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Operation Weasley by TheHouseElf

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Format: Novel
Chapters: 8
Word Count: 27,910
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Contains Spoilers

Genres: General, Humor, Romance
Characters: George, Albus, James (II), Lily (II), Hugo, Rose, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Other Pairing, Teddy/Victoire, James/OC

First Published: 05/10/2012
Last Chapter: 03/19/2013
Last Updated: 03/19/2013

Summary:
Banner by the brilliantly talented sanadamaiko@TDA




Super sleuth Sophie Carter is on her greatest case yet- investigating her next door neighbours, the Weasleys.

Warning: May contain various disguises and lashings of bad alliterations.

BEING REVAMPED


Chapter 1: Day One, Phase One
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A/N: Update! Thanks for all the reviews so far, they're inspirational, and I love replying ;)



Chapter image by enchantedx@TDA, thanks!

A/N: I've been editing this story and so far, only chapter one is fully done, so be warned, all the other chapters are different to this one and, well, worse :P




August 1st. The air was heavy with moisture, the brown grass starved of water and the birds weren’t singing- instead, they’d flopped onto the nearest branch, keeling over from heat exhaustion. The county of Devon was currently experiencing a severe drought. In fact, most counties in the south were as well, Kent, Sussex and Cornwall to name a few. The British public was split into two halves- the sun worshippers who’d declined a holiday abroad due to the hot weather and the sun abhorrers, who stayed inside in favour of cool temperatures and air conditioning.

Sophie was a culmination of the two. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, she preferred the heat, the outdoors, the sweet smell of ice cream mingling with the scent of a nearby hydrangea. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, she stayed inside, surfing the internet on her computer, lounging around on her sofa (or more likely her friends’ sofas) and rereading her paperback copies of the Sherlock Holmes stories. The spines were covered in deep, white lines, betraying how abused and loved they were.

The first of August was a Thursday. ‘Nothing good ever happened on a Thursday,’ Sophie recalled. Not a few years ago did her school schedule for Thursday compromise solely of double maths, double chemistry and double physics. When she got lost in the local supermarket, that occurred on a Thursday, and the event made sure that she never wandered down the frozen foods aisle alone.

Currently, she was watching her neighbour Fred Weasley through her binoculars, handling a bulging bag of rubbish. Over the years, Sophie had noticed certain, ‘quirks’ about the Weasley family, from their boarding school which was curiously called Hogwarts, to their keeping of owls as pets. However, the reason why was shrouded in mystery, and also, if it were up to Sophie, a sparkly shrug, for she likes sparkly things. Therefore, an investigation was in order, and if there is one thing that Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous work of fiction had taught her, is that every great investigation starts with observation.

Observe the enemy. Know the enemy. Although, technically, the Weasleys weren’t the enemy. They were just an ordinary, but strange, family. And eccentricities were bound to be found in any family line, the Weasleys were no exception.

“Hiya Soph!” Freddie called genially, waving one arm, almost causing him to lose balance due to the sheer weight of the rubbish in his other hand, not that that broke the grin on his face. Sophie removed the binoculars from her eyes, wincing internally. Undercover work was trickier than it looked.

“Hey Freddie,” Sophie replied easily. Fred Weasley’s optimism did have its effects.

“What are you doing?” He asked curiously, one eyebrow raised. Sophie sighed, jealous at the show of talent, before shaking herself out of her brief stupor.

“Looking for albatrosses?” She answered with a non committal shrug of the shoulders. The lie had sprung forth from Sophie’s lips before she could stop it, and she heavily questioned its validity. It was all she could do to not gnaw on her inner cheek in apprehension.

“Don’t they only fly at sea?” Fred cocked his head slightly to the side. It was a sign of innocent interest.

“Yeah but...albatrosses have been known to fly over land areas, such as the one that we inhibit,”

“I wouldn’t have a clue, you’re the one studying Biology,” Fred chuckled lightly. “D’you wanna come over later, it’s just that, the new ‘Zombie Militia’ game arrived today. I’ve yet to play it and you do love your computer generated violence,”

“I was sold at ‘Zombie Militia’,” Sophie stated, a small smirk graced her features.

“Cool, I’ll see you around five then?”

“Yep, see you then Freddie,”                                                                                    

Sophie retreated back into her bedroom, sliding shut her window behind her. The wall was looking very attractive, smooth and flat, perfect conditions for head banging.

***

The Carter family were supposedly the most normal family one could meet. They compromised of Mr and Mrs Carter and their son Dexter and daughter Sophie. They lived in a 3 bed terrace house with a front garden and a back garden. Mr Carter worked in an office job for an insurance company. Mrs Carter was a housewife, a former minor model who spent most of her time cooking, cleaning and providing for her family. Dexter Carter was at university in America, studying psychology, whereas Sophie Carter was still in high school, studying Biology, French, English and Maths for her A-Levels with the hope of joining the Police Force and becoming a detective.

The Weasleys also had the perfect family set up with two parents and two children. They lived in the adjoining house to the Carters for the past 14 years. Mr Weasley ran a joke shop with his brother and Mrs Weasley was the captain of a women’s football team. Fred Weasley and Roxanne Weasley were still both in school; however, unlike Sophie who went to the local comprehensive, they attended a boarding school in Scotland.

A boarding school for magic.

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Not that the Carters knew that their neighbours were wizards.


Chapter 2: Day Five, Phase Two
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A/N: The introduction of Sophie’s mum, Sophie’s best friend Kelly and more Roxy, George, Angelina and Freddie! And I apologise for the overuse of ellipsis.

Chapter is dedicated to the one and only cat lady on my road, hope you like it!



Chapter image by the awesome enchantedx@TDA, thank you Mariam ;) Isn't Freddie dishy?





Five days into phase one of the operation and also into the summer holidays. No leads as of yet. Of course. The Weasleys are as elusive as ever. Surveillance will continue, though it is noted by Operative Coffee Addict (that’s me, in case you’ve forgotten) that the efforts will probably be futile.

However, Phase Two of the operation will soon be put into place.

Gaining Evidence.

The Weasleys have invited me over for dinner, being the lovely neighbours they are. Much better than the cat lady on the other side (No, seriously, there is a cat lady next door, there are two statues of cats either side of the gate. I always hurry up when walking past, it’s a creepy place, it feels like the cat statues are watching you. ). Operative Coffee Addict will take the opportunity to snoop around the house and look for clues. The best friend of Operative Coffee Addict is in the case headquarters, AKA my bedroom, to help prepare for Phase Two of the operation. Kelly Roberts (the bestie) shall be known henceforth as-

“Queenie,”

“No, you don’t get to choose your nickname!” She does not understand the concept of a random nickname to shelter the identities of the operatives. Tut tut, simple detective rule and she couldn’t get it.

“Yes I do!” Darn, I said that out loud, whoops, must control my trap, especially around the Weasleys. “Anyways, your nickname is Coffee Addict, how much more blatantly obvious do you want to be?” Kelly pouted with her hands on her hips. She had me there. She always does. I wonder how she does it... Alien!

“Fine, you can be Queenie,” I huffed, folding my arms in protest. No one else chose their nicknames. Although I doubt they would be allowed to, since the whole point of this is to find out the secret, in secrecy, duh.

“Yay,” she clapped her hands. Why am I friends with her again? Oh yeah, she blackmailed me. Blackmail. True friendship right there.

“So, let’s go over this again,” I pointed to the flipchart with my, shocker I know, pointer. “Location: The Weasley Household next door,” I flipped the page and pointed again to the next crudely drawn picture, courtesy of Queenie. “Targets: Mainly The Target as he is of similar age to us-“

“Not similar, the same age, plus he’s your best friend,”

“Shut it smartarse,” I snarled. Yeah, that’s right, I snarled. No one messes up my run through. No one. “As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted-“ I paused to glare at Queenie who only smiled back at me. My glare must be getting ineffective. “I shall target The Target mainly but also Duckie, Ginger Ninja and The J-ster. The Target’s bedroom is the first room on the left from the staircase. It is opposite the bathroom. This gives Operative Coffee Addict the ability to use the ‘toilet’ as a ruse to snoop through The Target’s possessions. Are all participants of Operation Weasley clear on phase two?”

Queenie raised her hand and I pointed to her with my pointer. Yes, I love it, it’s awesome. No, I will not put it down. Do you want me to point it at you? Do you?

“What exactly is my part in phase two?” Queenie asked from her position from the floor. I pondered the question as she stared up at me. Err, what do I say? I hadn’t really thought about what she would be doing since she doesn’t really know the Weasleys.  Think fast, think, float like a butterfly sting like a bee. No, that’s boxing. Hmn, quick and nimble, what would Sherlock do? What would Scooby-Doo do? Ha, doo doo.

