent waiting for his reaction.

“No...!” Scorpius spluttered. “Where did you get that idea from?”

I shrugged, thoughtlessly. “It just looks kid of unnatural.” I said, “Like you made it that way...”

Scorpius Malfoy stared at me. Then he shook his head, and regained his cool. “It’s totally natural. You girls are just jealous.”

I shrugged, and turned my back on him. “Whatever you say.” I looked at Rose. “He totally bleaches it.”

I didn’t bother turning around as Albus snorted and Scorpius began spluttering again.

“Don’t think I’m forgetting this. Your crush will remain with me forever.” I told Rose in a whisper.

Rose raised a quirky eyebrow. “And so will your crush, Katie dear. And if you’re not nice, then my dear Cousin will find out.”

I almost blacked out.

Rose laughed. “Kidding.” She reassured me. “I’ll take it to the grave.”

I exhaled in relief, the colour coming back into my vision and de-blurring.

Then I turned to Fred and the boys.

“So, guys. Have you figured out the punch line?”

Albus was still chuckling to himself. Scorpius was muttering about natural hair colour and Fred was trying to remove all of Albus’s half chewed food from him with a large bunch of napkins.

“This is so gross.” Fred said.

I frowned. “You are such a girl.”

They all looked at me. “Go on,” I told Fred. “Be a man! Rub some dirt in it.”

Fred frowned. “Why would I do that?”

That was kind of funny, because I always thought when people said that ‘why would you rub some dirt in it?” So now I had no answer for Fred.

I attempted to look unnerved. “Because whatever.” I said.

Everyone who heard snorted.

Must change the subject.

“Hello? I’m waiting for my punch line...” I said looking pointedly at the she-males sitting around me.

“What about,” Albus was the first, “The Bartender says, “I guess you won’t be needing a drink” and the naked lady says, “Katie Dalton just made my day””

I shrugged, kind of interested.

“Any others?”

“Here’s mine,” Fred said. ““The Bartender says, “I guess you won’t be needing a drink” and the naked lady says ‘as long as you don’t spit all your gross food all over me,’”

I looked at Albus. “It was kind of gross.”

Albus shrugged. “Rub some dirt in it.” He mocked me.

“That’s even grosser.” I told him. “Besides, I’m a girl, so I’m allowed to be meek. I don’t have to rub anything in anything.”

Scorpius was glaring at me as he told me his punch line. “The Bartender says, “I guess you won’t be needing a drink” and the naked lady says, ‘My hair is completely natural and there have never been, and never will be, a product in it.”

I smirked laughing.

“Yeah,” Rose snorted. “Except for all that gel.”

I slammed my flat hand on the table. “And we have a winner.”






That’s Chapter 9 Folks. Next we’re into the double digits. Which is further than I’ve ever done in a story with an original plotline before.

The blonde joke that you probably recognise is from The Breakfast Club directed by john Hughes and all the Hollywood actors that were mentioned are obviously not mine.

No offense to the Blondes who read this. I’m a member of the better hair colour myself and I love the blonde hair.

Grace





Chapter 10: Wackiest Bird Since Errol
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10. Wackiest Bird Since Errol

“Jeepers.”

MASS BREAKOUT OF AZKABAN

It was told this morning that several of the surviving death eaters from the Great War, have escaped their cells in Azkaban.

Escaping Azkaban was once called impossible, however proved wrong by the felon Sirius Black over twenty years ago, and then another breakout, believed to have been helped by Black, by other renowned Death Eaters, such as Bellatrix Lestrange, and husband Rodolphus Lestrange.

Luckily, for the populous, both Lestrange’s were killed in the war. The two were known around the wizarding world for driving the Aurors’s Alice and Frank Longbottom insane by use of the Cruciatus Curse.

This most recent escape has caused widespread panic through the wizarding community. Rumours of the consequences of the last escape have blown to wide proportions, which have driven the community in large to withdraw children from schools, and retreat out of the country.

Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt, says “It is important in times like these that we remain calm and collected. The time that we spend pacing will be used against us. Nothing will come off this escape, and we will recapture them very soon.”

His words of authority have done nothing to cease the widespread panic.

The amount of people leaving the city is wide, and even the decision to remove Dementors from the Prison is being called into question.

“They were our best assurance that there would be no escapes from the Prison and now that they are gone, it makes it all the more easy for the prisoners to escape.” Ministry official representation for the Department of Protection of Society, said.

People who left the side of Dark have been put under red alert, in case any attempt to contact them. One of the specific ex-Death Eaters, says that he “fears for his life,” with this new development. As well as fearing for the life of his family.

Among the escapees are Augustus Rookwood, Rabastan Lestrange, Walden MacNair, and Antonin Dolohov, who were all major participants in the war.

People are warned to lock their doors at night, and cast all spells that will keep them secure in their homes. If you see any of these people, do not approach, because they are violent and extremely dangerous—all being imprisoned on accounts of murder or use of the unforgivable spells.

Cont. page 7.




“Well,” I said frowning. “If that isn’t extremely unsettling, then I don’t know what is...”

Rose looked at the article for a moment and then back to her breakfast. “I’ll tell you something scarier.” She said.

“My Transfiguration Preparation exam. I’m so going to fail.”

I couldn’t chose between shouting at her for not freaking out about the Death Eaters, or shouting at her for freaking out about a test that she would surely ace.

I went with the first option.

“How does this not worry you?” I asked, astonished.

Rose looked back at the article. “Sure it worries me.” She said with a sigh. “But I won’t let it affect my studies. If, on the small chance that they do attack Hogwarts, I might die, which is rather frightening.”

Rather frightening?

It was downright petrifying.

“However, on the large chance that they won’t attack and kill me, I’ll still be prepared for life beyond this place. Don’t forget I graduate this year.”

Rose stared at me seriously.

I sighed, “I haven’t forgotten,” I said slowly, “Trust me. And while we’re focussing on school work, I need help with my Charmsies.”

Before she said anything else, I lifted my charms book onto the table. I made to open it, before Rose held it down.

“Tip Number One.” She said seriously. “Stop calling it Charmsies.”

I pushed her hand off the textbook and then pulled out my parchment, which was supposed to hold my homework.

“I had some trouble with the homework.” I told her.

She frowned. “In what way?”

I shrugged, “I didn’t do it.”

Rose stared at me, dejectedly for a moment.

Then she sighed, “I've done some of your homework and found out the only solution is the final solution.” She nodded, sounding sure of herself.

“Nuke the school?” I guessed excitedly. “I like that.”

Rose stared at me. Then she shook her head. “No...”

“I don’t know,” Albus said sitting down. “That sounds like a pretty foreseeable plan.” He seated himself beside Rose, and Scorpius, seeing his arrival in the Hall, left the Slytherin table and joined us, sitting beside me.

“What is?” he asked.

“Nuking the School.” I said offhandedly, offering him the plate of bacon. “What do you think?”

Scorpius looked thoughtful. “Good plan. You know anyone we can ship the supplies in from?”

He caught Rose’s expression.

“...I mean... No. That would be irresponsible of us almost adults...?”

He shot her a charming smile.

Rose glowered at him.

“For you information,” She said heatedly. “The School wouldn’t be damaged even if there were a nuclear explosion. Not to mention that no one inside would be even touched by the radiation. However, numerous livestock and innocent lives would be lost, if you were to try and use an atom bomb to get out of doing Charms homework.”

She folded her homework. She didn’t look upset with us, just kind of frustrated. “Katie, I’m scheduling another Tutoring session this morning in second period this morning. I suggest that you get the books we need for a Charm session.”

She neatly folded her bacon on her fork and put it in her mouth, smirking at our speechless expressions.

She watched Scorpius closely, and for a second I though it might have been her crush on his that was making her stare at him. But then I saw her smirk. There was an ulterior motive at work here.

Scorpius lifted his glass of Juice to his lips and took a large gulp.

“Did you guys hear about the escape from Azkaban?” She said suddenly. .

Scorpius very quickly spat all his drink out, which subsequently covered Albus. Albus didn’t look too happy, and Scorpius began coughing so violently I thought I might have to give him the Heimlich manoeuvrer.

Instead I high-fived Rose under the table.

When they both recovered, Rose was smirking at them, as she daintily sipped from her own juice. Albus frowned at her, grabbing some napkins and dabbing at his cheeks, which were dripping with a mix of juice and Scorpius’s saliva.

“You’re going to hell.” Scorpius kindly informed her.

She just shrugged.

“Now,” Scorpius continued. “What is this about Azkaban escape?”

Rose passed him The Quibbler that I had just been reading. Apparently the magazine was much more reliable as Luna Lovegood began to take advice on what to publish from her Husband, our good ol’ Professor Longbottom.

Albus snatched it from her hand before Scorpius could grip it, and read it first. Scorpius took the time to take another swill of his drink, and down any scratchy throaty thing that I knew he would have been feeling.

“What the hell do we do?” Albus said instantly, dropping the magazine which Scorpius very quickly picked up.

“That’s what I said,” I exclaimed excitedly pointing at him. “See?” I told Rose, “That’s the rational response to something like this.”

“Have you owled your Mum and Dad?” Albus asked. “Have you owled my Mum and Dad?”

Rose frowned at him. “I’ve owled my parent’s to see if they’re okay. And I’ve already talking to Hugo. I have not spoken to your family, simply because I don’t have time. I’ve got to prepare for my Preparation test in Transfiguration this afternoon.”

Albus was silent for a moment, before stating loudly. “You are a Cyborg.”

Rose shrugged, “At least Cyborgs won’t fail their Preparation Test in Transfiguration.”

Albus frowned. Then he looked at Scorpius. “Do you have any parchment?” He asked frantically. Scorpius felt his pockets for a moment, but then shook his head.

Albus felt his pockets as well, before finding something in his pocket.

“I’ve only got this.” He said slowly. Then he sighed. “It’s a letter from Leanne Reynolds in the fifth year,”

More out of jealousy—I’ll admit—than curiosity I asked, “What’s it about?”

Scorpius snorted, and Albus smirked. Rose looked at me sympathetically.

“She told me to meet her on the third floor broom closet in first period this morning. I have a free.” Albus was smirking.

Oh. So do I. That’s cool. This is Albus Potter. He can do what he wants with countless girls in the Third Floor Broom closet and I wouldn’t care.

Rose wasn’t about to be pushed over, however. “Katie has a free this morning as well.”

Albus grinned. “Cool, I’ll hang with you. Scorpius is ditching me for Astronomy with Rosie-posie.”

I frowned, “What about Leanne Reynolds?”

Albus shrugged. “Shouldn’t have put faith in a surreptitiously disposed note put in my breakfast.”

Huh. That’s… very much like a guy.

“Quill, anyone?”

I handed him mine, partly because I love this boy down to his wonderful socks, and partly because it was already in my hand from withdrawing my Charms homework.

“Dear Mum and Dad,” He narrated.

“I am safe. Hope you are as well. Will look after Lily. Tell James not to do anything stupid. Give family my Love. Tell Teddy that Ravenclaw won weekend match.”

Even though that was where he stopped narrating, he didn’t stop writing. He wrote for a couple more sentences and then smiled at the paper.

“All my manly love, Al.”

He smiled, and handed me back the quill.

Thinking of Albus writing a note to his family, I figured it was only fair that I write a note to my parents. They’d be worried sick, and I’d have to make sure they’re safe while I’m away.

Maybe they should go and stay with Uncle Andy in Australia.

I reached into my Charms book and ripped out the back page. Rose let out an aghast noise like a dying cat, and both Albus and Scorpius grinned, chuckling.

“Brave move.” Scorpius said.

I shrugged, “It’s just the glossary.”

Rose squeaked.

I began to write my own letter.

Dearest Parents of Mine,

“I will have you know, Kathryn Dalton, that a Glossary is as important as any other part in the text.”

Sorry if the owl freaks you out a little. He’s really wonderful and you know it. I’m just writing because I’ve just received a rather disconcerting little newspaper, which worries me greatly.

“It helps you figure out the meaning of the misunderstood words, and it is extremely helpful when studying.”

I’m gonna send you the paper, but I think that you guys should probably get out of England, just while you can. Being the once magic now muggle parents of a witch, you’re at a pretty high risk.

“And I can’t believe that you would desecrate your school books in such a manner.”

Why don’t you go and stay with Uncle Andy and the hell twins in Australia. I’ll be fine here, Hogwarts safety and all that jazz. The teachers’ll look after me.

“It is extremely upsetting that you wouldn’t care about your learning enough to commit such treason towards your learning.”

Lots and lots of love, and please leave the country, Katie.

I looked up at Rose as I folded the page. She seemed to be heavy breathing, as though I was committing a felony and she couldn’t tell anyone about it.

“Sorry, pardon?” I said, seriously not knowing what she had been going on about while I was writing my letter.

Scorpius snorted. Then he raised his glass in cheers to me.

“You are my idol, twinkle toes.” He told me seriously. He looked to Rose. “Finally, someone you can’t boss around with your namby pamby study principles.”

Rose narrowed her eyes at him. “You’re right,” She said through clenched teeth. She lifted her glass to her mouth and continued to go on with breakfast.

As though she was totally at ease.

I called over Scrubs, the owl that my parents had bought me on my first trip to Diagon Alley. As Scrubs flew at us, Rose, who had encountered him previously, lifted her breakfast plate and glass. He would mess with the parents heads.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My parents are wizards. Well, my dads a wizard and my mums a witch etc. And I love them both to death.

But they have their issues.

Ever since cutting themselves off from the wizarding world they’ve refused to even look at the news, use their wands, or speak via owl contact. And now, after that long without magic, they basically act like your usual, run of the mill, clumsy old muggles—this is probably where I get the clumsy from.

So Scrubs is gonna freak them out.

Scrubs collided with the table at a fast speed, stopping right in front of Albus who swore.

See? He messes with wizards! What is he going to do to two people who can’t stand the thought of magic any more?

I grinned, leaning forward and tapping him.

Scrubs jumped to attention. “Sup, buddy?” I asked him brightly.

He turned his head ninety degrees to the left. I took that as ‘Hello, Kate. How are you?’

In my mind, this bird is very intellectual.

“Can you take this to Mummy and Daddy for me?” I asked him. I tied the note to his leg.

He squawked loudly, which made Albus swear again, and then took off.

“That is the wackiest bird since Errol.” Albus said seriously.

Scorpius sighed, “I miss that bird.”

Rose remained silent up till this point. But then…

“Oh, by the way, Scor…” Rose said, leaning towards him across the breakfast table. I saw the revenge form in her eyes.

“I had a dream about you last night.”

This would not end with someone’s dignity intact.

Scorpius frowned, looking over at Rose. “Yeah?”

She nodded. “It was really hot and sweaty. And it was just you and me, in your dorm room. And then I just couldn’t stop shouting out your name…”

Scorpius looked relatively into this. Albus and Fred looked kind of disgusted. And I just didn’t want to know.

“…BLEACH-BOY! BLEACH-BOY! BLEACH-BOY!”

Scorpius’s face fell as everyone began laughing. By the time I could think any rational thought, I was crying, and looking right at Scorpius.

“I will hunt you down for this.” He told me. “You will never be safe.”

“Oh Merlin,” Albus said, pulling me behind him. “I’ll protect you from the Bleached Wonder…”

And we were off again.






“Mission?”

“Do exactly what Rose told us to do.” I answered quickly, as though I knew what I was talking about.

“Which was…?” Albus looked at me.

I was silent for a second.

“Pass.”

Albus dropped his head in his hands. It was a sign.

“Oh god,” I exclaimed, dejectedly. “You’re right. She’s going to kill me.”

“No…” Albus said suddenly, lifting his head form his hands. “She won’t kill you…”

I narrowed my eyes. “You’re right.” I confirmed what he told me. “She’s going to work out her differences with Scorpius, and then they’ll both combine together with her wisdom and his...” I frowned, thinking of a suitable description or Scorpius. “… suitable knowledge about Hair care, and then they’ll both kill me—and it’ll be painful, Albus.”

“Kate, you gotta calm down…”

“PAINFUL, I TELL YOU!”

“SHH!”

I flinched under the harsh glare of Madame Reed. Then I turned back to Albus. “Almost as painful as that.”

“Okay…” Albus said, ignoring what I was saying. “Let’s think—”

ALREADY DOING THAT, DINGBAT!!!

Of course I didn’t say that to him. He’s my soul mate.

He just doesn’t know it yet.

He’s also my pity friend. If it weren’t for me, he could be groping a fifth year in the broom closet on the third floor.

Oh God, I’m pathetic.

Instead of telling him all that, I said:

“Yes, lets…”

“What did Rose say? Before the perfectly executed burn on our mutual friend, Mister Malfoy?” Albus asked, chuckling at the memory of Scorpius’s bright red face.

I was having trouble recalling anything before that moment as well. But, it would seem that Albus had a better trained memory than me. Or at least, more effective methods of making me remember things.

“Think about it, Katie.” He said. “Think about how angry Rose’ll be if you don’t remember.”

Good God, that’s a scary thought.

THINK, BRAIN, THINK!!!

Uh… she was laughing at Scorpius. She made Scorpius spit out all his food. She had a test to prepare for, as if she needed more information to fit into her head.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, KATE! THINK!!

“OOH!” I said loudly. “I GOT IT!”

“SHH!”

Oops.

I grinned guiltily at Madame Reed. She glowered back.

“I got it…” I leant forward, whispering to Albus. “She told me that I needed to find book suitable for the charms session she was scheduling for this afternoon.”

Which I am now dreading with every single fibre of my being.

But, what the hey? If I’m dead anyway, I might as well work my way to the good books. And showing up to the tutoring session seemed to be the only intelligent option.

“Alright.” Albus said nodding. “So… what are you doing in charms right now?”

I once again tried to make my memory work in my favour. This time, Merlin seemed to be on my side.

“Flicks!” I exclaimed. “And swishes.”

“The swish and flick?” Albus echoed skeptically.

I nodded, proudly.

“We did that in first grade, Kate.”

Well, apparently Merlin did hate me.

Thanks a bunch, God.

“Alright.” I said slowly. “That’s not it.”

I narrowed my eyes and Albus. “Okizzay…” I said slowly. “How many curses, and or hexes do you think Rose actually knows how to perform? Just give me a rough estimate.”

Albus shrugged. “She’s memorized the entirety of the hex and curses section of the library.”

I flinched.

Not Good.

“And why…” I continued to try and remain non-hysterical. “…Would you say, she did that? It’s isn’t, because she knew one day that she’d have to teach me a lesson about not paying attention in real lessons?”

Oh God I hope not.

“Could be…” Albus said, grinning.

I slumped in my chair, letting my head fall to the desk with a bang. I knew Madame Reed was once again glaring at me, but this time I couldn’t see it.

I’m gonna count that as a free pass.

“I’m just kidding, Kate.” Albus said, “Rose studied them, because despite what she says, she is scared of some big bad coming this way for her and her family.”

I nodded, seriously. It was probably something a child of the Weasley’s or the Potter’s would have to deal with.

“Okay.” I said. “That means I don’t need to be so worried about her having premeditated the murder that I expect is to come in my future. There is still the big risk of her just getting a little too angry.”

Albus grinned. “So… find someone else in your class? Someone who actually does the work?”

The man’s a genius.

“That,” I said grinning. “Is an extraordinarily fabbo suggestion.”

Albus bowed his head. “Thank you,” He said proudly.

I scanned the library. Smart people are always in the library. Smart people in my class are always in the library.

Scanning… Scanning… Scanning

—OHMIGOD!

Job Idea! I could be one of those women who record their voices on Muggle compoopers and then they read out every single thing someone writes on the screen.

“Hey, Albus, I just realized—”

“Focus, Katie.” Albus reminded me.

I frowned, pouting, but looked away and continued to scan the library for students.

Oh.

Charmaine and Oz were sitting in the far corner, both studying what looked to be potions. Charmaine I knew wasn’t angry at me. I wasn’t sure why, but she wasn’t.

Oz, on the other hand, had spent the last few days keeping a comfortable and silent distance from me, which is what brought me to befriend Wallace.

“They’re in your class, right, Katie?” Albus asked.

I looked up at him, no joke in my face. Please, please, please, get it Albus.

“Oh—”

Looks like he got it.

“Are they both angry at you?” He asked. “Because is Charmaine is being all shallow about us, then I have to give her a piece of my mind.”

I shook my head. “It’s not Char. It’s Oz.”

But why was it Oz? Sure, he was good friends with Eric, and with Emily. But he was just as close to me. And he had often stated that Eric must have been overstating his hate for the Potter-Weasley clan.

And Oz was a forgiving guy. And I had helped him through a whole lot of things in his life, specifically his crush on Charmaine which Emily and Eric had been too dull to notice.

Albus nodded his head in understanding. “We could go and look for other people in your class.”

And he had obviously gotten somewhere on my advice. He was sitting there studying with her, for god’s sake.

“Katie?”

“No.” I said suddenly, looking away form Oz and Char, to Albus. “I’m gonna go and talk to them.”

Albus smiled, almost proudly. “Good for you, Katie.”

I stood from the desk.

Oh, God, oh god.

I leant backward, from the first step I had been about to take. I felt Albus’s hands on my shoulders, pushing me forward, and then I got so unfocused that I almost swooned.

“Whoa…” Albus said. “You alright?”

I nodded, trying to stay upright. His hands with on my waist now, holding me up.

Holy. Shit.

“Yeah…” I mumbled, trying to regain dignity by regaining my footing.

I trod on Albus’s foot, and he laughed. “Crap, Katie. These people must make you nervous.”

Uh…

“Sure.” I said. “That’s it.”

He looked worriedly down at me. “You're sure you're up to this?” He asked.

I was beginning to regain my footing.

“Don't worry.” I assured him. “I won't do anything that could be interpreted as brave.”

He chuckled at that.

“Don’t worry, Katie.” He said, “I got you.”

That almost made me swoon again.

…Almost…

I really have to get over this crush.

“Come on. Think of Rose’s wrath.”

That snapped me out of my loved up stupor. I was nodding, ready to go straight away, after that. Albus laughed loudly, and that got him a glare from Madame Reed.

“Oh, god…” I moaned, as soon as we were only metres from their table. “This was a bad idea…”

“No, no, No.” Albus promised. “This was a good idea. This was brave. This was mature. You’re doing wonderfully.”

“I’m not made for that. Smart ideas belong to people in Ravenclaw, people who are Brave belong in Gryffindor and people who are mature are teachers.” I justified.

Albus pushed me so hard that I almost flew through the air, and then landed right in front of their table.

Charmaine and Oz stared at me.

“Hi…” I said, trying to be charming. “So… I was in the neighbourhood.”

Albus, who had cowardly hidden behind the nearest bookcase snorted. It took all my willpower not to turn around and glare.

“We all live at this school, Katie.” Charmaine told me.

Small obstacle. Can get past this easily.

“That is such a coincidence…”

Fail, Katie, Fail.

Oz had been staring firmly down at the book in his hands, until that point. Then he closed the book, folded his hands across the cover of the book, and then looked up at me.

“Have a seat, Katie.” He said, smiling at me. “And tell your friend he can come out from behind the bookshelf.”

Busted.





So…? Cliffhanger, which I hope brings in the reviews. If you do review, you can go to heaven, and hang with God.

I hope you like this story, even with the lack of her old friends. Her relationships with Rose and Scorpius and Albus are all developing now—which I think is good.

Please review.

Grace.



Chapter 11: A Flourish and a Tap
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11. A Flourish, and a Tap.




“Katie, you need to listen to me. And I’m being totally serious.”

That was a wonderful way to start off the conversation. I felt, momentarily, like running for the hills, or possibly killing myself.

Since I had lost control of my facial muscles and could only stare, horrified, at Oz, it was Albus who said, “Shoot.”

“Emily is angry at you.” Oz declared.

Thank you for that information, Oz.

As though I didn’t know.

I nodded, trying to remain serious like he had asked.

“Eric, is furious with you,”

God, he’s just the official good news bringer.

He looked to be opening his mouth again.

Go on, Ozzy—Make my day.

“Penny is adding fuel to the fire.”

I KNEW IT! She was such a bitch. I should never have let her anywhere near Eric. This probably wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for her.

…Well, it wouldn’t have been so extreme.

I hope.

I finally regained control over my jaw and stared hopefully at Oz. “What about you?” I asked slowly. “Do you hate me as well?”

Oz was silent for a second. Then he smiled at me. “I have no opinion.” He told me. “I’m not angry at you, nor do I disagree with Em or Eric.”

I still needed to figure out exactly what he had to agree of disagree with going on with everyone.

Oz seemed to read my mind. “I’m not going to tell you what… Eric’s problem with the Potters and the Weasleys is.”

I nodded, silently.

“You need to find that out for yourself, and then make your own decision on what you think about it all. And I’m not going to influence that.”

Jesus, I’ve never seen Oz so serious, or so mature.

It was frightening.

Then he looked over at Albus.

“I have done exactly that, and I’ve made up my mind of what I think of you, and all your friends and family.”

Albus stared at him apprehensively.

Oz held out his hand. “I’m not going to hate you for something that you did all those years ago. So, here. I’m Oscar Forest the Third.”

Albus smiled at Oz for a second. “Katie wasn’t wrong.” He said. “You’re cool.”

Oz smirked at me. “You gossiping about me?” he asked.

I shrugged. “Just telling them every single thing about your life.”

Oz grinned, then he leant across the table and pulled my chair to his. Then I was being held under his arm, in a hug that I couldn’t help but lean into.

I had my OZZY back!!

As I hugged Oz with all my might, refusing to let go of his green oversized t-shirt, I looked hopefully over at Charmaine. She was smiling at the scene.

“You angry at me? I’m sure Emily has been talking about me when I’m not in the dorm.”

Char sighed grimly.

“I’d be a hypocrite if I said I was angry at you for concerning yourself with the Potter-Weasley clan.” She said. “I grew up with them, and I know them as well as you do…” She sighed. “Eric and Emily have never treated me like this.”

I sighed shrugging.

“So…” Oz said, changing the subject. “Were you really just in the neighbourhood?” He asked.

I blushed a little and Albus laughed.

“Actually I need some help.”

Oz chuckled, as though he had predicted it.

“What do you need help with?” Oz asked.

“What have we been studying in Charms?” I asked guiltily. “I kind of forgot.”

Char rolled her eyes before looking straight at Oz.

“We’ve been doing hexes.” Oz explained. “And the homework was based on the basic essence of all charms—because every single wand movement that we use concerning hexes all originated with the original movement.”

I nodded slowly. “And that’s the circle and poke thing we were doing in class before?”

Oz nodded. “Spot on.”

“So,” He continued. “The basic methodology that you need is in the hex area of the library, which is just over where you just were. We have to write eleven inches on the common derivation of wrist movements concerning Hexes, and comparing that to another section of Charms.”

That sounds…

…extraordinarily complicated.

But, Oz was the one with the smartitude authority, so I guess what he says goes.

Plus, he had just forgiven me, and forgiven Albus for whatever happened between them and Eric.

He was just a swell guy.

“Hecksellent…” I exclaimed, nodding. “Any specific books I should… consult?”

Oz looked down at the pile of books in front of him. He shifted the heavier looking volumes to reveal his own paper. He then consulted his list of books looked at.

“You should try… Complicated Charms, by Linda Ryder. It’s got a whole chapter on Hexes and their execution.” He suggested helpfully. “And also… The Common Origin; Hexes, Curses, and Spells, by Fiona Locksworthy.”

When he finished reading out, he looked up at Char. He exchanged a secretive sort of smile with her, and then looked back at the parchment, blushing a little.

Aw!

I nodded, leaning over his list. I grabbed a piece of spare paper from his pile in the middle of the desk and then stole his quill.

“I’ll just write those down.”

I began scribbling on the paper. I wrote the two names in hurried writing, before moving down the page further, and writing, with completely different intent:

Have you asked her to Hogsmeade yet?

Oz jerked, looking straight up at me. Then he shook his head slightly. Then he saw everyone’s curious gaze and stuttered: “You… uh… spelt it… wrong.”

I grinned to myself, reaching down and scribbling on the page.

Do it! I urged. You’ll hate yourself if she goes with another bloke.

Oscar’s eyes widened. “That better?” I asked for verification.

Oz scowled at me, before wrenching the quill from my grasp. “I’ll do it.” He said.

She wouldn’t go with another bloke, would she?

Then, I really had no excuse for taking back the quill. She I took the parchment, folded in neatly in my hand, and smiled at Albus to let him know we were going.

Then I shrugged at Oz. “You never know…” I answered out loud. Then I grinned at Albus. “Keedokey.” I declared loudly. “Let us go.”

“You never know what?” I heard Charmaine asking him. “What?”

Oz must have been glaring, but I didn’t see. Then I heard his voice say, “How to spell things correctly. But don’t mind Katie. She’s a little challenged.”

I couldn’t find it in my heart to be truly angry with him for that remark.

“Back to business.” Albus said. “Let’s find those books, and put a little in the space between your ears.”

I glared at him.

But there was some truth in the statement.

“Lets find these books!” Albus said, in that pep-rally kind of way.

Half an hour later, we were still looking. Albus was in the aisle down from me, browsing through his books, and I was stomping through my own aisle.

“Libraries are stupid.” I muttered with a scowl. I prowled along the bookcase, my expression sour.

I was so not in the mood for making my brain work.

Albus didn’t halt in his action of browsing for another of his smartitude manuals. He was shaking his head at my idiocy.

“They’re dumb.” I continued, lifting my hand and running it roughly along the spines of the books. “They’re stupid. And Big. And too quiet. And smell of—”

I froze, as about five books tumbled to the floor. My hand exerted more force as I had listed the problems with a library, which had resulted in…

“Crap.”

“Katie?” Potter’s voice sounded amused. “Did you just break the library?”

I hesitated. I could almost see his smirk.

“No…?”

After Albus had gotten his kicks from watching me pick up all the books, grumbling as Madame Reed glared down at me—both of us had congregated at the door.

Luckily enough, the books I had knocked off were the two I was specifically looking for. So I clutched the books to my chest, ready to borrow them and keep them forever.

“So…” Albus said, wrapping his arm around my shoulder. “Are we both safe from the dreaded Rose?”

There was the distinct sound of a throat being cleared right behind us. Then we both turned around the face, who we already knew it was.

Rose was glaring at us, waiting patiently for an explanation.

“Apparently not.” I said slowly.

She almost growled.

“RUN!” I shouted.

And then I had to run any way, because Madame Reed was after me with a broomstick.




I had rested my head on my hands for the Transfiguration class I was forced to attend. Just like any class, I was sitting to the left of the class, just close enough to the window to see the sky and the top of the mountain when I looked out.

Of course, I had to pay attention in this class, because our favourite Head of Hufflepuff was taking it.

Professor Macmillan was standing at the front of the classroom, illustrating how we were to change inanimate objects back into animals.

I jabbed my wand uselessly at the small stone frog that stared pitifully back at me. It was just too upsetting to think that I was supposed to restore the small creature to its previous green and, well, live state.

The poor little thing depended on me, to bring it to life.

“So this is what God feels like.” I sighed, tapping my wand on the desk.

The chair beside me—which I had come to accept would be vacant as long as Emily was angry at me—was pulled out.

I looked up to see Natalie smiling warmly at me as she sat down. “Now do you respect our heavenly father?” She asked.

I frowned. “I always did. I’ve always been Pro-God.”

“You mean Christian?”

I nodded, grinning. “That’s the one.”

Natalie grinned at me. “We’ve missed you at the Breakfast table.” She told me brightly.

I risked a glance at enemy territory. Eric and Emily sat together, heads huddled as they spoke either about mutilating the stone Bilby that sat in front of them, or mutilating me.

I’m not sure if I wanted it to be me to save the Bilby, or if I would sacrifice the Bilby for my own wellbeing.

“Yeah,” I said with a dry laugh. “I’m sure that everyone’s real messed up about it.”

Natalie looked at Eric and Emily together.

“You know,” she said quietly. “Emily’s been pretty upset.”

I frowned. I hadn’t seen much of Emily out of classes, when she refused to even look my in the eye. In the dorm, where our beds were right next to each other, she pulled the curtains whenever she saw I was coming in.

And if she were coming in, then she wouldn’t look at me, before stomping to her bed, and pulling the curtains.

“Right…” I said sarcastically.

Natalie shook her head.

“Seriously, Katie,” She told me. “She’s been crying whenever you’re not around. It wasn’t so bad the first day. She thought it would just be a little fight and you’d come back and apologise, like you always do.”

My eye twitched. It had taken the combined force of Fred, Albus, Scorpius, and their other friends to kidnap me and pull me into their dorm, and let me know what I push over I was.

And they were right.

I would always apologise, I not for a reason, then I’d do it just so that the fight would be over and my life could assume normalcy again.

But this time, I hadn’t. Because I knew I wasn’t in the wrong, and I had other friends, who made me feel better about myself.

I didn’t need to go begging for forgiveness.

Natalie must have noticed my irritation and she nodded. “See?” She said, indicating to my face. “You would have never gotten angry at someone else before.” She told me.

I frowned, puzzled.

“You always blamed yourself,” Natalie explained. “And Emily thought that you were going to do exactly the same thing, and just come and say sorry. But this time, you knew that you were right, and you didn’t do that. And instead, you went and found other friends, who you’re always hanging with now.”

I thought fondly of all my new friends.

If you had told me at the end of last year, that I wouldn’t be talking to Emily, and instead I would be confiding in Albus Potter, Rose Weasley, Scorpius Malfoy and Fred Weasley—I would have laughed.

“She’s really upset?” I asked, looking at Emily.

She did look sort of tired. Her hair was mussed up, and there were the faint remnants of bags under her eyes, covered by makeup from one of her Magical Cosmetic shops. And she was leaning, her head in her hands, to the side, away from Eric. As though she was struggling to stay awake.

“Yeah,” Natalie confirmed. “She was up most of last night, crying.”

I frowned. I was in that dorm. And I hadn’t heard any crying.

What I pointed this out, Natalie stared at me like I was stupid. “Well, of course you didn’t hear it. She doesn’t want you to know that anything’s wrong.”

I stared at her.

“She cast a Silencing Charm…” Natalie said, as though it was obvious.

It kind of was.

“Oh.” I said, feeling smaller than I had when I had come in. “What about Eric?” I leaned forward, trying to see the things I had seen on Emily, on Eric’s face.

Natalie grimaced. “He’s pretty angry.” She said. “But you know, he has a right.”

That is it!

I slammed my hand down on the table, particularly hard, but it didn’t make much of a sound.

Hurt like hell though.

“How come everyone knows what happened with Eric and the Potters and Weasleys? Was I just sick the day it all happened, or did he send out some bulletin telling everyone to keep it all a secret from me?” I demanded.

Luckily enough, I had enough sense to keep my voice down, so when I said the name ‘Eric,’ and both Eric and Emily turned to see what we were talking about—they couldn’t hear what I was actually saying.

Natalie sighed. “I don’t know why you don’t know. Frankly, I would’ve thought he’d tell you—but apparently he thought you didn’t need to know.”

“Well,” I said angrily, “I bloody well need to know.”

“Whoa…” Natalie said, holding her hands up. “Calm down, Kate.”

I took a deep breath, mentally kicking myself. Lashing out at an ally was not a smart move.

“Sorry.” I apologised. “I just… everyone has been saying that. And then no one will tell me what actually happened. And I can’t even try and fix things with them if they don’t tell me what I did wrong, or what is so bad about the Potter and the Weasleys. And whatever it is that they did to stupid, freaking, Eric!”

Natalie looked hastily over to see if they had noticed. Which they had.

Eric narrowed his eyes at me, and Emily rolled hers, looking away.

Oops.

But someone else had noticed, who warranted a little more concern. Professor Macmillan was making his way towards us.

“Quick, quick, quick, quick, quick…” I said, lifting my wand. “What was the incantation?”

Natalie looked down at her notes, picking up her own wand. “Uh…” She scanned the page of neatly scribbled writing. “Animaus Reverto.” She said, “With a flourish and tap of the wand.”

A flourish and tap?

“A flourish and tap?” I echoed.

She nodded.

“Great.” I said. “That’s specific.”

She smirked, before leaning forward, and attempting on her own stone frog. “Animaus Reverto.” She chanted, and there was a small beam of white light that surrounded her frog.

It came to life perfectly, and then took one small jump before Natalie sealed her small cardboard box over it. It moved a little as the frog jumped against the wall, but she seemed to have caught it sufficiently.

“Good work, Miss Henderson.” Professor Macmillan said, smiling down at her. “That was very good.”

Natalie nodded, smiling. Then, to sell her perfectly executed act, she said, “I had some problems on the first tries, Sir.”

The Professor shrugged. “Well, you got it in the end. That’s the important bit.” Then he frowned down at me. “Have you been having difficulty as well, Miss Dalton?” He asked, smiling slightly.

God, I hate teachers.

They’re so horrible threatening, even when they’re smiling.

How Emily could ever have a crush on one is just beyond me.

“Uh…” I said, clearly having a little more trouble than Natalie and fabricating a lie. “Yes?”

Professor Macmillan chuckled, as Natalie flinched in the corner of my vision.

“Now, Dalton.” The Professor said, leaning over the desk. “I’ve been speaking with Miss Weasley about your progress, and she tells me that you would do very well if you just applied yourself. And I know that she’s not only tutoring you in Charms, even though that was all she was asked to do.”

I nodded, dumbly.

“I wouldn’t want to disappoint all her hard work by not focusing, and I suggest that you don’t either. She’s helping you at great personal sacrifice.”

He really has to work on his pep-talks.

All of sudden spending time with me is considered a personal sacrifice.

Oh god, what if Emily and Eric had gotten to the teacher now too.

Was Professor Macmillan on their side?!

Macmillan seemed to recognise the expression on my face and he sighed. “Personal sacrifice of her time, Dalton.” He emphasised. “Her time.”

Oh.

“Come on, Miss Dalton,” he said, pushing himself off the desk and standing straight again. “Have another try.”

“But it’s useless.” I protested, frowning up at Professor Macmillan. “I honest to Merlin cannot do Transfiguration.” I declared.

Macmillan sighed. Then he pointed down at the frog. “Don’t be immature, Dalton.” He told me. “And try...”

I glared at him for a minute, before grudgingly picking up my discarded wand. I pointed it at the small stone frog.

“Animaus Reverto…” I said, with the hand motion that he had illustrated for us.

This isn’t going to work…

Both Natalie and I started backwards when there was a flash of white light around the frog, and then, when we looked back, a small little green mouse stared up at me.

“Croak…”

I stared at my frog mouse.

“I’m going to take a stab and say that wasn’t supposed to happen.” Natalie stated.

Professor Macmillan, who had been caught up in the burst of magic, stared back at me, his bright orange hair blown back out of his face, and his hat on the floor behind him.

“At least your partner is accurate.” He told me, after a deep breath.

My frog-mouse jumped onto my chest, resting at the collar, so I could look straight down at it. Then it croaked again, right in my face.

Is a frog-mouse an amphibian, or a mammal?




“You are, honest to Merlin, the strangest person I have ever met.” Fred told me, staring down at me, as I let Michelangelo go into the lake, still lightly holding onto his green little tail.

“I’m gonna take that as an insult.” I said. “And how am I’m weird?”

I knew the answer, of course.

I must have been cursed or something as a child.

“Are you serious?” Fred asked. “You’re trying to see whether or not your unfortunate frog mouse named Michelangelo can breathe like a tadpole under water. What about that isn’t weird?”

“The name ‘Michelangelo’” I said to Fred. “It’s poetic. He’s a green mouse in a world of white, grey and sometimes pink. He croaks. He’s left behind the world of Frogs, even though he knows that’s where he belongs.”

Fed stared at me. “I repeat:” he said, “You are the weirdest person I have ever met.”

I shrugged. “Whatever. You love Michelangelo and you know it.”

Fred leaned down by the waterside with me. “He’s pretty cute. He is an attractive Frouse.”

I frowned, looking up at Fred. “What’s a Frouse?”

Fred shrugged. “I’m gonna get sick of saying Frog-Mouse.”

I stared down at Michelangelo. “I’m going to get sick of writing Michelangelo on all his birthday cards.”

Fred frowned this time. “When is his birthday?”

I shrugged, “Not entirely sure. But I figure, I made him a mouse today, to it can be his mouse birthday today.”

Fred shrugged along with me. “Makes sense.”

I nodded. “That it does.”

“So.” Fred said, after a second of watching Michelangelo struggled under the water before I lifted him above the surface, and shook him off. I then pushed him right back under the water. He seemed to be struggling to get away. “How are you doing this?”

I shrugged, nonchalantly, not taking my eyes off of Michelangelo. “Trial and error basis, really.” I explained. “Is he amphibious, or not amphibious?”

“What are you going to do if he is amphibious?” Fred asked. “I mean, if he needs to swim in the water every now and again?”

“He can have our dorm bath.” I said. “It can be his personal pond.”

Fred smirked. “And what if your dorm mates want to have a bath?”

I shrugged. “There’s always the basin.”

“You mean the sink?” Fred echoed. “For Michelangelo or for your dorm mates?”

I was momentarily entertained imagining Emily trying to fit into the sink for one of her long luxurious bubble baths she always had to celebrate the end of a term.

“Whoever doesn’t get to the bath fast enough.” I answered.

Fred chuckled for a moment.

My eyes widened as Michelangelo stopped struggling to get above the water, and fell limp in my hands.

“Ohmigod.” I said quickly. “Michelangelo isn’t moving.”

Fred peered down at the small helpless rat. “Huh,” he said. “You reckon that’s because he’s a mouse and mice can’t breathe under water?”

I stared, down at poor little Michelangelo, the green small friend who had left me so suddenly. Then I stared up at Fred.

“I just killed Michelangelo…” I said slowly. “I just killed someone.”

Fred looked worriedly at me now. “Uh, Kate. It was a little frog, that probably would have died in the belly of some bird if you hadn’t turned him into a mouse.”

I let out an exclamation of pain. “I denied letting him have that experience in life. He was from the wild, he knew that he had so much more to offer to the world.”

Oh god. I killed something.

Oh my god, Oh my god, Oh my god.

Fred frowned. “The frogs, that Michelangelo originated with were made by Macmillan, when he transformed the dust bunnies from his office.”

I stared up at Fred in horror.

“Fred.” I said. “That was this morning. And all the little frogs were turned to stone straight away, and then I turned him into a mouse. And he’s been with me ever since.”

Fred stared at me. “So?”

“Fred—” I used his name again to emphasise the seriousness of this statement.

“—Michelangelo died a virgin.”

Fred was silent.

Then, “Crap. Poor little guy.”

I leaned in, pulling the poor little ex-frog rodent to my chest. “He never even experienced the world.”

Fred nodded, wrapping his armed around me, and looked down at Michelangelo. “He was never laid.”

I looked up at him. “He will be laid.” I declared loudly.

Fred stared at me.

I wrinkled my nose at him after a second. “Not that kind of laid, you pervert!” I told him. “I mean, we’re going to lay him in the ground and bury him.”

Fred’s face assumed a look of realisation, and then he nodded. “Right, have fun with that.”

Oh no. You’re not getting away from this, buster.

“No, no, no, no.” I told him, grabbing his sleeve as he made a quick attempt at escape. “You’re not ditching his funeral. You’re his father.”

Fred stared at me, like I was crazy. “What are you talking about?” He demanded.

“I’m his mother,” I explained tiredly, “And you’re his father. I’m not letting you skip out on our final goodbye to our little boy.”

“I’m not going to bury a green rat.” Fred stated. “You made him, you killed him, you bury him.”

I lifted Michelangelo’s body up and made Fred face him.

“Look at him.” I ordered. “Michelangelo knew you were always his father. And he loved you. You may not want him, but he loved you.”

Fred swallowed, looking at poor little Michelangelo’s body. Then he looked at me, a distraught look on his face.

“I do want him. And I am his father.”

I let out a dramatic sob, and hugged Michelangelo to me. Fred then engulfed me in a hug, and in doing so, embraced Michelangelo.

“I’m so sorry Mic. I’ll miss you.”

I frowned, “Mic?” I whispered.

Fred nodded his head. “It was what I called him when we went outside to play ball.”

I nodded, and sobbed again. “We’ll both miss you, Mic.”






Okay. So I’m not entirely sure what happened with this chapter. I had planned everything with Natalie, and the earlier conversation with Oz... but the Michelangelo stuff just seemed to come out of my fingers. I like it, plus it will REALLY help me develop on Fred and Katie’s relationship—so I’m really happy with it.

Oh, and to those of you who aren’t big fans of Katie’s personality (the flighty part) please remember that she is my character. Not to say don’t review and give me your opinions—but keep in mind I’m obviously writing Katie that particular way for a reason.

Cheers and please review

G.



Chapter 12: Do The Rain Dance
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12. We Do the Rain Dance




“What the hell are we all doing here?”

“I don’t know, but they both sounded upset, so I’m thinking it’s serious.”

“Yeah, but why are we all wearing black. Who died?”

“I dunno.”

“Shh—You guys are so stupid.”

“What? Why?”

“Because whatever is going on is obviously serious.”

“Whatever.”

“Hey guys! Uh, do you know why they called us out here?”

“Nope. But it’s serious.”

“She said it had something to do with our Transfiguration class.”

“Why? What happened then?”

“Nothing much. She messed up a spell.”

“Sounds like her…”

“But he wasn’t there, so I don’t really know what’s going on.”

“Maybe if we’re quiet they’ll decide it’s time to start.”

“…”

“Well, that’s not working. OI! YOU TWO! WHAT THE HELL ARE WE HERE FOR—Oof—”

“Shut up you idiot.”

“OUCH! What the hell was that for?”

“It’ll hurt more if you two idiots don’t shut up!”

“…”

I braced myself against the tree that both Fred and myself were standing behind. On the other side, dressed in black by our request, was Rose, Albus, Scorpius, and the new arrivals were Charmaine and Natalie, who I had also invited, being present at Michelangelo’s creation.

Well, it was only Natalie.

But Charmaine could obviously come too, since she’s cool.

“Are you ready?”

I nodded.

It had been a day, exactly, since Michelangelo’s accidental murder.

I still say I should hand myself in, but Fred says that he’s already lost his son and he’s not going to lose his wife.

Oh, yeah—we’re married now. (It was a small ceremony outside of the Astronomy tower. We both decided to tie the knot in a dedication to our lost baby, Michelangelo.)

“As ready as I’ll ever be.”

Fred and I had constructed a small grave for our green son. It was made out of cotton wall that Fred stole from the Potions room, and a box that one of the kitchen house elves gave me.

We had rested little Michelangelo in there, with a piece of black see through material—I had to cut up one of my pairs of stockings to create—covering his body, to an extent.

The same ex-stocking material now made the black veil that covered my face.

Fred held out his left elbow for me, and I looped my hand through it. Then we both lifted Michelangelo’s casket from the crook of the tree where we had rested it, and we walked out.

“What. The. Hell.” Scorpius said.

“We are here today,” Fred called out, ignoring Scorpius’s comment. “To celebrate the life of my son, Michelangelo, who was taken so cruelly from us late yesterday afternoon.”

“…Michelangelo had a fruitful life, despite missing out on a lot of life’s more… pleasurable… activities…”

I nodded my head, eyes downcast.

“…And we would like to say a few words in an effort to respect his memory.”

As we laid down Michelangelo’s casket, into the small hole that Fred had dug earlier, I couldn’t help but feel horrible that I had killed him.

Goodbye, my son.




“So...how did Michelangelo die?” Rose asked me, once the ceremony was over. It hadn’t taken very long, since the eulogy only had to cover about three hours.

As if I didn’t already feel bad enough.

“Uh…” I said, flinching as the rest of the people we had invited fell silent to hear the tale of Michelangelo’s passing. “…Well, you know how he was once a frog?”

Natalie groaned, as though suddenly figuring out exactly where my explanation was going.

I sighed. “I wasn’t sure if a Mouse-Frog was amphibious or not, so I decided to test it out. Poor little Michelangelo drowned, in the effort to find answers about his existence.”

Everyone nodded in understanding. I frowned—they must have misunderstood.

“So…” Scorpius said, “…He just held his head under water and inhaled, and then when he realised he couldn’t breathe underwater, he just, stayed—all in the name of science…”

I glowered at Scorpius. And then nodded my head.

“That’s basically the story.” I said frankly.

“That’s tragic.” Rose said, holding back a smile.

I nodded. “It was very fitting, considering his name. You know that the human Michelangelo cut off his ear?”

Rose frowned, “That was Van Gough.”



“Oh.”

Rose smirked at me.

I shrugged, “I thought that was Picasso.”

Rose shook her head.

“Huh,” I said slowly. “Well, Michelangelo was famous… and so was our Michelangelo.”

“No one knew who he was.” Albus pointed out.

Ah.

Right.

Scorpius snorted.

Fred punched him in the arm. “Don’t laugh about my son’s death, dude.” He said. “He was a big part of my life.”

Scorpius nodded. “Right… for a whole… two and a half hours.”

Fred punched him again. “Three hours, as a matter of fact.”

“That’s what I want to know,” Natalie said, raising her voice to get the attention she required. “When did Michelangelo become your son?”

“Yeah,” Albus added on. “And since when are you and Katie married?”

Fred looked at Albus strangely for a moment.

Then he cleared his throat, and said: “Well, we knew that as the two people who were with Michelangelo when he died, that he would have wanted us to be as close as possible and…”

He trailed off at everyone’s expression. I took a horrified step away from Fred.

“Not that close.” I said, in protest to what they were all thinking.

Fred frowned, and then realisation dawned on his as well.

“Children,” He reprimanded. “Get your minds out of the gutter.”

Everyone seemed to accept our obvious discomfort at the concept of doing… that with the other, and moved on. I mean, come on, Fred was a good looking guy, and I’m sure it wouldn’t be a bad experience but—

Well Fred Weasley has never really held a whole lot of appeal, in my books.

“Uh…” Scorpius pointed out, after we had chatted a little more. “Can we go back inside now?”

I could understand why he would want to do that.

The sky was getting darker, and clouds were coming over the mountains on the other side of the lake. The Squid was waving a tentacle in the air, which usually meant that he/she was getting a last look at the sky before diving down deep into the bottom of the lake.

It was getting windy as well.

“We’ve got one more thing to do.” I shouted out to everyone. “Because Michelangelo was an amphibian turned… non-amphibian, we can only assume that as soon as he found out he couldn’t breathe under water, he wished that there could be water on land.”

Everyone was frowning at me again.

Like I was crazy.

I really should get used to that look.

“We’re going to do a rain dance, dedicated to Michelangelo.”

And that was why, at about six o’clock in the evening, I found myself and all my new friends out on the shore of the lake in the middle of the Hogwarts grounds, dancing.

I was spinning around with Fred, doing a funky sort of seventies dance, when we both looked up to see everyone else had formed a circle around us.

I had a flash of how cool this must have looked.

They had made the circle by connecting their elbows, and they were all spinning around us to the right.

“OH GREAT AND MIGHTY MERLIN, OR GOD!” I shouted to the skies. “LOOK AFTER MICHELANGELO WITH YOU IN HEAVEN AND LET HIM KNOW THAT I AM EXTREMELY UPSET AT THE CONCEPT OF NEVER SEEING HIM AGAIN!”

“YES!” Fred continued. “AND THAT I WILL MISS PLAYING QUIDDITCH WITH THE LITTLE GUY!”

The group of people in the circle around us started doing a little chant of Michelangelo’s name, but they were saying it so quickly that it all meshed together.

“MICHELOMI—LENGELOMICH—LENGELO—LENELOMI—CHELENGO—”

And then we were interrupted.

“Potter?” Professor Longbottom said. “Malfoy, Weasley’s… What are you all doing out—Charmaine?” he exclaimed, staring at his daughter.

“Hey Daddy.” Char said, smiling at her father.

“What are you all doing out here?” He asked, obviously confused.

“Oh,” Char said, “We’re doing a rain dance tribute for Michelangelo…”

Professor Longbottom stared at her. “Who?”

“Michelangelo.” Charmaine replied. “He was a rat, who was once a frog, who belonged to Katie, who drowned so we were doing a tribute rain dance for him.”

Professor Longbottom looked amused as his eyes raked over everyone’s faces. I realised belatedly how dark it had become outside. I could barely see his face.

“Well,” He said, “your rain dance must have worked. There’s a big storm on its way.” He said. “I suggest you all come inside.”

I cast one more longing glance at Michelangelo’s grave site before walking inside, starting up a conversation with Rose about whether or not a rain dance counted as a charm that could get me to pass the Charms Exam.

She said it wasn’t.

Dammit.




I was watching the Hufflepuff table from across the Great hall, once again seated at the Gryffindor table. Emily and Oscar were sitting together, with Shirley, Lauren, and Natalie. Charmaine was also there, but she was temporarily talking to another girl from her year.

“You miss being over there, huh?”

That was a voice that I wasn’t expecting. Rose, maybe, even Albus. But it wasn’t.

I turned to see Carson Longbottom, smiling frankly down at me. She put her plate down next to mine, and sat beside me, twisting her body so that she was facing me.

I rested my head in my hands.

“I don’t really know,” I answered.

And I didn’t.

They looked like they were having fun over there, and I certainly missed hanging out with Emily and Oscar. Eric was sitting with Penny, spoon feeding her mashed potatoes, and I knew that I missed hanging out with him as well.

And I wanted to know more about Emily and what she thought of Professor Wood. I wanted to help her ease out of her crush on him.

And I wanted to really help Oscar with Charmaine. He had asked her to Hogsmeade for the upcoming weekend. Which meant I was going to miss his awkward freak out about how to act, and Emily was going to get to teach him the basics all on her own.

Not that I was such an expert on dating.

“Well, Charmaine told me that they all miss having you over there.” Carson said to me.

So had Natalie. And the concept of Emily crying herself to sleep over me? She didn’t even shed a tear when she had to leave Italy in the holidays, and therefore, leave her Romano back in Rome.

“I want to be there.” I said, “But I don’t at the same time.” I explained. “Does that make sense?”

Carson nodded. “Why don’t you want to be over there?”

I shrugged. “It’s just… I know that Rose, and Albus and Fred, and even Scorpius are all really good people. And I don’t understand what they could have done that was so unforgiveable.”

Carson nodded, pursing her lips.

“You really have no idea about what happened with the Smithers family, do you?”

Oh god. Another person who already knows.

“I know what you’re going to say…” I told her tiredly. “You have to figure it out, etcetera…” I grimaced as too many thoughts congregated in my head at once. Then I twisted to face Carson.

“You know about it, right?” I asked.

Carson nodded.

“Right,” I said. “And what do you think about it? Would you forgive them if you were Eric?”

Carson sighed, her eyes drifting to when Eric sat with Penny. Then she sighed again and looked back at me. “You know…” She said slowly. “I think I would have.”

I nodded.

“And…” she said, “I think it’s time you found out what happened for yourself.”

Oh, Merlin.

Holy Magical Mother of all things Holy and Magical

Is she going to tell me what happened?

Is Carson Longbottom going to tell me what everyone else thinks I should figure out for myself?

“Come on.” Carson said. “Grab a drink and some food. We should leave—find somewhere else to talk.”

Oh God, that sounded ominous, as though it was too top secret for anyone to even consider speaking about in the public. And Carson looked worried as though she was sure she’d get in trouble for even telling me.

My heart began hammering, quickly in my chest.

Carson and I managed to walk away attracting the minimal amount of attention. Rose had been easy to convince when I said that Carson was going to catch me up on some Charms techniques.

I followed Carson out of the Hall, where everything was suddenly eerily quiet, and into the first empty classroom down the corridor. Carson pushed open the door, which had been left unlocked, and held it open for me, letting me go inside first.

“Have a seat.”

I suddenly felt like I was walking to my execution, and I wasn’t sure whether I really wanted to know or not.

Then I thought of all the things I would miss in my friend’s lives if things continued this way, and I was set. I needed to know why they wouldn’t forgive the Potters or the Weasleys.

“Alright…” Carson took a deep breath. “I found out about this from the Potter family, who were talking to my Dad. And then I heard versions from Al, and from all the rest. But I know the real story, and I’ll give you a non-biased opinion.”

I nodded, slowly, the suspense already killing me.

“Well, you know James, right? He was in fourth year when we all started at Hogwarts. And Eric Smithers was obsessed with Harry Potter. To a creepy extent. He had dolls of Harry Potter and he followed James and Albus around all the time.”

I nodded, slowly.

“Well, Albus got a little freaked out by it. He was only twelve at the time, and he wasn’t very comfortable with having an eleven-year-old fan. And that made James act… protectively. So James told Eric that if he wanted to hang with Albus and him, and be in their real close posse, he’d have to run around the entire Great Lake.”

I sucked in a breath, with a loud, “Whoosh.” So much air entered my lungs that I almost choked on it.

The Great Lake was extremely big. I didn’t know the exact circumference of the lake, but it was more than fifty miles from the school to the other side.

Let alone around.

“James swore to me that he didn’t think Eric was going to do it. He didn’t know how far fans would go for his attention, and he certainly didn’t know how far a little eleven year old boy would go to be associated with his idol.”

I stared at Carson. It was kind of scary the way she was recounting this tale to me.

“Anyway, Eric wanted so much to be classified with the Potter/Weasley family, that he did. He ran almost one third around the lake.”

She stopped, and took a breath, seeing if I was all right with this.

I wasn’t.

I was staring at her with wide eyes.

“And…?” I asked.

Carson sighed. “He collapsed from exhaustion, it’s one of the only things that magic can’t stop. It was raining that night, and it got dark early. Eric got lost, he couldn’t go home, and he knew he couldn’t keep going.”

I was watching Carson with wide eyes, but I wasn’t seeing her.

Instead I was watching the whole scene unfold, in front of my eyes. My imagination could figure out exactly what Eric would have looked like, eleven years old, and lost on the border of the Lake and the Forbidden Forest.

“James waited outside the castle for him to come back. But then it was time for dinner, and James went inside, with Albus, and—well, they were only fourteen and twelve. They have short attention spans…”

Oh, Merlin’s Underpants.

“They forgot about him. Until about eleven o’clock that night, when they realised that he hadn’t come back. They ran around the castle, and asked about him, but none of the teachers could find him. So there was a massive search party put together to find him.”

I could see the frantic teachers calling his name through the dormitories.

I could see Albus’s frantic, hysterical face.

“They called in Aurors, in case something from the Forbidden Forest got in the way. They called the Smithers family, as well as the Potter Family and the Weasley family.”

Carson sighed again. “When, Harry found out about what had happened, he led the Search Party himself. They followed Eric’s footprints, until they led right down to the water and stopped.”

Holy crap.

“Eric thought he might have been able to swim back. An eleven year old can do anything, you know?”

Carson smiled grimly.

I couldn’t even move a facial muscle.

“It was Harry who found Eric, curled up and unconscious on the edge of the lake, about three hundred metres from where he got into the lake. He had a lot of water in his lungs, but they gave him CPR, the muggle way, and he was alive when Harry personally carried him from the Lake, and apparated him to St. Mungos.”

Oh, Eric… Oh, my god.

“He was diagnosed with hypothermia and pneumonia. The Healers cleared that up, but he was unconscious in the hospital for three more days, until he woke up. And he blamed the Potter family.”

Well, that was relatively understandable.

“And so did his family. The Smithers threatened to sue James and Albus for what they had done, and by some miracle, Hermione Weasley—you know, Rose’s Mum? She was the healer who had gotten rid of the pneumonia. She managed to talk them out of it.”

I knew Rose got her genius from somewhere.

“But Eric always thought that he had been almost killed, and humiliated, and the Potters got away with it just because they were famous. And he’s hated them ever since. It was amazing when he let Liam hang out with Hugo. It was just mind boggling.

There were a lot of mind boggling things in Carson’s speech, but the fact that Hugo now hung out with Liam Smithers wasn’t really the biggest of my worries now.

Where had I been? Why hadn’t I heard about this?

Eric hadn’t been my close friend until about third year, when we were partnered together for a Care of Magical Creatures class. But I must have heard something about all this.

I didn’t have much time to dwell on what I could have been doing, though, because at that second, there was the sound of a throat clearing in the corner.

I looked up to see—

“Rose.” I said slowly, eyes widening. “Uh… how did you…uh…?”

She guessed what I was going to ask.

“I knew when you told me you were going to voluntarily study that something was up. So I followed you.”

I stared at Rose, unable to think about anything other than what Carson had just told me. To think that the people I had, only hours ago, been doing a rain dance with, could ever be mixed up in something like that was almost unbelievable.

But it had happened.

Carson hadn’t lied.

“Sorry, Rose,” Carson said. “I thought she ought to know.”

Rose nodded, not taking her eyes of me. “You did the right thing Carson.” She said.

Carson smiled grimly at her, before walking past her and back out into the Entrance Hall.

“So…” Rose said, “What are you going to do?”

I stared at her. “I think… I’m just gonna go back to my dorm, lie down, and listen to some music.”

Country Music.

The music of pain.

I walked past Rose, who hadn’t moved, her eyes were still trained on the spot where I had been standing. I got to the door, before I stopped and turned around.

“Rose…” I said.

She spun around and faced me.

“We’re going to be okay.” I said, “I just need to think about some stuff. Don’t worry about us. And don’t worry about me. Everything’s going to be okay.”

And for the first time since meeting Rose Weasley and talking to her, I knew that I was telling her something that she didn’t already know.

But she that needed to know, we were still friends.

I rushed back into the room, and wrapped my arms around her neck, hugging her, like she had hugged me when she had been upset with me.

Then I smiled grimly at her, and walked out of the empty classroom, heading straight for the staircase and the promise of my warm fluffy bed.




Holy frigging Crap.

How freaking intense was that?

Alright, I know the stuff with Michelangelo was getting a little tedious by the end of his part, but I just want you guys to focus on the Katie—Fred relationship, because their ‘marriage’ is going to be spoken about a lot in the story from henceforth onwards.

Also, I noticed I made Scorpius a bit of a dick at the beginning, and if you think that’s cutting it a little too close with his character tell me.

And also tell me if you think it’s fine.

Now, that you guys all know the back story concerning Eric and the Potter/Weasleys I hope your satisfied with it. I hope that it all makes sense, and you can understand what it all means—and I hope you don’t think it’s too farfetched.

The next chapter will be less funny, and a little more angsty, but you know, ‘the sun’s gonna shine tomorrow—’ It’ll get better.

Also, not much of Albus in that chapter. Which is upsetting. I think he only says like, one thing. But you finally heard Carson speak and you learnt how I imagine both Carson and Charmaine to look.

So, if you could please tell me what you thought in reviews, I would be very obliged to post the- next chapter, quicker.

Cheers,

Grace.






Chapter 13: Answers in a Portrait
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13. Answers in a Portrait





By that night, three hours later, into the darker parts of the night, I knew three things.

Number one:

What happened to Eric was intense and dramatic, and he had every right to feel angry about how he had been treated, and how nothing had been done for him in repayment. And he still has to see Albus every single day at school, now hanging out with one of his friends.

That must be like a punch in the guts, to Eric.

So I didn’t blame him for being angry with me.

Number two:

I didn’t care about what they had done. Why he hated Rose and the rest of the Weasleys and Potters I could only assume was because they were just as famous as Albus and James, and could therefore do most things without consequence, in Eric’s mind.

But I didn’t care. Sure it was wrong and a stupid thing to do, But it was also done by a fourteen year old who didn’t know how to handle looking after his little brother, and let alone handle the life of the little eleven year old that was seemingly obsessed with him.

It was a mistake any simple child could have made.

It was a mistake that a simple child did make.

And I had already forgiven them for it. James Potter, who I had never even spoken to in my life, and Albus—who really was just an innocent bystander in the whole scenario.

And finally, Number three:

If I have to listen to another song from either The Rolling Hills, Oh I Love My Magic Farm, or Jemima and the Purple Cows again, I may just shoot myself in the head.

I rolled over on my bed, disturbing Scrubs, who was perched on my knee. He fluttered crazily for a second, before landing on my bed’s headrest.

“Off, I tell you!” I demanded at the wonderful music playing machines.

Since muggle music players didn’t work in Hogwarts, one fabulous Hogwarts graduate had decided to invent and send back to Hogwarts, a magical music player.

All you needed to do was place the tip of your wand against the blue patch where it directed, and then magic would read your feelings and pick a music play list that best suited your mood.

And god help me, Oh I Love My Magic Farm doesn’t suit anybodies mood.

Scrubs seemed to agree with me, because when I reached across the bed and lifted my wand pressing it to the magic spot that would change the god-awful music, Scrubs let out a grateful squawk.

And then one of Lavender Brown’s love ballads came on and both Scrubs and I winced.

“What?” I demanded, tapping my wand down a couple more times. “I don’t want to listen to this.”

To add to the confusion, Scrubs became airborne again, and then settled himself on my flailing leg. I flinched, frowning and turning my head to see him.

“Get off, you stupid bird.” I muttered, shaking my leg. Scrubs’s feet remained attached to me, his talons digging into my skin.

“Ow! Bloody—”I struggled to free my other arm from the confides of my duvet. “Somebody—someone help—it’s broken—” I shook my leg one more time and howled in pain as the talon cut through the thin layer of skin. “Freaking—SCRUBS!!”

I heard footsteps and relaxed, only to tense again when a familiar mane of perfectly conditioned blonde hair walked through the door and I recognised Emily staring down at me.

“Oh.” I said. “Don’t worry.”

She didn’t roll her eyes, or ignore me like she usually would have.

Instead, she clasped her hands together and then sat down on her bed, facing me, and straightening out her skirt.

I must have been a funny sight. Scrubs was still sitting in my leg while my other leg was still trapped under the duvet, as well as my left arm. My right arm had been flung across my whole body, so I was lying on my right arm, and I was balancing because my wand was permanently pressed to the music player, which was now jumping through songs by Freya Freewand and the Hexers, which gave away my angry mood.

“Hi.” Emily said slowly.

“Uh…” I said, completely bewildered. “Hi.”

“Carson told Charmaine that she told you what happened with Eric and the Potters.” Emily said slowly.

Ah. Yes. Of course Carson would have told Charmaine. What one twin knows, the other soon finds out—the saying goes.

Or it should go, if a saying about intelligent twins is indeed out there.

“Yeah.” I said. “She did.”

“So…” Emily said slowly.

No… this isn’t awkward. What gave you that idea?

“What do you think?” She asked slowly. Then she stared at me, as though she was trying to calculate me.

Holy Hamburgers I don’t want to do this right now.

“Scrubs…” I said. “Gerrof…” Scrubs seemed to recognise the tone of the area with his sixth animal sense and did so. And the blood started flowing down my leg.

“Oh—crap—”

I couldn’t do much, still trapped in my sheets and duvet, but to my surprise Emily stood and grabbed some tissues.

“Here.” She said, handing me a bunch of them that, after a huge leap that freed me of the duvet, while pulling it entirely off my bed, I pressed to my leg.

“So?” She asked, when I was sitting up. “What do you think?”

I stared at her calculatingly. “You’re not going to be pleased, Emily.”

She had been looking at me almost proudly. When I told her that, it was as if she deflated, and her face fell.

“You’re going to side with them?” She said, upset.

I sighed. “I don’t know why we’ve suddenly become us or them. And why I’m some sort of a traitor just because I like the people. But yeah, I’m going to stick by Rose, and Albus and their families. Because it’s not as bad as you guys think it is.”

I flinched, as I used the 'you and them' analogy myself, but I tried not to let it show. Instead I focused my energy on watching Emily’ face.

“How is it not as bad as we think? They tricked Eric into almost killing himself, and just got away with it.” Emily said angrily.

“They didn’t trick anyone.” I protested tiredly, “James made a mistake that Eric paid for. It was a simple mistake.”

“…That Eric paid for.” Emily emphasised what I had just said. “They made the mistake, and instead of enduring the consequences of that mistake, Eric paid the price.”

“James Potter was fourteen years old when he made that mistake. And you’re still crucifying him, five years later?” I asked.

“Eric was eleven when he paid for Potter’s stupid mistake.” Emily said, “He went through things that grown adults couldn’t comprehend.”

“Then why, do you think that you can comprehend it?” I asked,

Emily stared at me. “What? I don’t I—”

“You’ve got a position, in this whole situation, that has brought you to have a grudge against people you don’t even know. All because you think that you can define what Eric went through. And, if Eric wants to alienate the people who hurt him, fine. Maybe that’s healthy for someone in his position…”

I stared at her.

“But where do you get off, in condemning them to execution? You have no idea what either James or Albus Potter went through back then?”

“Went through? What could they possibly be—”

“AND you have no idea what Eric went through. He was eleven years old. It was five years ago. All you have, is his account of what happened.”

“Are you saying you don’t trust Eric?” She asked.

I almost screamed in frustration. “Stop, twisting my words.” I ordered angrily. “Of course I trust Eric. Even after all this, and all the dreams he’s probably had of me falling off the astronomy tower—I’d still trust him with my life.”

Emily stared at me, wordlessly. “Eric doesn’t dream of you falling off the Astronomy tower.” She said, almost sadly.

Oh I wish I could believe that.

I never wanted Eric to imagine me falling off the astronomy tower.

But he hadn’t been angry with anyone (besides the Potters) more than he had been angry with me these past few weeks.

“Well,” I said to Emily. “It hasn’t come across that way. And I’m not fine with the way things are. But I’m not fine with the way things were. So, instead of staying here to apologise, like I’m sure you expect, I’m going to go and find the people I need to. And I’m going to tell them, that I forgive them, and that I still love them.”

Emily jerked, looking up at me. “Love them? They’ve been your friends for nine weeks.”

I shrugged. “And they’re the ones who saved me, when I did fall.” I told her. “You dropped me, and they caught me. And that’s alright. But now, I’ve got to catch them.”

I was walking (limping) towards the door when I saw Natalie, Shirley, Lauren, and Charmaine walking up the stairs.

I was almost through the door when Emily decided to get the last word.

“When I saw you with Hilary St. Claire, I should have guessed that my Kate was dead.”

I seethed. I saw red. There were multiple expressions for the anger that I felt at those words. Fury. Hatred. Loathing. Detestation.

I spun around (might I add, on my injured leg) and glared at her.

But it was the injured leg that jolted me back to reality, and I realised that this was just Emily’s defensive mechanism. Whenever someone really spoke to her, who she inwardly agreed with she would snap at them, or fight back.

But I wouldn’t stand for Hilary to be insulted. Hilary who had been so nice since that first day, and become my permanent Potions Partner.

“Don’t insult Hilary, Emily.” I told her.

Voices—or lack of voices—on the stairs told me that everyone there had, well, stopped talking.

“She’s a wonderful person, she’s really nice, and you haven’t given her a chance.”

“She doesn’t deserve a chance.” Emily snapped.

I sighed. “Maybe if you talked to her, you’d realise that she does.”

And then I walked down the stairs, trying to keep air coming in and out of my lungs.




I was half way towards the Gryffindor common room when I realised that I really didn’t know where it was. I froze, in the middle of the sixth floor corridor, frowning.

How was I supposed to find the Gryffindor’s to tell them that I didn’t hate them, or blame them for what happened if they were hiding in the top secret Gryffindor common room?

Emphasise on the top secret.

“Dawdling in neither good for one’s health, or personality.” A voice said. “In fact, it probably brings about the opposite effects.”

I frowned looking around me.

There was no one there.

“And that just makes you look stupid…”

I recognised that voice.

“Fred? Fred Weasley?” I shouted out into nothing, peering around me.

“That would be me.” The voice—Fred—said.

But the voice wasn’t quite right. It sounded quieter. Muffled almost.

“Uh… Fred Weasley—as in my husband?” I verified. “Father of Michelangelo?”

“Married and a father?” The voice that claimed to be Fred let out a whistle. “He didn’t tell me? His own uncle? I shall have to have a very specific talk to that young man…”

Alright—so it’s not Fred.

But apparently it’s his uncle…

Snowmen and FISHFINGERS!!!

“Harry Potter!” I shouted out loudly. “Oh my God! Harry POTTER is here…”

The voice chuckled. “Silly little kid still gets all that attention. I’ll have you know he was rather gawky.”

I deflated and glared into the empty corridor.

“Fine. If you’re not Fred, and you’re not Harry Potter, then who are you.”

“I am Fred, thank you very much.”

WHAT is going on?

“Oh god…” I moaned. “I’m going to have a brain aneurism.”

I pressed my hand to my forehead in an effort to control the whizzing and confused thoughts that were buzzing around in there.

“Whoa there, Nelly.” The voice said. “Calm down.”

“Are you telling me all the truth?” I demanded. “You’re not lying to me or anything.”

“Cross my heart and swear to die—oh no, I’ve already done that… I swear on my grave.”

“You’re a GHOST!” I shouted out triumphantly. “You’re haunting me?”

There was an unimpressed snort. “M’not a ghost,” he said—I had soon concluded that it was a guy. “You have to be scared of death to become a ghost. I walked right into the bright light.”

“Wow. So there is a bright light?”

At this point I was staring at the ceiling, as though expecting the heavens to open up and pluck me from the sixth floor corridor.

Hang on—sixth floor corridor.

That was the corridor that they dedicated specifically to those who fought and died in the Great War.

And if his name was Fred.

And he was my Fred’s uncle—

“Holy crappers…” I said my eyes widening. “Fred Weasley Senior?”

“Got it in one. Well, not one. You’re surprisingly slow, for a friend of my families.” The voice said. “Well, maybe it’s just an every generation thing, because Ron was an idiot, and—but then there’s Hermione…Oi… are you alright?”

I had gone extremely pale.

I knew where the voice was coming from now.

And I was too scared to turn my head and see the painting that had been created for Fred Weasley Senior. The one that was talking to me, right now.

The one who had died.

“Nngh…” I gurgled.

“You should sit down,” Fred Sr. advised “And lean against the wall, or something to that effect.”

I did what he told me, sitting beneath and to the right side of his painting, resting my cheek against the cool marble wall.

“So… uh…” I said, trying make conversation. “You’re… uh…”

“Dead?” Fred Sr. offered.

I nodded. “Yeah…” I frowned, totally unsure of what to do in a situation like this. “…What’s that like?”

Fred Sr. snorted.

“Well,” I said, suddenly offended by his laughing. “I’m not very good at making conversation with a…”

Ooh, good work Kate.

Dig yourself into a deeper hole, why don’t you.

“…Painting?” Fred Sr. suggested.

I frowned at him. “I wasn’t going to say that...”

I had totally been about to say that.

“…A person who had passed on, I was going to say”

Fred snorted again, and then nodded. “Right.”

“Alright then,” I concluded. “Why don’t you talk then. Silence me with your wonderful conversation skills?”

“If your silent, then the conversation skills won’t do much good, now will they?”

Goddamn logical painting.

“Anyway,” He continued, “Why are we talking in the first place?”

I frowned.

You know? I’m not quite sure.

“Hey, buddy.” I said frowning. “You talked first.”

“You talked second.”

And suddenly, I was arguing with my cousins William and Thomas again.

“So? It was all your fault that I talked.”

“No it wasn’t.

“Yeah, it was.”

“Nah.”

“Yeah—You know what, I’m not arguing about this. I’m too mature.”

Fred Sr. chuckled. “Right. Which is why you’ve completely stopped going wherever you’re going so you can talk to a dead guy on the wall.”

I frowned. “You’re not some dead guy.”

Fred Sr. shrugged. “I am. I don’t mean it’s a bad thing. You should see the other side. Totally rocks.”

My eyes widened. “You’ve been to heaven?” I asked. “What’s it like?”

Fred shook his head. “Sorry. Can’t tell you. I’m pretty sure that’s like, a capital offence.”

“Oh. Right.”

“So…” Fred Sr. said, starting the conversation now. “You and my nephew are married and with child?”

I shook my head, sullenly. “Were with child.” I corrected him. “Michelangelo died, a few days ago.”

Fred Sr. frowned. “How did that happen?” he asked.

“I accidentally drowned him.”

I decided to be a little more upfront with Fred Sr. Besides, who knows what cool super powers you can get when you die. Fred could be able to tell whether or not I’m lying, just by looking at me.

Fred Sr. snorted, again. Then he said:

“And were you and Fred married before or after that?” Queried Fred Sr.

“After.” I told him. “We thought it would be right to honour Michelangelo’s memory.”

Fred Sr. looked down at me, as though checking whether or not I was for real. “What’s your name?” He asked, loudly.

“Katie Dalton,” I said. “Hufflepuff,” I added on, just in case.

Fred smirked slightly, to himself. “Oh. You’re that girl.”

Uh… thanks.

“What?” I asked. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Fred leaned forward inside his little portrait. He was sitting behind a little desk with a sash across it, with his full name on it. Then it said in italic “We will never forget, a hero who died with a smile on his face.”

“Katie, do you realise that you were on your way somewhere when I stopped you. Are you late for something.”

Poo.

I swore. Then I pushed myself to my feet. “I was… looking for the Gryffindor Common Room.” I said. “You were in Gryffindor right?”

Fred narrowed his eyes. “Why did you want to go there?”

“Because I have to tell Rose, and Albus and Fred that I don’t hate them for the mess they were mixed up in with Eric Smithers.”

Fred Sr. flinched—even dead people knew before me. “Right. Well, I was in Gryffindor.”

“Can you tell me where it is?” I asked urgently.

Fred looked a little unsure.

“Come on,” I urged. “No offense, but you’re dead. What’s the worst they can do to you?”

Fred Sr. smirked, that seeming to have affected him. “No offense taken, Miss Dalton,” He said smiling and then he leaned forward.

Three minutes later, I was rushing in the directions that Fred had given me, also using a passageway that Fred said no one else knew about, save for specific students.

So I got there extremely quickly.

That had to be the first time I haven’t gotten lost trying to get from one floor to another.

It was only as I was shouting through the portrait of the fat lady wearing an extravagant and yet, extremely elegant dress, that I realised Fred Snr had never answered my question—

What had he meant by ‘that girl?’




“Ah, look everybody. It’s the missus.”

It is really astonishing how irritating Fred Junior could be. And most people would laugh at me if I said that Fred Weasley Sr. was mature.

But, I was glad enough that he was even open to letting me talk to him, so I launched myself at him—hugging him.

“Huh—” I heard Scorpius say, “Looks like someone’s getting some tonight.”

I pushed myself away from Fred to glare at Scorpius. “Aren’t you in Slytherin?” I demanded, glaring at him.

“Aren’t you in Hufflepuff?” He countered.

Touché.

“So… I’m taking it you aren’t angry at me?” I said, hopefully.

Rose rolled her eyes and got up. “Why would we be angry at you, Katie?” She asked.

I shrugged, not entirely sure myself.

Why the heck had I asked that?

Rose giggled. “What about you?” She asked, “You’re not angry with us? You haven’t changed sides?”

I stared at her.

She looked hopefully at me.

“Of course I haven’t changed sides.” I said staring at her like she was crazy. “You guys have been there for me in every single part of my life. Why would I be angry at you for something that happened five years ago?”

“Well,” Albus said frankly, “you’re friends are doing that.”

I shrugged. “You didn’t help my friends by tap dancing in front of the entire school. And…” I turned to Rose, “You didn’t tutor my friends,”

They looked a little confused.

“They don’t know you like I do.” I said, settling on a simple way to get my feelings across. Then I frowned. “Wait, you guys were actually worried?”

There was momentary silence, in which I expected laughter of denial. But then they all exchanged glances and Scorpius nodded at Albus.

Who then launched himself at me, tackling me to the nearest soft plush couch and sitting on me.

Yes, sitting on me.

“You are such an idiot, Kate Dalton.” Rose declared, walking over and staring me in the face.

“Yeah.” Scorpius added. “How many times do we have to tell you that we like you?”

“I married you didn’t I?” Fred asked. “Course, we can’t really know if you drugged me or—”

“—Hey!”

“You’re right, lover,” Fred said. “Love potion.”

I just didn’t see the point in denying it any more.

“Of course we were worried about how you’d react,” Albus said, peering down at me. “We didn’t want you to hate us like your friends do. And we already feel bad enough for making your friends angry with you.”

There was a sudden spread of happiness through my whole body—although, I couldn’t actually feel half off my body, considering Albus Potter was squashing the life out of me.

But along with that boat load of happiness, there was a little confusion.

I looked up at Rose. “Did you tell them what I told you?” I asked, thinking back to what I had said.

‘We’re going to be okay.’ I had promised her.

Everyone looked at Rose, who had suddenly blanched. “Uh…”

“What did she tell you?” Scorpius asked, almost ominously.

“She said…” Rose said slowly, stuttering for the first time since I had met her. “Uh…”

“I told her that we were all going to be alright. And that everything was going to be okay.” I told the boys for her.

The was a moment’s silence. And then:

“WHAT?”

“She told you that she was alright, and you had us pacing around the Common room freaking out about what she was going to say when she reacted. AND YOU ALREADY KNEW?”

Rose shrugged. “I didn’t want to get your hopes up,” she admitted guiltily.

“Get our hopes up?” Fred echoed. “YOU were the one freaking out the most.”

But that was all any one could say on the matter, because three seconds later, Rose was pinned to the opposite lounge, face down, while Scorpius sat on her, demanding that she apologise.

“Say sorry to us, and then to twinkle toes, for betraying her trust.”

And that was the first time that the name twinkle toes, didn’t bother me.

But the moment was kind of ruined when, as I was laughing at the treatment of Rose, Albus saw me and said:

“What are you laughing at, Katie?”

And then I got a mouthful of velveteen couch.





Alright. So things have been sorted out between the Canon heroes, and Katie—and we’ve had an appearance from good Old Fred Weasley Senior.

Sorry if you’re irritated at how many characters I’ve brought in over the past thirteen chapters—but minor characters will keep on coming.

There was a little more with Albus and Scorpius in there, as well as Fred.

And some Emily/Katie stuff too. To people who like their dynamic, I just want you to know that Katie and Emily don’t make up for a while, and they won’t ever really go back to the way they were at the beginning.

Also, with Fred Weasley Sr.—I kind of needed to bring in an adult character who Katie could talk to, but without that Teacher dynamic, or the parent dynamic. And I figured that, who doesn’t love the original Fred Weasley.

Thanks to those people who reviewed last chapter, but please don’t stop with just one.

I will always need feedback on what I’m writing. SO please review and tell me what you thought.

Thanks.

Grace.

PS. BIG THANKS TO MY EXCELLENT BETA WHO IS SO INVESTED IN HELPING ME FIX UP THIS MESS OF A STORY! YOU TOTALLY ROCK!



Chapter 14: Encounters With an Ice-Queen
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14. Encounters with the Ice Queen




“Now.” I said seriously, staring at Oz across the armrest of the chair that separated my chair from his lounge. “Let’s go over the basics again.”

Oz nodded, and I almost giggled—I had never seen him more alert in my life.

It was only half an hour until the general populous of Students from Third Year to Seventh Year were allowed out of the school and through the gates down to Hogsmeade.

Oz had awkwardly asked Charmaine to go to Hogsmeade with him, and she had accepted, blushing and looking at the floor in that cutesy way that makes everyone just go ‘Aww…’

But then, only minutes ago, he had raced over to me, where I sat for Breakfast at the Gryffindor table—I had begun to sit there most of the time when it came to meals— and begged me to help him.

“By the way,” I has asked him on our way to the Common Room, where we now both sat. “Why didn’t you ask Emily?”

Oz had stared at me.

“You and me promised to keep this just between us.” He reminded me, even though I had thought that little pact had gone out the window after my falling out with my group.

I couldn’t help but squee a little at that, jumping up and down and clapping my hands in that excited bimbo way.

And then Oz had stared at me in his own peculiar way, and I had stopped.

But, everyone else was at Breakfast now, so we had the common room to ourselves—and Charmaine had no idea of the tips I was giving Oz.

“No burping.” Oz recited back to me. “No farting loudly—”

Ahh the endless debate.

We had had a loud conversation over the farting thing.

I told him he shouldn’t fart at all. And then he told me it was physically impossible to not fart if you need to.

So he had settled on loudly.

“No singing along to the lame songs that come on over the radio when I’m in the coffee shops, no hitting her when I make a joke, no attempting to feel her up by pretending to fall over—”

Most of the things I had told him about were all things I had learnt from my muggle romance books.

But, what the hell?

They applied here—and Oz definitely needed the guidance.

“I don’t slurp my drink if I get one, I don’t chew or talk with my mouth open if I get food. I pull out her chair for her, and I pay for the drinks that we get. I let her choose where to go, since a girl always knows best, and if she wants to, the furthest I can go with her today is holding hands, and maybe a goodbye kiss.”

He inhaled shallowly, like he was having difficulty breathing.

“What is it?” I asked, alarmed.

Was Oz asthmatic?

“Sorry,” he said, “I’m just… it’s just… I didn’t think she’d even say yes to going out with me.” He pressed his fingers to the bridge of his nose. “Are you sure she’s not just going with me on a pity date?”

I stared at him.

“Oz,” I said bluntly, to get his attention.

He didn’t look up from the floor.

“Oz, my man,” I emphasised, reaching over and pulling his head to look at me.

“She sat with you in the Library for three hours studying Charms that she’s not even supposed to know yet. Voluntarily.”

Oz’s brow creased.

“If that isn’t a sign of intense physical attraction I don’t know what is.”

Oz looked kind of proud of himself at that. He puffed out his chest a little and looked impressed. “Seriously? Physical attraction.”

Not wanting him to be big headed or anything, I gave him a quick once over.

“Alright.” I said, “Maybe it’s just the emotional attraction,” I said. “In your case.”

He deflated a little.

“Hey,” I encouraged, realising that I had probably just quashed his small amount of confidence. “I said maybe.”

Oz buried his face in his hands.




“Go get her, bucko…” I encouraged, pushing Oz towards Charmaine, who smiled at me gratefully before holding her hand outstretched to Oz.

Oz stared at it for a second, before smiling, a little of the confidence that had quashed, returning. Then he took it, and hesitantly began a conversation.

I stood there, watching them walk out, mentally glad that something had gone right recently.

“Hey guys,” I said, approaching the spot where Scorpius, Fred, Albus and Rose stood waiting for me. “Are we ready to get this party started?”

They stared at me.

You’d think that sometime someone might be polite enough to even fake a laugh.

But no.

“Let’s go.” I said quickly, beginning to march down the road.

They all chuckled before following me. Actually, Albus was still chuckling as he leapt forward and draped his arm over my shoulder.

“So, where to first, Katie?” He asked. “Since you’re the newest addition to our gang, you can choose.”

I decided to overlook Scorpius’s noise of protest and the sound of Rose thwacking him in the gut.

Well, I didn’t overlook the sound of Rose hitting him.

That was a memory I would forever lock in my memory bank.

“I don’t mind.” I said, trying to keep watching Charmaine and Oz. “But we have to make sure that we’re in visual distance of Charmaine and Oz for at least the first half an hour—I’m Oz’s life line.”

“Well, may Merlin help the poor guy.” Fred said behind us.

I frowned over my shoulder.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I demanded.

“It means, lover—”

Since we had gotten married, Fred had taken to calling me pet names that you would often find in a relationship. His were a little weird though, and he wouldn’t stop calling me lover.

“—anyone using you as a life line, must be down to his final resort.” Fred explained.

Ouch.

Rose frowned. “Fred, that was rude.”

“Yeah, hubby,” I sneered. “Shut up or I’ll file for a divorce.”

Fred clapped his hands together and looked to the sky, a though he was praying.

“Please, god, please.” He mouthed to the sky.

Not cool.

Scorpius smirked at me.

“What’s wrong guys? Married life not suiting the two of you?” He asked.

“Yeah?” Albus added in smirking. “You’ve fallen off Cloud Nine?”

“As a matter of fact,” I said defensively. “My husband and I are both very happy with our relationship.”

Fred snorted.

“Are we all talking about the same marriage? The one between you and me?”

I glared at him. “What did I say about the shutting up?” I questioned him.

Fred sighed, “You’ll file for a divorce?”

I nodded. “Damn right I will, lover.”

Fred just chuckled.

“Now,” I said, turning my head back around. “Let’s follow that couple.”

I marched off in the direction that I thought Oz and Charmaine had gone in. Turns out it was just a couple of fifth year Ravenclaw’s, and I had to think of a quick and witty way to spread out a search party looking for him.

“Uh… you know what?” I said, trying to be suss. “Oz… uh… has this… invisibility problem, and sometimes he… uh… goes… uh… missing, and… uh…”

“You lose him?” Scorpius offered.

Fred snorted. “See, lover? What did I say?”

“Some lifeline, Kate.” Albus said, looking down at me.

I frowned.

“Don’t be mean,” Rose defended me. She walked up and hooked her arm through my elbow—the one that wasn’t being squashed by Albus’s side.

NOT that I minded.

Come on, we’re talking THE GOD here.

It was all I could do to not swoon.

“Don’t worry, Kate.” She said. “We’ll find them.”

And we did find them, about half an hour after that moment.

Inside Madame Puddifoots.

“No bloody way.” Scorpius said loudly.

“Please?” I begged, “I can’t hear what’s going on if we’re not inside…”

Scorpius shook his head. “Let me clear something up for you, twinkle toes.” He said.

I braced myself.

Here we go.

“I have dated, courted, wooed, snogged and/or slept with, nearly the entire female populous of Hogwarts.”

Both Rose and I narrowed our eyes, a little glaring at Scorpius.

He held up his hands a little defensively. “Hey,” he defended. “I said nearly.”

“You are such a chauvinistic pig.” Rose told him.

Scorpius flashed her a smile that had every female within a three metre radius giggling. However, Rose and I did not react that way,

Instead we glared.

Albus frowned at my reaction and pulled me away from Scorpius—as though to save me from his best friend’s evil tactics.

This did nothing, because, as always, close proximity with Albus Potter always brought my knees to weaken, and sometimes, I saw spots.

So the glaring stopped and was replaced by a sort of weird smile.

“Scorpius!” Fred scolded, frowning. “You’ve broken my wife!”

“Not my fault I was born astonishingly good looking.” Scorpius said. “She’s just a woman.”

Good thing he didn’t know I was almost gurgling, not because of him, but because of his godly and gorgeous best friend.

Almost gurgling.

Just so you didn’t think I was stupid. I wasn’t LITERALLY GURGLING.

Because that would be weird.

“Well, you’ve driven her insane…” Albus said.

“She’s just full of lust for good old—”

That was enough to snap me out of my reverie.

NOT THAT I WAS IN A REVERIE!!!

Lust, about anyone who wasn’t Albus, just sounded all wrong.

In a stupid effort to change the subject, I cleared my throat and said loudly:

“Can we just go inside, please?” I begged.

Scorpius shook his head. “You never let me get to my point, Twinkle Toes.” He told me.

What point…?

Oh.

Bollocks.

“So,” Scorpius continued. “Over my entire history of dating women who cry and moan weep as well as various other assortments of getting upset—such as throwing things at my head—when I don’t get them particularly shiny presents—”

Oh yeah, he’s a real Casanova.

“—I have never ever set foot inside that stupid love nest.”

Huh.

I really don’t know how to judge Scorpius Malfoy from now on.

Rose managed to sum it up though.

“Maybe that’s why you haven’t had a relationship that lasts longer than two weeks.” She said squarely.

Scorpius shrugged.

“Well, maybe you haven’t had a date in three months because you drag all your dates in there.” Scorpius said loudly.

Rose glowered at him.

But Albus came to the rescue.

“You keeping track of Rosie’s dating, Scor?” He asked, curiously, quirking an eyebrow.

I had been planning to just go in by myself at that point.

But Scorpius spluttering was too good to miss.

“I… you… well… we…I’m not…” Then he closed his mouth and frowned. “Your mum.” He then declared.

It was a nice change to see someone else embarrassing themselves. I sighed, “Fine.”

Rose then nodded. “If you girls aren’t going to go in there, then we’ll go inside by ourselves.”

Fred frowned.

“That’s oddly insulting to your own gender.” He pointed out.

Point taken.

Rose only smirked. “Not as insulting as it is to you.”

“As interesting as this is…” I declared to the team. “Oz is depending on me. So… I will meet you back out here once I’ve checked up on him.”

“And we will stay out here…” Fred said.

“…Cradling the remnants of their dignity.” Rose finished.

Honestly, that girl is so witty she could have her own radio show.

I smiled at them, before turning around and walking towards the overly decorated building. I entered, and instantly there was the quiet sound of hushed conversation.

Charmaine and Oz were sitting by the window, so we could see them from the street. Which meant that as I snuck along the row of tables by the window, everyone outside could see me.

They were laughing at my ninja skills.

Come on Katie let’s do this stealth.

Cause I’m a cool ninja man.

I read this article in The Quibbler that when you positively visualise yourself doing something, you can usually do it. And if you can’t see yourself doing something, then you’ll fail at it.

Therefore—

Oz and Charmaine will not notice me.

I am invisible.

I a unseen.

No one will see me.

Because I am invisible.

Quiet as a mouse.

Or quiet as a sleeping grandmother.

Only, not my grandmother.

When she sleeps. The entire world can’t sleep at the same time that woman does. The snores keep every single soul alive—

Even the ones in heaven.

She’s like a freight train, I swear to god.

Not the point.

I’m going to be quiet. Silent. Unseen and unheard. Invisible—

“Hey, Kate.”

Crappers.

I straightened my back, trying to ignore the obvious roaring laughter that was obviously coming from my friends outside.

“Hey Charmaine.” I said, trying to remain cool.

“What were you doing? Are you hiding from someone?” She asked.

Oz buried his head in his hands.

“Uh…” I risked a glance out the window.

Yup. They were pissing themselves.

“No…?”

Charmaine looked kind of amused now. “Then what were you doing?”

“Uh…”

Think.

Think!

THINK!

“…I lost an earring?”

Take that Broadway.

Oz flinched for some reason, even though I was glowing proudly. Wait, wait, wait, wait—

Oooooooh—Crappy McCrappalot strikes again.

“Katie, you’re ears aren’t pierced.”

Oh right—Crappy McCrappalot.

That’s just me.

“Oh—” I said, attempting to recover myself. “—No, no, no… You misunderstand me. You are guessing that I’m looking for an earring at I lost. But that’s not the case at all. See, you thought the earring that I lost was mine, however, it doesn’t actually belong to me, and I was just being helpful, because that’s the sort of person that I am—”

I am very aware that I was rambling.

But rambling has been seen to be very effective because it gave me time to come up with a cover story.

“They’re not my earrings.” I finished grandly.

Oz nodded, bracing himself. “Yeah. You said that.” He said. “Like… three times.”

God, I come in here to watch his ass, but apparently he just has to kick me in mine.

Jackass.

“I just wanted to make sure that you understood.” I reassured him. “Besides—they’re actually Rosie’s. She leant them to me, and I was wearing two and now I’m only wearing one. So, I’m looking for it.”

Charmaine nodded, looking as though she was amused but confused at the same time.

“Which brings us right back to the fact that your don’t wear earrings.”

Dammit!

“They were magnetic…?”

DOUBLE dammit! Not magnetic! Do they even make magnetic earrings?

“Oh,” Charmaine seemed to buy it though. “Do you need some help?”

Oz seemed to try and kill me with his eyes. I could still hear the traitors who I thought were my friends laughing their asses off outside.

Some allies.

“No, no, no.” I assured her. “I think my friend over there found it!”

I waved into nothingness, so that I could sell my little lie. The people who I did end up waving to Elodie Higgins.

She flipped me the bird and then she pulled her hand across her neck.

Oh, god…

“Yeah! Yeah, she got it!”

Charmaine looked around curiously. “Who?”

“Calvin.” I said straight away.

Calvin?

WHAT THE HELL!?

“Calvin who?”

“Uh…” I said. “Calvin Klein?”

Please let that be a muggle thing?

Oz rolled his eyes.

Charmaine nodded in understanding. “Oh, well, have fun with… her?”

I nodded straight away. “Will do, friend.” I said nodding. “I’ll leave you two love birds to do your thing—”

But then I turned around, ready to head towards where Rose had told me they’d all meet me, and walked head first into Eric and Penny.

Crap.

Eric tensed immediately, and Penny’s nose turned up a little. I noticed that Oz and Charmaine hadn’t started their conversation again.

“Kate.” She acknowledged coldly.

“Uh, Hi Penny,” I said.

Crap.

Crap.

“Uh…Eric.” I acknowledged his presence as well.

He didn’t say anything.

“Okay,” I said, dying for a way out of there. “It’s been nice catching up—see ya.”

I then proceeded to make my first attempt escape.

Attempt being the operative word.

“Emily told me that you found out.” Eric suddenly called out. “About what happened to me.”

Crap.

I slowly turned on the spot, wincing every second that it took.

“Yeah…” I said slowly. “Carson told me. On Wednesday night.”

It was the weekend now. I had almost forgotten everything that had happened with Emily and Carson and our fight about Hilary and everything else.

Although, the scars that Scrubs had left in my leg were harder to forget.

He nodded. “Em said that you didn’t care.”

The word Crap is beginning to lose its meaning. However, I think I’m getting the point across.

“It’s not like that—” I gasped.

Eric held up his hand. “You’re just going to stick by your new pals? Desert the people who have been your friends for six years?”

Three years.

Me and Eric have been friends for three years.

Technically.

I wasn’t, however, going to point this out.

“—I’ve been with you for ages, Kate. I stood by you. And now, when I turn my back for a second, you stab me in the back.”

To be fair, I wanted to point out, no one told me about the whole debacle until Wednesday.

“Why did you do that, Kate?” Eric asked scathingly. “Is it because they’re good looking? Or because they’re rich.”

My breathing was beginning to get shallow.

Not quite as shallow as Eric assumed I now was, but shallow enough.

I couldn’t handle this.

Eric couldn’t do this to me. Not after such a great day.

“Maybe it’s the fame that you want. To be in the spotlight, maybe for something that you’ll see as good, for the first time in your life.”

No, no, no.

Eric wasn’t supposed to insult me for being me.

Eric stood by me whenever I embarrassed myself.

“I mean,” Eric continued, “You’re always the centre of attention for the bad things. Maybe you decided, if you got in with the rich kids, people might stop making fun of you—that’d be something new for you.”

I sucked in a sudden breath, unable to stop the tears that began to rolls down my cheeks.

“Right. Well then—?”

“When did you suddenly get so conceited?” Penny asked scathingly. “And what gives you the right? I mean, no one likes you. The Potters and Weasleys have just turned you into their charity case for the month—why would you dump the single people who liked you for, for some stupid reason.”



And just like that, my entire world—the walls that I had somehow built to keep me just a little impervious to the laughs that I always got, and made sure I could get through the day— crashed down onto my shoulders, and nothing was worth it any more.




Hey. I know I said end of the angst, but I take it back. I needed to bring Penny and Eric back into the plot. And I realised that the humour had been a little low. So I tried to bring that back a little more.

So, please review and tell me what you thought.

Sorry for the cliff-hanger.

Grace::





Chapter 15: Hyperactive Super Energizer Bunnies P1
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15. Hyperactive Super Energizer Bunnies

PART ONE





Rose had her hand pressed against my forehead, as she and Albus ushered me out of the now silent Madame Puddifoots.

You know how in novels how people describe their distress with cleverly placed synonyms for ‘upset’ and ‘pain,’ because the author really can’t figure out how to describe what going on?

Well, I was right in the author’s position.

Only I felt the pain.

I knew exactly what was going on, and I knew what I was feeling. Hurt. Pain. Distress.

But there was no way to describe it. All I could think was that I was watching my world crashing down around me, and Eric was standing there smirking, while the rest of Madame Puddifoots went silent.

Now, I was used to this, don’t get me wrong.

People talking to me, insulting me, or laughing at me. But it was always people like Sabriel Malfoy or Indiana Stephens. It was never Eric. And none of the girls Eric dated had ever said things like that. And, unlike my encounters with Sabriel or Indiana, I didn’t have any heroic friends to rescue me. It was always Eric who did that sort of thing. Or Emily, or sometimes even Oz.

I was all by myself, waiting for Penny or Eric to keep on spitting out the stabbing insults that they seemed to have practised in the mirror.

“Talk to me, Katie...” Rose urged.

I gurgled a little.

“Let’s take her to The Three Broomsticks,” Fred suggested. “It’s warmer inside, and I don’t think word can spread that quickly.

Everyone agreed and then I was being ushered in the direction of the warmer, nicer café, with less—

What’s the word?

Oh yeah—

Crucifying.

The next thing I knew I was sitting down on the plush leather of one of the booths, tears splashing out from my eyes in a very unsexy way. (Not kidding, there were snorts, and everything.)

“Quick.” Albus said, in a very hurried sort of way. I wasn’t really focusing on account of the horrible amount of swirling and distress sin my stomach. “Get her a hot chocolate.” He shoved some money in Scorpius’s hands—who proceeded to shove the money back and get his own wallet out.

Albus then looked back at me, “There’s no problem that can not be solved by chocolate...” He assured me.

My stomach seemed to have other ideas.

“Merlin, I think I might throw up.”

Albus blanched. “Except for that.” He corrected himself.

Rose leaned forward. “Take deep breaths, and don’t focus on the feeling and keep your mouth as tightly closed as you can.”

Fred leaned down to her. “Does that usually work?”

Rose only needed to say, “My mum taught me it.” And it was affirmed that, if Hermione Weasley suggested it, it must indeed work.

Scorpius returned with the hot chocolate.

“Hold on that,” He said suddenly, “If you don’t mind.”

Scorpius shrugged and took a swig from it himself. I smiled slightly.

“Don’t worry about them, Katie...” Rose said to me, leaning forward and making sure I was looking her right in the eye.

I looked at everyone. Fred and Scorpius were both shadowing the small booth from outside view. Albus was sitting next to me, his arm still wrapped around my shoulder from where he had been guiding me, and Rose sat opposite me, leaning across the table to look at me.

“Was he right?” I asked. “Was she right?”

They all denied it straight away.

“She’s a bad person.” Rose promised me, nodding her head.

“A poophead, if you will.” Fred suggested.

I cracked a smile at that.

“Rosie and Fred are right,” Albus said. “She’s manipulative and shallow and—”

“Why doesn’t she like me?” I demanded of them. “Most people at least think I’m a little funny. All she does is glare at me, and turn Eric totally against me.”

I looked up at them all, a little hysterically.

“Am I a traitor? Have I done something really bad? Am I repulsive, or something?”

Albus pulled me a little tighter to his body, which wasn’t something I was going to complain about.

“We’re your friends.” He said.

“Yeah,” Scorpius backed him up. “We’d call you repulsive in a second.”

Rose shot him a look, but I smiled, and she seemed to not want to kill him.

“Maybe,” I suggested hopefully, “Eric and I could still work it out. I could talk to Penny and she could realise that I’m not as bad as she thinks I am?”

I once again looked around at all their faces. “Do you think we could still work it out?”

Fred sighed. “I think you're missing something about the whole poophead principle.” He said, instead of answering my question.

Rose sighed.

“Kate. If Penny Ryan doesn’t see you for the wonderful person you really are, then she doesn’t deserve to. And if Smithers is going to take the side of his new girlfriend, instead of even listening to you, then he’s no better than he says you are.” Rose promised.

I couldn’t really understand the last little bit, but I got the general gist.

“Yeah,” Fred said, nodding in agreement. “I mean, would I have married you if no one liked you? I generally do things that people like—it makes me popular.” He said.

Scorpius stared at him. “Dude. You’d do anything that people don’t like, just so they’ll hate you.”

Albus cleared his throat and glared at the two of them.

Fred nodded. “You’re right. Bad example.”

Then he looked at me seriously.

“What I mean Katie, is that if they can’t appreciate you, then you don’t need them to. They’re the only one’s who’ll miss out, and that’s their problem.” Fred told me.

I smiled weakly at them all.

Fred and Scorpius were suddenly pushed aside, and I was greeted with two fire-y and seemingly desperate hugs around my neck—one of my assaulters Blonde, and the other Dark Brown.

“We just heard what happened, and we couldn’t take it anymore,” Shirley blabbered to me, pulling away and taking Scorpius’s position at the table side.

Scorpius looked a little affronted at having been pushed out the way to blatantly by such a small girl. Fred was smirking.

“Emily kept telling us that you deserved it, and we though that after you found out what happened to Eric and didn’t care you must have done something she blamed you for...”

“...And she was always crying in the middle of the night, and everyone would get up and try and comfort her and you’d stay asleep and totally resting...”

“...and it kind of came across like you suddenly didn’t care what was going on with anyone but yourself...” Shirley put in.

“...But then we heard you defend Hilary St. Claire, so we went to talk to her, and she really is kind of nice so we were like, maybe we shouldn’t have picked a side so suddenly...”

“...And we were actually looking for you to apologise but then we heard you this morning with Oz and we realised that you totally still did care about other people, and you were the same Kate as ever, even thought Emily said you weren’t...”

“And then we heard what Eric and that horrible cow Penny said you and we realised we were totally wrong and now we just wanted to say—”

“—WE’RE SORRY!”

There was a little bit of a stunned silence after that.

Lauren and Shirley were very close best friends, which was relatively easy to guess. After six years they had taken to finishing each other sentences and such. However, listening to them now, was kind of like watching two Hyperactive Super Energizer Bunnies fight for forgiveness.

“Uh...”

“Oh god,” Shirley said worriedly. “You hate us don’t you? Oh please don’t hate us. We’re so sorry.”

I shook my head. “No...” I said suddenly. “I don’t hate you. I don’t hate anyone. I’m just, surprised. I thought you guys were angry at me.”

They both shook their heads, a little resigned.

“Em did say a lot of stuff that she sort of backed up with you doing all your new stuff.” Lauren said, sighing.

I frowned. “What did she say?”

Shirley sighed. “Well, she kept on talking about how you had changed and all you wanted to do now was be popular—which,” she looked at Rose, Albus, Scorpius and Fred, “No offence, but was kind of easy to believe.”

Oh god.

That was Emily tactic number one.

Twist real fact and make it take a new view so they believe her.

I should have seen that one coming.

“But we heard Penny and Eric in there, and we just couldn’t—you know—”

“—not talk to you any more. I mean you’re so funny—”

“—yeah, real funny—”

“—And you make everyone laugh, and no one really thinks of you like Penny said—”

“—no, no one—”

“—everyone just thinks that you finally made a decision that didn’t agree with other people. And everyone’s really proud of you for taking that step—”

“—yeah, really proud—”

“Of course no one’s going to say that out loud, because Emily’s like, on a rampage when you’re not around. Making sure that no one talks to you, but I think it’s just because she wants you to come back and ask her to forgive you.”

“Do you... uh... always talk like that?” Fred asked quietly.

“Like what?” The asked, innocently, but in unison.

Fred took that as a yes, and then turned back to Scorpius.

It was kind of weird that they spoke like that. Shirley was a vegan, and didn’t eat any meat at all. She wore hippie clothes right down to the wearing of bands around her hair and floral clothes.

Lauren was the same—she had created a petition (which I signed) against the constant hunting of Demiguise’s so we could make Invisibility cloaks—and then she had practically created and led the mass riot against the ministry for not paying attention to said petition.

She didn’t dress quite as strangely as Shirley did, but she was a little more extreme.

However, on first glance, you would assume that they were mellow and calm, with a hidden anger about injustice and refusal to listen to the man.

Not hyperactive.

Like they were.

“Uh…” I finally managed to find my voice. “Thanks guys. I… understand then I guess.”

And then I was engulfed in a hug that shouldn’t have been physically possible from two girls that small.






“Uh... Hey Katie.”

I jerked, looking away from where Emily and Penny sat, chatting animatedly up to my Potions Partner. Hilary was looking down at me with a grim expression on her face.

“I heard about the weekend.” She said cautiously.

Of course she had heard about the weekend. People at Hogwarts didn’t get publicly cut to pieces by old friends and their girlfriends without words getting around later.

Although, no one was man enough to talk about it that much as I had recently become good friends with some of the most influential people in the school, not to mention the children of the most influential people in the wizarding world.

Oh yeah, these connections are good ones.

But it wasn’t as though people didn’t still look at me. I could tell that everyone knew. It was obvious. They would ‘shush’ each other and then eye me strongly if I walked past them.

If I heard a snippet of their conversation it would always involve the words ‘Dalton,’ ‘Potter,’ and ‘Smithers.’

And the gossip? I didn’t like.

Therefore, I stared at Hilary with dry eyes. “Did you?” I said tiredly, because I really was sick of the looks I was getting from everyone.

“Yeah,” Hilary said hurriedly. “And I’m totally on your side. Ryan was way out of her depth saying those things to you. Everyone’s talking about how she’s a right cow.”

Of course they are. You don’t go against a friend of the Weasley/Potters without expecting to have the support group in the minority.

But, as far as honesty went, Hilary was the first person to admit to me that people were still gossiping, despite the fact this it was Monday now.

Hilary pulled out her chair as Professor Levett walked in the door, and sat next to me. She seemed nervous, like I was about to snap at her.

“Oi.” I said, and she jumped. “Calm down. I’m not about to go terminator on your ass, Kay?”

And since she was one of the only friends I had who was also raised in a muggle environment, she actually got my pop culture reference.

It brightened my day considerably.

Hilary relaxed though and began smiling a little.

“I’m serious though, Katie.” She said staring at me as though she was trying to stare into my soul. “What Penelope Ryan did to you was so rude and so mean. Everyone’s angry at her for it.”

That was the truth as well, which I had definitely noticed.

When asking the school to side between the Potters and the Weasleys, and a group opposing the Potters and the Weasleys, you almost always ended up with the same result.

It was evident here that history had repeated itself.

Penny was getting dirty looks every where she walked—not quite as bad as mine, but I was getting sympathetic looks, which could also be classified as terminally depressing. Eric was walking around the halls glowering at any one who tried to speak with him.

It was like he was the Hulk or something.

But I wasn’t worried about them any more. Eric and Penny had hurt me way more than my decision had hurt either of them.

It was Emily I was worried about.

Her hair was gradually looking deader and deader. The bags under her eyes had tripled in size and her skin was pale. Her finger nails were dirty and her uniform was crumpled. She looked ill.

Sick, even, and I was supposed to be there helping her.

And it was no secret that I missed her desperately.

One can love Rose Weasley to pieces, but there are only so many conversations you can have with her about Charms before you decide that suicide is the better option.

And I don’t think anyone could guess the pain that comes with being pals with Scorpius and Fred. All they think is ‘Nice Hair cut’ and ‘very conveniently placed muscles’ and always ‘their pranks are so funny.’

No one ever thinks about who they test their pranks on. For instance—the pimples full of purple pus was tested on yours truly—and it was hard to scream at them in anger when they were in hysterical laughter

And I did miss Emily.

In fact, I missed the pants off of her. It was ridiculous how much I found it to miss one person, even though they were seemingly going out of their way to make my life a living hell.

I missed her.

“How are you holding up though?” Hilary asked curiously. “Like, you’re not going to sink into depression on me right? I mean—you’re the only person who’s spoken to me in this class, ever and I’d die if you killed yourself.”

I was sorely tempted to point out, that obviously, I would die as well.

But I left it at a smile instead.

“Not to worry,” I reassured her. “I won’t be committing suicide any time soon.”

Hilary exhaled in relief, and I brought myself to smile. I hadn’t been doing much of that in recent days and this was probably the first time I had been amused in a couple of days.

Which is a big achievement for our Hilary St. Claire, because I’ve spent the last couple of days in the presence of the funniest three blokes in the Hogwarts.

“I don’t know how you handle it.” She told me suddenly, her hand clasping onto the top of mine. “I mean, if it had been me I would have curled up and cried in my dorm for days on end. But almost straight after you were sitting at dinner and chatting with the others like you always do.”

It was a compliment that was for sure.

Also, a little freaky that she knew what I did normally at the dinner table.

But it hadn’t really been normal. I had nodded along with the conversation and made my comments—an action made considerably easier with the fact that Rose had kept me in her warm grasp under her shoulder the entire night.

Of course, I would have been extremely more into the conversation, and smiley-wiley and such, if it had been Albus who was holding me, but I’m not going to bite the hand that feeds me or anything.

“It’s not that hard.” I explained to her with a slight shrug of my shoulders. In front of us Professor Levett was organising all the things we needed for today on the front table, occasionally telling us to shush.

His attempts were fruitless, however, and the entire class continued to chatter.

“It wasn’t like Ryan shattered my world or anything. It was more Eric that had me spinning. And all I really realised was that we’re never going to be good friends again. I can always hope but it’s probably not going to happen. He just made me realise that.”

There was an intake of breath from nearby, and my heard jerked instinctively.

I caught Eric’s eye at that moment, and he looked shattered.

Staring at me as though I had just knocked down every wall he had created and left it to kill his brain. I was like, a Godzilla in his head.

I was hurting him.

It was gone as quickly as it had come though, and his face was suddenly stone hard and cold again. Penny rubbed his arm soothingly though, and as I turned my head to look back at Hilary I also saw Emily.

She was looking just as ill, but more upset now.

Hilary was looking sympathetically at me though, and I found the heart to pull my eyes away from my old best friend. Emily wouldn’t forgive me. Not unless it was the end of the world. Maybe not even then.

But I wasn’t forgiving her either.

She had been my rock and she let me fall. And I had practically shattered into a million pieces which she had left for other people to clean up.

And that had been Albus, and Fred, and Rosie and Scor.

Not her, and not Eric.

And DEFINITELY not Penelope Ryan.

“Alright then everybody,” Levett called out to the room. “Hush up now and we’ll get on with it.”

Hilary smiled bravely at me one more time before relaxing back into her seat and turning her attentions to the scarred Ravenclaw Head. I did the same facing Levett and grimily resting my head in my hands.

“Today, we’ll be attempting to create a draught of Peace.”

Ah. This man sorely overestimated the talents of this Potions class.

“Get with your partners—oh, you’re already in them—well then. All of the equipment is up the front on this desk and the directions are on page 232 of your text books. You will need to grab your Ferula seeds from the store cupboard, and while we have the right amount of Acromantula hair to go around—don’t take too much because attaining the hair is particularly dangerous and if we run out, then it will be up to you to harvest some more. And you will be harvesting more.”

Levett smirked at our suddenly petrified faces.

“Right,” I whispered, “No on the extra hair then.”

Hilary giggled.

“Not like you need any Dalton. You’re hairy enough as it is.” Sabriel sneered from her and Indiana’s seats in front of us.

I rolled my eyes willing to let her comment slide. I had been insulted enough. It was beginning to not matter.

I was numbed, if you will.

But Hilary didn’t seem so eager to let it slide.

“Quite frankly,” she said loud enough for Sabriel to hear clearly. “I don’t know what Levett’s worried about. If we run out of the Acromantula hair, we could always take some of Malfoy’s leg hair. She’s monster enough. And God knows she needs the shave.”

Hilary said it quietly—but everyone had stopped talking so that they could hear me being ripped to pieces again. And consequently, everyone heard Hilary’s scathing—and hilarious— comment.

Levett, who had also heard, just rolled his eyes and let his head loll in his seat.

Sabriel and Indiana both turned their angry eyes on Hilary.

“Excuse me?” Sabriel snapped.

Hilary braced herself, but didn’t back down. “You heard me.” She said evenly.

The girl’s got spunk.

Sabriel’s eyes flashed. “Maybe you made a mistake—you want to repeat yourself?”

Hilary shrugged. “I just meant that maybe if you donated some of your hair to the Potions Department last year, then James Potter would have run away from your creepy obsession with him.”

There was a silence.

“Well,” Hilary said loudly. “He probably still would have run, just not as fast as he did.”

And that was how I found myself—with the aid of Professor Levett—struggling to pull a murderous Sabriel Malfoy off a laughing Hilary St. Claire.







Hey Guys. Chapter fifteen. I hope I made you laugh a little despite the intensity of the last chapter. Anyway, I hope you review, and I hope that I’m not messing anything up.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE review!

It’s really not that hard.

But, thank you for reading, and I’ll update soon.

Cheers,

Grace.


Chapter 16: Hyperactive Super Energizer Bunnies P2
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16. Hyperactive Super Energizer Bunnies

PART TWO





Dearest Katie-baby

Only my parents would begin a letter like that. If I wasn’t so used to it, I would have probably cringed.

Oh who am I kidding? I cringed anyway.

We got your letter surprisingly quickly, although your father is washing his bleeding hand in the sink because the owl did bite him on the hand.

That is so my dad.

We got the newspaper clipping, even though we asked you not to send us those sorts of things, but we both think it’s a good idea that you did. We are going to go down and stay with uncle Andy in Australia for a while. Are you sure you don’t mind staying at the school over Christmas?

Hell no I didn’t mind.

It was a lot harder to embarrass yourself in front of everyone you know when they’re all at home for Christmas.

Yeah, I think about these sorts of things.

All you need to do is tell us if your uncomfortable. And you’ll be out of that school and with us in no time. Of course we have every faith in your teachers, but we’d like you with us.

Also, keep in mind that we’ve made some old requests and if anything goes wrong, you can floo us to Uncle Andy’s house—okay? We’ve organised it all. If you’re feeling in the least bit unsafe at Hogwarts just come straight to us and we’ll be there.

We both hope your studies are going well,

Love you forever and ever and ever,

Mumsy and Popsickles.


“Mumsy and Popsickles?”

Fred was staring at me, eyebrow raised over my shoulder. I shrugged. “I had issues with pronunciation as a child.” I explained.

Fred frowned. “So you had problems with ‘Mummy,’ and ‘Daddy,’ and decided ‘Mumsy and Popsickles’ was easier?” He asked.

I nodded, trying not to blush at how ridiculous he made it sound.

“It made perfect sense as a five year old.” I declared.

Fred frowned, and looked over at Albus. “You told her yet?” He asked Albus.

Albus glowered at Fred. Fred grinned. “Hah—apparently not. Well, see you!”

He left both Albus and I, swaggering off and winking at one of the girls he walked past—who swooned. Albus was trying to glare holes in the back of his head and I was left to rue the day I became the one everyone talked about but not to.

“Hey, Katie. I got you pancakes.”

Now, I’m not usually one to brag, or so I’m told. I like to help people out. I’m a people person—my ideal job would be helping people.

But, I just couldn’t bring myself to dislike the sudden attention—not to mention major ass kissing and sucking up-age—I was receiving from Shirley.

As per usual, my problems quickly vanished as Shirley sat down opposite me, with a plate of pancakes from the Hufflepuff table to greet me.

You see, the house elves pitied us Hufflepuffs, so they always made our pancakes in cool shapes. This would have caused some disruption in the school if the other houses didn’t know that it was the pity that got us the special food.

Come on.

We’re pitied by house elves.

“Did you sleep well?” Shirley asked as she dug into her own non-egg, non-meat, non-anything that could or ever would come from anything that breathed meal.

I nodded fairly evenly.

“Pretty well.” Lie. “it was really quiet last night.” Lie.

No, in fact, I had not slept well last night.

Because I had been forced to listen to Shirley and Lauren apologising for the twenty-billionth time while they painted my nails and did my hair and then painted my nails again and then did my face etc. etc. etc.

But I wasn’t going to tell Shirley that.

She’s a nice kid.

“So, any news from the enemy front?” I asked.

I noticed—rather perceptively if you ask me—Shirley flinched a little. I knew she probably would—she had been the enemy for a while, and she was still on speaking terms with half of the ‘enemy.’

I wasn’t.

So I didn’t feel bad.

Not any more.

Not with Penny making it her personal vendetta to ruin my life, Eric silently watching on and Emily pretending to be normal while actually embodying the harbinger of death.

“Nothing much.” Shirley said. She was only replying because she felt she needed to, having you know, isolated me completely in the last couple of weeks.

“Just… Emily’s been having some more problems with Todd Williams. She’s kind of worried.”

I kept on forgetting about him. But every so often I’d been hanging out with the gang and I’d see him with his Slytherin mates, and I’d shudder a bit.

But, I really didn’t need this sort of information about Emily.

Because despite what people said she was still my best friend.

Even if she refused to acknowledge me in hallways any more.

And I still remember how scared and upset she was about Todd last time. And now I wasn’t even there to help her out—all she had was Penny.

Hah—as if that Ice Queen could help anyone out.

But that didn’t really reassure me.

Shirley must have noticed my slightly remorseful look. The good news was that Albus did as well and patted me comfortingly on the shoulder. Shirley noticed that and her eyebrow went way up. I couldn’t help but grin.

But then I was brought back to the sickeningly guilty conversation we were having.

“She’s alright right?” I asked quietly.

Shirley braced her lips and let out a sigh. “Like I said,” she said slowly. “She’s having a hard time.”

And it was about then I knew that there was really nothing I could do. It wasn’t up to me anymore.

Because Emily didn’t want me anymore.

And I couldn’t help her.




“You are a doofus.”

Hilary stared up at me from her hospital bed, left eye half closed because the bandage was pressing down over her eye, and her right eye bruised almost completely over. Her hair was half covered, and the other half was static from the pillow case.

“What happened to kind, nice and accepting Kate?” She asked, heroically managing to find some humour in this situation.

“She scarpered after she had to watch the crap get beaten out of her potions partner.”

Hilary grinned, rather grimly.

And it was true. I wasn’t even lying.

Hilary had been beaten to a piece of moaning, quivering blonde hair by the time that we had extricated Sabriel Malfoy from her. I had had this sickening moment where I thought Sabriel had actually killed her, but apparently I’m just dramatic.

Well, not as dramatic as Sabriel Malfoy, but dramatic.

Come on, one eency comment about her questionable wooing tactics and all of a sudden she’s slamming Hilary’s head against the tile floor?

That’s an overreaction…

Anyway, that’s exactly what happened. It sort of went in slow motion from my perspective so it’s easy to describe.

Sabriel Malfoy was sitting right in front of Hilary. And in about three milliseconds, she had manoeuvred here body in a way that made her able to lift a foot onto her chair and launch herself over mine and Hilary’s shared desk, knocking both Hilary and her to the floor.

Hilary’s head had collided with the floor and she had been dazed enough to let Sabriel get in some more punches to the face, which kept her dazed so Sabriel could deliver more punches—it sort of just went on like that.

In fact, it would have stayed like that until nothing on Hilary’s fake tanned skin was, well, fake tanned any more. She was blue and blotchy all over even now, and that was after Professor Levett had taken extreme measures and put the full body bind on Sabriel to stop her hurting Hilary.

“I can’t believe I’ve been suspended,” Hilary fumed.

I considered resisting the instinctual urge to raise my eyebrows, when I decided that she was half blind and there was really no point.

Therefore, I raised my eyebrows.

“You taunted her to the point where she was so frustrated she launched herself at you.” I told her. “What else did you expect?”

Hilary shrugged.

Of course, she wasn’t the only one suspended. Sabriel had been carted off to McGonagall’s office straight after, Levett still screaming at her for being immature and such things. She just endured his lecture giving Hilary death glares, while Indiana was nodding and glaring at me

Death by association I guess.

“Where is she?” the doors to the hospital wing burst open. “Where is the school’s hero? I must pay my respects!”

I shared a grin with Hilary as Scorpius raced towards the bedside. He did a cool sort of move and landed on his knees, like those muggle rock stars do, and sliding to Hilary’s pillow side.

“Hello, idol.” He greeted her.

She looked a little puzzled, so he decided to expand.

“Every single student in this school has dreamed of telling Sabriel Malfoy about her weird obsessive stalker behaviour concerning James Potter the Second. And you were the only one with the guts enough to do it.”

Hilary stared at him.

“Isn’t Sabriel Malfoy your little sister?” She questioned.

“Yeah.” Scorpius answered. When Hilary’s incredulous gaze didn’t waver he frowned a little. “So, you point is…?”

“Excuse him,” I said hastily. “I’m pretty sure Scorpius hates his sister more than both you and I do.”

Scorpius just nodded, an idiotic grin on his face.

Albus arrived at that moment, sitting behind me and wrapping his arms around my chest, pulling me back down onto his lap. “Why hello there.” He greeted me.

“Aloha.” I said grinning.

“Has dear old Scorpius given you the news about his newfound worship of Miss St. Claire over here?” He questioned.

I nodded. “I do believe he has,” I said, adopting the old English accent that he was mocking so well. “It was rather interesting.”

“So… you literally said that my sister was a stalker?” Scorpius was questioning eagerly.

Hilary was practically swooning, and I noticed a flicker of irritation flicker pass Albus’s face.

Oh, my god. Albus likes Hilary St. Claire.

Bitch




“Hey, Katie…” Rosie said, as she skipped to my side, where I was sitting in the sun and attempting to study.

It was a little hard, as all I could do was moan about Albus liking Hilary. But I was managing a little. I had done… seven questions so far. So that wasn’t that bad I guess.

“Out of how many?” Rose asked seating herself after I had greeted her and told her my news.

I looked back at the page.

Dammit!

“Fifty.” I told her dejectedly, burying my head in my hands. I continued to talk, even with the grass now intruding in my mouth, and I’m convinced she heard. “It’s no bloody use.” I moaned. “I’m pathetic.”

Rose slapped me on the back of the head, bringing my nose to collide with the ground. I made a muffled ouch sound but that she didn’t hear.

Well, if she did, she ignored it. So I’m going to go with she didn’t hear it. It makes me believe she’s a good person.

“Come on, then.” Rose said sympathetically when I raised my now green grass stained nose to look at her. “It can’t be that hard. What’s the next question?”

She leant over me to the see the textbook I was working out of.

What is the wand movement for the spell ‘Wingardium Leviosa?’” she narrated. Then she slowed and quickly skimmed the rest of the questions.

“Katie.” She then informed me flatly. “These are revision questions from first year.”

Well, I debated telling her, It wouldn’t be so hard if your stupid cousin would just like me back.

I didn’t tell her that however. Instead I said, “I know! Who knew they taught us stuff this hard in first year!”

Rose stared at me. Then she peered closer, like she missed something the first time round.

“What’s wrong, Katie?” She asked.

On the one hand, this question was wonderful. I now know that Rose Weasley knows me well enough to know whether something’s wrong with me or right with me upon a close glance. On the other hand, she had successfully seen through my cunning plan.

“It’s…” I tried to tell her the first time opting to go with the truth now that blatant lies have fallen through. “It’s just…”

“…Yeah?” Rose then prompted.

“It…I… does Albus like Hilary St. Claire?” I asked quietly.

There was a dead beat of silence. And then Rose was in hysterics, laughing at me harder than she’d ever laughed before.

Gee. That’s comforting.

“Oh Katie, you idiot…” she sighed. “Albus doesn’t like Hilary. I don’t know who he likes…” She told me

“Then how do you know he doesn’t like Hilary?” I demanded, indignant that she was laughing so hard.

Rose sighed, but was still grinning. “Look, I know my cousin.” She said still giggling slightly. “And I know he doesn’t like Hilary St. Claire. In fact, she asked him to the winter ball in fourth grade, and he hid in his dorm for the next two days.”

Oh.

Maybe that was why he was so irritated when Hilary was talking to Scorpius this afternoon.

Hmm…

“But… he was acting all jealous when Scorpius was talking to her this afternoon.”

At this, Rose’s face hardened into a glare.

“She was all over Scorpius this afternoon?” She asked, slowly, just to verify what I had said. It took all I had not to react the way she had reacted to my worried question. That’s what its like to not be sure if the guy you like likes you back.

Well, at least she had a chance with Scorpius. Maybe that means she’s more entitled to jealousy.

“Well,” I said, hastening to explain. “Yeah kind of. But Scorpius was only talking to her back because she got beat up by his sister and he’s inherently kind to anyone that Sabriel hurts.”

That made Rose soften a little, as I reminded her of the great qualities of the boy she had obviously loved for a long time.

Then she frowned again.

“Are we really doing this?” She asked slowly.

I frowned. “What?”

“Moaning about boys that we like while we should be studying and getting all jealous because they both interacted with the same girl?” She verified.

Oh.

That.

That’s, well… embarrassing…

I am however, doing so with Rose Weasley, so it’s not quite as sad as it had been before in my life.

Rose shook her head slightly, and then turned to smile at me.

“I came out here for a reason.” She told me.

I waited.

She didn’t continue.

“Annd…?” I prompted.

She grinned. “I’m here, to invite you, on the behalf of the Weasley Family, to come back to my house over the Christmas holidays. I know that you were staying here since your parents are in Australia while the Death Eaters are loose.”

As with any time that the escaped Death Eaters were mentioned, I shuddered a little. But this was too important a moment to dwell on that old news.

I had just been invited to the Weasley’s house, for the Christmas holidays.

The Weasley’s had just invited me to their house

The Weasley’s had just invited me to their house.

Rose was staring at me. “Well?” She said. “What do you think?”

IS SHE KIDDING?!

“ARE YOU KIDDING!?” I demanded, jumping onto my knees to face her and grab at her hands. “OF COURSE I’LL COME! THAT WOULD BE SO COOL! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!”

Rose was laughing at me again now.

“And you won’t just be stuck with me.” She advised. “Scor’s staying at Uncle Harry’s and Aunt Ginny’s place which is only a fifteen minute walk from my families property so we’ll see them often enou…” She trailed off at seeing my face. “…uh Katie? You alright?”

“I GET TO MEET HARRY POTTER!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. “OH MY FREAKING GOD!”

Rose started laughing again.

Guess who’s the Hyperactive Super Energizer Bunny now?




Haha. I hope you liked that chapter. It was, if you haven’t already guessed, a filler chapter, and I apologise for the shortened length. I should be posting soon, with a normal length chapter 17. :P

Alright, please review. Everyone’s feedback so far has just been overwhelming—so thankyou sooo much. But, just as ever, reviews are always welcome. So please, review.

G.



Chapter 17: Can You Say Dramatic Codswallop?
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17. Can Anyone Say Dramatic Codswallop?





“Okay. I’ve got clothes for the entire time, one set per day. I’ve got my toothbrush, my hair brush, my shampoo, my conditioner, my razor, a set of towels, my bikini, my deodorant, my time of the month equipment, Scrub’s cage, Scrub’s cleaning gear, Scrub’s food, a couple of hats, a scarf, because you know snow, my jackets—”

“—Bloody hell, I don’t even own that much clothing.”

I stopped in the middle of my list to glower at Fred.

“I’m not near finished.” I told him with narrowed eyes. “And in less than three hours, I’m going to meet Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Weasley. That requires intense preparation.”

Fred rolled his eyes, while Scorpius snorted.

“I’m really having seconde thoughts on inviting you over, Katie…” Albus warned me.

For a moment, my heart clenched and dropped at the concept of my losing the chance to meet the iconic people who had perhaps shaped life today as we know.

Then I realised it was Rosie who had invited me to stay at her house, not Albus and neither was it his house.

So… I just smirked at him.

“I don’t care if you’re having second thoughts.” I told him, smirking. “You’re not the one who invited me to your house over the holidays. I am, in fact, staying at your wonderful, intelligent, beautiful cousin who I both admire and aspire to be like.”

Rose surveyed me with a dark look.

“Stow it, Kathryn.”

All three boys laughed as I bowed my head, but I was the only one to take into point that Rose hadn’t yet revoked her invitation. Also, she was smiling slightly as she looked down to read her book.

“Whatcha reading, Posie?” Scorpius asked curiously.

Rose looked up and smiled, brightly—probably from someone taking interest in her book.

“It’s called The Magic Reality” She told us. “It’s all about what would happen if the reality of magic was let out into the muggle world. I’m not quite sure where the author got her information but it’s really interesting.”

“It’s by the woman named Hannah Tompkins,” I informed the table casually. “She went to Hogwarts with your parents; I think her last name was Abbot… She’s married to this muggle and she basically based what would happen on his reaction to her telling him. He helped her write it, so it’s all pretty accurate and stuff…”

I continued to eat, staring at this really interesting little pattern on the table, while I ate my pancakes. Only a couple of minutes later did I realised that conversation had stopped entirely.

Well, not entirely. The hall was still buzzing with conversation, which is probably why it took my so long to notice the lack of conversation between the friends who I had once thought were so talkative.

I looked up—they were all staring at me.

“What?”

Scorpius was staring at me as though I was some sort of traitor, who he would never look at again in the same way. Fred was holding in what looked to be hysterical laughter and Albus had a half shocked half amused expression plastered on his features. As for Rose, she was staring at me as though Christmas had come early, hugging the book to her chest and looking almost ready to give an ‘Oscar’ speech.

“What?” I repeated.

“How the hell do you know that about the book?” Scorpius demanded.

Fred let out his once held in laughter, proceeding to scare the life out of the small third years that were sitting timidly beside him. Rose, who was sitting on his other side, sandwiched between him and Scorpius elbowed him.

I, however, wasn’t taking much notice of Fred. I was glowering at Scorpius, a little affronted by the assumption that I couldn’t know that.

“Hey.” I said glaring at him. “I read.”

Scorpius raised his eyebrow at me. I glared at him some more.

“Seriously,” I continued. “I read that, voluntarily…”

Scorpius shrugged. “Whatever. Doesn’t matter if you’ve gone to the dark side—oomph!”

I smirked, satisfied, and Rose thwacked him one in the stomach and he bent over a little winded. “Bloody hell, Rose…” he gasped. Rose ignored him.

Instead, she reached for his plate of assorted breakfast foods.

“Come to the Dark side, Katie.” She said brightly. “We have Scor’s breakfast.”

Scorpius, unable to do anything, because A) Rose was a girl, and B) he was totally and completely in love with her just glowered helplessly as his plate was passed to me, where I began munching on his buttered bagel.

“So,” Rose said, starting up the conversation again. “When did you read this book?” She motioned to the text in her hands. The cover was a wand, in the hand of a man who was obviously muggle.

In fact, the man was the husband of the author, who helped write the book that was published in the wizarding world as authored by Hannah Abbot.

“Uhmm… my parent’s showed it to me a couple of times last summer.” I told her. “But I read it in the summer between first and second year. I was curious about my parents, so I figured that it might, you know, illuminate some stuff.”

I shrugged again.

Albus frowned, leaning forward and staring at me calculatingly. “I don’t quite get your parents.” He told me. “They’re magic right?” He asked. “The both of them?”

I didn’t mind explaining about my parents and their choices. It wasn’t one made often, so it wasn’t like people hadn’t already asked. Not to mention it confused the hell out of me most times as well.

“Yeah, my dad went to Hogwarts.” I told them. “I think my Dad was a third year in your parent’s seventh year. So he was evacuated out of the castle straight away—as soon as your parents all arrived.”

They all nodded.

“What about your mum?” Fred asked.

“She went to an Australian school.” I told him. “Uncle Andy’s her brother, and that’s where they’re staying over Christmas. The school’s called ‘Courtesans.’” I said shrugging.

At hearing the name, everyone looked confused, save for Rosie who obviously already knew about said school.

“‘Courtesan’ means prostitute right?”

It did mean that. But that didn’t reflect on any of the students.

Well, at least not my mother.

“It was started in the fifteenth century, in honour of Maria Lavelle,” I told them, proud of myself for knowing all this stuff that these geniuses didn’t. “In England. She was a Courtesan and she was proud of it, and she wanted to emphasise that they were functioning members of society.”

Scorpius, Albus and Fred were grinning openly at this.

Then…” Getting their information back to the information I was giving them, I emphasised my words—by then they were very happy to sit and think about prostitutes. “…By the eighteenth century they realised that more people were opting for Hogwarts instead, and they decided to move the school to Australia, which had just been discovered.”

Rose looked so impressed with me that I nearly burst with pride.

“Anyway,” I continued to explain my parents. “Once my parent’s finished their respective schools they both started working in England, and they met at St. Mungos—they both used to be healers—and they realised that they both hated the magic that ruled their lives. So they just quit, I guess. Decided that the way muggles did things was smarter. So they took up the Muggle way of life.”

That spurred on a conversation about what we would miss as wizards in a muggle world.

“The food.” Fred said straight away. “It takes so long to make in the wizard world.”

Albus agreed heartily.

Rose took a more educated approach. “I couldn’t stand being so out of touch. The things that Muggles don’t know, that Wizards do know about is just endless.” She said, “Like, did you know that 63 percent of the unsolved murders in the muggle world are wizard caused?”

I pretended that I did know this, and did the concerned, ”Oh my god, I did know that… it’s so sad.” thing.

“Imagine having to walk everywhere.” Scorpius said. “Or fly in one of those planes…”

I shuddered at that. I had flown in a plane only once in my life, when my parents wanted to show me the experience. I had spent the flight hanging onto the armrests for dear life.

Heights and I, need I remind you, do not mix.

I looked back to my list of things I had already packed.

“Speaking of travelling.” I said slowly. “I have to go and double check everything I’ve packed.” I told them all. I looked to Rose, “remember where we were up to?”

Rose shook her head. I sighed and looked back to the list, seeing if I could remember.

“We don’t leave for four hours, you twat.” Scorpius informed me.

Rose stared at him.

I stared at him.

Albus and Fred both nodded as though he was the wisest person in the world—idiots.

“Do you mean to tell me, that none of you have packed, or organised yourselves, or… anything?” Rose demanded.

All the boys stared at her shrugging. “Yeah, so?” Albus asked.

I frowned and went back to scanning my list.

“You stupid idiots.” Rose reprimanded them. “Not only should you have packed FAR before four hours prior to the train departure, but the train is leaving two hours earlier than last year. It’s part of this new regime McGonagall’s got, so we’re not on the train when it gets dark—it’s because of those escaped Death Eaters.”

I shuddered, once again letting out a little noise like, “nngh…” and Albus decided that it would be comforting to rub my back a little. Rose smirked at me, while I focused on not swooning.

My gaze swung back to my list.

Fred shrugged again. “We still got two hours to pack. It doesn’t take that long. Plus, this bacon is really good.” He motioned to the crispy meat on the plate in front of him.

“Dammit!” I declared loudly. “I have officially lost my spot.” I scanned my list. “I’m gonna have to start again.”

“On the other hand,” Scorpius said, pushing Fred’s bacon away from Fred’s mouth—where it had frozen, by the way. “We can always have the bacon in our dorms.”

I frowned. “But I need your help listening to my list.” I pouted.

Fred and Scorpius were out of there before I could even blink. My eyes narrowed and both Rose and I looked to Albus.

“Thanks for hanging around,” Rose said to her cousin.

Albus laughed nervously, swallowing the food he had. “Well,” He said cautiously. “You know what packing’s like… best get a head start on my own...”

Then he too had vanished, his plate either suddenly invisible or clutched firmly in his hand as he raced to catch up with Fred and Scorpius.

Rose glowered at the slowly closing door, through which all the boys had vanished.

“Boys are pigs.” She concluded.

I grabbed a piece of bacon of Fred’s discarded plate.

“Amen to that, sister.” I said, pouting.




I sat on my bed staring at the suitcase that I know I should have packed earlier. Well, I kind of had packed. But I should have verified what I was bringing with Rosie first.

I now had a tear this room apart to find the only clutch purse I owned, as apparently we would be attending some special Christmas event—they are famous, keep in mind.

“Merlin…” I muttered as I pulled myself under my bed. “How come… what… this is—ooh!”

I spotted something that looked like my leather wallet new from last summer. I managed to spin around beneath the bed so I could get out the other way. I began to army crawl out and upon pulling my torso from beneath the bed realised I had an audience.

Natalie, Shirley, Lauren and Charmaine were all watching amusedly, leaning on the wall near the door, all looking very interested in my pain.

“Are you enjoying this?” I asked simply from my position on the floor.

They all nodded enthusiastically.

I glowered at them from my position, but said nothing else, as I had inadvertently got my bum stuck as I struggled to get out. I decided not to alert them to this idea, because of the humiliation factor if anything.

“Are you stuck?” Natalie asked.

Of course, my not telling them had no effect what so ever on their seemingly excellent perception skills.

“Perhaps,” I answered evenly, not willing to tell a lie.

They all burst into laughter.

Bursting with indignation, I struggled some more to pull myself out from under the bed. By clenching my butt muscles in some way I didn’t even know was possible, I managed to pull myself up, and by the time they had finished laughing, I was standing at their height glaring at them, with my arms across my chest.

“Not. Cool.” I told them all frowning.

Once again they all snorted. “Because you’d know about cool?” Charmaine said sarcastically.

And it stung.

I glared at Charmaine now. Of course, she was superwoman, and therefore impervious to my death glare of hate—and instead of dying she stood evenly, giggling slightly.

“Fine.” I said, “As I am unwilling to let my pride be shattered by your cruel taunting, I will continue my way without you.” I then continued in search of the purse.

That sent them into another round of laughter—probably because I mentioned something called ‘pride’ and myself in the same sentence.

I huffed a little, but continued to look for the wallet. I walked around the three other beds—Nat’s, Shirley’s and Lauren’s before reaching what I had thought was my wallet.

It was a leather shoe.

A very nice leather shoe.

But a leather shoe.

“Okay. That’s not it.” I said holding up the shoe. “But whoever these belong to, can I have them?” I stared at the pretty purple heel. That snapped Natalie out of her little giggling fit. She walked forward and snatched the shoe out of her hand.

“I only bought them last weekend.”

I shrugged. No loss, No Gain.

I had however, lost this bloody purse.

“Where the hell could it be?” I asked the entire room. “I mean, its not such a big room.” I got on my knees again and bent over, looking under the beds from this new angle. I couldn’t see much, but there were small things that resembled a clutch purse under every bed.

I was once again army crawling under the bed.

They were all laughing as I did this.

“You know,” I said informatively as I struggled under the first bed, the only new thing in my hand was the other purple stiletto that belonged to Natalie. “You are all being quite immature about this.”

I think my voice got muffled against at about ‘quite’ because I disappeared under the next bed. So they all giggled a little again, totally ignoring what I was actually saying.

I reached for the next small object that could have been my wallet.

I grumbled as I threw the small discarded container of owl treats out from under the bed. I was satisfied to watch it collide with Shirley’s hippie slippered foot.

“Or,” I continued to talk as I made my slow way to the next bed, clenching and unclenching my butt muscles when necessary to get past a bed. “You could be, you know, good people and, you know, help…”

No such luck.

“This is so much more fun,” Lauren said simply. “So I’m going to have to decline.”

The others all agreed with her quickly enough, so it was to be expected that for the next couple of minutes and I crawled from bed to bed, they all stood giggling like mad things, at my misfortune.

I was completely underneath my own bed when I heard the last set of footsteps on the stairs.

And since every occupant of this room was already in here, save for one, I knew exactly who those high and impractical sounding shoes belonged to.

“Hey guys,” Emily said happily enough. “What are you laughing about?”

There was a tense silence, in which I debated whether or not it would be a good tactical move for me to show myself, or, if I could come up with a spell that could make me invisible within three milliseconds.

The others seemed to make my mind up for me, however, when Shirley said offhandedly, “Natalie lost one of her shoes. She was whining about it.”

Since I couldn’t bloody see anything from my strategic place underneath the bed, I could only assume that Emily then proceeded to look at Natalie with a weird expression on her face.

“Natalie? You never get upset about shoes.”

This time I knew the look that was now plastered on Natalie’s face. She would be torn between telling the truth—because she’s a good person and that’s the sort of things she does—or ratting out me, and now Shirley for lying for me.

She chose the one that would end in less bloodshed and it just so happened to go completely against her moral code.

“These were expensive shoes.” Natalie said shrugging.

This brought on a more natural course of conversation, as Lauren automatically snapped, “You know, Nat, it’s people like you who are slowly giving this world over to consumerism and killing individual thought.”

As with any time Lauren or Shirley accused Natalie of something anti-environment, Nat (probably) gave Lauren a dry look that she had down pat.

You see, Nat is almost the most intelligent Hufflepuff student to have ever lived. She, therefore, knows how to recycle and buy things without slowly killing the universe, and wouldn’t go for a day without letting everyone know that.

I however, could not focus on the comical side of this conversation, as I couldn’t bring myself to look away from the two inch black heels that were strapped to Emily’s stylish feet. They were so Emily that I felt a pang of sadness course through me even looking at them. I could just imagine the conversation we should have had about them when she put them on this morning.

It should have gone along the lines of:

“You’re an idiot.”

“And you’re a doofus. Now that we’ve finished stating the obvious, do you want to compliment me on my wonderful and stylish shoes.”

“I would like to reinforce my previous statement. You are—”

“—unbelievably sexy, I know. Stop bringing it up Katie, now, let us go to breakfast.”


Emily was chuckling now, probably at something sarcastic which Nat had said-and I had missed being far to busy reminiscing. I casually glanced around under my bed and frowned at the darkness.

I hate the under side of beds.

Em then proceeded to sigh slowly, “We’ve got another Code Three in the Boys Dormitories again.”

Code three in the Boys dormitories?

Everyone else nodded knowingly.

God, I miss being in the loop.

I slowly shifted my last foot under the bed so that Emily couldn’t see me at all.

Emily sighed again and I tensed. “He’s not doing so good, you guys…” She said quietly. “He’s really cut up and I don’t know how to fix it.”

Oh, my god, who!? I can help!

I’m good at making people laugh!!

“This thing with Katie’s really tearing him apart. He’s not even the same guy any more. I mean, Eric and Katie used to be really close you know? And Penny’s no replacement for Katie. And Eric’s beginning to realise that. I don’t know what to do…”



Holy Poo.

Charmaine cleared her throat, rather awkwardly.

“So, he’s in the boy’s dorm at the moment?” She asked.

Em must have nodded, because she then proceeded to say, “Yeah, he’s up there now. He’s with Oz, and Penny—who is getting really hard to deal with. I mean, I coped for a while, but the bitching about Katie’s getting kind of old.”

It is?

“It is?” Natalie asked cautiously, either for her own benefit, or mine.

“Of course it is,” Emily said to Natalie, as though it was obvious—trust me, when I say it wasn’t— “It may not look like it right now, but Katie is…” She hesitated, and I flinched at what I knew was coming, “Well, was, my best friend. And it’s really irritating that Penny thinks she can just date Eric and then expect everyone to bitch along with her.”

Shirley frowned. “I thought you were really angry at Katie…?” She said.

This time, I knew Shirley was saying that for my benefit. She already knew the answer to the question, because she had told me at breakfast a couple of mornings ago.

“What are you talking about Shirley?” Emily asked, confused. “You know that.”

Shirley shrugged, “I dunno, Em…” She said slowly, and very convincingly. “You and Katie and your drama gets a little confusing at places, and quite frankly, I’m having issues keeping up.”

I thought about Shirley and the way she could talk at a million miles per hour.

As if she’d have any issues keeping up with anything…

Em, however, bought it.

She sighed again, and then I watched her weight shift onto the other stylish black heel. “I don’t know. I guess it is a little confusing,” She sighed, sounding tired and confused. I resisted the urge to race to her side and pull her into a bear hug.

Then I remembered that the only reason I knew how to bear hug, was because Scorpius did it to me so often, so that would be a little redundant.

“I’m not angry with her.” Emily finally said. “I just don’t understand how she can desert all her friends so quickly, for the people who hurt Eric so much. And she knows what happened to Eric now—I just don’t get it.”

What was she talking about? She deserted me.

I wasn’t deserting anyone.

“Anyway,” She continued. “I don’t want Oz talking Eric into jumping out a window, so I’d best be back. I just need my wand—Eric had a bit of a hissy fit and I need to clean up the boy’s room.”

Well, that’s terribly upsetting.

“Has anyone seen my wand?” Em asked.

My stomach lurched.

The small object I had been crawling towards, in the hopes of finding my cute little clutch purse, that was sitting motionless only a couple of inches away from me?

Yeah—Emily’s wand.

Bugger.

I watched with a held breath as Emily’s heels rounded to one side of the bed. I managed to silently wriggle over to the opposite side, so there was more of a space between me and her discarded wand.

What was her wand doing down here anyway?

I mean, seriously! WHO DROPS AND LOSES THEIR WAND?!

Emily’s knees were now visible to me. All she had to do was lean forward and she would see that I had just witnessed her bear all to our dorm mates. Not to mention her guilt-inspiring confession about Eric’s state, and her not-quite-so-hatred of me.

Her manicured hand reached under the bed, her hot pink nails crawling slowly towards me.

I couldn’t hear a thing. Everyone in the room seemed to be holding their breath.

Well, except for Emily, who was humming In Your Warlock Way by Corrine Flyer to herself.

It wasn’t the dramatic back ground music I had expected, but somehow it did the trick. The humming got louder as she reached further under the bed. She wasn’t heading in the direction of the wand. Instead, she was getting closer and closer to me—her hand about two inches away from my stomach.

I made the hasty decision subconsciously.

I managed to manoeuvre my body so that I could grab her wand in my own hand, and then I rolled a little, so that my body was visible form the other side of the bed. Then I placed the wand where my body had been and watched with held breath as her fingers curled around it.

“Got it.”

She stood.

In milliseconds I had rolled silently back under the bed—far to preoccupied with saving my own skin to operate the functional butt muscles—and suddenly stuck again.

“Alright guys. See you. If I don’t see you before—oh hey…” Emily trailed off as she stopped in her path to leave the room. She turned around again. Then she made her way to her dresser.

“I found this yesterday morning.” She said informatively. “Katie lent me her purse before… everything. And I figure she’ll want it back. Is she staying here over the holidays?” She asked.

I could clearly see the faces of everyone now. The good news was that I could follow the conversation without guessing. The bad news was if I moved Emily would notice me. But I was far to tense to move now.

As was everyone else. No one seemed to want to be the one who delivered the bad news.

Finally, Charmaine took a deep breath and plunged.

“She’s going to the Weasley’s for Christmas.”

The look of shattered hope on Emily’s face was enough to make me inhale sharply. Luckily enough, Emily’s slight exclamation of horror covered the gasp, but did nothing to improve the sudden guilt that was practically squashing me into the floor.

“Oh.” Emily said stiffly, her throat sounding dry. “Right. Well. If you could… give it to her…” then she threw the purse down on my bed—the one I was strategically stuck under—and scarpered.

Natalie slowly closed the door after her. Then everyone turned their gaze to me.

“Katie?” They asked cautiously.

I stared at the half of the ceiling I could see, and the half of the underside of the bed.

“Katie, are you stuck again?”

This time I couldn’t even move. So Natalie and Charmaine both had to pull, while Shirley and Lauren pushed—and I sobbed hysterically at what I had just put my friend through.




Well. That’s dramatic isn’t it. I just thought you guys should hear a little of the ‘enemy’s’ side. I do like Emily’s character, as well as Eric and Oz. I don’t like Penny, but I guess that much was obvious :P

Oh, and also, concerning Hannah Abbot—the author of the book that Katie knows about—I know that in the canon she was supposed to marry Neville. But clearly, I have put Neville and Luna together. Luna’s canon kids (Lysander and Lorcan or something to that effect) have also not been included in this story for these reasons. Hope that doesn’t put you off. :P

Anyway, I hope you liked this chapter and please review. It doesn’t take much. Your reviews til now have been overwhelming and I may just love you all (btw)

G.

Ps. I know that the chapter picture is of a character who doesn’t actually feature, but I thought you should all know what Hilary looks like, because—well, everyone who did feature this chapter has already been seen. :P



Chapter 18: Not Quite What I Anticipated
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18. Not Quite What I Anticipated.




“Oh my god, Oscar, what the hell am I going to do?”

I was sitting in a carriage with Oscar, on the way down to the train—where I was to meet with Rosie and everyone, so I could then go on and meet the most important people in the Wizarding world.

Needless to say, I was hyperventilating.

Oz’s eye twitched in my general direction, and he glared at me, folding his arms across his chest. “Number one,” He replied to my hysterical question rather evenly, “If you ever call me Oscar again our friendship is terminated. Number two, calm down, They’re just people.”

I decided to strategically ignore his warning against calling his Oscar—since I would be sure to call him by his real name again and soon—and went straight to denying point number two.

“Are you kidding me!?” I demanded shrilly. “Are you trying to be funny!?” I sobered for a moment. “Ozzy, what have we said about your humour. Leave the awkward silence filling jokes to me…”

Oz narrowed his eyes at me, even more than when I called him Oscar. “That,” he said pointedly, “was not an awkward silence filling joke. That was an ‘I’m trying to comfort my clearly insane friend’ serious talk.”

Oh.

“Well,” I offered feebly under his intent gaze, “it’s easy to get those two confused.”

I could practically see face palm Oz imagined doing inside his head. He rolled his eyes and slumped in his seat.

“Seriously Katie,” He said. “You need to calm down. They are just people

I glared at Oz this time. “No, they’re not.” I said seriously. “They’re practically gods.”

Oz sighed, seemingly recognising defeat—and the fact that there was no changing my mind on this one. Instead, he took another tactic and decided to try and calm me down about the coming prospects.

“Okay,” Oz said. “You’re obviously freaking out, and seeing as you advice for my first date with Char was really good, despite how you crashed it later on—I will offer you some advice in rebuttal.”

I stared at him with open mouth, suddenly not caring about what I would have to do.

CRASHED!?” I demanded with wide eyes and slack jaw. “You think I crashed your first date!?”

Oz stared at me, and then nodded. “Well, yeah…”

“I WAS ASSAULTED! BLOODY PENNY RYAN CAME IN AND SCREAMED OUT EVERY PIECE OF ABUSE SHE COULD THINK OF, AND THEN ERIC ADDED IN THE STUFF SHE LEFT OUT! I WAS HYSTERICAL FOR HOURS! AND YOU THINK I CRASHED YOU GODDAM FIRST DATE!?!”

Oz stared at me. “Blimey, Katie…” He said with wide eyes. “Calm down.”

I couldn’t however. I was irate at the thought that he blamed me.

Oh god.

He blamed me for the things that went wrong on his date!

And he was right to! I did practically ruin his date. Oh my god. I may have ruined any chance that Charmaine and Oz have of getting their happily ever after. Merlin, Merlin, Merlin…

My eyes were watering before I could stop them.

“Oh Merlin, Ozzy…” I said slowly. “What have I done? It is my fault. If I hadn’t come in to make sure you guys were okay, than Penny and Eric would have never run into me and I wouldn’t have completely ruined your first date.”

Oz looked alarmed now.

“Uh… Kate?”

“Are you and Charmaine okay?” I demanded. “You don’t hate each other right. Because if you do hate each other I might just kill myself, because you guys were like the best couple in existence and you weren’t even a couple yet…”

“Kate.”

“…Oh my god, I stopped the ULTIMATE couple from getting together. Doesn’t that mean I’ve, like, messed up the way the world works? I’ve stopped fate, Oz. I messed up fate. I mean, sure enough I can mess up Eric’s life, and Emily’s life, and your life and Char’s life. But I’ve now officially messed up FATE.”

“Come on, Katie. Please—”

“Does this mean something bad is coming my way, Karma-wise? I mean, I know I don’t have the best of luck most of the time but this is just ridiculous. I mean, not that I don’t deserve it—in fact, I deserve it, don’t I?”

“Oh, my god, Kate.”

“As a matter of fact, bring it on. I should get everything that’s coming to me. I’ve been so obsessed with my own life that I didn’t even notice when I inadvertently messed up your future with Char. God, I hate myself—”

“For the love of all things magic in this world, KATIE—SHUT UP.”

My mother snapped shut and I stared at Oz.

He stared at me with wide crazy eye for a moment, before realising himself and composing himself—noticing that he had just knocked the socks off me with his far un-Oz-ish outburst.

“Sorry,” He apologised begrudgingly, second later. “But sometimes you’ve got to let me get a word in edgeways.”

I was still silent, and just nodded.

“First of all,” Oz then continued, seeing my new found ability for not talking. “Char and I are fine. We’ve been hanging out every day since our first date, and if anything you just gave Char and me something to talk about at Hogsmeade—specifically how much we detest Penny.”

I frowned confused. “How come you said I crashed then?”

Oz looked at me. I noticed I had just broken my silence and snapped my mouth close again.

“I was joking,” Oz said, deciding to answer my question any way. “And you have got to stop taking things so seriously. Secondly, the Weasley’s and the Potters and the numerous other famous people you’re going to meet over the next two weeks are all human, despite what you might think.”

I nodded.

“And, despite the better thinking, I will, if you want, secretly owl you every couple of days to make sure you’re okay. I know that you’ll be nervous so I think I can find it in my busy schedule to send a silent owl to you. Are we good?”

I nodded again.

“More importantly,” Oz continued. “Are we calm, and for lack of a better word, sane.”

I nodded again.

Then a thought occurred to me. “Why will you need to owl me in secret?”

Oz stared at me for a moment. Then he leant towards me, as though about to tell me a secret.

“Now, Katie…” He whispered. “Don’t take this the wrong way. This is a joke. However, I once again feel the need to emphasise that the world does not revolve completely around you. Would I be on this carriage if I weren’t going to someone else house?”

Well, Oz never went home on Christmas.

So… no.

He watched it dawn in my eyes.

“Good girl…” He encouraged me, as he smirked. “You finally got it.” He clapped twice before straightening up and revelling in the insulted pout that I’m sure was on my features at that stage.

“I’m going to Eric’s house for Christmas.” Oz said neutrally.

When it came to conversations about Eric, between Oz and me, we possibly made it the most awkward thing ever. We were both working on it, from advice from Charmaine. Oz was letting loose a little since it seems that Char had told him about what I had heard from Emily this morning.