“Aha! I’m glad you asked that question Operative Queenie. You shall be on surveillance, using my binoculars. I know, it’s an honour, but I’m sure you can handle this piece of expensive equipment,”

“You got it from the pound store Soph,” Queenie snorted.

“THAT’S OPERATIVE COFFEE ADDICT TO YOU! Don’t blow this operation Operative Queenie or you’ll be off the case!”

“Yes Sir!” She saluted. I glared. “I mean, yes ma’am!”

“Better. Now, let’s run through one more time,”

Queenie groaned and I pointed.

***

“Hey Mum,”

“Hey Mrs C,”

“Hi girls, Kelly call me Louise, how many more times do I have to tell you? You’ve spent quite a while in the bedroom. Working on another case?” Mum raised her eyebrow knowingly.

“Case, psh, what case?” I got this completely. I’m all over this...

Mum turned to Queenie.

“Yeah, of course we are Mrs- Louise. Well, Soph is working on it, I’ve been dragged into this,”

“Just like you dragged me into being your friend,” I mumbled and both Mum and Queenie glared at me at the same time. With the same glare. Maybe I was Mr and Mrs Roberts’ kid and Queenie actually is my mum’s. Switched at birth... would explain my abnormalities. Like how my personality is completely different from my parents’, that is if they really are my parents. I asked Mum if she liked Watson’s role in the Hound of the Baskervilles and she replied:

“Yeah, I loved the coat he designed, although McQueen’s range of dresses were much better. I didn’t know you knew much about fashion Soph,”

I don’t mother, I was asking about a character in a book written by the legendary Arthur Conan Doyle. And she talks about a fashion show in reply.

A. Fashion. Show.

Are you kidding me? Even Lindsay Brooks, the slag of Teignbridge Academy, which despite its fancy name only has a 30% pass rate, knows who Dr Watson is and that The Hound of the Baskervilles is a book. Not really a good example, since Lindsay takes English and is unfairly, naturally smart, but still! 99% of people could tell you what my mother couldn’t.  And in case you were wondering just how bad a 30% pass rate actually is, we have the worst exam results in the whole of east Devon. And that is a hard feat, east Devon is quite a big region.

That’s my mother for you.

She deserves a code name, everyone has one.

Erm.

Hmn.

I have no clue. I’m amazing at making code names, what’s wrong with me? My brain’s shrinking, I’m disintegrating! No!

...

I’ve got it! Hallelujah, I live another day. Because my mum knows more about fashion than she does about absolute literature LEGENDS cough, Sherlock Holmes, cough, I will call her the F-Guru. Y’know, F for fashion, get your heads out of the gutter people, it’s not attractive to have crap all over your faces. Jeez, as if I would talk about my mother like that.

“So, what are you two doing for the rest of the day? Lunch will be ready in 10 minutes,” The F-Guru asked, unaware of her new nickname.

“Well, we’ve got to get Sophie ready for tonight and I’m revising for Maths,”

“So soon?” Yeah mum, just be more interested in Queenie than your own daughter. Just ignore me, It’s not like I’m in the same room as you.

“Yep, Maths A-Levels are really hard, better get a head start if I want to be a doctor, I can’t be complacent either just because I got an A at AS level,”

“Why can’t you be more like Kelly Soph?” Here we go again... After a while, you learn to tune her out and focus on other, more pressing issues, such as the bee in the room, or trying to figure out what Mum’s cooking or-

What, bee?

“ARRGHHH! Get it out!”

I have an extensive fear of bees if you can’t guess. It comes from being stung in the ear by a bee at the sweet age of 5. Then, because the dumb bee died after attacking me, its whole hive came after me. When I was the victim! The injustice, I know. I was completely innocent, I mean, all I was doing was trying to whack it with a stick, it doesn’t really hurt!

I know, I’m the epitome of bravery.

That’s right, be jealous, it’s not like I’m a coward scared of a harmless little flying insect.

Snort.

***

“Jag älskar dig McFly!” Did I mention Queenie was half Swedish? No? Must have slipped my mind. She also has a slight infatuation with McFly. Yeah, what a saddo. I really shouldn’t have let her have free reigns of the TV, of course she would switch it to the McFly channel. Still can’t believe they have their own channel. 24/7 McFly, oh the horror.

“Shut it Queenie, we all know that in a battle of the boybands, One Direction will always win,” Queenie loves McFly and I love One Direction, just the way it is. If only One Direction had a channel...

“One Direction split up in 2015, McFly are way better, and still going strong!”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah! Besides, why do you have all of their albums if you weren’t a fan?”

...

Oops.

“They’re not mine, pfft, they’re my brothers,” I waved away the comment. Ha, what are you going to say to that huh?

“Why are they in your room, with the labels, ‘Property of Sophie Carter, back off’ in red then?”

He, he, nervous laugh. He.

“For no reason absolutely whatsoever, now let’s get on to preparing,”

“Thought so,” I heard Queenie mutter in the background smug. Bitch please, I let you win that argument. One Direction are way better than McFly. Who am I kidding? McFly are awesome! I’m just a closet fan, I don’t particularly want to hear Queenie gloating about how she was right all along. Nuh uh, there is nothing worse than an arrogant Queenie.

Trust me.

“So, who’s your favourite?”

“We’re not getting into this Queenie,”

“Because Danny Jones is absolutely the most awesomest, he’s got like this lovely voice and he plays guitar,” I think Queenie just sighed. Like a fangirl. WTH?

Grr.

“One, awesomest isn’t a word and two, have you seen Harry Judd? Huh? Have you? I mean come on, the dude is like the sexiest band member slash dancer slash drummer ever. ‘Tis blasphemy to say otherwise,”

Oh yeah...

“Fine,”

Double oh yeah...

“We’ve got the plan ready now, I know how to get into The Target’s bedroom, but the only question is, what do I do before and after then? Operative Queenie?” I asked, still smirking from my win. She might have gotten me to admit my secret love of McFly, but I triumphed over her in the battle of the best member. Personally, I thought she would have put up more of a fight.

Hmn, suspicious, must watch back...

“How about do what you usually do,”

“ACT LIKE A SPAZ?! ARE YOU NUTS LADY?”

This was going to be a long day. My muse does not appreciate the delicate art that is investigation. Excuse me, whilst I think of an appropriate punishment for her.

***

“So, your mum’s an operative? And The F-Guru, really?” Queenie and I (mostly Queenie) were discussing the initiation of my mother into the case, whilst going down the stairs to commence Phase Two by having dinner with the Weasleys.

“Well, yeah, not that she knows she’s one. And she knows a lot about fashion, hence The F-Guru. I still don’t know whether it’s a good or bad thing that she’s more knowledgeable in that department than me,”

Queenie sighed and rolled her eyes before promptly pushing me out of my house.

“Have fun, don’t mess up like usual!”

Grr. First, she insinuated my detective skills aren’t up to scratch, then, she shut the door in my face. My own house.

Emphasis on the my.

Why was I friends with her again? Oh yeah, she blackmailed me.

I walked the 10 steps to the Weasley front door and knocked. Silence. I waited. I knocked. Silence. I waited. I knocked. Loudly. I heard a faint ‘coming’ this time from the rear of the house, then the sounds of loads of locks being unlocked. I’ve been round hundreds of times but this is the first time since I started Operation Weasley, and the first time I’ve noticed. Huh. Maybe they’re under the Witness Protection Programme?

The door swung open to reveal Duckie who looked glamorous compared to my ratty, not so artfully ripped jeans and a Mizzou Tigers hoodie that belonged to my brother. At least I could be commended on the fact that my jeans were skinny rather than my usual baggy pair, meaning that I didn’t look like a tent tonight.

Hurrah.

“Sophie! You came!” Duckie has an obvious fondness for exclamations. Everything she says ends in an exclamation mark. No joke.

“How could I not?” I smirked. I hope I don’t make a habit of smirking, first at Queenie, now at Duckie... It seems I also have a fondness for ellipsis...

Here’s the deal about Duckie. She’s petite, 5’3” and only 15, well soon to be 16 but still 15 at the moment. But she’s strong. I mean it, she’s got the strength of a heavy weight boxer. She certainly doesn’t look it, being a midget and whatnot, but she is. One time, she knocked the Target out when they were arguing. He was taken away. In a stretcher. To the hospital. Plus, she’s also crazy which isn’t a good combination in my book. If I had one.

So, when Duckie showed the first signs of knocking me over with her superhuman strength, I braced myself for the onslaught of pain, the feeling of being hit by a double decker bus.

And when it came, I was ready.

Not.