“Oh… cool.”

“Yeah,” Oz said with a shrug. “It was this thing that Eric had been planning for a while. It was gonna be the four of us. But then there was the massive drama with you,”

Thank you for almost completely ruining my happy (and or hysterical spirits)

Oz smiled grimly at me, and the shrugged.

“Anyway, apparently Em’s family’s been invited to this ball and she wasn’t allowed to get out of it. So it’s just gonna be me and Eric and Penny. Char should be visiting though—so I don’t have to deal with that harpy for too long.”

I cracked a small smile at the reference to Penny—Harpy certainly was a good describing word for the girl. But the overwhelming guilt about also ruining Eric’s Christmas weighed a little on my shoulders as well.

“But don’t feel too guilty, Katie.” Oz warned me. “I’m not taking sides, but I do know that both sides were at fault.”

I nodded again, but not feeling any less annoyed with myself.

The Carriage pulled to a stop.

Lost of things then proceeded to happen to me internally.

A) all thoughts about Eric left my mind, to be replaced with complete and utter nervousness about meeting the people I was about to meet.

And B) my lungs stopped working.

I managed to poke my head out the window, without breathing and spotted the people waiting for me.

Rose, having gotten on an early train, was standing on the platform, dressed impeccably in muggle clothes, and craning her neck to see me. Albus and Scorpius, I could see disappearing into the train. Fred was in the train compartment directly behind Rose, drawing horns onto her head in the fog on the glass behind her.

I inhaled sharply, kicking my lungs into gear and pulled back my head.

“Oh, my god. Oh, my god.”

Oscar frowned. Then he threw leant forward wrapped my scarf around my neck, so I wouldn’t die of cold, and then pushed me out of the carriage. As he followed me out, he caught sight of Eric, on the other side of the platform. Eric caught my eye and I quickly looked away, still unable to look at any of them without tearing up.

I pulled Oz into a quick one armed hug, noticing that Rose had seen me and was beckoning towards me.

“Oh, he doesn’t look happy.” Oz sighed.

I risked another look at Eric, because who else would Oz be talking about? Sure enough, Eric had seen Rose motioning for me to join her, stiffed, and then decided the best chance of attack would be to try and kill me with a glare.

“Wish me luck,” I told Oz. “And I’ll wish you luck for Eric.”

Oz was still staring cautiously at Eric. “Merlin, I’m going to need it.”

I patted him wearily on the shoulder and then we both headed to our respective hosts for Christmas.

“Seriously though Katie,” Oz called after a second. “Good luck.”

I smiled at him. “You too. Good luck.”

He smiled.

“And remember, what they say: The bigger they are...”

I nodded, knowing what he was getting at, and then made my was to Rose—the nerves in my gut weighing me down to the point of almost screaming.

I was going to meet Harry Potter. I was going to meet Ron and Hermione Weasley. I was going to meet Ginny Potter. I was going to meet the basic saviours of the wizarding world.

And you know what? All I could think about was what Oz had just said.

Remember, what they say: The bigger they are...”

—The faster they stomp you into nothing.




I hadn’t really thought about the logistics of the rain ride back to London until I was facing the prospect of sitting with three seventeen year old boys, in a small enclosed space for the following two hours. And I did not particularly like that concept.

Rose must have seen my alarmed look because she just chuckled. “It’s a bit rowdy for the first hour or so,” she warned me, “Then all you have to do it pat their heads as they slowly fall asleep.”

Sure enough, Rose had very quickly masterminded her way into sitting right beside Scorpius, with Fred on her other side.

She had also managed to ingeniously coordinate things so that Albus was sitting beside me, and we were left with the entire left side seat to ourselves.

I LOVE having Rose Weasley as a friend.

“Alright then,” Fred said, everyone seemingly comfortable as we sat down. “Who’s up for a game of Wizarding Chess?”

When no one volunteered to go against Fred in Wizards Chess, I could only assume this was because he was REALLY good at it. However, if a wife isn’t willing to at least try and go against her husband—then what sort of a marriage is it really?

This was my justification to the smirking Scorpius when I moved over to face Fred over the hovering chess board.

Scorpius just snorted. “Right… because the family that fights together—”

“—stays together…” I finished for him proudly.

Scorpius just snorted, but Rose frowned, obviously thinking in her smart way.

“Actually…” She said slowly, “Katie might have a point… what are our families if not example that people who fight together and protect each other and then stay together forever?” She asked.

Everyone was silent for a second as they debated that. Then Scorpius decided to put his two cents worth in.

“Yeah...” He said loudly. “But Katie means fighting against each other...”

I rolled my eyes, and looked at the board. I was white, which I assume meant I would go first. “Pawn to E4.” I said lazily, before patting Fred comfortingly on the arm. “And don’t worry. We can make this marriage work.”

Everyone snorted at that. I smirked with them, then I pouted as Fred successfully killed the first pawn I had sent out to protect myself.

“So...” I said, by way of making conversation. “What your house like Rosie?”

“What do you mean ‘what’s our house like?’” Fred asked curiously.

Yeah…’conversation’ wasn’t going so well…

“What could be different about it? Its just like any other house…” He slowly trailed off, a look of realization coming to his face and he frowned.

“Are David and Tyler bringing anyone extra these Holidays?” He asked frowning. “I mean, with the death eaters on the loose again?”

This seemed to spark a trail of interest in everyone in the compartment.

Or, everyone who knew what was going on.

“I don’t know…” Albus said slowly, and sort of cautiously, “I didn’t really think about it. I guess they might.” He shrugged, sort of lost.

“Wait, wait, wait…” I said, before this extremely confusing conversation could continue any further. “Whose Tyler and David?”

I hadn’t heard of a Tyler Potter.

Or a David Weasley.

Or a Tyler Weasley and David Potter, if we were covering all bases.

The Weasley/Potter clan all exchanged glances—not exasperated, but rather cautious. As though they were all embarrassed to tell me.

“David is the Potter Children’s Bodyguard.” Albus finally said, not looking me in the eye.

Rose nodded, looking equally ashamed of it—even though I couldn’t see the point in their embarrassment. “Yeah, the same for Tyler. He watches the Weasley Children.”

Body guard?

“Wow… you guys have a body guard?” I said.

Albus and Rose both looked away—extremely ashamed of whatever it was. Scorpius was smirking at them—obviously having taken the Mickey out if it previously and Fred just shrugged.

That made sense.

If you looked at it really hard, you could see why the Weasley/Potter children would need bodyguards. I mean, Harry Potter, and Ron and Hermione Weasley could obviously take care of themselves, as well as their entire family.

But the extra precautionary measures were probably extremely comforting for the Golden Trio.

“These two do,” Fred motioned to Albus and Rose. “My dad wasn’t close enough to the inner trio that his kids’ll have a direct threat. So me, Roxy and Irina are safe. But Uncle Harry and Uncle Ron both decided that they’d pay Tyler and David to personally watch the kids over holidays.”

Scorpius was still smirking. “And my dad, being an ex-enemy member, isn’t quite important enough to get his kids body guards.” Then his smirk widened. “Not that he’d care if I did magic outside school. He’d just send me to Durmstrang.”

“So… they don’t like follow you around at school right?” I asked frowning. “Like, under invisibility cloaks…” My eyes widened, alarmed, “Oh my god, are they here now?”

Albus chuckled as he leant forward and ruffled my hair slightly. Then he frowned at the chess board, where it was three white against nearly every single member of Fred’s black pieces. “Knight to F6…” He ordered, then he chuckled at me some more.

“They only watch us on holidays…” He said with a shrug. “It s a precautionary thing. Not at school, because Hogwarts is only the safest place in the world.”

That made sense.

“So…” I said, now that I understood exactly what we were talking about. “Why would they bring extra people?” I asked Fred about his earlier question.

Fred shrugged. “I just figured, with those old death eaters on the loose, that you might need some extra… safety measures, set up for you.”

Rose was frowning, puzzled. “I would assume that they do.” She said informatively. “I mean, it’s the concept of the increased risk, versus the loss to the department. If they send Aurors to watch us anyway, and Dad and Mum continue to pay—then we’re really only doing them favours.”

Scorpius frowned. “We’re taking Aurors off the hunt for the death eaters, so they can watch a bunch of kids. How is that doing them a favour?”

Rose sighed, looking at Scorpius tiredly. “Think about it, you dolt.” She said, hitting him on the forehead. “Who are the most likely targets for the escaped death eaters, if they’re looking to avenge their dead dark master?”

Dark master?

Scorpius shrugged. “If you’re going by the logical guess that they’ll come after people who killed the dark lord, than all the ex-Death Eater’s families should get guards as well.” He said. “They’re just as likely to come after your parents as mine—mine just doesn’t get protection.”

I suddenly realised that we had somehow stumbled across what seemed to be a very sensitive topic for Scorpius.

“Your father doesn’t want protection.” Rose said, squaring herself for what was sure to be a large argument.

Fred hastily knocked over my king. Then he quickly packed up the board before pushing it up in the alcove above our heads and joining myself and Albus on our side of the compartment.

“A bigger battle than chess is about to go down,” He said. “Packing up possible projectiles is the best way to deal with these two.”

Albus nodded, and then tried to surreptitiously pull Rose’s bag—a cute leather shoulder bag that she had brought with her onto the train—away from its position near her feet.

Ah, Merlin Almighty—the train hasn’t even started moving yet.

“My father doesn’t have the choice.” Scorpius fired back. “No one cares about the man responsible for the death of Albus Dumbledore. Our family isn’t nearly as important as yours.”

The sneer suddenly visible of Scorpius’s face was so alike to Sabriel’s that I leaned a little away from him.

Of course, this meant that I leant in the direction of Rose, who was practically frothing at the mouth.

In a moment of confusion, not sure who was the scarier between the two of them, my eyes went idea and I instinctively leant all the way back into the couch.

This brought Albus and Fred to exchange an amused smirk, before Albus brushed my arm. “Wanna get out of here?” He said. “Trust me; it’ll get worse before it gets better.”

As if to prove Albus’s point, Rose—with clenched fists and teeth—gritted out “This has nothing to do with their pasts—and everything to do with the bloody logical way of figuring things out.”

“Of course it has something to do with the bloody past.” Scorpius snarled. “My father was a death eater, and yours was one of three of the bloody people’s savoir. My dad’s side lost—so preference automatically falls on you.”

Merlin, they are so meant for each other...

“Let’s go...” Fred agreed with Albus. ‘They’ll be done in about half an hour. We should go and find the trolley lady. Peace offerings for when we come back.”

“Your father made a choice that he knew would cement his place in society forever. You can’t do something like kill a man, and expect to be forgiven years later.” Rose snapped.

“You’re father killed people. So did Harry Potter, and your mum. The only difference is that no one cared about the people that they killed—”

Scorpius was slowly becoming more and more irate.

“It isn’t like that, you prat. It was a bloody war—there are casualties on all sides!” Obviously Rose was getting just as irritated as Scorpius was.

“Exactly! But for some reason, everyone else has been forgiven and my Father is still being crucified for his bloody mistake! And the people who protect society are part of the majority that won’t forgive him.”

“They may be biased when it comes to judgement about your father, but that has no influence over their willingness to protect you, versus their willingness to protect me!” Rose replied starkly—trying to get her point through to Scorpius.

Scorpius reached forward, and grabbed Rose’s shoulder.

“Imagine for a second that we’re both being attacked by Death Eaters.”

Rose hesitated, frowning. “What—”

“Come on,” Scorpius interrupted her questions. “Indulge me. Just do it.”

Rose glowered at him for a moment, before folding her arms across her chest and closing her eyes. “Alright, I’m doing it.”

Albus and Fred were hurrying me out of the compartment at the moment, while the yelling had stopped for a bit.

“We’re both in dire danger—and Tyler is the only one who can save either of us. But he can only save one of us.”

Albus exited the compartment and turned around to close it. But not before we all heard Scorpius’s final and profound statement, which made Albus freeze, Fred’s eyes widen, Rose to go pale and stopped my breathing.

“You know which one he’s going to save, Rosie,” Scorpius said quietly. “And it’s not me.”




“Bloody Scor...” Albus said as we wandered down the thin corridor in search of the candy lady. “Way to go and completely ruin my perspective of the world.”

Fred shrugged glumly.

It made sense. I mean, I knew exactly what Scorpius was talking about. Even in the past couple of months that I’ve been friends with the Weasley/Potter clan, it was easy to tell that in the eyes of everyone looking in—I wasn’t nearly as important as any of them.

Scorpius probably didn’t feel that way—since he was just as bloody good as the others—but in a way he did feel the same stress. Only on a higher level. The entire world didn’t see him as important as his friends—like he didn’t fit in some odd strange way.

“There is only one thing that can solve this mystery of Scor’s revelation...” Fred then stated relatively calmly. “Biting the head violently off an animated chocolate frog.”

True ‘dat.

A very good solution to a hard puzzle to solve.

However, after another ten minutes of fruitlessly searching for the woman who could give us these Chocolate Frogs, I was about ready to bite the head off someone who wasn’t animated chocolate.

“Maybe one of the people in the compartments has seen her.” Albus suggested, as we made our way down the train for the third time.

It was worth I go.

I knocked briefly, not waiting for a reply to pull the door open.

The first thing I saw was the hands. Hands in all places—anywhere that they could be flying, they were. Running through hair, and grasping at each other with insane passion that made my eyes widen.

Someone’s robes was on the floor—not to worry, everyone in said compartment was fully clothes otherwise—and the girl and boy who was snogging so furiously that they made it look like a bloody competition didn’t even register us as we swung the door open.

Girl’s hands in boy’s hair, with boy’s hands on girl’s waist—pulling her constantly closer to her.

Mouths and tongues fused together like a chemical experiment gone wrong, was the last thing I would ever have expected in my entire life.

“BLOODY HELL!”

Albus’s and Fred’s combined shout of complete shock was enough to alert the snoggers to our presence.

For a moment, Lindsay Forest stared at us with wide eyes. Then he coughed, hastily trying to cover up his tracks. “Uh...” He said slowly. “Heya Katie...”

I was not paying attention to Lindsay’s feeble attempts to keep this conversation quiet however.

I was far to busy staring at the girl in question—who I recognised far too well for me not to be shocked.

I knew I had recognised his secret girlfriend’s voice!

“Oh Merlin,” Carson Longbottom said burying her head in her hands.

“Sweet Mother of Merlin...” I said with wide eyes, staring at her.

So many things were running through my mind. Carson and Lindsay. Lindsay and Carson. The conversation I heard all those months ago when we were trying to find that secret girlfriend, with Emily and Oz.

OZ!

Oz and Charmaine! Lindsay and Carson!! That’s two brother with two sisters...

“Blimey...” I said quietly, leaning slightly on Albus. “I need to sit down.”
Fred was looking from Lindsay to Carson, with a curious expression on his face. Then he looked both ways down the corridor, leaned forward, and then said in a quiet whisper:

“You wouldn’t happen to have seen the Candy Cart, eh?”





When we returned to the compartment, the train had started moving, and Scorpius and Rose’s fight had obviously simmered down. In fact, we opened the compartment doors to see Rose lying on the comfortable cushion, with Scorpius’s thighs providing her a pillow. Scorpius was playing absently with her hair as he stared out the door—Rose had her eyes closed and was smiling slightly to herself.

I would have ‘awed’ if I wasn’t so scarred at seeing girls touching boys in other ways.

Bloody Carson.

Bloody Lindsay.

They both deserve to have their hands cut off.

“You have no idea the wondrous piece of gossip that we just found out.” Fred said, bursting through the doors, and speaking in a voice that resembled the high pitched scratch of an American Teenager.

Mental note: Don’t tell Hilary that I made that analogy...

Rose frowned, her eyes snapping open and she stared curiously up at Fred. “What is it?” She asked, frowning.

“For a while now,” I managed to choke out. “I’ve known that Lindsay Forest has had a secret girlfriend...”

Rose and Scorpius looked slightly confused. “Lindsay is Oz’s little brother. He’s in fifth year, the same year as Oz’s new girlfriend—who he’s been pining after for years—Charmaine Longbottom.”

Scor and Rose nodded, waiting for me to continue my story without the awkward pauses where I tried to wrap my head around all of this. Albus decided to finish for me.

“Which brings us to our new problem. We have just walked in on Lindsay Forest, doing unmentionably fifteen year old boy things with the twin sister of his old brother’s girlfriend.”

Rose got it instantly, inhaling sharply.

It took Scorpius a little longer to connect all the dots.

“Wait.” He said holding up his hands. “Oz is dating Charmaine. And Lindsay is dating Carson.” Then he frowned. “Bloody hell...” He looked up at me. “You gunna tell Ozzy, Twinkle Toes?” He asked.

I stared at a particularly interesting looking stain on the walls.

“I’m really just focusing on whether or not it’s politically correct for two brothers to date two sisters...” I said thoughtfully.

Really, if I think about it, Lindsay and Carson getting together wasn’t much of a big deal. It wasn’t as though it would mess with much. Like—if it had been the other Longbottom twin making out with Lindsay when we walked in—every single fibre of my being would have shattered.

But it hadn’t been Charmaine with Lindsay.

Because she was with Oz. And Carson was with Lindsay.

Fred smirked and pushed me slightly. I grinned; letting myself fall in the direction he pushed me. Albus then wrapped his arms around my shoulders and pulled me into a very comfortable bear hug.

“Did you end up getting any chocolate frogs?”

Albus and Fred surreptitiously looked anywhere but their best mate, and tightened their grip on their stuffed pockets. I tossed Scorpius one of the chocolate treats that were still safely in my fist.

Scorpius pulled the wrapping off, grabbing the frog before it escaped his grasp. He viciously bit its head off, and then smirked at the continuing flailing legs of said frog. Then he glanced at the card, and rolled his eyes. Then he tossed me the card.

“Oi Twinkle Toes,” He said smirking slightly. “You can study now, a little bit of information on your hosts.”

I looked down at the card.


The Golden Trio:


Oh, sweet Merlin.






That didn’t actually end up going the way I had thought it would, but by the time Rose and Scorpius started butting heads (I swear I didn’t plan it) it just progressed and I knew what I was going to do. When I wrote in Lindsay’s secret girlfriend, I wasn’t sure who I would make it (it was going to be another OC) but then my fingers decided that Carson Longbottom’s name would instead come out on the page—and I think it went FABULOUSLY.

And, as you all know, your comments are always welcome so I would love to know what you thought about Lindsay’s secret girlf.

Also, Rose and Scorpius? What did you think?

Just one more little note—I would love it if you guys could help me out. Does anyone know exactly how long the train ride was supposed to take? I was watching the first movie again and realised that they all arrived at dinner time, and they left the station at exactly eleven o’clock in the morning… so I’m assuming that it takes a long while—if anyone knows any information more accurate than my guesswork, it would be very much appreciated.

Cheers, and please review—your reviews so far have been overwhelmingly wonderful. I think I may actually love you all.

Also, a belated apology for how bloody long this chapter took. There was confusion with my beta—which is why this one is unfortunately un betad. I could have waited, but I felt horrible leaving it so long—so I did my best. Hope its up to standard. :P

:D

G.



Chapter 19: More Sodding Relatives
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19. More Sodding Relatives.




“Bishop, to E7.” Fred declared, and I watched as his bishop approached my knight.

We had brought out the game again, now that Rose and Scorpius had calmed down enough for the three of us bystanders to not fear flying projectiles. Fred was, if you had not already guessed, very good at Wizards Chess.

“Uh...” I said frowning, then grinning when I realised exactly where Fred had just placed his Bishop. “Knight to E7!” I said excitedly. Then I grinned as I watched Fred’s Bishop be knocked into pieces by my heroic Knight. “Yeah—that was your Bishop!” I said excitedly.

“Queen to F9.” Fred said evenly, not even blinking at the brutal death of said bishop. I looked down at the board just in time to watch my poor King drop his crown at Fred’s Queen’s feet, before being smashed to pieces.

“Bugger.”

I pouted down at the board, before raising my glare to Fred.

“Couldn’t you be, like, a gentleman?” I questioned icily, “considering we’re married and everything?”

Fred shrugged, raising his hands to rest them behind his head as he stretched. “Chivalry’s dead, sugar.” He said evenly.

I glowered at him.

The door slid open, and I watched as Sean and Samuel Finnegan walked into the compartment, seating themselves on either side of Fred. Rosie, who was still stretched out with her head on Scorpius’s lap, frowned as she needed to lift up her legs, so that Sean could sit down.

Sean smirked as Rose rested her legs on his lap—but obviously didn’t notice Rose’s content expression as Scorpius absentmindedly stroked his fingers through her soft red hair.

Sean had also very obviously missed the glower he received from Scorpius as he let his eyes travel up and down’s Rosie’s unaware form. Albus was sighing, rolling his eyes—but the grip he had around my waist tightened slightly.

I almost passed out with delirious happiness.

“Oh hey,” Albus said sitting up a little straighter. “Katie this is Sean and Sam—they’re the other two seventh year Gryffindors this year.”—hah, as if I didn’t know this—

“Sean, Sam, this is Katie. She’s a really good friend of ours—from Hufflepuff.” Both Sam and Sean grinned at me, nodding to acknowledge my presence.

In reply, I yawned, and it wasn’t lady like either.

It was a Mufasa yawn. As in the lion in Lion King.

Albus looked down at me, and then shuffled around in the seat a little. We hadn’t moved from our bear hug up til that point, so when he moved I found myself moving backwards. He caught me and slowly rested me back, until both Albus and myself mirrored Rose and Scorpius on the other side.

If I died and went to heaven at this moment—it wouldn’t be nearly as good as what was happening right now.

I swear to Merlin.

“Hey Rose...” Sean said. “Did you give any thought to my offer?” He asked.

My eyebrows rose. Scorpius tensed to the point where a vein jutted out in his neck. And Fred and Albus both frowned slightly.

Rose, however, rolled her eyes.

“Yes, Sean...” She sighed. “The same answer I gave you last time you asked. And the answer won’t change when you ask again in a couple of weeks.”

Sean frowned slightly.

“You and I?” Rose continued. “We wouldn’t work. I don’t think of you as anything more than a friend.”

“...with benefits?” Sean said hopefully.

Suddenly, he felt the glare of every single friend of Rose’s on him. He looked at everyone’s cold expressions, while Sam just buried his head in his hands—I’m assuming it was embarrassment.

Sean, obviously not knowing when to push his luck and when to just leave it, placed his hand on Rose’s leg, just above her knee. “You won’t always be able to resist Rose...” He said sleazily. “You’ll see what I catch I am.”

Rose glared at him. “I’ll see what a royal pain in the ass you are.”

Sean grinned at her, and I could just imagine the very obscene image he was coming up with in his head. My eyes widened—and Sean caught my eye. He frowned slightly, and I shook my head.

Don’t say it. ANYTHING but that...

He seemed to get the message and instead turned to Rose.

“But you know you like it...” He promised his with a little wriggle of his eyebrows.

Rose glowered at you. “You.” She said simply. “Are an ass. Now remove your hand from its current position—or it won’t remain attached to your body for much longer.”

Pouting slightly, Sean removed his hand.

This was good, because Scorpius was practically twitching with fury at that moment, and the hand on his girl’s seemed to be the breaking point for dear old Malfoy Junior.

“So...” Sam said, once the awkward moment of silence was done with. “What are all your plans for the holidays?” He asked conversationally.

Scorpius was slowly calming down, and that had brought Albus back off his worried ‘I’ll stop him beating up my dorm mate’ watch. So Albus shrugged.

“I don’t think we’ve got much planned.” Albus said with a shrug. “The entire family is coming over for Christmas dinner...” He told everyone.

What?

We are?

Albus smirked at my bewildered expression, but decided not to clear anything up for me. “And we’ve got that massive New Year’s Party at Scor’s house.”

By this time, when everyone glanced at Scorpius because of his reference, he had returned to his normal colour. His fingers had resumed playing with Rose’s hair and he shrugged.

“My Mum’s decided to go one up this year.” He said. “Mind you, it took about six months to convince Dad, but yeah it’s an ice themed New Year’s party, totally formal, and my Mum’s probably been planning it for months now.”

This would have worried me, if I didn’t know much about Astoria Malfoy.

I did however, so I knew that she, as a professional event’s organiser, would probably be throwing the most exclusive, wonderful, invitation only New Year’s party—to which I would not be invited.

That’s cool. It saves on the dressing up.

“Oh, by the way,” Rose said conversationally, glancing over at me. “You know we’re going to that, right Katie?”

...Or not.

“What?” I said confused. “We are? When? Why?”

Rose giggled a little. “Um, The New Year’s Party. Yes, we are going. We’re going because we were invited and when do you think the New Year’s Party is going to take place...?”

In hindsight—all of my previous questions were undoubtedly stupid.

“Okay...” I said frowning to myself. “Please disregard all previous comments.”

Fred patted me comfortingly on the arm. “No need to ask.” He said brightly. “We’ve all taken to doing that automatically.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Think about it.” I said. “With my feet this close to you genitalia, do you really want to test me?”

Fred blanched. Everyone else snickered. Then Fred patted my foot comfortingly. “No need to get moody, lover.” He advised me. “You’re not fat and are very very beautiful.”

I stared at him. “Fat!? Why would you even use that word!?”

If it were possible, Fred went even paler.

He didn’t get the chance to reply, however, as the door slid open at that moment, and Lily Potter, and Hugo Weasley shuffled in. Liam Smithers was behind. He poked his head inside.

“I would come inside... but...” His gaze flickered to me.

I could even read his youthful thirteen year old face.

‘I get it.” I said shrugging. “You’ve got to take a side, and he’s your brother.”

Liam smiled comfortingly at me, reached into his pocket and withdrew a couple of Every Flavour Beans, handing them to me. “See you around Katie.” He waved off Hugo and Lily and the pulled the door close behind him.

I sighed, and put the first of the beans in my mouth. I smiled a little after that—strawberry.

Yum.

“I don’t quite get why Eric’s angry at you.” Lily Potter said—the first thing she’s ever said to me, as she came over, lifted my legs and sat by Fred, not even questions it as she lay my legs back on her lap.

“I mean,” She continued brightly, as though everyone wasn’t looking at her with impressed/amused expressions. “Liam is just as close with me and Hugo, as you are with Rose and Al and Scor... Why is his brother allowed to do that, and you’re not?”

I shrugged; mentally storing that Lily would defiantly be the next Rose Weasley.

“I think it’s a family thing. Like, Eric knows when he gets home he can bully Liam like all big brothers do. I’m a friend, who he thinks chose his enemies over him.” I said.

The overall feeling of guilt returned swiftly, and I nestled myself closer against Albus, frowning slightly. Albus rubbed my arm soothingly—let me tell you, it SOOTHED—and then sighed a little sadly.

“I’m glad we got to know you Katie.” Rose said. “I can’t even imagine life without you anymore. You’ve become a sort of new constant.”

I suddenly felt the overwhelming urge to cry, while grinning like the bloody Cheshire cat in those muggle Alice in Wonderland books. The urge to cry came mainly from the pepper flavoured bean I had just placed in my mouth.

Albus threw a glare at Rose. “Thank you, Rose.” He said jokingly. “You’ve broken her.”

Maybe just a bit.

My body seemed to be fighting between being ecstatically happy, or crying for the loss of now Liam in a fight that I couldn’t figure out how to end.

“Out of curiosity...” Fred then pointed out, thankfully moving attention from me. “What art thou doing here my lovable yet small cousins?” He looked at both Lily and Hugo.

“Family meeting,” The small, innocent—yet powerful sounding—youngest of Harry potter’s children declared.

I took the hint, as well as Sam and Sean, and we both stood, to vacate the compartment. The Twin’s decision to leave seemed to be a great day for Rose as she sighed. Scorpius stopped glaring as well, and relaxed.

“Alright,” Same said smirking. “We know when we’re not wanted.”

Sean, apparently, did not know when he was not wanted, because as he made his way to follow his twin out of the room he stopped and turned back to Rose.

“Save a dance for me, eh Rosie?” He said from the door, wiggling his eyebrows in a fashion that I’m sure was supposed to be good looking.

Rose sighed again, letting her head fall back uselessly into Scorpius’s lap. She stared at the ceiling for a moment, as Sean disappeared—and then seemed to make up her mind.

“Oi, Sean.” She called out. “I should probably let you know...”

She trailed off until he reappeared. This didn’t take long .as soon as she uttered his name his head appeared, eager and expectant, at the door again. I stumbled, almost walking into him, and took a hasty step backwards.

“Yeah?” he said eagerly.

Rosie braced herself. “You’re still an ass.” She declared.

As Sean dejectedly walked away, I was still chuckling. I however, did know how to take a hint and hastily fetched my change of clothes—taking this opportunity to change for what would probably be the meeting that I would remember forever.




When I returned to the compartment, carrying my robes in a large ball at my side, it was clear that there were more, new people insides said compartment. I had changed into my simple muggle clothes—ballet flats, jeans, a black singlet top and a yellow scarf and beanie set to top it off—and had only taken about half an hour to get myself sorted.

Hey, if you were meeting Ron and Hermione Weasley, what would you do?

I was caught up with my nervousness as I pulled the compartment door open, however, my worried thoughts about the prospective meeting that was coming up was put out of my mind relatively quickly when Rose’s shout pierced my eardrums.

“NO MORE SODDING RELATIVES ALLOWED IN THIS SODDING COMPARTMENT!” Rose screamed at the top of her lungs, obviously seeing the doors open and close, but not seeing who had done so. “WE’RE FULL ENOUGH AS IT BLOODY IS! WE DON’T NEED NEW PEOPLE!”

“What about him?” the small voice of Hugo reached my ears. “He’s not family.”

I heard the familiar snort that Scorpius made whenever someone made what he considered a stupid remark. “Come now Hugo,” He sighed with what I’m sure was an obvious smirk. “What am I, if not family?”

“A Malfoy?”

There was beat of silence.

“Touché, small guy. Well played.”

As people sniggered at Scorpius’s shut down by a thirteen year old, I realised who the new people in the compartment were. There were four new intruders to our cabin—one with exceptionally bright red hair, two with shiny blonde hair, and one with beautiful brown hair and all exceptionally pretty.

These were, indeed members of the Weasley/Potter/Malfoy clan.

I realised with a sinking gut that one of the blondes was indeed Sabriel Malfoy, and the brunette with the luscious locks was her evil friend Indiana Stephens. I realised with a slightly more happy feel that the other two were in fact (fourth years) Roxanne Weasley, and Louis Weasley—the other blonde who I had at first mistaken for a girl.

I considered remaining silent for a while, just until this mass conversation finished and there was more breathing room in the compartment. Then, Louis Weasley took a step back—practically flattening me against the compartment door.

“Ah—okay—ouch.”

“Katie!” Albus exclaimed, when Louis moved, looking confused. “What are you doing back there?”

“Making my quick way to becoming a pancake apparently.” I answered evenly.

Louis hastily apologised.

“I can wait outside if this little family shindig hasn’t finished?” I said with wide eyes, my gaze darting from Sabriel and Indiana. Indiana sneered at me. Sabriel gave me a look of total indifference—which made sense since I really had no issue with Sabriel if we weren’t throwing insults at each other.

Aside from the multiple times she’s sent me to the hospital wing, not to mention my potion’s partner’s fist imprint on her face.

“No.” Albus said suddenly. “No, no, no. Come sit.”

I raised an eyebrow at him. Both Lily and Hugo had taken my spot between Fred and Al, and Scorpius and Rose had begun to make room for Roxy and Louis. To say that there was no sitting room was an understatement if there ever was one.

“Uh... where?”

Albus barely even glanced around the room, before motioning for me to sit on his lap.

Yes—there is a God.

“Scor.” Sabriel continued, not looking at all bothered by being in the presence of the people that she claimed to hate. “I’m not kidding. I need to know what Mum and Dad have planned for the holidays.”

I sat neatly on Albus’s lap, attempting to feel light—perhaps positive visualisation would work in this scenario.

Scor rolled his eyes. “What’s the big deal, Sab?” He asked tiredly. “It’s not like we’re in mortal peril or anything.”

Form the ringing silence that followed his statement it became clear that mortal peril was precisely what Sabriel Malfoy was worried about.

Scor looked tense. His little sister’s obvious concern seemed to ruffle him a little, and his sat up a little straighter. “Look Sab,” He said with a sigh. “Mum and Dad are both great with magic. They won’t let a hair on our heads be harmed and you know that. Plus, the Ministry will have our house watched because of Dad’s past anyway, right?”

Sabriel didn’t answer him straight away. Scorpius tried again.

“Right? That’s right isn’t it, Sab?”

Sabriel let her sharp gaze dart past every single person in the cabin, while Indiana followed with angry glares. Of the two of them it was clear which one was more uncomfortable with their current location.

I didn’t mind so much, because I could feel distinctly Albus’s hand on my waist as I perched—think light! Light! You are as light as a damn feather!— on his lap.

Sabriel nodded then. “You’re right.” She took a deep breath. “I don’t know what I was so worried about. Obviously not a problem. Excuse my moment of embarrassment Scorpius—I’ll get out of your way.” Then she walked away.

Scorpius looked for a moment like he wanted to disagree with his little sister, and deny the obvious belief she held that she ashamed him. She was out the door before he got the chance—so he simply sighed, and let his head rest dejectedly back on the seat. I risked a glance around the compartment, still completely full of Weasleys or Potters.

“Are you sure I didn’t interrupt anything?” I asked.

Lily shook her head, standing, and helping Hugo up as well. “We were just talking about precautions for the ball,” She said. “And just organising who went home with whom. We’re finished now anyway,” She said.

I was really too stunned at her use of the word ‘whom’ to listen to what she was really saying.

Lily smiled brightly at her family members, then at me and Scorpius. “See you guys when we get home.” She said to Albus. “And I’ll see the rest of you some time soon. Probably before the ball.” She grinned brightly, before tucking her hand neatly into the crook of Hugo’s arm and pulling him away.

Well.

That was abrupt.

Louis and Roxanne stood as well. “Right then,” Louis said with a shrug. “I can almost see the station. Apparently, that’s the end of the family conversation.” He shrugged. “We’ll go fetch our things, shall we, Roxy?”

Roxanne nodded in confirmation, “See you at the station, bro.” Roxanne threw up her fingers in the peace sign, as she slinked out.

Fred returned the gesture, as well as two thumps to his chest. “Peace!” He called.

The compartment door swung close.

Hang on.

Did Lily say precautions for the ball?

What damn precautions did we need?




As we got off the train I felt another wave of nausea and nerves hit me.

The nausea was probably due to lightheaded-ness caused by the hug that Albus pulled me into before he departed with Scorpius, who was waiting for him to showcase their secret handshake before seeing each other off.

A series of intricate hand movements and one fist punch later, both Scorpius and Albus had vanished.

The next to go was Fred, who was hit by a red headed projectile second after Albus and Scorpius disappeared. It turned out that it was only his youngest little sister, Irena, come to greet him—but that didn’t stop his enthusiasm as he lifted Irena up into the air and swung her around a couple of times.

Roxanne followed her older brother off the train seconds later, rolling her eyes.

“Come on, tosser.” She urged him—in an astonishing display of sisterly affection.

Fred didn’t rest however. Instead, he set Irena back on the floor and grabbed my hand, pulling me down so that we were both at Irena’s height.

“Did you have a good time without me and Roxy?” Fred asked his sweet little sister. The four year old, in her pink pinafore and pigtails, stared curiously up at me and Fred.

She pointed at me and went, “Who? Who? Who? Who? Who?”

I just about died on the inside.

Which was bad because I had already reached almost dying levels when Albus hugged me.

This is a bad day for me.

“This,” Fred said, “is your sister in law. I got married while I was away—is that okay?”

The small Irena Weasley stared up at me with wide eyes for a moment. Fred seemed to take this as indication she couldn’t see me well enough and tugged me forward at the crook of my arm.

This combined with my ever present idiocy and clumsiness caused me to fall over—so I was sitting in a heap, about three inches from Irena, with my bum on the dirty station floor.

I threw Fred a glare that I was trying to copy off Rose. It didn’t seem to work because Fred just grinned at me and shrugged.

“You’re funny.” Irena then stated.

I took this as a compliment, seeing as everyone else had done the same thing. Rose laughed breezily, while Fred grinned and stood up again.

He held out his hand to assist me in the action of getting up, before reaching down with his other hand and scooping Irena off the floor and holding her in his arms.

“So you approve then, Rena?” he asked grinned at her.

Feeling rather as though I was on some sort of show, I made jazz hands and a massive smile.

Irena made a face—before gurgling a little and exclaiming that I was ‘silly.’

Well, at least toddlers tell it like it is.

Fred made his quick goodbyes, giving both Rose and I one armed hugs before making sure his things were following him and walking away. He was a couple of meters away when he turned around.

“Make sure the naive one is prepared for this ball, Rosie.” He advised. “And a Christmas at the Weasley’s humble abode.”

Fred then vanished into the thick of the crowd, leaving both Rose and I.

I anxiously grasped at Rose’s arm—looking around for the Scrubs and my suitcase—like normal, they should come up and follow me sooner or later, the train always seemed to have enchantments on it. Now, the suitcases magically found their owners of their own accords, instead of us having to go and locate them.

It made life a lot easier, for sure, but it did mean I was down a possible excuse to scarper.

“There’s Tyler.” Rose said suddenly.

Tyler?

Oh. Tyler.

TYLER!

THE BODYGUARD! TYLER!!

Oh, by Merlin this is all really happening.

Rose grasped my hand firmly, tugging on it sharply and leading me towards a good looking man in his thirties. “Evening Tyler,” Rose greeted the man who I could only assume was Tyler. “Had a long wait?”

“Not long,” He said with a sigh. “You’re parents were desperate to come and wouldn’t let me out of their house. I advised them that their presence at the platform was expected and might lure the death eaters here, but they were still adamant. They had their wands out and everything.”

Rose sighed, smiling fondly at the thought of her parents.

I, on the other hand, was bloody terrified.

“That’s just them, Ty.” Rose advised him. “Think about it. They don’t want to resemble in any way parents who can’t come and pick up their own children.”

At a quick glance around the platform, I realised belatedly that sure enough—there weren’t any reporters here, snapping up pictures of famous family reunions. Harry Potter didn’t seem to be here either.

“It took the reminder that the death eaters inadvertently surprising us at the Station might inflict civilian casualties before they realised that they could, under no circumstances, come to pick you up themselves.”

That was about the stage when the hyperventilation started.

Tyler looked pointedly at me. “Introductions seem to be required at this junction, Rose.” He advised her. “I thought you knew better than to avoid an introduction.”

“Right,” Rose said grinning. “Kate, this is Tyler, the Weasley Family bodyguard.”

AT this, Tyler looked affronted. “Excuse me.” He protested. “What have we said about the term ‘bodyguard?’?”

Rose smirked at him. “Right, sorry,” She apologised cheekily, “Kate, this is Tyler Peck—the Weasley family ‘personal auror’ on the occasion that his brilliant services are required to protect us mere mortals.”

Tyler puffed out his chest heroically.

Rose chuckled at his performance, and shook her head slightly. She moved right on to introducing me. “Ty, this is Katie Dalton. She’ll be staying with us for the Holidays, and is also—positively hilarious.”

Uh...

Tyler looked at me, amused, “Really? Hilarious is she? Well, she must show case some of this humour while she’s here—Merlin knows I’ll see her daily.”

Way to put me on the spot, Weasley.

I made a sort of grin-slash-grimace—the result of the two I’m sure was not flattering in the slightest.

Tyler looked at her kindly, reaching out and grabbing her leather suitcase from the air, and placing it firmly on the ground. He did the same with Minna, who sat in her cage—clearly ruffled by the dirtier looking owl who sat right beside her. Tyler then did the same thing with Scrubs and my case before turning and smiling at me.

Tyler looked curiously at Rose. “Alright then,” He said, clapping his hands together. “Hugo was coming home this Christmas, right?” He asked.

Rose nodded good heartedly, and turned to crane her neck, looking for her younger brother. “Yeah, course he was.” She said. “He wouldn’t miss Grandma’s cooking if Voldemort returned.”

I was the only one who noticed—or payed any attention to—the few sharp intakes of breath and the shocked looks we suddenly received from passersby. Those who recognised Rose payed no attention—but this didn’t stop my cheeks from heating up.

I was so preoccupied that I didn’t notice where Rose was looking when she finally located her younger brother.

“Uh...” She said suddenly. “Right. Tyler, Katie and I are going to go and wait by the portkey pads. Uh... come on Katie,” She was pulling absently at my arm—tugging on my sleeve until she finished talking. Then she was full on pulling me away.

“Uhm...” Tyler said, obviously confused. “Alright. I’ll bring your bags?”

Rosie smiled brightly at him. “Cool, thanks Ty, see you in a sec.”

Now, I didn’t see what had Rose in such a tizz—but I’m not an idiot (contrary to popular belief.)

I knew that when Rose is looking for Hugo—who is a very close friend of Liam Smithers—and she’s looking in an area heavily populated with students from a school in which a lot of people are angry at me, and then suddenly spots him, and decides that she had better get me to vacate the area—?

Well, of course it was Eric.

Although I did have some help figuring that out.

“Oh?” The chiming voice of Lorraine Smithers said, not too far off. “Do you belong to Hugo? I was really hoping I could speak with his parents.”

And then seconds later,

“Eric, honey, was that precious Katie Dalton running off just then?”

Hi. My name is Kate Dalton. And I’m a bloody coward.




“This is a bad idea,” I said some fifteen minutes later. “Portkeys and I don’t generally mix.”

Rose rolled her eyes. “Katie, as your tutor and your friend, and someone who genuinely cares about you, I advise you... get over it.”

Merlin, that girl has a way with words.

I threw her a dirty look and frowned. “Fine.” I told her, not willing to really embarrass myself in front of Tyler the hot auror, and Hugo the braver than me third year. “But don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

I reached out and pressed a finger to the stained and muddy muggle football that was to be our mode of transportation.

I felt a familiar jerk at my posterior, and then my head was spinning. This only continued for a second however, and then I felt myself falling out of the sky and landing.

It wasn’t as though my life flashed before my eyes. In fact, I saw the pond with perfect clarity. I saw the ducks fleeing the scene. I saw the water and the ending that was about to come. My poor jeans-- was about the only thing that went through my head.

And then a pair of strong arms wrapped around my waist and I froze—only feet above the potential splash that I had expected.

I looked up at my savoir.

Ooh. Good Lord.






Hey guys,

I just wanted to let you guys know that I am aware that I have messed with a lot of the Canon Character’s ages. As far as Rowling was concerned (which was a lot, because she’s a GENIUS) Fred and James and Victoire are the same age, Roxanne is in Hogwarts before Albus and Rose, and Louis is like seven years younger than Albus.

I thought, as there will be a WHOLE lot of mention to the next characters I could put a little explanation at the end of the next chapter? If you guys want a list of characters in the Weasley/Potter clan and their ages, then just let me know. I’ll most likely put it up anyway. If you SPECIFICALLY don’t want it, however, then just let me know (in a review? XD??) (Hint, hint…:P)

Please don’t hate me for the changes. I just felt that it would be good to play around with the characters together—especially with Katie—and I couldn’t let Fred get away since he is one of my favourites—and named after my ULTIMATE favourite character.

Anyway—if you have any major issues with the differences, feel free to tell me about them. I would love to hear your opinions.

Cheers

G.

PS. OOH! Depending on who can guess who caught our darling heroine, Katie, the next chapter shoud be soon. I've been overwhelmed with work these days, and I've only just finished writing Ch. 21. :P So it's up to you guys now! WHO CAUGHT KATIE DALTON!? :P



Chapter 20: Not Quite the Impression I was Hoping For
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20. Not Quite the Impression I was Hoping For




I felt a familiar jerk at my posterior, and then my head was spinning. This only continued for a second however, and then I felt myself falling out of the sky and landing.

It wasn’t as though my life flashed before my eyes. In fact, I saw the pond with perfect clarity. I saw the ducks fleeing the scene. I saw the water and the ending that was about to come. My poor jeans-- was about the only thing that went through my head.

And then a pair of strong arms wrapped around my waist and I froze—only feet above the potential splash that I had expected.

I looked up at my savoir.

Ooh. Good Lord.







Considering my history with breaking, ruining, inadvertently sitting on, and falling over inanimate objects, it makes a lot of sense that when given the chance inanimate objects will attempt to get revenge.

Which is why it was perfectly logical that when we arrived, by portkey, I almost landed rather unceremoniously, in the middle of a pond.

Of course, that would have been a better result than this terminally humiliating other option.

Ron Weasley stared at me amused for a moment, as I gaped at him. Clearly, he didn’t think I was heavy or anything—considering he hand caught me out of thin air—and his arms were still wrapped chivalrously around my waist.

“Katie Dalton?” he asked, bemused.

My face went roughly the colour of a radish.

Tyler hurried over to help Ron put me down on my feet, struggling to hide snigger of his own, while Hugo rolled around on the floor in hysterics and Rose giggled sophisticatedly to her.

“Yeah—” I said, as confidently as I could, considering the circumstances. “—that would be me.” I smiled—as if the embarrassment wasn’t clear enough.

“I can see what Rosie meant when she told us trouble follows you around.” Ron said, well naturedly. “Well, it’s a good thing that you didn’t fall in the pond then, isn’t it?”

I nodded my head quickly. “Yeah.” I said—a little awkwardly. “Thanks for that, sir. That would have been…bad.”

“Don’t call me sir,” Mr. Weasley then said smirking. “I’m Ron Weasley—though you probably already know that. Call me Ron.”

Uh.

Wow.

That was about when it hit me.

Right in front of me, smirking at me—and holding me up heroically so I didn’t fall—was RON FRACKING WEASLEY!!

He looked every bit like he did in his interviews or pictures. Emily always said that maybe they put on makeup or something, because grown people can’t remain that glamorous.

Well, I can inform you know that it is NOT MAKE UP!

Ronald Weasley stood in front of me, leaning against the doorframe that obviously connected his front room with another—his arms folded across his chest.

His red hair—THE RED HAIR! WHAT MADE HIM SO UNIQUE IN THE TRIO! IT WAS ONE OF HIS DEIFNING FEATURES! IT SAID SO IN MY CHOCOLATE FROG CARD!!!—was tidy, but long—and sort of out of control if that made any sense.

“Hey, Dad.”Hugo greeted his father, still chuckling to himself.

“Hey, little man...” Ron greeted his son. He walked over and fist bumped Hugo, before Hugo hugged him briefly and disappeared down the lawn and into the large and extraordinary white house.

Rose was next, running forward to embrace her father in a long hug—which he returned with a ‘Have a good term, Princess?” to which she replied—“I haven’t yet killed Scor, Daddy.”

Yet… I thought, thinking about their heated argument in the train.

Ron pretended to kick himself—which had Rose laughing and me standing off to the side feeling incredibly awkward.

Ron then turned his gaze to me. “So, Miss Katie Dalton, do you have all your things?”

I nodded—numb and speechless.

This was bloody surreal...

I then turned to fetch the things, snapping myself back to the future so I didn’t bloody well make myself look like more of an idiot. Of course, that action ended with me looking curiously around for my bags—which had disappeared.

“Tyler took all the bags, Daddy.” Rose said grinning.

Right on time, Tyler shouted out—he was a fair way away, having reached the house, but we could hear him clearly—“I don’t quite RECALL where on my resume it states I’m a BLOODY BAG BOY!”

Rose sniggered a little, leaving her fathers side to hook arms with me. Ron on the other hand smirked and turned to face Tyler’s direction.

“LOOK CLOSELY, TOSSER!” He shouted back. With a smirk on his face. “IT’S RIGHT BELOW THE PART THAT SAYS ‘I’M YOUR BOSS AND I’M PAYING YOU’ AND ABOVE THE BIT THAT SAYS ‘GET OVER IT, YOU PRAT.’”

Ron Weasley is the coolest person I have ever met.

Well, he ties with Fred, Scorpius, Rose, Albus and ALL of their relatives.

But whatever.

Ron turned back to Rose and me. “You coming inside girls?” He queried, curiously. “Rose, you should show Katie where she can stay—and I’m sure you both want a shower after the day long train ride.”

Huh, he’s psychic as well.

“Mione’s been working on dinner most of the afternoon.” He informed me as we all walked towards their house. “She’s been taking lessons from me Mum, and it’s beginning to show.”

Rose looked doubtful, and I grinned. I knew all too well the idea that some parents just couldn’t cook.

“And then you can explain to us why the portkey tried to toss you into our duck pond,” Ron said, still amused.

I frowned, momentarily considering what Mr. Weasley would do if I tried to kill his daughter with a glare.

I came to the conclusion that he mightjust kill me back.

Instead I settled for a simple explanation.

“In my defence, sir,” I said nervously, “I did warn Rose this time about my aversion to portkeys.”

Ron smirked. We had reached the door at that stage, and he opened it for Rose and myself.

“Come and meet Hermione,” He said charmingly—reaching out an arm and draping it over my shoulder—in a similar fashion to Albus and Fred when they did the same thing. Rose was nestled sweetly under his other arm—while I stood there awkwardly. “Tyler has taken care of your bags...”

We all heard Tyler’s loud grumble from another room in the house. Ron smirked.

Then he directed us into the living room.

“Mione!” he shouted out. “Come and meet Miss Katie Dalton.”

I’m not quite sure what I expected of Hermione Weasley. She was a proud and proper woman, strong and determined and at least one third of the reason why the name Voldemort didn’t leave people quaking in their boots anymore. I knew that she was a beautiful young woman in all of her pictures in the Prophet from back when they won the war and I knew that she was the Head of the Department of Mysteries.

Not that I knew much about the Department of Mysteries.

It being mysterious and all.

But meeting Hermione Weasley in person was... wow.

The noise of her heels was what I heard first, and then an intelligent beautiful woman appeared from the other side of the room. Her hair was pulled back in a messy bun, and her rectangular black glasses sat on her nose elegantly as she smiled wide. She was wearing a breezy floral shirt and ironed black pants—looking every bit the wonderful mother-cross-successful business woman that everyone knew she was.

Hugo was walking beside her—clearly having just greeted her himself. She had her arm wrapped around his shoulder—not quite as casually as Ron had his arms around me and Rose—however.

She smiled warmly at Rose and me. “I missed you both so much!” She exclaimed as she walked forward to hug Rose briefly. She then turned to me. “You must be Katie then,” She said—giving me the strange sense that she and her husband were very alike. “It’s so good to finally meet you!”

She smiled—a little amused at Ron’s clearly casual approach to meeting their daughter’s new friend. She took in my appearance for a moment, before looking at me like I was insane.

“Aren’t you cold?” She asked, in reference to my singlet strap top.

Yeah—perhaps I didn’t think that one through as well as I should have.

Ron, trying to figure out what it was that his wife was referring to, looked back at me. His eyebrows went high. “It’s snowing, for Merlin’s sake.” He exclaimed, his expression now matching his wife’s. “Right. I’m making hot chocolate.”

Ron pulled his arms away from around our shoulders, and swaggered into the kitchen—humming a tune that I recognised to be Jemima and the Purple Cows,again.

I made a futile attempt to insist that I was alright, but Ron had already disappeared. Hermione continued to smile warmly at me. “You’re a guest here,” She explained. “And while you’re here you will feel just like you’re at home.”

“Not so much, actually, Mrs. Weasley. My parents would have told me to deal with it the muggle way.” I informed her truthfully. Its what the muggle’s would have done, you see, and my parents were—in all ways save for reality—effectively muggle.

“Call me Hermione, darling.” She said warmly. “Mrs. Weasley is, and always will be my mother in law.” Then she frowned slightly, clearly thinking about something that was just said.

That was when Mrs. Weasley--Hermione—really showed me where Rose got her smarts from.

“That’s right, isn’t it? I was reading an article in the Prophet about your parents, and the people like them. People were calling to have them no longer classified as Wizarding citizens...your father was in an interview wasn’t he?”

Have you ever had an extremely embarrassing moment when you realise that the person who you’ve practically stalked for your entire life knows more about your life than you do?

“Uh...” I said slowly. “Has he?”

Rose laughed airily, “Even I’ve read that article, Katie. How could you have not?”

I frowned, shrugging. “Uh... I don’t know. My parents are usually against the publicity of their decision. They like to be left alone. I wouldn’t have though that my parents would interview for anything... when was this?”

Hermione was nodding her head with me. “Rosie,” She said reasonably. “The article did come out when you were three years old. I think Katie might have been mentioned, but other than that I can understand why her parents don’t see it as a big deal.” She turned her warm smile to me. “Ronald and I spent as long as we could, keeping Rosie, and Hugh away from the fame that follows Ron and I.”

I am ashamed to say that I wasn’t really paying attention.

Instead, I was focusing on a specific sentence. I think Katie might have been mentioned,

I was WHAT?!

“Wait... mentioned where?” I asked, a little queasily. “In a newspaper article?”

Rose grinned at me. “See? I always said that the paparazzi are the soul of people’s problems.”

Which would prove to be right—I grinned at Rosie. “I suppose my unimaginable bad luck has something to do with that then?” I said smiling.

Rose grin widened, and she leant forward. She grasped my hand tightly. “We’re going to go upstairs—we’ll come down when the chocolate is ready.”

I grinned as Rose pulled me forward, in the direction that both Ron and Hugo had disappeared in. We made our quick way through the kitchen—where ingredients and utensils were dancing around in the act of making hot chocolate--and then through the next door, leaving the famous saviours of the world alone.

But not before I noticed Hermione throw Ron an anxious type look which made him hesitate as he conjured up the hot drinks. He froze instantly, frowning, protectively alarmed by his wife’s obvious concern.

They both looked at me.

And then Rose tugged firmly on my arm and I thought nothing of it.

“Be careful not to fall down the stairs,” Ron then said jokingly. “I won’t be able to catch you, and Tyler’s sitting down.”

“Better get the medical kit prepped then, Mum.” Rose jibed as we walked. Rose was grinning again as she walked up the stairs. I glared at her.

“Thank you for nothing,” I told her coldly. “You useless person.”

Rose sobered up.

Slightly...

“I didn’t think you were being literal.” She defended herself, her grin still wide on her face.

I glowered at her. “Well. I was being literal.”

Rose grinned, “At least you made an impression?” She offered.

Yeah, I made a bloody impression.

…Merlin, help me.






“So hang on, what is this article?”

I frowned, curiously as I followed Rose up a new staircase—the same one actually. It would seem that Rose’s house has in effect the same type of stairs that Hogwarts has. The staircase foot seemed to follow us around—making sure that if we needed we were provided with an instant way upstairs.

“I don’t still have it,” Rose said apologetically. “I mean, it was over thirteen years ago.” She said simply. “I don’t keep things that long. I don’t like to dwell on the past.”

I frowned.

Best not to tell her about the large box of memorabilia concerning her and her family that’s sits on my tops shelf at home.

I’ll keep that one under wraps.

“Sorry Katie,” Rose apologised again. “Come on—it’s this room here.”

We veered form the top of the staircase and began walking down a fluffy carpeted hallway—red and gold. That made sense. Ron and Hermione Weasley had both been in Gryffindor. It was fair that a bit of it spilled into their lives. On the walls were pictures—Albus Dumbledore—in a shot with Ron and Hermione and HARRY POTTER. (Not that I ever recall having heard about a picture like that before.)

“This is your room.” Rose said to me—looking at the door. “You would have been able to sleep in my room—but I figure that you’ll be here for two weeks and if we shared a room for that long—well even you couldn’t bare me.”

I would have disagreed. She is, after all, Rose Weasley. But then I remembered that she is also my tutor. Which meant that she would have specific days margined off for studying—I didn’t really mind, I needed to do the work.

But a whole two weeks of living in the same room as Rose?

I’m not quite sure how her roommates handle it.

Pose pushed open the door to show me. The colour scheme matched the hallway. A vibrantly bright assortment of golds and reds met my eyes initially, and even though I was a true Hufflepuff-ian, it was enough to make me crack a smile.

Not that I wasn’t already grinning like a bloody maniac.

The bed—clearly the main part of the room—was situated in the very middle. Two mattresses high—and covered in a rich red duvet, the bed was weighed down with about eight gold—by Merlin is that satin!?—pillows. Sitting on the end of the bed was a fluffy red bathroom kit (towel, cloth, soap—though that wasn’t fluffy, etc.) There was a small desk to one side that sat underneath a large window and golden curtains pulled aside to let the sunlight in. On the other side of the room there was an in wall closet, and my bags had already been placed neatly in the corner.

“Uh… wow…”

“If you want,” Rose said—the ever wonderful hostess—“I can get my parents to charm the colours. I know you might do better with the Hufflepuff colours.”

I shook my head. Opting not to inform her that I had always thought Gryffindor had great colours—it was her house. They were all from Gryffindor.

“No, no, no.” I said shaking my head. “This is… wow.”

Rose grinned—and directed me to the window.

“You can see Al’s house from here.” She said brightly. “You’d think that after seven years of close proximity my parents would want a little space from Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny—” Mention of their names made me almost giddy again. “—but apparently they enjoy being close together. Plus, it’s cool that Al and Scor are so close.”

She pointed to the far distance—which was hard considering it had been a long day, I was tired, and the sun was setting—I could just see the flicker of lights in the distance.

“That’s Al’s kitchen window.” Rose said sighing. “We’ll see them soon, I guess.” She grinned at me, a degree of knowing in her eyes that I used to think Emily could only reach.

I grinned—knowing exactly what she was getting at.

“Anyway...” She said, wisely deciding to change the subject. “I’ll leave you to get organised. We’ve got about two and a half hours til Dinner, and my rooms just across the hall if you want to come over once you’re ready and we’ll hang there. Cool?”

I nodded, noticing for the first time how cold it was in my ridiculous clothing. “Right then.” I said grinning, giving her the thumbs up gesture.

She chuckled.

It was as Rosie was leaving the room—leaving me with the frightening prospect of settling into the house of LEGENDS—when I noticed the black picture frame on the wall.

“Hey Rosie,” I asked curiously, looking at the blank space. “Who’s accompanying me tonight?” I grinned at her.

She looked puzzled for a moment, hesitating the doorway, before she followed my gaze and looked at the picture.

“Oh don’t worry about him,” She said. “That’s just Uncle Fred. He may act like an idiot, but he’s just as much of a gentleman as our Fred, or Al and Scor.”

Leaving me with that very non-comforting idea, Rose smiled and then closed the door behind her. I stared at the blank portrait for another moment.

I was in the Weasley house. Hermione and Ron Weasley were seconds away, just down stairs. Ron Weasley was making me a hot chocolate. Rose Weasley was in the room opposite me. I was practically bunking with the great Fred Weasley Sr. Harry and Ginny Potter, as well as Albus and Scorpius, were only a five minute walk away.

Holy—




“Mione, I bloody love you.”

Hermione smirked at Ron as he sat down at the table, opposite his wife. Food was floating on plates—which Rose and I had been able to smell for a good hour at least—towards us as Hermione told it to do so with her wand. Ron was looking at the food with such delight it looked as though he was going pass out.

“This isn’t for you, Ronald.” Hermione said smiling lightly. “It’s for Katie. Her first night here should be a good one.”

Ron turned to me. “Then I thank you, Miss Dalton, for spurring my wife to, well, acting like a wife.”

Hermione shot Ron a hard look.

“Not that I mean that in a derogatory sense,” Ron continued—not moving his eyes away from me and pretending he hadn’t seen his wife angrily fold her arms across her chest with her eyebrows raised. “I think that in this day and time, society should be ruled by women. I mean they are far superior to men, and very very smart.” He hastened a glance at Hermione, then looked quickly back at me. “Did I mention how nice I think my wife looks tonight?”

Hermione grinned, apparently satisfied now with her husband’s attempt at clearing his name.

“What did you cook tonight anyway, Mum?” Rose asked.

Hermione looked around the entire table—where the plates had all settled themselves in front of us. “Well,” she said slowly. “Kreacher came over this morning, with Ginny, and he taught us how to make a good Pork Roast,” She peered closely at the meal. “I did this one on my own, but I think it was good enough.”

“Sure smells good enough.” Hugo commented—inhaling deeply.

Ron chuckled deeply. “That’s m’boy.” He chuckled. “Just like his dad.”

Hugo smirked. “I still don’t know whether or not that’s a good thing.” He said evenly, grinning lightly at his dad.

Ron’s chuckles ceased, and he frowned at Hugo. “Oh, alright. Let’s all make fun of Dad, will we?” He turned to me, ignoring Hermione, Rose and Hugo’s stifled giggle. “I just want to inform you, Katie, that it’s not usually like this.” He said. “Usually, I command far more respect.”

This brought another round of giggles through the Weasley family. I cracked a smile—grinning as well. Ron glowered at his family members.

“Sorry I’m late, Weasley’s plus one,” Tyler stated loudly as he entered. His hair was wet—he had clearly been out in the snow—and his clothes were also a little damp. With a flick of his wand he looked normal and dry again, and he seated himself beside Hugo. “Wow, Hermione, this looks wonderful.”

Hermione smiled gratefully, as she placed a piece of her own pork into her mouth.

“Where were you just then, Ty?” Rose asked curiously.

“I was just down at the Potter’s house. I would have flooed but the networks down. Some stupid wizard clogged it up in Gloucester again, so I had to apparate.” He looked seriously over at Ron. “Now, I’m glad there are so many safety precautions, but are you sure you don’t want to consider charming it so that specific people don’thave to walk the one and a half mile trek to the edge of your perimeter?” He asked.

Ron just smirked at him, with a mouthful of Hermione’s delicious roast.

Tyler frowned for a moment at Ron, before looking to Hermione. “That reminds me. I spoke to Ginny and she said that Ted’s coming to their place for lunch tomorrow with Victoire. She’s invited you to come along—Teddy’s anxious to meet Katie after all he’s heard about her.”

Bloody hell, how many people in this family have heard about me?

Rose must have recognised the shocked look on my face and translated it.

She laughed for a second. “Don’t worry Katie.” She reassured me. “It’s not like we gossip about you. It just you’re one of the first out of the family friends who we’ve really had for a while and everyone’s excited to meet you.”

Oh.

That’s reassuring.

Not.

“Okay,” I said simply, swallowing my latest bite of the delicious meal. “Sounds good. I mean, all your family’s really cool.”

And they were. Rose and I had spent the last hour and a half in her room,. Just chatting. In that time, Ron and Hugo had flown past the window—evidentially racing each other to see who could fly faster: “They do it every year,” Rose had informed me lightly. “It’s the age old question of size versus age.”

I wasn’t quite as well acquainted with this ‘age-old question’ so I just agreed.

“That very nice of you, Katie,” Hermione continued our dinner conversation. “But I can assure you that once these two weeks are up, you’ll be sick to death of us.”

I smiled lightly, dipping my roast into a bit of Hermione’s home-made apple sauce before looking back at Hermione.

“I’m sure that’s not the case.” I said lightly.

Ron peered at me. “Really, Katie. As nice as it is you have you here, it’s very important that you’re totally prepared for the next two weeks. What happened to Hermione and I all those years ago have a big effect on our lives now and with... everything that’s happened recently it’s vital that you know exactly what could happen and what could go wrong.”

But as I stared at the table—seated with Hermione and Ron Weasley, with Harry Potter mere minutes away, and two fully trained auror’s stationed at the house permanently, I had already made up my mind.

What could go wrong?





Oh, Katie. When will you learn to stop jinxing yourself? As you have all probably guessed—when it comes to the layout of these sort of fics Christmas and New years are very dramatic times. And I won’t disappoint. I’ve also been leading up to a LOT of things, so, as Ron said: Be prepared.

Thanks for the MANY reviews! And to those of you who guessed it was the wonderful Ronald Weasley who came to her rescue, then I hope you're proud of yourselves.

Also—AHAH! How was that speedy fast? One day! (well, that’s what the waiting time thingo says at the moment that I’m posting this. Unfortunately, a little writers block is bothering me, so therefore, 21 might be out quickly, but 22 is proving to be a son of a whosiwhatsit and I’m having big difficulties. Sorry guys! I’m working on it! And as it is the holidays I will have a lot of time to break of of the stupid writers block curse. ☹

In other news, I hope you guys are happy with the way I brought Ron and Hermione into the plot. I worked SO much on this chapter, so extra feedback would be MUCH appreciated (and while we’re on the subject, you’re recent feedback has been OVERWHELMING AND EXCELLENT ETC ETC ETC.) I hope I got their characters right and everything—and no one was disappointed with how this chapter turned out.

Anyway, please review with feedback—and the next chapter should be out soon.

Cheers.

G.





Chapter 21: No Interest in Smoochie Time
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21. No Interest in Smoochie Time.




“Mum!” Rose called out, the next morning, from the lounge room. “What time do you want us back?”

We had woken up late—at about ten thirty in the morning. We ate quickly—another wonderful concoction from Hermione Weasley—and then dressed and gotten ready. We were going to the Potters house later in the afternoon, for a lunch sort of thing—but Rose had said that she and I had some time before that to go out.

“Uhm...” Hermione pondered the question momentarily. “Two hours?”

Rose sighed impatiently, giving me a look, as if to say—‘are all parent’s this intolerable?’

Uh... sure...

“No, I mean what time on the clock, Mother...” Rose verified tiredly.

Hermione exited the kitchen with one eyebrow raised. “Don’t you take that tone with me, young lady, or you won’t be going out at all today. I can always call Albus and Scorpius and ask them to take care of Katie for the day—if you’re going to be snippy.”

I stared with wide eyes as Rose glowered at her mother for a moment. I suppose even worldwide famous celebrities aren’t even exempt from the age-old teenager versus parent dynamic. As every teenager eventually figures out, Rose sighed and gave in.

“Right. Sorry.” She apologised. “We had a late night last night.”

Hermione nodded knowingly at Rose. “Well, maybe you should both consider sleeping before the crack of dawn next time, alright?” We both nodded sheepishly. Hermione then consulted the stylish silver watch on her wrist. “Aunt Ginny asked us to come over at about one thirty,” Hermione then explained. “We’re going to walk down—so maybe get back here at quarter past?” She offered. “That should give you time to put away any things you bought, and then freshen up before we go see the boys.” She smirked knowingly at that.

Rose flushed slightly. Clearly, her ‘secret’ thing for the good-looking blonde Malfoy boy wasn’t exactly kept from her mother. Her father maybe—but Hermione seemed to have figured it out.

Meh, I was safe. I’m sure Hermione hasn’t figured out about—

“And I’m sure Albus and Scorpius will be excited to see the both of you.” This time the knowing stare landed on me.

By Jove. She’s a genius.

Maybe my Albus thing wasn’t quite as well hidden as I assumed.

“One-fifteen it is,” Rose said, hastily changing the subject. “We’ll just be in Diagon Alley, so if you need anything, just...”

Hermione frowned. “You know Tyler is coming with you, don’t you?” She said slowly.

Rose stared at her mother.

Hermione sighed.

“Rosie, we’ve been over this.” She sighed. “It is not safe for you to go out, completely unguarded, into public places. It puts you in danger, it puts Katie in danger, not to mention every single other person who could get caught in some sort of crossfire if you were attacked.”

“Mum—Don’t you think that I should be allowed to take care of myself? I’m seventeen. I’m legally allowed to do magic outside of Hogwarts. Technically I should be allowed to make my own decisions regarding my future, now. I’m a big girl—”

Hermione silenced her with a hand.

“You’re right Rose. You’re technically allowed to make your own decisions. However, as long as you live under my roof, you won’t be. And you’ll be respecting my wishes for your safety. I know it doesn’t seem like it but I’m only doing this because—”

Rose interrupted her. “—No wait. It’s because you love me, right?”

“Right!”

“No, Mum! I should be allowed to go shopping without some chaperone! Tyler is only four years older than me. I know about as much magic as him, not even including the things that Uncle Harry teaches us, and I am just as capable as him. How can you trust my safety to him and not me?”

He doesn’t live with us. When you don’t live with us, you can look after yourself.” Hermione said finally, her eyes practically ablaze.

Rose glowered at her.

“Trust me, I’m counting the days.”

She turned around abruptly, picking her bag off the couch and walking to the fire. Dipping her hand in a pot on the mantle, she pulled out a handful of powder and threw it into the flames. In a green flash she was gone, shouting ’Diagon Alley’loud enough for the whole house to here.

There was a moment of awkward silence. Hermione clenched and unclenched her fists, before turning around and calling up the stairs.
“Tyler!” She shouted. “She’s done it again. Hurry up!”

Tyler’s hasty shout of ‘Oh—right, yeah. I’m on it,” didn’t really provide enough basis for a conversation to break the awkwardness of this moment. Even as he hastily bumbled down the stairs and he himself vanished in a green flash of flame.

“Uh...” I said slowly.

Hermione looked to me. “Oh, Katie. I’m sorry. You shouldn’t have been caught up in that.”

I smiled nervously at her. “Don’t worry. I have fights with my children all the time.” I looked awkwardly at the fire. “Uh...well, I would. If I had... uh... children.”

I hastily made my way into the fire—face flushing. Unfortunately I was so focused on digging my own grave that I forgot the Floo powder and jumped out straight away. “Uh...dammit...” I grasped at the powder. “Ouch...sorry, I...uh—Diagon Alley!”that last thing I saw before I vanished down the brick tunnel was the amused face of Hermione Weasley.

When I exited the landing platform—or new chimney, in other words—I was still cringing.

“Can you both just kill me?” I asked of Rose and Tyler, who I saw immediately.

Then I realised I had seemingly interrupted some sort of heated argument.

Whoops.

Rose inhaled sharply. “Oh, Katie. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to get that upset. You just...it’s a long running argument. I’m sorry you got caught up in that.”

I frowned at how similar Rose was to Hermione, before shaking it off. “Oh no, it’s not that.” I said. “...Much. It’s really me and my motor mouth digging myself into a hole yet again.”

...I have fights with my children all the time, Uh...well, I would. If I had... uh... children...

Do you want to die of embarrassment, Katie?

I shook it off again. “Don’t worry.” I closed my eyes once more, cringing one more time, before standing straight. “What are we shopping for?” I asked.

Rose grinned. “Well, darling,” She said, linking her arm with mine and leaning towards me—her previous distress seemingly forgotten. Tyler rolled his eyes. “I figure we can shop around for Christmas presents, hey?” She looked at me hopefully. “Are you good for money?”

I frowned, consulting my purse—yes that purse—and finding only three galleons and seven sickles. “Uh... let’s go to Gringotts first, shall we?”

Rose grinned excitedly. “And then we’ll get to the real shopping!” She said excitedly. “Skirts, and dresses, and shirts and shoes! Ooh—the drawback of Hogwarts is only being able to do this once a month!”

Rose was definitely one of the people petitioning for more Hogsmeade visits.

Tyler groaned, loud enough for Rosie and I to hear. We both grinned at him.

“Was this what you envisioned when you signed up to work as an Auror?” I asked, readjusting the strap on my shoulder from my bag, which had dislodged itself.

Tyler sighed.

“Not in so many words,” He said. “But its an opportunity?.”

Rose looked sceptical. “Really? Babysitting is an opportunity?”

Tyler looked at her, smirking to himself. “Now Rosie,” He said seriously. “Don’t get me caught up in this little mood thing you’ve got going at the moment. Time of the month or not, I’m not prepared to face female hormones.”

I grinned. “I thought Auror training covered that...” I jibed.

Tyler looked worried a little. “Katie, nothing can cover that. In a case such as that, a man goes in completely unprotected—the unwilling, unknowing target for mounds and mounds of unwarranted abuse.”

Rose quirked an amused eyebrow. “Unwarranted?”

Tyler shuddered a little.

“Seriously though,” Rose said. “How is following around a bunch of teenagers a good experience?”

Tyler stared at Rose like she was insane for a good couple of minutes. Then he sighed. “Honey,” He said, as though he were speaking to a five year old, “It’s strange how you still don’t get it. You’re father is the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Working with him, in any respect, is a giant privilege. Plus, with all this personal work with him, I hope he realises I function well in every situation.”

Well, that made sense.

Ron Weasley was included in the Daily Prophet publicity piece entitled: This Year’s Most Influential Wizards.

Harry Potter came third, just below Seamus Finnegan—yes, the twin’s Dad, and the richest man in the world (he invented a communication system for wizards that connects to a combined information source that is available free to every single person who pays the added three galleon tax etc.) and just above Dirk Templeton—the lead singer of the pop-rock band: ‘Merlin and Me.’

And yeah. First place? That went to Mr. Ronald Billius Weasley—head of the Dept. Magical Law Enforcement.

Fan clubs all over the country when berserk when Ron beat Harry at something—though apparently the families couldn’t be happier.

Merlin, I read too much propaganda about these families.

“So, uh...” I said awkwardly, “Do you often get into arguments like that with your mum?”

Rosie sighed tiredly. I hastened to clear things up.

“I mean, you know. Everyone has arguments…but that one sounded like its… like it had been previously addressed…” I said awkwardly.

Tyler snorted.

Rosie short him an even more tired look, but unlike others, Tyler refused to stop smirking. “After facing the original look, from its creator, I have no fear of you Rose Weasley.” Tyler turned to me. “How she goes against Hermione Weasley I have no idea. Even Mr. Weasley doesn’t have the balls to do that.”

I grinned.

Rose rolled her eyes.

“Honestly,” she sighed. “Why people are so threatened by my mother, I will never understand.”

I thought back to the vision of Hermione Weasley, eyes blazing with her hands squared on her hips. Lips pursed and fingers twitching, as she spoke in an icy voice to her only daughter.

“I sure can.” I muttered.

Tyler grinned again.

Again, Rosie suddenly looked apologetic. “Can I just stress how sorry I am that you had to go through that?” She asked.

Tyler sighed. “She never apologises to me.”

Rosie shot him a look. “Would you stop interrupting smart-ass?” She demanded. “If you’re here to do a job, the job certainly isn’t to make me look like some soulless…”

“…rich kid?” Tyler asked. Rose glowered at him. “You know I’d never, Rosie,” Tyler said smirking. “But you also know that when you kids get up on your high horses, I’m the one who needs to pull you down from that ‘pedestal.’ Sure as hell your parents can’t do it, and Katie’ll never do it.”

Rosie stared at him.

“And quite frankly, you’re in a bitchy mood today.”

I stared at them both with wide eyes. Rose was glaring Tyler down, who stood firm with a cocky arrogant smirk on his face. It was almost the way she was with Scorpius, only this time there was no interest in the smoochies. And, to be fair, Tyler was just as irritating as Scorpius got.

“Right,” Rose finally said slowly. She took a deep breath and then reached into her purse. She pulled out a list. “Now that you’ve done that civic duty, Mr. Auror, sir, make yourself useful, and go pick up the ingredients for Mum’s quiche. She wants to take it to the Potter’s house this afternoon.”

Tyler smirked at her, before delicately plucking the list from her hands.

“Stay out of trouble,” He advised, suddenly serious. “And if anything goes wrong shout, and I’ll be there.” Rose nodded tiredly. “Seriously Rose,” He said, attempting to get the point across. “Anything at all and I’ll do my job, and you’ll get the hell out of here, right?”

More serious this time, Rose nodded. Despite her mood today, she obviously got the seriousness that Tyler was conveying. Tyler smiled.

“And don’t tell your dad, will you?” He asked. “He’ll have my ass.”




“You reckon the boys will like their presents?” I asked, frowning slightly at the multiple bags I had purchased.

Rose rolled her eyes. “Of course they will.” She said. “Of your many talents, Katie darling, choosing presents happens to be one of them.” I frowned.

“Many? Are you sure you weren’t looking for the word, ‘few and miniscule?’”

Rose looked at me. “If you’re going to start going on about how incorrectly and stupidly you view yourself, then I’ll postpone our luncheon and the rest of this shopping trip, and we can go home and study.”

I chuckled lightly.

“Have I mentioned today how sexy and gorgeous I think I am?” I asked, fluttering my eyelids.

Rose laughed and then walked past me, and I ignored the slight sting of that reaction, grinning with her. “It could happen one day,” I said lightly.

Again she giggled.

“Where do you reckon Tyler is?” She asked.

“He’s probably still wherever you sent—”

“MISS WEASLEY!”

I frowned at the sudden shout, spinning around and trying to figure out who had called. In milliseconds I had already prepped my vocal chords to scream Tyler’s name at the top of my lungs and get him to protect us from the oncoming threat.

“Oh, bugger.” Rose moaned.

“What!?” I hissed urgently. “What is it?”

Rose sighed. “Oh Katie I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I’m in such a bad mood today, and I’m sorry I was rude to you, and I’m sorry I sent Tyler away.”

Holy poo. Oh, my god. Oh, my god.

Don’t hyperventilate.

There were two options here. A) we were about to be viciously attacked and killed by escaped death eaters and I would have no chance to alert Tyler or fight back before I met my green flash of everlasting death and nothingness. Or B) I was about to be brutally murdered by escaped death eaters by way of a violent green flash and the path to everlasting death and nothingness, while Rosie is taken hostage and then used as blackmail to make Harry Potter and Ron Weasley give all their money and power to the death eaters themselves.

“Go get Tyler.” Rose whispered to me—having seemingly spotted the threat. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.”

I nodded hastily. “Where is he?”

“Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes.” Rose said, sounding strained, and a little irritated—not with me though. “I sent him there so he could buy your present for me.”

My eyes widened and I grinned.

“Really? Aww, Rose, you didn’t have to get me a present…but I though you said there was a quiche?”

Rose shot me a look.

“Katie. Focus. Go and get Tyler.”

Oh right.

Impending doom.

That’s right.

“Got it.” I said instantly. “I’ll be back in a jiffy…”

I spun on my heel and ran towards the door, flinching at my lame use of the word ‘jiffy.’ I was about to die.

Really—shouldn’t I have some more sophisticated last words?




As we walked to the Potter house, all dolled up and beautiful, with our recently bought presents ready and safe back in our rooms, I couldn’t help but glare a little at Rose. She was, and had been, giggling at me since we had returned home and the only safe haven I had from her laughter was the momentary ten minutes that it took to get changed. Of course, while we were waiting for Rose to get changed after I got down, Tyler and Hugo took their places smirking at me—as a sort of subtle replacement for my so called “friend.”

She was still giggling now, under the gaze of the withering ‘please-die’ glare I was pinning her with at that stage.

“Shuddup.” I growled at her.

She giggled out loud this time, not even bothering to stifle them or anything. For another moment I my life I wished I had the ‘Hermione Weasley’ glare down pat. Apparently, mine didn’t even rival hers. Instead, it made her daughter laugh…

“Seriously.” I said again, turning away from her. “Shut up.”

She didn’t.

“I’m sorry Katie.” She apologised suddenly, bringing a hand up to cover her gleeful grin. She moved closer to me, so our shoulders were bumping as we walked, and nudged me slightly.

I moved away from her.

She sighed—she was still smiling, however, so it proved to be fake repentance—“Katie, you know I didn’t mean it.”

I frowned at her.

“You called me a moron.”

This, as you may have realised, is not necessarily something new for me. However, from the eloquent tongue of Rose Molly Weasley, the burn of the insult hurt a little.

It was also entirely her fault, so she had nothing to say.

“I’m sorry.” She said quickly, keeping a straight face.

…Barely.

“No you’re not.” I said to her snottily, refusing to look at her.

She took a deep breath. There was silence for a moment, and I thought for one faint second she might apologize. And then, moments later:

“You’re totally right I’m not—it was sodding hilarious.”



I hate her.

This didn’t stop me from flushing an exotic bright purple and frowning, taking another step forward with my brow furrowed as I stormed away from her.

“Aw, Katie. Don’t be like that.”

I hate her. I hate her. I hate her.

“Go away.”

“No.”

“Go away, please.”

“Not happening.”

Damn her and her stubborn Weasley ways.

“Fine.” I said frowning—crossing my arms across my front. She may refuse to stop following me, but as long as she also refuses to stop laughing at my expense, then I shall refuse to speak to her.

“Katie.”

Ignoring her.

Ignoring her.

Ignoring her.

“Katie?”

Don’t look at her.

Don’t even twitch.

Keep walking Dalton.

Stay strong.

“Kate.”

Not listening.

Not listening.

Two can play at the stubborn game, sweet pea.

“Are you serious? The silent treatment? You’re never going to be able to do it.”

I smirked to myself.

“You will find, Rose Weasley, that you are not the only person on the planet who can be stubborn.”

Ha—I showed her.

Oh no wait.



Dammit.

I risked a single glance at Rose, and sure enough, she was grinning again.

Damn her.

“Fine then.” I hissed. “What?”

She smiled a sweet little angelic smile that I suspected was the reason why Ron Weasley was wrapped so stupidly around her finger. The man could fight countless dark wizards, but his daughter flashes him the pearly whites and he’s helpless before her.

Pfft…typical.

“Forgive me?” She pleaded.

I grumbled slightly.

“Please Katie, you know you really want to…” She said smiling. Damn her.

“You laughed at me.” I said sullenly.

She nodded solemnly, looking very upset with herself. “I did. And I shouldn’t have. I apologise.”

What a load of crap.

“You’re lying to me.” I told her.

She broke out in another bright grin.

“You know me far too well, Katie, darling.” She told me grinning. “But I really do apologise.” She paused. Then: “Come on, Katie, you know it was hilarious.”

I frowned slightly, silent, while Rose anxiously awaited my answer.

I sighed.

“It might have been a bit on the comical side.” I said, sighing. She squealed excitedly and grinned, jumping a little before hooking her arm through mine. Apparently my defeat meant that I automatically forgave her.

Which, lets face it, I had done ages ago.

“Katie.” She said grinning. “It was hilarious. You reacted like it was the Armageddon or something.”

I scowled at her. “I maintain the belief that you did that on purpose.” I told her frankly. “No one reacts the way you did to paparazzi.”

Rose grinned. “You clearly have no experience in that department then.” She told me.

I shook my head. “Nope.” I said. “You started jabbering at me like you were saying your final goodbyes. And all the ‘I’m so sorry for getting you into this?’” I threw her another glare. “A reporter simply doesn’t bring out that kind of reaction.”

Rose looked at me, entirely serious. “Rita Skeeter does.” She said ominously.

I rolled my eyes. Rose clearly figured out that I was sceptical.

“Not kidding, Katie.” She told me. “She’s practically senile. She’s broken nearly every single privacy law, and every single article she’s ever written never has anything good to say. It’s all media propaganda that she’s taken out of context. That interview may have very well been the death of my social life as we know it,” said Rose.

I brushed this off with a wave of my hand. “Oh, whatever, Miss Monroe…” I said, hoping that Rose had at least enough muggle knowledge to know whom the international drama queen, Marilyn Monroe, was.

It seemed she did as she threw me a withering look.

Like she deserved to be throwing me the tired looks.

“Come on.” Rose said, attempting to go at attaining my understanding by a different approach. “Wasn’t it awesome seeing Tyler freak out, and then come to the rescue—all auror like?” She asked.

That bit had been pretty cool.

From the second that I burst into Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes, puffing and panting and rambling about near death and Rose being in danger—since she so clearly misinformed me of who, or what the actual threat was—Tyler had jumped into full on Auror mode. His wand had been out in seconds—he had grabbed me by the arm and hauled me after him as we ran (something about me not being allowed out of his sight) towards the old bookshop that I had left so hurriedly.

The Apparation Laws that had come into being only days after Kingsley Shacklebolt took up the ministerial position stated that public places like Diagon Alley were now off limits for free-for-all apparation. The risk of mass causalities if an incident did occur was far too high. You could Apparate away from the area, by all means, but even Aurors weren’t allowed to apparate into Diagon Alley.

I sighed and reluctantly let Rose hold onto the crook of my arm. Of course I forgave her.

And my ego has taken worse hits than that before.

“So, is David like Tyler?” I asked deciding to let the topic drop.

Rose seemed glad to forget our little misunderstanding, and got right back to her previous mood—before my latest humiliation of the day: Being annoyed with Tyler. She laughed dryly. “No one’s like Tyler,” She said, the irritation plainly rolling off her in waves.

I smirked, laughing lightly at that, “No, I mean. Is he this light about his job?” Rose let out a bark of enthused laughter, which had both Tyler and Hugo up head turn to look at her quizzically. She ignored the looks and paid attention only to me. “No.” She said smirking as though she knew this massive secret that I didn’t. “David is defiantly not as laidback as Tyler is.”

I frowned.

Rose nodded ahead, at a figure that I could see now, just at the top of another hill. Tyler, upon seeing this new person, took a faster pace and hurried forward, hand out, ready to greet the stranger.

I frowned at the man—who we had come close enough to hear now. “Mr. Peck.” “Sup, Davie?” Tyler greeted the man I could only assume was David. He was about the same age, with fair hair and lightly tanned skin. His piercing blue eyes had a mysterious like quality to them, and the suit he was wearing was impeccably groomed.

“Have you checked the perimeters?” David asked of Tyler.

I smirked slightly, wondering exactly how Tyler would explain that instead of doing that, he had been racing Hugo to the perimeter line.

“Sure as hell I did, Davie.” Tyler continued. “There was a civilian muggle out for a stroll but he quickly realised that he left his oven on—” he tapped on the side of his nose. “—Although other than that the silence is beginning to confuse me. I would have thought that the targets would be anxious to…”

This appears to be the life of a Weasley.

Maybe, with the reporters and the security guards and the continuous safety precautions taken for their benefit, it wasn’t quite all it was chalked up to be.

Huh. Who knew?




Hey guys. I can’t believe we’re into the twenties already—although technically that was last chapter. Oh, I don’t own Marilyn Monroe, also. She was a very talented, entirely real human being whose memory I do not mean to insult by calling her a drama queen. I’m a drama queen. Drama queens are hip. :P

If you guys could PLEASE review and give me your thoughts on how I’m doing with Rose, and Tyler and the other characters. Feedback about the canon characters would be awesome—cause I’m so bloody nervous about getting them wrong.

Again, I’m slipping more serious notes into the final parts of the chapter. I hope you understand that it’s mostly because I’m getting into the very solid part of the plot. Also, I hope you guys figured out what happened at Diagon alley. To verify, Rose’s worried reaction was simply because of Rita Skeeter, and Katie overreacted—unknowingly, of course, our dear Katie.

Also, despite the title, I am worried about how similar Tyler is to Scorpius at stages. Feedback on that would be great—as well as Rosie’s mood swings. I just want to make her real. She’s not this little princess, and like all 17 year olds, she has issues with her rentals. :P Thanks guys.

PLEASE REVIEW!! (Again, or for the first time)

:P G.

PS. To all of the reviewers who keep apologising for the length of their wonderful reviews, I need to stress how much the size of a review doesn’t matter to me. I am a fan of long reviews, because it means that you’ve really taken the time to invest yourself in my fic—but short reviews are just fine! Thanks. Again. :P

PPS. BIG Apologies for the long wait. As you might have heard in review responses etc. I am currently the victim of an untimely strike courtesy of my A.W.O.L Memory stick, which has decided that until I treat it better, it will refuse to lend me its services. It is managing to do this very effectively, having vanished somewhere in the confides of my home. Luckily enough for me, my god-sent Beta sent me a reviewed version of 21, that I sent her a while back—and since I had only gotten up to Ch. 21—I could easily go on to 22 and 23—both of which are now complete. Because of the time that the validators have off coming up, this is going to be the last update until August 6th (for memory, don't hold me to that) but you should see this as a good thing, as it gives me heaps of time to work on the next chapters and get back to my quick updates. Anyway, as soon as the wonderful validators return, I will have the next chapter ready to be checked and validated. In the mean time, reviews are wonderful and I will always reply to reviews, so if you have any queries or comments, feel free to ask there.





Chapter 22: By Good Merlin, They're Famous
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22. By Good Merlin, They’re Famous




Lunch at the Potters was a big thing, to say the least.

A shindig, you might say.

For starters, the room we were inside was basically huge. It was “Uncle Harry said that he was sick of the cupboards.” Hugo had informed my brightly, watching my jaw drop as we approached the house. I didn’t react quite normally to this news, with wide eyes and a maniacal grin. The revelation that Harry Potter actually lived in a cupboard was enough to make me realise that I was actually standing right in front of his house. Nonetheless, it was overwhelming enough.

The house itself was about the same size as the Weasley house. Only it was a little grander. Only by a tiny margin, the Potter house was a little more sophisticated. With tall white walls, and a sleek grey roof, it simply came across as the house of a man who could finally relax.

Not that I hadn’t seen the house before. It seemed to be the constant backdrop of most of the photos that Harry Potter was in these days. Feel good articles about how he was now a family man, and how he was doing ‘ten years later’ were constantly talking about the Potter House.

Inside, it was different as well.

Albus and Scorpius had greeted us at the door—even though we clearly weren’t the first to arrive.

“Sorry about the anally clean rooms.” Albus said instantly. “Mum makes sure we keep downstairs clean—we have so many photo shoots and interviews down here that my mum decided we should just live in the other two floors.”

I frowned slightly, nodding however, as it made sense. I wish I had a three story house.

I could see Fred in a far off group—standing far straighter than usual and actually looking interested about what was being said. Beside him, a man who looked just like him—only a bit older, was holding the little Irena in his arms. A could only assume that was his pa, George Weasley.

That was another thing about this luncheon.

There were at least forty people standing around and drinking casually as they discussed the latest events.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Weasley.” Scorpius greeted Ron.

Ron glowered at him. “And you, Mister Malfoy—keep in mind that I have my eye on you…” he said slowly.

I stared at the moment awkwardly for a moment, until the two of them both let grins split on their faces. “Sup man?” he said grinning—holding out his hand.

Ron grasped it tightly, and pulled Scorpius into a man hug/chest bump that was so popular with the boys these days.

“They bonded over their mutual insane overprotective-ness of Rosie,” Albus whispered in my ear, sending a nice shiver down my spine as his hand rested at the small of my back.

Rose gave me a knowing look, as did Hermione.

I coughed, suddenly alarmed, and looked away from the two of them.

“Alright, gorgeous,” Ron said, wrapping his hand around Hermione’s waist. “Are you ready to mingle?”

Hermione grinned, leaning into him as they both examined the large crowd. “As always,” she said in affirmation. “Mingling is what we do.”

I grinned, watching them walk away. It was a little strange, watching Ron and Hermione interact. They had somehow managed to do what nearly no other adult ever had. They had managed to retain some of that inherently adolescent air of a relationship that usually fizzled out with the words ‘I do.’ It was strange, and somewhat inspiring.

“We have to introduce you to everyone.” Rose said, enthusiastically. “Especially Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny. They’ve been dying to meet you.”

Scorpius snorted. “No kidding. All Al does these days is talk about you. I think they were beginning to think you were an idealistic imaginary friend.”

I flushed happily, and grinned like a man who had just won the lottery—while Albus glared daggers at Scorpius. Luckily enough, however, we were saved the awkwardness of discussing this little turn of events as hands covered my eyes, and a recognisably playful voice said, “Hey Dalton, guess who?”

Despite the thrill of disappointment that ran through me as Fred addressed me with the name that was inherently Eric’s nickname for me, I couldn’t help but grin.

“Do mine ears detect that of my husband?” I said curiously, naturally leaning away form the fingers that covered my eyes.

“That they do, my dear,” Fred said, removing his hands and stepping forward, draping an arm across my should casually—and in the exact same fashion his uncle had on the day of my arriving at the Weasley home. “And said husband is extremely glad to see you.”

I frowned, turning to look at him. “And why, pray tell, is that?” I asked, interested in why my presence was such a good thing at this house.

Fred looked at me seriously.

“Your sister in law spilled the beans,” he said frankly. “And your dear husband has been receiving some lip from your family in law.”

I stared at him.

“Yes, yes,” Fred continued, interpreting my blatant look of confusion as one of understanding. “Irena, sweet thing, let my dearest mother and father know about my marital status, and they have been simply demanding to meet you since then.”

I chuckled at this. Fred’s over use of the posh English voice seemed to suit him—especially as he knew exactly what words to use to make it all the more convincing. Of course, the humour of the situation didn’t prevent me from seeing the other side.

I was to be introduced to George and Angelina Weasley.

As their daughter-in-law.

And, if they were anywhere near as observant as their own sister in law, they would quickly be able to tell that I had the hots for their nephew.

Which is just a tad awkward.

“Come, come now sweets.” Fred said, holding out his arm for me to take. I looped my hand through the crook of his elbow and nervously followed him on the quick walk to meet his parents. Rose, Al and Scorpius trailed behind us, watching us clearly very entertained at my predicament.

“Mother, Father,” Fred got their attention quickly, still not abandoning the fake accent he was so good at. “It is my pleasure to introduce you to Mrs. Katie Weasley.” He said.

I frowned. “Mrs. Katie Dalton-Weasley.” I corrected him. “I kept my last name, remember?”

At George and Angelina Weasley’s amused looks, I inwardly kicked myself.

Perhaps I should just stay quiet and let Fred do the talking.

“It’s nice to meet you, Katie,” Angelina said, smiling as she leaned forward to take my hand. I gripped it the way I had been taught by my father when we used to go to church—firm, but not too firm. Confident, was the word he used most often. Apparently it worked.

When George let go of my hand, after he too had shaken it, he looked at me, impressed.

“That’s a fine hand shake you’ve got there, Miss Dalton-Weasley,” he said appraisingly.

It didn’t stop me from flushing with embarrassment.

“Mrs, actually, Uncle George,” Albus leaned forward and corrected his uncle. “Mrs. Dalton-Weasley.”

Well, it was evident my so-called friend were just loving this.

George just grinned however, and brushed off his nephew’s smart aleck remark. “Irena’s told us all about you,” George told me with a grin. He shifted a little, lifting said three year old a little higher on his waist, and then standing normally again. She was sleeping soundly, with her thumb jammed in her mouth and her other arm wrapped tightly around her father’s neck.

I grinned at the small toddler.

“All good things, don’t worry.” Angelina assured me. “But its far more than Fred’s told us,” she looked at me closely. “Although he’s told us enough. Are you alright?”

For a moment, I was entirely confused as to what she was talking about. But Fred seemed to sense this, and jumped to my rescue.

“She’s fine, ma,” he said leaning forward, putting n extra meaning into the words—like he was subtly trying to tell her to drop it. “The thing with the Smither’s family is smoothing over actually. I was tired when I told you. It was inaccurate.”

I felt the usual pang of guilt at the idea of Eric and Emily, but pushed it away from me. They didn’t matter. They weren’t going to ruin my day. Instead I focused on the entirely too flattering idea that Fred had talked about me and my life in that much detail.

Angelina seemed to see this.

“Don’t be too surprised, honey,” she said sweetly. “You’re dramatic last couple of months is all we adults can talk about these days. In fact, we mothers talk about it every time we get together.”

I stared at her.

There was a moment of dreadful silence when I couldn’t seem to spit anything out.

Then Angelina laughed lightly. “I’m joking, Katie dear. I just hope life isn’t too hard for you at the moment.”

After I assured her that my life was most certainly not that bad, she and George excused themselves to go and talk an attractive blonde woman, who apparently worked at the shop with George, and her Wolfman partner,

So kidding.

There was that much hair.

“S’just Verity,” Fred told me as we turned and walked aimlessly through the crowd. “I used to have this massive thing for her when I was fourteen. That bloke with her is her Russian beefcake of a fiancé. I used to hate him.”

That wouldn’t surprise me.

“Hey look,” Albus said as we meandered. “There’s mum.” He once again let his hand rest on my back. “Come on Katie, she’ll kill me if I don’t introduce you two.”

Ordinarily, meeting the relatives was always a strange thing to do. But at this particular party, it was all I could do to not screech excitedly with every new person who seemed to want to meet me.

This is Ginny damn Potter, for god’s sake.

Ginny Potter had a style that I hadn’t quite seen on any other person before. Not quite the sophisticated working mother look that Hermione had pegged so accurately, Ginny seemed observably more relaxed. She was wearing jeans and a black long sleeved skivvy—with a pale white scarf wrapped around her neck. Her hair was pulled up into an elegant bun, and she had a grey, smooth cardigan pulled over hr shoulders. Her feet were, on the other hand, donned in high black heels that added an air of elegance to her ensemble—and her wand was sticking casually from a jean pocket.

Beside Hermione, I could see the contrast between the two as we approached. Hermione was once again clothed in an elegant button up shirt and some black dress pants. The belt around her high waist made the sophisticated clothing look a little more modern, although she remained as classy as she always seemed to be. Hermione towered above Ginny, wearing ankle high boots that were heeled at about the same height as Ginny’s. Hermione’s hair, on the other hand, was out, and resting in gentle curls on her shoulders.

I suddenly felt extremely meagre approaching the two women.

“Quick. Rose, how’s my hair?” I demanded—instantly anxious to make a good impression upon Mrs. Potter.

“Relax, Katie.” Rose advised me. “She’s just another person. You’ve done brilliantly with my parents. Aunt Ginny is no different.”

If she termed me falling clumsily into her father’s surprised arms after a rogue portkey turned a tad homicidal, ‘brilliant’ then I was very nervous to think about her expectations for this meeting.

“You look gorgeous, Katie,” Albus said to me quietly. “As per usual.”

Albus’s comment jolted the worries out of me, sending me floating obliviously towards the two influential women as I focused solely on the idea that Albus thought I was gorgeous. I giggled, stupidly.

“Al,” Scorpius said with an exasperated sigh, “we’ve talked about this. What’s the rule about complimenting a chick before they’re about to do something serious?”

Albus grumbled. “Never do it, because it distracts them from the ultimate goal.”

Scorpius petted Albus on the head, proudly. “Good. Don’t do it again.”

Clearly, looking at my own example, Scorpius had a point. Said point, in fact, brought me rocketing back to earth, mere seconds before we were close enough to bring both Hermione’s and Ginny’s attention to me.

“Uh… hi.” I said dully, entirely unaware of what I should do in this situation. It was easier meeting Rosie’s parents. I had common ground—foundation stones, if you will—to start with. ‘Thank you for letting me stay in your humble abode’ and all that jazz. With Ginny Potter, ‘hi’ was really all I had to offer.

Rose sighed, annoyed, and shoved me aside.

“Sorry Aunt Gin,” she apologised to Ginny, who was watching me with a peculiar grin on her face. “Katie has some eloquence issues. We’re working on it.”

“In her defence,” Scorpius added, with what I’m sure were ulterior motives, “Albus did just compliment her, and as every man knows—you never attempts conversation until at least two minutes post-compliment.”

Hermione quirked an amused brow. “Really now, Scorpius?” She said sceptically. “And where did you learn this?”

Scorpius grinned brightly. “Years of experience, Ma’am,” he said—managing to sound respectful even with his god-awful smirk on his face.

“And are these guidelines recorded, by any chance?” Hermione queried.

Scorpius nodded proudly. “Course they are,” he said, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world. “We call it, ‘The Guide to Girls, from the Sex God’s Themselves.’”

I would not be surprised if that was the truth of it.

Hermione laughed lightly, “I’m sure,” she said, eyes sparkling. “Come now, Scorpius, Albus. I’m going to go find Ron and ask what’s happened to your father,” she looked pointedly at Al, “You can both tell me about this ‘guide’ on the way.” She smirked at Ginny as she turned, both her nephew and Scorpius trailing behind her—eager to explain.

“It all started in fourth year,” Scorpius began to narrate. “When Al and I discovered that girls didn’t just posses cooties and all things gross and contagious—and there was something to be said for kissing the—”

Hermione interrupted him. “—Not quite so much detail, Scorpius darling, if you don’t mind. I’d like to retain at least the semblance of belief that you two aren’t entirely lost of innocence.”

Rose and I exchanged glances at that one. Only a very hard imagination would be able to pull that feat off easily.

“So, you’re Katie Dalton, then?” Ginny said, smiling warmly at me.

I nodded, holding out my hand for her to shake. She took it, and then smiled at me again. “Al talks all about you, you know.” She told me with a bright grin—one that mirrored Al’s perfectly.

The idea that Albus talked about me at home had me grinning on the outside—and dancing a strange unfamiliar jig on the inside.

Rose grinned, as well as Fred, but I was sure to make sure they both understood exactly what I thought of the idea.

Even if it was an excellent ego boost.

“Al talks about everyone,” I said casually. “But it’s nice that I’m included in that denomination.”

Ginny laughed brightly. Then she looked at me slightly, examining me slightly.

So…

“Gin!” I heard a rather loud shout, and George Weasley entered. “This food is brilliant. Did you make this?”

Ginny nodded, staring at George with a raised eyebrow.

“Blimey…” George took another large bite of the small appetizer, and moaning slightly. “Mum’s been giving you lessons then?”

Ginny shook her head. “Kreacher,” she corrected him. Then she turned back to me.

“So, I hear you fancy my son.”

I stared at Ginny Potter with wide eyes, pale white and entirely oblivious to Fred and Rosie’s bemused chuckles/giggles.

That is cripplingly embarrassing.

I let the moment settle—wanting nothing more than for the ground to open wide and swallow me whole, and praying to god that Albus had silently approached in the last couple of seconds.

“Are you sure that’s what you heard? It could be inaccurate.”

George, despite being absolutely enthralled with his finger food until that point, seemingly sensed the awkward moment, and reaching up to his head with his free hand—he tightly grasped his left ear.

“Want me to lend you an ear?”

And with that the moment was forgotten—with Ginny Weasley berating her older brother for once again pulling off his synthetic ear, and reminding him exactly how gross it was.




The only table that I had ever seen larger than the one we sat at now, was the tables for the houses in the great hall. And they for designed specifically to expand and shrink with every new student who came to sit there.

This one, was entirely muggle in it’s making—and was very clearly expensive. It was so long, I’m sure it needed to be charmed so that it could fit through the door, but other than that—it was totally normal.

Just huge.

Every guest was seated comfortably at the table, with plates and bowls already set out for us to eat from. We were still on the ground floor, so the marble floors of this room and the white walls were entirely spotless.

“Now,” Ginny said, standing at the end of the table. She smiled down at all of the guests—who were work friends of something of the Potters. “This meal, I did not cook. So before we eat, a big thanks to Kreacher, who has created this delicious lunch for everyone.”

She wasn’t kidding.

The food was sublime—despite how strange it sounds to use that word.

Surprisingly, and for the first time that I had witnessed, all three boys ate their food slowly, despite the excellent quality. Not stuffing their faces like they usually did, they all took part in casual conversation as the lunch progressed.

I was with Fred. We had all be split up, so we could mingle—and by chance Fred and I had been seated together. Albus was across the thin table, but a few seats down from me, so it would have been strange to speak with him.

Scorpius and Rose were down the other end of the table, discussing something enthusiastically. If you had ever read a muggle magazine, you could clearly read the body language .Something about torsos leaning towards each other, and hands facing upwards, and legs crossed to the left rather than the right.

Not that I could see their legs.

Being at a table and all.

“Now Katie,” Fred said to me seriously. “Rose filled me in on what happened when you went shopping.”

Ah. Good. For a moment I had forgotten.

Knowing myself, I could feel my face colour, and Fred clearly noticed. “Now, now,” he continued, patting my knee affectionately. “No need to be embarrassed. It was a simple mistake.”

“Exactly!” I said brightly, glad to have found an ally. “That’s exactly what I said—”

“Bleeding hilarious, mind you,” Fred however, continued. “but simple.”

I closed my mouth, and glowered at him.

He grinned brightly back.

“I hear you’re bunking with me uncle.” He commented casually, after I had grown tired of glaring daggers at the back of his head. He grinned cheekily at me. “Good luck with that.”

I shrugged. “I’ve met him before,” I said, “and he was cool then.”

Fred frowned, confused. “When have you met him?” he asked, frowning. I opened my mouth to reply, but he beat me to it. “No wait,” he said, “don’t tell me. You have a shrine, dedicated to him, in your bedroom. Am I right?”

Jack-ass.

“No,” I said indignantly. “You are not right.”

Fred grinned.

“Then where, oh where, did you meet dear old uncle Fred?”

“Sixth floor corridor,” I said simply, with another shrug of my shoulders. “He was the one who directed me to your common room when you thought I was angry about what happened with Eric’s family.”

I then quickly recounted the entire story to him—including the embarrassingly long time it took me to figure out exactly who/what was speaking to me, and the confusing comment about who I was—that I still hadn’t forgotten. Fred snorted at the end, but then frowned—evidentially thinking about something.

“Hmm,” he said thoughtfully. “I will have to have a word with him about that.” He said.

It was my turn to frown. “What? Isn’t he allowed to talk to me?”

Fred sighed. “Katie, my dear. You are a Hufflepuff-ian. My dear ex-Uncle shouldn’t be giving away the top secret location of the illustrious Gryffindor common room.”

I frowned.

“What’s wrong with Hufflepuff?” I asked, a tad offended. “I’ll have you know that we Puffians are far more intelligent and trustworthy than you all believe.”

Fred stared at me. “Katie, my dear simple minded wife,” he said slowly. “Your house is renowned for being loyal. I’m quite sure everyone thinks you’re trustworthy.”

Huh.

He had a point.

“Still.” I said, grasping at my now pointless argument. “I’m right.”

Fred just smirked.

“Shut up,” I grumbled, stabbing a piece of my potato and putting it grumpily in my mouth.

Damned logic.

As I continued to moodily chew on my delicious potato, Fred looked to Albus, up the table from us, and talking energetically with Angelina.

“Oi, Al!” He said loudly, earning a few looks. He grinned guiltily at them, ignoring the suddenly disproving look he was getting from his mother.

Albus twisted his torso in his seat so he was facing us.

“Yeah?”

“Where’s your dad?” Fred asked. I made a point to continue chewing—even though at had already swallowed most of my potato. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to react when Harry Potter did arrive. I could already feel the ever present anxiety in my stomach bubbling and churning more so than usual.

Albus shrugged. “Uncle Ron said that he got called to some important thing about those escaped death eaters—” again, I felt the now normal shiver of distress whenever they were mentions. “—should be here soon.” Al turned to me. “You excited then, Katie?”

Deer in the headlights, is the common expression for the look that I’m sure was now masking my features.

Both Albus and Fred shared an appreciative laugh.

Glad to know I’m here to entertain.




Luckily enough for me, four hours after lunch had finished, Rose’s family was the only one to remain at the Potter’s. Everyone had slowly said their goodbyes, with the crowd thinning gradually until it was just the two families—and finally we were allowed upstairs.

I’ll say one thing.

Albus wasn’t exaggerating when he said that they were on show downstairs, and hidden upstairs. Walking up the carpeted stairs—that were hidden by a wall, but twisted around a small area in the back corner—I suddenly understood what he meant. It was as though, crossing the last step, there was suddenly an entirely different atmosphere in the Potter House.

Upstairs, it was messier. More natural. Lily had clearly been in the lounge—discarded magazines lay on the table and the couch—even though it was a little strange to see Lily flicking past an article about her and her own life as she skimmed through one. She was sitting on the couch now, feet curled up under her as Hugo snored softly at the other end of the sofa.

I was out on the balcony. Albus was with me, sitting on one of the two deck chairs, with his head resting back and his arms looking very attractive in his tight white t-shirt. He had been wearing a jacket earlier—it was leather, with a sheep-skin lining that made in extra warm and that I knew all about because he had offered it to me when I was shivering. He seemed impervious to the cold of the snow all around us.

I didn’t mind. The coat smelt just like him.

I was very happy to wear it.

Rose and Scorpius were both playing chess. With Fred literally incapable of speech (a perfectly executed silencio courtesy of Rose had seen to that) they were evenly matched, and both quite able to win.

But the match never ended. Half way between Albus pointing out to me exactly which collection of stars was ‘Sirius’ I heard the all to familiar whoosh of flames that always came with someone flooing.

“I’m so sorry for missing lunch today, love, work was a bloody nightmare.”

Sweet crappers on a holy stick.

That was…

“That’s fine, Harry,” Ginny said. “It went fine without you.” She stood from her seat at the bench with Hermione, and kissed him quickly before taking another sip of her steaming hot coffee. “the food was brilliant.”

Oh, my god.

Oh, my god.

“Oh, my god…” I breathed out, electing to ignore Albus’s amused smirk.

Harry Potter grinned down at Kreacher. “Good work,” he advised the house elf. The house elf simply nodded its head and got back to working on the dishes—which Ron was helping him dry.

“Hey sweetheart,” Harry acknowledged his daughter. “What are you reading?”

”Jinxed,” Lily said simply, referring to one of the popular tween magazines.

Holy…

Holy…

Holy…

...there is no exclamation of incredulity that cane fully explain exactly how I’m feeling at the moment other than:

Oh.

My.

God.

Harry Potter rolled his eyes, smirked slightly at the obliviously sleeping Hugo, and looking amused at Scorpius’s and Rose’s intense game. He nodded to Ron, before noticing Albus and I outside.

I hastily looked away, trying to pretend I hadn’t been staring at him. Albus snorted.

I heard the sliding door slide open.

I froze.

And promptly began to hyperventilate.

“Al? What are you doing out here? It’s freezing…” Harry advised his son.

Albus shrugged. “S’not that cold,” he said. “Sides, I was showing Katie the stars.”

I grinned, flushing at the idea that Albus was talking about me to Harry sodding Potter.

Harry looked interestedly at me, holding out his hand for me to shake, and smiling at me softly. “You must be Katie Dalton,” he said. “Al talks about you all the time.”

I’ve heard that before.

About ten times, as a matter of fact.

But not from HARRY FRACKING POTTER!!!!

“He talks about everyone,” I reinstated my earlier point, trying to make my minor hyperventilation problem appear less conspicuous. “It’s really nice to meet you Mr. Harry Potter” I flinched at how moronic that sounded. “Uh… Mr. Potter.” That sounded anally retentive, so I tried one more time. “Sir?”

Albus chuckled. “See, dad, Katie’s a little obsessed with you.”

I felt my face go puce.

I am going to kill him.

I momentarily considered what Harry Potter’s reaction would be to me throttling his son in front of him.

Or pushing him off the balcony.

I deduced that he would be unimpressed, so I opted to not hurt Al.

Or, at least not in front of his father.

Hopefully the look of pure hatred that I attempted to send Al conveyed exactly how I planned to murder him as soon as his father left his sight.

“I’m not, obsessed,” I hastened to correct Al. “I, I’m just… well, you see I’m a fan. Of your work. The…uh, saving of the world and all that.”

Sweet Merlin someone kill me.

Harry laughed appreciatively. “Yeah, I know some other people who feel that way.”

Albus snorted again.

Harry grinned at me. “Well, it was very nice to meet you Katie. But while you may be comfortable standing out in the cold, it seems you’ve taken the only jacket on offer.” His gaze flicked to the jacket that I’m sure he recognised to be his sons and he smirked.

I flushed.

Or rather, so much blood ran to my face that by rights, my face should have exploded.

He smiled one more time before pulling his head back inside and closing the door.

Despite the fact that I was still wearing his amazingly warm and comfortable wool-lined leather jacket, despite the fact that I was inside his beautiful mansion of a house, and despite the fact that he had just been introduced by him to his very famous father—I still narrowed my eyes at Albus, scowl masking my features, and ready to tell him how it was.

“Thanks a lot, you stupid arse.”

And Albus didn’t do anything, except laugh.




TADA! We meet Harry Potter? I think I made Ginny come across as a bitch, so I’ll work on that in the future chapters—and I tried to fit a George worthy joke in there concerning his ear.

Well, its late, and I’m going to get in trouble from my roommate if I stay up any later. So please review and give me your thoughts. Thanks for reading.

G.

PS. As a piece of advice to all of you, listen to ‘Harry and the Potters’ and ‘Draco and the Malfoys.’ They’re these bands that are on youtube and are absolutely hilarious. I have all their songs, I’m I listening to one right now.

PPS. I know that meeting Harry might have seemed like a bit of an anti-climax, but I’m thinking, Katie deserves a bit of good luck occasionally. And, I figured, meeting Harry Potter would just be this scenario where Katie is meeting this idol who she can’t fathom how to act around. So, yeah, I kept it down low for a reason. :P



Chapter 23: A Full House
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23. A Full House




“Please do not hate me when I say this,” I moaned as Rose and I slumped into the room. “But I don’t think I’ve ever bought that much in my life.”

Rose didn’t seem to hold it against me, as she too groaned—dropping her multiple shopping bags to the floor of her room. She slumped back on her own bed, letting out a relieved sigh as she closed her eyes contentedly.

“I could never hate you, sweetie,” Rose said with a sigh, eyes still closed. “Although if you think this is bad, you should see the shopping lists when Vic and Dom and I go out.”

Victoire and Dominique.

Just to verify.

Tyler followed us in, carrying in his hands almost twice the amount of bags that Rose and I had carried together. “Never, in my life,” he said through gritted teeth, “has my manhood been so called into question.”

He dumped them all unceremoniously on the floor, causing both Rose and myself to shriek loudly before dashing to make sure that the products had survived the fall.


“Get over yourself,” Rose advised him, after we had made sure everything was still in one piece. “You’re such a little girl.”

Tyler glared at her.

“Who do you think you’re kidding? You’re more of a drama queen than Victoire.”

I couldn’t remember much of Victoire Weasley, being only in my second year when she was in her seventh, but I could recall the gorgeous blonde hair and the smile that disarmed boys left right and centre.

I was all too glad that she was related to Albus.

Nonetheless, Tyler glared at Rose. ”No one is as dramatic as that woman.” He stated bluntly. “But since we’re on the subject, you’re mum wanted me to remind you that Teddy and Victoire and Dominique will be getting here tonight, while you guys are asleep.”

I inhaled slightly, suddenly feeling the familiar nervousness arise in my stomach at the idea of meeting more relatives.

Although nothing could really surpass meeting Harry Potter.

Come. On.

Anyway, the long engaged Teddy Lupin and Victoire Weasley were staying with us over the festive season, just like I was.

“Usually they stay at Al’s.” Rose had informed me, when Hermione had told us all at dinner the previous evening. “But James is bringing his girlfriend, Lily has a friend over, and Uncle Perce is coming over with his family, so even with Scor leaving tomorrow they don’t have enough room for Teddy and Vic and Dom.”

Which made sense. With a monstrous family like that you would need to anticipate these sorts of issues arising.

“Why couldn’t she tell me herself?” Rose asked, more focused on the actual information that we had just been given.

Tyler frowned.

“Well, contrary to your moaning and groaning, you were extremely fast hauling your lot upstairs, and she didn’t quite catch the chance. So she told me instead. Since I was having problems.”

Rose rolled her eyes.

“Oh, be a man, will you?”

Tyler looked affronted, but seemed to realize that resistance was futile. So he just exhaled slowly, and rolled his eyes, and muttered a quick, “I hate rich kids,” as he pulled the door closed.

It was a bit strange to be termed a ‘rich kid.’ I wasn’t going to get into the great monetary debate, but honestly, my parents were simply higher middle class. Compared to Rose, who didn’t even spare a second thought for her purchases, I was dirt poor. Hopefully one of those expensive looking dragon leather bags that she bought.

I eyed our day’s purchases.

“Is that a present for everyone then?”

Rose looked down at the multitude of bags. “I should think so,” she said tiredly. “I can’t think of anyone that we missed.”

The biggest dilemma I faced was rather simple if I thought about it. Emily and Eric.

The funny thing was, however, that Emily and I used to talk about this concept should it ever present itself. Emily was a firm believer that should we ever stop talking, we should grow up and simply send presents anyway—but I think that’s only because Em always liked my presents. I, on the other hand, couldn’t think of any scenario where Em and I would get to that point. And I always assumed that if we did fight that much there would be a reason why we weren’t talking.

Of course, if Em stuck to her conceptions, and I received a present, I’d feel entirely guilty for the rest of my life for not getting her a present despite our current differences.

And yet, if I sent her the first present, even if she had been planning to send my a present herself, she would probably end up using it against me—acting as though I had offered a feeble peace offering that only proved my inevitable sense of being a pushover.

Rose seemed to have figured out exactly what I was thinking about. “What do you reckon you’re going to do?” she asked, empathetically.

I shrugged, because I really had no clue.

I should be more used to situations like this, for Merlin’s sake.

“I’ll figure it out,” I said, resigned to my own fate. “I bought something that she might like, but if I decide not to send it, I’ll just throw it away.”

That was incorrect.

I would not just throw away the aquamarine pendant embedded in a silver tear drop, hanging from an intricate gold chain, simply because I didn’t think Emily would like it.

I’d probably keep it, never wear it, and constantly be reminded of how depressing it was to know that Emily would never ever forgive me.

…and on that note.

“So, what’ll we do this evening?” I queried, frowning, and effectively changing the subject.

Rose shrugged uselessly. “I dunno,” she sighed. “We might hang out with Al and Scor, since Scor’s leaving tomorrow morning.”

Since Scorpius’s family was not overseas in an estranged country, his family had requested his presence at his home for Christmas. I personally couldn’t imagine Scorpius and Sabriel sitting excitedly at the foot of a Christmas tree, with the still handsome Draco and the ever gorgeous Astoria.

But Rose and Al assured me that it happened.

“They’re quite a close family,” Rose said, when I asked about it. “I think it’s because they’ve all got to deal with the staple on effects of the war, even though it was so long ago.”

Being a Malfoy probably did have that effect.

“It’s sweet actually,” Rose said. “Despite what he says, Scor’s ridiculously protective of Sabriel. Theirs is a strange relationship.”

I remembered the irritated resigned look Sabriel had displayed in our compartment on the train ride home. I could imagine that Scorpius acted differently around her at school.

Maybe Sabriel wasn’t the only one of my recent acquaintances—my new self included—who was a little prejudiced.

Sabriel clearly didn’t give Scor any reason to think that she wasn’t soulless and callous like their great grandparents, but I couldn’t quite fathom having a brother who ignored you entirely at school.

“If you want to we could do a bit of studying?” Rose suggested.

And suddenly, I heard my cue to leave.

“Right then,” I said quickly, bracing myself on my knees as I lifted myself from her bed. “I will take my lot of presents to my room and wrap them while you get right onto that.”

Rose grinned lightly at me. We had both quickly discovered that even though we attended a mutual boarding school, it was hard to deal with Rose’s twenty-four seven obsessive studying. I’m sure my constant distraction was proving just as irksome to her.

The breaks of time we had from each other were sort of welcomed, even though neither of us were ever going to admit it out loud.

Even so, Rose laughed loudly at my statement and waved me on, playfully telling me to “get out and continue my terribly naïve way of life, in which I neither focused on studying nor did anything of value.”

I threw one of my recently used socks at her—after hastily pulling it off my foot, and she screamed at the top of her lungs.

I promptly gathered my things and ran.

I was greeted with Hugo in the hall. He quickly took in my broad grin, lack of a left sock and Rose’s screaming from behind her door and grinned up at me.

“You rock.” He told me. “You’re my favourite.”

With family friends like Albus, Scorpius and Fred I highly doubted it.

“Nah,” Hugo said after I pointed that out to him with a sarcastic smile on my face. “You’re my favourite of the ones who aren’t related to me.”

Which put me at the bottom of the list.

But I took the compliment as I’m sure he intended it to be and quickly made my way into the room that the wonderful Weasley family has offered to me before Rose could figure out a way to get the sock off her lap without actually touching it.

“Katie—flipping—Dalton!”

Eep.






List of Christmas Presents to Wrap and Sign, from Katie Dalton.

Albus Potter—Sheepskin leather jacket. (Possibly the hardest present to choose, simply because I was convinced anything would make him aware of my thing for him—but eventually Rose helped me pick something out. Plus, he needed another one since I accidentally fell over in his and soiled it with mud… I had just met Harry Potter for Merlin’s sake!)

Scorpius Malfoy—A Quidditch Jersey. (I’m not quite sure what area in the world the ‘Knights’ are from, but according to Rose, Scorpius’s adores them.)

Rose Weasley—‘Bibbedy, Bobbedy, Boo; A Simple Guide to Common Misconceptions about Wizards.’ (Only Rose would want something this boring for Christmas, but I saw her eyeing it at the store.)

Fred Weasley—‘How to be a Good Dad,’ and some stuff from a muggle joke shop. (It should be sufficient pay back for all the mocking that I received at the lunch. Can’t you just imagine the looks on his parent’s faces?) (and the muggle stuff I figure should entertain him, since it’s all tricks and not real.)

Mum—‘Cooking in the Kitchen.’ (If she’s going to cook the muggle way, at least she should be able to make something edible. That’s all I’m saying.)

Dad—‘Computer Programming for Dummies.’ (Oddly enough, you’d think after sixteen years he would have got it by now. But we still have to get some muggle over to fix out computer every time it breaks.)

Scrubs—Owl treats. (And this cute little leather pouch to put around his leg when he’s carrying the heavier messages—it has a big ‘S’ on it. What else am I going to get him…?)

Uncle Andy—“Beginning Tai-Chi,’ (If he can’t understand why I do it, then it’s time he found out.)

Cousin William—A football. (That way he can kick that around, instead of my favourite muggle lava-lamp.)

Cousin Thomas—A cricket set. (In case they get sick of the football. Or in case I need to hit them over the head with something particularly hard.)

Ron Weasley—Broom Polisher. (It’s safe, it’s friendly, and it’s not obsessive fan girl. Katie Dalton for the win.)

Hermione Weasley—‘Cooking in the Kitchen.’ (Remember when she told me she liked the way my parents did muggle things? Well, I got her a Muggle Cookbook.)

Hugo Weasley—‘Becoming a Gentleman.’ (I figure if the poor kids anything like his multiple elder male relations, he’ll certainly be picking up the ladies soon. Might as well make him a wonderful man of the ladies.)

Tyler—‘Auror’s and You.’ (While it was incredibly cool to watch him zap into Auror—scary—kill the bad guys—mode, hopefully this book will stop him trampling innocents in the haste to save someone.)

Emily Cook—Necklace/Locket. (To send or not to send seems to be the major question of the moment. Mhhmm, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.)

Eric Smithers—‘How to Deal with Demanding Women’ (I strongly doubt that I’ll ever work up the courage to send this one. But between Emily, Penny, and I he needs all the help he can get.)

Charmaine Longbottom—Jewellery Box (Well they’re twins. If I buy them identical presents, it means that they won’t think I like one of them more than I like the other. Oh, this one’s silver.)

Carson Longbottom—Jewellery Box (See above, except this one’s gold. Katie Dalton
still for the win!)

Oz Forest—‘How to Deal with Demanding Women’?? (I know I bought this for Eric, but I figure he’s dating Charmaine, and she’ll definitely be the one wearing the pants.)

Harry Potter—?? (Blimey…I could get him some of his own merchandise. Although I doubt he’ll be very appreciative of a spell that can give you eyes exactly the same colour as his.)

Ginny Potter--?? (Again. Blimey…What does one get for Ginny Potter?)

Lily Potter—a subscription to Jinx Magazine. (Re: Ask Al if she already has one.)




After quickly having secured the door with multiple charms and locks that Rose couldn’t get through—well, could easily get through, but I was relying on the fact that she was far too tired to do anything like that after our fun filled day of non-stop shopping—I sat myself in the middle of the bright red shag pile carpet, spreading the assortment of different presents around me.

Rose had been intelligent enough to remember that we needed wrapping paper, so she had bought enough of that to last anyone eons, and we had slipt it between the two prior to the ‘sock’ incident. I was using that same wrapping paper now, with the small studded jewellery box that I bought for Carson sitting in my lap.

“What are you doing?”

For a moment, the now recognisable voice of Fred Weasley Sr. shocked me so much that for a moment I was scared that my wand would fly right into my own eye. I avoided this by screeching and covering my face with my arms.

After deducing that Fred Sr. meant me no harm, I unfolded from my protective position and glowered up at him.

His portrait here was smaller than his one at Hogwarts, and not nearly as official looking. Instead of being seated behind a mahogany desk that honoured his contribution to the War, he was pictured standing underneath a tree, with a wonky funny looking house in the background—now far too famous to not be know as The Burrow. His legs were crossed at the ankles and his arms folded across his chest as he stared casually from the portrait at me, his eyebrow raised in amusement at what I’m sure had been a hilarious reaction.

“Uh, hi?” I said, unsurely.

I hadn’t spoken to Fred Sr. that much since the first trip in the corridor, but I recognised his voice now—as it was the exact copy of his live brother’s. And George had been spending a lot of time with the four of us over the holidays, constantly dropping in very irritating hints about what he had overheard at the Potter luncheon.

“What are you doing?” Fred Sr. asked again.

I looked down at my own hands—suddenly aware that I had no clue what I was doing before Fred Sr. took nearly ten years of my life away from me.

“I am…” I said slowly, staring at my wand in one hand and the half cut paper in the other hand. “…wrapping?”

Fred Sr. stared at me, still amused it seemed. “Was that a question to answer my question?” He asked.

Stupid painting.

I cleared my throat and took a deep breath. “I am wrapping Christmas Presents” I said, soundly sure of myself on the second try. “For nearly every second member in your family, by the way.” I said.

I wasn’t bitter.

Seriously. Of course I wasn’t bitter about being at the Weasley’s for Christmas. I was so excited That I had an opportunity like this—not to mention that Rose and I had become just as close as I ever had been with Emily over the course of a few months. And definitely not considering the fact that my once simply stalker-ish crush on Albus had evolved to become a fully-fledged crush on a guy with whom I knew I had no chance.

But still.

They had a big sodding family.

“Wish I could still give presents to my family…” Fred Sr. said with a sigh.

I froze, every single muscle in my body going rigid, and the small version of Rose who had moved into my head recently began whacking my brains with one of her books screaming out: “Stupid, stupid, stupid!”

I swallowed and looked at Fred Sr. with wide, apologetic eyes.

He grinned back at me.

Ah.

Good.

Another joke.

I sure do love his whacky sense of humour. (If you could not quite catch the sarcasm in that sentence, then you clearly have never been on the bad side of Fred Weasley Sr’s jokes.)

“Oh.” I said frowning at him. “You were joking.”

His grin widened.

“You’re a jerk.” I told him informatively.

He made a taken aback movement that involved his entire body and the proceeded to do an extremely exaggerated version of a false sob.

I glared at him, and began to resume my task, finding the spellotape—that I had also purchased on my day out with Rose—and using it to finish Carson’s present. I reached for the identical jewellery box—well, almost, it had a with a different colour scheme—that I bought for Charmaine and then cut off another piece of the wrapping paper with the snipping spell that Rose had taught me a couple of weeks ago.

“You’re hilarious.” Fred Sr. told me, in the exact same way that I had spoken.

Have you ever considered how strange it is to be called ‘funny’ by one half of the two great minds that had together created ‘Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes’?

“You’re lying.” I told him.

“You’re a moron.”

That was more like it.

I smiled at him, and began to wrap Charmaine’s present. I had only really down about seven presents in the twenty minutes that I had been wrapping. It was unfortunate to think that I still had about thirty more presents to wrap.

“Why are you doing it the muggle way?” Fred Sr. asked, apparently sick of our extremely mature conversation.

I frowned, thinking about it.

“I’m not sure if you know about my parents,”—on account of being dead and all that—“But my parents are fond of the muggle way, and I never learnt how to wrap presents with magic.”

Fred stared at me.

“You’re joking.”

Ah.

Apparently we’re back to this again.

“No,” I said, refusing to be sucked into his games. “I’m not. My parents, despite being both endowed with the magical abilities, have given up magic on account of the destruction that it causes when used in the wrong way.”

Fred Sr. digested that for a moment with a curiously interested look on his face. It was a little strange seeing him without his dopey grin on his face, but it seemed to suit him.

“Huh.” He said after a moment of silently thinking. Then he was silent and watched me wrap the rest of Char’s present before he spoke again.

“Hold on,” he said when I reached for the delicate bright red mug that I had ended up buying for Harry Potter. “I’ll teach you how to do it quickly.” He said.

I frowned, not entirely sure how the logistics of that would work, but nodded—lowering my wand from where I had raised it to cut the paper.

“Right,” Fred said. “So it’s a simple sort of movement,” he explained slowly. “Sort of like a 3D figure eight.”

Because that was entirely in sync with the making of the sense.

I pointed this out to him.

“Seriously,” he said, frowning as he considered exactly how to tell me what to do. “It’s just a figure eight.”

I frowned at my own hand as it traitorously began to move without my making it. The figure eight sorted itself out before I could really think about it, and Fred Sr. looked happy with the result.

“Right.” He said. “And then you just say the incantation.” He told it to me—the usual mess of Latin syllables and strange sounds—and I copied it. The resulting reaction was interesting—the paper lifted itself from the floor and instantly wrapped the present up—all while still attached to the cardboard roll. Fred Sr. laughed at that—a happy sound that mimicked both his brother and his nephew.

“So,” he said as I practised the charm again—with the identical china mug that I had bought for Ginny Potter. They were a Mr/Mrs thing that matched—both in the bright red that I knew ex-Gryffindor’s liked—and emblazoned with a male lion and a lioness that roared when the substance inside them was too hot.

Hopefully that wasn’t the stalker-ish type present I’m sure they expected from me.

“I hear you met all the rellies a couple of days ago.” He said casually.

I frowned at the upsetting idea that Fred Sr. had probably already heard all the funny tales ala George Weasley—because Fred (my Fred) told me that George talks to Fred’s portrait every single night as a way of staying grounded.

Or that’s what Fred said it was. Personally, if I had lost my twin brother, talking to his portrait every night would serve as a way to honour his memory, hold onto his character and personality, and make sure I didn’t go insane from missing him.

“I did.” I said, looking up at the portrait, trying not to focus on how painful it must have been to lose a twin. “Your brother must have a wide variation of jokes about his ear.”

Fred smiled fondly. Unlike George, I’m sure to this portrait of Fred it wasn’t painful at all to think of his brother.

“They are all quite terrible though aren’t they?” He said honestly, with his cute grin. “I told him to sort out his one liners before I died, but alas, he has not.”

The mention that he was dead sent a funny sort of pang of guilt through me. It was sick, my dad used to say about animated portraits. They can talk to you and take the personality of the person they picture, but in reality they’re just an echo and the real person is dead and not coming back.

“I think they’re funny,” I said with a quiet shrug.

Fred Sr. snorted, and then shrugged. “Sure. Anything to deal, I guess.”

I didn’t agree with my dad, of course. But sometimes it was a little strange to know you were talking to a picture of someone who had died.

“So I hear you’ve got a thing for little old Albus.”

I decided to not focus on the incriminating evidence that the Weasley family talked to each other about me, and instead focus on idea that the sentence ‘little old’ didn’t make any sense.

When I pointed this out, Fred Sr. just laughed.

Of course he did.




“Family!”

I was so tired that I barley even registered the man walking through the door with a broad grin and wide eyes.

Rose had insisted that she stay up to greet her cousin and basic family member no matter how late it was. And, no matter how many times Rose told me I could go to sleep if I wanted, I knew that missing their arrival was an automatic sign that I didn’t care about them.

Not to mention it would have been totally awkward at breakfast tomorrow.

Still. Their timely arrival at promptly two a.m. left much to be desired, and I’m not even sure if I’ll properly remember them tomorrow morning anyway.

Then I glanced at the guy, and I knew I would definitely remember him.

Of course, I knew that Teddy Lupin was Harry Potters godfather and known for his extreme tastes. What I didn’t know was that he had bright blue hair.

“Merlin, Ted. Put the hair away,” Ron said, shielding his eyes.

Teddy grinned cheekily. “Right you are, host-man.” He said grinning at Ron, before waving his hands around his head—promptly turning it a normal shade of brown.

I gaped at him.

He caught site of this and chuckled.

“Katie Dalton?” He asked, smiling as he dropped his bags and walked towards me with his arm outstretched. “Teddy Lupin,” he introduced himself. “Nice to meet you.”

I nodded, although I decided to forgo the speaking—I was entirely convinced that as soon as I opened my mouth a yawn worthy of a giant would escape me.

Which wouldn’t create the greatest first impression.

In my personal opinion.

However, my awkward lack of speech was not to be questioned as at that moment the stunning blonde girl accompanying Teddy Lupin arrived via. floo.

Holy crap.

Being that the last time I saw this girl was when I was twelve years old, I had assumed that the reverence I felt for Victoire Weasley was simply my young mind looking up to a person who was far older than me. If you think about it, the second year’s these days would be looking at Rosie like that.

Apparently it wasn’t just that.

The glamour that was Victoire Weasley was almost impossible to describe. I could mention her flowing locks of golden blonde hair—tinted with a slight red that I’m sure she inherited from her father. Or I could mention her bright blue eyes, full of wonder and maturity, sparkling as she smiled at her family. Or I could possibly mention the perfect skin, free from flaws and her height—she was tall enough to stand just below Teddy.

“Rosie!” She screamed loudly, and launched herself at Rose.

Rose recovered quickly—standing abruptly from her position beside me on the couch to embrace Victoire with just as much enthusiasm. I jumped slightly, instinctively leaning away form the projectile blonde.

And just as she recovered, she was hit with another speeding blonde bullet, who I could only assume was Dominique Weasley—who had flooed in right after her sister.

Teddy chuckled.

“Come on, girls.” He said slowly. “Don’t be too loud. Hugo’s probably sleeping.”

Hugo, who entered at that very moment from the kitchen, glowered at Teddy. “I’m not that young, you prat.” He said with a scowl.

Teddy guffawed, and then swept Hugo up into a man like bear hug.

“So,” he said, turning to me. “Full house then, eh?”

I stared at him wide eyed—as he grinned down at me with his new brown mop of hair sitting perfectly on his shoulders.

Looks like it, Mr. Lupin. Looks like it.






Hey guys! So, the chapter post Harry Potter is pretty much a filler, as you can see, although from a wonderful suggestion from my bestie/story checker, I figured out exactly how to let you all know what she bought everyone without describing every present in a tediously acute way that even I couldn’t stand to read.

I know that I’m kind of going through the holidays at a quick pace, but I figure it’s better to get to the real meaty parts of the plot that are necessary instead of just writing about how the gang does stupid teenager things. I’ll just let you guys take it as a given that they’re doing that. Hopefully, I’ll be intelligent enough to slip it in, in Katie’s constant monologue so that you get some idea of her favourite parts of her holidays. :P

So, reviews have been wonderful—as always you wonderful people!—but more would be brilliant. I’m really getting into the interesting part of the plot now, but I’m not giving anything away. I’m sure a lot of you won’t guess it, even if you’re convinced you know Katie inside out by now! :P Hopefully I still possess the skill to surprise you guys!

:P

So, please review and give me your thoughts, and I’ll be inclined to update as soon as I can. Just to let you guys know—not as a threat or anything because I can’t stand it when people give readers deadlines to review—when you guys review I get filled with fluffy fuzzy little feelings that make me very happy and motivate me to write more, update more and give you guys more of my Katie-World wonder (and that doesn’t sound egocentric at all, does it?)

Oh, and we also—as you may have noticed—have Teddy and Victoire in the next chapter—(I know Teddy only makes a very brief appearance in this chapter—making it far longer than the norm—but this means I can use Victoire for next chapters when they actually do make an appearance. I managed to finally write in Fred Sr. this time, even though I barely think I did him justice this time, so give me your thoughts on his too—plus the Rosie/Tyler/Katie stuff at the start.

I should stop rambling now.

Cheers.

G.

PS. Again, thoughts on the chapter pictures? I've been very nervous about them since starting this fic, and I'm never sure how it works for you guys.

Again, cheers. Peace out!



Chapter 24: Gifts All Around
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24. Gifts All Around




Of course, I should have expected Rose to be one of those people who meaninglessly woke up god knows when in the morning to open Christmas presents.

I didn’t expect her to launch herself flying onto my bed—in an effort wake me up—but when I fully registered exactly what was happening—Rose’s giggles and Fred Sr.’s rude guffaws, I decided to accept it, rather than try and complain about it. So, instead of screaming out my multitude of problems I had with the idea of waking at six forty in the morning to simply open presents, I was happy enough to sit up and be greeted by the mass of gifts with my name on them.

As I child, I had always entertained the selfish idea of Christmas presents all being huge and beautifully wrapped beneath a tree—all for me. And even though I was an only child, my parent’s chronic disability to simple have a normal holiday meant that there were always other presents under the tree. Whether they were for my estranged Aunty Sue, or the twerps (William and Thomas) there were always presents there that weren’t just for me.

I know, I’m selfish and all that—but come on. What kid doesn’t have that fantasy?

Anyway.

This morning, it was different.

Obviously the simple and clear difference was that this time the tiny tree in the corner of my room where all the presents were charmed to go last night from different and numerous people was surrounded by different, colourful presents of all shapes and sizes.

I caught my reflection in the small mirror on the wall as I floated over to the corner of the room. Rose had brought her own presents in with her, but had piled them in the opposite side—so that she and I could open our presents especially early.

“Whenever we have guests,” Rose had explained when I had expressed my horror at pulling her away from her family, come Christmas Morn, “we all open our present separately. We just take some of them down and show them off. It’s no big deal.”

And it wasn’t—as she reinstated that very second. “Hughie and Mum and Dad will open theirs together downstairs, while we’re up here.” She said with a wide grin.

I could simply stare at my mountainous pile with a look of pure happiness on my face.

“Do you wanna start?” Rose asked me excitedly, “or should I?”

In the end, Rose opened all of her presents before me—as we both decided that being the oldest far outshone being the guest. She laughed happily upon opening my gift, and grinned at me in thanks (thank Merlin) saying: “You rock, Katie.”

Which was cool.

She got a big load of other books, as well as cash from her parents, and four tickets to Romania from one of her uncles (Charlie—of course I’d heard of him.) Fred had given her a book on love spells with a cheeky note that read “you’ll need it,” but with a sweet apology on the back as well as a thirty galleon voucher for his dad’s shop.

“It’s his trademark gift,” Rose told me, when I opened my present from Fred and found exactly the same thing. “He gives them to everyone—and when you finally run out of things to buy, he tells you to sell them to someone else for something.”

I grinned. “Does that work?” I asked, curiously.

Rose chuckled to herself, looking down at the coupon with a sweet knowing smile on her face. “You know it does?” She said, amused with her own answer. “And I speak from experience.”

As she recounted the tale of Albus and Scorpius exchanging all their gifts for cash so they could save up for a Swisher 6.0 last year, I reached for another present, this one from Scorpius—a black dragon leather bag, with an expansion charm on the inside and a note attached that said ‘It’s so big on the inside, twinkle toes, that you could fit inside it.’—which was nice.

Following Scorpius’s quaint little note and his wonderful present—that I actually adored—I reached for the smallish box that Rose had clearly wrapped herself in shiny silver wrapping paper. Tearing said paper quickly, I shrieked when I saw what was inside.

“You didn’t!” I screamed excitedly as I stared down at the adorable blue pygmy puff that was sitting inside a small box.

Rose looked alarmed. “What?” she asked quickly, her grin slipping from her mouth as she leaned forward anxiously. “What happened? Is it alright? I didn’t wrap it up until just before I woke you. It hasn’t been in there for long. Oh god, I cast the oxygen charm I’m sure of it!”

I waved her anxieties away. “It’s fine!” I reassured her. I looked at her incredulously—pulling my gaze from the small creature for mere moments. “I can’t believe you got me a pygmy puff.”

Rose relaxed, reassured that her charm had worked at the little thing hadn’t died from asphyxiation while it was wrapped up in the box.

“Of course I did.” She said. “I noticed you looking at them when we were shopping.”

She was referring, of course, to the second of our four recent trips to Diagon Alley. The dismal ending of our first being so horribly interrupted with my act of utter stupidity meant that we had to return to buy the presents for Christmas.

Not to mention there was so much to buy that we couldn’t have managed it on one trip.

And I had been looking at them. I was looking at them, thinking specifically, “My mum would never let me get one. She hates Scrubs enough…”

That might be an issue.

“Oh relax,” Rose said with an eye-roll, that I thought she saved for her mother, as she evidently read my mind. “I wrote to your mother a couple of days ago, when I thought you might like one. She said that it would do you good to have another pet.”

I grinned, deliriously down at the adorable new pet of mine.

It stared back at me with big startlingly bright eyes.

“I thought they were always pink and purple?” I asked, frowning down at my bright blue baby.

Rose shrugged. “Uncle George said it’s a new breed.” She told me, while she struggled with a tie on one of her presents. Then she seemed to remember something and looked up at me quickly. “He also said to tell you that they get rather moody—a lot quicker than the originals—so you need to feed them more often.” She peered down at the box that she had given him to me. “I put in a box of food for it at the bottom.”

Upon a second consultation of said present, I realised there was indeed an entire box of food pellets—sitting just underneath the box that formed by baby’s humble abode.

“What should I call it?” I asked her, then I frowned. “Hang on, is it a boy or a girl?”

Rose peered at it curiously for a second, a faint smile on her face. She was still struggling with the tie on her present.

“Uncle George told me it was a boy, although quite frankly I can’t see the difference.”

We both laughed for a moment at that. After a momentary examination of the small creature, I realised the only thing keeping it upright were tiny little legs that were hidden by the mass of blue fluff.

“So?” I asked again. “Names?”

Rose looked at me, clenching her teeth as she tugged at the string. “Gah…” she exhaled in frustration. “Who sodding tied this?”

I grinned, picking little no name up in my hands and leaning him in Rosie’s direction. I set him down on her hands, where he stared up at her in interest.

“There.” I said. “Doesn’t that make you feel better?”

Little no name chirped once, and then hopped slightly. The tie on the present that it was sitting on, sliced through the middle—no name’s feet making quick work on the material. Then it chirped again, and hopped back into my hand—it’s feet pulling back into the fluff so that I couldn’t even feel them on my hand.

I stared down at him in amused interest. “Huh…” I said, smirking slightly. “That’ll come in handy.”

Suddenly, as though little no name had decided he wasn’t getting enough attention, he emitted a high-pitched squealing noise that made both Rose and I jump.

“That, on the other hand, isn’t quite as handy.”

I stared silently at little no name for a moment, and he chirped again—his big eyes widening and I felt my heart melt again as I looked at him.

“He’s a bit of a rogue pygmy puff, isn’t he?” Rose observed lightly.

I grinned at her.

Setting no name down lightly in his box—which was firmly between my legs—I gave him a few small food pellets to keep him satisfied, and then returned to my last couple of presents.

“Oh hey,” Rose said grinning. “Look at this.”

I looked to see her grinning like a maniac, holding up a gold chain, with an intricate gold rose hanging from it.

“That’s so pretty,” I said leaning forward to look at it. She handed it to me carefully, and I looked at it, peering closely at the pendant. “Who’s it from?”

Rose flushed prettily, and I didn’t need her answer to know who had given this to her.

“Scor?” I said, more of a reassurance than a question at that point.

She grinned and nodded, biting her lip out of excitement.

“What did the note say?” I asked quickly, handing her back the necklace, and looking excitedly at Rose.

She lifted the small slip of paper that Scor had clearly slipped inside the box that necklace had come in.

“Dear Posie,” She narrated. “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope you like the necklace. Its hand made (as hand made as magic is) and it reminded me of you. Cool. Scorpius.”

I let that sink in for a moment before squealing in excitement. For Scorpius Malfoy, that note was heartfelt and kind and definitely a huge effort from the guy. He wasn’t often one to give girls presents, but it seemed with Rose he would take his time to chose something that suited her.

Of course he would.

He’s freaking crazy about her.

That was Rose’s last present, and as she grinningly fastened it around her neck, pulling her hair out of the way, she motioned to the last present I had left.

“Go on,” she urged. “Is that Al’s?”

I hadn’t meant to leave Albus’s present last.

Honest.

No, really, I hadn’t. I was definitely not sure what to expect from Albus for this Christmas. I didn’t even really expect anything at all. It was unimaginably hard to choose a present for him and for a second I imagined that it might have been as hard for him.

Pfft. Unlikely.

Nevertheless, I reached for the small envelope—with Potter embedded across the back, in small letters, all fighting for attention—and slowly opened it, holding my breath like a hopeless teenage girl.

Which I was.

No matter.

I inhaled sharply when I saw the contents of the envelope.

“What?” Rose asked quickly. “What is it?”

I stared down at the big wad of cash. The entire envelope was full of galleons, and a small note. I frowned, not entirely sure whether I should be insulted by the impersonal present, or happy about the amount.

My emotions seemed to elect the first, and I felt my own face moulding from the ecstatic excited expression it had possessed, to form a shattered expression. Rose had moved by then, so she could see what Albus had gotten me.

“What?” She said slowly. Then she caught sight of my expression. “Oh, Katie, honey, give him a chance. Read the letter.”

I took a deep breath, endeavouring not to be too upset by what I’m sure would be an extremely impersonal message inside, and unfolded the slip of parchment.


“Dear, sweet Katie,”
He started the letter.

“Merry Christmas. I didn’t want to be a terrible guy and guess your dress size, but Rose hinted to me that you still didn’t have a dress for the ball at Scor’s place. I figured I could help there. Here’s some money to use to buy the dress (or whatever you want, it’s up to you.) I hope you like it, and you better save a dance for me. Al.”

He didn’t finish there though, having added a:

“P.S, my mum says that turquoise and purple would suit you. I’m not sure how a colour can do that, but there you go.”

And then he had written a smiley face.

There was a beat of silence, and then the room was full of squeals of “HE WANTS TO DANCE WITH ME!” and “OH, MY GOD, OH, MY GOD!” and “HE BOUGHT ME A DRESS” and, again, “HE WANTS TO DANCE WITH ME!!!”




“Sweet Merlin, Hermione,” Ron said, contentedly leaning back and patting his stomach. “You are bloody brilliant.”

Hermione grinned fondly at her husband, before looking amusedly at Victoire. “I’ve heard that before.” She said lightly.

Victoire laughed into her glass—which was raised to her lips—and grinned at her uncle. “I should hope so.” She grinned. She caught Dominique’s eye and they exchanged an identical amused smile that, even by itself, would probably provide enough light to power the muggle world for years.

I couldn’t, however, be quite as focused on dinner conversation as I would have liked, as Mr. no name couldn’t sit still on my shoulder. He had been squawking for half of the day, before Rose and I both decided that it wasn’t inhumane to put a silencing charm on the little thing if it refused to stay quiet. Still, the silencing charm didn’t stop the sweet little thing from nipping violently on my ear and neck every couple of seconds.

“Look like you’ve got yourself a rogue,” Teddy said as I introduced the little guy to my hosts, and fellow guests. I smirked, thinking about that. “Maybe you should take him back an exchange him.”

Rose and I stared at him in horror.

Victoire hit him.

He had then laughed again—a loud, yet casual laugh that seemed charming even to little no name’s ears.

“He likes you.” I told him, as unnamed hopped from my shoulder—his new constant perch—to Teddy’s hand.

Teddy laughed again—I had learned in my brief time of knowing him that he was a very funny guy, who couldn’t stop laughing, it seemed (often at my expense.) “He’s very cute.” He then told me with a grin. “What’s his name?”

And then I had to embarrassingly stutter that I hadn’t thought of one yet.

Which was super irritating because I was the namer. I could name anything. From green frog/mice, to chicken drumsticks I could name things.

So why couldn’t I find a name for this little guy?

“What about Perry?” Rose offered as she dug into her own Christmas dinner, following her father’s compliment of the food.

I turned up my nose. “Nah,” I said, after I swallowed my food. “I have a wooden duck at home, named Perry.”

Rose rolled her eyes playfully. “Of course you do.”

Everyone chuckled at that.

“Besides,” I continued, “Perry the Pygmy Puff? Talk about overusing your alliterations.”

And everyone agreed with that.

So little Bluey went on nameless, and our conversation turned to other things.

“So Dom,” Hermione asked as she sat down next to Ron, after refilling her glass. “How are the wedding plans coming?”

I realised with a sick jolt, exactly who was sitting opposite me. This was Dominique Weasley—the young blonde girl who was engaged (in secret, of course) two years out of Hogwarts.

To Professor Daniel Wood.

The same professor who my ex-best friend was entirely infatuated with—as I understand it. In the long time silence between the two of us, she might have gotten over him.

I thought uncomfortably of her continued visits to watch him practise Quidditch.

I highly doubted that Em had gotten over it.

Rose caught my eye and shot me a sympathetic glance, to which I sighed. Deciding to distract myself, I lifted Nameless from my shoulder and held him in my hands—watching as he opened his mouth, squawking silently.

Emily hadn’t sent me a present.

I hadn’t sent her one either.

And, unless I was very much mistaken, that didn’t bode well for any friendship.

Especially not mine and Em’s.




Hey guys! Ch. 24 done and ready for reading/reviewing! (hint, hint.) This chapter is clearly not as long as the last—returning to the normal length and not the amazingly long one we had last. I hope that works for you guys—but I find it far easier to write shorter chapters than longer ones. (Ch. 23 was a massive fluke. :P)

So, because of my inability to write in entire detail, the next chapter with be jumping straight to the actual ball and the hours/moments before that. I hope you’re happy with the quality of Christmas presents (especially Albus’s!!) and the Christmas chapter. I tried to slip some Katie/Al in there, as well as some Scor/Rose, which is very hard to do when they don’t actually feature in the chapter.

Plus, a little reminder that Em and Katie are still fighting and life is not all happy dandy, and Victoire, Teddy and Dominique have made an appearance. Professor Daniel Wood will feature at the ball, just to let you know, as well as more from Dominique, and the boys are back as well!

Thanks for being so patient with me, and I’m hoping updates are quicker now and you’re less angry with me. If it helps, this is the only story I’ve ever stuck with for this long. The only other story I’ve completed if forty chapter and took me a grand total of two and a half years to finish. So in reality, you guys got the better half of the deal.

Reviews, as always, are treasured. We’re definitely progressing into the thicker parts of the plot, with twists and turns I’m sure you won’t see coming and even (SPOILER ALERT!!!) a death. :O!

Anyway, please review and give me your thoughts.

As always, cheers,

G. :P



Chapter 25: It's Not Exclusive
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25. It’s Not Exclusive




“What is that?” I asked, frowning as I entered her room, both my new dress, and Rose’s clasped in their boxes, tightly beneath my arm.

It was time.

It was nerve wracking, finger shaking, heart pounding, and definitely what had brought on my shallow breathing, and had enlisted the butterflies in my stomach to assume their normal task of flying about down there.

It was New Years Eve.

And in two hours, we would be at the ball.

We were both changing into our gowns in her room. I had glanced at her slightly, as we both changed, to see her standing in the mirror, clad only in a bra, with a long black piece of material hanging from the side of her bra—just beside her arm.

Rose chose that moment to be a comedian.

“They’re called bras, Katie.” She said obviously. “They’re used to support parts of the woman anatomy, and occasionally make them look bigger. Like tonight.”

I glowered at her.

“I’m not talking about the bra,” I told her icily. “I’m talking about the weird thing hanging from it.”

Rose turned and grinned at me.

I was momentarily struck with the oddness of this situation, as I—entirely clothed--faced my friend—not quite so entirely clothed.

“It’s this new thing that Astoria Malfoy had developed.” Rose said as she grinned at me. “The first woman smart enough to voice her annoyance at not having any place to put a wand at a party.”

Astoria Malfoy was clearly a very intelligent woman.

“My mum bought me one,” Rose said, “and you one. Yours is in the bag on the bed.” She looked down at the two large, flat boxes in my hands. “Are those the dresses?”

I wasn’t quite computing her words, at that moment, staring in shock at the plastic bag on the bed. Hermione Weasley had bought me a bra?

Rose took my silence as a yes though, and took the boxes from my hands.

Of course, Hermione Weasley buying me a bra also brought up the odd question of how she knew it would fit me.

But, three minutes later when I returned from my room (where I had put it on) to Rose’s—where we would don the dresses—it fit sure enough.

“That is so weird.” I told Rose bluntly.

She just laughed. Still, I tucked my wand into the small little pouch, and adjusted the bra so that it would stay up. Rose did a couple of charms on both me and herself assuring me that now neither the bra, or the dress would slip, and we pulled out our gowns.

I couldn’t help but wonder, really, what we were doing going to a massive ball at the Malfoys home. The question had been tugging at my mind since I had first heard about it, but I hadn’t quite worked up the courage to voice it yet.

Now seemed like a good a time as any.

“It’s not exclusive…” Rose said, when I asked exactly how the Weasleys and the Potters found themselves annually invited to a ball hosted by who had once been their worst enemy. “Well, it is…” She backtracked with a slight grin. “It’s just not like Mr. Malfoy only invites people that he likes.”

I frowned again.

“But I thought your dad and Harry, hated Mr. Malfoy.” I said, confused.

Rose shrugged. “They used to hate each other, in high school.” She adjusted the top of her dress in the mirror before turning to me and leaning against the end of her bed. “They grew out of it. Plus, Uncle Harry saved Mr. Malfoy’s life in the Battle of Hogwarts.”

Of course he had. I had read the books, bibliographies and news articles and interviews that all narrated the tale. Harry Potter had flown back to save Draco Malfoy from the devouring fire that had already killed the junior death eater, Crabbe.

“My dad, and Uncle Harry respect Mr. Malfoy, and vice versa. They’re adults. They’ve grown up.”

That made sense. I wondered momentarily if that was how it was going to end for me and Emily. A mutual respect for each other, between the never-ending silence. The thought sent an uncomfortable pang through me, and I felt my face falling by itself. I quickly fixed it before Rose noticed.

“Besides,” Rose continued, oblivious (for once) as to what was going through my head. “There are over four hundred guests every year. They barely see each other, let alone had deep and meaningful conversations.”

That made sense, so I decided not to push it—and instead focused all of my concentration on trying to fix the irritating clasp at my back. Eventually giving up I asked Rose, who clasped the dress at it’s back quickly. We then stood side by side, staring at our reflections silently in the mirror.

To put it lightly, I adored my dress. Even more so, thinking that Albus had payed for it and it was a Christmas gift, but still—even if I had had to pay the large sum of money to buy it, I would have loved it.

It was silver. It was made out of a shimmery soft silver material. The neckline was low—with straps that rested around my neck. I had taken into account a bit of Ginny’s advice however, as at the middle there was a wide turquoise sash that wrapped neatly around my waist—starting beneath my boobs and ending just above my hip bone, and definitely the only thing that stopped the neckline from going lower. The skirt of the dress was the same shimmery material, slit to the knee so that I could walk, and flow-ey.

I was already equipped with your standard ball charms. One that kept my stomach sucked in, and Weasley’s Wizarding Weasley’s instant pimple vanishing cream covered my face. The dress had been charmed so that it didn’t accentuate any parts of me that I didn’t want attention brought to, as well as making sure it stayed done up at the back. My shoes had been charmed with a foot softener—so that I wasn’t a heeled cripple by the end of the night, and Rose had even performed a nifty charm that she assured me meant I wouldn’t fall over while dancing.

And that was enough to make me extremely happy.

I didn’t have my hair done at that point, but sitting on Rose’s dresser was the intricately designed turquoise hair pin that I had also bought with the dress. It matched the sash perfectly, and it meant that I hadn’t entirely ignored Ginny’s advice in Al’s letter.

Rose had bought a purple dress—a deep purple that matched her vibrant hair perfectly, and brought out her bright blue eyes. Her dress was floor length like mine, and flow-ey as well. It was strapless, with a small rose at the right side, just beside her shoulder. The skirt flowed as well, with a slit a little higher than mine—with sparkles covering the entire dress that shimmered as she moved—even though I couldn’t for the life of me see them when she was still.

Rose was the first to speak.

“Impressive.” She said slowly. Only she said it differently, so it really came out like ”Im-preess-iiiivvve…”

Very much like you might expect from a rude teenage boy.

But my friends had more class.




”Im-preess-iiiivvve…”

Sometimes even I astonish myself with my uncanny powers of predicting the future. I rolled my eyes as Fred examined both our dresses.

“More so to you Katie,” he said after that, “because Rose is my cousin and the mere thought of looking her that way makes me feel like throwing up in my mouth.”

Rose took the comment far better than I would have.

“Oh. Right. That’s nice. Thank you, Fred.”

Fred grinned at her and pulled her into a hug underneath his arm—“Just kidding, Ro-ro,” he assured her, while she rolled her eyes. “You both look gorgeous.”

And that was definitely a compliment coming from Fred. I wasn’t ready to see Fred in a tux, and even though Rose had assured me that Fred got all his girls somehow, I defiantly hadn’t expected to see this. In a tux, without a tie, his hands in his pockets, and with a black jacket casually over his shoulders, Fred Weasley looked every bit the ladies man he was.

“It’s about time you guys got here,” Fred told us conversationally, as he directed the two of us to the drinks table. “My dad hasn’t stopped cracking joke about his ear since we got here.”

“Was he talking your ear off?” Rose asked him conversationally.

Fred glowered at her. She giggled as she poured herself some butterbeer, and took a sip from it, evidentially satisfied with her pun.

“Not funny,” Fred said stonily, “Uncle Fred’s probably turning in his grave.”

“I think you’re dad’s jokes about his ear are funny,” I said with a sigh.

I wasn’t even really lying.

To lose a part of you that important, and be able to still joke about it later on seemed to me to be a good thing. Plus, his dad was George flipping Weasley. He’s literally one of the funniest people in the wizarding world. Jokes about his ear couldn’t have been that terrible, even if George had limited options for said jokes.