5 seconds later, I was lying on the ground, Duckie gripping on tightly to my middle. I couldn’t even make an attempt to pry her fingers off of me! What is this, she’s gotten stronger since the Easter holidays! What have they been feeding her, only protein shakes?

“Sophie Sophie Sophie!”

“GET OFF OF ME YOU CRAZY CHILD!” Duckie leapt off me, her eyes wide in fear, whilst I glared her down. Yeah, that’s right. Be afraid. Be very-

“Ha Ha Ha!” I really, really, need to work on my glare. How am I supposed to stare down a suspect I’m questioning in a bare interrogation room with an exposed light bulb now huh, if all they’ll do is burst into uncontrollable laughter? I always have to get the bad luck, look who I’ve got for next door neighbours, the Weasleys and the cat lady.

I get bad luck and I haven’t even broken any mirrors, walked under any ladders, had a black cat cross my path-

Wait, I have a black cat called Joey.

Screw you Joey, you make my life hell.

“Come on in, we’re having dinner outside today,”

Duckie hauled me off my back, pulling my arm out of its socket in the process. It’s all because of you Joey. All because of you.  

We walked straight through the house and into the beautifully decorated garden. Flowers were in bloom everywhere, producing the most intoxicating scent, yet it wasn’t heady. Stings of bulbs were artfully strewn from the branches of trees, providing us with light and the table was laid with a cream cloth and a silver plate set. The Weasleys didn’t pull out the stops for me though; this was the only dinner set they had. It was fancy, or eat out of the pans with your hands.

Whoa, this place never fails takes my breath away. I look over the fence into my own garden and see nettles and weeds covering the ground and as tall as 4ft. No one’s been there for 10 years. I shudder to think what dead animals might be under that mess.

Yeah, I shuddered. Brave Sophie shuddered.

“Ah, Sophie! It’s been ages,” Ginger Ninja claps me on my shoulder, beaming widely.

“It’s been 3 hours George and I see you every day, it can never be ages,”

“You wound me so!” He cries in despair, clutching his hand over his heart. If Duckie loves exclamation marks, Ginger Ninja has a penchant for the dramatics.

I was passed onto another set of hands. The J-ster. She embraced me and clutched me almost as tightly as Duckie, but I doubt anyone is as strong as her.

“Sophie,” she crooned. “How are you?”

“I’m good Angie,” Angelina has always been a mouthful for me as a toddler so Angie just stuck. Yet again, I was embraced by another pair of arms. However, this time, I didn’t feel like suffocating and it felt right as I hugged him back.

The Target, otherwise known as Freddie Weasley.

We’d been to the same primary, and lived next door to each other our since we were toddlers. The best of friends. Not even his fancy pancy boarding school Hogwarts could separate us, we sent letters to each other practically every day. Of course, they had to go through The J-ster as I had no idea where the heck Hogwarts was, but it was a form of communication. Apparently they’re not allowed phones there so I couldn’t call. Bummer, I know. Where was I? Oh yeah, best friends, inseparable. He was nearly a whole year older than me, he was born on September 1st and I on August 31st. If I was born a day later, we could’ve been in different classes and not be as close as we are now.

I don’t know what that’d be like.

I breathed in his smell. He had a nice smell, all his own, a kind of musky smell. I’ve looked in perfume shops for that fragrance but I’ve never found it. I feel like it could replace air and I wouldn’t mind.

“Hey Sophie,”

“Hey Freddie,”

He held me at arm’s length as if to get a good look at me. I didn’t have to get a good look at him, I already know everything about that face, the small scar by his left eye, the dark brown of his eyes, the curves of his lips. Of course I would, what best friend would I be if I didn’t? Besides, I gave him that scar, I should know.

“Let’s sit down and eat,” The J-ster says and I prepare myself for a food marathon.

Because all the Weasleys eat like pigs and so do I.

***

“17 in a few weeks, how does that feel Soph?” Ginger Ninja asks and I reply with a non committal grunt before swallowing my food.

I am the poster girl of elegance, I know. I can see it now, bright lights, Sophie Carter, epitome of bravery and elegance.

“You should ask Freddie, he’s going to be 18,” I say, before delving back into the food. Seriously, The J-ster’s cooking is sublime. I could eat it all day. A world with The Target’s scent for air and The J-ster’s food nonstop- paradise, that’s what it would be. Utopia.  Heaven. The J-ster’s food is even more impressive to me, since my mum’s food is mainly charred when it comes out of the oven.

The J-ster stands up and takes away the main dishes, saying that she’ll bring out dessert. I wipe my mouth on my napkin and excuse myself. I ‘need’ the toilet.

It’s time to scope out The Target’s bedroom.

Not that I haven’t been in there before, I just need to go through his stuff.

I pass The J-ster in the kitchen and run up the stairs like an elephant. I turn on the light in the bathroom, knowing it’ll be visible from the garden and rush into the Target’s bedroom opposite. It has the same musky smell that screams Freddie, unlike the stench that usually comes from my brother Dexter’s room. His room smells like something died in there, which, knowing him, it probably had. Poor creature only had to take one foot into the room.

I flick the light on. Where would The Target keep unusual stuff?  Think, you should know Sophie.

Under the bed. Of course.

I lay on the carpet, my face flat against the floor. I see a mass of brightly packaged products but one thing vies for my attention above the others.

A wooden broomstick. Polished and streamlined.

Err, okay then.

I stand up to rummage through his drawers when my foot stands on something. I lift it up. If I’d have known that the little thing I stepped on was like a landmine, I would have kept my foot down. But I didn’t.

And I got rewarded with an explosion of fireworks. Big. Small. Red. Blue. Green. Catherine Wheels. Rockets. They were brilliant. They were all different. And they were all-

Very. Loud. Fireworks.

Shit.

What to do, what to do! I’m going to get caught before I even get a valuable piece of info from tonight. Think back to Brownie training, you didn’t go for nothing. Why would I be in here? In The Target’s bedroom, accidentally setting off fireworks?

I spot a box of tissues, lying innocently on the dresser.

I have my plan.

***

When the Weasley family converge on me 10 seconds later, my nose is dripping blood and I dab away at it with a tissue. I could always give myself a nosebleed easily, it was my hidden talent. All I have to do it dig around my nostril for a bit with my nail and kazam! Instant blood. Not even The Target or Queenie knows about my talent, that’s how hidden it is.

“What happened?” The J-ster asks, not even gasping for air after the sprint up the stairs. If it were me, I’d be sweating and waving my arms about.

“I finished in the bathroom and came out onto the landing, where I started to get a nosebleed , so I rushed in here for a tissue, and some fireworks exploded and I don’t know how!” I gushed.

“I’ll take you home shall I?” The Target offers and before I could reply, takes me by the arm and whisks me away. Score, I got out of that one just fine. Would’ve been better if I didn’t set off the fireworks though.

We leave the room and the other three Weasley family members stand dazed in the doorway. I don’t think they’ve fully registered what has happened. For some unknown reason, I could tell The Target wanted to get out of there as much as I did.

When we walked the short distance into my house, The F-Guru opened the door and ushered me into the kitchen, where Queenie was eating my mum’s cooking, the burnt bits scraped off.  Neither was surprised by my current state, and I would be lying if I said things like this don’t happen much.

Whilst my mum might not be the best cook in the world, she’s definitely a wiz with first aid, and she should be, what with all the practice I’ve given her over the years with my cut and bruises.  She patched me up just fine whilst The Target and Queenie waited, The Target to see if I was alright, Queenie so she could know how dinner went.

Does the nosebleed tell you much?

“All better now,” The F-Guru announces and I see The Target sigh with relief. He’s never seen me bleed so much. Funny, I’ve never had a nose bleed around him ever, that’s strange.

“I best be going now Mrs C, Kelly,” The Target announces after a brief silence. He was never big on silences.

“It’s Louise, why doesn’t anybody call me Louise,” My mum grumbled under her breath.

“I’ll walk you to the door,”

When there, The Target gives me his trademark hug and disappears off into the night with a “Take care of yourself!” over his shoulder.

Jerk. Why is it everyone thinks I’m going to muck up some way or another?

So what if I always do?

It’s Joey’s fault, it’s all because of Joey!

I’m going to drown that cat one day, I’ll never complete a mission with him in my house. Thanks to him, all I’ve got out of Phase Two is that The Target keeps a broomstick under his bed and firework landmines on the floor.

What good is that?

Plus, I’ve got a nosebleed.

Okay, I gave it to myself, who cares?

It’s normal around here.

But then again, what is normal?

And why did The Target walk me over to my house and only say 10 words, not even leaving with some of mum’s cooking?

Fishy, very fishy.

No, I don’t smell fish.