“Tell that to my uncle.” Fred said bitterly.

I shrugged. “I already did.” I said absently, remembering my brief conversation with Fred Sr. that day I was wrapping everyone’s presents.

Fred stared at me, “when?” he asked, surprised. ”Where?”

I shrugged again, turning my head to him and taking another sip from my glass. “Uh, a couple of days before Christmas.” I told him. “In my bedroom.” I smiled at him.

Fred’s eyebrows rose.

“He was in your bedroom?” he said incredulously.

I grinned at him over the top of my drink, watching his amused/surprised face. “Ours is a forbidden love.” I told him with a wiggle of my eyebrows.

Fred wrinkled his nose. “That’s my uncle.” He reminded me. “My dad’s dead twin brother.”

And suddenly the conversation was awkward again.

Good work, Katie.

Fred, however, meant it in jest. He broke out into a grin—breaking through his very good fake serious/shocked face. I glared at him as he snickered at me, and Rose looked on and giggled. I punched him lightly in the arm. Scorpius and Albus chose that moment to arrive.

“Are we punching Fred?” Albus said with a bright grin.

“Count us in.” Scorpius said.

They both hit him at exactly the same time, on opposite arms. Fred swore as his glass jolted, spilling a bit of it on his jacket. “Aw crap,” he moaned as he looked at it. “My dad’s going to kill me.”

He wasn’t going to kill Fred. Because seconds later, Rose had whipped out her wand from her bra holster, and the jacket was beautiful again.

She had to teach me that one.

“Why hello there, lovely ladies.” Scorpius drawled once Fred’s jacket drama was over. “I don’t think Albus and I have had time to admire…”

They gave us both a once over, with high eyebrows and appraising smirks. Rose rolled her eyes and made a face, even though one look at her mouth—which was trying desperately to hide a smile—showed that she was enjoying having Scor look at her as much as I was enjoying Albus’s grin.

“Very nice, ladies.” Albus concluded grandly, after another moment of overstated, overacted examination of our dresses.

I didn’t really mind.

Because, sex-god of all sex-gods was standing in front of me, dressed in an impeccable tuxedo that made butterflies in my stomach fly at double pace, and my lips went dry.

Not to mention he wanted to dance with me.

“Who is that?” Fred said suddenly, zeroing in on his latest target for the night. A blonde, standing in the corner, at another drinks table, checking Fred out from over the top of her glass.

“Dunno…” Scor said. “I think she’s the daughter of one of the guys that Dad works with.”

Fred stared at her, probably running through a thousand ways that he could charmingly knock her off her feet.


“Reckon I could do it?” Fred asked, not taking his eyes from her. She had noticed now, and was smiling a cute little smile—and purposely avoiding his eye.

“I would say no,” Scorpius said as she appraised this new girl, before turning to Fred. “But then in half an hour you’ll be snogging her in some corner, so I’m going to say go for it.”

Fred grinned.

“And we’re sure she’s in no way related to me?”

I snorted, although if you think about it, with a family that size, you’d need to check from time to time.

Fred looked at me seriously. “Katie—you have clearly never heard of the ‘Awkward Dance of ‘09.’” He told me seriously.

My eyebrows rose, to disappear beneath my fringe.

“Positive,” Albus said, still assessing our blonde beauty. “I’ve never seen her before.”

Fred grinned, apparently having received all the assurances he needed to work up the confidence to approach said young lady. “Alright then,” he said, straightening his jacket, “wish me luck boys. I’m off to have a dance.”

As if on cue, the music began, with people clearing room for people to dance. Instantly, couples were in the space, spinning and twirling around impressively. I noted, duly, that Ron and Hermione were dancing slowly in the middle of the circle, looking entirely entranced with each other.

“Aw…” I cooed softly.

Rose rolled her eyes.

“Come on,” Al said suddenly, grasping my gloved hand and sending a shock through my entire body. “I believe you owe me a dance.”

Sweet crapping daffodils.

As he whisked me off, I had enough time to catch Rose’s gaze as she grinned for me, before Scorpius pulled her off to dance with him.

And then, as Albus’s hand rested on my waist and my hands instinctively went around his neck, I couldn’t care less what was going on with Rose. Because I was dancing with Albus Potter. And I could smell him again—a wonderful combination of cologne, and smell of his drink on his breath.

It made me weak at the knees.

Fortunately, Rose’s spell kept me on my feet and dancing.

“So, you liked the present?” Albus asked me, with a secretive little grin.

I smiled up at him.

“Of course I did,” I told him, electing not to tell him how disappointed I had been initially. “It was brilliant.”

“I see you took my mum’s advice,” he said with a grin, gesturing at the clip in my hair and the sash around my waist.

“She’s a very knowledgeable lady,” I told him. “And also very cool.”

Albus grinned. “So you’ve met everyone’s parents now, then haven’t you?”

I nodded, not entirely sure where this was going to go.

“So when are we going to meet your parents?”

I laughed at the thought. Michael and Helen Dalton. My parents. The whackos that had given up magic entirely. The thought of Rose, or Albus, or Scor, or Fred meeting them was a strange thought. I couldn’t entirely imagine what they’d do—either parties.

My mother would guess about how I felt about Albus straight away. She was perceptive like that, even if she was entirely bonkers. My dad would probably be disarmed by Fred’s humour, and Rose’s intelligence, and Scorpius I’d have to keep entirely silent.

“Well, I haven’t met Scor’s parents yet,” I said, deciding to avoid actually answering the question. And that was true. I hadn’t seen them, even if we were at their home.

Albus looked at me quizzically.

“I’ll have to fix that, won’t I?”

I thought for one terrible second that Albus was going to fling me at Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy and I would fly into them and stack it, no matter what spells Rose had performed to make sure that didn’t happen.

Instead, Albus twirled me under his arm, and began dancing in a way that made us move around all the other couples.

“Where did you learn how to do that?” I asked, as we moved.

Albus laughed. “I’m a guy who knows how to tap dance, Katie.” He said, reminding me fondly of the events that brought me closer to all my wonderful new friends. “Of course I can do a waltz properly.”

Of course he could.

Especially if he’s been at these balls for his entire life.

It was uncanny, amongst all of them. The way that they moved and walked and talked was all-perfect here. It was as though they had been raised to be socialites. Which, I suppose they had. Growing up as the children of the most famous people in the world meant that they had to be relaxed and natural and poised at events like this.

Not like me, who had seen the wash of reporters from one of the windows and pulled a face that I’m quite sure got caught on at least seven cameras.

Which is embarrassing, but I’m not thinking about it.

“That’s Mr. Malfoy there,” Albus said, as he finally stopped pulling me around the dance floor, and we assumed a waltz at a pace that I could keep up with. “Dancing.”

I risked a glance.

As I had always thought, Draco Malfoy looked every bit like his good-looking son. His hair—an identical shade of platinum blonde—was thinning slightly, and his face was a little more pointed than the old photos I had seen of him. But in his suit, I could see exactly why every eligible woman here, over the age of twenty-five, continued to sneak glances at him.

His attentions at that moment, however, were entirely focused on the woman who he was dancing with. A breathtakingly beautiful blonde, with pale skin, a soft face and sharp eyes that only focused on one man as he led her around the dance floor.

“And that’s Scor’s mum—Astoria.” Albus continued. His hand moved slightly he spun me again, landing on the small of my back and sending little shivers up my spine. “I used to have the biggest crush on her.”

I felt a pang of jealousy run through me that I instantly felt stupid for. This was Astoria Malfoy. Of course Albus would have had a child like thing for her. He didn’t have one anymore.

Not that it mattered to me.

Because Albus and I are entirely a figment of my own imagination and never likely to actually get together in real life.

But still…

I watched Draco Malfoy spin around the dance floor with interested eyes. This was the man who had disarmed Albus Dumbledore moments before the impressive man died. The man who had possessed the elder wand without knowing it, and narrowly avoided murder at Voldemort’s own hand. The man who had inevitably helped Harry Potter save the world, and who had since then put up with our society crucifying him for his adolescent mistakes.

It was hard to believe that this man had anything to do with Death Eaters.

Of course, seconds later, when there was a shuddering scream that halted all the music and a deafening bang that sent everyone stumbling I realised that I was going to have the chance to see the Death Eaters first hand.

“They’re here,” Albus breathed.

And then there was chaos.




Ooh! Again with the cliff-hangers! Ain’t I a little stinker?

REVIEW!

G.




Chapter 26: Heroes
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26. Heroes




My breathing was far too loud.

I wasn’t sure what was making it so impossible for me to breathe quietly. You’d think that in situations like these, I should be able to keep my mouth closed and breath quietly—or, perhaps, through my nose. But I couldn’t. My breathing, was unimaginably loud—so loud that I was catching glance from other people.

“Can she shut up?”

My face turned crimson.

But then one of my friends, tall and good-looking, and my recent dance partner glared at them. “Why don’t you stop picking on her, and close your own big mouth?” He demanded.

I grinned up at my convenient saviour and glared at the stupid obnoxious git who had the nerve to call me on my breathing.

My very loud, irritating breathing which was even annoying me.

The git glowered at Albus for a moment, but then let it drop, turning back to the girl he had apparently accompanied here, even though he continued to shoot me angry looks.

I decided to forfeit, even though Albus had so bravely defended my honour, and held my breath. In the silence that followed, we could all hear the noise of the fighting beyond the doors of the study.

We were in the study.

The adults who hadn’t immediately jumped to the protection of the guests—Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, George, Draco, Angelina etc.—had made it their first priority to get all the kids out of the line of fire.

In fact, it had been Astoria Malfoy to take charge.

As Draco had told her to get back—clearly worried for her safety, she hadn’t argued, seeing that her husband needed to focus, instead of argue with her. So she had turned and, in an authoritative voice that I didn’t believe could come from such a petite woman, ordered all the people under the age of seventeen to follow her.

We had done so, Rose and I dragging the boys away from where they were itching to join the fight.

Albus had tried to pull away from my grasp. I had, in a moment of clear decisiveness, wrenched on his sleeve so hard he stumbled. He stared at me incredulously.

“Don’t be a moron.” I ordered him icily, before pushing him in front of me.

The rest of what he was doing seemed to flow on from after effects .The surge of adrenalin and fear that had propelled me to not take any ‘macho’ crap from Albus had shocked both Albus and myself into silence. I had received an impressed look from Rose, while she hastily made sure Scorpius didn’t do anything stupid, but I didn’t even fully register that.

The adults had seemingly formed a protective wall of people in front of the door to the study, to prevent the Death Eaters from passing into the study to us.

All I knew was that we were all now huddled in the study, entirely silent—expect for my god-awful breathing—listening to the shouts and screams of the multiple adults facing just four death eaters.

And struggling.

Although some of us in the large room clearly didn’t want to be there.

And not in the ‘ahh—get—me—out—of—here—I’m—going—to—die!” way either. More specifically, in the ‘I—should—be—out—there—fighting—to—save—the—people—I—love” sort of way.

I shouldn’t need to point out that I was definitely of the first opinion.

“We should be out there,” Scorpius hissed furiously. He had been the most reluctant to follow all those under seventeen into the study—where the adults had barricaded us in. “We’re not kids.”

Rose shot him a look. “We are the future though. And the people out there will have far more chance without us distracting them.”

Scorpius scowled at her. “How do you figure?”

Rose glowered back, clearly not in the mood to argue with Scorpius at that point.

“How would you feel, tosser, if you were fighting people ready to kill anyone—with your children out in the open?” She demanded.

Scorpius glowered at her, but remained silent evidentially deciding that Rose—as usual—was right.

Although, it might have also been because Professor Wood was glaring at him—almost daring him to keep talking.

Unlike all the other people above the age of seventeen, both Professor Wood and Dominique were in the study with us. It wasn’t an issue of bravery or cowardice—no, the only reason either of them were here was because of Professor Woods broken and bloody leg. He had been standing right beside the window that the Death Eaters had entered the mansion through—and a large sheet of glass had lodged itself in his leg.

Fred, clearly the most intelligent—I can’t believe I called him that—of the boys at that moment, had torn a strip off his shirt and tied it firmly around the professor’s leg, making sure that the blood loss lessened the muggle way.

“Potter!” I we heard a loud shout from the other side of the door—which was enough to make me forget my non-breathing altogether, and manage to stay entirely silent.

“That’s Rabastan Lestrange,” the boy who had been so angry about my breathing, whispered under his breath. “I’d bet my life on it.”

No one wanted to bring up exactly how easy it was to bet one’s life at that current moment.

“I swore to my dying lord, that I would avenge him.” Lestrange shouted out. The fighting a quieted a little—although I wasn’t sure if that was merely a figment of my imagination as I focused entirely on what was being said.

Harry Potter, it seemed, was not having any of this mumbo-jumbo, however.

“He died instantly, you twat.” He said angrily. “I killed him.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Harry Potter.

“I swore to him before our departure to the school,” Lestrange shouted back. “I would avenge him should the night end unfortunately.”

Everyone in the study knew that wasn’t right. Scorpius scoffed out loud, earning angry looks from people who still wanted to hear.

“Shut up!” Roxanne Weasley hissed as she pressed her ear to the door.

Everyone complied.

Harry Potter had had enough.

“Don’t TEST me, Lestrange!” Harry shouted at the top of his lungs. He grunted as though someone had attacked him, which had Albus tense as he grasped my hand in a death grip. “He died instantly at MY HAND! And there is no way you could have organized ANYTHING like that with Riddle—”

Holy crap.

He just called Voldemort, ‘Riddle.’

That is SO cool.

“—I was left in charge should anything go wrong!” Lestrange fired back.

“You’re LYING!” Harry roared. “Had you doubted him in the slightest and he would have killed you himself. And you were barely an acquaintance of his. You were simply convenient and stupid enough to believe his load.”

Oh, sweet mother of good things.

“How dare you!?”

The conversation ended there, with a single curse and a sudden thump against the door that had everyone in our oblivious room scream.

Albus went white.

Lily, who looked exhausted with her gorgeous white satin dress sleeve hanging off her left shoulder, let out a short, dry sob.

I tensed slightly, pulling my hand from Albus’s.

I hurried to Rose’s side. “We have to do something.” I told her. “We can’t leave everyone here.” I glanced around the room to see everyone—even first years and younger—staring petrified at the door.

Rose followed my look around the door, wide eyed, and breathing extremely quietly. It was clear she was far calmer in these situations.

Clearly, the daughter of Ron and Hermione Weasley.

“There’s nowhere to take them.” Rose said, her voice cracking and showing me that she sounded just as stressed as I did. “Evan and Rosier aren’t out there. I heard one of the adults say it outside. They could be anywhere—watching the floo networks, waiting at our homes… anything.”

Which was a disconcerting thought.

And the current disarming and terrifying events, as well as my almost blank mind and the uncontrollable feeling of pure terror, it was a wonder I could think enough to move my arms and walk from place to place.

Which is why it was a pure miracle that the next stroke of extraordinary intuition even came to me at all.

But it did.

I was entirely convinced. For a single, lone moment of my life, the pure clarity that entered my mind was so brilliant that for a moment, I considered exactly what it was like to be Rose.

“I know where they won’t be.”

Rose, apparently, wasn’t quite so impressed.

“Your place?” She suggested, deciding to read my mind again. “Katie, that’s what I’m saying. They might be there. They’re more likely to be there than at our houses really. We can’t go anywhere. We’ll have to wait it out.”

Professor Wood exhaled sharply in pain, as Fred and Dominique frantically tried to make sure his leg stayed on.

“Professor Wood can’t do that, Rose.” I told her seriously, trying to get her to take me serious for once in my life.

“What choice do we have?” Rose snapped.

In the end it could have been a lot of things.

It could have been the stress of the situation. The way that Professor Wood chose that exact moment to let out a shout of his pain—his face screwing up into a mask of pure agony. Or, it could have just been me coming to terms with my mind-blowing epiphany, and finally knowing what it was like to be right.

“For Merlin’s sake, Rose.” I said through gritted teeth, my arm wrenching on her shoulder so that she couldn’t turn away. “For once, just listen to me.”

And I told her where to go.




“What is this place again?”

I glowered at Scorpius.

Clearly, he did not want to be here, even though it was me who saved his ass. Sure, his parents were still fighting—as far as we knew—but it wasn’t like we were helping out any.

As a matter of fact, Professor Wood (he asked me to call him Daniel on account of my being the person to get him to St. Mungo’s within seconds of losing his leg) told me that my help was amazing, and brave—and having other students who were calm in a crisis—like me—would be a great benefit to me.

Pshaw.

“I’m not even kidding. Kangaroo Crescent? Wallaby Drive? Is this place for real?”

Albus stormed out at that point.

We were all in the kitchen of my Uncle Andy’s house.

…yeah.

The letter they had sent me a couple of days after my spat with Penny sat, recently read, on top of my suitcase at the Weasley’s house. I had been nervous about dancing with Albus earlier, and had read it to calm down. My parent’s always brought me back to earth.

Not to mention I bloody missed them.

It was sheer coincidence that I had skimmed over the note, in the end. But that didn’t mean I had missed the important part of it.

Also, keep in mind that we’ve made some old requests and if anything goes wrong, you can floo us to Uncle Andy’s house—okay? We’ve organised it all. If you’re feeling in the least bit unsafe at Hogwarts just come straight to us and we’ll be there.

Okay, so technically I wasn’t at Hogwarts, and it wasn’t there that I felt unsafe. To be frank, it would have been far safer for me to remain at Hogwarts.

Still, I met Harry Potter.

So, WIN!

I frowned at my own optimism at this point. For all we knew, the adults of the party were still fighting the death eaters—of course, we had flooed the ministry from Uncle Andy’s house and informed them of the risk and they had assured us that they would send a crack team of Aurors to help recapture the escaped Death Eaters—but the others—Scorpius specifically—weren’t exactly happy with just that.

Hence the bad mood.

Albus was just as moody as well. The badly timed thump that silenced his father’s words had reduced him to a state where his hands were actually shaking.

But he seemed tired now. He had been with Lily for the last hour, rocking her while she cried hysterically, and making sure that she was okay. Rose had been preoccupied with Hugo, and Scorpius with Sabriel and Indiana (who had come with Sabriel.)

I myself, had been busying myself with the twerps, playing games with them and trying to keep them calm, even with all the guests that were suddenly staying in their house.

“Leave her alone, Scorpius.” He said tiredly. “You should go and talk to Mr. Dalton, he said he got some news—I’m just fetching Lily to tell her.”

Scorpius sat stock straight. “What?” He demanded suddenly. “What news?”

Albus frowned at him. “Dude. Mr. Dalton wouldn’t say. He said he needed to talk with Mrs. Dalton first, and then he’d tell us all.”

It honestly didn’t matter how much I—and my mum and dad—insisted that they call them Helen and Michael, they wouldn’t.

It made me feel impolite for calling Ron and Hermione, Ron and Hermione.

Albus was still talking to Scor. “Go get Sabriel and come with us.”

Rose didn’t even need to be directly spoken to. Hugo, who was hovering by her side in an adorable way—like he was scared to let her out of his sight, was tugging on her hand and urging her forward.

She needed no convincing.

Scor disappeared seconds later, calling Sabriel’s name and running to her. It was cool to see this side of him. As soon as we had all been herded into their study, he had found Sabriel and literally pulled her into a hug that lasted longer than I would have expected for two people that claimed to hate each other.

“Are you alright?” he had demanded instantly.

Sabriel had nodded, shakily, while Indiana hovered at her shoulder staring with wide eyes at the door.

And when Indiana turned her head and caught my petrified white gaze, and amazingly, she had simply sent me a sympathetic smile.

Which almost knocked me off my feet.

I hadn’t seen her since—too preoccupied with seeing my parents and making sure they were safe—even though there was no rational reason why they shouldn’t be.

“Come on.” I urged everyone else, who wasn’t related to any of my close friends. “My dad’s just got some news. You’ll want to hear about this.”

There was a literal stampede of people as they rushed through the house to get to the den, where my parent’s had been—waiting by the fire for news from the aurors.

“Everyone needs to be quiet,” I heard my father’s reassuringly deep voice order everyone. The voice automatically instilled a weird feeling in anyone who heard it—it was as though it makes sense to listen to him.

My dad was cool like that.

“We’ve just had word from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement,” he told everyone. “The Malfoy Mansion has been evacuated and there have been no casualties.”

The united sigh of relief almost knocked me over.

I quickly made my way through the large crowd of adolescents to my mother’s side, grasping her hand tightly.

She had heard about the break into the mansion while we were still there. I don’t know exactly how they had managed to get words of it down in Australia, but they had. And they had already known that I would be attending because Rose had mentioned it in her letter when she asked if she could buy me Mr. No-Name.

Our arriving here had instantly lifted their spirits, and I had practically seen the pained worried sick expression vanish from my mother’s face when I had stumbled through the fire and told her that I didn’t have a choice, and that we needed to put the twins of terror upstairs before they saw everyone coming through the fire.

Uncle Andy was alright, being a muggle who was well aware of magic—seeing as my father went to Hogwarts, and he didn’t.

But the twins were still classified as unknowing muggles who could not be allowed to see magic in any shape or form.

“What about the Death Eaters?” Fred’s thin date for the night asked nervously. She was by herself—an only child like me—who had stayed at Fred’s side since arriving here, along with Roxanne and Irena—who hadn’t left Fred’s arms. “What’s happened to them?”

Her question sparked more, and suddenly everyone needed to know about what had happened.

“Did they get away?”

“Have they been taken back to Azkaban?”

“Doesn’t matter if they have—they’ll just be taken back.”

“Will they get the Kiss?”

I shuddered at the thought of the dementors again, which added to the neurotic state I had been in since this whole night had exploded.

“Please, be quiet.” My dad said again—and everyone was silent. “I will tell you everything I know, if you give me the chance.”

Everyone fell silent again.

“Thank you,” my ever polite father said, continuing. “Now, they have recaptured one of the Death Eaters—Rabastan Lestrange who was knocked unconscious after a tussle with Harry Potter.” He looked at Albus—who looked instantly relieved.

Guess we know what that thump was then.

“There have been quite a few injuries, but nothing fatal.” My father reassured everyone. “The other three death eaters escaped when the backup Aurors arrived—there was quite a bit of confusion when they managed to slip out.”

Everyone exchanged uneasy glance. My mum’s grip on my hand tightened, and I squeezed back comfortingly. She looked at me quickly, shooting me one of her nervous smiles, before looking back to Dad.

I caught Albus’s eye—where he was standing with Lily at his feet. He looked away from me as soon as he realized that I was looking at him.

The pang in my gut felt like a sudden stabbing.

So he was angry with me.

He had every reason to be.

I had stopped him protecting his own family when he wanted to. As my mother’s grip on my hand tightened again, with more of my Dad’s reassuring words, I couldn’t blame him.

If it had been me, and he had stopped me, I would never talk to Albus again.

His stony gaze didn’t look back at me again.






Hey guys! Sorry for the validation time. I hope this isn’t too stupid for you—and stereotypical. I know the idea of an attack at Christmas time isn’t so original—but trust me, it’s a big plot thing. I absolutely NEED Harry to talk to Katie’s parents otherwise the rest of the story is screwed up. This is my way to do that.

Sorry for the dash of angst. Don’t worry about Albus. He’ll come around.

Also, before I get lost in a whirl of confused reviewers telling me how Scorpius, Rose, Fred and Al, being in 7th year, should be technically classified as older than seventeen and therefore allowed to fight by law—I’m going with another route. My simple belief is that They’re all turning seventeen in the very close months (the same way it worked with Ron, in the books) and are, at this point in time, still sixteen.

Please review and give me your thoughts. You’re reviews until now have been EXCEPTIONAL and I feel the need to reassure you all that I FREAKING LOVE YOU ALL!

xx

G.



Chapter 27: Life Without Emily Cook
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27. Life Without Emily Wood




We were at the hospital.

Even though it went past every moral code of my parents, and it meant that we had to leave the country—as well as half of the people who hadn’t been taken away by their parents yet—staying at Uncle Andy’s house, my parents had been happy to let me floo to the magical menders.

Besides, Uncle Andy was at the end of his tether.

But, Victoire and Teddy wanted to visit Dominique and Professor—uhm, Danielwhere he was in St. Mungoes. Because his legs had almost been hexed off, it wasn’t a simply spell that could reattach it. When we asked—foolishly—we had been told that he would need to drink a bone regrowth potion while the matrons performed the spells on him so they could be sure the bone that had been fragmented would reattach itself.

Anaesthetic spells were not allowed as they interfered with the regrowth serum.

In other words, ouch.

Professor Wood—oops, Daniel was still very thankful, it seemed, and clearly not in the same mind frame as I was.

“I don’t know how to thank you, again, Katie,” he told me hoarsely—apparently the regrowth serum had irritated his throat or something.

I had blushed—because come on; I had really just provided a house. I hadn’t saved anyone’s lives or anything.

That was all the work of the illustrious Harry Potter and all the other adults.

Still, he was gracious all the same.

“Honestly,” he continued to gush. “If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t have a leg. The nurses said that even two more minutes untreated, and it would have been unsafe to forgo with the treatment.”

Yep.

Two minutes.

Which struck me as odd.

I mean, two minutes off fatal treatment, and he was a) not freaking out about it, and b) thanking me?

“That’s alright,” I told him quietly. “I didn’t do much.”

Because. I. Didn’t.

“Don’t sell yourself short, Katie.” Dominique told me, leaning forward and pulling me into a long hug. She had changed, from her beautiful golden dress, into an old ensemble of singlets and see-through pull ons, with simple white jeans—and despite her thin figure, the kind eyes that said everything.

I awkwardly hugged her back.

“You saved his leg.” She told me, once she pulled away from our hug. She stared down at me with those blue kind eyes. “No one else had any idea where to go. Most houses were being watched. If we hadn’t been able to go via your Uncle’s house, there wouldn’t have been time to save his leg.”

Which was probably important.

Considering they were getting married, and his entire source of income depended on him being able to fly, ride, balance on and walk to and from his broom.

Emily would flip when she found out.

I smiled reassuringly at Dominique, and then at Professor—Daniel in his hospital bed.

He looked pale.

Probably the intense pain he was suffering from at that moment.

“I don’t think you give yourself enough credit.” Dominique continued. “Maybe it’s just the way you were raised, maybe you’re incredibly humble, or maybe you’re used to being told your worth from other people. But, don’t let anyone ignore you or make you feel bad about yourself. You’re a hero Katie—maybe not like Harry was, or Mr. Malfoy, or even Dan—but you saved a lot of people.”

Uh.

Wow.

Rose, who had been standing in the corner awkwardly up til that point, looked nervously over at me.

“Uh, Kats?—Can I talk to you?”

I could only assume that I was Kats. Think about it for a moment, and considering how it sounded on her tongue, I decided I liked my new nickname.

Anyway, I nodded at her and smiled slightly—making sure not to wake the sleeping professor or his zoned out fiancé—before turning on my heel and following Rosie into the hall.

That was about as far as we went.

And she barely gave me milliseconds before getting straight to the point.

“Do you hate me?”

That was it. All Rosie said, as she fiddled with her fingers and looked at me nervously. She looked adorable, to tell the truth, with her hair still unwashed from the ball falling messily from the elegant bun it had been, clad in a muggle hoodie and jeans, with her sleeves pulled across her hands—watching me with wide eyes.

“What?!”

Rose didn’t move.

“Do you hate me?” She asked again.

I took the time to splutter where necessary.

“What?!” I said again, “No! Of course not! Why—how—who—why would I hate you?”

Rose stared at me for another second.

“Are you lying to me?”



WHAT?

—“Rose.” I said, stepping forward and grabbing her arms. “What is going on? Where did you get this from?”

Rose just stared at her feet, silently.

“It’s just…” she said slowly, “it’s what you said, back at the mansion? You know…”

Uh no.

I did not know.

I promptly filled her in.

She sighed.

“I wasn’t listening. And I was blowing you off.”

Oh.

“And you said…”

Ohh.

Crap.

“Oh, Rosie…! I didn’t mean it!” I pulled her into a hug, wrapping my arms around her neck trying to stop her from looking so upset. “I was stressed and you were distracted.” I assured her, rubbing her back.

“But what you said,” Rose persisted. “Do I really never listen to you?”

No.

Rose did listen to me. She listened when I asked her for help, when I gave her advice—(however scarce said advice was)—She was a brilliant listener.

However, in my own stupidity, I stayed silent to think of all these thing, and Rose took it the wrong way.

“Oh Merlin Katie!” She looked distraught now. “Oh, my god I’m such a bad person! I should have listened to you. You do hate me! I will listen to you more, I promise. Oh Katie, please don’t hate me. I love you, Kats, you’re my best friend. Please, please, please don’t hate me.”

I wasn’t really listening. I was too focused on making sure that Rose calmed down.

“Rosie.” I ordered, pulling myself away from the hug and holding her arms tightly, so she didn’t run away like I thought she might. “I don’t hate you. I could never hate you, You are the best listener I know. So stop freaking out—”

Wait.

Hang on.

Rosie’s words caught up with me.

Best friend.

Best friend.

For a millisecond, thoughts whizzed through my brain at a million miles per minutes. And it wrung true.

I was staying at her house.

She knew me well enough to buy me a pygmy puff, and as my parents about it before.

She kept my secrets.

I kept hers.

I relied on her, trusted her, and adored her.

Rose Weasley is my best friend.

Rose Weasley is my best friend.

Rose Weasley is my best friend.

I decided to forget about how primary school the thoughts in my head sounded, how I was acting, and launched myself at her, hugging her again—with twice the enthusiasm.

“Katie—what?”

“I’M YOUR BEST FRIEND! OH MY SWEET MERLIN! I’M YOUR BEST FRIEND!! YOU’RE MY BEST FRIEND TOO! OH, MY GOD!”

Rose was giggling and hugging me back.

“Of course, you’re my best friend, you tosser.” She assured me.

Because it was true. And for a moment it hit me. I was standing in St. Mungoes, having just survived a Death Eater attack, standing outside the room of Daniel Wood and his fiancé, dancing with Rose Weasley.

This was my life, without Emily Cook.

Rose and I stood there screaming and jumping and laughing for a good couple more minutes before we were interrupted.

“Oh look. How sweet. Young love.”

I scowled at Scorpius, but Rose just laughed—supposedly a side effect of being in love with the speaker.

“Watch out lover, that’s almost classified as being unfaithful.” Fred warned. “Anyway,” he looked at Rose. “Your dad just sent me. They want us all home now. I’ve found a fire that’s free to use.”

Scor grinned. Rose and Fred looked happy for the first time in a while. But, being a moron, I simply couldn’t help myself.

“Where’s Al?” I asked, hopefully.

All their faces fell and they exchanged awkward looks.

Yeah.

Dominique Weasley may think I was a hero.

Daniel Wood may believe he owes me his leg.

Rose Weasley might have been my best friend.

But Albus Potter didn’t even want to lay eyes on me.




“He hates me.”

“No he doesn’t.”

“Uh. Yes he really does.”

“No. He really doesn’t.”

Sigh. “Fine. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Where is he anyway?”

“Not here?”

“And why is that?”

“Uh…”

“Oh yeah. Because he hates me.”

As you could probably tell, I wasn’t to be reasoned with.

Fred and Rose had given up, deciding to leave me to mope, because they’re terrible friends.

Shut up. I’m in a harsh mood.

Granted, Fred had to go home with his family, when they left the Weasley’s. And Rosie, I think, was still a little worried that I hated her, and therefore thought she was unable to tell me I was a moron anytime soon.

“You’re a moron.”

Evidentially, Scorpius didn’t share her hesitations.

I stared at him, affronted, as though I didn’t get told that on a daily basis.

“What? Why?” I demanded suddenly, folding my arms across my front and frowning at him. We were in the Weasley’s kitchen, sitting on opposite sides of their small dinner table, with a simple plate of hot chips—ala Hermione—in front of us.

I lifted one to my mouth, crunching audibly, as though that would clue Scorpius in on my current mood.

“Don’t be a princess, Twinkle Toes,” Scor said.

It was becoming clear that no matter what mood I was in, Scor wasn’t going to play the nice card with me. He was Albus’s best friend, after all.

“He’s got a lot going on in his life—he thought his dad was dead.”Scorpius continued with a simple shrug, as he licked tomato sauce from his chip before putting it in his mouth. I wrinkled my nose.

“Still…”

“Still what?” Scorpius said tiredly, with his mouth full. “His family was directly threatened—and pretty much the reason why the ball was crashed. He feels guilty, responsible and he’s upset that he couldn’t help. He has no reason to automatically affirm his god-sent friendship with you.”

Ouch.

So Scorpius was being a little harsh.

Rose was standing aside from the table at that point, leaning away from the conversation, but simply concentrating on watching the next batch of chips like Hermione had asked, while Hermione ‘popped out for a moment.’

“Come on, Scor. That’s a little harsh, don’t you think?”

I wasn’t sure if Rose was actually on my side, at that point, or simply saying she was to stay in my good books—not that she had ever bloody left them.

But it didn’t matter if she agreed with Scor or not. He didn’t seem to care that he was violating Rose’s ethical ‘Code of Giving the Blunt Truth.’

“The point is, Rose,” he said, turning to her, “that Al can’t be expected to disregard everything to make sure that twinkle toes is happy with where their relationship is.”

“Maybe,” Rose said in faithful defence bestie (!) mode. “She and Albus just have a healthy relationship! A concept that you, as the practical definition of ‘wanker,’ won’t be familiar with.”

Ah.

Now they were getting personal.

Excellent.

“Don’t turn this on me,” Scorpius told her, swallowing his food loudly, as though he was clearing his throat. “Albus is, and should be, more preoccupied with how his family is coping.”

Rose stared at him.

“This from the boy who practically worships anyone who hurts his little sister?”

To be fair, Sabriel would probably kick his arse if he tried to protect her.

But it’s the same idea, and it struck home nonetheless.

“Like who!?” Scorpius demanded to know.

I suddenly knew where this was going. She and I had successfully avoided a study session just to bitch about her—even though I loved her and would still be sitting myself in Potions, without her.

Rose scoffed.

“The name ‘Hilary St. Claire’ ringing any bells? You know? The girl who punched your sister in the face and got suspended for it? The one who you practically worshipped for ages!”

Scorpius went red in the face.

“Hilary has nothing to do with this!”

“Oh, so you’re on first name terms with the girl who attacked your sister?” Rose fired. I tried to subtly remind her that she and Scorpius weren’t actually dating, and she was reaching jealous girlfriend levels of anger.

“Rose—dammit!”

“Sure. Albus can take the time to look after his family, but you can’t? You can spend all your time focusing on thanking the people who attack your family!?”

“Rose! For Merlin’s sake, you sound like a jealous girlfriend!”

Said so.

“—and so do you Katie!”

Rose and I went silent.

I knew it the second he said it, I realised numbly while Rose’s face turned from red to puce in anger. I was acting exactly like I thought I was Albus’s girlfriend or something.

A needy, annoying, persistent girlfriend.

“HOW DARE YOU?!” Rose fired at Scorpius. “You pig headed, arrogant, moronic KING OF WANKERS!”

Albus had just been through this massive, horrific event. He had—heck, we all had—thought his dad was dead for a good hour before we got news.

“What? I didn’t do anything. It’s what you sound like Rose. Like you’re jealous, or something.”

“Jealous? Of what? Hilary St. Claire? The girls at the ball who you fawned over because you’re so driven by your sodding hormones!?”

“See? Where did these non-existent girls from the ball come into the equation?”

He had been left with the idea that his mother’s fate still hung in the balance and James was fighting too.

“Where did they BLOODY COME IN? NON-EXISTENT!? You’re JOKING! THEY WERE ALLYOU COULD LOOK AT! You were only DANCING WITH ME because MY FATHER WAS WATCHING AND YOU DON’T WANT HIM TO THINK YOU’RE UNINTERESTED IN HIS BLOODY DAUGHTER!”

Not to mention, he was the one that had to stay and look after his little sister—which probably sent him reeling like a kick of ‘holy crap’ right up the ass.

“I WAS BLOODY NOT!”

“YES YOU BLOODY WERE!”

“I WAS NOT! BECAUSE THE ONLY THING I LOOKED AT THE ENTIRE NIGHT WAS YOU! YOU AND YOUR DAMN DRESS, AND YOUR DAMN HAIR, AND YOUR DAMN SHOES! I didn’t have the chance to look at anyone else because APPARENTLY God HATES ME and has decided that the only fitting punishment is to make me FALL SODDING IN LOVE with a GIRL WHO DRIVE ME ROUND THE BEND!”

I was in the midst of concluding that I would not be so childish again, when it came to Albus, and would give him the space he needed to reassure himself that his family was safe, when it happened.

The arguing stopped.

It was oddly silent.

I looked up from where my gaze had fallen—the plate of chips on the table—to see what had happened to Rose and Scorpius.

I jolted back in surprise, eyebrows zooming upwards, from the sheer bloody shock of seeing Scorpius—his entire body pressing hers into the bench where she had been casually leaning against seconds ago, one hand on her lower back, pulling her closer to him, the other tangled in her hair—as he snogged the bloody life out of Rose.

And I promptly fell off my chair.





AHH!

ROSE AND SCORPIUS ARE TOGETHER! XD!!!!

JUST IN CASE YOU DIDN’T CATCH THAT AT THE VERY END OF THE CHAPTER! IF YOUR LIKE ME, WHO SKIMS CHAPTERS, I WOULD VERY STRONGLY SUGGEST SCROLLING BACK UP AND READING THAT LAST BIT AGAIN BECAUSE I THINK IT’S THE BEST SCENE I’VE EVER WRITTEN FOR THOSE TWO!

On to other news, Albus and Katie? Interactions with Professor Wood and Dominique? Rose and Katie? Thoughts? Comments?

Thanks for reading guys, and PLEASE review.

G.



Chapter 28: The Inevitable Guests
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28. The Inevitable Guests




I had come to learn, during my short stay at the Weasleys, that they were a family of public figures. I had also just learnt, from Rose Weasley herself, that when they experienced a crisis they all came together and ate.

No kidding.

“Mum and Dad always say it’s a celebration of what we have, and to make sure we appreciate our friends and family and everyone in our lives.” She told me, as she plaited my hair in her room, while I threaded my fingers through her shag pile carpet.

I had frowned at her.

“It’s a load of bollocks.” She then continued. “They just want an excuse to stay at home, instead of lying awake at night redoing things in their heads and trying to figure out exactly what they should have done, that they didn’t.”

Which made sense.

I had been doing that ever since leaving the mansion, for example.

But, to be frank, it was the only real conversation Rose and I had before said dinner, since our last meal with company, which had resulted in Rose’s tongue bath from the guy she’s held a torch for since, apparently, third year. Not that I particularly minded talking with Rose about Scorpius, or listening to Rose talk about Scorpius, or listing all the reasons why I thought they made a good couple because Rose asked me to.

To be honest, it was cool seeing Rose this way. She suddenly wasn’t the ridiculously strict, intelligent and logical and down to earth seventeen year old I knew nearly every moment of the day. This Rose was the same excited, hysterical, love-sick adolescent with insecurity problems (“What if I’m just another fling for him!?”) and an uncanny ability to make me smile, even though I was depressed about Albus.

“Besides,” Rose had continued fondly, thinking of the latest dinner that this time would be hosted at the Weasley household. “You’ll get to meet all the people you missed seeing at the ball.”

She didn’t add why I missed them at the ball. It still seemed to be a sore point for everyone—and we had begun phrasing it as ‘The Incident.’

“Sounds good to me,” I had said offhandedly.

“James is coming tonight—I know you didn’t meet him, as well as his girlfriend Tilly,”—Matilda McLaggen, long term girlfriend of James Potter II, and the fashion columnist in the Daily Telegraph—“she’s super sweet as well.”

Despite the fact that the Potters were coming to join us for dinner—Albus, Lily, James (and Tilly) Harry and Ginny—it wasn’t a very large dinner. Teddy and Victoire were at Victoire’s parents—come on, there’s no way you haven’t heard of Bill and Fleur Weasley—and Dominique was still with Daniel at the hospital. This dinner, more casual, would only involve the two families.

Oh.

And…

“We’ll get to meet your parents properly tonight as well, which is exciting.”

Exciting is not really the word I’d use for it.

More like potentially cripplingly embarrassing.

Now, I am very aware that I love my parents. I do. Really.

I love the way that they can’t figure out how to use computers. I love the way that my dad refuses to wear matching socks, even though every single person he meets thinks he’s an oddball because of it. I love my mum’s lucky bra, with pink and purple polka dots all over it, I love the way my dad always tries to hide it in my closet and I love the way he always blames his old age whenever she calls him on it.

I can assure you, however, I do not love their many humiliating childhood stories about me. I do not love my mother’s shrill laugh that sounds like a cat dying, nor do I love my dad’s really lame jokes that turns a comfortable conversation to awkward silence in milliseconds.

And I don’t need to be psychic to know that all of these little flaws my wonderful parents have will be making an appearance at the dinner table.

“Don’t be so worried about them.” Rose warned me. “They were really cool when we all arrived. They were super organised and they really helped calm everyone down. I know that Hugo has a major attachment to your dad now, because he helped him out when I was too busy worrying about everything.”

Rose felt guilty about that. I could see it on her face.

It wasn’t there for long though. Because that was about the point that Scorpius arrived.

“Good evening, Ladies,” He greeted us, with Albus and Fred trailing behind him. Rose grinned widely at him and stood up instantly. I was a little slower to get to my feet, and had to pause for a moment when I stood as all the blood rushed to my head.

“You alright?” Albus asked curiously.

A little spark of hope ignited in my chest.

“Yeah,” I nodded with a faint smile.

He nodded and looked to Scorpius.

The spark was doused out by the figurative bucket of cold water I imagined falling over my head.

Come on Katie, we’re looking for normalcy here.

“Is that everyone here then?” Rose asked the boys—standing casually next to Scorpius, her torso leaning slightly towards his. He was leaning towards her as well.

Aww.

“We’re just waiting on Mr. and Mrs. Dalton,” Fred informed us, pulling me into a random hug for a moment, before hugging Rose.

“Excuse him, please,” Albus insisted. “He’s been randomly hugging everyone continuously.”

Fred grinned. “S’true.”

He pulled me into another hug.

“Now dearest,” he said to me, looking down at where I stood under his arm. “Am I to be properly introduced to my parent’s in law this evening? I didn’t quite get the chance to be acquainted on our first meeting.”

I grinned. I had gone through the humiliation of being introduced, and I wasn’t sure who would be more embarrassing when Fred met my parents.

Fred could say something awkward—but my parents had grown up with Emily, so they were pretty much prepared for the crude sexual innuendo. On the other hand, my parents could be embarrassing, but I figure Fred’s related to Ron, Fred Sr. Percy, Harry, Hermione and Ginny, so I’m sure he’s seed his fair share of awkward parents.

All in all, Fred was welcome to meet my parents.

No Name—who had been sitting on my shoulder since Rose had started plaiting my hair—squawked, causing everyone in the room to flinch.

“Whoops,” I apologised lazily, lifting him gently off my shoulder, while Rose pulled out her wand. “We should probably turn the noise off before anyone else gets here.”

Fred grinned down at Nameless. “Hello second son of mine,” he greeted little bluey. He looked to me.” Have you chosen a name for our second child yet?”

Rose looked brightly at me.

“You could follow with the trend of famous muggle artists. What about Picasso? Or Van Gough.”

I shook my head.

“You told me Van Gough cut off his ear.” I reminded her. “That’s not a very good role-model for a young thing like nameless here.”

Rose nodded in faux understanding.

“I’m going to think of something.” Fred concluded grandly. “I have never met something that I could not name.”

Ah. But of course, neither had I until I met little bluey.

“I have complete faith in you, my man.” Albus said, thumping Fred on the back.

Fred puffed out his chest grandly.

“Anyway,” Rose continued, “shall we mingle? That’s the polite thing to do in situations like these.”

Everyone sullenly agreed, and I took a deep breath so that I could accept my fate, and we all made our way out of Rose’s room.

“I bet you five galleons that in less than ten minutes Rose and Scor both disappear again?” I whispered to Fred as we walked down the stairs.

Fred shook his head. “Nah. I couldn’t take that bet.”

I frowned at him.

“Why not?”

Fred grinned. “Well, comparing my knowledge of Scorpius and his wooing tactics, and the fact that Rose is my cousin—so I know her morals and how she’d react—to your six months of knowing them both, wouldn’t be fair. I’d be taking advantage of the circumstances from which said bet arose.”

I was silent for a second.

“Ten galleons?”

“Done.”




I was still standing with Fred. Unfortunately, my calculations had been incorrect by three minutes and I know owed Fred ten galleons. Being the gentleman he is, he told me that I didn’t have to give it to him in cash, and that I could just buy him something worth ten galleons.

Yeah. Who said chivalry was dead?

Fortunately, the gift voucher he gave me for Christmas covered more than ten galleons, so I planned to duck to his Uncle’s store and buy him a pygmy puff as well. Rose told me they were about that much.

Then little no name would have a sister/brother.

Besides. I should have been happy anyway. My best friend was outside snogging the guy she’s liked ever since third year, in secret somewhere.

That should teach me for betting on her love life.

“What about Bernie?” Fred asked quietly.

I thought instantly of Bernie the Bin, the talking trashcan that had gotten me through so many a hospital wing visit—and shook my head.

Fred frowned.

“Velvet.”

I wrinkled my nose and looked at Fred. “Really?”

He frowned. “You’re right.” He concluded, before listening to what was really going through my head. “It sounds like a stripper.” His frown deepened. “Actually, I think I had an ex-girlfriend named Velvet.”

I smirked.

“Is this the same one who was related to you?”

He glowered at me.

“For your information, Katherine,” he said stonily. “Velvet was not related to me. And how on earth was I to know that Stacy was my second cousin? I didn’t even know that my mum’s sister’s daughter had children already.”

I frowned, trying to figure out if that was what a second cousin actually was.

“What about Pez?”

Fred and I spun around, and I was once again greeted with the extraordinary display of good Potter DNA—as I stared at James Potter II.

Pez.

Pez.

Pez the Pygmy Puff

“You are a genius.” I told him bluntly.

Tilly, his tall, dark haired, olive skinned, green eyed, should—have—been—a—model, fashion columnist of a girlfriend laughed appreciatively.

James, on the other hand, looked as though he heard that comment every day, and shot me a charming smile.

I could see why Sabriel liked him so much.

I could also see, however, why Sabriel had no chance in hell. Even though James was only holding Tilly’s hand, he was leaning towards her, glancing at her every few seconds and his grip on her hand didn’t falter.

I grinned. A functional relationship made me happy.

I caught sight of Albus.

It also made me a tad depressed that I was the only one without a functioning relationship.

But whatever.

“Hey James,” Fred greeted his older cousin. “Tilly,” he acknowledged her too. “This is Katie.”

I should have expected it. But I decided before Rose and Scorpius connected tongues that I wasn’t going to be obsessive anymore, so I didn’t hope for anything.

But what James said was better than anything I could have hoped for.

“Oh, so you’re Al’s Katie?”

I flushed slightly, and laughed dryly. “I’m not Albus’s Katie.” I told him, rather awkwardly.

James scoffed. “The hell you aren’t,” he commented. “He talks about you all the time.”

Yeah.

Well.

I risked a glance at Albus—where he stood with Hermione and Harry, chatting amicably with his glass of butterbeer casually sitting in his hand—and looked straight away.

He sure wasn’t doing any talking about me now.

I shrugged it off, however, thinking again of the multiple ways I could be likened to a jealous, annoyed girlfriend and looked brightly at James, responding to his assured claims with a casual “Sure…”

Oh yeah. My name is Katie Dalton and I’m smooth.

Or I thought so, until I heard the familiar rush of flames that told me our final two guests were arriving.

Mother and Father.

“Ah,” Harry Potter greeted my father as he stepped out of the fireplace. “Michael. Its good to see you again.”

By again, he meant ‘this time without hundreds of anxious, frightened teens launching themselves at me for news.’

Because that was pretty much how their first meeting had gone.

My father flustered slightly, at being addressed by Harry Potter, before stepping forward hurriedly and taking the hand that Harry had offered and shaking it vigorously. Luckily enough, Harry seemed just as enthused to be seeing my father again.

Which was just a bit surreal.

My mother made her appearance then, her brown hair—identical in shade to mine—covered slightly by the soot that she had caught up in her travels.

“Good lord,” she muttered. “It’s been years since I used one of those.”

She wasn’t kidding. She and my father had both stopped apparating so long that they had their licence revoked, and weren’t allowed to do it anymore, in the eyes of the law. Floo powder wasn’t quite so dangerous, but they were against it as well.

They preferred flying in aeroplanes.

…I know.

Anyway, my parent’s suicidal fondness for airborne hunks of muggle metal didn’t seem to both anyone else, Ginny and Hermione rushed forward to help dust her off, and greeted her with their kind smiles.

“This is a very nice place,” My father told Harry.

I flinched.

Despite the fact that the house didn’t actually belong to him, Harry seemed happy to answer my father’s awkward statement.

“Ron and Hermione put a lot of work into it.” He said calmly, pulling my father forward—or guiding, really—so that Harry had manoeuvred himself from in front of my dad and was suddenly standing next to him, clapping his hand gently on my father’s back. “You haven’t met Ron, yet, have you?”

“We haven’t had the pleasure,” Ron said, stepping forward and shaking Dad’s hand firmly, with the same warm and welcoming smile he had shown me.

Luckily enough he didn’t drape my father under his arm like he had with me, however.

Fred nudged me forward. “Go and say hello,” he advised me, before turning back to James and Tilly.

I frowned suspiciously at him.

My parents were within introducing distance, and he was electing to let me go alone.

Shaking myself, I decided that he recent Death Eater attack had just made me more suspicious of everyone, and approached my parents with a smile on my face.

“Hey guys,” I greeted them.

Neither of them could decide who go to hug me first, and they both went for it, leaving me the unfortunate filling in between my parent’s sandwich.

“You have no idea,” Mum said bluntly when she pulled away, “how nerve wracking it is to let you out of our sight after everything that’s happened.”

Dad nodded knowingly. “Although you should be aware,” he added. “I literally had to beg on your behalf for her to let you stay for the rest of these holidays.”

I grinned thankfully, thinking of all the developments I would have missed. The confirmation of my best friend-dom, and Rose and Scorpius’s shocking yet entirely too romantic first kiss (Rose said that the dare he’d had in first year—the same kiss that had ultimately brought Albus and Scorpius together as friends—to kiss her in front of everyone didn’t count.)

“I’m totally safe here, ma.” I told her with a grin. “I’m bunking with the people who defeated Voldemort.”

It was strange how, in the Weasley household, mentions of Voldemort’s name would get you weird looks, but here it got you mischievous grins.

Of course, the grins could have been directed at Fred.

Even if I didn’t notice until too late.

“Good evening Mr. Dalton, Mrs. Dalton.” He said jovially. “My name is Fred Weasley—the second—and I’m your son in law.”

Prat.




Dinner was uneventful.

Disregarding the fifteen minutes laugh fest at my expense before we sat down, while Fred recounted all my embarrassing school stories, and my parent’s retold all my embarrassing child hood stories—no kidding. It was International Mock the Crap out of Katie Day.

But other than that, Rose and Scorpius had held hands under the table, my parents told more embarrassing stories, we got the latest update on Professor Wood’s health, and Ron complimented Hermione’s, Ginny’s and Kreacher’s combined cooking skills.

But this was the big thing I was worried about.

Everyone leaving the table, gravitating towards the lounge where the children would probably sit and gossip some more, and I noticed someone’s intense stare on my head.

Albus’s to be more precise.

Which was disconcerting to say the least.

But then he began to walk slowly towards me.

Which was more disconcerting.

Because he hated me.

This was the first time he was going to talk to me directly since I had pulled him away from his family. Oh, god, he was probably going to tell me to stay away form his friends, and to keep my family away from his.

I risked a glance at where my mother was explaining the intricate details and inner workings of am ironing board.

This confirmed my suspicions.

Oh god. He’s here.

“Can I talk to you for a sec, Katie?” Albus asked me quietly.

Sweet Merlin.

Deliver me.






Hey guyss!! I can’t believe I’ve just finished Chapter 28. That is a big number. I’m not sure how long I predict this story to keep on going—I may have said about 20 chapters at the beginning, but I take that estimation back! :P

Anyway, I hope the story isn’t getting too tiring with the continuity or anything. The holidays are almost over, but I have one or two more chapters to really integrate the SUPER IMPORTANT PLOT PARTS.

XD

G




Chapter 29: Super Secret Agents
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29. Super Secret Agent




Don’t be an obsessive girlfriend.

Don’t be an obsessive girlfriend.

Don’t be an obsessive girlfriend.

“Katie?”

“Wha—obsessive—huh?”

As you can see, the pure intense focus that I was drilling into my head—regarding my attempts to not come across as an obsessive and/or needy wannabe girlfriend of one Albus Severus Potter, wasn’t really helping me retain any semblance of dignity.

“You alright?”

There was no time for an inner monologue at a time like this.

“Yes?” I said, nervously, trying to still my suddenly crazy pet butterflies—the ones who lived in my stomach.

Wait, wait, wait.

Was that a question or an answer?

Uh.

“Uh,” Albus looked nervously around the kitchen, where he had ended up while I was chanting instructions to myself for the pending conversation. “Come in here.”

And then he pulled me into the panty.

Which was surreal, and not at all the way I had dreamed it to be. You know, ending up inside a dark closet or broom cupboard had been the subject of many a day dream.

Not exactly the Weasley’s kitchen pantry.

A logo on one of the many breakfast cereals barked at us to ‘not do anything inappropriate’ and then muttered something about ‘petulant adolescents.’

Albus silenciod it.

Then he pulled the pantry door shut. It was a big pantry, granted, but obviously not the most spacious room. Nor was it well lit.

I could still see Al’s face pretty well though.

And it was quiet enough that I bet he could hear my heart thumping in my chest. KA-THUMP. KA-THUMP. KA-THUMP.

“Are you upset or something?” He asked, lifting one hand awkwardly and running his hand nervously through his messy hair. “Like, uh, are you angry or something?”

Clearly, he was very good at these heart to heart conversations.

“Uh…”

Not that I was the most eloquent heartfelt person out there or anything.

“No.”

Albus frowned.

“Why are you avoiding me then?”

Uh.

Hang on.

“Hang on,” I said out loud, voicing my terribly confused thoughts. “You were angry with me. I was giving you space.”

Despite the lack of light, I could see Albus’s face outline relatively well by way of the crack in the door, and watching his brow line rise.

“I was angry with you?”

We clearly had some communication issues to work through.

I frowned at him.

“Of course you were angry with me.” I told him, obviously—a little disheartened that Albus didn’t know why he had been glaring at me. “I stopped you from going and fighting for your family.”

Albus stared at me, one brow lower than the other as he conveyed his incredulity.

“You didn’t stop anything.” He said confused.

I frowned—not entirely sure why he would be angry with me if he weren’t convinced I had been the one responsible for his inability to save his parents and whatnot.

“But I pulled you out of the room. And you didn’t talk to me.”

Albus stared down at me—the look of shock on his face would have been adorable if I didn’t suddenly feel like the world’s biggest tool.

“Well, yeah,” he said obviously. “My family was fighting for their lives on the other side of the door. I was a little distracted. And sure, I wanted to go and help but it wasn’t you who said I couldn’t. It was the adults.”

I stared at him, blankly.

“I mean,” Al said, getting a little off topic. “I’m seventeen, Kats,” he reminded me, “and I should be able to go and help protect the people I love when I feel the need to. Like, my parents and Lily and James, and Rose, and Scor and Fred and you.”

KA-THUMP.

His declaration of loving me sent me into a moment of blissful happiness, but it was quickly lost by more overwhelming confusion about exactly why he had been angry with me and why this had all happened.

“But… why were you angry then?”

Albus stared at me silently for another moment, before rolling his eyes. “I was never angry with you, you silly bint.” He told me—I frowned at the new term although that just made him chuckle.

I stared at him silently for a moment, opening and closing my mouth like a warthog that couldn’t get its tusks in order.

“But… I gave you space…” I spluttered pathetically.

“Why would I want space?”

I made a mental note to gruesomely murder Scorpius Malfoy next time I saw him.

No matter how much Rose protested.

“Uh. Scorpius said that because of your traumatic problems with your family post the incident you would want some space?” I said slowly.

Albus looked confused.

“Why would I want space?”

This time I was really confused. Hadn’t I just answered that question?

“I mean,” Albus expanded, seemingly sensing my outright confusion, “why would an event that made me worry about the life of my family and friends make me want space? Wouldn’t I want to be, like, molly-coddled or something?” He asked, with a curious stare.



That would make sense.

Damn that Scorpius Malfoy.

“But… you… I… Scorpius said…” I spluttered.

Albus leaned forward, and for a moment, his face leaning towards mine sent my heart spiralling out of control. He didn’t do anything.

False alarm, folks.

“Do me a favour, and don’t ever listen to any advice Scorpius gives you about me?” He asked me with raised brows.

My heart was still slowing down, and I was filling with a deep sense of disappointment, but I was aware of what he was saying, so I nodded, and he continued.

“I mean, Scorpius may be my best friend,” he explained. “But a lot of the understanding he thinks he has is all information-slash-advice that James has given him over the past couple of years.”

That made sense though.

James should know what Albus was like, what we would go through etc. etc. They were brother’s for Merlin’s sake.

Albus frowned, however, when I pointed this out to him.

“I’m not like James,” He said stubbornly. “James is arrogant and in love with himself. It’s an issue we’ve been trying to get him to confront.”

I laughed.

“Are you kidding? You’re like the younger, jerkier version of James. In a year or two, you’ll have your very own Sabriel Malfoy-esque mini-stalker.”

I grinned at him.

He stared at me.

“You're gonna think about that later, mister,” I informed him, “and you're gonna laugh.”

He continued to stare at me, although I could see the faint outline of his grin in the light from outside.

“So we’re good?” He verified.

I nodded. “You don’t hate me?”

He grinned. “Never.”

We both had our hands pressed against the pantry door, in order to exit the small cramped space, when we heard it.

Albus muttered a very obscene word.

I frowned at him. “You kiss your mother with that mouth?” I demanded with wide eyes.

He smirked slightly, before shrugging. “I said frogs.

Sure he did.

Sure…

“Come on, then.” I urged Al, putting my hand against he door again.

”No! Don’t!” he hissed suddenly, his hand latching onto my waist and gently pulling it back—away from the door. He grabbed my other hand as well, pulling it back as well—the end result being that his actions brought my back slamming into his front—with his hot breath softly on my neck.

Sweet Merlin.

“What?” I said faintly, trying to make sure my knees continued to work.

Albus didn’t move. I couldn’t exactly look at his face, considering the idea that he was right behind me—with his warm arms encircling mine and, FOCUS!!—But I heard his breathing quicken slightly.

“Think about it, Kats,” he said, as he too seemed to be a fan of my new nickname. “We’re alone, in a dark pantry closet. They’re our parents. What do you think they’re going to think?”

Even though my higher brain functions were definitely not responding—due to the fact that all my nerve endings were exploding from the proximity between myself and the ever amazing object of my affections—I could digest enough to figure out that Albus definitely had a point.

And a good point, at that.

“Sweet crappers,” I muttered under my breath.

Albus chuckled.

“So what?” I hissed to him under my breath, while Albus backed away from the partially slated door of the pantry, pulling me with him. “We just stay here until they go away? Rose and that are going to come looking for us.”

Albus stared at me sarcastically.

“Katie. If the way Rose and Scor were staring at each other is any indication—they’ll be far too distracted to even realise you and I have disappeared.” He reminded me. “And Fred was already engaged in a game of chess with Hugo. You could call it a battle to the death, if you like.”

Again, the God of Sex had a point.

“We can wait this out,” Albus concluded grandly. “They’re not going to come in here, and they won’t chat in the kitchen forever.”

Despite the fact I knew this was not the case—my parent’s could certainly seat themselves in the kitchen and chat forever—the fact that Al’s hand sit rested on my waist was enough motive for me to simply smile at him and nod a little.

Because, honestly, was I really going to pass up the opportunity to stay for an extended amount of time in a dark cramped space with Albus Potter?

And if you didn’t quite catch the rhetorical air of that question, the answer is no.

No, sir, I would not.

The adults started speaking—something natural about how dinner was and how nice it was and how nice I’d been during my stay—which was nice—even though I was barely listening. I was content so stay entirely silent as I waited for the adults to vacate—just focusing on being this close to Al, and the surreal situations that sometimes worked in my favour.

Albus wasn’t so content to stay silent.

“I’m glad you’re not angry at me,” he whispered into my ear.

I shivered.

His hands tightened slightly around my waist.

I smiled to myself. “I’m glad you’re not angry with me. Scorpius had me worried you would never talk to me again.”

Albus tensed.

“I would never stop talking to you, Kats,” he said seriously. I smiled up at him—twisting my neck at a weird unnatural angle until he decided it was simply easier for him to turn me around.

It was good he did, as well, because I certainly didn’t have any control over my own legs at that point.

Damnit, knees, don’t fail me now!

And then I was standing barely inches from him, staring at Albus with wide eyes, heavy breath and his hands resting wonderfully on my waist. My hand had automatically rested on his arm—and my fingers rested lightly on his bicep as he stared down at me with his brilliant green eyes.

“You’re too important to me, Katie.” He said, a little hoarse.

I smiled up at him, my throat far too dry to say anything at this glorious point in time.

Come on knees.

Stay with me!

“What about this Katie girl?”

I only faintly registered hearing my name outside. I was far too focused on Albus as he leant forward a little.

“I couldn’t not have you in my life,” he said—making sense only after I played the sentence over in my head a couple of times.

But I got it.

Boy, did I get it.

“Well what about her?”

And then he was leaning down—his face closing in on mine—my breath hitched and I tilted my head up to see straight into his deep green eyes.

“I’m not a moron, Dad. I can see the signs from a mile off.”

KA-THUMP.

He was staring at my face now, eyes so intent it was as though they could see into my soul. (As lame as that sounds, Albus Potter leads me to moments like these.)

“What signs? We weren’t aware they were that obvious.”

KA-THUMP.

He lifted a hand, slowly, to brush a longer, more irritating piece of my hair behind my ear. Once he had done so, he didn’t move his hand. He just kept looking at me, his hand resting over my ear while his thumb stroked my hair.

“I’m an auror. I’ve been trained to see these things. Dad you have to have noticed—”

He leaned in. I stopped breathing—leaning up to meet hi—

“—Well, she’s clearly cursed.”

I froze. Albus froze. Inches from each other—still staring at his delectable lips and outside they were talking about me. James Potter was asking the other adults about me.

I couldn’t help it. Moving away from Albus meant that I was probably insane, in some way—and I would never find myself in that impossible situation again. But—and I can’t believe I’m saying it—my attention was no longer on Albus.

It was entirely on the conversation outside the pantry door.

His attention wasn’t on me at that point either. His gaze—which I hadn’t been able to read up til that point, was suddenly alarmed. His shocked gaze turned to the pantry door—where he stared intently for a moment, as if willing James to repeat what he was saying.

So I stepped back, eyes still latched onto Albus before I tore my gaze from him—and made my quick way to the door. I bent over a little so that I could see through the slats, as well as slow my beating heart. Albus joined me quickly—looking at me with an alarmed look on his face.

It was all of them—my parent’s included. They were standing the kitchen, an assortment of drinks in their individual hands, and all having a heated conversation.

“For Merlin’s sake, James,” Ginny said to her eldest son. “Katie is just a normal girl—something new for our wide and varied family. Leave her alone.”

For obvious reasons, the mere concept that I could be cursed was nerve wracking. As Ginny disregarded the idea was a relief. I felt my muscles relax, and let go of a breath that I didn’t know I was holding.

I looked over at Albus and laughed quietly. “Phew—” I whispered to him. “That had me—”

“—Michael?”

I froze again, and my gaze snapped back to the door. Everyone was staring at my father now—and my mother, who stood anxiously beside him, swaying slightly.

My stomach dropped.

Dad cleared his throat.

“Your son’s observation skills are uncanny,” he said to Harry and Ginny.

Oh, my god.

“What?”

The single word had far more emphasis as at least three people said it at the same time. Ron, Ginny and Harry all stared incredulously at my parents. James looked reassured, and Hermione looked entirely distraught.

“I knew it.” James said. “She’s been cursed, hasn’t she?”

Ginny wasn’t simply exasperated the next time she spoke to her son. “James!” She snapped suddenly. Her son jumped, but looked straight at her, silent. “Show some respect,” she ordered. “The poor girl’s just in the other room. Let’s not talk about this here.”

“She’s not out there,” James said quickly. “I checked. She’s disappeared somewhere with Albus.”

They all exchanged smirks, and Albus shifted slightly.

“Well, fine.” Harry said quickly. “We can debate exactly what their teenage hormones have gotten them into at another point—clearly we have more important things to discuss.” He looked at my father, with wide eyes. “How, exactly, is Katie cursed?”

My father didn’t manage to reply, before Ron had started speaking.

“I tried to tell you at the ball, mate,” he said frankly. “Mione had a theory pretty much as soon as we met her.”

Hermione nodded her head briskly. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you all,” she said hurriedly. “I was theorising. I’d heard rumours of the families of this sort of thing happening before, but I didn’t want to jump to conclusions.”

Ron scoffed. “You didn’t jump to conclusions.” He said. “You took and tiny little step, and there conclusions were.”

Yeah.

There conclusions were.

I was cursed.

I was bloody cursed.

I was shaking a little now. Albus seemed to notice, despite the darkness and rested a friendly hand on my shoulder, watching me anxiously.

I kept my eyes glued firmly to the adults and their conversation.

“What exactly happened?” Harry asked Mum and Dad.

Mum shook her head. She seemed upset—with good reason—and had wrapped an arm around herself, like she always did when I did something stupid.

“It was our fault, really.” She said with a slight pause—as though she had gone over the idea again and again in her head. “We—we just felt so strongly about magic and how badly it had been misused, and we were so anxious to get away. We were already planning having a baby—and we didn’t want the baby to grow up in a world that could flip on its head so quickly…”

That much I knew.

She told me that every time I wanted to know.

Nothing about a bloody curse, on the other hand.

“What actually happened, though?” Ginny repeated her husband’s question.

My mother sighed again. “We left the magical community about two months after everything. We sorted out our affairs, applied for muggle jobs, bought a car and took lessons and how to drive it. We did it all so quickly…”

Again, my mother seemed to be having problems actually answering either of the Potter’s questions.

My father took over—seeing Ginny open her mouth to verify again.

“By the time we were leaving—a lot of people were doing the same. Deciding that the magic wasn’t worth the death and making the decision to stay away from it. At that point, not all the death eaters had been caught. There were about fifty or so left over supporters of Voldemort still running around, and they’d heard the stories.”

The drop in my stomach seemed bottomless. All I could do was stare at my parent’s faces as they let the awful truth about it fall from their lips.

“…They saw it as the ultimate betrayal.” My mother said then. “Wizarding people—pure bloods—sacrificing magic for a muggle life. They wanted us to pay. And we happened to accidentally encounter a death eater by the name of Walden Macnair.”

Oh. My.God.

“It was Adversus, wasn’t it?” Ron said hoarsely. “We noticed, around that time period, that it was becoming increasingly common amongst the death eaters. Adversus Anima.”

My mother let out a dry sob.

I felt my entire insides collapse onto one another. Albus’s hand grasped mine tightly, and I found it comforting to remember that he was standing right beside me.

“MUM!”

Hugo’s shout made me jump. It made Albus jump. Heck, it even made all the adults in the room jump.

“Come look at this. Lily and I made it—it’s important. Come and look!”

As the parents trailed out of the kitchen door with mutter whispers of furthering this discussion elsewhere, I was frozen in the pantry, finding it terribly hard to breath. Albus rubbed my back soothingly, and kept his grip tight on my hand.

I looked up to see his face, pale and shocked as he stared at me.

“Merlin, Kats,” he said slowly. “I’m so sorry.”





Good lord, I can be dramatic when I’m in the mood can I not?

Now, I am aware of your (you being every single person who has ever given me feedback) unified hate of cliff hangers. And being that I managed to fix Katie’s and Al’s relationship, fit in an almost kiss, as well as introduce what will become pretty much the second most important plot development in this entire story in simply this chapter—I can understand that you might be a little annoyed with me.

On the other hand—maybe you simply love my writing skills and would like me to update soon? Yes?

If yes is the answer, or even if it isn’t, the next chapter will be up ASAP. I apologise for the cliff hangers, as well as this new complication. I hope it doesn’t disappoint you guys too much.

Review?

G.

PS. Before the hate mail comes rolling in, Katie is not the character that I hinted would die a few A/N’s ago. Just so you know. :P



Chapter 30: Psychological Consequences
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30. Psychological Consequences




One Month Later…




THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE SECOND GREAT WIZARDING WAR; X-W.

Walden Macnair.

Macnair was a dangerous man with a violent and vicious mind. During his trial before the Ministry, in 2000 Macnair was confirmed to be a
Death Eater (see. D) in the Second Wizarding War, and was suspected of being a major participant in the First Wizarding War, though it could not be proven and charges were not pressed.

Macnair avoided incarceration at Azkaban by blaming his involvement in the War on an
Imperius curse that has now been confirmed as non-existent.

From 1981—following his first trail—Macnair was employed as an executioner for the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures, at the Ministry of Magic. Known Death Eater.

It has been confirmed that Macnair was a large participant in many of the major events of the Second Wizarding war: The 1994 attack at the Triwizard Tournament, hosted by Hogwarts, the attack on the Department of Mysteries in 1995, and the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998. Despite the defeat at Hogwarts, Macnair avoided arrest for two years following the final battle and continued to cause considerable damage until he was caught in 2000. It is also suspected that Macnair is responsible for the involvement of the mountain giants in the Battle of Hogwarts.

He was imprisoned twice at the wizarding prison
Azkaban (See. A) and both times escaped—once in 1995 and again in 2016, both with a number of other death eaters.

His current whereabouts are unknown.





I stared in horror down at my notes.

His current whereabouts are unknown.

His bloody current whereabouts are bloody unknown!

“Katie!”

I jerked back from the Encyclopaedia I was reading, so quickly I had to hasten to steady my chair. When I had ensured that I wasn’t going to fall over backwards I looked up to frown at the empty table in front of me. I could have sworn I heard Albus say my name but he was nowhere to be seen.

Well great.

Now I’m being haunted.

“Kats! Over here!”

Even though I was in the midst of searching for my incorporeal stalker, this time I distinctly heard Albus’s whisper from behind the bookshelf that was near our table. I looked over to see him and frowned to see him crouching behind the shelf, his arms piled with a large assortment of different books, with wide eyes.

Oh right… no ghost then.

“All clear?” he hissed.

I glanced around the library for a moment, before nodding hurriedly. Albus quickly straightened and walked over to the table, dumping all the books.

“Alright,” he started, “I found all the books in Rose’s room that I thought were even the least bit relevant, but we’ve only got about half an hour before she realises they’re all gone.”

I shook my head as I reached for the book on the top of the pile.

“We’ve got longer than that.” I told him. “I managed to subtly convince Scorpius that she thought he wasn’t paying enough attention to her so he’s taking her to a romantic picnic by the lake until five-ish.”

Since returning here after Christmas, Rose and Scorpius had become pretty much the most hated, loved and dramatic two people in the entire castle. Boys and girls hated Scor and Rose respectively for snatching the other off the market—all while everyone subconsciously accepted that they were perfect for each other.

You’d have thought the two of them would be used to the limelight, but when they walked down the corridors hand in hand, or kissed quickly before parting before classes—it was easy to see the nervousness in both their faces.

“It’s just cause… you know,” Rose had awkwardly tried to explain to me a few days ago. “I dunno. Scor isn’t exactly well known for his good dating habits, and I’m the spinster Weasley girl who spends far too much time in the library. I’m just worried I’m going to mess it up—you know, if everyone watching and gossiping and spreading rumours.”

Albus and Fred, who had both done some recon questioning of their best friend at my request, both came back with the same report.

“He’s worried he’ll screw it up.” Albus told me frankly.

Fred had snorted. “It’s a good thing to be worried about.”

But, they weren’t going to mess it up, I had decided. Rose had been spending less time studying—but not too much of a drastic change. In fact, rather than cutting back too much on the time to study, she really just made Scorpius come with her. And, even if Scorpius wanted to maintain some sort of bad boy image, the look of devotion in his face every time he laid eyes on her was impossible to miss.

Albus grinned when I told him about Scor’s new date plans, and nodded, looking down at his watch.

“Cool,” he said. “That gives us about three and a half hours.” He grinned adorably at me, as he seated himself down opposite me at the table, and organised the pile of books so it wasn’t about seven books higher than his head.

He frowned slightly. “Is it weird that I’m totally cool with my cousin and best friend getting it on?”

I smiled at him through closed teeth, a quirked frown on my face. “No. But can we please never say that they’re ‘getting it on’ again? It gives me bad mind pictures.”

Albus winced as the same mind pictures assaulted his mind. Then he glowered at me. I smiled sweetly.

I caught the dirty look from Madame Reed before Albus could respond—as I’m sure he planned to. Albus and I had recently figured out that no matter how hard we tried it was physically impossible for the two of us to remain in a constant state of whispering for more than about five minutes.

She had tried to stop us at first, but now she had seemingly given up, and simply banished us to the furthest reaches of the library—but not too close to the restricted section.

“It’s because all too many of those books have gone missing when Scor and I hung here.” Albus explained when I asked him about it.

I had frowned, suspiciously at him.

He shrugged, and looked at me with wide innocent eyes. “My hands are clean in this, I swear.” He said solemnly.

Now, we sat at the same table we had for the past three weeks, with Madame Reed glaring at us again.

Ever since the dinner where it had been inadvertently revealed that I had been cursed since I was six months old, every chance we got, Albus and I would sneak off to the Library to research the Adversus Anima curse.

Of course, because of my chronic bad luck, we hadn’t had even the tiniest bit of luck in our endeavours.

“I found some stuff of Walden Macnair.” I told Albus, motioning to my article. “Did you know that he’s responsible for the giant’s involvement in the Second War?” I asked him, a clenched grin on my face—as though Albus couldn’t tell I was seconds away from hyperventilation.

Albus frowned, looking sympathetic.

“Don’t worry about him, Katie.” He told me with a grim smile. “He’s not interested in you. We’ve got to focus on exactly what he did to you.”

I sighed, but nodded.

“Did you find anything on that?” I asked, hopefully.

Albus grimaced and shook his head.

I slumped in my chair, letting my face rest in my hands.

Albus, it seemed, was totally against me getting pessimistic about this. “No, no, no, no.” He told me suddenly. “That’s enough of the feeling sorry for yourself—” he caught my incredulous gaze, and hastened to correct himself. “—NOT that you don’t have reason to be sorry for yourself…?”

I sighed and shrugged. That was good enough for me.

Albus sighed as well, leaning forward at the table.

“I just mean, Katie, that you can’t let this get to you. We don’t know what this curse is—it might be totally harmless.” He said, optimistically.

I frowned at him.

“Yeah? How many ex-Death Eaters do you reckon would use a harmless curse on the infant child of a couple of blood traitors?” I asked him, bitterly.

Albus swallowed, but refused to back down.

“Kathryn Dalton.” He said to me, with a frown—his face set sternly. “A month ago, you had no idea about this curse. A lot of the effects that come from things like this are psychological…”

“..and a lot of them are magical.” I continued with a glare.

Albus sighed.

“Katie, if you let this get to you, then you’re doing exactly what this guy wants you to do.”

To emphasise his point, he jabbed his index finger down onto my Encyclopaedia, pointing at the article he thought I was reading

“That the definition of ‘Wanda and the Pixies,’” I told him solemnly.

Albus frowned at the book. “Oh, whoops.” He stared down at the page. “Where the hell is—wait, what’s his first name again—oh, there he is.”

He looked back at me, this time pressing his finger even harder on top of Walden Macnair’s name.

“This guy wants you to be scared of him, and of what he did, and the physical consequences of a curse like this are always far worse when the psychological aspects add in.” Albus said seriously.

I stared down at the picture of the ugly, dark haired, pale skinned death eater who had cursed me.

“You’re right,” I sighed, although my moods didn’t improve.

Albus grinned, leaning back and looking triumphant. “Excellent!” He exclaimed excitedly. “Now lets—”

“—unless, of course,” I interrupted him. “The physical consequences are death. In that case I’m sure it doesn’t matter if I’m psychologically worried or not…”

Albus frowned.

“…because I’ll be dead.”




“I refuse to believe it.”

“It’s not that hard to believe it.”

“Nope. Don’t try to convince me. I refuse.”

“But—they kind of match each other.”

“Ew. Stop. This is gross.”

“Don’t be stupid. We really should have seen it coming.”

“No. It’s just too… what’s the word, Char?”

I pulled my eyes from the catastrophic scene in front of me, and glanced at Charmaine, where she sat opposite me at the Hufflepuff dinner table.

Since returning from Hogwarts, I had declared that I would spend more time back at my own house table—since I wasn’t in Gryffindor, no matter how much time I spent over there. I wasn’t the only one who was returning to roots—opposite me, another table over, Scorpius sat snugly beside his sister—where they were both talking rather animatedly.

I think he was trying to prove a point to Rose, about his family connecting, but that was beside the point.

Unlike Oz, who wasn’t having too much trouble digesting this new development, Charmaine was completely on my side.

“Disgusting?” She offered brightly, as she eyed the new Hogwarts couple with distaste. “Unnatural? Nasty? Gross? Against the course of nature? Apocalyptic?”

“See?” I looked triumphantly at Oz. “Those are some good describing words.”

Oz shrugged. “Whatever,” he said with a shrug. “I still think we should have seen it coming.”

Now, we were clearly not talking about Rose and Scorpius. Because not only did everyone pretty much predict that circa third grade, but they were adorable together—even if they weren’t sitting together that this point.

No.

Over at the Slytherin table, receiving about as much attention as Rose and Scor had, was a new Hogwarts couple that had united over the holidays.

Todd Williams and Indiana Stephens.

...yeah

It was strange watching them together. And it wasn’t just me who thought so. Slytherins—who had been supportive because they were scared to death of Todd and Indiana together—could still be seen gossiping about it in the dungeons, outside Potions. I had walked in on a group of fifth year Ravenclaws chatting about the new development in the library when Albus and I had been there earlier tonight, and I had even overheard Scorpius and Fred discussing it a few nights ago after dinner.