A/N: Chapter Two, not my favourite but meh. Chapter Three will take a little longer but not too long hopefully, check my page for updates on how it’s going. Remember to review, I live off reviews and a dead author means no story ;)


 


Chapter 3: Day Seven, Phase Three (Part One)
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A/N: I’m back! I hope that it wasn’t too long a wait ;) Long apology at the bottom, I know if it was me, I’d just want to get onto reading.



Gorgeous chapter image by the wonderful Louise la.paz @TDA. It's Imogen and James, we meet them in this chapter ;)

Day Seven, Phase Three, Part One

“You stupid moron! N- No! NO! Whatcha do that for?!”

“You know mother, they can’t hear you through the glass and metal, it’s solid,”

The F-Guru swivelled her head around, her eyes bulging. Whoopsie.

“You know Sophie,” she mocked, spitting vehemently. Score, I know a big word. “I don’t have to do this for you, I can turn around right now and drive home,” There she goes, pulling the mum card on me. Score for The F-Guru. 1-1.

That’s my mother for you though, absolutely charming. Something about driving always brings out the anger in her. I really wonder how much she must’ve scared the instructor, so he would just hand her her license so they could’ve just escaped. That is more comforting than the idea of my mum passing her test because then there would be an instructor out there, releasing drivers like my mother into society. She’s a rubbish driver.

Operative F-Guru was driving me to The Target’s grandparents house- I was helping in the preparations for his cousin’s wedding. A cousin I had neither met or have any relations to, because there was always one cousin you don’t know but you’re somehow related to.  I had met many a ‘cousin’ at family reunions. Awkward is one word for it. ‘Do you remember me Soph? You met me when you were knee-high!’

No. And if I was knee-high, how the hell am I supposed to remember, I’m not an elephant and I don’t have an eidetic memory like Sheldon! Got it? Good.

I hate family reunions, I know no one there.

Where was I? See that, is the memory of a goldfish, so ‘Aunt Barbara’ if I can’t remember my thought from 2 seconds ago, I’m hardly going to remember a person from 15 years ago.

...

Seriously, where was I?

Oh, yeah, I’m going to The Burrow to help The Target’s cousin plan for her wedding. Why I hear you cry? Because I’m a kind person? Because I love weddings? Because I have impeccable taste?

Ha, as if.

I got roped in. Turns out, being The Target’s date for the day has no advantages whatsoever, in fact it’s worse because he’s the family of the bride and has to help out and by extension, me too. Where is the justice in the world? Since when do innocent, helpless, guests get forced into working for a scary blonde bridezilla?

Disgusting. The world is corrupt.

And here I was, getting my butt sore from sitting in a car seat for over an hour, to meet strangers. I’m not even a people’s person, I suck at meeting new people, my tongue lolls out and I’ve been told that drool somehow drips down my chin. Attractive, I know, I’m irresistible, I once got chosen for a shoe advert and now I’m stopped in the street so people can admire my feet.

True story.

So I’m going to win over The Target’s family by using my feet. And I’ve been told I’m not normal at all.

***

*Flashback*

“Operative Queenie,”

“I got your text, ‘F-Guru shopping and Dad at work, come over, URGENT- Op Coffee Addict’ I mean really, was the caps lock necessary Soph?”

“No,” I admitted begrudgingly. Like a toddler in the wrong.

“Good, admittance, we’re getting somewhere, now let me in,”

I stepped aside whilst Queenie swept in, leaving me to close the door behind her. She treats the place like her home and judging by how much she’s here, it probably is. My friends have no manners. Today, in the morning, Freddie burped in my face in greeting.

Your jealousy is understandable, I have the greatest best friends ever.

That wasn’t sarcasm at all.

...

It totally was.

But at least he gave a good goodbye- a hug, a ruffle of the hair, a cheeky ‘see you in 37 hours’ over the shoulder.

And Queenie has her nice points. When she isn’t being a party pooper or trashing my house.

Meh, who am I kidding? She’s always being a party pooper. Her code name should’ve been Little Miss Party Pooper, that’s what I said, but she wouldn’t have it for some reason, thought Queenie was much better. I thought that she thought that the Mr Men and Little Miss cartoons were cool, that being Little Miss Party Pooper would’ve been a dream come true. Guess I was wrong.

Queenie continued up the stairs into HQ, leaving me to follow, see what I said about bad manners? Yesterday, after ‘The Incident’, which is what the minor slip up- okay the huge blunder, I came home with a bloody nose after setting off a ton of fireworks in my best friend’s room- will be referred to, I got a delivery for those clear boards that always appear in detective shows at the police station. It was only 62p on eBay and the owner was eager to get rid of it.

So eager in fact, he delivered it himself.

I hope it’s not cursed.

...

God, it is cursed! I’m so thick, how could I not have seen it?! Now I’ve got a cursed board as well as a cursed cat. Damn you eBay, first you give me Joey, then you give me a board and both are fucking cursed! Do you hate me so much eBay, huh?

How am I supposed to complete this operation with so many cursed items? I won’t be able to go on missions because it will all backfire on me all because of my stinking bad luck. Thank you eBay, you have done so much for me.

Said cursed board was littered with notes on the Weasleys, mainly The Target. It was scary how much I knew about him. But that’s what growing up with someone means I guess.

I’m not a stalker or anything.

Just because I spy on him with binoculars does not make me a stalker. It’s all for the purpose of the operation. It’s not like I enjoy watching him change because I get to see his abs, pffft, that would be crazy, right?

“So, what was the ‘URGENT’ for Soph?”

I fixed Queenie with a steely hard glare. I spent 6 hours until 2 AM perfecting my glare until I scared myself so silly, I couldn’t go to sleep for fear of having nightmares. I’m pretty sure my glare won’t produce hysterics in my victims anymore.

“Operative Coffee Addict,” I narrowed my eyes. Queenie whimpered. Sucker. “And the answer to that question is that The Target and the Weasley family are congregating in Ottery St Catchpole on the other side of Devon, a gathering yours truly has been invited to,”

“And you want me to make you look normal?”

“God yes!” I grabbed Queenie by her collar and looked her directly in the eye, like they do in films. I also practiced that with a teddy bear. “I don’t want to look like a crackpot in front of Freddie’s family!”

“That’s The Target to you,” Queenie smirked. Smirked. Grr. “I guess I’m gonna need backup, this is going to be a monumental task,”

***

“When you said backup, I wasn’t expecting Raveena and Noah, they’re not really normal either,”

“Hey!”

“Stop insulting the backup! They’re more normal than you and who else d’you want me to call- Lindsay?”

“Definitely not,” I snorted. Brooks was a bitch and a skank and never any help.

“Good. Then we’ll begin,”

I suppose I should add to this report who the heck Noah Green and Raveena Sahota are. Raveena’s a close friend, not as close as Queenie but definitely up there. She’s boy crazy and spontaneous but not in a good way, like she’d suddenly announce she’s going to stay over at a guy’s house or decide she’ll have a party that night, but she was a nice person, funny even.

Then, there’s Noah.

The ex.

I know, exes don’t get on, it gets all awkward, nothing can ever be the same again.

Somehow, that didn’t happen to us thankfully. We were friends. We kissed a bit. Then we became friends again. Simple.

He’s a sports freak, loves football to the point of death, the nutjob. He can also play, and he has a good chance of going professional, if he’s given the chance. Noah’s my best guy friend, right after Freddie of course.

Queenie has a crush on him and she doesn’t think that I’ve noticed.

Fool.

He also has a crush on her. Those two do my head in- I just want to bash their heads together and exclaim ‘Go out with each other already!’ in a battle cry like way. Okay, my imagination might stretch things a little and I don’t think my actions would be well received for some reason. And plus, I think they haven’t told each other is because of me, because me and Noah went out, Queenie wouldn’t want to hurt my feelings and Noah is probably feeling guilty liking his ex’s best friend.

I. Don’t. Care.

I’m going to tell them that... someday... after Operation Weasley, I’ll tell them, pinkie promise.

Did I just make a pinkie promise to myself? Does that count?

...

“So, how am I going to be made ‘normal’?”

They all laughed. Laughed! Laughed I tell you, laughed! I wasn’t even being my amazingly genius comical self and they laughed!

“Sophie, you can’t be normal even if you tried,”

Ouch. Ta Raveena, you’re kind.

“What Ravi is trying to say is that we’ll pass you off as a satisfactorily sane person, but we can’t work miracles,”

I think my eyebrows just disappeared into my hairline. Gee Noah, you have absolutely no tact whatsoever.

“Gee Noah, you have absolutely no tact whatsoever,” I tend to repeat my thoughts.

“What did I say?”

It’s probably a female thing, the synchronised head shake and arm cross and tutting. Either that or it’s a crazy girl thing. I’m leaning towards the former, I’ve seen Auntie Angie and her sister Raychelle do it to The Target and The Ginger Ninja.