There were only a very small number of people who were openly opposed to it.

And surprisingly, one of them was Sabriel Malfoy.

Being a Slytherin, Sabriel was one of the only girls who weren’t afraid to tell both Indiana and Todd what she thought of their new relationship. Todd—the most annoyingly outspoken jackass in Hogwarts history—hadn’t even responded when she had told him to his face that he didn’t deserve her best friend.

Because she was Sabriel Malfoy: the only daughter of the Draco Malfoy, and the Queen Bee of Slytherin house—no matter what Indiana tried to say.

Not that her objections had changed anything.

Todd and Indiana could still be seen holding hands whenever they went, sneaking obvious feels of each other, and snogging sloppily in the hallways and corridors that everyone went through to get to class.

Scorpius had scrunched up his nose when we had seen them as I headed to Transfiguration, and he and Fred headed to Arithmancy (I know, who knew?)

“I got to say,” he commented dryly as we passed them. “Even though I never particularly liked the girl, she’s been sleeping over at my house since I was twelve—and that is not something I ever wanted to see her doing.”

It wasn’t something I wanted to see.

Ever.

But it didn’t seem to stop them.

“It does inevitably mean the end of the world.” Someone—who I recognised all to readily—commented dryly as she sat beside Oz.

I stared for a moment at Emily, as she flipped her hair casually over her shoulder and reached for one of the steaming pork sausages in the middle of the table. She then lumped some mash onto her plate, and some greens, before picking up her fork.

“Isn’t it just like the two most evil forces in the world are just uniting, or something?” She asked.

Something inside me swelled, and I couldn’t help but grin.

She was talking to me.

She was TALKING to me.

“It totally is.” Charmaine said. “Can’t you just imagine the two of them ending the world as we know it?”

I shrugged, not too keen on saying something stupid in case I messed up this new development with Emily.

“Oh, my god, their children would be so super evil.” I said, as the thought occurred to me, too quickly to really think about it.

Oz rolled his eyes.

Charmaine elbowed him.

“You have to see it.” I persisted with him.

Oz shrugged. “If they were going to get with anyone,” he said simply. “I could have guessed that it would be each other.”

I wrinkled my nose.

“Really?” Emily echoed. “Todd and Indiana Stephens? They’re like the most unnatural couple in the world.”

Charmaine nodded. “Thank you!” She said enthusiastically. “That is what I said!”

Oz shrugged, for the billionth time.

“I don’t think they are. They kind of suit each other.” He sighed.

I grimaced, trying to think about the ways that Todd Williams and Indiana Stephens could suit each other. Or match each other. Or have something in this entire world that was the least bit similar.

Oh, well…

They both enjoyed inflicting pain on others.

Did that bode well for a potential couple?

“But, but…” Charmaine struggled. “She’s so… mean.”

Coming from Charmaine Longbottom, everyone who heard it knew it was an insult of the highest order.

Emily swallowed her mouthful of mash.

“Plus, she’s like a super big whore.” She said, with less tact.

I grinned into my own food, while Charmaine flushed slightly, and Oz coughed into his food.

“He’s not much better than her,” Charmaine said, recovering.

I tensed without thinking, recognising instantly that this was dangerous territory. He was Emily’s ex-love of life, after all. I realised quickly, however, that my tensing might have been even more of an annoyance to Emily if she had noticed now. I quickly glanced over to see if she had noticed.

Oh.

Yeah, she noticed.

She didn’t seem angry though. She seemed interested.

Her brow was creased slightly as she stared at me—not wavering even as I caught her gaze. She stared at me for a few more seconds, her eyes analysing every emotion that went across my face, before smiling slightly to herself and turning back to the conversation.

“Oh duh,” she said to Char. “He’s like the devil spawn of Voldemort and Grindelwald,” she hesitated for a second. “You know—if they were gay, lived in the same time period, and men could have children.”

We all nodded understandingly, and I found myself fighting off another amused smile. I missed this Emily.

“Oh god,” I moaned, as I accidentally glanced in the direction of the Slytherin table, to get an eyeful of Todd giving Indiana a tongue bath. I glanced quickly back down at my plate, and stared at it for a second before swearing. I pushed the plate away from me a little, and leant back in the seat, frowning slightly. “Yep. I’ve so lost my appetite.”

Unfortunately, my little announcement brought both Charmaine and Emily to turn and look and see what I was talking about.

They both moaned in unison, and glowered at me as they too pushed their plates away.

Oz, being a boy, gleefully reached for our discarded sausages, picking them up and placing them on his plate.

All three girls present sighed for a united rolling of the eyes.

“So,” Emily asked, leaning forward. “Does anyone know anyone who’s been invited to the Finnegan twin’s mid-semester party?” she asked curiously. “It’s an invite only party and I’m dying to go.”

And this was where it got awkward.

Because I had been invited to that party. I had been invited exactly three days ago, by Sam, when he caught me in the corridor with Natalie—on our way to Potions.

“You’re coming, right?” he demanded, breathlessly—having run after me to catch me.

I had frowned. “Is it important that I do come?”

Sam rolled his eyes. “Hell yes,” he said frankly. “Now that Rose is off the market, Sean had been intolerable with girls, and I—”

I stared at his alarmed. “No offence, dude—but I refuse to hook up with your brother.”

Sam had chuckled for a good few minutes at that one.

“I hadn’t even thought of asking,” he said dryly. “Everyone knows you’re taken.”

I had frowned at that, but he looked alarmed as the words came form his mouth—and continued talking before I had the chance to ask.

“I just need someone to help introduce him to some girls,” he continued. “Girls who might actually pay him a bit of attention, yeah?”

I nodded, stupidly forgetting the ‘taken’ thing. “Course I’ll come. Did you want me to bring someone?”

Sam had shrugged. “It’s up to you. It’s a pretty lax party, but we’re trying to keep it invite only. Bring a few friends if you like.”

And then it was only about ten minutes into Potions that I had remembered what he had said—and realised that I couldn’t ask him about it.

Everyone knew that I was taken?

I didn’t even know that I was taken.

I took a deep breath, frowning at the table. I wished, for a minute, that I hadn’t pushed my food away, so I could take a mouthful of something that would fill up my mouth. But I could hardly pull my plate back now—after all, most of it was on Oz’s plate.

“I don’t know anyone,” Char said with a grim smile. “Sorry…”

Emily sighed. “I really wanted to go—”

I didn’t really give myself time to think.

“You could come with me.” I said suddenly.

They all stared at me.

I swallowed.

“I mean, Sam invited me, and he said I was allowed to bring whoever, so if you guys wanted to come, then that would be cool…”

It was a little surreal, offering the party to Emily. In our past, it had always been me who trailed along after her to parties or shindigs that were held around the school. It was odd to have the roles reversed.

“Yeah,” Emily said slowly, the same interested, curious face from earlier on her features. “Yeah, that would be cool.”




Hey guys. Here endeth Chapter 30!!! I think that its so cool you guys have stuck with me this far! I hope you understand the time jump, and all the new things in this chapter.

I wanted to just reply to the major feel of most of last chapter’s reviews.

Firstly, Adversus Anima is not a canon Rowling spell. It is all my creation and it’s very much my idea.

The confusion that you guys are feeling is kind of the point: I don’t want you guys to guess what it is until Katie does, even though when you do find out I hope it makes a lot of sense (I’ve been hinting at it for the entire story.)

I don’t want you guys to be angry at me. This is my story and my plot and this has been the way it was going to be. Hopefully it works for you, and makes sense and you guys all approve; because you are my fans and I love you guys. But seriously, give me a chance, kay?

Also, if it wasn’t clear, none of Katie or Al’s other friend know about their trips to the library, OR about the curse. And we saw a bit of Em, as well, which is interesting.

Thoughts? Queries? Comments?

Please review! :P

G

PS. You might hate me for a while, with all the new plot twists and changes that I’ll still be introducing (next chapter *hint*hint*) But GIVE me a chance, please of please? Yes?

PPS. I’m so sorry for the long wait. As you can see—in the review replies if you look at them—and the title, that this chapter is the beginning of PART TWO of this story. I wanted to get my head wrapped around the first couple of chapters of chapter two before updating because I didn’t want to screw it up. I’m so so so so so so sorry!!!

xx

G



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Sorry guys. Bit of a language warning, in advance...

31. Devil Spawn





The following is the last Will and Testimony of Kathryn Sabrina Dalton:

1) To Rose Weasley, I bequeath the glossary age that I tore out of one of the library books, because I know you will treasure it forever.

2) To Albus Potter, I leave many, many kisses and the storylines to many a dream about you and I. I hope you enjoy the daydreams as much as I did.

3) To Scorpius Malfoy, I leave every single hair product I’ve ever owned, to add to your own extensive collection, and the brilliant nickname ‘Twinkle toes’ as I have no use for it any more.

And 4) to Fred Weasley, my favourite and most darling person in the entire world, Friend, husband, lover, confidante and complete heart breaker, I bequeath to you all of my worldly possessions including my bank vault at Gringotts and Pez the Pygmy Puff. Also, I would like to declare that only for your ears, I think that Scorpius’s hair is brittle and Albus smells like a old frogs as—


“OI!”

I frowned at Fred with a scrunched nose, snatching the will away from him with surprising ease.

“My middle name isn’t Sabrina.” I told him coolly, peering at the parchment.

Fred frowned. “Well, lover,” he said with a smug grin, plucking it back from my fingers and smoothing it out again, flattening it against the table. “I had to improvise considering you won’t tell me your real middle name.”

I grinned at him as I took a bite out of one of the croissants on the table. “The secret will die with me at the grave.”

Fred rolled his eyes. “I’m going to owl your parents.”

I didn’t doubt it.

Unfortunately, in the light of their meeting and becoming acquainted Fred had actually become rather good friends with both my parents, to the point where he even owled them every now and again. We hadn’t been back at school for long, that was for sure, but in that space he had exchanged at least ten letters with them.

“Of course you are…” I sighed.

Fred grinned deviously.

“What have you got there?” Rose asked, approaching the table.

In one hand she held a small wooden box, overflowing with pieces of parchment from the edges. In her arms, between her forearm and her chest, were her books for the classes she clearly had coming up. Preoccupying her other hand was Scorpius, who had his own hand wrapped around hers, with a sweet smile on his face.

I frowned. “I could ask you the same thing…” I motioned to her box.

She sat down beside me and nudged me with her shoulder. “I asked first.”

Fred made a whooping noise and clapped in our direction. “Ladies and gentlemen, I showcase to you today the superior arguing skills of Rose Weasley and Katie Dalton—one of which is the head girl of this school and the other being her best friend and tutee…”

I scowled. “Thank you.” I said coldly. “The head girl, and her tutee.”

Scorpius frowned. “Is tutee an actual word?” He queried.

Rose rolled her eyes and pulled him into the seat beside her. “No. No it is not.” She pulled his hand closer to her and kissed the back of his hand. “But I assume it’s a fabricated word to describe Katie being the girl who I tutor.”

“Bingo!” Fred said enthusiastically waving his quill in the air. “Give the gal a prize!”

Scorpius reached across both Rose and I and punched Fred in the arm, while grabbing his croissant as a prize.

Fred scowled, but went to retaliate, lunging across the table and snatching Scorpius’s recently made plate of bacon. While he did this, Rose lunged for the fake ‘Will’ that Fred had been writing. While Rose lunged for the Will, I lunged for the box and all four of us recoiled at the same time, clutching our respective prizes with wide eyes.

There was silence for a moment as we all recognised what had just happened and then we all scowled.

“Oi! WHERE’S MY BACON?”

“THAT’S MY CROISSANT!”

“Katie. Give me back my box.”

“Gimme my will back, whore-bag!”

There was a moment of silence again when we all digested what I just said. I frowned slightly at my own words.

“Uh…”

Scorpius scowled. “Twinkle toes, I have, before this, made it a point to avoid hitting girls. But I might have to reconsider.”

“I’ll kick your ass before you can,” Albus declared soundly as he, too, joined us for breakfast. I grinned slightly as Albus winked at me before seating himself opposite us. My stomach jumped a little and I flushed.

Speaking of…

Neither of us had really confronted the fact that we had almost kissed inside Rose’s pantry the night that I found out about my being cursed. Of course, I had certainly dwelled and dwelled on the moment since it had happened, dissecting every single thing that had happened, every movement and trying to figure out if it had just been a spur of the moment thing.

So when I say that we hadn’t confronted it, I didn’t mean personally.

I meant we hadn’t confronted each other about it.

Which was probably worse than dwelling on it alone.

Rose frowned at the paper.

“Wait, wait, wait.” She said frowning. “I only get a glossary page…?”

I scowled at Fred.

Rose scowled at me.

“Scor. Hit her.”

Fred coughed a laugh and choked on Scorpius’s breakfast a little as a result. Albus stared at Rose in horror. Scorpius winced as Fred coughed up his breakfast, but then shook his head.

“No can do, babe.” He said nonchalantly. “I reserve the right to never hit a woman unless absolutely warranted.” He peered over her shoulder at the will. “And hey, I get her hair gel.”

Albus wrinkled his nose.

“You’re calling my closest and favourite cousin: ‘babe.’” He told Scor with distaste.

Fred frowned. “What? No. He’s calling Rose, babe, not me.”

Everyone stared at him with blank faces for a moment, and he frowned again.

“You know,” he said in a light tone. “I take offence to the implication that I am somehow not your favourite cousin.”

“Its not an implication my friend,” Al said, winking. “I’d proudly shout it to the world.”

Fred glowered at him.

“Scor,” Rose was still staring at the will. “She’s saying that if she dies, all she’s going to give me is a glossary page. And an unusable one at that.”

It shouldn't have surprised me that she’d be less unhappy if it was a usable glossary.

“I will not hit a woman,” Scor said adamantly.

I relaxed and let out a relieved breath. “Good. Because that would have sucked. I didn’t even write it anyway. Fred did.”

There was a moment during which Fred just glared at me. Then...

“Oh, well then. That’s alright.”

Scorpius slammed his fist into Fred’s shoulder with so much force that Fred other side collided with the table. He flinched.

“Dude!” He said. “Really? Uncool.”

We all had a good laugh.

Once everyone had once again exchanged stolen artefacts, I stared at Rose. I had given her back her box without even opening it, even though she had opened and read my falsified will. It was time to get even.

“You owe me.” I told her. “What’s in the box?”

She frowned. “How do I owe you?”

I scoffed, indignantly. “Hello?” I said obviously. “You read my will…”

Rose rolled her eyes.

“Isn’t that illegal?” Fred asked, now very happily eating his recently returned bacon.

Al stared at him dryly. “Isn’t writing someone’s will for them more illegal?”

Fred was silent.

“Its no big mystery, to be honest.” Rose said, delicately lifting the box lid off the box itself. “Dominique asked me to hand these out…” She pulled from the very top of the box an ornately decorated piece of folded parchment, and handed it to me. She then handed one each to Al, Fred and Scor.

“What’s this?”

Rose laughed. “Read it.”

I opened it.

Together with their parents,
Daniel Joseph Wood
and
Dominique Ginevra Weasley,
request the pleasure of the company of
Kathryn Dalton
at their marriage cere-mony—


“Wow, wow, wow, wait.” I said suddenly, stopping reading at this point. “I’m invited to their wedding?”

Rose rolled her eyes.

“Erm, duh, sweetie.” She said with a laugh. “You’re the reason Dan still even has a leg.”

People have got to stop bringing that up.

“It’s being held at the burrow?” Albus said, curiously as he read his own invitation. “No one told me that.”

Rose grinned. “yeah. Uncle Bill and Auntie Fleur got married, so Dom thinks it’ll be good luck if they get married there. You know, I think she hopes that history will repeat itself…”

Fred hesitated.

“Correct me if I’m wrong, dearest cousin of mine,” he said tactfully. “But wasn’t that particular wedding crashed by a bunch of homicidal death eaters?”

Rose nodded, as though that wasn’t a bad idea.

“And she wants to repeat that?” Scor asked with wide, judgemental eyes. “With the death and the disaster and the basic beginning of the War?”

Rose nudged him slightly with her elbow.

“No.” She sighed. “Moreso the fact that they are still together with three capable happy children years later. Less of the death eater army…”

Albus shrugged. “Besides, there aren’t many death eaters left around these days, are there?”

“Says the boy whose friends and family were attacked by a death eater army, less than four weeks ago?” I said sceptically.

Al frowned at me.

“Is it an army if you just have four death eaters?” Scor queried.

Al paused, mulling on this thought for a moment before shrugging.

“Fine. Death Eater drill team then.”




It was common knowledge on the Hogwarts grounds that our year level was rather averse to Professor Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures class. The fourth year class itself—involving a hormonal (and, as we later found out, pregnant) female Fellathorax that had resulted in Molly Walter’s consecutive trip to the Hospital wing where she had to regrow four fingers—was the basic Freudian reason for our fear.

“It’s a fine specimen,” Hagrid said in away that was intended to calm us.

My heart sped up—and not in the good, electric, Albus way.

Everyone ignored his narration anyway, and instead nervously eyed the new bright blue creature before us.

When it had actually happened—and we had years five, six and seven above us—we bore the bunt of many a joke and mockery about said class for years. Something about the idea of a half of the sixth year sprinting down the hill towards the Forbidden forest in an effort to escape the furious almost mother who thought that we had somehow threatened her child when we refused to let her feed Molly to it seemed to be an ever present source of amusement for the upper half of the student body.

However, it wasn’t as bad as it had been originally. As the years passed and the knowledgeable students left—meaning only the seventh years as the ones that could mock us—it wasn’t so bad any more. Sure the seventh years brought it up every now and again but the younger years—if they knew—didn’t have the guts to say or do anything about it.

“If that’s a fine specimen,” Natalie muttered cautiously. “I certainly don’t want to see an unfine specimen.”

Everyone present clearly shared her sentiments. As I had left the Gryffindor Table today, to see Fred drawing up a rough draft of my very own personal will, because of his incredible faith in this fine specimen I quite reassured.

I scanned the class.

To my right, Emily was standing with Shirley and Lauren, muttering quietly under their breath about something—that I didn’t think was me. It was a new idea to think that Emily wasn’t gossiping about me like she had been for most of the year. She seemed just as absorbed in the creature before us as I was.

And just as nervous.

Rose has reacted oddly when I told her that Emily had been civil to me without an ulterior motive (other than going to the party, but the surprise seemed genuine enough when I told her that I had been invited.)

It was the middle of our tutoring session and she and I had been going over one of the books that Albus had managed to slip back to her room right before she realised they were missing.

“That’s…uh, good… she’s grown up then, do you think?”

And when I had answered with a hesitant ‘yeah, I reckon… maybe…’ she left it alone. She stopped talking about it and got straight to the charms.

Which was a little unnerving.

“It’s because she’s intimidated,” Fred explained in the few moments this morning when he wasn’t focusing on my will.

Why Rose Weasley was intimidated by Em was a mystery to me. I doubted that no matter how much Em and I wanted, we would never become the best friends that we had once been. She was best friends with a different Katie.

Rose was best friends with the new Katie. The better Katie.

In my opinion anyway, which was really the only opinion that mattered.

“Now, it acts on pure instinct,” Hagrid was telling us. “No conscience, predatory and very, very aggressive.”

Everyone stared nervously at the creature before Emily ingeniously broke the tension. “In other words,” she said observationally. “Your typical male.”

Oz nudged her.

“On behalf of my gender, hey!”

Everyone took a deep breath and relaxed a little as the joke began to settle in. I laughed with everyone else and looked around, sharing the typical, ‘That-helps-relieve-some-of-the-chronic-fear-and-pain-that-was-previously-consuming-my-entire-being’ look with everyone around me. As I did this, I caught the eye of the one person who had been angrier at me than anyone else.

Eric stared at me, showing me the very same look, only frozen as he realised that he was directing it at me.

I expected him to sneer, or to glare at me or to just look away.

He didn’t. He just kept looking at me, a slightly twitch to the side of his mouth until Penny pulled on his left arm and his attention was pulled away.

Things were getting better. They could only go up from here.




Of course, I’ve eaten my words before.

I was walking along the hallway, covered in the nasty blue spray that had exploded from Hagrid’s latest creature’s nostril (seven of which were located conveniently at different spots around it’s body) on my way back from the Hospital Wing, when it happened. Madame Bellows had successfully managed to get rid of the acidic green nasal fluid, and since the blue wasn’t harmful if not exposed for long she told me to go and shower and took care of the other students who had been in the firing line.

I was completely alone, I suppose I should mention, and should have been prepared considering how often it was that bad things happened to me while I was alone in the endless hallways of this castle.

I didn’t hear the heavy footfall and I didn’t hear the nasty mouth breathing.

Well, I did hear it.

But I didn’t pay it any attention.

I was too busy skipping and jumping about how great my morning had been, and how cool it was that Emily was now talking to me, and Eric seemed to be on the way to forgiving me, and I had a personalised invitation to Professor Wood’s wedding to Dominique Weasley and I had even managed to miraculously survive Hagrid’s latest dangerous lesson.

What I did notice instantly, on the other hand, was the unfamiliar hand and fingers that grabbed my shoulder, jolted me back into a rather large and taller than me body and pushed me against a wall. And I noticed the sneering smile and the piecing green eyes that Emily had once gone on and one about in our dorm for nights on end with a sickly sweet, besotted smile on her face.

And I noticed the way his grip on my shoulder was so tight that my eyes were watering, involuntarily.

Todd Williams had his hand holding me pressed against the wall. His let hand held my left shoulder, and his entire arm was pressed across my chest—his elbow forcing my right shoulder to stay still all the while inducing a particular kind of pain.

And lets just say I definitely noticed when Todd’s uncharacteristically minty breath invaded my personal bubble and he pressed his face up near mine and said, “Long time no see, eh Dalton?”

Not nearly long enough.

“Get off me.” I ordered shakily, pushing him away.

He didn’t seem to mind that he was getting bright blue, toxic monster booger all over his uniform. Which struck me odd considering his textbook narcissism.

“Or what?” Todd questioned, sneering at me.

Merlin.

Slytherins…

My loud and confident reply had left my mouth before I had even thought about it.

“Or,” I said, squaring my shoulders despite his hand and elbow and lifting me eyes to evenly meet his gaze even though I was pressed against the wall rather painfully, “I will get some new friends of mine to show you exactly what physical abuse is, just so you’ll be aware of them next time.”

Todd looked impressed and let go of me, stepping away from me, with a smirk of sorts.

Hell.

I was even impressed with myself.

“That’s right…” Todd drawled. “I come back and all of a sudden you’ve got friends in high places… I forgot about that…”

Hells yeah, I had friends in high places.

That was a small comfort in this situation.

“Decided to trade up?” he asked.

I rolled my eyes, willing myself to act like I was calm or at least, you know, breathing at a normal pace.

I wasn’t, but that wasn’t the point.

“What do you want, Williams?” I demanded, glaring at him. I crossed my arms across my chest defensively, trying to make myself sound confident.

You know? Confidence? That thing that makes people seem more approachable and happy and comfortable in their own skin? You might not recognise it on me considering my crippling level of self-destruct-ism and humiliation.

Todd shrugged and leant against the wall.

His arm reached high above my head, and because of this, his entire body boxed me in towards the wall. He slipped his other hand into his pocket, casually.

“I heard about your little fight with our mutual friend,” He said smirking. “And I thought we now have something in common.”

I frowned at him.

“I so very highly doubt that,” I told him. “I hope against hope that you won’t prove me wrong.”

Todd smirked. “Then today’s your unlucky day.”

Pah.

As if unlucky days were a new concept to me.

“I thought you might like to help me…” He drawled.

And his hand in his pocket clenched around something—which he then pulled out and held in front of me. It was so close to my eyes that I had to lean back a little to focus. When I did I realised what it was. He was holding up a small glass vial, with a swirling silver liquid inside, and a tiny cork keeping it inside.

I didn’t need to ask to know exactly what memory was inside that tiny little vial.

“See,” he said slowly. “I’ve been really bored in the time that I wasn’t at school. S’pose I’ve got you to thank for that, eh? Getting me suspended and all that?”

“You got yourself suspended,” I told him, sneakily, despite the sudden lack of oxygen to my brain.

Todd inhaled sharply, and his hand clenched around the vial as he exhaled slowly. “You got me suspended, Dalton. You were the one who decided to run to McGonagall.”

I stared at him, pale.

“Any way, I learnt a lot while I was away… including how to copy memories to a perfect measure.” He shook the little vial. “Just like this little baby right here.”

Why was he telling me this? Unless…

He smirked as he watched the horror of realisation dawn on my face.

“That’s right Dalton,” He confirmed what he guessed had just come to me. “You’re either gonna watch helplessly as I slip this memory into every single glass at dinner tonight, or you are going to do every single thing I tell you to—from now on.”

I stared at him. Because I might not be able to help Emily as much as I did before this dramatic year, but I wouldn’t stand idly by while Todd Williams distributed their sex memory to the entire school.

Todd had guessed my decision before I said it.

“Kate Dalton, you’re now my bitch”




Alright. Let it never be said that I go easy on my characters. But ALL is going to plan I assure you, my sweets. Plus, I couldn’t have Todd return for nothing, right? This was always his path and it was always going to meet with Katie’s like this. :P :P

Anyway, sorry for the long wait, and I’ll get working on the next chapter as soon as is physically possible. I’m having some issues with writer’s block but I should be able to kick it soon. :P

SOO… please review, because that would be lovely… :P *grins* I love your feedback and it is a big part of what compels me to update and write more so… if you do the math I think that means: … more reviews = more chapters.

(I mean, think about it guys. If every single person who read every single chapter reviewed, I would be so flattered and you would have all totally contributed to the happiness of a female author with hopes and aspirations for a heap of people to like her Harry Potter based fan fic. So yeah—IF YOU’VE TAKEN THE TIME TO READ, TAKE THE FEW EXTRA SECONDS TO REVIEW!!)

Cheers guys.

G.




Chapter 32: Planning an Invitation Occasion
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So, this chapter features some crude humour and the joked blackening of Ginny Potter’s name. If anyone is offended by sexual innuendo and/or ‘Ya mum’ jokes, I would be on the lookout.

32. Planning an Invitation Occasion





“Oh, my god.”

I sighed.

I wasn’t exactly sure what had compelled me to help Sam and Sean plan their party.

Clearly, since the party had been an annual thing since they were in fourth year, they knew exactly how to throw a banging bash, but when they had asked if anyone would like to help plan said social event, I had smiled and accepted with a grin.

“Oh, my god. Oh, my god. Oh, my god.”

I winced.

Suddenly it occurred to me that maybe inviting Hilary to the Finnegan’s party might not have been the best idea. Not only would she get totally into it, and become my responsibility for the entire evening—but I had a feeling that Hilary mixing with the high amount of alcohol that Fred had hinted would definitely feature in the night would not create the perfect combination.

“Are you, like—totally serious, right?” Hilary said urgently. “I’m not being made fun of right? This isn’t like some reality TV show where you’re filming my reaction for the entertainment for other people.”

Oh yeah. Hilary and the alcohol would definitely be two non-mixy things.

“Of course I’m serious,” I said, frowning.

Hilary practically melted.

“Oh, my god, of course you’re serious. You’re such a nice person Katie! I’m so sorry for suggesting you might.”

Thinking back, as I dug through a book—which, by the way, was becoming a ridiculously too common occurrence in my life. I was not a book girl— on common hexes twenty years ago, I realised that it was probably related in some way to Emily coming.

Because to be honest, when Emily had agreed to come by my invite, with a slight smile, I had felt both excited that she was seemingly forgiving me, and horrified that she might be planning my brutal murder.

But I was closer to her.

Which made this better—the curse and the blackmailing and the looming exam time—it was all made better by the idea that I was getting back—closer—if you will, with Emily.

I was doing a good thing by protecting her from Todd. So far, he hadn’t yet called on a favour through the ‘forced negotiations’ (as he termed them) that we had agreed on. Something was coming, but I was sure it wasn’t going to be too bad.

I mean, he’d been suspended once before, right?

He wouldn’t risk honest to Merlin expulsion…

Of course, this theory all relied on what I knew and my perspective of who and what Todd Williams was and what his ultimate goals, motivations and plans were.

And since I barely knew the guy—other than the scary intimidating sixth year he had been to mine and Emily’s fifth for the four long months that the two had dated—I clearly didn’t have a very accurate picture.

But whatever. He hadn’t seemed all too harmless when he had smirked at me through his teeth from across the Great Hall this morning.

“Contrary to popular belief,” Professor Levett said approaching our table. “I am not running a classroom with the intention of bettering your social lives, Miss St. Claire, Miss Dalton.”

We stared at him nervously.

“I am instead,” he said in his scary Potions master voice, “running a Potions class for those who wish to further their educational lives. See to it that you remember, girls.”

We both nodded and he stared at us down his nose for a second, before sighing and turning on his heel.

“Oh, my god. So what do we wear?” Hilary asked me curiously, calming down a bit and whispering instead of screaming. “Will it have a theme or anything?”

I sighed.

“I don’t know much at this point.” I told her with a smile. “I’m helping the guys organise it this afternoon, and I’m only allowed to invite a few people to the actual party. So I thought I’d tell you know that you’re welcome to come, if you like.”

“If I like?” Hilary echoed. “What are you, insane? Of course I like!”

She was seemingly forgetting the whisper that she was supposed to be using, post-Levett’s interruption, so I hastily shushed her and consulted my potions book should Levett have decided to turn his head. The book instructed me to add a Mermaid scale and the clippings of a centaur hoof, before stirring it three times to the left.

“Now,” Levett said as he reached the front of the classroom and turned around to face us, leaning on the front of his desk. “Can anyone point out to me the major differences between your brews, and a false protection potion?”

Natalie’s hand shot up, where she sat beside Emily.

“Well, we’re brewing Fire-Protection potions, rather than a generalised protection potion which highlights one of the first differences. Our potions, if brewed correctly will render fire useless in every scenario—whereas correctly brewed general protection potions provide a small level of protection against general hexes, curses or jinxes.”

How Natalie stored all that information in her head I didn’t understand.

“How the hell does she know that?” Hilary asked, apparently sharing my sentiments. “I didn’t even know that people madefalse protection potions.”

I shrugged.

“Nat lives for school.” I told her with a sigh. “She’s actually still bitter that there are only seven grades.”

Now that I thought about it, I knew far too many people who shared this particular mind set. Natalie and Charmaine based their inter-grade best friendship on the philosophy and Rose was so invested in her education that if she could she’d probably try and convince Ron to make Hogwarts go for an eighth year.

Hilary frowned.

“Really?”

I nodded solemnly, “Oh yeah.” I assured her. “Nat probably sits in Potions thinking ‘There should be more Potions. This could be potion-ier…’”

Hilary wrinkled her nose in distaste.

“Is that kind of weird?”

I shrugged. “I dunno.” I said with a frown. “I feel that way about chocolate cake.”

Hilary frowned curiously. “Yeah I guess, it’s like an exfoliate lotion, for me. They always say like 33% exfoliation. They should be like… 66%... or even 99%.”

She smiled at me.

“Speaking of exfoliators…” she mused slowly, “will I need to use one for this party?

Before I even had a chance to respond she continued.

“What am I saying? Of course I will? What I really mean, you know, is… if this a black tie thing or more of a dress casual thing, or a sexy casual party?”

She quirked an eyebrow at me.

Since I had absolutely no idea how to respond to that as I had never attended one of these parties, and the first planning party with Sam and Sean was being held after this class, I thought it was extremely fortuitous that Levett finally had had enough.

“ALRIGHT!” Levett caught everyone’s attention with his loud, startling shout. “THE NEXT PERSON TO BE CAUGHT DISCUSSING A PARTY OF ANY KIND—ONE THAT SHOULDN’T EVEN BE OCCURING AT THIS TIME OF YEAR, ANYWAY—IS OUT OF MY CLASS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR AND CAN FIND SOMEONE ELSE TO TEACH THEM POTIONS AT A N.E.W.T. LEVEL!!”

...




“So, how’s it hanging darlink? I’m really like tres interested in your life, right now, because that skirt your wearing is like SO in right now. And sista, where do you get your hair done? It’s so F-A-B, fab! You’re such a babe! I am like, so jelluz…”

I rolled my eyes and let my head drop into my arms, staring down at the desk in front of me.

“So, what’s the goss, honey? I am like so out of the loop because I spent so much time checking out that super hot Weasley in my class. You’re good friends with him right? Don’t you think Fred Weasley is just the hottest example of the male specimen out there?”

I lifted my head to stare, incredulously at my company. None other than Fred Weasley, himself.

“I don’t know what’s more disturbing,” I told his slowly. “The fact that you’re trying to talk like a girl and you actually think girls sound like that, or the fact that in your female persona you’re hitting on yourself…”

Fred shrugged, and rolled his eyes like he was bashful he had been caught.

“Oh come on darling,” he continued in his ditsy high falsetto. “What can I say? He’s just so babing.”

I frowned at him.

“What does babing even mean?”

Fred dropped the act with a scowl. “Come on, wifey.” He said with a scowl. “Won’t you let your husband have his fun?”

Albus entered at that moment with an ugly look on his face. “Whoa.” He said, alarmed. “No one’s letting any husbands have fun!”

Fred shot him a dark look. “Cept for your mum.”

Albus was silent for a moment. My eyebrows went high and my gaze flicked to Albus. His skin tone had taken a greenish tinge and his features were pulled together in disgust.

Fred rolled his eyes. “Oh come on, everyone heard my dad’s stories. How he walked in on them snogging in the kitchen right before the war began.”

Albus stared at him in horror.

“…Your Dad couldn’t keep it in his…”

Albus tackled Fred to the ground before Fred could finish his sentence. They rolled around on the ground, both laughing their lungs our while I stared at them from the table. Sean, Sam, Rose and Scor all entered at that moment and merely hesitated upon seeing them. Sean grinned while Rose rolled her eyes and delicately stepped over their wrestling bodies. Sam and Sean did the same, and all of us watched in amusement as Scor dove on the top of them screaming, “BODY SLAM!”

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Rose said breathing deeply. “My boyfriend.”

Once the boys had decided to stop defending their prospective mothers and aunt’s honour, and Scorpius had enough of simply squashing them, they all pushed themselves to their feet.

“Right,” Fred said enthusiastically. “Let’s plan this shindig.”

Rose set her things beside mine—she had brought clear parchment and a variety of others things for this preparation party. The boys had all brought food of some sort, and were already setting up a circle as they carefully examined what to eat first. I felt guilty for only having brought myself.

“Aright,” Rose said, in her ‘I’m your tutor’ voice that I heard six times a week (if you only include our Tutoring sessions. Since she used that voice at least seven times a day it was fair to say I heard it far more often that just those sessions.) “I’ve got ideas for colour codes, themes, music and catering. I also have new ideas for silencing charms, as well as a way to secure the invite only thing. Also, I was thinking we could hold it somewhere that isn’t the Astronomy tower this year, because it’s always up there and it’s getting kind of old.”

Sam frowned. “Like where then?”

Rose shrugged. “There are spare rooms in the dungeons if you want something dingy—maybe a horror theme? And there are spare rooms popping up everywhere around the castle but those are hard to trace so invitations would be a nightmare. We could even have it on the grounds if we found somewhere secluded enough…”

“If you don’t suggest the room of requirement, Rosie, I might have to disown you.”

Rose was clearly so used to Fred’s disowning threats that she simply rolled her eyes. “You’d never do that, Freddie.” She told him with a sigh.

He was silent for a moment. “You’re right.” He admitted after a moment. “You love me too much. It would break your heart to see me go. But seriously—room of requirement.”

“Wouldn’t that get a bit complicated?” Scor asked with a frown. “We’d have to make sure it was exactly the way we wanted.”

“No…” I said slowly.

Since I’m sure no one expected me to put my two cents in, I suddenly had everyone’s attention.

“…Think about it.” I said slowly. “No matter how hard Rose tries, there’s absolutely no way that we can please absolutely everyone coming to this party. Unless we make it up to them…”

There was a moment of silence.

“D’ya get it?”

Rose was nodding, my epiphany hitting her and her eyes widened.

“Yeah.” She said, her head slowly nodding faster and faster. “We would have to fix some things, of course…” she mused. “Like the food, and the colour theme, and the music… but other than that we could certainly leave it up to the guests.”

The boys hadn’t caught on quite as quickly.

Rose sighed.

“It’s the Room of Requirement,idiots,” She told them obviously. “Every guest will arrive and see exactly what they want to see. Not drastically different in every case—but everything anyone wanted would be there.”

All the boys began to understand and grinned.

“So, if I wanted there to be a hole in the wall and a bungee charm to go bungee jumping on… there’d be one?” Sean said excitedly.

Rose stared at him like he was insane, so I took over.

“That’s the theory…” I told him. “Not that we’d letyou break the school walls to go bungee jumping.”

Something on Sean’s expression told me that he wasn’t going to be convinced that easily. But before I could attempt to make him understand that bungee jumping with an amateur bungee charm might get us all expelled, he had stood up triumphantly and punched the air.

“I knew it was a good idea to invite you guys to help!” He declared enthusiastically. “What a way to end the seventh year party! It’s going to be explosive!”

Everyone enthusiastically agreed, and suddenly the boys weren’t only consumed with thoughts for their stomachs. Grabbing the food (just because it wasn’t the only thing on their minds didn’t mean it wasn’t there) the five boys stood and joined Rose and I at the table, spilling out their ideas.

“Speaking of explosive,” Sam mused a few minutes later when everyone had calmed (and quietened) down a little. “Did Professor Levett really spaz out at you?”

I sighed.

“Don’t even get me started.”

Everyone chuckled.

As the afternoon continued we found ourselves discussing a variety of things. The majority of our following conversation consisted of all the boys trying to create a new super-weapon, which could automatically locate any witch or wizard branded with the Dark Mark, and kill them instantly.

Scor then pointed out that that particular brand of attack would be particularly unfair for those people who had been forced into the mark (his father for instance.)

The idea then expanded, thanks to Al, who then suggested that maybe it could just automatically send those with the Dark Mark to Azkaban—and if they went a specific length away from the prison they would die.

Again, Scorpius was against this suggestion.

Rose rubbed his arm comfortingly.

“Don’t worry, honey,” she cooed, while on one of her brief breaks between designing the invitations and figuring out exactly how she could cast the invite only spell. “None of these morons could ever get remotely close to creating something like that.”

“Except for you.” I told her with a grin.

She frowned at me. “Did you just call me a moron?”

I shrugged with a smirk. I stared at her smugly from where I sat down with the boys, in the midst of their circle, enjoying being able to mock her. We were all doing different enchantments to create the invitations. Scor and Al were cutting the parchment, while Fred and I gave then delicate borders—with sparkles embedded that seemed to be in competition with each other, every one trying to shine brighter than its neighbour—and Sean and Sam examined the guest list.

She then turned to Fred with a glare.

“This is your influence.” She told him angrily. “I hold you personally responsible.”

Fred, on the other hand, was looking at me with an amount of pride tantamount to that of a father watching his son save the world.

“My little girl’s all grown up.” He said, with a wide grin,

I nudged him with my elbow. “S’cuse me, sweetheart,” I said indignantly. “Calling your wife a little girl is all kinds of wrong.”

Fred smirked.

Sean and Sam exchanged confused, identical looks.

“Oh yeah,” Al said with a roll of his eyes, and a smirk on his face. “They’re married.”

The twins continued to look confused.

“See,” Fred decided to expand. “It all happened when Katie accidentally turned her mouse into a half frog half mouse…” Fred hesitated. “Wait, was Mic a frog first or a mouse.”

For the life of me I couldn’t remember.

“…it doesn’t matter,” Fred disregarded it. “She had a Frog-Mouse that was christened Michelangelo and for all intensive purposes. We loved him so much that he became our son…”

Fred let out a mournful sigh.

Rose yawned.

“—And then. Suddenly and unnaturally, he died of sudden and unnatural causes.”

Yeah.

Like me holding it’s head under water until it stopped moving.

It was ‘unnatural’ enough, I spose.

Fred and I had recounted the tale so many times since then that he had learnt to instinctively leave that part out.

Sam wrinkled his nose in confusion, while Sean’s head had tilted to the side as he tried to make sense of what we were saying.

“Before his funeral,” Fred continued to narrate. “Katie and I decided to make our parenthood official in his honour and were married in spirit by the Forbidden Forest.”

“Keep in mind,” Rose tagged in. “That this is all spiritual. The morons haven’t actually been married.”

I frowned, thinking of what Professor Macmillan would say to hearing Rose call me (Fred had termed it: ‘tutee’) a moron, but quickly disregarded it to defend my figurative marriage.

“Marriages in spirit are just as, if not more steady than a normal ‘literal’ marriage.” I lifted my fingers to air quote, to emphasise how unimportant the document is.

“Sides,” Fred said with a shrug. “Technically it’s official. We both signed.”

I nodded my head.

Scor, Sean, Sam, Rose and Al all stared at us in a mixture of confusion and horror.

“What?” Al said, in a loud, surprised voice.

Fred gave him an odd look, but I didn’t hesitate in replying.

“We used mud from the ground and signed a leaf,” I explained. “I think it’s still under my bed or in my dorm somewhere.”




Hey guys. Short chapter because of its ‘Filler status’ so I will apologise in advance for the short chapter (and the severe lack of plot.) I figured a lot had happened already in the last two chapters, Katie deserved a break, we hadn’t seen Hilary in a while, and it was time to muse.

So there you have it. Chapter 32. My plotless-filler-character-break-Hilary-filled-muse chapter.

Please review anyway. :P :P

Cheers. G.





Chapter 33: A Poohead By Any Other Name
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Oh hey. Don’t own Star Trek by the way, and there is a bit of a language warning as well, folks—

33. A Poohead by Any Other Name





So the word was out.

It hadn’t taken long for the invitation only party to become the most talked about thing in the entire castle. I was approached many a time daily by people I didn’t even know who asked me to take them with me—to invite them like I had invited Char, Oz and Emily (even though Char had already been invited by her sister, and would have taken Oz.)

One specific girl even walked up to me in the middle of my Astronomy class and told me that the stars had told her she in the near future I would take pity on her and include her just like the Potter’s and Weasley’s had done me.

(I stood stock still following that request, for a good couple of seconds, trying to fathom how I could possibly respond to that, all while my own nerves and worries attacked my mind instantly with questions like, ’Is that what they did?’ and ’Do all my new friends pity me?’ and so on and so forth. It wasn’t until Natalie, who had overheard while she peered into our telescope, grabbed me by the shoulders and steered me away while sending a withering glare at the girl.)

Obviously, the location had not been disclosed—and Rose had placed a ‘SNEAK’ charm on every invitation ensuring that no one would spread the word by mouth.

“This way,” Rose explained to me, while casting the charm, “anyone who tells anyone without an invitation will automatically be branded a ‘sneak.’ That way, everyone will see that they disclosed the location of the party and they won’t be let through the door if they try to go anyway.”

I had frowned.

“What about the people they tell?” I asked, curiously.

Rose shrugged.

“Oh they can feel free to come. It’s not their fault one of their stupid friends told them. Of course, as soon as they know the location they’ll be included in the charm and if they tell anyone else, then they’ll be branded.” She said simply.

Scorpius, who had been sitting at her side at that point, leaned forward and wrapped an arm around her delicate shoulders.

“And by branded,” he expanded. “My completely non-violent, normal girlfriend means they’ll be given some well placed pimples that wouldn’t have appeared had they kept their mouth shut.”

Apparently she learnt the charm from Hermione.

Which I could only classify as AWESOME mother-daughter bonding.

What had been disclosed, however, was the theme that—after what I’m sure was hours upon hours of argument, discussion and stupidity in the Gryffindor common room—we had all finally come to agree on.

“So,” I heard a voice as I sat alone at the Hufflepuff table, Oz and Char having just departed so that Char could sort something out with Carson. “What exactly does What You Aren’t mean, as far as theme’s go?”

For a moment I was floored to see Emily sit opposite me, her perfect hair hanging loosely on her shoulder, before she flicked it out of her way. The headband that held her fringe out of the way was almost painfully and yet brilliantly familiar.

My jaw dropped a little, and a choked for a moment on the sausage I had just taken I bite of.

Emily smirked slightly, and pushed a glass of water in my direction, while I hacked and coughed and tried to breath.

Once my lung was once again receiving the oxygen that they needed, I swallowed my breath for a moment and inhaled sharply.

“Oh, uh... well... it’s just this thing...”

It was surprisingly easier to back the theme choice up to strangers. Emily wasn’t even doing anything intimidating. If her body language hadn’t changed too much in the time that we hadn’t spoken—and I doubted that it had—she was actually subconsciously trying to make this easier for me.

She had leant back in her chair, and both her arms was wide—each elbow hanging off the back of the chair casually, with her recently buttered toast hanging delicately in her hand. She didn’t take her eyes away from me, but she wasn’t staring. It was as though she was talking to me like nothing had changed.

I almost fell over.

She seemed to notice I was having my difficulties enunciating, so she leant forward. She kept her body language open and a light smile on her face as did.

“I just mean,” she said, after swallowing a bite of her toast. “It’s a bit wide, isn’t it? I could come as practically anything.”

That was sort of the point, Rose said, when Fred brought up the same problem while the idea was still in the planning stages.

“We’d rather have a whole lot of diverse different costumes, instead of having six or seven people as the same thing. That sort of conflict leads to fights, arguments, and even if it doesn’t physically upset someone, inside they’re usually berating themselves for not having a costume as great as the other, or they’re patting themselves on the back for being the best dressed there. Those are, as anyone knows, negative vibes that would severely bring down the mood of the party.” She had explained.

We had all stared at her for a second.

“What are you, part-Vulcan?” I asked.

Of course, no one in the room understood my Star Trek reference and the odd gazes turned to me, transformed to chuckles and we all moved on to the next point, leaving only me to bask in the brilliance of my remark.

Pah. Typical, when I am witty, no one would understand the muggle reference.

However, when I was confronted with the same question from Emily, could only find the brain power to re-spurt Rose’s technobabble of an explanation.

Emily raised a delicate eyebrow.

“Uh huh...” she said sceptically.

I grinned like a moron, with wide eyes.

“What are you going as, then?” Em asked, after she took in my expression with one of her kind smiles that I missed like crazy. “If you going as ‘who you aren’t’?”

Of course, I already had a costume idea.

Or, Fredhad the costume idea and refused to let us leave his presence until we had all sworn to him that we would indeed go with him in our travelling pack of five.

Now, we literally had no choice but to do as what Fred had suggested.

No joke.

Unbreakable vows were involved.

“It’s a surprise.” I told Emily.

Of course, I had been the only one stupid enough to go along with the unbreakable vow.

Rose, when Fred suggested it, had rolled her eyes and then, instantly seeing Scorpius’s look of wide eyed wonder at the idea of risking his life for a party, had grabbed her boyfriend by the arm and dragged him out of the room.

I had instantly told Fred and Al that they better follow them but Fred had shrugged.

“Are you kidding me?” he asked with a loud bark of laughter. “I should’ve dropped that stupid class in fifth year.”

Albus looked less unconcerned.

Five minutes later, we found ourselves, arm’s clenched together while Sean maintained the spell—and I swore to Al and Fred that I would go to this party in the costume he had suggested, or not at all, and I wouldn’t tell a soul about the brilliant idea.

Ten minutes later, when the rush of risking my life had calmed down I began to freak out a little.

But Fred talked me out of it. Luckily enough, neither of us had to wait too long to keep the secret—the party being tonight. We had plans to meet and hour before the party to coordinate costumes that Fred swore he would procure in a totally legal fashion.

Emily raised her eyebrow in response to my quick answer to her question, but I just shrugged.

“All I can tell you,” I said, mysteriously, with a sudden burst of confidence to talk like a normal person overcoming my nerves. “Is that it’s a group thing, and if something gets in the way of my going through with it, I’ll die....”

Em chuckled lightly.

She had no idea how literal I was being...

“Fine.” She laughed. “Don’t tell me.” She sighed slightly, leaving only room for a slightly awkward silence between the two of us, while I fiddled with my fingers in my lap, and she watched me.

I couldn’t read the look on her face—mostly on account of every time I caught her eye I instinctively shifted my gaze, and then flinched. But there was another element to her expression that I’d never seen before.

She looked almost...

...Nervous?

I tried not to look too shocked as I finally recognised the look on her face—only because she swallowed, shifted slightly in her seat, and then bit her lip. And I got it.

That was the look that I saw in the mirror every time I looked. Mostly before some big event—and meetings with Albus.

But I’d never, ever seen it on Emily.

...it was oddly disconcerting.

I didn’t have time to call her on it, though—not that I would have, just saying—before she shifted again and took a deep breath. Then she leant in.

“Katie.” She said, her voice wavering slightly as she said my name before strengthening. “Spend the day with me.”

I stared at her.

“I know I’ve been a bitch,” she said quickly, when I didn’t reply right away. “And I know I don’t deserve your forgiveness—or even the time of day. But I miss you. You don’t have to forgive me, but I miss you like crazy and I have since the first day. And above everything else, I know that I can’t be angry at you anymore, even if you’re still angry with me.”

I literally felt numb. My senses had all stopped, except for one. My hearing was amazing—I could hear blood rushing in my head and Emily’s voice was the only voice I could hear in the entire chatting hall.

“I’m sorry, Katie. I’m really sorry.”

Fireworks exploded in my head.

I’m not sure what the feeling was. It wasn’t the same exhilaration I had felt when Albus almost kissed me—uhm, why would it be?—but it was at the same measure.

Emily had said sorry.

Emily had said sorry.

To me...

Excitement filled me and I could hold it in, a huge grin on my face.

“Of course I’ll spend the day with you, Em.” I told her, in a rush of words and smiles. “I’ve missed you, too.”




In the rush of the party, and Emily’s new interest in talking to me, my problems with Todd Williams and the curse—I had failed to notice that this weekend was the Hogsmeade weekend.

Of course, since half of the things I was freaking out about were either about Em, or top, top, top secret things that I could not tell Emily, when I asked her where we were going, she looked at me like I was a moron.

“Hogsmeade,” she said, as though it was obvious. Duh, she would have said, if we weren’t both treading on thin ice—and worried about falling. How the hell did you not know that?

Of course, since we both were walking around each other like we were on the edge of the Astronomy tower, she didn’t actually add this.

But I didn’t mind.

“Sorry,” I muttered in a hasty apology, allowing a grin to slip onto my face. “I’ve been a bit busy.”

She laughed lightly, as we both began to relax. “Clearly...”

We opted to not take a carriage—and instead walk down to Hogsmeade. I had to run to the Gryffindor table for a moment, to tell Rose and Albus—the only ones at the table at that point—that I would be opting out of the day of tutoring Rose had planned so that I could reconnect with Emily.

Of course, Rose’s eyes had narrowed slightly before she slipped a fake grin onto her face.

“Be nice,” I warned her. “Things won’t go back to the way they were,” I said with a serious expression, glancing to where Em was waiting for me at the doors. “But she’s my friend to.”

Rose nodded, flustered and shuffled her homework on the table. She took a deep breath and looked back at me, this time with a real smile on her face.

“Sorry, PMS.” She excused herself, ignoring Albus as his face scrunched up in disgust and he leaned away from her, making a noise like: ‘Eugh.’ “Good luck, Kats,” she said, smiling.

Albus, who had shuffled a good way away from Rose at that point, pulled his attention from his cousin and looked at me, the disgusted face sliding away.

“Yeah,” he said, reaching forward and grabbing my hand. “It’ll be fine. You’re a charmer—and you’ve laid five years of ground work.”

He squeezed my hand slightly, and I felt my heart speed up. I flushed and stared at him for a moment, holding his gaze until Rose cleared her throat. I started, blushing again, before pulling my hand from Al’s.

“Thanks guys. See you tonight.” I said, hurriedly, before turning on my heel and walking away—face flaming.

I had greeted Emily at the door to see her high eyebrow and recognisable smirk, but as of this point, she hadn’t asked about what exactly with was going on between me and Albus.

And, seeing as even I had no bloody clue, it was probably a good thing.

“What’s the deal with you and Potter?” She asked at that very second.

I flinched.

I’d forgotten how she could tap into my internal monologue without a second thought.

Or, at least, that was my explanation for the psychic tendencies that I had always been so confused by in the early years of our friendship. (Later on, I just learned to get used to it.)

However, my confusion concerning my ‘Albus’ situation was enough for me to overlook it quickly.

So I coughed slightly. “Albus and I?” I said. “There is no Albus and I.”

Em quirked a brow. “That’s not what it looks like.” She said. The way the sentence came out, made it sound as though she wanted to add something, but had thought better of it.

I blushed again.

She noticed my blush and inhaled, apparently deciding that I had been embarrassed enough for the day.

“So,” Emily said, changing the subject. “How was your Christmas?”

I thought back to it, letting all thoughts of the complicated mess that was Albus and me. Meeting Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Weasley had certainly been a high point. The others meeting my parents hadn’t gone as great as I would have liked, but when compared to the Death Eater attack, I had nothing to complain about.

Except perhaps Fred.

Emily seemed to understand.

“He did what?” she echoed incredulously when I recounted the moment when he did meet my parents.

I flinched at the memory myself.

“Yep,” I declared, resigned. “Walked up—well, sneaked up, really—and just jumps in and introduces himself as my husband.”

Emily giggled slightly.

“I’ll bet your dad was surprised.” She said lightly.

That was an understatement, I thought, recalling my father’s eyebrows disappearing into his receding hairline, and his teeth automatically clenching together. His grip around my arm—the hand that he hadn’t dropped, at that point—tightened around my wrist.

“I mean,” I explained. “You’d think he’d get it, don’t you?” I asked her.

She continued to look at me, waiting for me to expand on my point.

So I did.

“You’d think that he’d understand that a few days after I’ve been in the middle of a Death Eater attack, my father—who I’ve always described as an anti-magic, muggle-want-to-be, overprotective father—doesn’t want to meet an alleged ‘husband’ that I haven’t yet told him about, you know?”

Emily nodded, knowledgably, as though she knew exactly what I was talking about.

And it turned out, she did.

I didn’t exactly have the chance to find out, though, as Todd Williams chose that moment to round the corner, Indiana attached closely to his hip—giggling at a ridiculously high lever as she ran her hands across his chest.

“Ah.” Em said, with a resigned sigh. “Satan.”

...we are so on par.

“That is certainly a way to address him,” I said my nose scrunching up as the couple leaned towards each other and snogged.

Of course, we were heading towards Hogsmeade, and it seemed Todd and Indiana were heading back. Which meant that if we both kept on our current paths, there would be an encounter of some sort.

I didn’t doubt it.

Mostly because Emily and I were, respectively, Satan’s scorned ex-girlfriend, and his bitch.

As if on cue, Todd looked up and noticed us.

“Ah!” He said, in an exuberant, overstated, jack-ass fashion. “If it isn’t my two favourite Hufflepuffians.”

He threw out his arms, as though expecting us to run into his arms and give him a bear hug.

“Oh god,” Em said, swallowing for a bit, her hand pressing to her throat. “Sorry, Katie,” she said loudly, and I knew nothing was actually wrong. “I just threw up a little.”

Todd smiled through his teeth, close enough to have heard Em’s remark.

“What is it, Emmy?” He asked with bright eyes. “Too painful to see me with another woman?” he pouted, attempting to look empathetic.

Emily raised her brow, in a way that made her automatically seem superior to her ex.

“That might have been it,” she said simply, “if you were with a woman.” She pointed at Indiana. ”That?” she said with a deep breath, “is a troll.”

Ah.

I’ve missed her.

Todd tutted, his finger lifting as he shook it at Em.

“Now, now, Emmy.” He said, with one of his stupid grins. “Jealousy does not become. Green isn’t your colour.”

Em sighed, and faked her own sympathetic look.

“You’re lucky that green does suit you, Todd,” she said, fluttering her eyelids, her voice adopting an overstated falsetto. “It’s a big eyed, bug thing.”

Todd’s eyes flickered in annoyance.

Em looked over to me, holding onto her sympathetic eyes.

“Too bad we can’t squash this one, huh, Katie?” she asked.

I looked straight at Todd, my face stony cold, as I stared into his grey depthless eyes. He caught my stare and his face straightened, the grin disappearing, as he stared right back.

“Yeah.” I said, not dropping his gaze. “Too bad.”

Todd rolled his eyes, and Indiana, who had rolled her eyes through the entire exchange, rubbed his chest again.

“Let’s get out of her, babe.” She said. “My eyes can’t take looking at them for much longer.”

Todd narrowed his eyes at me for another moment, his glare sending icy shivers down my spine, before he nodded. He lifted his arm—the one that had dropped from Indiana’s waist when he noticed us—and draped it heavily over her shoulders. He shoved his other hand into his pocket.

“Yeah, babe,” he said, not pulling his gaze from mine.

They began walking now, shifting to the left, while Em and I shifted to the right. Todd and I were both in the middle of the path, so when we came side by side, Todd didn’t hesitate slamming his shoulder into mine, sending me stumbling into Em, who caught me, and sent Todd’s back a withering glare.

I couldn’t be bothered to do anything like that.

Because I had felt Todd’s hand and, more importantly, the note that he had pulled from his pocket and jammed into mine as he pushed by me. I felt the blood drain from my face and I clenched my teeth.

Of course Todd would call me on his terms at some stage.

The note felt as though it was a red hot poker, sticking into my side.





Hey Guys.

There is the end of chapter 33, and I’m sure you’re probably getting sick of Filler’s at this point—which is completely understandable. I assure you now that the next chapter will get straight back to the meaty part of the plot—and the Twin’s party, which is exciting enough.

Concerning Emily, I know a LOT of you guys aren’t her biggest fan and I just want to stress to you that while I probably should have seen that coming, I never wanted you guys to hate her as much as you guys say you do. So let me clear some things up. None of my characters (or the ones embroiled in the Emily-Katie-Eric fight) are evil or bad in any sense of the word. They are, keep in mind, sixteen years old and everything in their world seems far more important that it actually is.

Eric has his own reasons for getting angry with Katie, as does Emily. Had I told the story from Emily’s POV, or even Eric’s, I’m sure all of you would think Katie was the evil one. It’s all a matter of opinion and while new relationships have been introduced and changes to Katie’s, Emily’s Eric’s etc. Lives are certainly present; I don’t want you guys to be angry with me if Em or Eric come back into Katie’s life. Because Eric and Em have been Katie’s closest friends for five years and this fight isn’t one they’d let separate them forever. :P Hopefully you guys understand.

Thanks for reading, though, and I hope that you liked this chapter. I’ll update asap.

G.



Chapter 34: The Puff Inbetween
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Another language warning, pals. You have been warned. Also, I had to switch to a new banner maker, and I thought you guys might like to see Katie again, since it’s been a while. Hope it’s not a problem! ;)

I don't own anything your recognise. I was asked to cite the Buffy quote but instead I've re-written that entire section and taken them out. Cheers.

34. Some Gryffindors, a Slytherin and the Puff in-between







The note was simple enough.

Four o’clock today. The Library.

It certainly had an air of Humphrey Bogart to the entire thing—only I wasn’t off to meet him so that he could propose to me and sweep me of my feet. Instead, Todd Williams would probably threaten me, and make me do some of his evil bidding so that his name wasn’t blackened if I was caught.

So... not Humphrey Bogart much at all.

On the other hand, at this point, I really had no choice.

The vial that he held in his hand the moment that our little arrangement had started, was now sitting tightly around his neck—he had somehow attached a silver chain to the cork that plugged the top of it—and I hadn’t seen him without it, since. Some of his more avid admirers had even recreated their own memories, placed them in vials and charmed them around their necks, but I wasn’t going to hold it against them. They were fans of Todd Williams.

And therefore, clearly insane.

And yet, what did that say for my own sanity, I thought, as I walked into the library as nonchalantly as ever, and whistling so as to act inconspicuous.

“Shh!” Reed hissed at me, peering at me over her outdated glasses. “How many times do I have to tell you, Miss Dalton?”

I stared at her, my lips shutting close.

“I’ll be keeping a close eye on you.”

Great.

Bloody great.

Good work, Dalton.

I smiled sweetly at Reed, before turning on my heel and heading towards the studying tables. I seated myself neatly at my normal studying table, and waited for ten minutes before realising that if Todd Williams wanted our little transaction to work out properly, he probably would rather we didn’t meet in the absolute middle of the studying area.

Frowning, I stood again and this time headed into the book section—hoping maybe I could borrow some curse books before Todd got here.

Of course—when I felt a strong hand wrap around my upper arm and tug sharply, I figured I probably wouldn’t be able to fit it in.

“Christ, Dalton,” Todd seethed, dragging me towards the back of the library. “Were you born this thick or did you take special Hufflepuff classes or something?”

I frowned.

“Excuse me?”

Todd rolled his eyes. “Right,” he concluded. “Genetic then. I assume all your relatives are just as dull?”

I rolled my eyes, mimicking him.

“Are all your relatives this insufferable and irritating?” I asked through clenched teeth, as I wrenched my arm from his grip. It didn’t appear to matter anyway, as we had arrived where he wanted us to be.

Right outside the Restricted section.

Bollocks.

“Right,” said Todd, as he stared at me tiredly. “As much as I just love listening to your pathetic, unpractised attempts at insulting me—”

“—Give me time,” I interrupted him. “Keep on forcing me to spend time in your presence and I’ll have lots of opportunities to practise.”

Todd glared at me, clenching his teeth. He took a deep breath.

“Shut up, Dalton,” he said coldly. “We don’t have much time.”

He then motioned to the restricted section.

My eyebrows flew into the air—as though I hadn’t predicted that was coming as soon as I saw the word ‘Library’ on his stupid, confusing note.

I sighed, thinking about the vial and why all this was worth it, before looking up at the huge barred doors that stopped entrance into the restricted section.

“You’re going in there,” Todd said, as though it was the easiest task in the world.

I narrowed my eyes at him.

“In there?” I echoed, frowning.

He nodded.

“You do know it’s called the ‘Restricted Section’ for a reason, right?”

He stared at me tiredly.

I stared at him with obvious eyes.

“Restricted,” I clarified, “referring to the general ‘no access without written permission’ clause that’s usually affiliated with the word ‘Restricted.”

Todd narrowed his eyes at me this time, clearly noticing that I wasn’t going to enter the restricted section without protest.

He tugged on the vial around his neck.

“Every glass. And you won’t be able to send another warning message, Katie,” he said quietly. “Because I’ll have you, locked up—inside the ‘no access without written permission’ room.”

I scowled, but let my shoulders slump, indicating my defeat.

Devil child.

“Fine,” I muttered coldly, folding my arms across my chest. “What is it that you need in the restricted section?”

Todd reached into his pocket and pulled out another three slips of paper, handing them to me. On every one, was a different small number and set of letters, written in tiny print.

I frowned.

“Really?” I demanded, scowling. “Three separate pieces of paper? Haven’t you heard anything about the current environmental crisis?”

Todd stared at me.

Greenhouse emissions, meet Todd Williams.

Your satanic creator.

Or at least contributor.

“You’re like, sponsoring the end of the world,” I hissed, waving the paper in front of his face. “Have some consideration for the smaller people.”

Todd stared at me.

“Smaller people aren’t important. They’re small so that the bigger people don’t have to bend their knees too far to squash them into nothing.”

...

Charming.

“Guess not,” I said frankly, pulling the paper away from Todd’s face—because for all I knew he could have been on the brink of attacking me. I glanced down at the pieces of paper again before slipping them into my pocket.

I turned on my heel, not anxious to stay and exchange friendly goodbyes.

His hand caught my arms again in a ridiculously painful grip.

“Jesus!” I said, pulling my arm away and rubbing it. “What is your deal?”

For what seemed to be the billionth time in Todd William’s presence, I surprised myself with my own amount of confidence.

Todd couldn’t have appeared to care less.

“Where do you think you’re going?” he demanded, once again nodding his head in the direction of the restricted section.

I narrowed my eyes at him, again.

“Look, Williams,” I hissed, in a whisper I tried to make threatening (even though it really sounded as though I had something large and gross stuck in the back of my throat.) “I don’t know what you wacky Slytherins do to get into the restricted section, but I’ve heard that it’s usually not done in the middle of the afternoon—while the Librarian watches me like a hawk.”

I motioned to my left. Madame Reed, apparently noticing she had been caught watching me with her freaky hawk eyes, raised one of her pencil thin eyebrows and narrowed one of her eyes.

Todd’s face twisted into what his fan club (and Emily until the days of the Incident) a dreamy looking smile, and waved over at Madame Reed. Madame Reed, apparently deciding I was in responsible company, smiled back at him and then bustled off.

How is it that she believes Todd Williams is a super guy, while thinking that Albus and Fred and Scor are the Devil’s triplets—and me and Rose their mistresses?

“It’s all about who you know, sweetie,” Todd said, in a sickly sweet voice.

I gagged.

“And no, Dalton, we wacky Slytherins as you call us, don’t go into the Restricted section in the middle of the afternoon. We do so in the night, when no one is looking.” He spoke to me as though I was the stupid one here, not him.

Bad names for him whizzed through my head at a speed that I could barely register.

“But,” he whispered in my ear, “We usually need a key. Seeing as its locked and all.”

I glared at him.

“And how do you intend to get the key?” I asked him coldly.

Todd grinned.

“It’s all to do with the charm,” he said. “So while I go and sweep our aging Librarian off her feet, you’re going to sneak into her office. Understood?”

Jackass.






The key to the restricted section was tucked neatly in my pocket—it had gone down extremely and annoyingly smoothly—and he had been able to distract Madame Reed with a disturbing ease.

I tried not to think about the stupid piece of jagged metal as I met Fred in the Gryffindor common room at exactly six o’clock. Now that I knew where Fred Sr.’s painting were, he kept me up to date on the Gryffindor password, and people didn’t look at me oddly when I arrived there anymore.

Of course, Fred didn’t pay an ounce of attention to the few looks that I did get—a Hufflepuff student inside the Gryffindor common room.

“They’ll get over it,” he brushed it off. “Everyone else has.”

Which was true. Sean and Sam—who were perfecting their costumes in the corner, and incinerating the plans for the party—merely glanced our way, with a slight wave of the hand, before turning back to their masterpieces. Rose was with Scor, Fred told me, and were on their way back from the Slytherin common room where she had fetched him. Albus was in his room, perfecting his own costume that he was also bound to via Unbreakable vow—and not nearly as concerned as I thought he should be.

“What if... we all show up in the same costume?” I asked Fred, as the thought occurred to me. “Oh, my god—does that violate the unbreakable vow?”

Fred rolled his eyes, shaking his head as though I was crazy.

Unfortunately that seemed to be the case. Every single thing that went wrong at any moment since making that vow had made me think I was about to die. Thoughts like ‘holy crap does that violate the vow’ occurred to me with nearly every second sentence.

“Katie, Katie, Katie, Katie,” he said slowly, shaking his head and resting a comforting hand on my shoulder. “Fear not. I have made many an unbreakable vow over the years, over many a trivial thing, against many a protest of my mother. We’ll be fine.”

He then grabbed my arm, and pulled me towards his dorm, where Albus was.

“Besides,” he said as we walked up the stairs. “Who else could think of this costume? It’s brilliant...”






“This was awesome, Katie, thank you.” Sam gushed to me, as Emily and I entered. She had come dressed as a professor—a joke that she and I got more than anyone else in the room—but even with the older, more stuffy robes she looked every part the babe she had once been.

I smiled at Sam. Emily, not really aqquainted with Sam, smiled at the two of us, before locating the drinks table.

“Thanks for the invite, Katie,” she nudged me with her shoulder. “See you around?”

I smiled at her, nodding, as she flounced over to the table.

Sam’s eyes followed her as she went.

“I have to say,” he said slowly, “that is far better than I thought you would have done.”

Despite it not being my intention when I invited Emily, I had noticed a few nights later that I still didn’t have any one for Sean—like Sam had asked.

Of course, Em had chosen that moment to come in and talk to me and I had realised that in reality she and Sean were the perfect match.

In an odd sense they suited each other, my mind had concluded, after I snuck out of the Room of Requirement. They were both totally confident, totally sure of themselves, totally good looking and both totally single.

Plus, he wasn’t an insane psychopath, so that was a step up from her last boyfriend.

But Sean would need some advice. I quickly instructed Sam to fetch Sean for me and send him over.

“See that girl?” I asked, when he did join me.

It was clear that he had. On his way over here, his eyes hadn’t left her.

“That is Emily Cook. One of my oldest friends, with whom I am beginning to repair a friendship.” I told him seriously.

Sean nodded, not looking away from her.

“She is exactly your type. And you are exactly hers.” I continued with a light grin on my face. “Go get her, tiger.”

Sean pulled his gaze away from her, for the first time that night, and widened his eyes at me.

“What?” I asked with a slight frown.

“Seriously?” he said, his brows furrowing in confusion. “You want me to go over and seduce your friend, knowing full well my reputation.”

I smirked at him, and leaned my head close to his.

“Sean. Listen to me, very carefully.”

He frowned—but a look from me made sure he didn’t say a word.

“That, there, is Emily Cook. One of my oldest friend with whom I am beginning to repair a friendship.” –I was aware that that was the second time I’d said that in the last few minutes, but I figured it was a strong start to the point I was about to make. — “She is a bonafide sex goddess—keep that in mind. She had dated the evil minds of Todd Williams and the like and ever since those encounters—she will never let a boy faze her. Keep that in mind, Sean. You are nothing compared to her. This is a challenge, and if you can keep her for even a month I will applaud you.”

It was wrong, obviously, for me to be doing this to Emily, but I figured that since I was saving her ass—concerning the Todd Williams debacle—she could at least do me a favour regarding the Sean problem that I had forgotten about.

Sean’s eyes narrowed in Emily’s directions.

“Challenge accepted, rookie. Bring it.”

As he made his way over to Emily I frowned—a pit of something swirling in my gut. I talked it away. If ever there was a match in this castle it would be Emily Cook and Sean Finnegan. And there was no way that particular relationship was going to start without some sort of challenge being accepted by one of them.

Meh. It would be a good story for them to tell their kids one day.

With this thought reassuring me, I made my way away from Sean and Emily, to Al’s side, where Fred was, and prepared to show Rose and Scor our brilliant costumes.

“I have to say,” Rose said as she stared at me through narrowed eyes. “It’s a bit uncanny.”

I smiled, nervously. I was a bit worried about what Rose would say about my costume idea. But she didn’t seem offended or annoyed—just amused.

Scorpius was peering at Fred.

“I am getting the sudden urge to suck up to you,” he said, “like I always do with the real thing.” He glanced at Al. “And you, as well.”

Albus grinned at him, Rose shot him an annoyed look and Fred snorted.

“What?” Scor said, holding his hands up as though Rose had him at gun point, not glare-point. “I do. I won’t lie about it—do you know how many years of sweet talking it took to get that guy—and you to like me?”

Rose rolled her eyes before looking back at me and examining my makeup and hair—both of which Fred and Albus had done at, and been disturbingly good at for two seventeen year old males.

“It did not take sweet talking,” Albus said rolling his eyes. “My Dad and Uncle Ron were totally fine with you. You just thought that they’re teasing and annoying you was a sign of no affection.”

Scor puffed out his chest with pride—and action that I didn’t understand until he spoke. “But now I know that it’s exactly the opposite,” he grinned. “You’re daddies all love me!”

That was who we were dressed up as.

All three of us had stayed wearing our Hogwarts robes—only I had exchanged my Hufflepuff colours for Rose’s Gryffindor—and Fred’s had been charmed to look older and certainly not as well kept (which you wouldn’t have thought Fred Weasley’s robes would be anyway.)

My hair had been puffed out—now it sat in tiny curls, far more exuberant than my straight hair had ever been. Some would even call it ‘bushy.’ For the sake of appearances I had a largish book—Hogwarts; a History—tucked beneath my arm, even though Albus had somehow managed to make it weightless so carrying it wasn’t much of a bother. My eyes, I thoughts, were alright, seeing as they were already brown, but Fred hadn’t been satisfied.

“Nope,” he had said, his wand near my face. “Your brown colour and the brown colour we’re looking for a different.” With a wave of his wand—the dark brown of my eyes had been replaced by a warm chocolate.

“You can undo that, right?” I verified, narrowing my new eyes at him.

Fred rolled his eyes as though I was asking a stupid question.

But now, I thought, it had probably been a good idea to change the colour. My costume was the least prominent of them all, followed closely by Fred’s.

Fred’s normally light ginger hair was darkened, now a flaming red. Instead of leaving it neatly cropped, like Fred usually wore his hair, he had done a spell that lengthened it, so that the ends now brushed his shoulders. His eyes had been swapped from his charming green to a bright blue and his limbs had been stretched a bit—so that he was taller, and a little ganglier. His robes, as I said, were scruffy, and the wand that he held had some spello-tape around the middle, even though his wand wasn’t broken in half.

And that was obvious enough, but not nearly as great as everyone agreed Albus’s costume was.

His robes hadn’t changed—neat and Gryffindor suited him. But despite that, he was the most interesting costume, because it was exceptionally hard to tell that he wasn’t the man he had dressed up as. His hair was stylishly messy—but not in the way that I had grown to adore—instead it was more unruly and unpredictable, and no matter what Al did, he wasn’t able to flatten it. He was wearing a pair of circular black rimmed glasses that sat neatly on his nose and his very own lightning bolt scar was half hidden my by crazy hair.

“Like I said,” Rose said, still peering at me before scanning the boys again. “It’s uncanny.

Fred held up his hands in a triumphant hive five to Albus and I, and he both exuberantly clapped his hands.

“Yay for the best costume ever!” Fred whooped.

Albus grinned.

“Yay for not breaking the unbreakable vow!” I shouted.

Rose froze, her eyes staring at me for a second, and then her suddenly furious gaze swung to Fred. He frowned at me.

“Yay for not breaking what!?”she demanded, eyes ablaze.

Whoopsies.

Fred glared at me as though I had betrayed him and I shrugged—I hadn’t known that Rose had an obvious thing against Unbreakable vows.

My bad.

“Rose. Come on,” Fred said, looking away from me and turning on the charm. “No harm, no foul. Everyone’s here to have a good time—why don’t be just enjoy ourselves?” He asked with an angelic flutter of his eyelashes.

Rose’s viper like hand lashed out faster than I could see it and thwacked him across the back of the head.

“You idiot.” She hissed. “Those vows kill people, and you did one about your costume idea?”

That was a good point.

Then she rounded on Albus and I.

“And YOU?” she continued her wide-eyed tirade. “You went along with this? I thought you were smarter than this moron.”

She motioned at Fred, who looked at the pointed finger and then smiled—as though her was flattered by the name.

“Jeez, Cous,” he said sarcastically. “I love you, too.”

Rose threw him a withering glare.

“One day, Fred Weasley,” she said turning to him again, “your stupid schemes will inevitably get you killed—at which point I will get drunk, on your grave and dance about how I told you so.”

We all stared at her in horror.

“...Once I can legally drink, of course.” She amended






I had managed to sneak away from the party.

It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would have been, seeing as my friends and company were all so adept at noticing the little things—however, all I needed to do was offer a feeble excuse about finding Emily and they were very happy to let me go off on my own.

Of course, I hadn’t needed to find Emily. Since arriving at the party, she was very suddenly preoccupied talking to Sean Finnegan—and she hadn’t stopped talking to him for the rest of the night.

Todd wasn’t at the party, obviously, it being an invitation event and him being the absolute spawn of Satan, but he hadn’t been interested in anything to do with me going into the restricted section, other than helping me get the key. I was totally alone as I walked up to the library, reaching into my pocket for the slip of paper that he had given me, and the key.

The bushy charm on my hair made it even harder to recognise me than I had thought, so the few students who had seen me creeping about the halls outside the library hadn’t recognised me.

Somehow, being dressed as Hermione Weasley while I did this made me feel all the more guilty.

Frowning at the thought, I continued into the library—the actual sections that weren’t restricted were open twenty-four-seven for the insomniac students or the teachers if there was an emergency. The lights were dimmed of course; the Ravenclaw Common room was around here somewhere, but it was easy enough to get around.

Because of the party in the Room of Requirement, and the ‘Anti-Finnegan-Party’ that was being thrown for all those who hadn’t been invited, the library was relatively deserted. Only a few students were inside now, and all of them were either far too absorbed in their work to notice me, or far too tired to care.

I slipped past them with relative ease.

I was good at this stealth thing...

Once I got to the back of the library I was thankful to notice that there was absolutely no one here.

I pulled out the key and slipped it into the lock.

Maybe the darkened lights of the Restricted Section were too ominous to study soundly beside, because there wasn’t a soul there to witness what I was about to do.

I twisted the lock and the great iron barred door made a quiet ‘click.’

“Kats. What the hell are you doing?”







Ooooh. Who is it? If you can guess I’ll update sooner. (if the chapters finished by then.)

Sorry for the long wait for this chapter, but like I said, I’ve been having some difficulties with validation, and banners and it’s all a complicated mess of computer confusion. I’ll definitely work on it.

PLEASE, PLEASE REVIEW. (Remember, it is the reviews that even inspire me to update!)

Cheers. G




Chapter 35: Espionage With Albus Potter
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BannerFans.com

HELLO ALBUS POTTER. Phwoar... extremely good looking, no?

Below, there is a reference to the Second Wizarding War. Some of the content of these two passages does not belong to me--and was taken from the google search on the War. The direct informaiton came from 'Harry Potter Wikia.' Of course, aside from the actual plot belonging to J. K. Rowling, the attempt to review it in a collected, intellectual fashion was a combination of rewording--and their original summary. As for the specific quotes from the site, as per the validators request, I have underlined...

I would also like to stress, however, that the passages following those, that focus on the idea of long term curses and Adversus Anima belong to me. Adversus Anima is an original curse that I’ve come up with and belongs to me.

Hopefully that’s all cleared up now. Cheers.

35. Espionage with Albus Potter






Once I got to the back of the library I was thankful to notice that there was absolutely no one here.

I pulled out the key and slipped it into the lock.

Maybe the darkened lights of the Restricted Section were too ominous to study soundly beside, because there wasn’t a soul there to witness what I was about to do.

I twisted the lock and the great iron barred door made a quiet ‘click.’

“Kats. What the
hell are you doing?”




Right. So maybe there was a soul witness.

Maybe I wasn’t as stealthy and quiet as I thought, and maybe, I wasn’t as alone as I had initially presumed.

But why, gods, why?

Why did my company have to be Al?

I guiltily turned around, the bushy hair made to imitate his aunt hiding my face as I looked at him with guilty eyes.