But they’re not exactly normal. Bad example. Now I’m confused.

Anyways, that’s what we were doing to Noah. We might have sacred him a little though, because he started to stumble backwards and make a break for the door screaming, and I quote, ‘Aliens!’.

He’s delusional. We’re not aliens. We’re crazy, creepy women.

There’s a difference. One comes from outer space, the other comes from the womb of a human female.

How did I ever go out with him?

How was I attracted to that?

Shudder.

Hang on, how is Queenie attracted to that?

She’s a weird one, I’ve woken up and smelt the coffee. Literally, I’m drinking a cup now. Ah, bliss.

“So, shall we get on with the job, it’s going to take all day at least,”

“Yeah, we need to change her wardrobe, her speech and her actions, which first Ravi?”

“The speech and actions will take forever and Noah’s gone for now so we might as well get on with her wardrobe whilst he isn’t here- I don’t fancy listening to whining right now,”

“We do have to listen to Sophie though,”

“That’s true,”

“I am right here y’know!” The cheek of it. Bah.

“How are we going to sort out these dreadful clothes?”

“None of these clothes are suitable Kel, we’ve got to do something drastic,”

“Hellooooooo, I’m not invisible, stop talking about me like I’m not here!”

“I was thinking-“

“JESUS!”

“Sophie, I’m not Jesus, I’m Kelly, although I have been told the resemblance is astounding,”

...

“Jesus has a beard, you have a beard I can totally make the connection Operative Queenie. Now can we please get on with this, including me, I called you guys over and it’s already 1 PM and my parents are coming home at 7. We’re not going to get this done, then I’m going to turn up at The Burrow in a bin liner dress and a parrot on my shoulder,”

“A bin liner dress?” Yes Ravi.

“A parrot?” Yes Queenie.

“Well, the dress is easy, I made it on that fashion project thingy at the Exeter First University workshop last year and next door has a stuffed parrot that I could borrow,”

I will not tolerate the mad woman glances I’m getting right now, it’s simply absurd, I’m not crazy. It’s true, and it’s not like I’ll actually do it, there is something called sarcasm or haven’t you noticed, uh-huh?

“Wardrobe?”

“Aren’t you two lucky that I brought a heap of clothes?”

Of course Ravi, what I want to do right now is wear your clothes, especially when they’re designed to be boy magnets, what with you being boy crazy.

Fuck my life.

***

5.03 PM in the Big Brother house.

Joke, in the Carter residence, actually.

“Don’t say anything pertaining to excretion, curses, rabies, relationships or the operation,”

“Ravi, I’m not stupid and I don’t even talk about excrement,”

“You do,” Oh, thanks guys for the collaboration on the latest Sophie bashing phrase, it warmed the cockles of my heart.

“Okay, I’ll keep that in mind,”

“Now let’s have a conversation, start it off,”

“Erm, do you like cheese? Camembert’s my favourite,” This is going spectacular, I love cheese, surely I can talk about something I like in a conversation, right?

“Add cheese to the list of things you never mention,”

Why? Why are you taking away my cheese, huh Ravi?

“Fine,” Hmph. “Do you like coffee, va-“

“Or coffee. Why can’t you just start a simple conversation with a ‘How are you?’ ‘The weather’s splendid today,’ or even a ‘Is that a new tie?’”

“Who the hell speaks like that?”

“My mum, she’s a speech therapist,”

“And she speaks weirdly, I mean ‘splendid’, really?”

“Au contraire mademoiselle, it’s you speaks funny, although the splendid was a bit out there,”

You see this Ravi?  I’m banging my head on the kitchen table. Wanna know why? Because this is stupid. You may take away my cheese and my coffee, but you shall never take away my freedom... to say whatever I want, hoozah!

I could become an inspiration speaker, that could be my backup plan. Yeah, I see it now, Sophie Carter, the woman who inspired millions.

Awesome.

Booyah.

I know, you wish you were me, I have the perfect life, but sadly, not everyone can be legendary like me. Sorry.

“I’M BACK AND I BROUGHT SAUSAGES, LET’S HAVE A BARBEQUE!”

I knew I went out with Noah for a reason, he’s a life saver. And a Barbie too. At least he’s gotten over his ‘alien’ thoughts. I hope.

***

That was yesterday. Today, I’m sitting in an uncomfortable car, wearing Ravi’s slaggy clothes and being forced to listen to my mum sing along to the music being played on the radio. Her singing is as good as her driving and her cooking.

In other words, absolutely crap. Sorry F-Guru.

Right now however, she was giving me a lecture that I had learnt from past experiences to tune out.

“...cannot believe you would miss Dexter’s homecoming for wedding planning-“

“Ma, Dex’s 23, I’m sure he can handle me not being there. Besides, I haven’t seen him since Christmas, one day won’t hurt,”

The F=Guru looked as if she had been slapped. Why is it I always seem to offend my mother, I don’t set out in the morning, looking for ways to spite her. But then again, wearing what I wear to her is a crime against the “Fashion Police”.

Who the hell are they?!

“...besides the point, he’s your brother Sophie and-“

I don’t really want to hear this right now. Urgh.

“it ‘s completely disrespectful...” Wow, the F-Guru really can drone on through anything.

A butterfly fluttered past my window. I always wondered how caterpillars turn into butterflies, was it magic? Meh, magic doesn't exist, must be some weird biological thing.

“Got that Sophie?”

“Absolutely,”

“Good girl. Now which way do I turn?”

I knew something like this would happen. We were bound to get lost. Something had to wrong, I couldn’t just arrive normally could I? Curse you Joey and curse you board, you make my life no easier.

“Let’s just travel down this road Ma,”

The one thing I hate about Devon above all other things is how tiny the roads can be. There’s not enough room for a person to walk through, let alone a car and when two cars meet head on, it’s a disaster. You either, drive around each other into the fields and potentially end up in a ditch or have to reverse all the way to the end of the road.

That happened twice. Not the ditch. The reversing, just to clarify that, otherwise we’d still be in the field, not driving. Although we did see one truck being pushed out of a ditch.

It was huge. And it wasn’t going anywhere.

“Mum! Reverse, that sign post, it said Ottery St Catchpole, we missed our turn!” It was a grotty, worn away sign post but still a sign post that signified civilisation nearby, which will be a break from fields of grass, they can get a bit boring after half an hour.

“Urgh, I hate reversing,”

You’re not any good at it either F-Guru, no offence.

Actually, take offence, it’s true.

***

7 wrong turns and 4 reverses later and we were at The Burrow. At least, I think it was The Burrow because that’s what the sign sticking out of the ground near the pigsty said. The whole house looked like it had been mashed together by some cowboy builders. Blind cowboy builders. The Weasley’s really deserved their money back, it’s not fair to take the elderly’s money!

As soon as I had gotten out of the car, the F-Guru blasted off, waving out of the window, radio blaring again. That woman’s going to get an ASBO one day when someone complains about that noise and she calls me anti social. I’m very social thank you very much.

Except for the verbal diarrhoea, the stammering, the shaking...

Okay, I’m a social recluse, happy?

The Target and Duckie were waiting outside along with a plump woman with ginger greying hair who I suspected to be Mrs Weasley, the grandmother. She didn’t look like the normal, sweet knitting type of grandmother but rather the type of grandmother that took no nonsense, jumped out of airplanes and worked you to your bones. I’m glad I have the knitting type, although the Christmas jumpers are a bit overbearing.

“Hello Sophie,” Mrs Weasley caught me off guard, sweeping me into a hug. She gave tight hugs but not suffocating. I liked her hugs. She then held me at arms length and stared me up and down, evaluating me. Now that was nerve wracking. Would she think I was a bad influence? Would she lock me outside from her home with no means of getting home? I don’t think I can walk 50 miles, maybe if I was riding Joey. This is all his fault after all.

“I’m Mrs Weasley, but call me Molly. She’s a keeper Freddie,”

She gently tapped The Target on the cheek and walked off into the house.

What?

“Hi Sophie, I’m going to go help Nana in the kitchen, bye,”

“Bye Roxy. So... this is the infamous Burrow, huh?”

“Yeah, it’s where every Weasley and Potter calls home,” I looked at The Target who was looking up at The Burrow with wistful eyes. Wow, must be a place of great memories. I’ve never looked at my grandparent’s house with the same gaze, I look at it with revulsion. It smells like old people and cats.

Our family has a thing for cats.

Cats don’t have a thing for me.

I know, bummer.

Without warning, The Target swept me up into his arms and I buried myself into his neck. I smelt his warm musky smell that always seemed to comfort me. I can never remember a time where Freddie didn’t smell like this, it was his special smell.

I wished that Alex Fenton my maths partner had a good smell.

He smelt like BO.

Aren’t I glad I have no maths until September. In about 3 weeks...

Ew.

Why can’t summer last forever? Is that too much to ask?

“Let’s go inside shall we,” The Target suggested, breaking off the hug and gesturing to the front door left wide open by Duckie.

“Yes let’s,” Please God, let the Weasley’s accept me as a loveable oddball. My oddities aren’t too bad are they? Sure, I eat heaps, I dress in rags, I run around a lot, I’m obsessed with crime fictions and I’m cursed by a cat and a board but that doesn’t make me completely weird, does it?

Oh help me, I’m a psycho!

The Burrow was a warm homely place and smelt of clean beaches, fresh roses and desserts and cakes all at the same time. Nothing was organised, there was clothes draped over chairs and open book everywhere. The sofas were of a patchwork design, a mish mash of different materials and the ceiling sloped at a weird angle.

I loved it.

“Sorry about my Nan before, she seems to think we’re together, no matter how many times I told her,”

Me. And Freddie? Pfft, as if, he’s definitely not into the kooky, crazy type. I doubt anyone is. That’s why I’m going to end up alone with only Joey and my board for comfort. I have my life figured out.

Trust me on this one.

“Don’t worry, I know all about overbearing family members, are you forgetting my mother?”

It seems I’m funny too, because The Target laughed. Guys don’t like funny girls either do they, they think that they won’t seem as funny in comparison and guys have to be funny, or something like that. I read it on msn dating, it distracted me as I was going to log onto my mail account.

Basically, no one in their right mind would want to date me, I’m undateable and this includes Freddie. Besides, we have a platonic relationship, like brother and sister. He’s seen me shove peas up my nose.

“Now, before you meet my cousins and Aunts and Uncles, remember, our family is not normal, we have it all, the crazy, the superficial, the super smart, no one, and I’m stressing this, no one is normal, at all,”

Ah, The Target’s family’s a zoo, I didn’t need Ravi’s clothes or the speech and action therapy yesterday, it was all to waste. Damn, I didn’t have to wear a tank top and an above the knee skirt, it was all unnecessary.

I could be in my jeans right now.



This is suffering. True torture. Skirt’s are impractical, what if the wind blows and everyone sees your knickers, I love the person who came up with trousers, hate the person who came up with the skirt. And tank tops just show too much flesh. At least these weren’t spaghetti straps, I don’t really feel like exposing my bra straps at this moment.

“FAMILY MEETING! FAMILY MEETING IN THE LIVING ROOM! CALLING EVERY WOTTER-“

 

“Wotter?” It sounded like Water with a really bad accent.

 

“Yeah, Weasley-Potters, Wotters,” That cleared that up.

Who the heck are the Potters?

“EVERY WOTTER, EVERY MAN WOMAN AND CHILD, COME TO THE LIVING ROOM IMMEDIATELY!” It was a weird way of calling everybody together but I suppose it did the job. The house sounded like it was being shook by a herd of elephants. I hope the ceiling doesn’t decide to crash on me, I don’t want to die that way, I was going to grow old with Joey, remember?

Curse that cat.

And curse that darn board.

 

I should throw them both away. But then I might get more cursed, I don’t know how well cursed items react to being thrown out in the garbage. I don’t think it’s a good thing though, might be a sign of disrespect.

 

Soon enough, loads of people, and I mean loads, were in the living room, most sitting on the floor. All eyes were on The Target- he called the meeting- and me- they’ve never met me before. It was quite nerve wracking and I ended up playing with the hem of my skirt. The sea of people were a bizarre and wide mixture of people, White, Black, Asian, blondes, brunettes and an awful amount of redheads.

 

There were so many people, it was disconcerting. They’re all part of his family?! That’s insane.

 

He always said his family was big. He never said how big.

 

Crap.

 

The silence was heavy. I never liked silences, they made me do something crazy to stop the awkwardness.

 

The Target cleared his throat and those who had their eyes on me switched their gaze to him. Phew.

 

“So, this is my best friend Sophie, Sophie, this is my family. You can all go back to doing whatever,”

 

I never thought I heard sweeter words in my life.

 

Most of the adults went off and did their own thing, an adolescent like me was of no importance to them, which would be good because hopefully they won’t be around when I screw up.  Some of The Target’s cousins also went off, one so besotted with a book she was reading, she bumped into a wall and without breaking her eye contact with the page, continued on her way.

 

Now that’s talent.

 

A few came up to me and introduced themselves. I now knew Victoire ,who is the sweetest thing and so graceful too, she’s the bride, Teddy, who’s clumsy and loveable and could be my older brother if it weren’t for the blue hair, he’s the groom, Lily, whose personality is as fiery red as her hair, Rose who’s smart but doesn’t have to try, Lucy who’s a cute as heck and Albus, who’s awkwardly ambling through life.

I wouldn’t blame him with his name.

Poor bloke.

Freddie stuck by my side, directing me from cousin to cousin, his hand never leaving the small of my back. It was comforting to know that I had my best friend with me, someone who knew me so well, they knew of my aversion to meeting new people.

The final cousin who stayed to meet me was a blonde. And a boy. It’s very rare to see a blonde guy, so of course, he had to be related to The Target.

“Enchante mademoiselle,” Blondie lightly kissed my hand and I giggled. Oh Good God help me. I haven’t giggled since I turned 10, what’s wrong with me? Stupid French Blonde cousin of The Target.

« Au contraire, je ne sais pas vraiment, enchante? Je ne vais pas dire que, »

That’s better, calm and collected, no guy’s going to get me flustered. I’m Sophie Carter, detective extraordinaire, I kick ass, and I made the best sandcastles in the sand pit in Nursery. What are you going to say about that, huh?

“You speak French?” He asked, stumbling backwards. That shock you Blondie? Now you can’t use your French to woo me. Yeah, I said ‘woo’ in a sentence. I’m brilliant at French, not being pig headed or anything but it was one of those rare subjects that I excelled at. I would’ve gotten an A* rather than a B at GCSE if I hadn’t fallen asleep at the beginning of the listening exam- I blame Freddie, we were up all night on the phone. Somehow, he’d smuggled a phone into his school and I’ll be damned if I was going to pass up the chance to talk to my best mate. But still, I blame him.

And maybe Joey too.

“Yeah, close to fluent now,” Thank you A-Levels, you taught me something.

“I’m Louis,”

“Sophie,” And with that, we shook hands and parted our ways.

The Target took me on a tour around The Burrow which was as every bit original as the living room and clearly reflected the craziness of the occupants. When we reached the top floor, I swear I heard moaning from inside the attic and being an investigator, I was going to investigate but The Target ushered me on into his room, banging on the attic door with his fist when he thought I wasn’t looking.

What the heck could be moaning in the attic?! That’s not natural. That’s not natural at all, even for a Weasley.

The Target’s room was messy and eerily like his room at home except for the addition of more beds, he was clearly sharing this room with his other cousins. Underwear was everywhere and posters covered the wall. It looked like one of the posters was moving... I rubbed my eyes- nope, it was still moving, my my, this is what happens when I don’t have coffee.

I haven’t had coffee all morning.

Thanks mother.

“Soph, are you alright? You’re making this weird drooling sound, have you had your coffee?” I also tend to make noises too, good thing Freddie’s there to translate my abnormalities, otherwise I’d be a coffee deprived addict in a house full of strangers.

Though I wouldn’t be with the strangers if it weren’t for him.

So, whose fault is it? The F-Guru’s? The Target’s? Joey’s?

I’m veering towards Joey, that cat has it out for me, I swear.

But then Joey came from E-Bay.

Gah, this is annoying. I suppose if we want to look at the big picture, it’s all the guy who created the computer’s fault.

In reply to The Target’s question, I shook my head, a strange whimpering sound escaping from my lips. I’m fragile, I need my coffee.

“C’mon, I’ll take you to the kitchen,” So off we went. We got the coffee and satiated my cravings whilst I learnt that The Target’s Aunt Hermione is the cleverest woman of her generation and the only slightly normal one in the family, although Audrey, another Aunt of a certain friend o’ mine, also is normal, just not as much of a know it all.

The next two hours I got better acquainted with Freddie’s family, especially Victoire who wanted my opinion on everything, even after I told her I have no taste whatsoever. She was one of my favourites, she was always chastising Louis for something or other. If only I had a big sister like her...

I’d terrorise Dexter.

Lily was also another of my favourites, she was only 15 and two years below me but she owned the house, everyone was so afraid of her. I of course, had no such qualms and she’s a very good ally.

Apparently, there were more cousins to come though.

Vic and Louis’ sister Dominique.

Lucy’s sister Molly, the book reader.