“Hey, Al...” I greeted him nervously.

He just quirked a sexy eyebrow at me.

“Katie, would you care to explain why you are headed into the Restricted Section of the library, and why you have a key to aforementioned section?” Albus looked pointedly at the small silver key that I hadn’t even pulled from the lock yet.

There was a slight shuffling from behind a bookshelf nearby and I flinched. I grabbed Al by the arm and pulled, opening the door while I did. I quickly pulled the key from the lock before pulling the door closed behind us.

Then I turned to look at Al.

He was clearly still waiting for me to answer his question.

And, to be frank, so was I.

Because this was my chance. This was my chance to spill everything, and tell him everything that I hadn’t yet been able to say. Todd wasn’t around, we were totally alone and he could be the help I needed.

He could, for lack of a better word, rescue me from Todd Williams.

And then he could carry me away and kiss the life out of me and we’d live happily ever—I’m getting off track.

Still, I thought, as I stared silently up at a patiently waiting Al, this was probably my one and only chance to actually tell someone.

Rescue or not, Albus would help me.

So I’m not sure why it was that I said with a slight shrug and a guilty smile:

“I’m looking for books about curses—I was thinking maybe Adversus Anima is a little more serious than we assumed.”

Bollocks.




Albus and I crept through the surprisingly large restricted section, both of us examining the titles of the books. I was mentally berating myself for not telling Albus the truth, but still unable to work up the courage to tell him.

What if Todd found out somehow and did distribute that memory?

I couldn’t risk it.

So, almost at tears, I continued to browse the books, for the titles that Todd had given me.

Albus was diligently scanning the shelves for anything that even looked remotely like a book about long-term curses. He had agreed with my (spontaneous) theory about the curse being more serious than we had initially thought. We had automatically assumed that curses that resulted in something serious—the ones that weren’t allowed to be in the Hogwarts library in case any junior members of groups wishing to inflict serious harm couldn’t locate them—were out of the question.

But we hadn’t taken the long term into account.

And we should have.

“Oh,” Al said, pulling a book from the shelf and flipping it in his hands. “Three Noses, Three Toes—Making Head or Tails of Simple Mutation Spells,” he read out loud. He looked over at me. “Who would write a book like that?” He said incredulously.

I glanced at the title.

“Mr. Jimeny Worthingsword, apparently,” I said, squinting at the author’s name.

Albus rolled his eyes, looking at the book in disgust before putting it back.

I frowned at him.

“Are you sure we don’t need that?” I asked.

Al shook his head. “You’re not mutated, Kats,” he said without a moment’s hesitation. “I mean, look at you.”

He motioned at me, and I looked down at my own body, confused. When I looked back up at Al, he had flushed and was looking away—focusing closely on the book shelf again. I frowned, before returning my own attention to the bookcase on the right.

And I saw it.

The book in front of me had the same code as one of the pieces of paper.

WAU310

I quickly figured out that the letters and numbers were some sort of library filing system, and this was the book I needed.

I pulled it out.

Silence, Stealth and Secrecy; A Guide to Staying Hidden.

That was not good.

I stared down at the book, trying to control my breathing. Reading the title made what I was doing seem all the more obvious. Whatever it was that Todd had me doing was bad. It was all part of something bad that he was doing—that might even have been worse than what he had done to Em.

And I was helping him.

The only reason that Todd Williams would enlist the help of someone like me is because he would want someone who would ordinarily want nothing to do with him, doing the leg work.

So it couldn’t be connected with him.

For a moment I considered jamming the book back on the shelf and telling Todd to screw himself.

I could do it. I could just stop. Tell Todd that it wasn’t going to happen and report him. I had the guts to do it. I could work up the guts just like Al would. Or Rose, or Scor, or Fred, or Em—

Thoughts of my oldest friend assaulted my mind.

The shattered look on her face when she had screamed in the middle of the Great Hall, watching the owls with that memory attached fly in almost slow motion and myself, going to McGonagall and stopping everyone from seeing it.

I couldn’t put her through that again.

I couldn’t be the reason that she went though that.

I wouldn’t be.

I took a deep breath, staring at the book.

Al had noticed me stopped. “Kats? What’s wrong?”

The book swung behind my back, fast enough that Al didn’t see it. I smiled, with a shaky breath.

“Nothing.” I said hastily. “This place is just a little creepy, that’s all.”

Al looked a little suspicious, before nodding and turning around again. I hastily stowed the book in my bag, squeezing my eyes shut as I took the next step. I stowed the piece of paper with that code on it into the bag as well.

Now that I knew what I was looking for, it was surprisingly easy to locate the next two books. These ones I didn’t even look at. I squeezed my eyes shut as I pulled them off the shelfs—subtly enough to not let Albus know what I was doing—and stowed them in my bag.

Then I joined Albus.

“We should go,” I said quickly. “Get back to the party. We wouldn’t want anyone talking.”

Al looked at me oddly. “You didn’t seem to mind people talking when you snuck away.” He noted.

I swallowed.

“Anyway,” Al said looking back at the shelves. “Look at what I just found.” And he gestured up to the huge shelf that he had just come across—that was labelled, helpfully so, by a small metal plaque across the base of one of the shelves at my eye line.

LONG TERM CURSES

And despite everything, I smiled slightly at Al. He lifted an arm and wrapped it around my shoulder—and action that I found far more comforting than I’m sure he meant it.

“Don’t worry, Kats.” He said with a smile. “We’re going to find this thing and we’re going to stop it.”

And that was the most comforting thing he could have possibly said. Even if what he was talking about finding and stopping was entirely different to what I was thinking.





The Second Wizarding War refers to the conflicts stemming from the Dark Wizard Lord Voldemort's second rise to power after his return in 1995. Voldemort and his followers, the Death Eaters, waged a violent campaign across both the wizarding and muggle communities, seeking to topple the Ministry of Magic and subjugate Muggleborns, with the eventual goal of conquering the entire wizarding world, and the muggle world along with it.


I was sitting in Transfiguration, with Natalie diligently beside me.

“What are you reading?” she asked, peering over my shoulder.

Automatically, I pushed the restricted section book away a little, letting a piece of parchment drop over the words.

“Nothing.” I said quickly.

Nat raised a brow.

I sighed.

“Seriously,” I said, “it’s just some stupid book Rose gave me to go over everything we learnt last year.”

When in doubt, blame the tutoring sessions.

Nat clearly didn’t believe me, but knew well enough that if I was lying I didn’t want to talk about it. As a brilliant friend would, she let the subject drop.

We were doing a theory lesson today, so I didn’t look too out of place as I read my thick book. Natalie only noticed it wasn’t my transfiguration text because she was sitting next to me.

“Here,” Nat suddenly said. She pulled out her wand, and before I could protest, pulled the book from my grasp.

“I’m not looking,” she reassured me, as she kept her gaze firmly on me. “If you don’t want me to know I won’t push it.” She tapped the book’s pages with her wand and I watched as the book changed—no longer looking like the old, dusty book that Al and I had found, and instead like a gleaming new sixth year Transfiguration text book.

I smiled as she handed it back to me, finding the same sentence I was reading, only in a different font.

“Not quite as obvious now,” Nat said with a grin. “And maybe this way it won’t provoke my curiosity again.”

I smiled at her, thankful that it was her sitting beside me. Any other friend of mine would have pushed to find out what it was.

Except for Char.

But Nat and Char were best friends because of the eerie similarities between the two of them, so the fact that they were the same person could and should be easily overlooked.

Anyway, I didn’t dwell on that, and instead returned to my stolen book.


Harry Potter, prophesised as the "Chosen One" capable of bringing an end to Voldemort's power, took an active role in this war, alongside his peers in Dumbledore's Army and the members of the Order of the Phoenix. The Second War technically began on 24 June, 1995, though was not officially announced by the Ministry until 17 June, 1996, and ended on 2 May, 1998, at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, after the death of the Dark Lord.


But I knew that much, I thought as I dwelled on the words in front of me.

I had learnt everything about the Second Wizarding War, and the first for that matter, in first and second year. There had been a huge discussion directly following the war about whether or not the schools should be teaching the younger years about exactly what had happened.

Hogwarts had been a non-issue.

Of course they were going to teach us. It was a preparation, Professor McGonagall said. If anything like it ever happened again she wouldn’t be the headmistress of a bunch on unprepared, badly taught students.

And she wouldn’t let the likes of Dolores Umbridge ever stop her students from being prepared.

Which was inspiring then, of course.

But it didn’t help me now.

I needed something new, now. I didn’t need to hear the same things that I had been taught in first year.

I needed to hear something that deserved to be in the Restricted Section.

However, the death of Lord Voldemort was not the end of the war or its consequences. The surrender signified that there had been a definitive win and loss between sides; however members of both sides were certainly not ready to give up the fight.

That I had heard.

Not in the same way.

Gossip and rumours spread that the war may have been declared finished in the late hours of the 2nd of May, 1998, or, the early hours of the 3rd.

Of course I hadn’t believed it.

Even though, now, it seemed like I should have spent more time trying to figure out if the rumours about continued attacks on muggles and Muggleborns and witches or wizards who didn’t want to be witches or wizards were truth or reality.

Because apparently it all applied to me.

“You alright, Katie?” Nat asked, a curious frown on her face.

I took a deep breath and cleared my face. I shook my hair out of my face and smiled brightly at Nat,

“Unfortunately,” I said with my most charming smile, “I’ve only just remembered how much nothing else matters if I can’t sort out the schooling aspect of the rest of this year.”

Nat smiled at me, sympathetically.

“Aw, Katie, what are you talking about?”

I frowned at her, my mind pulling away from the book and to my well planned excuse that Albus and I had both gone over when I told him that I would try reading some of the books in class.

See?

I may not have been telling him everything but it wasn’t as though I was freezing him out.

“Use the ‘I didn’t see exams coming until they hit me like the Knight Bus,’ excuse,” Albus advised me as the two of us snuck back down to the party after leaving the restricted section.

He had placed the key back on the wall—I had figured I didn’t need it anymore and I wouldn’t want to hang onto it any longer than was absolutely necessary.

“How did you get that?” Al had asked as I hung it on the wall.

I motioned to the assistant librarian, who I had never seen before but apparently guarded the library from eleven in the evening until six in the morning when Madame Reed was back and ready for work. She was sitting at one of the study tables, her back to us, beside I student discussing something in the stack of book that sat before them.

“I waited until she was distracted,” I said simply.

Although Madame Reed had been cougarish-ly distracted by the evil incarnate that was Todd Williams, rather than an innocent Ravenclaw fourth year.

But I had figured that Al didn’t need to know that much.

“You know what I’m talking about.” I said with an annoyed face. “Have you even met me?”

Come on. Buy the lie. Buy the lie. Buy the ingenious Albus Potter lie.

Natalie rolled her eyes and I instantly knew she hadn’t bought it.

Re: Talk to Al about a better, more buyable lie. Apparently the fact that I’m being tutored by Rose Weasley means I must have amazing hidden knowledgeable potential.

“I mean,” Nat said, as she continued telling me about my untapped potential. “You have so much to give to your work that you just haven’t given before. But it seems like you’ve been really motivated lately, and the improvement is obvious.”

Ignoring the fact that Nat had clearly finally cracked, I nodded as though she was right and let my gaze slip back to the book.


One of the main after-effects of the Second Wizarding War was an idea that had not occurred to any following the First Wizarding War. Following the first war, Death Eaters were eager to stay hidden and await the inevitable return of their leader. Following the Battle of Hogwarts, it was confirmed that Lord Voldemort was dead, and most existing death eaters had been positively identified. Instead of returning to hiding, single attacks at the hands of death eaters became far more frequent—usually aimed at Muggles, muggle-borns or wizards who they saw as ‘blood-traitors.’


That I knew also.

Not because they taught it to us but because I had overheard a conversation to the same effect, while I hid in a pantry cupboard with the guy of my dreams.

I felt my entire body go cold.

This was what my mother was talking about.

And my father.

That night, in the kitchen, when my life had changed so entirely and I had heard the name of what may or may not kill me in the near future.

“Are you listening to me?” Nat asked.

I pulled my guilty gaze away from the book and smiled up at her. I swallowed again.

“Sorry.” I said, “It’s a good book.”

Nat frowned at me. “In a minute,” she said, “I’m going to have to steal that book. You’re far to interested in it. It’s uncharacteristic of you.”

I frowned at her.

“Hang on,” I pointed out. “I thought you just said I had knowledgable potential...” I accused her with narrowed eyes.

Nat held her head high, but I could see her eyes darting every where but me.

“Well,” she said, “yes. But, I didn’t actually think you’d, you know, use it.”

I scoffed at her, with a smirk, before rolling my eyes.

“Fine.” I said, as though I was actually angry at her. The neat smile on her lips indicated that she’d figured I wasn’t as angry as I was trying to pretend. “I’ll focus. I’m going to read my book and tap into my untapped potential.”

Nat smirked at me.

“Right,” she said sarcastically.

I narrowed my eyes at her.

“Yes, right.” I said, affirming my plan. “I can be smart.”

Nat smiled at me triumphantly. “Told you so.”

It took me a moment to catch up before I realised that she had somehow managed to make me say out loud that I thought I was intelligent, contrary to mine and Al’s ingenious fake line that was supposed to distract her.

I rolled my eyes at her and looked back at my book.


This is about the time that long term curses returned to popularity. Most were used on young children of the victims—and were intended to be unbreakable, and to force the family to watch their children die as a result of their ‘mistakes’ as the Death Eaters called them. The most common of these are as follows, ordered from by extremity, the most dangerous are at the top gradually lessening as you progress down the list.

*For more information on each, see the page number directly following.


And there it was.

Two from the top of the list, the words looked oddly simple as they sat in front of me. As though the thing that had changed my entire life was just two tiny words that had been printed in a book.


Adversus Anima (Pg. 79)


I snapped the book shut with a slam.




I can be surprisingly cruel when I want to be, can’t I? I don’t even feel bad for the cliff hangers any more. I love cliff hangers.

But do you know what I love more?

Reviews.

And many, many, many reviews + this brilliant cliffie = ONE HAPPY AUTHOR.

One happy author who will love you lots and lots.

Cheers guys, and thanks for reading.

G


Chapter 36: Adversus Anima
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Don’t own anything you recognise. Adversus Anima belongs to me. (Congrats to all who guessed what it pertained to.)

36. Adversus Anima





And there it was.

Two from the top of the list, the words looked oddly simple as they sat in front of me. As though the thing that had changed my entire life was just two tiny words that had been printed in a book.


Adversus Anima. (Pg. 79)


I snapped the book shut with a slam.






I flushed slightly as I noticed everyone in the room turn to look at me in interest, trying to figure out where the loud noise had come from. Natalie had jumped with the noise and was now looking at me while I was insane—while I stared straight ahead. Even Professor Macmillan was looking at me oddly, frowning slightly.

He pushed himself to his feet.

I quickly looked down again, managing to hide the book underneath some of Nat’s parchment of notes. I then pulled my real textbook to my lap and lifted a quill.

“Everything alright here, Miss Dalton?” Professor Macmillan asked, as he stopped at our desk.

I looked up at him.

No.

No.

No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

Everything was not okay.

“Yeah,” I said quickly. “There was this bug in my book and I squashed it.”

I motioned down to the opened book on my lap.

Professor Macmillan frowned. “So you’re telling me there is now a dead bug’s acidic insides eating through the pages of your text book?”

I flushed.

“Uh,” I said lamely. “...yeah.”

I should have seen this coming. What was I doing researching this thing if I hadn’t expected to actually find it? This was it.

I should have been happy about my discovery.

I should have excitedly turned to page 79, like the book had told me to, and I should be busily reading away about what it was that Walden Macnair had done to me. I should be totally excited about this. This was another of my problems that I was almost done with.

No more researching.

No more mystery.

It was there. It was all simply sitting there, beneath a few pieces of Natalie’s homework and my wrist—where I had put it when Professor Macmillan approached, as some sort of subconscious defence mechanism.

He was not taking this book away from me.

It seemed I didn’t have anything to worry about. Professor Macmillan was just chuckling to himself. He sighed, looking back at me.

“Alright, Dalton,” he said well naturedly. “Just scourgify it before you leave, will you?”

I nodded obediently.

Still chuckling, Professor Macmillan turned on his heel and headed towards some other students to make sure they weren’t making paper planes (which they were) three seats ahead of us.

Nat turned her accusing gaze to me.

“Okay,” she said with narrowed eyes. “What the hell was that?”

I stared at her.

“Uhm... a bug?”

She glared at me.

I stared back at her, wide eyed.

She exhaled.

“Fine,” she breathed out. “It was a bug. But whatever it is that you’re reading in that book that’s making you spaz out like this? Maybe you should stop. Macmillan’s getting suspicious.”

I licked my lips, but shook my head.

“I’ll be quieter, I promise.” I told her. “But I’m not stopping reading.”

Natalie laughed.

“Ah, Katie Dalton deciding vocally to not stop reading... who are you and what have you done to the real Katie?”

I found it in myself to crack a smile, before turning back to my book.

I opened it up again, and stared down at the page. Page 79. Page 79.

Page 79.


Adversus Anima. Curse. Casting Incantation: ANIMAUS CARITAS ADVERSE (pronounced: AN-EEM-OU-S CA-REET-A-S AD-VER-S-US)


I was about to let out another loud breath and close the book when I remembered what Nat had said mere milliseconds ago.

I was in my Transfiguration class.

I couldn’t have a spaz out in here.

I had almost closed the book again, deciding that it wasn’t safe to read it in here because I really couldn’t react, when I glanced back at the page.


Created by Castranoth Miles in 1849.


That was enough for me.

The smallest piece of information on this thing was enough to motivate me to find out more. It had been created? Who would create a curse? What kind of sicko...?


One of the most popular long term curses, Adversus Anima is, ultimately, a curse of constant bad luck.


No. That couldn’t be it.

Bad luck?

Bad luck had been with me my entire life. It couldn’t be bad luck. That was just who I was. I was fine with the bad luck.

I couldn’t be getting away from this that easily.

Bad luck?

I could handle bad luck.

I already have handled bad luck. My entire life.

And while that may be exactly what the author is trying to say with all this long term stuff and danger talk, bad luck wasn’t that, well, bad.


It was used frequently in the years following the Second Wizarding War with the specific intention of causing intense emotional pain to the victim.


Intense emotional pain to the victim.

Intense emotional pain.

How was bad luck supposed to do that? My parents had never seemed that worried when I fell down the stairs at home, or when I broke bones. They just shared a look.

Oh.

A look.

Reminding myself with a sharp pinch to my own arm that I couldn’t be stupid about reading this, I took another deep breath in.

On the other hand, I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking, and as hard as I was trying, it was becoming harder and harder to control my own breathing.


In a typical scenario, the caster of this spell would curse a relative or a close friend of the person they actually wish to harm. Aside from being physically dangerous to the actual recipient of the curse, the psychological effects on the people around them are one of the reasons that this curse became so popular.


That was it.

That was me.

I was the typical scenario that the author was talking about. That was what had happened to me.

Walden Macnair had wanted to make my parents feel intense emotional pain.

By giving me bad luck?


A person underneath this curse will experience many symptoms steadily since being cursed, but will not usually know it. This is one of the reasons that Adversus Anima is so dangerous. Many of the symptoms can be easy ignored because of their seemingly harmless nature, and by the time they are recognised to be dangerous it is usually too late to do anything about it.


As I read I was slowly becoming more and more relaxed.

This was all just bad luck.

I was going to be FINE.

It was bad luck.

I didn’t mind bad luck.

Bad luck was just part of who I was.

A giddy grin began to creep on my face and the shaking in my hands began to relax.

This was stupid.

This Castranoth Miles guy had made up from stupid curse of bad luck that Walden Macnair had stupidly selected from a book just like this.


Bad luck that is brought on by Adversus Anima is not simply what every day people would call bad luck (eg. never winning a lottery, or losing one’s wand.) Instead, it is far vaster. Personal lives and business lives are affected in the same way, and situational bad luck is very common.


Wait. What?

Situational. Personal?

...

Was everything in my life that was happening all because of this stupid curse?

Todd Williams blackmailing me? The Malfoy’s New Year party? Emily and Eric hating me? What had happened to Eric?

That couldn’t all be because of the curse.

No.

It had all only just happened. The book said it was a steady curse. Just, constant, ever present bad luck.

That couldn’t be because of me.

I was fine.

I was fine.

I was going to be fine.


As with many long term curses, Adversus Anima works slowly and gradually increases with time. What may have previously been regarded as simple bad luck begins to worsen, with deadly consequences. These symptoms will persist until they culminate, usually within the 30th year of being infected and the curse becomes fatal.


Fatal.


However, in recent studies of those affected it has become clear that other factors of the life of those who have been cursed have a dramatic affect on the curse. Adversus Anima focuses on emotion as a catalyst for effect, making it very unique. Studies have shown that the happier the infected are, the quicker the curse works, bringing the thirty year survival average down. People infected have died as early as ten years after being cursed, because of this particular acceleration process. To this day, there is no cure.

Fatal. No cure.

...I was not going to be fine.

I had no time to process.

It was whirring around in my head so quickly I couldn’t focus—I could only watch as the words popped out in front of my head.

Bad luck.

Constant.

Emotional.

Intense.

Pain.

Catalyst.

Happiness.

Survival average.

Deadly.

Consequences.

Psychological.

Increase.

Dangerous.

Death Eaters.

Second Wizarding War.

No cure.

Fatal.

Fatal.

Fatal.

“Miss Dalton, are you reading the text?”

I looked up to see Nat looking at me as though I was insane. I only then registered that she had been tugging on my arm for the last few seconds, looking at me urgently.

I turned my head again—this time to the front of my desk—to see Professor Macmillan standing back in front of me, smiling down at me with an amused look on his face.

“Miss Dalton?”

I stared at him.

Fatal.

Deadly.

Dead.

No cure.

Died as early as ten years.

“Miss Dalton?”

I could barely hear him now.

I could hear everything else with perfect clarity. I could hear the screaming of my blood as it pounded through my veins. I could hear the beating of my heart as it pushed it. I could hear the hushed whispers of everyone around me. They had stopped studying and every face was trained on me now.

My gaze remained trained on the Professor’s.

The expression on his face changed.

“Miss Dalton, answer me.”

I could barely breathe. The one thing I couldn’t hear was my own breath.

I only then became aware that I was holding it in.

Exhale, my brain told my lungs. Exhale now.

My lungs refused.

Silently I stared up at the Professor with wide eyes.

“Oh, my god Katie, say something...”

I didn’t move to look at Nat—although I faintly registered that she had begun tugging on my arm again.

Fatal.

No cure.

Fatal.




No one’s POV.

Nat stared in horror as her partner stared vacantly up at their teacher. She tugged persistently on Katie’s arm, trying to get her to respond to something.

“Oh, god,” she said frantically, when Katie’s eyes stopped focusing altogether. She wasn’t seeing anything now that much was clear.

Professor Macmillan leapt into action.

“Everyone stand back.” He said—looking at the students who were slowly creeping forward to see what was going on. He looked urgently at the student nearest to the door. “Sabriel. Go and get the matron right now. Tell her that she is required immediately.”

Sabriel, who was staring at Katie with a pale look on her face pulled her gaze away and stared up at the Professor. She took a second to register what Macmillan was saying before nodding and leaping to her feet. She disappeared out the door, pulling her heels off as she exited, and leaving them to clutter to the floor.

“Natalie. Stand up. What happened? What do you think triggered this?”

Nat wasn’t even sure what this was but she knew that it wasn’t time to think about that. She shook her head, trying to think.

“She was reading a book,” she said. “I made it look like the transfiguration text because I thought she’d appreciate it.” She looked down at the desk. “It’s that one, there.”

Macmillan reached for the book, and pulled it off the table.

Nat shrieked.

Katie’s hands, faster than Nat had noticed, flew away from hugging her own body to the book. She pulled on it furiously, pulling it away from Macmillan’s hands and hugging it to her chest.

Macmillan pulled on the book, but Katie wouldn’t let go. Sighing, he gave up.

“Pull the chair away from her,” he said quickly, glancing at the door. “We don’t have time to wait for the matron.”

And then he pulled out his own wand.

Levitating Katie into the air, he motioned for someone to open the doors.

“You will all stay here.” He ordered to rest of the class—while Nat stood beside Katie, grasping at her wrist—as Katie’s hands remained clenched around the edges of the book. “You will not leave this classroom until I have returned. This is not gossip. You won’t spread rumours about this. Am I understood?”

The entire class nodded, even though the Professor hadn’t waited to see their response. He was out the door in second, walking quickly and calmly after Sabriel Malfoy.

Naturally, everyone had heard by the end of the day.




And an even WORSE cliffie.

Hahahahaha. Review and I’ll update.

I definitely need feedback on the 3rd person segment at the end because I might need to utilise that story telling device in the future. From now on, POV changes will be marked.

Cheers.

G



Chapter 37: A Hospitable Visit
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37. Hospitable Visit




“What happened? I don’t understand.”

I couldn’t quite recall waking up.

And I certainly couldn’t remember going to sleep.

For the longest time I’d ever stayed still, I lay in the blindingly white hospital wing, staring at the wooden side of the bedside table, digesting calmly everything that had been so overwhelming in the Transfiguration room.

So there wasn’t a cure, my mind told me reasonably. I still had fourteen more years of—well, not happy years, since that accelerated the process that would inevitably end my life, but it was still—living.

It kind of made the Todd Williams situation seem inconsequential.

But that was the question, wasn’t it?

Was Todd Williams just a player in some huge ultimate game that this curse had worked up?

The way the book had written, it made it seem like Adversus Anima was a thing—a sickness that could infect and manipulate. But that didn’t make any sense. It was a curse. It wasn’t a person. It was inanimate. It had been created by some guy with a backwards name in the nineteenth century.

How could something like that have such a huge effect on my life?

“We don’t know. The answer’s in the book—but we can’t get her to let go of it.”

Hearing the far off words only made me aware of the huge weight pressing down on my arm. I was lying on my side, and I wasn’t going to move to see what it was—or even open my eyes. That required too much physical movement.

Besides, I already knew what it was.

The last thing I could remember was a blurry form of Nat, pointing at the book that was the key to my answers. I had watched in slow motion as Macmillan had reached for it, and knew that that was not an option.

This was my book.

My answers.

I wouldn’t let my stupid teacher find it.

“Have you tried everything?”

I could hear the shuffling. And the voices were just one or two—there were many of them. But none that I recognised.

“Of course we’ve tried everything. Every possible magical way of taking the book—it’s attached to her somehow.”

Of course it was attached to me, I felt like saying. This book was the reason I had for understanding what was going on. For understanding who I was.

Or at least knowing. Understanding was a word that didn’t quite fit in.

Because, honest to Merlin, this curse was something that I did not understand.

“Do you know where the book came from?”

Somewhere in my head I recognised that this was a question that I would want to hear the answer of. But then another part of my head reminded me that there were a lot of questions, more important questions that took precedence.

Because the answers in this book would tell me exactly what was going on.

“The Restricted Section. We don’t know how she got it, but the barcode is on the back and we can see it rather clearly. Maryanne’s gone to see if her records can tell us anything about what’s inside.”

This book called everything into question.

Everything in my life—in the lives of the people around me. Because bad luck wasn’t refined to one person—even if only one person was cursed. Was everything that happened to Eric my fault? Was everything that had happened at the Malfoy’s house my fault? Everything that had happened to me—especially recently, made sense. My luck got worse as I got happier. And I had been happier in the recent year.

Albus had been hanging around me. My crush on him was huge—larger than anything before—and yet, not a possibility. Rose was my best friend—a friend who respected me, and my decisions and the people I wanted to hang out with. Fred and Scor were hilarious, and made me laugh nearly every day.

Had all that made me so happy that the Death Eater’s attacked Scor’s house?

Emily was forgiving me—or on her way to it. Eric hadn’t glared at me for the first time in months.

Was that why Todd Williams had chosen me, of all people, to make do his dirty work?

“Ah, Minerva, you’re here. That’s everyone.”

“Do we know what’s done this? Was it an attack? Tell me everything.”

That was the wrong request, I felt like screaming at the Headmistress. I couldn’t see her, but the wise voice was impossible to miss. I couldn’t find my voice, or even the will to use it if I had found it.

But my lack of voice didn’t matter. I knew that she didn’t want to know everything. I had wanted to know everything.

“Look what it’s done to me!” I wanted to scream at her. But I didn’t. I kept my gaze trained, and focused on the wood of the bedside cabinet.

If Minerva McGonagall didn’t know that knowing everything was dangerous, then it was time she learnt her lesson.

“She was reading the book in my class. I didn’t notice. Natalie Henderson—she’s in my house—cast a spell on the book, so that it looked like the text. I’m not sure what happened exactly. I saw she wasn’t concentrating and went to see what happened but when I said her name she didn’t respond. It was like she was sitting in front of me, but not there at all.”

I had been there, though.

I had been reading.

And he had interrupted me.

I felt a consuming anger through my body as Macmillan said his piece. I couldn’t remember when it was that my subconscious had recognised the voices to be those of the teachers—all I knew was at that point I’d never felt as much fury as I was feeling, directed all at Professor Macmillan.

“Were any other students affected?”

“No. It was just Dalton, here. Henderson was sitting beside her and is just as aware as any other time. I’m not sure what it was that happened, but whatever it was, it only affected Kathryn here.”

Of course it only affected me.

I was the only one it applied to.

None of those others had any idea. No idea what it was like to listen to your own parents change your life with a lie that they didn’t see fit to tell you about. None of them. They were too naive for something like this.

Too lucky

There was a pause in the conversation. I tightened my grip on the book. Or tried to.

I couldn’t even get my own fingers to do what I told them. What if they tried to take the book again? They had the headmistress here again. She had the power to take it.

I tightened my arms around the book again—my fingers finding the will of their own.

“She just moved. Is she waking up?”

I felt the compulsion to frown—but my facial muscles weren’t mine. I wasn’t in control. I stared passively at the wood.

“No. She’s been doing that. Beatrice had to sedate her to get her to lie there. It should have stopped her from moving—which it has, except for the book. We can’t get it.”

“It’s from the Restricted Section, Ernie? It’s probably dangerous.”

It wasn’t dangerous. I would be if they tried to take it from me again. It was my book. My answers. I needed the book.

Again, my hands tightened around the book without my authority.

“She can hear us. Beatrice, give her some more sedation. That might help the poor girl relax.”

I didn’t want to relax.

But then all I felt was a prick in my shoulder, and forgot to remember falling asleep.





“Kats. Katsie, wake up.”

I opened my eyes tiredly, and then jerked in surprise. It appeared I had regained control of my own body. My eyes swam in and out of focus for a moment before they focused in again on the face in front of me.

It was Albus.

I didn’t have time to think about how good looking his face was—aside from a quick ‘Ah, I could wake up to that face everyday’—before I realised the book wasn’t in my arms.

“The book!” I said urgently, pushing myself up so fast that I suddenly couldn’t see for a moment. “Al, where’s the book?!”

Al rested a heavy hand on my shoulder, and again I only had time to revel in the feel for a second before I was frantic again.

“Professor McGonagall took it off you,” Al said.

No. I needed that book.

Instead of the fury that consumed me when the teachers had talked about taking the book while I was in my state of semi-consciousness, I only felt the huge need to get it back.

“Where?” I demanded. “Where did she take it? Is it back in the restricted section? Because we can break back in and take it again. I need that book Al. I need it.”

Al stared at me like I was crazy, but there was a sad smile on his face.

“Kats, the book did something to you,” he said. “That’s why it was in the Restricted Section.”

I shook my head. The book hadn’t done anything to me. I just needed the book. It had my answers in it and I. Needed. That. Book.

“Al we have to get it back.” I told her urgently, my own hand resting on his—surprisingly large shoulder—“I need the book.”

Al looked at me sadly.

“You don’t need the book, Kats.” He reassured me. “That’s what the book did to you. It made you latch onto it. It’s too dangerous for you to read it again.”

I shook my head furiously.

“No.” I told him. “It was in the Restricted Section because it was about curses. Not because the book is evil. I need the book, Al. Give it to me.”

I’m not sure why I was suddenly angry with Al.

I just needed that book.

“Katie. The book isn’t here. I don’t have it. McGonagall took it from you, and—”

I interrupted him. “No.” I said, holding my hand up. “I don’t care what she did with it. I just need it. I really, really, really need it.”

Al looked at me. His sad eyes would have spoken volumes if I was paying attention to them. And I would have been if I didn’t need that book so much.

“Katie. I’m trying to tell you. McGonagall took the book—and it was destroyed.”

I stared at Al vacantly again—not in the same way that I had been staring at Nat in Transfiguration.

All I could feel was pure devastation.

“No. You...you’re lying.” I stammered.

Al leaned back; seemingly surprised I was so upset about this book. How did he not understand? This was the book.

“No, Katie,” he said, “I’m really not. As soon as the book was out of your hands it caught fire. McGonagall said it must have been part of the attachment spell that has you all... wonky.” He motioned to me

And then I couldn’t stop crying.

It was like my PMS mood swings only a thousand times worse and a thousand times more embarrassing. All I could hold on to was the fact that my book was gone. My answers were gone.

Al looked alarmed at my newly appeared tears, but leapt into manly action.

“Jeez, Kats,” he said quickly, his eyes widening. He shuffled forward on the bed—and pulled my head—where it had collapsed into my hands—to his chest. He wrapped his warm arms around me and watched me worriedly as I sobbed. “What was in that book?”

I wailed exceptionally loudly.

I lifted my head to look at him, well aware that I was not crying in any sort of sexy way.

My eyes were bloated—I could feel them—and bloodshot. I couldn’t stop sniffing and my lip was wavering as I sobbed. The tears that streamed down my face ruined the remains of what was once nicely done makeup and left stains on my cheeks—which I’m sure were already blotchy.

But my book was gone.

My answers were gone.

“Everything was in that book, Al,” I sobbed into his chest. “Absolutely everything. “I clutched at his shirt, not thinking about the mascara stains and the tears drops that were soaking through it.

Al paused in his act of rubbing my shoulder. His hand quickly went to my waist and pulled me away from him. He frowned.

“What do you mean?” He asked, looking down at me.

I wiped the tears from beneath my eyes, only to break out in a fresh wave of sobs, throwing at him what I’m sure was a pitiful look.

“It was in there, Albus.”

He stared at me.

“Adversus Anima. I found it. It was in that book, Al. I need that book.”

Al kept his gaze trained on me for another second, his eyes widening, before his hand reached to the back of my head and he pulled me back into his warm embrace.

“Merlin, Kats.” He breathed out slowly, his chin resting neatly on the top of my head. I was consumed by the smell of him. The amazing smell of Albus.

For a second I didn’t care about the book.

Then I squeezed my eyes shut, and the book was back. Visions of the cover, and the words that had somehow wormed their way into my head.

“The book was cursed, Katie,” Al said to me. “That’s why it’s affected you so much.”

I shook my head into his shirt.

“No, that book was my answer, Al.”

Albus shook his head now—and I felt it, as he lifted his head and pressed a quick kiss to my head.

“You’ll be alright, Katie,” he said, almost promising it, as he spoke into my hair. “Do you want to talk about it?”

I didn’t want to talk about it.

I really didn’t.

But then it was all I could do to not scream everything at him. He was listening. He had his arms around me and he was ready to listen.

And I couldn’t not tell him.

“It’s worse than I thought it would be,” I said not pulling away, and instead talking into his shirt. “It’s a curse of bad luck, Al. My luck—the thing that I always thought was just a part of me was put there. It was given to me by Walden Macnair. He made me who I am.”

I felt and heard Al inhale sharply.

“No,” he said, “no Kats, he didn’t.”

He didn’t understand.

“You don’t understand.” I said to him, clenching my fist around the material of his shirt. “He did. Everything that I’ve ever thought about my life—all the good and bad luck—it was all made and influenced by his magic. By his curse.”

“What do you mean?”

I couldn’t see Al’s face, but I could tell that he was frowning. His arms tightened around me—the same way that mine had tightened around the book not too long ago.

“Everything, Al,” I said. “I mean what happened with Eric. I mean what happened with Em, and even the attack at the Malfoy’s house. That reporter who found Rose when she had that non-tracing charm on her. Even the T—” I stopped myself.

That was something that I wasn’t going to tell Albus, even if he said he was listening. Even if it had been brought about by Macnair’s spell, Todd Williams was my problem.

“The Transfiguration problems, and the charms problems,” I saved myself, “They’re all because of stupid Walden Macnair.”

Al shook his head—and again I felt it as my head rested beneath his. “Katie, none of that stuff is your faul—”

“And it gets worse,” I continued, not willing to let him say anything more. “The actual curse gets more and more dangerous as I get happier.”

Albus jerked away from me at that point, so that he could look into my eyes. I was caught by the green of his eyes for a second before he spoke.

“What?” He asked urgently. “What does that mean?”

I shrugged. “It means exactly what I said it means,” I continued. “The happier that I get, with everything—my life, my friends, my grades, my family—the worse the curse becomes. And the result is fatal. The luck gets that bad.”

Albus shook his head.

“No. No, Katie it can’t be like that. It’s not luck if it’s fixed. It’s planned.”

I shrugged.

“It doesn’t matter. It still means that I can’t even enjoy what would be a short life anyway. I can’t do anything...” I said.

The reality of it hit me and I was off, unable to hold it in.

I sobbed again.

“Everything that I ever wanted, Al, I can’t have. I can’t have a job that I enjoy. I can’t spend time with Rose or Scor and Fred because they make me happy. I can’t fix anything with Em, because that would make me happy and I can’t fix stuff with Eric, because that would make me happy as well. If I were going to do anything about how much I like you, I couldn’t do it, because being with you would make me too happy. I can’t have good holidays with my parents, and I can’t do better at school. I can’t get rid of the curse, because there isn’t a cure. I can’t sort out my own life. I won’t be able to get married, have kids or do anything like this. All because of Walden Macnair.”

I looked up at Al.

He had the vacant look on his face now.

He was staring at me.

I slowly ran over my words in my head again.

...If I were going to do anything about how much I like you, I couldn’t do it, because being with you would make me too happy...

Oh god.

Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god.

My alarmed gaze swung to Al. He had gone an odd sort of pale and was staring at me.

“You... like me?” he said, his voice hoarse.

Oh god.

I could see it all.

The odd look in his eye.

The odd expression that masked his features.

He was hiding disgust.

I inhaled so sharply that the air made a sound—a sad pathetic sound as it entered my lungs.

“Get out.” I said suddenly.

Al stared at me.

“Get out,” I repeated. “Get out, get out, get out.”

Al continued to stare.

“Madame Bellows!” I shouted. “GET HIM OUT! I DON’T WANT HIM HERE.”

The look on his face was scared into my retinas. He was disgusted. I had just ruined everything. Our friendship. He was the person I could tell everything too and he was disgusted by my being here.

Madame Bellows, ever the present security guard/matron was there in seconds, her hand wrapping around Albus’s arm as he stared at me and pulling him off my bed.

“Whatever you did, Mr. Potter, you need to leave.” She ordered.

Al shook his head, his mouth opening and closing as he continued to stare at me. Madame Bellows, far stronger than she looked, continued to drag him to the door.

“Good bye, Mr. Potter.”

Yes.

Goodbye Mr. Potter.

To everyone’s—mine and Madame Bellows’s—surprise, I watched as something flashed in Al’s eyes and he wrenched his arm from the matron’s tough grasp. Then he was sprinting towards me.

I leaned back on the bed, shuffling away—he was going to attack me? Angry at me for ruining our friendship?

“MR. POTTER!!” Bellows bellowed. She was clearly surprised he had the guts to run from her.

But no one was more surprised than me when he reached me. His palms cupped my cheeks, and I stared at him with wide eyes. He fell to his knees, so that his head was below mine, and pulled me so that I was looking down at him. He was out of breath from the run, his green eyes staring into my shattered soul as he looked up at me from where he knelt.

And then he pulled my head down, closed his eyes and pressed his lips to mine.

Thoughts flashed through my head at a million miles per hour. I vaguely registered that this was my first kiss and I had no idea what to do. I then really registered that it was Albus Potter who was kissing me—the first kiss I’d ever had in my sixteen years of life (because I’d had boyfriends, but it wasn’t as though I was as exploratory as, well, Emily.)

But this. This?

This was amazing. Everything that I had ever thought a first kiss should be. A kiss as had been dictated in my magazines and by my best friends (Rose and Emily, once upon a time) and by my romance books and the soppy muggle romantic comedies.

Al was barely touching me—but he didn’t have to. Every nerve ending in my body felt like it was on fire. The only place his skin touched mine was where his hands cupped my cheeks. And, where my hands had come up to his wrists—holding him there.

He smelt brilliant. Every smell that I had revelled in while he was trying to stop my crying was there—only tenfold. It was everything. His breath smelt minty—he’d clearly had a breath mint after dinner—but his shirt smelt just like him. Cinnamon and super—he was sweet, almost. It was amazing.

But I was thinking only of what exactly was happening.

Albus Potter was kissing me.

Albus Potter was kissing me.

And then he wasn’t, pulling his lips from mine so that we could both inhale the oxygen I hadn’t noticed I needed. I stared at him, with wide round eyes.

“I’m not going to let this thing stop you from being happy,” he whispered to me.





...

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Review please.

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Chapter 38: A Meeting and a Match
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Bit of a language warning, lads and ladettes. And violence warning because Todd is scaaaaryyyy.

38. A Meeting and a Match





When I woke up from my bed, got ready and headed to the Great Hall the next morning—having finally been discharged from the Hospital Wing—I was quickly made aware of the lingering stares that followed me.

The walk down was relatively short—and less populated than normal. I could only assume that was due to the Slytherin/Ravenclaw Quidditch match that was due to start in about half an hour.

But there were people.

And those people couldn’t seem to take their eyes off me.

Of course I was going to be the centre of some sort of attention from the general student body. I had been levitated from my Transfiguration class, practically catatonic, and pretty much everyone in the castle had heard that it had something to do with a cursed book from the Restricted section.

People were talking. Rumours were flying about how ‘this was what happened when you befriended the Potters/Weasleys’ and how ‘I totally only got what I deserved.’

Speaking of...

I hadn’t seen any of my friends since before the incident. Well, except for—

But THAT was a whole OTHER thing entirely.

Following what had been the most amazing, brilliant (and only) kiss of my life, I hadn’t heard from Albus. Of course—he had left me at about four o’clock in the afternoon and I had told Madame Bellows that I didn’t want him there. Since the Hospital Wing closed to visitors at five o’clock every night, and Madame Bellows was seemingly against his returning—it wasn’t really his fault.

But still.

Albus had kissed me.

Considering the late realisation that anything that made me happy would probably kill me in the long run, I tried not to think about it too much. Because I honestly couldn’t recall a happier memory in my entire store of happy memories.

Sure, there was that time my father accidentally walked into a tree.

And there was the time that I thought I’d found a dinosaur bone in my back yard and my parents had let me believe I had. I had gotten letters from the government officially naming the dinosaur the ‘Katosaurus’ and a declaration that the spot in my garden had been declared ‘Heritage Listed.’

(Only years later did I find out that my mother had typed the letter and forged the signatures of most of the members of the muggle parliament—while the bone that I found actually belonged to an old dog that had been buried in the yard before we moved in.)

And there was the time that Scorpius and Fred had accidentally kissed while wrestling over a homemade quaffle during the Christmas Break that still brought hysterical tears to my eyes (and Rose’s).

But nothing was made me more happy then the memory of Albus’s lips on mine, his hands gently cupping my face—or the words he spoke when he pulled away.

I’m not going to let this thing stop you from being happy

So I tried not to think about it. Maybe not thinking about the happy times would prolong my life expectancy in some way.

I didn’t particularly want to die soon—seeing as the possibility of more kisses (while up for discussion) was now a very real possibility.

So the people who were looking at me didn’t bother me—in so many words.

But you’d think, with all the people suddenly uncharacteristically fascinated with me, at least one of them would have noticed when a strong arm shot out from an empty classroom and pulled me inside—locking the door just as I realised that I was now trapped with Todd Williams.

I didn’t’ even think about protesting.

I just stared at him.

Todd Williams was glaring at me—a scary, threatening glare that wasn’t even a hint like the amused (yet still evil) smirks that I was used to. This glare was setting the hairs on the back of my neck on edge, making my breathing speed up and I was finding it difficult to focus on moving my breakfast to my mouth.

Of course he was angry.

The whole school knew that I had been in the Restricted Section now. I had pretty much blown his entire operation. No one knew why I had been in the Restricted section—but seeing as I had already been summoned to a meeting in the Headmistress’s office, where all the heads of house would be present—as well as, you know, the Headmistress—it seemed that that information might not remain a secret for much longer.

“What the hell were you thinking?!”

The way Todd spoke made the sentence sound like a hiss that made me think instantly of the creature that represented his house. His fists were clenched, and he was quickly walking towards me—forcing me to do the only thing I could.

Walk backwards.

My hips slammed into a desk and effectively stopped me moving away from him—while he didn’t even hesitate in continuing. His face got so close to mine that I could feel his breath on my face as I flinched away from him.

He was almost as close as Albus had been—only it wasn’t at all as brilliant.

I wondered for a moment if my being upset would make me live longer, but quickly forgot the thought as Todd opened his mouth again.

“I swear to Merlin, Dalton—if you don’t answer every single one of my questions this second, you’ll wish that that book you found had finished you off.”

I didn’t doubt it.

“Todd,” I protested meekly as he snarled into my face. “Todd, don’t—”

“—DON’T WHAT, DALTON?!” He shouted in my face, and I flinched again. “Don’t overreact? Don’t get angry?”

The way he said it made me feel as though I was the one in the wrong for the merest moment.

I shivered.

“Maybe, Dalton, you should think about what you shouldn’t have done... instead of telling me what not to do.”

“I’m sorry!” I squeaked.

The words escaped my mouth before I could even consider stopping them. But this was a different situation. I wouldn’t have stopped those words if I wanted to. My previously non-existent pride had run for the hills.

In any other situation with Todd I would probably have tried to get him away from me. Usually I would have tried to maintain some element of control over the whole situation. (“You need me to do your dirty work,” etc.)

But not now.

Control or pride wasn’t an option any more, and it certainly wasn’t what I was worrying about.

I was worrying about Emily and what Todd might do to her for my latest screw-up. I was worried that Todd might tell the teachers about the other books I had snatched.

But most of all I was worried about getting out of this room.

Above all and anything else—I needed to get out of this room.

“Todd, let me go.”

“I WILL NOT!” He roared furiously, his fists slamming down onto the table I was trapped against with such force that the wood splintered. “I WILL NOT LET YOU GO. YOU DID THIS. YOU DID THIS TO YOURSELF.”

With a degree of histrionics tinting my thoughts turned to the days when I had laughed at Todd—called him nothing more than an idle threat—a boy who talked dirty but never did anything. A pervert for keeping that memory.

Never this angry.

Never this dangerous.

“You need to calm down,” I tried again.

Then I screamed.

Fury that I had never even had nightmares about seemed to erupt in Todd’s eyes. With a loud roar he pushed away from me, took a few steps backwards throwing his arms up in the air, and then he turned back to me and charged.

I didn’t have sense enough to move. I leant further backwards—my weight now leaning on the broken, splintered table—as he ran towards me. His hands clenched down on the tale—either side of me again and pushed. The table seemed to be a mere fly in his way and as he ran, the table moved back until it slammed into the wall. The force of the stop made me start, my head flying back and colliding with the bricks as well.

I slumped slightly—dazed.

“You listen to me.” Todd said, his hand reaching up and grabbing hold of my chin. He roughly moved my face so I was looking at him. “You will tell those teachers that you went there by yourself. You won’t even think about mentioning my name—otherwise I will kill you.”

I didn’t doubt it.

“Do you understand me...?”

His voice was so thick with a deadly venom that I could do nothing more than let out a quiet whimper, before shaking my head into a submissive nod. Tears, that I hadn’t noticed until that point, dripped from my cheeks onto the table, mingling slightly with the blood left on it from Todd hands.

My response seemed enough for him, though, as he quickly let go of me and backed off.

“Right then,” he said, taking a deep breath. He straightened his back, and neatened his clothes. He pulled out his wand and quickly fixed the damage he had done to his hands, before running one through his hair.

“I have a game to commentate.” He said, smiling at me as though nothing had happened at all. “See you there.”

He waved his wand around the room (lifting the silencing spell he had cast, I realised later. How else would he have gotten away with all that yelling?) and shot me another charming smile before turning on his heel and strutting out.

I let my back slide down the wall—my own hands running shakily through my own hair while I tried to get rid of the tears that wouldn’t stop. And then I thought back to his voice. His words. His breath as he had spoken.

“I will kill you.”

And then I didn’t care about my hair or my face—and just let myself cry.




Fred and Rose found me fifteen minutes later.

The tears hadn’t quite subsided, but they certainly weren’t accompanied by the same torrential sobs that had only just calmed down. My hands were still shaking—and I hadn’t moved from the shattered desk. My hand was pounding my ears—probably from the knock it had taken when Todd had run at me.

“KATIE!” Rose screamed out in horror when she saw me.

I suppose, looking back at it, she had every right to be freaked out. Aside from the simple things that my crying had done to me—I had run my hands through my hair almost once every three seconds since Todd’s departure, and as a result it had fluffed out. My face was pale with tear tracks and I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking.

”Merlin,”

Fred accompanied his horrified whisper with a string of curse words before both he and Rose were at my side.

“What happened?” Rose demanded frantically.

Which left me with an interesting dilemma.

Because Todd had specifically said not to tell anyone about my reasons for being in the Restricted Section—and the reasons behind why I stole the book (even though they only knew about the one, at this point.)

And, even though he had omitted to mention it, that ‘don’t even think about mentioning my name’ thing he was talking about probably also applied to this situation.

I looked around the room.

“Sorry,” I said quickly. “...Uh. That was me.”

It probably wasn’t the best excuse to use to try and explain the disaster this room was suddenly—but in the heat of the moment, with no one else to blame, I figured I could probably worm my way into explaining it.

Rose looked at me oddly.

“This... was you?” She clarified her brow furrowing.

I licked my lips and tried to flatten my hair. Rose was stroking it slightly and a sort of comforting gesture—that I had to admit was working. Fred’s strong hand on my shoulder was also a heavy source of comfort.

My head started to clear and I found myself able to explain.

Or, pretend to be the reason for this.

“Yeah,” I said sadly, wiping away the tear stains. “I guess I got a little carried away.”

Rose and Fred both nodded slowly.

“I was just,” I attempted to expand, while fabricating the lie in my head. “You know, a little stressed. I think the book has left its mark on me... Ha!”

I laughed a little hollowly, but my explanation seemed to appease the two of them.

Rose cooed slightly.

“Aw, Katie we totally understand. I’d love to hear why you went into the Restricted section—but you don’t have to tell me.”

“And,” Fred interjected, “I’d love to know why you went to the restricted section without me.”

Rose shot him a dark look, before continuing.

“I understand the stress you’ve been under these past few days.”

What?

She did?

I frowned slightly. Rose knew? Rose knew about everything and she hadn’t even tired to help? How could she know, and not talk to me about it?

“I mean,” Rose continued, “I thought our tutoring sessions were going well, but I understand that exam week is next week and of course, you’re bound to get a little strung out.”

Oh.

OH.

She thought this was about my grades.

She thought that I had done all of this to this classroom because I was a little strung out by the stress of exam week?

That was...

That was...

That was brilliantly Rose like, and so, so refreshing.

“Yeah,” I said, nodding my head. “I was trying to find a spell that would help me... memorise... things.” I finished lamely, but they both seemed to buy it.

Rose patted me consolingly on the shoulder.

“Of course you were,” she simpered, her arm wrapping around my shoulder as she pulled me into a tight hug. “It’s alright, Katie, I’ll help you. I promise.”

I didn’t doubt that either, but this was less worrying than Todd’s doubtless words.

“Now,” she said, “Let’s clean up this mess.”

She pushed herself to her feet, and held out her hands to pull me up. Fred did the same and ended up being the one to help me up, while Rose just held my hand. Then she stepped back and pulled out her wand.

With a few simple incantations the desk had been repaired and placed back in its normal spot, and the classroom looked clean again. (In fact, probably cleaner than it had been initially, but I admit at the time I hadn’t really been paying attention.)

And then Rose was circling me.

With a few more waves of her wand, my hair was flat again—lying in its normal flattish curls. My skin was clean as well, and I couldn’t help but feel even that would help improve my mood.

“Let’s go to the game, shall we?” Rose asked with a smile—her arm returning to my shoulder.

I smiled. “Yeah, let’s.”

Rose grinned, and let go of my shoulder so that she could pick up the shoulder bag that she had dropped in her haste to check if I were okay. While she did that, and once again checked her magic work around the classroom—to be sure she hadn’t missed anything—Fred let his arm take her place.

“Hey Kats,” he whispered in my ear with his trademark grin.

I was distracted slightly, happy that Rose was acting so normally—and had totally bought my lie.

“Yeah?” I said lightly.

“I just thought I’d remind you,” said Fred, “that I am pretty much the best liar in Hogwarts. And that means I’m good at picking them up.”

I froze.

“And soon I’m going to find out who did this to you and this classroom, and when I do I’m going to take it out of their ass, yeah?”

I stared at him, eyes wide.

He grinned at me good naturedly.

Rose frowned. “Oh, stop whispering over there,” she advised us, rolling her eyes. “We’ve got a Quidditch match to attend.”

We made it to the Quidditch pitch in surprisingly good time. It probably had something to do with Fred’s jovial whistling that Rose kept asking him to shut up. Oh, and it probably had something to do with me freaking out again (this time in my own head).

Well, not freaking out.

Fred wasn’t telling Rose. Which meant Fred wasn’t going to tell anyone. He was probably bloody interested in what had happened, but hopefully he had recognised that I would have a good reason not to tell him and Rosie what had actually happened.

So I forced myself to take a deep breath and calm down.

A funny feeling remained in my stomach, however. It could have been attributed to a lot of things: Todd and his drama, Fred and his, the idea of even more tutoring sessions with Rose before exams, exams.

But it wasn’t until we got to the stands that I really figured out what it was.

Al.

Albus was here.

And I’d been seeing him for the first time since he had laid the most amazing kiss (and only kiss) of my life on me.

I shivered slightly, as we arrived.

Unlike the last Quidditch game that I had gone to—and the one that I had missed right before Christmas—the weather was brilliant. I could very clearly see Scorpius as he zoomed around the pitch, throwing the quaffle amongst his other Slytherin teammates.

Todd was sitting in the commentator’s booth, narrating with a little bias as Slytherin scored again. I scowled in his direction, but then I saw Al and decided that Todd wasn’t going to ruin this part of my day.

“Hey Al,” Rose said with a smile as she sat on one side of her cousin. Fred continued past her, to sit between Rose and a good looking blonde fifth year from Ravenclaw, who’s friends all giggled excitedly when Fred introduced himself to her.

I sat down beside Al, a little nervously, bristling slightly when I saw him smile at me.

Oh god. Those lips.

Flushing slightly, I trained my gaze on Scorpius as he flew through the air. I recognised Eric, as he flew through the air as well. His hair had grown, I registered, as he zoomed through the air.

I took the time to scan the audience for Penny—but when I found her she was paying Eric no attention. She was instead chatting with her friends, and cheering for the Slytherin team. She was in Ravenclaw.

It seemed they had parted their ways.

Damn. And we had all hoped those crazy kids would make it work.

Anxious to confirm my suspicion, before the tiny little Katie in my imagination did her happy dance, I turned my head towards Albus.

“Hey,” I said, “Did something happen between Eric and Penny? Because she’s acting a little—”

I froze, and stopped mid sentence.

Albus’s hand had taken mine.

“Can I chat to you for a second, Katie?” Al said, his voice sounding a bit strained.

I stared at him with wide eyes. Despite the HUGENESS of this moment, Rose and Fred seemed enthralled in their respective partners.

“So, Tiffany,” Fred drawled, as he casually dropped his hand around the girl’s shoulder. “Who do you thinks going to win today?”

“Come on, Scor!” Rose was shouting out. “You can—OI! REF. FOUL! ...BRUSH IT OFF, SCOR. BRUSH IT OFF.”

I stared at Al.

“Sure.”




Right. So I am exhausted as I type the last words of this chapter. I am SO sick it’s not funny. I can’t breathe properly, I can’t smell a THING and I can barely see the screen.

So PLEASE MAKE THIS CHAPTER WORTH IT. I have worked so hard to get it up for you guys.

Please. Please review.

G.



Chapter 39: Under the Bleachers
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Just to clarify, she’s not under the bleachers with Rosie. It’s just a picture. Of Rose.

Also, a reminder that I do not write sex scenes in my fics. This fic is rated for sexual humour and alludes to sex—but I don’t, and never will actually write anything that explicit.

Also (again) I don’t own Neil Armstrong or anything else you might recognise from the real world. That is all.

39. Under the Bleachers





We ended up under the bleachers.

And despite it being a huge space (with spells that ensured against spider infestations) and the fact that we were standing underneath pretty much the entire Hogwarts student body—all I could focus on was Albus.

And Albus’s lips.

And the hand that had been cupping my face as he kissed the life out of me, now tight around my own hand.

And, speaking of, the firm hold of his hand around mine—and them way our hands seemingly fit together.

(If Emily ever heard me say that, she’d probably have stuck her finger in her throat and made gagging sounds. But still.)

Despite whatever my mind was focused on—there were many, many brilliant parts of Albus to think about, you know—Al stopped us walking when we reached a certain point—probably right beside the goal posts at the end of the field. Then he turned around and faced me, his hand leaving my hand as he stepped back and ran a hand through his hair.

“Kats, we need to talk.”

Anybody else feel that?

That cold draught of paralysing self-doubt and crippling fear?

“Right,” I nodded my head. “Of course we do.”




“Oh, wow—”

Albus mumbled in agreement as he kissed me again, his lips soft as they pressed against mine. And when I say soft I don’t mean he was kissing me softly, by any means.

“Wow is definitely good describing word,” he murmured.

At some stage—I hadn’t quite figured that out, nor did I really want to pay attention to anything other than the way it felt to have Albus Potter this close to me—we stopped talking and—rather passionately, I’d like to add—started doing this.

“Maybe...” I said, as we broke apart momentarily, “We should...you know, talk. Like we said we were... going to.”

I really didn’t want to.

Mostly because it meant that at some point I would have to stop making out with this brilliant, amazing, good-looking boy who was currently kissing the life out of me.

We should probably have been slowing down; the logical part of my brain told me. Obviously—or not so obviously to anyone who was could have been witnessing what was going on—we weren’t heading towards anything more serious than this, aside from (hopefully) a relationship.

And I know that I certainly hadn’t foreseen this when we headed under the bleachers initially.

Or when he said ‘We need to talk.’

In my mind, that sentence was going to be followed by a: “Look, I was stupid yesterday in the hospital wing. I shouldn’t have done it, but I found out that you liked me and I felt you deserved some sort of pity snog. Don’t think anything of it, you pathetic little girl.”

Although, the end sounded more like Todd Williams.

And I never ever wanted to imagine that Todd Williams would kiss me at any point, especially considering what had transpired that morning.

Still, I was expecting some sort of out of the blue declaration. Like: “Sorry, forgot to tell you I’m gay.” Or: “Right. I’m running off to join a cult of dragon worshippers who muggles to our gods. I’d take you as a sacrifice but they probably wouldn’t want you.”

Instead, Albus had apologised.

“I shouldn’t have kissed you,” he had said hurriedly, his hand ruffling his hair again—making it look all the more sexy every time.

I was about to very quickly tell him that yes, he should have kissed me, and yes, he could very well do it again if he liked, when he continued to talk.

“I mean, I took advantage of you. And I shouldn’t have done that.”

Again I tried to interject, telling him that he could take advantage again. And again.And again. But he didn’t stop there.

“You were in a bad place yesterday. You had just had your mind controlled by a cursed book that I helped you find, and you had just decided that everything in your life was somewhat controlled by Macnair—which I maintain, it is not—but still, that’s what you were thinking.”

Well, yes, I had concluded in my head. That had been what I was thinking.

And I had been miserable about it.

And then, well, Albus’s smooth move had made me less miserable.

Which, seemed to be part of Albus’s point.

“You told me that when you’re happy, your life is put in further danger. It is not up to me to decide what goes on in your life—and I’m not the one who gets to decided what makes you happy.”

Yes.

Yes he very much was.

Although I certainly didn’t want Albus to think about his kissing me as something that was bad.

Which he evidently did think he was.

“I’m so sorry for kissing you like I did, Katie. I won’t do it again—” a small part of me died on the inside with these words, “—and I understand why you hate me.”

And that wasn’t going to work for me.

Old Katie would have balked. Would have turned tail and run with my tail between my legs. Old Katie would have laughed nervously, left and then cried for days and days.

New Katie didn’t do that.

Instead, new Katie clenched her fists, took a deep breath and then walked, with immediate determination towards Albus. She got there faster than she thought.

I admit, when I did finally reach Albus I hesitated. Maybe this was his way of letting me down easy—telling me it was my fault. It wouldn’t be the first time a seventeen year old boy did something untoward.

But then I ignored my own subconscious, looked up into his bewildered eyes, and kissed him.

That’s right.

I kissed Albus Potter.

New Katie kissed Albus Potter.

And we hadn’t exactly stopped.

What we had done was somehow change positions. I was no longer the one that had Albus pressed against the bleacher support. Instead, Albus was holding me there—using the beam to support a bit of my weight, while he did the major work, his hands resting on my waist, and steadying my legs—where they’d wrapped around his waist (even though I couldn’t remember having any say in the matter).

My arms had reached around his neck—hands playing with the brilliantly mussed up hair I always imagined running my fingers through. His fingers were moving slightly over my waist and goosebumps appeared—following his fingers.

“You get that this means I like you, right?” Albus said, his voice strained slightly as we both attempted to breath. He seemed to decide oxygen wasn’t that important, on the scale of things and was kissing me again.

Which meant that I was left with having to decide between answering his question, or continuing to kiss him.

I tried to do both.

“Yeah... I sort of... got that... at some point.” I pulled away for a second to smile at him.

His eyes caught mine and he grinned, a totally adorable and sexy grin, before kissing me again.

“And that this is me pretty much asking you out?”

I grinned wider and nodded, even whilst he kissed me.

“Well, then... girlfriend...Remind me... why we haven’t done this... before?” Albus asked.

It took me a moment to register the question as his kisses travelled away from my face and down my neck. Oh.

And Albus Potter had called me his girlfriend.

I WAS ALBUS POTTERS GIRLFRIEND.

“Not sure...” was all I managed to respond with. “...And I’m not sure why I’m doing any of this for the first time today.”

Not that waiting to kiss Albus was, in any way, a bad thing.

It’s just—making out? It was niceand I suddenly had no proper excuse as to why I hadn’t done it before—with anyone.

Albus didn’t seem too pleased with my last comment.

“Don’t you ever say that.”

“Why not?”

“Because.” He said indignantly. “I like being the first. It makes me feel like that muggle bloke who walked on the moon.”

“Neil Armstrong?”

“Yeah.”

“Wait—you’re equating making out with me, with the moon landing.”

“Hells yes.”

He lifted his head and returned to my lips—and I grinned into his kiss.

“I could,” he continued, “do this all day.”

Hear, hear.

“Yes, but you can’t.” I said, pulling away for a second before kissing him again.

His lips were amazing. I could go on for days and day describing the sheer perfection that was being kissed by Albus Potter. This was sheer bloody brilliance. I could taste the same things on his mouth as the day before—the same coffee on his breath, and the minty taste of some kind of breath mint.

Not only had all my dreams about this day somehow come true—but this was everything better. This was so much better. This was every single day dream I’d ever had, every single whispered wish redone, ten times better, in high definition and surround sound (for those of you who understand the muggle reference.)

“Why? What are you doing this afternoon?”

I grinned again, this time pulling away for a moment. I got a good look at him—and my grin widened. His hair was messier than I had ever seen it—his lips slightly pink from all the kissing (I could only assume mine were about the same.

As much as I regretted that we both had plans, I felt it necessary to point out that we couldn’t spend the afternoon doing this.

“I have the meeting with Professor McGonagall and the Heads of House.” I reminded him. “And you have Quidditch practise. Fred was telling me about it on the way over.”

There was a loud sound from above our heads—and we both looked up to see the grandstands. (I had, admittedly, forgotten that we were snogging beneath the entire school.)

Apparently someone had just scored and half of the crowd was rather happy about it.

“Do you reckon that was Scor?” I asked Albus, looking up at the stands, before looking back at him.

He pulled a face.

“Please, please don’t make me think about Scor at this point.”

I smiled, deciding that I had no intention to. Instead, I leaned forward and kissed him some more.




Despite the sheer brilliance of my morning at the Quidditch match (which, incidentally, Slytherin won,) it was absolutely impossible to feel as though death was the easier way out as I sat in a single chair, with the Headmistress, all the heads of house, Madame Reed and her assistant staring down at me.

Not to mention the numerous judging faces of previous headmasters all shaking their heads in their portraits.

“Miss Dalton. You, of course, know why you are here...”

It wasn’t a question.

I nodded my head anyway.

I felt impossibly small in the chair, as though the entire room was growing around me while my chair stayed small—or shrunk, even. Even move that I made, made some sort of noise. When I shuffled my feet, you could hear it. I ended up just tapping my finger on my own hand nervously—even though to a degree, you could hear that too.

“I do.” I said, when I realised that my nod might not have been formal enough.

My eyes were searching for an ally. I didn’t find any. Part of me had assumed that perhaps Professor Macmillan might have been on my side—what with him being the head of my house—but I quickly found that that was not the case. He was just as cold as the other teachers, only, unfortunately in his case, the mask of disappointment graced his features.

I couldn’t even bring myself to look at him.

“So, Miss Dalton...”

“I found it!” I blurted out before could really think about it. “The book. I found it. Granted it was near the restricted section so I probably should have put two and two together but I didn’t know that it was cursed, and I didn’t know that it had been stolen from the restricted section. Which, now that I think about it, why do we even have? Because, honestly, we never ever use the books from there and students are literally not allowed to read them. I’m thinking, if you guys just remove the temptation to go in a steal them and then leave them lying around then we won’t have an issue like this again, and that would obviously be good for all of us, you know—?”

“Miss Dalton.”

None of them looked particularly impressed with my sudden burst of excuses. But honestly? I thought I had a point.

Why did we have a restricted section? It was stupid. It was like hanging a live person about a man-eating dragon and going: ‘Now don’t eat this. It’s restricted meat.’

Still. Even if I did have a point, I wasn’t about to protest to Professor McGonagall’s harsh words. They cut through my speech like a knife and I was silent instantly.

“Miss Dalton, no matter the circumstances, you reading that book is extremely suspect. From what I’ve heard from your head of house, the idea of you reading any sort of book voluntarily is something laughable, so I’m interested to know why this book seemed so particularly interesting—no matter the manner in which it came back to your possession.”

I nodded, silently.

“It was about Long Term Curses,” I said. “I hadn’t seen anything like it in the Library—and I thought it was interesting. My tutor—Rose Weasley? She’s been encouraging me to read recreationally and I’ve been trying to do just that.”

Madame Reed chose that moment to speak.

“It’s true, Minerva.” She said. “Dalton has certainly been in the Library far more often of late—especially compared to the amount of time she used to spend there.”

The defence from Madame Reed, however true, took me off guard.

The woman hated me, didn’t she?

McGonagall paused for a moment, as she digested this new information. She nodded, her eyes not leaving me.

“Miss Dalton, there are some things you ought to know. As protocol requires, whenever a student is found with a text from the Restricted section in their possession, we have searched your things. If you are found to have any other texts or materials that could have come from the restricted section, you will be suspended. I would also like to inform you that should anything relating to the subject manner of the book you were found with—in your case, long term curses—arise in the open, you will be subject to interrogation and will be investigated. Am I clear?”

I swallowed.

The sound echoed around the room.

I nodded, and again realised that may have been too informal. Again I cleared my dry throat and coughed.

“Yes.” I said hurriedly. “Yes, I understand. You are clear. I get it.” I stopped myself before I started blabbering again.

“Good,” McGonagall said, her eyes finally dropping from mine. She relaxed slightly and I found myself exhaling (which was incidentally also the first thing I did in the room that didn’t make much of a sound.) “Ernie?”

Professor Macmillan started forward, his face still masked with disappointment.

I cringed.

“Dalton,” he addressed me abruptly. When I looked up to catch his eye he softened slightly. “Katie. At this point there is no proof that you stole the book intentionally from the restricted section. What we would usually do in this situation doesn’t look like it will work in your case.”

I frowned slightly.

“What would you usually do?” I asked, once I was entirely sure it was okay for me to speak.

“We’d put in a formal request to examine your memories, and you would stay in your dorm room until you had been definitively cleared.”

Amazingly, at that moment I displayed enough self control to not show the huge jolt of fear that paralysed me at that second. I kept my face entirely still, even though I felt my heart almost jump out of my chest.

I was done for.

Done. For.


“We have decided to not go down that track, this time.”

I frowned, puzzled.

“Well, why not?” I asked—before mentally hitting myself in the face again. My mother has always said never bite the hand that feeds you—and I had just practically swallowed an arm. He wasn’t going to request to see my memories. I should have just been thankful that he had made that decision and let it lie.

“We’ve decided not to go down that path, Dalton, because we know that book had a somewhat mental effect on you. That sort of cursed tampering would automatically make your memories fuzzy and unclear—making them an inaccurate way of finding the truth.”

Oh, thank sweet Merlin in my party pants,

I’d honestly never been so grateful for a book in my entire life.

I nodded my head slowly, smiling slightly at Professor Macmillan. To my joy, he smiled back. Apparently my favourite teacher didn’t hate me as much as I thought he had.

“Miss Dalton,” McGonagall spoke again, instantly demanding my attention.

My eyes met hers in seconds.

“We have done some background research into the curse that the book had on itself. While we’re not entirely sure of the specific curse at this point, we can tell you exactly how the spell worked.”

I nodded, slowly.

“The book was effectively cursed to be a parasite of some sort. It latched on to strong emotion at the time the book was read and emphasised it—a sort of safe keeping mechanism combined with food to strengthen the curse.”

I was slightly confused at that point. The book was feeding off me?

McGonagall didn’t seem concerned about my confusion. Instead, she was focused on the point of the matter—something that I should have been paying more attention to.

“What this means, Miss Dalton, is that for the book to have any emotional effect over you, you needed to be somewhat attached to the book in the first place. The emotion that the book took from you and emphasised seemed to be some sort of reliance on the information in the book. I need to know what inspired that emotion in you, initially.”

That put me in a bit of a pickle.

Because honestly, while I ached to tell everyone about my curse—I was already sick of it. Yes, one of the best things in my life had happened to me today, and that would probably kill me young—but who cares?

It was Albus.

Albus was worth it.

And if everyone knew, they’d tell to me to stop. They wouldn’t understand that I was going to die by the time I was thirty anyway—and I might as well have been happy and die just a little earlier.

So no.

I wasn’t going to tell the teachers about Adversus Anima.

It was none of their damn business.

Which brought about the unfortunate truth of my current situation. If I was going to not tell them about my current cursed situation, then I had to improvise some sort of possible way why I had been feeling emotionally dependant on that stupid bloody book.

“Natalie.” I said quickly.

In unison, every eyebrow in the room rose about an inch.

“I beg your pardon?”

I coughed slightly, clearing my throat while trying to avoid looking at the sceptical teachers. Potential scenarios flashed through my head: Natalie and I had been having a lesbian relationship and she’d broken up with me—in my anxiety to act strong I focused entirely on the book to save me.

Nah, there was no evidence of lesbianism.

That wouldn’t work.

And then, I figured, the truth might be a nice change, as well as a convenient excuse.

“She was telling me that I was smart.” I hastily explained. “And I didn’t believe her. And she said that she’d never seen me reading recreationally.”

The stares didn’t falter.

“I mean, I’ve always been not smart. And Nat said I was. And some part of my head connected that with the book. So I kept reading—and it made me feel smart—like I was learning something. ... like I was worth something...”

There was a pregnant moment of silence.




When I left the office, five minutes later, I couldn’t quite register the feelings that were all going through me. The griffin’s that guarded the Headmistress’s office chatted animatedly about the developments—by the time the rotation staircase reached the floor, I was smiling.

Albus, Rose, Scor and Fred stood waiting at the hall.

Their eyes were hopeful, but upon seeing my barely contained smile Rose’s tense shouted deflated and Albus broke out in a grin.

“I’m good.” I declared definitively, so they didn’t have to jump to any conclusions.

Rose let out a shriek of excitement, grinning as she launched herself at me. I managed to stay upright, stumbling only a bit as her arms wrapped around my neck.

“Oh Merlin, Kats, I was so worried you were expelled. Everything’s fine. That’s such good news, oh that’s great,” she rambled.

Scor laughed slightly, patting his girlfriend on the shoulder. “Give her some room, Rose.” He said, “...to breathe...” he added quickly.

Rose let go of me with a relaxed smile, but didn’t hesitate in playfully punching Scor in the shoulder. He smiled good naturedly, and wrapped his arm over her shoulder while smiling at me.

“Congrats, Twinkletoes,” he said with his lazy smile.

“Yes, yes,” Fred interjected, “this is indeed something to celebrate, wifey.” I smiled at him, as he lifted his fist. “Give the husband some love.” I punched his fist with a relieved smile.

Al was last—making his way up to me with a grin on his face.

“Hey.”

I almost melted at the swoon-able smile on his face.

“You’re good?” He verified.

I smiled.

“I’m good.”

And then—the barely restrained eons of excitement erupted and I launched myself at him, jumping into his arms and wrapping my arms around his neck. I kissed him lightly, ignoring the frowns of confusion from Fred, Scor and Rose—and instead focused on Al.

“You’re good.” He said, as he hugged me. I breathed in the scent of his hair and his sweater and revelled in the feeling of going on undiscovered.

Only halfway through my hug did I notice the sixth person in the corridor, who had gone unnoticed by all others.

I caught Todd’s eye, staring at him for a moment, before slowly nodding.

The smirk on his face as he shoved his hands into his pockets and turned, wiped the smile completely off my face.






Hey guys. So... AL AND KATS? I’m quite excited if I do say so myself. Hopefully the earlier scenes weren’t too bad. I figured that I should put emphasis on the fact that they are sixteen and seventeen years old—and despite the magic, hormones still exist and control in some cases. :P

But, despite all that good we’ve still got some bad elements (TODD) that you can’t forget.

Please review.

G.





BannerFans.com

Thanks for all the terrific feedback so far. You guys are literally my inspiration.  I don’t own anything that you recognise. All rights go to the respective owners.

40. Like a Paper Doll




Of course, I shouldn’t have been so worried. My happiness clause would have been an issue if I were anything other than worried and stressed all the time. In fact, despite the serious good sides to my life at this point—it seemed I may live longer than many of my friends.

Since word had gotten out about Albus and myself—and let’s face it, we hadn’t exactly strived to keep it a secret—all I got were ‘FINALLY’s’ from my friend, and glares that could have put me in the ground if they wanted from everyone else.

It was just a little disconcerting.

I had fled to the Library, where I now sat doing my charms work.

I wasn’t paying attention.

As had become the norm whenever I went into the library these days, all I could think about was the restricted section and what it was that Todd Williams intended to do with those books that I had swiped for him. Because a lot of my time was being taken up with Albus, the guys and Emily, I barely had time to confront Todd, not that I would—following our last face to face encounter.

Because, in essence, I had gotten away with it. The professors and the librarians all believed my half-assed story about how I had gotten the book. In reality, were I in any other position, I would have been worried about how easy it was the get away with thievery in this castle.

Who am I kidding? I was worried anyway.

But the thing is—Todd couldn’t be doing anything that bad.

Every night I went to sleep freaking out about what would happen if I woke up in the morning and Todd had somehow managed to make himself king of Hogwarts (or something equally stupid, but the norm for my sleep addled brain.) If I had helped him do something like that to preserve Emily’s dignity I would never be able to forgive myself.

But he wouldn’t do that.

Sure, he had made and threatened to distribute multiple copies of a sex memory that would, in effect, kill my oldest friend—but what else could he do? What could he do that was worse than that?

Nothing, my brain told me sternly. Todd Williams may have been a selfish, arrogant, violent, bad person, but he wasn’t that bad.

I was still debating this in my head when the chair opposite me slid out, and I jerked in surprise.

Eric watched me evenly as he lowered himself into the chair opposite me.

I pretty much stopped breathing. My previously ignored charms homework could have been a huge, meandering elephant in that moment, and I wouldn’t have noticed. The quill that had been lying ineffectively in my hand fell to the table silently, and I stared.

He stared back.

My normal awkward monitor would have gone off after about four seconds of silence—while some people were perfectly content to sit still and not speak, I was not one of them. Had it been anyone else, I would have instantly made some sort of embarrassing awkward comment.

But this was Eric. Eric was sitting next to me, with not one single expression on his face.

Well, no.

That was a lie on my half.

There were emotions on his face. Eric had always been relatively easy to read—even if I was out of practice having lately only seen fury on his face when he looked at me. But now?

Displayed clear as day I could read every feeling that he was experiencing at that point. There was sadness, guilt and a little embarrassment there—if the redness of his ears was anything to go by.

But not an ounce of anger.

I swallowed.

There was another second of pregnant silence.

“So, you’re dating Potter then?”

I stared at him in silence. Opening my mouth would probably lead to this moment—which at this point I had decided was obviously a hallucination or a crazy dream—to pop and stop, leaving me alone at my table again.

He watched me for another moment.

“Yeah—you’re right,”—it seemed he had taken my silence as some sort of answer that I didn’t even know— “That was a stupid thing to say. Everyone knows—hell, everyone knew this was coming when you did your tap dancing thing.”

I thought back to the public dance that had kick-started ‘phase two’ of my Hogwarts life. It was pretty much the marker that brought the Weasley/Potter clan into my life, and began to kick Emily and Eric out.

I still hadn’t regained control of my motor functions—and I simply continued to imitate a dying fish in response.

“That was when it got to me—you know?” Eric continued to talk. “The tutoring thing with Weasley I had been able to handle—I just didn’t think about it. I ignored the fact that you were hanging out with her for an hour each couple of days because it was just tutoring and you didn’t even like her. I tried to just focus on Pen—but then you did that bloody dance.”