Rose’s brother Hugo.

And finally Lily and Albus’ brother James.

Ah, well. Dominique was coming in from London, Molly was off reading, Hugo was getting a hair cut (?) and James was bringing somebody whose name I’ve forgotten.

So basically, I have to go through my episodes with new people. And they’ll be here within the hour to arrive for lunch. Because, and I quote Albus ‘Cooking doesn’t get much better than Nana Weasley’s’.

James and his plus one arrived first.

Him and The Target share a dorm at Hoggywarts. Imagine having to live with a member of your family and have to share classes with them. Being with them 100% of the time. I’d get sick of it, but that’s because my family is my family, they’re just off.

I just can’t live with my cousin Maude because a) her name’s Maude, does that not say anything?  and b) she collects insects, I’m sure they’d escape and attack me in my sleep.

James had messy hair that stuck up at the back and the smirk of a prankster, I knew that smirk, it’s one that The Target and I have worn on many a mission against Darrell Farley. He really shouldn’t have flushed my Haribo ring down the toilet.

His plus one was a gorgeous blonde girl, who I supposed to be his girlfriend. She wore a baggy t-shirt and cotton shorts and I was insanely jealous of her ability to look stunning in shapeless clothes and of her ability to wear said shapeless clothes.

I wish I was in a t-shirt, but no. I’m going to have my revenge on Ravi.

James and The Target exchanged a man hug and manly slaps on the back. Then he went on to hug James’ girlfriend with one arm, the other waving me over.

“So, this is the infamous Sophie,” It’s phrases like that that worry me. What has Freddie been saying about me? If he’s being truthful, people will know I’m a crazy person that really should be in an institute and shouldn’t be in society.

“Yep,” I replied, popping the ‘p’.

“I’m James,” We shook hands. They were slightly callused but also soft. They were man’s hands. “Now, I want to hear the story from you, because Freddie’s not reliable,”

“Hey,” Oh, the cries of indignation.

“How exactly did Freddie get that scar?” Ah. That story.

It was a long time ago, when we were back in primary. The troublesome twosome they called us. We were partners in crime so to speak. So, when we had decided to raid Ms Shepherd’s cupboard to see what sweets she got us for Christmas that year, naturally we did it together. What we didn’t anticipate was Freddie’s paranoia, he jumped every time we heard footsteps. One time, he jumped very violently, knocking into me. I had scissors in my hand and... that’s how he got his scar.

We were lucky it missed his eye.

Not that that deterred us from causing chaos.

When I told the story, James and his girlfriend both roared into laughter.

“Oh Freddie, you silly scaredey cat,” The blonde girl said, clapping her hand on The Target’s shoulder, wiping away tears. She straightened up, still chuckling, whilst James was still bent over double, wheezing.

It must’ve been normal for him to have fits of laughter since no one looked at him weirdly. What kind of people have I befriended, people like me?

“I’m Imogen,”

“Sophie,”

James was still on the floor. The term ROFL is definitely applicable in this case.

“Err, your boyfriend’s still laughing,” See, I’m a good Samaritan, pointing that out. I should get the Nobel Peace Prize for my work, saving an innocent child from the cusp of suffocation.

“James isn’t my boyfriend, ew, he’s like my brother,” Oh, whoops, typical Sophie Carter clanger, of course. No one brings their girlfriend home to meet the family at this age.

I have nothing to say.

What do I say to that? It even stopped James from laughing and from what I’ve seen, that’s an achievement.

“LUNCH IS READY!”

Phew, I’m saved by the mad rush for food. Wait, I want food too, I don’t want the scraps!

This is survival of the fittest, it’s the wild here.

A/N: Ah, I had to end the chapter here! This chapter was getting insanely long and I wanted to get a chapter in before the validators go on holiday. A very well deserved holiday because they read our chapters and make sure they’re fit for public viewing.

I’m sorry it’s been so long, I’ve been swamped with work. I literally had exam after exam but I finished today on the 20th so what better way to celebrate?! I’ve only got some Phys Ed coursework to complete then I’m done for summer so expect updates quicker now!

Part Two of this chapter will be coming soon, but I have to attend three weddings next week and drama rehearsals, I'm working backstage with costumes for Alice in Wonderland.

Remember to review, because I do read the reviews and reply to them. And I love reviews, they make me happy.

 


Chapter 4: Day Seven, Phase Three (Part Two)
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Day Seven, Phase Three, Part Two

A/N: Read and Review!



Super awesome CI by the super awesome la.paz (Louise) at TDA. It's Hugo, he's an idiot. A loveable, endearing, idiot.

Lunch was chaotic. Everyone was scrambling to get their favourite foods and piling their plates to high heaven. It was no wonder since everything was mouth watering. It was a wonder how all the girls ate so much yet stayed so slim. That’s worth investigating.

The length of the several tables lined up next to each other was gargantuan, the whole thing extending from one end of the garden to the other.

I suppose it has to be, with this many people.

“Freddie, the cheese and jam sandwiches are right at the end of the table,”

Cheese and jam sandwiches?

“Ew, why do you eat that rubbish?”

“Cheese and jam sandwiches are awesome,” Don’t diss the cheese and jam combo.

“I thought it was just Freddie who had the weird taste buds,”

“James!”

See, that is why you never get on the bad side of a guest, they always have the parents around to put them back in line, cheers Mrs Potter, you’re awesome, just like cheese and jam sandwiches. I don’t get why no one else likes them... It’s not like there’s anything weird with it, I mean, the Americans eat Peanut butter Jelly sandwiches (which are really Peanut butter and jam sandwiches, jelly is not jam, jelly is different), so substitute the peanut butter for soft cheese and kazam! You have a taste explosion in your mouth.

Nothing wrong with that whatsoever.

No siree.

Unless the explosion blows your mouth apart, then you have a real problem and you might even have to go to the dreaded dentist.

I don’t like the dentist, the way they probe about with a metal stick in your mouth and shine a bright light in your eyes so you’re temporarily blinded, something about that doesn’t sit quite right with me.

“How did Freddie introduce you to cheese and jam sandwiches?”

Ah, here we go again, delving into the realms of the history of The Target and I. First that scar, now those sandwiches...

“I introduced him to cheese and jam sandwiches. It all happened because our mothers were hopeless at making packed lunches-“

“Hey!” Whoops, kinda forgot Aunt Angie was sitting right there.  Wasn’t she speaking to that animal fellow Charlie? Why did she- Oh they’ve all stopped their conversations to hear the cheese and jam story. Brilliant James, you had to make that remark which made Mrs Potter scold you which made everyone listen.

I swear that I am really cursed, there’s no other option.

I fail at public speaking, especially with strangers. I could feel the heat flush spreading across my cheeks and neck and I’m pretty sure I was a blotchy purple which, in case you haven’t noticed, isn’t a very aesthetically pleasing colour of skin tone.

Just a thought.

“Sorry Ma, it’s true, you make great food but sandwiches just aren’t your forte,” The Target smirked, saving me from further embarrassment. True friendship, he saves me, I- no, I’m too cursed and clumsy to save anyone. ‘Tis a one sided friendship.

“But yeah, so Sophie’s made her sandwiches since Year 4, and one time in Year 5, there wasn’t anything left in the fridge in terms of fillings, only a small amount of cheese and a small amount of jam. Being the ever resourceful girl she is-“ Yeah, scratch what I said before. Save me? Feed me to the lions why don’t you! Compliments+moi= Super embarrassment. “She mixed the two together to make a sandwich. We had this tradition where we would swap half our sandwiches at lunch, I had half her creation, she had half the sardine and pickle sandwich Mum made. Surprisingly, her sandwich was really tasty so we’ve had it ever since,”

I’m pretty sure I heard Vic ‘aw’ in the background.

That wasn’t even a cute story. Wait till she hears about the abandoned cat we found in the forest behind the school. She’ll have ‘kittens’ about it.

Geddit- kittens, we found a cat- Oh, my humour is wasted on mortals of lesser intelligence.

“Freddie’s the fussiest eater ever, he wouldn’t eat cheese and jam sandwiches unless they were good. You guys are missing out,” I supplied.

The cheese and jam sandwiches were soon finished.

***

Lunch was over and Freddie, Imogen, James and I had taken over the couches in the living room. Something was digging in to my back from in between the sofa so I reached out.

I pulled out a sock.

A sock.

Why the heck was there a sock stuffed down the back of the couch?! It wasn’t even a pair, just one. And what is Puddlemere United, huh? That’s not a football team I’ve ever heard of. Nice sock though.

“Er, that’s mine,” Yes, James was a special dude. He must be to stuff socks supporting non-existent teams down the back of his nan’s sofa. I don’t do that at my Nan’s. But then again, she’s usually sitting of the only sofa in the house so I can’t exactly move her just to push a sock down there. She’s fragile.