In reality, the time when Eric went from talking to me, to not talking to me confused me. I couldn’t quite remember when it happened. Emily’s big reveal in our dorm was a moment that I wouldn’t ever forget—but Eric? Honestly, I hadn’t noticed he was angry at me until Em had practically screamed it in my face.

“I mean—I knew that you didn’t have any idea about what happened to me...” he continued.

This jolted my muscles back into my control and I spluttered a bit—effectively silencing him.

“Wait—what?”

I coughed slightly, unable to continue speaking—but my mind began to whirl as fast as the train. Eric had made sure that I didn’t know what happened to him?

THAT was why I didn’t know—why everyone got mad at me for being blunt and unobservant?

Hell, I had been mad at myself.

Eric looked vaguely surprised that I had finally responded to him. And specifically at that point.

“Yeah—I made sure you didn’t find out. The thing—with Potter and his dad and my parents—it only took a couple of days and you had fallen down the stairs and hit your head—you spent sixteen hours unconscious and then three days in the Hospital wing while your bones mended. By the time you got out—you were the only one who wasn’t treating me like a paper doll, and I liked that I was still normal to you—so I didn’t tell you.”

The train of thoughts that had been zooming around in my head pretty much stopped then, as I attempted to remember and digest this new piece of information.

Because really?

I had been practically crucified by my best friend at that point—and even if we had sorted everything out by now, I couldn’t help but feel a little put off. I mean—Emily had been so furious that I had no idea why Eric was angry with me—and it was Eric’s fault?

Eric seemed to recognise my confusion and continued to speak before I could get too angry.

“Katie—I wasn’t even that angry that you didn’t know. It was my fault that you didn’t know—I didn’t tell you. When you started hanging out with them I just thought—I got myself in to this, I can’t be angry at her.”

Which was bloody fair, a voice in my head threatened to shout.

I pushed it away. Eric was talking to me—explaining things to me. I wasn’t going to screw that up even if I was marginally PO’d.

He swallowed and pulled a face—as though his thoughts caused him some sort of discomfort.

“And then you did that stupid dance—and I heard this fifth year bitching about you because everyone thought you and Potter were dating then—and I couldn’t believe that you were dating Potter because even if you didn’t know why, you knew I didn’t like them—and I couldn’t believe that you wouldn’t even tell me.”

I swallowed this time (for the thousandth time). There had been nothing to tell at that point—other than my weird crush and the excitement I’d felt when he told me I had a nice ass—but I hadn’t talked to him about it at all. I hadn’t even said: ‘Hey, Ezza—I’m hanging out with these guys because I think they’re cool and I’m sorry that you don’t.’

I just kind of went with it.

And left him in the dark.

And while, until that point, I had believed that half of this fight was my fault because I didn’t know about what had happened to Eric and I didn’t try to know—and for a couple of seconds I had believed I was completely blameless because he had hidden it from me intentionally—I once again took the blame, understanding my full part in it.

I hadn’t talked to him.

“You were my oldest friend, Katie,” Eric said a little sadly. “I mean—you had Em, and Oz—and I had some friends but not like you guys—and then I was paired with you in third year—the Care of Magical creatures class? And you guys were like my family—and then you were just leaving me for the guys who I’d hated for most of my life... and I was the immature one in the situation—but—well, you know what they did...”

I nodded, wetting my dry lips before continuing.

“You were mad because they sent you on a dangerous quest that almost killed you?”

Eric smirked slightly. “Yeah—I’m irrational like that.”

I smiled feebly, not looking away from him. It was funny how the world never opened up and swallowed you when you wanted it to. Under his harsh scrutiny, I kind of wished that my luck would get better, to do nothing but stop this awkward moment.

But then the other part of me—the sane part, took over my brain and I got it. Eric was talking to me. He was talking to me. I would not mess that up—besides, Eric knew me. If anything, my awkward comments would only help assimilate us back into our friendship.

So I ploughed on—

“He’s not a bad guy, Eric.” I said. “Actually—none of them are. They’re some of the most amazing, selfless people I know—and they were just kids when that thing happened with you.”

Eric was silent.

“You should see it,” I continued, my fist clenching under the desk. “You should see his face every time your name comes up—or whenever we see you in the halls—I don’t think he regrets anything more in his life.”

“I do.”

For the second time in about ten minutes, I jumped—startled by the new third voice in our conversation. Not that I hadn’t instantly recognised it. I looked away from Eric’s face for the first time since he sat down to see Al, standing at the end of our table—his face forlorn. A couple of metres away from him stood Rose, Scor and Fred—who were all watching Eric and I with wide eyes.

Well—except for Scorpius, who was chortling at my frightened reaction to Albus’s sudden appearance.

“Al...” I greeted him, with wide, worried eyes. I darted my gaze from him to Eric—who looked tense at Albus’s presence.

“Don’t worry Kats,” Al reassured me. He didn’t sit down—and instead remained at the end of the table. It was sort of a physical message (or that’s what Rose would have called it if she wasn’t worried about scolding Scor for laughing at me). Albus had seemed to decide that sitting beside me would make Eric feel ganged up on—and him sitting beside Eric was just a little too sudden.

He looked to Eric.

“Smithers—Eric...” he addressed Eric in a solemn voice, but Eric didn’t seem to be looking for an escape route—and looked relatively content to simply wait for Albus to talk. “I think that you and I should talk—we should have talked a long time ago.”

Eric was silent for a moment.

It was only then did I realise that the entire library seemed to be witnessing our encounter. Everyone that I could see around us, watched with baited breaths—silently awaiting Eric’s decision.

Eric took a deep breath.

“Right.” He said, standing. “Shall we?”

Eric and Albus walked out of the library quickly, and I wasn’t sure if either of them were aware of the silence that followed them.

Seriously—I wasn’t sure if I’d ever heard the library so quiet.

Even Madame Reed had paused—watching on. It seemed that she had been confused by the silence of her library. She seemed to find the lack of necessity to tell someone to be quiet confusing, and for a moment she looked a little lost.

She needn’t have worried, however. As soon as Albus and Eric had left the room, the entire space erupted into harsh whispers and she let out a very quick, loud:

“SHUSH! This is a LIBRARY.”

Then she bustled off, bewildered, into her office.

Rose slipped into the seat beside me within second—Fred and Scorpius sitting opposite us. Fred hesitated for a moment, before seating himself in Eric’s recently vacated chair.

“What was that?” They all demanded in unison.

I was just a bit shell shocked. Because, in all honesty, I had no idea what had just happened. While I suspected that Eric having recently broken up with Penny(—I had pursued finding out ever since I began to suspect something might have happened at the Quidditch match—before I became otherwise occupied)— and my repairing friendship with Emily had been two key factors, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why he had approached me now.

“I’m not sure,” I stuttered in response. “He just—sat down—Oh god, he’s talking to Al.”

Rose hushed me, placing a comforting hand on my arm.

“Al’ll be fine—he’s a big boy.”

Fred snorted, making known the humorous double entendre of Rose’s sentence. His laugh earned him a dirty look from Rose and myself, and a punch in the arm from Scor. It didn’t stop him grinning.

“Don’t hit me,” he scolded us. “My ability to find humour in every situation is why you guys love me so much—Rose just made it exceptionally easy—no snarky comment from the Fredster required.”

While Rose rolled her eyes and Scor smirked in amusement, I realised that Fred wasn’t even really joking. His ability to joke about anything was a good thing—evidence for that being that I found myself beginning to calm down.

“Referring to yourself in third person now, sweetie?” I asked him with a smile, trying not to focus on what was going on with Al and Eric.

Fred watched me for a moment, a smirk adorning his face.

“Yes, yes I am, sugar-pie. And don’t use your angry wife voice.”

I smirked at him.

Scorpius frowned.

“About that...” he began, a smirk mixing with his frown to create a very interesting mixture of the two, “Are you technically cheating on your husband with Al?”

Fred and I both recoiled instantly, turning our incredulous gazes to Scor.

“Ew.” I said, before anything else.

Fred, who had until that point looked just as disgusted as I had, hesitated and turned a frown at me. “Kathryn Dalton, I will be taking offence from that remark.”

I blushed slightly, but smiled.

Scor was grinning at my response, and where Fred looked put out, he simply looked amused.

“Sorry, Freddie,” I apologised with a slight grin.

Fred rolled his eyes. “I expect a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates for your rudeness.”

I frowned. Rose frowned. Scor frowned.

“Dude—isn’t that a bit feminine?”

Fred shrugged. “The flowers will light up my room and chocolates make me happy—you know they produce the same endorphins that make you think you’re in love?”

Scor looked confused. “What are endorphins?”

Fred frowned. “They’re—the muggles... you know what—don’t worry.” He turned to me. “Kats—it’s Valentine’s Day in a couple of weeks and I don’t wanna buy that stuff.” He smirked at me. “So you can get it to me by February 10th at the latest, yes?”

Rose and I stared at him for a moment, with dead eyes.

“And they say chivalry’s dead...” Rose remarked dryly.

Fred waggled his eyebrows at her.

“You love me—in fact, you love our entire gender—chivalrous or not,” Fred replied with an even smirk.

Rose cleared her throat and leant forward, clasping her hands together on the desk ahead of us.

“Listen closely, cousin,” she told him. “There are only three things that men, as a gender, are good for.”

I nodded my head vigorously.

Fred frowned and Scorpius, who had decided to defend his gender, followed suit.

“And what are those, ladies?” Scorpius asked us.

Rose and I, having had this conversation many a time before, knew the answers. Rose looked pointedly at me, indicating that she would begin our list.

“Number one.” She began. “Opening jars.”

I nodded. “Number two: killing spiders.”

Scorpius snorted, seemingly unimpressed. But Fred blanched at that one. He had inherited his uncle’s fear of arachnids—similar to Rose’s. It was a Ronald Weasley trait.

Rose ignored his facial expression. “And finally: to go downstairs with your wand and a baseball bat when we petite ladies think we’ve heard something.”

There was a moment of silence following our declaration.

Then: ...

“Balls.”

“Bollocks.”

We all grinned at the boys unified answer.

Fred shook his head. “That is so untrue, we’ve many fine qualities. You ladies are lucky to have us. And that spider thing is just mean.”

I shrugged. “I was raised to believe that the men kill the spiders and the women have the babies.”

I watched, amused as Fred and Scorpius instantly blanched at hearing any hint of talk of babies, or pregnancy or anything of the sort. It seemed that Rose and I had effectively won the argument.

We had no time to gloat, however, as the doors to the library opened and Eric and Albus came into view.

Shaking hands.

And smiling.

In less than a second an epiphany like no other hit me, harder than the Whomping Willow had that unfortunate time in first grade. I couldn’t be exactly sure what trigger it: there was a long list.

It might have been the fact that Eric had finally started talking to me and Emily wasn’t mad at me anymore and he had finally, finally broken up with Penny.

It might have been Fred’s jokes and the ease with which he had distracted me from the talk that was going on outside the library—and the moment I realised that my friends really couldn’t get any better.

It might have been the hush that fell over the library again, that reminded me that everyone knew what was happening—and people seemingly cared about what was going on in this castle—not everyone was selfish angry people who did what they wanted by any means necessary.

It may have been the fact that Todd Williams (who was a selfish, angry person who did what he wanted by any means necessary) was nowhere to be found for the first time in weeks.

It may have been the bright, enthusiastic smile that masked my boyfriends face as he entered the library, walking side by side with one of my oldest friends.

It might have been the fact that I had a boyfriend.

But really?

It was probably because when I looked at Eric—at the face of the guy who I had thought would never look at me in a positive way again—and I saw his expression it wasn’t anything negative.

It was a big fat smile that made me want to cry with glee.

Which, embarrassingly, is what I did. I pushed myself from my chair, the squeak that came from my lips effectively spurning me on because I didn’t want to hesitate now and hear Fred and Scor’s amused comments about it, and ran at them both.

The library watched on.

I didn’t fall over.

(I know...)

Albus seemed to understand that at this point, I wasn’t running to him. And I wasn’t.

I was running to the guy who I thought would never ever forgive me—and when I reached him a flung my arms around his neck. (he wasn’t as tall as Albus, Scorpius or Fred so it didn’t require the jump that I had become accustomed to when hugging my male friends.)

And as I hugged the life out of Eric, who had smiled and wrapped his arms around me as well, my epiphany hit me.

This was what I wanted. This feeling of happiness that surrounded me whenever I could. For a second I didn’t care about the curse—the stupid bloody Adversus Anima and it’s caster—and I didn’t care about the consequences that would follow should I actually reach said level of extraordinary happiness.

All I knew was that no matter what Todd Williams’ end game was, I wasn’t condoning it any more. He could have been attempting to learn how to play the bloody pan flute for all I cared—I wasn’t standing idly by while he did it any more.

“I guess we can help each other with charms again,” Eric said, patting my back. “Incidentally, Katie,” he said, grasping my shoulders and leaning back so he could look me in the eye. “We’re doing memory charms—it’s like we’ll just forget this mess ever happened, yeah?”

My plan clicked into place.





Can I just say, that even I am a little scared of Katie with a plan—and I know exactly what the plan is. At this point—you guys should get it. I tried to make it obvious enough—but the consequences and the results? I bet you guys won’t know THOSE yet—don’t guess though, because if you get it right I’ll feel like an idiot :P :P

So we’re nearing the end, compadres—or at least the major plot thingy that comes right before the end. (:P) Love, betrayal, DEATH!! (dun, dun, duuuuun!!)

Please review lovelies.

G.


Chapter 41: Friendly Favours
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Thanks for all the terrific feedback so far. You guys are literally my inspiration.  I don’t own anything that you recognise. All rights go to the respective owners. (I do not own the Exorcist.)

41. A Plan in Motion



“I got you toast.”

I decided to take instant offence as four astounded pairs of eyes swung around to face me. I mean really? Who said I couldn’t get my friends toast once in a while? I frowned slightly, slipping into the seat beside Al and frowning.

There was a pause, during which Scorpius eyed the toast plate wearily.

“Oh for Merlin’s sake,” I said frustrated. “It’s just toast.”

They all continued to stare at me.

It was a Thursday morning—and the first morning this week that I’d had time to actually eat breakfast with my boyfriend.

Now, I was happy to have Eric and Em back—let me just make that clear—but their returned presence meant that I was suddenly spread a little too thin across a much larger group of friends than anyone could have ever guessed. Adding in the time I suddenly had to spend all by myself fathoming my ingenious plan, and seeing Al was becoming a far too rare occurrence for my liking.

Albus seemed to have picked up on my absence, and decided to forget about my getting Scorpius some extra special toast—(unlike Rose and Fred who were staring at me and the food accusingly.) My brilliant boyfriend lifted his arm and rested it on my shoulders, pulling me in for a one armed hug.

“Where have you been all my life?” He requested lamely, pressing a quick kiss to my temple.

I flushed (all the while attempting to ignore the ridiculously furious death glares that I was becoming far too accustomed to—they were subtle... but they burned.)

But as I said, Al had a point.

Monday (if you classify that as the beginning of the week, because apparently some people think that Sunday was the start of the seven day cycle—it’s called the day of rest for a reason people!) I’d spent with Oz, Eric and Emily as we all delighted in the idea that we were all friends again. It had been a requirement to leave significant others behind, so Charmaine, Al and Sean (I KNOW!!) remained away.

But if you want me to be honest?

That entire thing was so surreal that I couldn’t quite remember what had actually happened.

Tuesday I’d spent with Todd.

Yeah. I know what you’re thinking.

Trust me.

He’d asked for some sort of verbal update on my meeting with him and, for obvious reasons, Al had remained absent. It didn’t even matter anymore though, I’d reassured myself. In a few days I’d be done with Todd Williams.

Which is, incidentally, how I’d spent Wednesday morning—curled up in the library, surrounded by books, doing what I hoped looked like my Charms homework. That’s the excuse I’d given Rose, anyway.

But Al didn’t need to know that I was in fact figuring out a way to get the hell out of underneath Todd’s blackmailing finger. So I smiled at him and leaned into the hug.

“Here and there.”

I awarded myself a point for being so brilliantly vague.

“Why did you get Scorpius toast?” Fred demanded as I turned back to my food, his eyes narrowing at me.

I frowned at him.

“Aren’t I allowed to feel giving?”

Fred didn’t back off. Instead, he pouted slightly. “Why do you never feel giving to me?” he asked sulkily.

Rose and Scorpius simultaneously rolled their eyes. But, it seemed that Fred’s remark turned attention away from my ‘gift’ and onto his crazy antics. Rose pulled the plate closer to her and she and Scor began to pick from the plate.

“What are you guys doing this afternoon?” Rose asked, pinching a crust of the toast between the thumb and forefinger and holding it so casually it actually looked kind of posh. “Scor and I are going to study down by the lake if you want to join us.”

Fred smirked slightly, effectively forgetting his previous plight.

“No can do, cousin.” He said, smiling in a way that reminded me why he was never dateless when we went anywhere. “I’m spending some time with Felicia Atkins.”

Rose stared at him. “Atkins? In fifth grade?”

Fred shrugged, grinning. “She asked me to meet her in the astronomy tower to study.”

There was a pause.

“Fred—it’s the middle of the day.”

Fred winked at us.

I was about to express my thoughts on that particular sentence when the whole hall was effectively silenced by a shout.

“WHAT?!”

For a moment I thought that one of Fred’s scorned lovers had somehow overheard our conversation and was either about to castrate my husband, or pull Felicia Atkins’ head off by her ponytail, when I realised that the shout had come from two tables over.

The Hufflepuff table.

Heads turned faster than I’d ever expected (seriously, it was like that crazy scary scene from the Exorcist or some muggle horror movie). I moved as well—which was a little more difficult than I’d thought it would be as Albus’s arm still rested heavily on my shoulder.

My gaze zeroed in on Emily.

She seemed to have noticed that she’d silenced the hall and grinned, guiltily. Unlike any sane person, Emily didn’t seem to mind having the eyes of hundreds on her, as she flicked her hair and looked back to the person she’d been speaking to—Oz.

I frowned.

“What was that?”Rose demanded as soon and the noise levels rose again.

I didn’t turn away from watching Em. I lifted my hand to Al’s, squeezing it as I moved to stand. Ducking out of his grasp I turned back to the guys. They understood why I felt it necessary to check out—and Al even insisted on joining me.

By the time we’d made it to the Hufflepuff table the hall was well and truly loud again, seemingly having forgotten Em’s shout. When Al and I sat beside Oz, facing Em quizzically, she flushed slightly.

“My bad,” she said hastily, looking at her hands. She still wasn’t quite accustomed to having Al around, but I was determined to see that change.

Al just grinned at her.

“What happened?” I asked, looking to Oz.

Oz surveyed me darkly.

“Don’t play dumb, you traitor.” He said stonily.

That wiped the grin from mine and Al’s faces, and I frowned slightly. Al leaned forward, resting a hand on my leg.

“Say what?” Al said.

Oz rolled his eyes. “He told me everything.” He told me, frowning. “Everything that you did for him. You were bloody there—don’t lie about this, Katie.”

Sweet Merlin.

My mind went into overdrive as I frantically attempted to figure out when Oz would have spoken to Todd. Did Todd tell him to make sure I stayed in line?

That didn’t make any sense.

Almost as fast as I was attempting to make sense of all of this, I was thinking of excuses.

“Oh—Oz—I mean—you don’t understand what he did—he said all this stuff—there was another side to it and I couldn’t tell anyone.”

Oz rolled his eyes. “Oh please,” he frowned. “As if—this was bad, Katie. I didn’t even believe him when he told me—but then it all made sense. Where you’ve been—why you’ve been so awkward around me and Char—all of it. Why you looked so confused—good acting, by the way, but I know what’s been happening these past months.”

Al was frowning as well now, looking at me quizzically.

Em was silent, but nodded on as Oz had his go.

Wait—Em had been the one to shout.

Oh, my god, did Em know?

I looked to her.

“Em—you don’t understand.” I pleaded with her. “I’m so sorry but I thought I was doing the right thing—he threatened me and you and I just had to go along with—”

Em frowned. “Why are you apologising to me?” She asked quickly. “I don’t have anything to do with this.”



What?

“Wait—did you say that he threatened you? Why didn’t you say so when he was talking to us?” Oz echoed incredulously.

I frowned. “When who was talking to us...?”

They ignored me.

Albus’s eyes darkened.

“Who was it?” He demanded swiftly. “Tell me.”

I ignored him.

Because now none of this made sense. Em was the only reason I had done anything for Todd. How was she not involved…? And what the hell was Oz talking about before? I hadn’t seen him in days...

“I mean,” Oz restarted his tirade, “you could have at least given us some warning—you were there after all. We were totally unprepared. One second we’re enjoying a nice chat with you and then he’s there doing stuff to Carson that probably made Char want to vomit…”

Wait.

For a moment I dwelled on the chat Oz claimed he’d had with me. When had I chatted to—the rest of his words caught up with me.

TODD WILLIAMS and Carson Longbottom?



Oh.

The identity of the ‘he’ that Oz had been talking about the entire time came to me with a stupid jolt.

Lindsay.

Lindsay Forest.

Oz was talking about Carson and Lindsey. His little brother and his girlfriend’s twin sister who were now dating.



Awkward.

“Oh—” I said, belatedly realising my mistake. “Yeah, about that…”

Oz snorted.

I frowned slightly. As we were no longer talking about how I was potentially facilitating a psychopath’s crazy scheme the entire situation had become less intense.

Albus shrugged. “I think it’s kind of cute.”

Oz didn’t have quite enough guts to get angry with Albus—or at least as angry as he could have been were it me that had made that (albeit true, but a little disturbing) remark.

“I mean they were just there.”Oz complained. “And she was doing things to him. To Lindsey. To my little brother.”

I grinned slightly. “Well—maybe you guys can have a double wedding.” I suggested.

We were quickly sent away from the table. As we made our way back to our mutual friend, Al reached down and grasped my hand tightly.

“Weren’t you with me this morning?” Al checked, frowning slightly.

I thought to the conversation. Oz had made more than less than no sense. I really hadn’t seen him in days. Why did he think I had seen him?

Al pressed his lips to mine, wiping all sane thought from my mind. “No one’s really threatened you, yeah?” he asked quickly, pulling away with concern lacing his features.

I swallowed.

“No. I’m all good.”




I knocked lightly on the door, three times. As was to be expected when at the office of a Charms Professor, the door swung open on it’s own. I made a point to lift my foot high over the slight step that had tripped me many a time in my past.

“Ah, Miss Dalton—how are you feeling?”

I smiled at Macmillan, feeling a swell of gratitude as I was reminded that he was the reason that stupid book hadn’t actually killed me. He was sitting behind his desk, a pile of essays in front of him.

“I’m feeling better,” I said quickly, knowing exactly why he’d asked. “Thanks.”

He smiled. Placing his quill down (dripping with harsh red ink that was probably return my paper to me covered in crosses and marks) and clasped his hands over the pile of parchment. “What can I do for you, Dalton?”

I took a deep breath. This was where the lying had to be good, I reminded myself. Hopefully it wouldn’t get back to Rose—but I could always try to convince her that she had said something that had made me think I should come and speak to the Macmillan.

“Rose sent me,” I said stepping forward nervously. “She said that I’m doing better,”— that bit wasn’t actually a lie—“but she thinks that with more time to study the syllabus I’ll do better. She was busy so she asked me to come and ask you about texts I could use to study the subjects for seventh year.”

Macmillan considered that, nodding his head slowly.

After a particularly nerve wracking few seconds, he nodded his head with a little something extra and pushed himself out of his seat.

“Technically,” he began as he walked to his bookshelf, “no one expects you to begin preparing for next year so early—especially with exams coming—but if Miss Weasley has recommended it then she clearly thinks it will be beneficial.” He reached the library and examined the titles of his books for a moment, before reaching above his head and beckoning it to him.

It flew from the shelf to his hand, landing in his grasp delicately. He opened it quickly, flicking through the pages.

“Most of the necessary texts are in the library,” he continued. “But I was going to ask all the students to go and buy this book over the break. Obviously, you can’t do that—but I have a copy here that I’d be happy to loan you.”

He handed the book to me—like a normal person would—and smiled slightly. I took it gratefully.

“Now,” he verified, “you know the subjects that we’ll be studying?”

I nodded, and he smiled.

“Good. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

I swallowed and smiled.

“No—nothing sir. Thanks for your help.”

I slipped out of his office as fast as I could, the new texts tucked safely under m arm. From Macmillan’s office, the Ravenclaw common room wasn’t far away—but considering the fact that I was being tutored it was pretty easy to guess I wouldn’t be getting in. I headed towards the library, before realising that I knew he wouldn’t be there.

Sighing, I was about to head back to the Hufflepuff common room when I turned the corner and bumped into probably the last person I’d wanted to see in this entire castle.

Wait.

It wasn’t Todd, nor was it Macmillan having just realised what I was up to and coming to foil my plan. It wasn’t Rose, Scorpius, Fred or Al (even though, it wasn’t as though I didn’t want to see them—my plan just meant that I needed time to practice and work on it.) It wasn’t Sabriel Malfoy or Indiana Stephen either—nor was it Elodie Higgins.

So really, running into Penny wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened.

...but it was up there.

To be fair Penny looked just as frightened by the encounter as I felt. Her face mirrored the look I could feel on my own features, as I stared at her with wide eyes, blood flushing to my face.

“Uh... good evening.”

Now that was wasn’t dating Eric there’d been no reason for me to reconcile with her when I’d sorted things out with Eric. And while that meant that my life had become temporarily less complicated, it didn’t exactly make this moment comfortable.

“Katie.” She greeted me cordially, a thin smile on her face. “It’s nice to see you.”

Because I’m an idiot, I responded without thinking. “It is?—Uh—I mean, yeah nice to see you too.”

Idiot.

She smiled slightly, tucking a strand of her ridiculously glossy blonde hair behind her ear. “Uhm... how’s Eric?”

I then proceeded to choke on my own saliva.

Stopping myself before I could cough up my lungs, I thought frantically for what I could say. Because what could I say?

I hadn’t been game enough to even mention Penny, let alone the reason for the break up or how Eric felt about it. In fact, since the day that we’d ‘reconciled’ I’d pretty much spent most of my time apologising to him repetitively while he apologised to me.

And lets be honest, had I ever really liked the girl?

Still, I grasped for some semblance of a functional answer. “Uh... he’s... I think he’s alright.” I swallowed. “Actually, I was just looking for him.”

“He’s in our common room.” She said instantly. I looked at her oddly. Hadn’t she just asked me how he was doing? She seemed to understand the look. “It’s been awkward since we split, you know—I thought I’d give him some space.”

She thought talking to Eric was awkward?

Had she even noticed the conversation we were sharing? It made me want to simultaneously cry, laugh awkwardly and wet my pants just to distract from the talking.

Again, I swallowed.

“Oh—” I nodded, unable to think of a proper response to that. “I, uh... I guess I’ll see him tomorrow.”

Penny stared at me for a moment. Before she could say anything else awkward, I’d figured out my escape. I turned swiftly on my heel and was walking when she stopped me.

“Wait! Uh—if you wanna talk to him, I could... I could take you to him, if you want?”

I swallowed again. If I kept it up, I decided, I’d soon be totally out of saliva. I nodded nervously, while reaching into my pocket and pulling out a stick of gum.

“Right,” I said sticking it in my mouth. “Yeah—that’d be cool.”





Hahaha I just love putting Kats in awkward places. Tap dancing, date stalking, pet killing, celebrity scaring—she’s done it all.

This was a bit of a filler, but it all leads to places. :P Please review. I’ll update soon.



Chapter 42: A Plan in Motion
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42. A Plan in Motion






So the gum didn’t work.

It was regular muggle gum, that made my eyes water when the flavour first hit me, and after three seconds tasted as though I was chewing on tobacco—or whatever I thought tobacco might taste like. It was purple, and I’m pretty sure my tongue had followed suit.

On the bright side, Penny seemed to have decided that the work it took to maintain a conversation wasn’t worth starting it. So our conversation was non-existent as she took me to the Ravenclaw common room. As I’d expected I wasn’t allowed in, so Penny told me that to repay for the nasties she’d done to me, she’d get Eric to come out and grab me.

Which he promptly did.

“Sorry about that,” he instantly said as soon as the common room door had closed behind him. “That must have been awkward.”

I quickly extracted the gum from my mouth, trying to wipe the taste from my tongue. Eric noticed and hastily handed me a tissue from his pocket.

I grinned at him.

“So, uhm, Penny said you wanted to see me?” He queried.

I smiled at him. “Yeah, we haven’t chatted in a while—I’ve missed talking to you.”

Eric frowned. “What? We talked an hour ago, Katie.”

I missed what he said, too busy thinking about how I was going to worm this work into conversation.“What do you know about Charms, Mr. Smithers?” I said with a grin.

Which was a stupid question, obviously, because there were really two things that Eric Smithers could do like a pro and that was play Quidditch, and perform Charms.

For a moment he looked confused, as though I’d changed the subject but before he could respond and embarrass me further, I turned, looping my hand in the crook of his arm. I pulled him away from the door and quickly changed the subject as we walked.

“Merlin, what’s with all the books?” Eric asked, noticing the books that I held firmly in my other hand. “Weasley must have really changed your studying habits.”

I anxiously thought to my upcoming charms exam, kind of wishing that that was true.

“Yeah,” I improvised. “She’s always saying how I should get help from everyone, whenever possible.”

Eric chuckled.

I was pulling him towards the library—where he could help me work on my awesome plan (however inadvertently) because Rose would see through me before I could even think to work on my badass-osity—and only partly realised when we hit the sixth floor.

In fact, I only noticed when a familiar voice—the voice I hadn’t really spoken to since Christmas—caught my attention.

“NIECE-IN-LAW!”

I flinched. Eric swore, and tripped.

“Oh, hey there, Fred.” I greeted the painting quickly, while bending over to check on my recently face-planting friend.

From his spot on the floor, Eric groaned, before pushing himself up to rest on his elbows. He examined the portrait with a quirked brow, frowning. Fred Sr. stared back at him, a graceful smirk adorning his features.

“Good evening, Kitty-Cat.”

I frowned at the latest of many nicknames I’d never contemplated having before. Eric frowned with me—but I assumed it was probably due to the fact that he had fallen on his posterior.

Reminding myself of my old friend’s situation, I extended my arm and he took it, part pulling part pushing himself to his feet.

“Hi,” he greeted the painting, as he brushed the seat of his pants. “I’m Eric.”

Fred Sr. considered that for a moment. Then he turned his quizzical gaze to me. “As in the Eric?” He questioned.

I nodded. As Fred had been my pretty much constant evening companion in the Christmas, talking to me as I fell asleep and bugging me if he felt I was sleeping too early, he’d heard a lot of information and gossip about my life. And since Rose had often been in my room discussing my life with me, he’d also heard the specifics about his family’s side of the story.

Eric swallowed.

Deciding to save the moment all by myself, I smiled at Fred. “We’re cool now,” I explained. “there was a discussion of important things and now we’re friends again.” I lifted the Charms books into the air, waving them slightly, as though the presence of the Seventh Year syllabus somehow emphasised my point.

Fred watched with with amusement on his face, before turning to Eric—who had also been staring at me like I was an idiot. When he felt Fred’s gaze, he turned his head to meet the eyes of the painting.

Fred Sr. considered him for a moment. Then a slight smirk slipped onto his face and he nodded. “You broke up with that blonde one, didn’t you?”

I thought to Penny, who had awkwardly just fetched her ex-boyfriend for me. Now that Eric was no longer on the opposite side, I could have asked him about it—but there was a line, and she was the one who’d abused the crap about of me at Hogsmeade (even if that particular incident felt as though it’d happened a millennia ago).

Eric shuffled on his feet, bringing a nervous hand to the back of his neck and looking to his feet. “Urhm, yeah. That’s pretty much what happened.”

I smiled at Fred Sr., though I was still a bit confused as to how to confront the situation with Eric.

Fred, with his protection duties on the behalf of his family done, relaxed, and smiled at Eric like a normal person. He was sitting cross-legged on the desk that had been painted for him—he’d lifted the banner (“We will never forget, a hero who died with a smile on his face.”) to his lip and was fiddling with the intricate beading that hung from the bottom.

The question was, what should I do now?

Fred knew who Eric was. Clearly, if he’d done the required ‘Wotter’ protection thing before actually speaking to the guy. Besides, I was on a deadline. I had to get in to the library and out in the time it took Rose to eat her food—because if she saw me studying with someone else, there was a good chance she’d be pissed.

So what do I do?

“Katie.” Fred Sr. said, calling my attention back to the situation. “Aren’t you going to introduce me?”

Right. Of course. There was that.

I swallowed, kicking myself for not being able to maintain any semblance of a normal conversation.

“Right,” I said, holding out a hand. “Eric, this is Fred Weasley the First—co-founder of Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes and deceased Uncle of nearly all the Wotters in some specific way.”

Eric nodded. “Right,” said Eric. “Nice to meet you.”

Then came the customary awkward moment between man and painting when the nervous man holds out his hand before realising that there is obviously no way for the painting to shake it.

Eric dropped the hand.

Fred Sr. nodded at him with a smile, before turning to me. “Wotters?” He echoed. “Is that some sort of perverse mixing of the Weasley name with the Potter name?”

I smiled at him.

He grinned. “I like it.”

I smiled. “Right then,” I declared. “Introductions are done, and I’m hoping that you’ve surmised that Eric is no emotional threat at this point, yes?” Fred nodded his head. Again, I smiled. “Then, we bid you adieu,” I said. “We have studying to do.”

Fred smiled, hopping off the desk and letting the banner fall back to its spot in front of the desk. He lifted his hand in a casual salute before turning and exiting his painting.

The banner continued to swing.

Eric swallowed.

“Nice guy.”





Memory Charms are generally intended to erase a specific memory. They are regularly used if a Muggle witnesses something related to the wizarding world; the Ministry of Magic has Obliviators remove their memories of the event.


Eric frowned at the paper, his jagged fringe falling into his eyes.

“Dalton?” he questioned me, making me smile at the sound of his personal name for me. “What are you doing this for?”

I smiled innocently at him. Repeating in my head that lying was necessary in this case and that I wasn’t really setting our renewed friendship up for failure—I reminded myself that I had been able to lie convincingly to Rose and Fred Weasley. While the second may not have actually bought it, if Rose could be lied to, than I could sort out Eric.

“Back up studying.” I explained to his frankly. “Rose told me that if I got a head start on next year’s syllabus I might have caught up to you when term starts.”

Eric chuckled, clearly focusing on the joke and nodded.

We’d already read about the incantation itself and its effects. Unless it was used in the ‘mass’ sense, the charm was usually used to target one single memory and erase it. In Gilderoy Lockhart’s case (because who didn’t know that story?) it was used incorrectly and wiped his entire mind clean.

But I didn’t want that.

I wanted rid of just one memory.

“Right,” Eric said, looking down to his own book. “Well, this book says: Occasionally, the use of Memory Charms in mass is necessary to cover up major incidents that violate the Statute of Secrecy. Concerning individual use, the Ministry of Magic has set up and organised a ‘memory’ bank, whereby a witch or wizard may request permission to perform a memory charm—giving evidence and support for the extraction. The requests are monitored on a case by case analysis by—”

I didn’t need to hear more of that. I already knew about the dangers and the consequences these days that came with performing an unsanctioned memory charm.

Hopefully able to hide my wince, I nodded at Eric. “What does it say about breaking the charm?” I asked, swallowing in an attempt to rid myself of my dry throat.

Eric frowned, his eyes raking the book. He looked confused for another moment as he continued to search before his eyes widened and he pointed his finger down on the page. “Ahrm, here it is.” He said.

“Memory Charms can only be broken through intense forms of torture. However, the breaking of a charm in this way will cause a great toll on the victim—usually leaving the body and the mind damaged beyond repair. A certain level of torture is required to break the charm (evidence on page 763 concerning Hermione Weasley and Death Eaters Dolohov and Rowle.) Evidence also indicates that the torturer needs to be specific on wanting it to break, rather than just inflicting the pain.”

Eric looked up at me, his eyebrows crunching in the middle.

“...Yikes.”

I swallowed again.

“Right,” Eric said quickly. “So I guess they’re going to ask you to write maybe two essays on this stuff—but there won’t be a practical test unless they talk to the Ministry, but I doubt that they’ll take the time to do that.”

I nodded, reminding myself that Eric believed that this was all my idea to study early for the seventh year curriculum. Momentarily I realised that if Eric hadn’t been angry at me for the majority of this year, he’d never ever believe that I was for real.

But my mind was taking all this information and sorting it, categorising it as best I could to fit it into my plans.

“Do you think I should get more books?” I asked, hoping that Eric didn’t wise on.

He didn’t. But he did realise that the studying was getting a bit stupid.

“Dalton,” he leant forward in his chair, clasping his hands on the table. “Exams are three weeks away. I think it’s great that you’re studying for next year, but it’s probably better if you focus on the stuff they’re testing now.”

I couldn’t help but think that that was brilliant timing for a protest like this. I mean, there wasn’t much more of a literal description for the phrase ‘just in time’.

I nodded, pushing the book close.

My plan was going to work.

This was going to work.

“Right,” I said, pushing myself to my feet. “Yeah I can do thaaaaAAAT!”

My face collided with the floor when my ankle got caught on the foot of my chair. The books in my hands landed between my stomach and the floor, hitting about fifty percent of my major organs and stopping my lungs in their work.

Gasping for breath, I pushed my face away from the floor, and a flood of pain hit my senses. The nasty taste of iron invaded my mouth and I recognised it—blood.

“Oh, Merlin—Katie!”

Eric was at my side in seconds, his hands clutching at my shoulders, pulling me up.

Blood was on my hands and face, and all my clothes. The people who’d seen what had happened rushed forward, while I pushed the books away from the bloody area.

“Jesus, Katie—you broke your bloody nose.”

I flinched. Not from the pain (which was mind numbing let me tell you. And not from the embarrassment. And not from my throbbing foot which was also just as painful.

But because I knew what this was about.

Damn it.

I was getting happy.




Albus held the hair out of my face while Madame Bellows stuck a plaster over my nose, holding the fixed bone in place. Leaning back, the Matron surveyed her work and nodded.

“Right then, sweetie,” she cooed as she always did with her patients. When I was well again, she’d be the same old, frighteningly scary woman that didn’t like it when I showed up here for stupid injuries. “It’s going to be a bit crooked for some time, but as time progresses and the bone heals the potion will place it back in its original place. Just don’t do anything stupid with it.”

I nodded as she gently pulled her hands away. Reaching into her apron pocket, she pulled out a small vial full of bright green liquid. She placed it on the side table.

“This is a pain potion,” she explained. “But then, Miss Dalton, you know a lot about these potions don’t you?”

I did. The green potion was like a best friend in this room.

I smiled at her.

She bustled away quickly, and I focused my attentions on my brilliant boyfriend.

He was looking at me with a sad, forlorn look on his face, his lips turned into a sad pout. “You’re getting happy?” He asked.

I nodded. “Happier,” I answered grimly.

Al swallowed, his head slowly nodding. “Right,” he inhaled sharply, obviously trying to calm me down. His hand gripped at my hand and squeezed tightly. “The book that you read is gone—McGonagall destroyed it. But we know more about it—we know where to look this time, and I’m not going to stop. We’re going to find something that’ll help you.”

I smiled at him (not too much though, because it bloody hurt my nose), and squeezed his hand back.

“There’s no cure,” I told him. “The book said so.”

Al shook his head, as though he refused to let my words reach his ears. “No, no. Not many curses have cures. But some of them have treatments. We could find one of those—there must be some sort of—”

He stopped suddenly, a look of pure realisation dawning on his face.

I paused, my heart suddenly sounding louder.

“What?” I demanded, leaning forward and then flinching as blood rushed to my head. I dropped back to the pillow. “What is it?” I lifted my hand and pressed it to my temple.

Albus’s face has twisted form his adorable little pout to an even more adorable look of glee. “Katie. Felix Felicis! Sweet Merlin, I got it. We’ll make some Felix Felicis.”

I swallowed.

My heart thudded in my chest.

I was breathing slowly, and the pain in my nose dulled slightly while my brain thudded a little more painfully. ‘

“...What’s that again?”

Albus’s look of glee froze in its place, before his eyebrows began to crease and his mouth turned into a little ‘S’ shape.

I hastened to explain myself.

“I just—is it a potion or something? Cause I may have passed but I really didn’t pay much attention this year—which is not great because we’ve got O.W.L.s coming up but I’m still pretty sure that I might just fail the tests on account of the curse anyway.”

Albus paused to look at me as though I was insane before chuckling to himself. In his laughter, he shook his head slightly. “Kats, it’s a good luck potion. I’m sure if you took it it would counteract your curse and at least give you normal amounts of luck that don’t have you going to break your nose every time you go to change a book.”

Oh yeah, my story had gotten around.

But I didn’t need to dwell on that.

What I did need to dwell on was the grin on my brilliant boyfriend’s face. And the identical grin that was beginning to form on my own.

“A treatment.” I repeated numbly, grinning and then stopping again because of my stupid nose. “You think I could have a treatment?”

Al nodded. “They probably only left it out in the book because it was cursed and it needed those stupid needy feelings to feed off or something. This is a treatment, Kats. We’re going to make this work.”

He kissed me, careful not to hit my nose. In my glee, I kissed him back, trying like crazy to not brush noses with my beautiful boyfriend.

“Sweet Merlin, get a room.”

We pulled apart to see Rosie, Fred and Scor standing at the end of my bed, identical amused grins on their faces. Albus glowered at Fred, the speaker.

“We had a room.” Al glared at him.

Fred reached to the curtain that separated my bed from the other beds. “No, what you have is a curtain.” He shook it to emphasise his point.

Albus let out a deep sigh.

“Frederick!” I greeted him jovially, having just downed my pain potion and on a momentary high. “I haven’t seen you in ages!”

Fred frowned slightly. “We hung in the common room for two hours before you went to study with Eric, Kats.”

The pain potion made my finger’s tingly.

And my tongue.

I bit it to make sure I could still feel it.

I could.

“Are you here for a reason, Weasley?” Al asked.

Fred shot him a charming grin and plopped himself down at the bottom of my bed, pulling a large box of Bertie Bott’s Beans and pushed them into my hands. “I come bearing gifts,” he apologised. “Sorry for interrupting my cousin’s gift.”

I flushed slightly.

Rose rolled her eyes, stepping forward and elbowed Fred as she did so. Scor moved around the other side of the bed to Al’s side, and patted me on the shoulder.

“How’s the nose, twinkle toes?” he cooed.

I rolled my eyes.

“It’s fine. It should be better in a few days,” Al answered for me. “But until then we’re staying away from Katie Dalton’s nose.” He turned to Scor. “Did you practice that line?”

Scor grinned at him and lifted a fist that Albus met quickly with a fist bump.

“What about you?” I turned to Rose. “Where are my get well gifts from my bestest friend in the entire world?”

Rose grinned, and reached for her bag.

“I spoke to Oz and Natalie and Eric and Emily. And because exams are only three weeks away you have to keep up the latest stuff you’re learning—this always happens to people. They get this close to exams and decide that they’ve learnt everything they need to know.
But that’s what leads to failing and no one knows that.”

There was a beat of silence as Rose reached into her bag and pulled out a stack of parchment and homework that could have reached from my swollen ankle (it got sprained when I fell) and my knee.

Fred wrinkled his nose. “That’s just cruel, Rose.”

I stared at the pile.

“I missed three lessons. That’s work worth at least seven weeks,” I declared, staring at it in horror.

Rose smiled. “It's my way of saying get well soon.” She said with a gracious smile.

I leaned forward, ignoring the throbbing between my ears and pulled the first handful of paper onto my lap. I looked at it in dismay for a moment, before looking back in Rose. “You know, chocolate says that even better.”

Rose grinned at me.

“I did all your current assignments, and took notes from all the people in classes. All you have to do is sign your name and read the notes when you study.”

She was an angel.

A real, true, pure angel.

“Chocolate means nothing to me.” I said soundly, reaching forward and pulling her into my arms, careful to not hit my head near hers.

Albus, Fred and Scor turned their incredulous looks towards Rose.

“Oi,” Fred protested. “How come you never did any of my homework for me? I’ve been in accidents before.”

Rose rolled her eyes. “Why do you think?” She asked him.

Fred leant back and sulked.

“You know Rosie,” he said, pouting. “You’re going to stop being my favourite cousin if you keep going down this road.”

Rose rolled her eyes.

Scor and Albus snorted. Rose sat at my side, smiling at me, but Scor was the one to keep talking. “I was in here with a broken nose in third year,” he said smiling. “It took me about two hours before they let me out. You’ll be out by dinner time.”

I grinned. “I hope so—I’m fricking hungry.”

Scor grinned at me, while Fred pushed the Beans at me some more.

I slipped my hand into the box, grabbing the first red one I could see. Slipping it into my mouth, I instantly recognised the irony flavour.

“Oh, Merlin—it’s blood.”

Scor frowned. “You sure?”

I thought to the torrent of blood that had recently been on my face, hands, clothes and in my mouth, throat and my lungs. I looked at Scor dryly. “Yeah. I’m sure.”

He grinned at me.

Rose patted my hand.

“Bad luck.”





*cowers and hides behind wall* I am the flakiest author in the entire world. I’m such a bad person for making you guys wait for all this time between updates but I’m doing my final exams, and I’ve got studying to do so I can’t even really believe that I’ve got this chapter for you. I’m nearing the end of this fic though, so when my holidays start I’m going to try and finish the whole thing.

I don’t like this chapter, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on it anyway.

Please review.

G.





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43. Hell Deal






“Morning sweetness.”

I returned Scorpius’s gay greeting with a grumble and a nod of the head. He frowned. “Or… not…?”

Every one’s concerned eyes were suddenly on me as a sat myself down at the Gryffindor table between Fred and Albus, who had cleared the way. I would have sat next to Rose, however, she was, or had been til I arrived, very animatedly chatting to Scorpius who sat beside her.

“Katie?” Fred said concernedly. “Are you alright?”

I once again grumbled in response, and then reached to butter myself a muffin. Fred battered my hand away and grabbed one himself, buttering it. I was going to glare at him, until he very kindly placed the muffin in my hand, looking concerned.

“Did you have a bad sleep?” Albus questioned.

I sighed and buried my head in my hands. Yes. Being unable to sleep in any position aside from my back because of a stupid broken nose meant that sleep was made unreachable for me. But that certainly wasn’t the only thing. I’d been up late anyway researching memory charms, but I could see opposite me in the Great Hall was Todd, staring back at me with a content smirk on his face and mischievous eyes.

Tosser.

I pulled my gaze away from him before any of y friends thought to see who I was looking at. “M’alright,” I mumbled, as though I hadn’t ever sold my soul.

Albus braced a hand around my shoulder and shook me a little, rubbing his hand comfortingly up my shoulder. Now that I was dating him it didn’t shock me quite so much, although the familiar butterflies in my stomach were as present as ever. In fact, in that perspective, it did brighten my mood a little.

“What are we doing tomorrow?” Rose asked me. “We haven’t seen each other in forever.”

And that was very much the case.

I had the plan to work on and exams were coming up in three weeks which meant that Rose and I never had any free time. Plus, now I had to share all my time amongst Emily and Eric—and I had only just realised that Albus, as my fully fledged boyfriend, also required a lot of my time (not that I minded, or anything, I mean look at the guy),--but wanting to see a lot of people in a small amount of time?

It was bloody stressful.

But now? Now was a really bad time for Rose to be asking me that question.

“Why don’t we hang out this afternoon?” I offered.

Rose hesitated, looking at Scor. She also had a boyfriend who she had to devote a lot of time to. But I already knew that Saturday afternoons were Scor and Rose’s afternoons. Sunday was my day with Al, and at this point it was hopefully going to be the first day that I was free of Todd Williams for the first time in a long time.

“Uh,” Rose paused.

I reached for Al’s hand. “Why don’t we double date?”I suggested quickly, knowing that the last part of my plan—which was going to happen tonight, depended on Scor and the information he needed to give me.

Scor and Rose frowned slightly, while Fred rolled his eyes. Quickly, smiles crept onto their faces (well, except for Fred) and Rose began to nod. “Yeah—why don’t we take a break from studying for the afternoon and go have a couple’s picnic?”

Scor and Al shared identical grimaces, and the frown instantly vanished from Fred’s face.

He guffawed.

“A couple’s picnic?” he echoed incredulously, in an amused laugh. “Oh, god I’m glad I didn’t date either of you.”

There was a beat, as everyone’s nose at the table scrunched slightly.

Fred stared at Rose, frowning. “Well, especially you—because, you know, we’re related.”

Rose rolled her eyes and leaned into Scor’s chest, frowning at her cousin. I didn’t just frown. I glowered at him as best I could.

“You wouldn’t date me?” I demanded with a scowl.

Al looked at me like I was insane. Scor snorted, and Rose rolled her eyes. Fred paled slightly as I stared at him incredulously.

“Wait—why do you care?” Al frowned.

I brushed my boyfriend off, and continued to glower at Fred. He didn’t meet my gaze.

“Uh, you know, Kats, that’s a funny one. I mean, obviously, you’re dating, uh, you know, uhm, it’s just—”

But I was off.

“Why wouldn’t you want to date me?” I demanded neurotically. “It’s just a picnic. I mean, I’m not a bad girlfriend. I’m a good person. I’ve never intentionally hurt someone, and I get that I’m a little odd looking, and my nose is a bit wonky, and I’m not the smartest person in the world but...” I trailed off, waiting.

There was silence.

They all watched me wearily for a moment.

Frowning, now at everyone, I held my hands up. “Whoa, let’s not all rush to disagree,” I called.

They quickly hastened to voice how wrong I was. Al pressed a gentle hand on my shoulder, “Oh, Kats, you know none of those things are actually true, don’t yo—”

“—Shut up,” I rolled my eyes at him.

I turned back to Rose and Scor. “It’s a double date,” I said, shooting a last frown at Fred, who was snickering in Al’s direction. “See you this afternoon.”

Tools.

I quickly kissed Albus on the cheek, letting him know that he was still my boyfriend (no matter how stupid,) but it was a good choice. I tripped slightly, again catching my ankle on the bench. Before I could face plant again and break my nose again, Al’s arm swung around and caught me.

Fred wolf whistled.

Al looked at me sadly, knowing that this was all part of my stupid happiness clause. I took a deep breath, and smiled reassuringly at him, standing back on my own two feet.

Don’t cry, Katie. That would be embarrassing.

Yeah. Because that’d be something new for me.




I got it.

I got it and that made this entire thing way too scary.

Or at least scarier than it had been up to this point.

The picnic was done—Scor and Rose had left in the end, no doubt to make out somewhere because the whole thing was so damn romantic. Al had noticed I was on edge almost as soon as I had shown up, a bit later than I’d actually planned. He’d probably assumed it had something to do with the curse and my broken nose (which hadn’t stopped hurting all day, just so you know.)

But it wasn’t. It was because Scorpius had information that I’d needed for tonight to work. And for tonight to work I was going to have to use my friend.

I hadn’t ever really used a person.

But now I had to use Scorpius, to get this job done. In the long run, Emily was worth it—worth getting rid of this memory—but she wasn’t worth what Todd was planning. I had two options here—to do this, or to tell Todd and ruin Emily. Todd had to be stopped.

And I had to use Scorpius to do so.

And I would.

I had. I’d done it already.

I’d managed to turn the conversation to houses surprisingly quickly, and to passwords even faster after that. Some line like (“haha, do the passwords actually relate to all the personality traits that the Sorting Hat sees?”) and I had it. I’d had to give up Hufflepuff’s (Dobby— because he was probably the most loyal being to ever exist) and then Scor had just told me.

And it put a sickening taste in my mouth. Like the nasally iron blood from my broken nose, and the beans that I’d tasted in a combination of off-milk and strawberries.

I stood in front of the entrance—exactly when Scorpius had said it was when he was complaining about the walk down here—with my wand in one and the other clenched around a sheet of paper with the incantations of two spells written on it.
The Memory Charm.

The Disillusionment Charm (which I was already under, by the way, and it felt like someone had cracked a frozen egg over my head.)

I could do this. I really could.

Thinking about it as I said it, the Slytherin password was far more sophisticated than I’d thought it would be. Something posh and elegant—and not at all the lame word I was expecting. I had been thinking it would be something like ‘Salazar’ or ‘Snakes are cool.’

Not this.

“Callidus.”

The Latin for sly—I only knew that because Rose had explained when Scor had told us. But it was a good one. It wasn’t as obvious as ours.

The door slipped open. It wasn’t a portrait, like the Gryffindor common room—or a tapestry, like the entrance to Hufflepuffs. It wasn’t a riddling door like Ravenclaw. It was just a door. I big, strong, iron door in the dungeons and as soon as I’d said the password, the locks started to move and shift and it was open.

It was late. Of course it was. I couldn’t have just done this thing in the middle of the day where everyone would see. I had to be discreet (hopefully for the first time in my life).

But I wasn’t going to show up too late. I was going to show up in the evening—now—at roughly eight thirty and I was going to stay in their common room for a couple of hours until Todd went to bed.

Then I did it.

And then I got out.

That was the plan. And that was what I was going to do.

I slipped into the room, instantly seeing Todd in the corner. He was sitting beside Indiana Stephens, with Sabriel Malfoy to her left. Sabriel wore a frown on her face—as though she’d tasted something disgusting.

But I already knew about Sabriel’s issues with the happy couple. That wasn’t why I was here.

There were large, leather couches coloured in a deep green. The people who sat on them squeaked when they moved, but the green fire of the small fireplace seemed to have been amplified some way and it was surprisingly warm for the dungeons.

I could see that the room, other than that, was very clearly in the dungeons. The walls and floor were made of cold hard stone and the only remotely cushy area was the thin, three metre long carpet that covered the area in front of the fire. Lounging on said rug was Scorpius, sitting with Fiero Nott and his cousin, Calliope Greengrass.

I swallowed. If he saw me now he’d know.

Okay, so he wouldn’t know the real story about why I was here but he’d know that I used him.

And he wouldn’t be cool with it by any means.

Obviously, I hadn’t really talked to Scorpius about the inner workings of his common room. It had taken some serious planning for me to figure out how to get on the password track, and I didn’t want to risk it by being overly nosy. So I hadn’t asked—which was fine because I was here now and I could clearly see a place where I could hide.

I slipped to the small space between the edge of the last couch, the side of the fire and the wall. It was small enough for me to crouch in, but not nearly small enough that anyone would just be casually standing there.

Settling on the floor, I took a deep breath and remained silent.

The inner workings of the Slytherin Common room were an interesting place. Hogwarts wasn’t nearly the bigoted place it’d been before the second war, so it wasn’t as though I’d be beaten up if I was found (by anyone else but Todd). Scorpius, Fred and Al were best friends—and had been since they were eleven. Rose was dating Scor. The rivalry between Slytherin and Gryffindor was far better—it was better between all the houses.

I watched as Calliope continued to hit on Scorpius while he politely pretended not to notice. I watched as Fiero and Scorpius played jacks with some emerald encrusted pieces that Fiero just happened to have gotten from his mother at Christmas. I watched as Sabriel later joined them, deciding to step away from her friend and her boyfriend. I watched as said friend and boyfriend locked lips and didn’t stop.

It was an environment that was just a bright an lively as any other common room. It had turned my head around, schemas spinning as I thought to the harsh, silent place that I’d assumed it would be.

But then, Scor lived here. And he was one of my closest friends—the life of a room with a smile that made my best friend’s heart beat like crazy, and best friend’s with the man who effected mine.

How had I assumed that anywhere Scor was commonly was a cold place.

I cursed my own opinions. Apparently, I was just as one minded as a lot of people out there that I’d always looked down on. I was the one who avoided Slytherins in general, basing my experience on people like Todd and Indiana.

Since the moment in the hallway, my enoucnter with Sabriel, she’d left me well enough alone. I knew that she was a sensitive person, who could react when antagonized and felt some real feelings for Al’s older brother.

I knew that James Potter hadn’t even thought about Sabriel, not only because she was young (which I hoped was a part of it), but because she was a Slytherin.

And a Malfoy.

I also knew that Scor had told us the truth on the train. We hadn’t confronted the issue because we all knew the truth of it, but the things that Scor had said had chilled us all to the bone when we were confronted by it.

“We’re both in dire danger—and Tyler is the only one who can save either of us. But he can only save one of us. You know which one he’s going to save, Rosie,” Scorpius said quietly. “And it’s not me.”

It was the truth. The majority of the world was scared enough of another war that prejudices remained and that worried me. I’d been quick to categorize Todd Williams—he was a Slytherin, he was a blackmailer, and he was a bad guy.

But those things didn’t go hand in hand.

Slytherin was a place. A group that he could fit into.

But Slytherin wasn’t Todd Williams. It wasn’t the house that had made him the rude, insane guy that he was.

That was all Todd.

While I was numbly considering this—my epiphany—I only barely noticed that people were slowly trailing off to bed. I didn’t notice when Scor made his departure, but I did notice when Sabriel interrupted Todd and Indiana, to say goodnight, compelling the two of them to do the same. Todd headed through a door—their dorm didn’t have the stairs that I was familiar with—to the left, while Indiana and Sabriel left through a door to the right.

In fact, I only really came back to reality when the light dimmed, obviously recognising there was only one person in the room.

Or—so I’d thought.

A quick hand lashed out from nowhere, and I let out a quick shout before silencing myself. Wrenching myself from their grasp, I spun around, lifting my hand to where my head was now searing.

It seemed that Indiana Stephens wasn’t as oblivious as I’d always thought she was.

“Katie Dalton,” she said hastily, as my shock brought the disillusionment charm to wear off. “Did you really think you could sneak into another house’s common room and no one would notice?” she snarled.

I swallowed, stepping away from her. My wand remained where it had been all night—grasped firmly in my hand. I didn’t raise it, but I made note of Indiana—who’d pulled her own wand out and was holding it with a tense arm.

“Indiana. I’m not—”

Really I was glad she then went to interrupt me. Because I had no idea what I was going to say. I’m not here to hurt you? Right, because that wasn’t suspicious at all. I’m not doing anything? No, I’d just broken into the Slytherin common room for fun.

But she did interrupt me.

“—Stow it, Dalton,” she snarled, lifting her wand slightly. She paused then, obviously realising that she wasn’t really going to curse or hex me. The wand lowered slightly and she continued to stare at me like I was an idiot. “Merlin, Dalton, are you really this thick?” she demanded. “To break into the Slytherin Common room? I mean, I knew you were an idiot—but this is, just, ridiculous.”

I swallowed and remained silent.

Because we’d already established that there was absolutely nothing to say.

Indiana lifted her wand again, stepping forward so the wood pressed into my neck. I brought my own wand up, jabbing it into her gut.

“Back off, Stephens.” I said nervously.

She scoffed, and didn’t lower her wand.

“I don’t get it, Dalton. Do you want to be kicked in the ass? Because your behaviour would indicate that that’s what you want.”

I frowned slightly.

“Well no.” I answered, turning to my best self-defence tactic. “That’s kind of in the mission statement. ‘Don’t get kicked in the ass’.” I joked.

The wand pressed closer.

“Look, Dalton. I don’t like you. You’re rude, conceited and think you’re amazing.”

...Was she kidding?

“You’re not going to hex me, Indiana,” I said, deciding to use her real name to appeal to the good side of her. Of course it was going to be Indiana Stephens who found me. I was a girl cursed with bad luck who was steadily getting happier and happier as I got closer and closer to getting out of a blackmail bond. “Put the wand down.”

Indiana let out a snarl of derision, her wand not wavering.

“Why are you here?” she demanded. “What—are you just that thick?”

I swallowed, noticing that as I did so, the wand pressed closer to my neck. Worried about her thinking I was weak; I did the same with my own wand in her gut.

“It’s a surprise for Scorpius,” I improvised. “I was supposed to—”

Again, she interrupted me.

“—Stop lying.” She said quickly. “It doesn’t suit you.”

I glowered at her.

“You know what suits me, Stephens?” I asked. “Aside from falling on my face and being mocked for it by you?”

She shrugged.

“Maybe you shouldn’t fall on your face all the time.”

I was so sorely tempted to tell her that I was cursed and that she had practically been mocking a cripple for the past six years, before I realised that all of my friends didn’t know and they wouldn’t be happy if they found out via. Indiana Stephens.

Instead, I just glared at her.

Then she lowered her wand.

“You know what?” She asked, looking amused as I wearily let my won wand fall from her stomach. “Forgetting everything else, it’s cool that you’ve finally grown some balls, Dalton. I mean, look at all the stuff you’ve done this year.”

I frowned.

This had suddenly gone from a weird situation to an absolutely insane one. Was she about to reminisce with me...?

“I mean,” she began to reminisce, “you got everyone’s attention with that stupid tap dance of yours at the start of the year—I mean, everyone knew that you had the hots for Potter—but no one really thought you were any different. Then you stopped hanging out with your real friends and everyone sort of realised that you might be different—and then you were friends with the old ones again, macking on Potter and fixing everyone up in their happily ever after couples.”

Weird.

This was very, very weird.

This was beyond weird.

If you’d asked me half an hour ago to tell you the weirdest thing that could have happened if this whole thing went wrong then I wouldn’t have even fathomed the idea that Indiana Stephens would be talking to me like I was a human being.

“And I mean, I know that you’ve got a bit of a crush on my boyfriend, but you’d never have a chance with him so I’m happy if you’re pining from a distance, it’s just that you’re kind of...”

—Wait, what?

...What?

That one I wasn’t going to let slide. “Hey, wait—”

Then we were both interrupted. Before I could even consider continuing to voice my protests, Indiana was lifting her wand and I felt the familiar sensation of an egg smashing on my head. I didn’t consider it when I lifted my head and performed the charm on her. Then she was grabbing my shoulder and pulling my down into my old hiding place.

Only, now that there were two of us, it was a little more crowded.

When I saw who it was who’d come out of the door on the left, I realised that my curse had once again done its thing.

“Yes,” Todd hissed into a mirror. “It’s empty.... yes, I’m bloody sure...” For a moment I thought I was talking to his own reflection, leading me to conclude that this guy was ten times more insane than I’d thought he was. But then I heard the sound of a voice talking back.

“Is it done?” the raspy voice hissed. “If the lesser Dumbledore could create one then you should have had no problems—were there any problems?”

The sound of the voice had set my blood cold. My skin stood on end. Indiana, who recognised her boyfriend, made to move, but I shoved her back down. The hairs on the back of my skin were on edge, and the goosebumps had very much made their appearance.

The lesser Dumbledore? What did that mean? Aberforth? (I knew Harry Potter’s tale backwards and frontwards, do you really think I don’t know who Aberforth Dumbledore is?)

“I covered my tracks—” Todd said quickly. “I got some Hufflepuff girl to do the hard work—it won’t be traced to me.”

Todd may have been unable to see Indiana and me, but Indiana knew very much where I was. I could see the slight outline of her head turn to look at me incredulously. Obviously, Todd had just told her my exact reason for being in this common room.

To see her boyfriend.

I didn’t need to see the intricacies of her face to know that she was about to do something stupid. I noticed her hand clench, and felt her move before she actually did. Faster than I’d ever moved before I reacted, quickly moving my hand to cover her mouth, while I pushed all my weight down onto her—making sure she didn’t stand. We fell in a quiet heap to the left, but in the next second of sheer bloody terrifying silence I knew that Todd hadn’t noticed.

But when I had sorted it out with Indiana, silently verifying that she wasn’t going to talk, and pushed myself back up to peer over the lounge cushion and what I saw was the honest to Merlin scariest thing I’d ever seen in my entire life.

Walden McNair—a man who I recognised from the articles and the newspaper and the biographies—the man who cursed me when I was less than a year old—was in the Slytherin Common Room.

I couldn’t even sarcastically comment that that was just my luck.

Because he’d been the one to give it to me.





So I’ve made some major plot changes, sorting it all out in my head and making sense of absolutely everything. From this point forward, all assurances I’ve given you in review responses, in author’s notes and anything else are null and void. I’m dropping my walls and fences on where I can go with this. A reviewer told me that I was being too dramatic, and I decided that if that was the case I could go with it.

Henceforth, Katie is at my disposal.

Don’t hate me.

G.


Chapter 44: Birth of a Hero
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44. Birth of a Hero






I first read about Draco Malfoy in the unofficial biography of Harry Potter—Harry Potter had never released an autobiography, and the many unofficial biographies that had been written were certainly not something that Harry Potter has been a large part of.

Draco Malfoy was the only son of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy. He married Astoria Greengrass, who gave birth to two children—the eldest, a son named Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy, and the youngest, Sabriel Mirani Malfoy. He was a member of the school board, taking the position from his father. He began his career following the war as a dishwasher at the Leaky Cauldron but now worked at the Ministry doing something that hadn’t been disclosed to the public.

And in his sixth year, he was bound by he-who-must-not-be-named, and ordered to kill Albus Dumbledore. Behind his back, an unforgivable curse was made between Narcissa Malfoy and Severus Snape vowing that should Draco fail, Snape would complete the job.

In order to fulfil his orders, Draco Malfoy let several death eaters into the castle of Hogwarts, letting many be injured and attacked, and resulting in the death of Albus Dumbledore.

All these things spun through my head, my mind spinning and my eyes blinking furiously.

Todd Williams was about to become Draco Malfoy.

He was about to do exactly the same thing. Hell, he had done the same thing. There was a friggin Death Eater in this castle, and Todd Williams had put him there.

And I was the reason he would get away with it. He’d said it himself. My freaking obedience had made him untouchable.

It made me want to pull out my hair, scream and cry at the same time. Not for myself—god, no, I was the one stupid enough to risk this happening for Em’s damn pride—but last time someone had died.

And if someone died this time I would never, ever forgive myself.

“Are the others on their way?” McNair demanded of Todd.

Todd nodded his head, rolling his eyes at the death eater’s impatience. It astounded me. He was being a dick—the same rude, arrogant tool he always was—to a man who had kill hundreds? To the man who had cursed me?

“They’ll be here in moments.” Todd said. “Meanwhile,” he reached into his pocket, “you need to drink this. I’ve been all around the school getting what you need.”

McNair’s eyes narrowed.

“So you could be connected to this?” he thundered.

Todd held up his hands with another casual roll of his eyes. “No worries, man,” he droned. “I used some myself—it was a bitch to make and bitchier to drink—but if there are any questions asked, Katie Dalton was the one who went to the other common rooms and collected hair samples. I snatched a hair off her when we were doing business.”

My stomach dropped out of my stomach.

Seriously.

It literally felt like a giant gaping hole had opened up where my legs had once been and everything gushed out like a water tap. Simultaneously, I wanted to throw up.


“He told me everything.” Oz told me at the Hufflepuff table two days ago. “Everything that you did for him. You were bloody there—don’t lie about this, Katie.”


Eric frowns in front of the Ravenclaw common room. “What? We talked an hour ago, Katie.”


Fred watches me, half amused, half confused. “We hung in the common room for two hours before you went to study with Eric, Kats.”


Yep. I very definitely want to throw up.

Because I knew what that meant.

Honestly, who wouldn’t?

He had taken a strand of my hair. To make the potion that required a hair for the blame to be pinned on me.

Todd had been me. Now there was even more of a reason to freak out about this whole situation. Not only could it be linked to my little trip to the restricted section of the library, but Todd had spoken to my friends, as me.

Todd Williams had been walking around.

As me.

For who knows how long?

I pushed my head out from behind the couch cushion again, almost having forgotten that Indiana was right beside me until that point. She shifted slightly.

“Take the freaking potion, man.” Todd urged the death eater. “We don’t want some student walking down here and freaking seeing you.”

McNair rolled his eyes, but quickly downed the potion. His face contorting in disgust at the taste that I’ve heard described as ‘fermented cat piss,’ his features began to change almost instantly. I didn’t watch as their faces changed, but when the sounds of shifting bones stopped and I looked back, I recognised the man he’d become instantly.

Professor Longbottom.

“Where is the actual Longbottom?” Walden asked with the Professor’s voice. “You have seen to that, haven’t you boy?”

Todd let his lilting smirk creep onto his face as he surveyed McNair. “Do you think I’m a fool?” He asked dryly. “Of course I’ve taken care of it. As of this moment, the four heads of house of this very establishment are flying to Beauxbatons for an emergency meeting of professors to discuss the base curriculum. Because of the apparating regulations, it will take them three hours to get there, and three hours to return when they find that the letter was a hoax.”

To me, hearing that Professor Longbottom was not dead was a sheer bloody relief. As soon as McNair had taken his form I thought of the real man—Char and Carson’s cute but super scary dad.

McNair/Longbottom pursed his lips, his scarred eyebrows coming together.

“That doesn’t give us a large window.”

Todd rolled his eyes.

“You’re being overly cautious,” Todd informed him. “It gives us time enough for the plan. When the others arrive they’ll take their agreed forms, and I’ll take mine. By the time everyone finds out what is happening, they’ll have no idea who we are, and we’ll be holding every single student at Hogwarts hostage.”

For the first time, a confident smirk slipped onto Longbottom/McNair’s face.

“Because of the time I spent with the insipid friends of Katie Dalton,” Todd continued, “I know all of the passwords—so you three should have no difficulties making your way into the common rooms. From them on it’s just a case of sealing the rooms and making our demands.”

Todd grinned, before reaching into his bag. He pulled out a Gryffindor tie and pushed it into McNair/Longbottom’s hands.

“Augustus and Antonin will be here in moments,” McNair/Longbottom declared. “But before they arrive, might you tell me who that is?”

My heart literally stopped.

He extended a finger and pointed right at me.

Todd grinned. “That?” he said, looking right at me. With a swish of his wand, I was visible again. I swallowed, pure fear coursing through my veins. “That’s just Katie Dalton.”

McNair snarled at Todd. “The scapegoat?”

Todd nodded. “My bitch.”

I flinched, but didn’t move.

“Stand up, Katie.”

Fear pounding through every inch of me, I slowly pushed myself to my feet. Before they could see my wand, I slipped it up the sleeve of my shirt, but unable to do anything more than that.

“Come over here, Katie.”

I felt as though I was under the Imperious curse. I’d never known what it felt like, but if this was what it felt like to mindlessly obey, then I believed I was close to knowing. I hadn’t heard any spells though. This mindless fear was my own mind doing what it was told.

It was as though my free will had vanished entirely.

McNair spoke next, Longbottom’s face twisting to the cruel look that had me imagine how he’d killed the snake in the war. His face was terrifying—and yet, this was the dad of two of my friends.

“Do you know what is going to happen now, Katie Dalton?” he asked of me.

I couldn’t talk.

I literally could not talk. My throat had gone so dry that there was no way I’d be able to make any sort of sound.

I made an gurgling sound.

Right, so I could make some sort of sound.

Just not any that would help me in this situation.

“She looks a bit tongue-tied, friend,” Todd observed, grinning. “But she should be.” He leaned close to me—his mouth inches from my face as I stared into his snarling grin. “Do you know who this is Katie?”

I didn’t move. I didn’t speak.

Todd seemed to understand.

“She does,” he said leaning backward. He turned to McNair. “Do you know why Katie knows who you are, specifically, Mr. McNair?”

McNair watched me with curious narrowed eyes. “Why does she know me specifically?” he asked, a grin slipping onto his face as well.

Todd grinned at me.

I swallowed.

They were playing with me.

They were bloody playing games with me—like I was a mouse that they didn’t need to worry about because they were the cat and the cat was faster, stronger and smarter than the mouse.

For the love of Merlin I did not like being that bloody mouse.

“Katie knows who you are, Mr. McNair, because you cursed her fifteen years ago, with bad luck.”

No.

I was wrong.

That was when my stomach dropped through my ass.

I stared at Todd in horror. Gaping at him with my mouth opening and closing I also watched McNair as he realised who I was.

“Dalton? Of the blood traitors Michael and Helen Dalton?”

My parent’s names, coming from that thing’s mouth was enough to make my heart want to jump out of my chest and beat the man to a bloody pulp.

You know, if I wasn’t terrified and immobile.

And if hearts could do that.

I stared at Todd. “You knew?” I croaked, finally finding my voice—the voice that sounded as though a truck had hit my voice box driving at one hundred miles per hour. “You knew about the curse?”

Todd let out a cold laugh.

“You got me suspended for six months, Dalton. You pissed me off, and I did my homework. And I realised that if I wanted any of this to work all I had to do was talk to you. Because you have the worst luck in the entire world—and you’re a freaking Hufflepuff. It was the recipe for brilliance.”

I coughed—which was really very tough considering the complete lack of air in my lungs.

“Hufflepuff?” I echoed hoarsely. “What does that have to do with anything?”

Todd chuckled.

“You’re a Hufflepuff. Everyone knows its the most useless house—it’s the one where people who don’t matter go, and then they go and call you ‘loyal.’ As if everyone else isn’t loyal. You do know that your entire house is a lie? I mean, the mainly Slytherin based Death Eaters were loyal to the Dark Lord even in his death. And the bloody saint Gryffindors do everything based on freaking loyalty.”

Loyalty?

What the hell was he talking about?

“Although, Dalton,” he continued to rant. “You’re loyalty did reach ridiculous proportions. You made me think a bit about the stupidity of Hufflepuffs, combined with their stupid blind loyalty. I mean—Emily was a bitch to you. A real, cold bitch, and yet you’re willing to risk your well being, other people’s safety and really, everything that’s important to you for the sake of her pride?”

I swallowed.

“That’s either real loyalty—or real moronic.” He paused. “And you know what? I think it’s the second one, Kats, I really do.”

What happened next could not be attributed to bravery.

I was not a brave person.

In fact, it had just been made clear to me that I was a freaking moron.

I was not brave.

Not by any means of the word.

So if you want me to be honest?

This was all due to pure stupidity.

“I’m going to tell everyone.”

Frick. Frickety frick, frick, fricken frick.

McNair’s wand was brought up immediately. Todd stopped it, pushing it back to the death eater’s side. I realised that I wasn’t breathing—and upon realising this, didn’t restart. I just continued to hold my breath and await the consequences of my latest bout of stupidity.

“No you won’t, Katie.”

I frowned.

“I will,” I persisted foolishly. “Everyone knows what you are, Todd. They know that you’re a bad guy. They’ll have no problems believing this was you.”

Todd leered at me.

Really, truly, freaking leered.

“No Katie, they’ll have no problems believing it was you.”

For the third time, my stomach seemed to simultaneously fall through the floor and explode.

“Wh-what?”

“Why are you here, Katie?” Todd asked me slowly. “Do you want to tell me why you were hiding in the Slytherin common room, at eleven o’clock in the night, with a known death eater?”

I was here to wipe his memory. A little piece of it, or all of it—I didn’t care when I arrived. I was here to break the law, and take his memories.

“Exactly,” Todd continued when I didn’t reply. “And who was it that got all the passwords to the separate common rooms? And who was it that broke into the restricted section and stole the books that taught who how to make the polyjuice potion—which is also illegal, without permit, post the second wizarding war? And who’s owl was it that delivered the message that sent away all the heads of house?”

I had only errantly wondered where Scrubs was this morning when he wasn’t in his cage.

But there was something that Todd wasn’t on top of.

Something that Todd didn’t know.

Indiana was watching this entire thing. She seemed smart enough o stay down and stay quiet now that it was a matter of death eaters and framed students and polyjuice potion. She’d seen it all and she wasn’t actually evil. She’d tell the teachers everything.

She’d smiled at me, that day, in my house, after the ball at the Malfoy’s home.

Indiana Stephens had smiled at me, and Indiana was going to get me out of this.

Todd smirked at me.

“Don’t smile Katie,” he told me.

I hadn’t been smiling. My lips had barely twitched. But come on, I was the girl that everyone knew was in love with Albus Potter, months before we got together. I was the girl who needed a necklace with a cushioning charm. I was the girl who was cursed to never be happy.

I was a girl who wore her bloody emotions on her sleeve.

And Todd had seen it.

But he couldn’t know—

“Indy? Will you stop hiding from me please? Come out.”

My stomach really needed to stay inside me. My inside went cold as I heard the familiar sound of the disillusionment charm being removed, and the shift of furniture as Indiana made her way out from the hiding spot.

“Todd, are you really doing this?” She asked, her eyes blinking away tears while she frowned at her boyfriend.

Todd sighed. “Yes, sweetie.” He told her with a grim nod.

Indiana nodded, setting her arms.

“You won’t get away with this, Todd. I mean—those days are behind us now. The war, you-know-who, all that terror. We’re done with it—I won’t let you bring it back. I won’t le—”

The flash of green came out of nowhere.

Indiana was dead before she hit the floor.

Todd smirked. “Maybe now she’ll finally shut up.”

Everything exploded.

Longbottom/McNair launched himself at Todd, his fist colliding with the side of his face so hard that I heard the crack of Todd’s neck, pulling back, there was blood on his fist as he snatched Todd’s wand from his hands and grabbed the mirror, pressing his palm, red with Todd’s blood, against the surface he vanished. My wand was in my hand, the wood cold in my numb fingers, I could hear a scream, oh Merlin, was that me, Indiana was dead, Todd laughed like a maniac, my face was wet, why was my face wet? Todd moved forward at me, runs his fingers through the blood on his head and grabs my hands, smears it across my knuckles and steps back, again playing with his bleeding head.

I lifted my wand and pointed it at him.

“Katie?”

The scream—it was me—cut off and there was silence. My head swung to the left, where, through the left door, stood Scorpius Malfoy, staring at Indiana’s body with his face as pale as a ghost.

“OH, MY GOD!”

The scream came from my right. Sabriel Malfoy was a blonde blur as she ran past me to the body of her now dead best friend. I remained still, wand pointed at Todd Williams’s face as Sabriel’s shout turned to hysterical sobs.

“She did this.”

Everything went silent now. I couldn’t even hear my own heart throbbing in my chest. Pure terror had silenced my whole world.

“She did this!” Todd lifted an accusatory finger in the air and pointed it at me. “She was in the common room—Indy and I were just here—and then she was here and, oh, my god, she killed Indy.”

I didn’t move.

I couldn’t move.

All of Slytherin was here now. They come out and they were watching.

“Katie Dalton just murdered my girlfriend!”

I found my voice. Not moving my hand I shook my head vigorously.

“He’s lying.” I tried to shout to the crowd loudly, but it came out as a hoarse whisper. “He’s lying. I didn’t do this. He did this.”

Todd looked at me—there were tears in his eyes—why was he such a good actor? His face showed a look of pure incredulity.

“I did this?” He echoed. “I don’t even have a wand. I loved her. How dare you!” He launched himself at me—but Scor was there faster, grabbing him and pulling h