James had plucked the sock deftly from my hands and stuffed it in his pockets. If he stuffs that sock anywhere else... I wonder how his mother copes.

I can’t imagine living with a guy like that. I’d rather live with Freddie, at least he doesn’t stuff socks into random places.

“So, who wants to play 21 Dares?” Imogen asked, a mischievous smirk on her lips that worried me. That game never worked out for me, the last time we played it in class, I ended up standing in the bin in the middle of the room and I got caught by the teacher. It would suffice to say that I had quite a few detentions.

“No,” James whimpered to my surprise. A macho man like him would always be jumping at the chance to show off their manliness. “The last time I played with you, it was horrific, definitely no,”

Thank God for James Potter.

Wow, did I really say that?

“Fine, we’ll play 21 truths,” James brightened up but as a girl, I knew. This game was ultimately worse, especially if you have deep dark secrets such as, oh, I don’t know, an undercover operation perhaps?

Just saying.

“Yeah!”

“I’m game,” Damn, I was counting on you, you let me down Target.

“Soph, you in?” Imogen asked, the smirk hadn’t left her face.

I’ll back out, I’ll say no, it’s easy. “Sure,” I think my mouth and my brain aren’t connected, clearly.

“Lovely, I’ll start. 1,2,3,”

“4,5”

“6,7,8”

“9,10,11,”

“12,13,14,”

“15,”

“16, 17, 18,”

“19,20, ha ha shame,”

“Hard luck Jimmy boy,”

“I hate you all, 21,”

“Now, for your question,”

***

21 Truths can be a very educational game. I learnt that James wanted to be a ballerina when he was 6, Freddie’s favourite family member is his Nan (which made James mad, something about being brothers or other) and Imogen... she was doing her best to never let the dreaded 21 land on her. Which was working very well, convincing me that she was a professional at this game. I wonder if they play it a lot at Hogwarts, would you have enough time to in a boarding school?

21 Truths was not an enjoyable game for me. Not only did I have to answer questions about myself which made my palms sweat in case anything near to my case was asked (It obviously wasn’t going to be, but I was still nervous.), but I couldn’t ask the others what they were hiding. One, it would blow my op out of the water and second, I’d only just met Imogen and James. I can’t poke my nose into their business so soon after meeting them. That’s bad manners.

And my mother raised me well.

Thankfully, it was a short lived game as our seclusion was interrupted by the entrance of, guess what, another cousin! It’s ridiculous how many Weasley’s there were. His hair was bright red and freckles dusted his nose and cheeks. He couldn’t have been older than 15.

“I’M HOME!” Oh, it’s another loud Weasley. Most of them seem to be built this way with the exception of a few like Molly who preferred to be quiet.

“JAMES! CAN WE PLAY SOME QUID- Mffff” I don’t know what’s more astonishing, the fact that the kid was about to say a game that begun with Quid or that Freddie leapt over the sofa and covered the ginger’s mouth whilst James tackled him around the legs.

It was an amusing sight, especially when Crookshanks peed on them all.

That cat has a bladder problem.

Poor cat.

Poor people.

Nah, it’s definitely worse for the cat.

“ARRRGHHHH!” That boy really is a screamer, even with his mouth covered. So much so, he had gathered pretty much everyone from all around into the living room. Even Nana Weasley who had soapy washing up gloves on.

Shouldn’t old ladies tire easily? How can that woman still be going?! I get tired from climbing up one flight of stairs and that lady had been climbing and cleaning all day.

I wish I had her energy. It would make tailing people much easier.

Let me tell you know, The Target is a fast walker.

And I’m not a very physical person.

Ever since primary school, I’ve always been lacking in that department. I’m sorry, I just don’t see the point in running around for no reason, but if there was a knife wielding murderer chasing me, I’d be off like a shot.

That’s running for a purpose. But anything short of a life or death situation? Heck no.

Call me lazy. I call it saving my resources.

James removed himself from the screamer’s legs and quickly scooped up Crookshanks by his middle. His movements were so swift, it was as if the move had been perfected.

Which, judging by how much that cat pees, it most likely is.

The Target still hadn’t taken his hand off of the boy’s mouth. His face seemed a strange mixture of relief and fear? Never before had I not been able to understand Freddie’s emotions. It unsettled me.

He’s my best friend and I know him better than I know myself.

To not know something about him worries me.

Which is why I have to figure out his emotions and his secret.

Because if it means he doesn’t trust me anymore... can we still be friends? I can’t sit around with the slight hint of a feeling (okay, a very big gut wrenching feeling) that Freddie’s keeping stuff away from me, because it means we’re not as close as we were.

Whatever happened to the days before Hogwarts when the most important things in life was swamp football and finding out what sweets Ms Shepherd was going to give us for Christmas?

“Mmffmmff,”

“What did you say Hu- eurgh! You licked my hand,” The Target wiped his wet hand on the shoulder of Hu-something liberally. It must be bad to have cousins who lick hands.

The worst my cousins do is hide my socks.

They’re 5.

Poor kids don’t know how to prank.

“You wouldn’t let go. I asked who’s that,” Hu-something replied, pointing a finger at me. Hey mister, I don’t know you either, but I don’t point, it’s extremely rude.

Lily slapped his hand down.

“Don’t point, it’s rude,” She snapped. See, that’s exactly what I thought! I knew I liked her for a reason. “That’s Sophie, Freddie’s neighbour,”

“So she’s a mugg-mff,” Freddie covered Rude boy/Screamer boy’s mouth, only to be promptly licked again. The Target never learns. Rude boy/ Screamer boy laughed whilst Freddie wiped his hand on the wall. However, it also is noted that RB/SB (Really, Rude Boy/Screamer Boy is too long a nickname) never seems to learn as Lily cuffed him around the head.

That girl resorts very quickly to violence.

“Soph, this idiot’s Hugo, Rose’s brother,” Wow, smart, polite Rose shares genes with him?!

“I am not an idiot!”

Cue incredulous stares from around the room. Silence. I think I can hear the cat peeing on the tiles in the doorway. Definitely sounds like dripping to me.

“I’ll just go stop Crookshanks from pissing everywhere,”

I’m very eloquent. Also my language is very age friendly. Nana Weasley didn’t even bat an eyelid, her stare still focused very much on Hugo.

I shut the door on my way out, picking the ginger fat cat up whilst he was emptying out his bladder. Clearly, I’m not a professional since I got covered in urine.

Cats just love me.

First Joey, now Crookshanks.

I don’t blame Crookshanks though, you can’t control your wee in your old age.

“C’mon, let’s take your business outside,” Look at me cooing to a cat that covered me in piss.

Many scratches later, Crookshanks was happily peeing again.

At least this time, not on people but on Nana Weasley’s rose bushes, which might be worse considering she told me they were her ‘pride and joy’ and she ‘poured sweat and blood and love’ over them.

Holy farting cows, what have I done?

“I’m sorry, my cousin’s insane, we’ve tried to teach him to be normal-“

“Jesus! You scared me Frenchy! It’s not normal either to sneak up on people from behind either so you don’t exactly qualify as the best teacher for normality,” Neither did Kelly or Ravi or Noah but they went and did it anyway. Look how that turned out. I’m covered in cat piss for chrissake.

“Frenchy is it now? I’ll just have to call you Poshy,”

I have no words. I think Frenchy is trying to recreate the Spice Girls, only worse. I sing like a foghorn.

“Because you have a British accent, it’s posh, geddit?”

“You have a British accent too,”

“Damn,”

“This is why I make the nicknames, no one else,”

“Shut it Poshy,”

I turned my head to look at Frenchy, y’know, really look.

The sun was glinting off his hair which looked golden and really soft. Subconsciously, my arm lifted up- stop it arm- my hand in his hair- stop this now, follow orders from the brain body, that’s what you do- and my fingers were fondling the tips. This not how you should act around strangers. I shouldn’t be unleashed into society. Ever.

“Your hair is softer than it looks,” Word vomit. Another reason I don’t do new people. Mum says I have verbal diarrhoea, the words just come out, well rather like diarrhoea, you can’t stop it. Now Frenchy is never going to want to talk to me again, I’ll be remembered as the girl who touched up the irresistible guy she just met’s irresistible hair. See those baby blue eyes, damn, they’re really blue, they’re going wide in shock and repulsion.

And why is my hand still caressing his hair?!

Frenchy chuckled.

He laughed.

I let out a breath I didn’t realise I was holding in. Phew, he finds me funny. Wait,  do 18 year old guys want to know funny girls? I don’t know, I’m out of my depth here, save me somebody!

But seriously though, why is my hand still in his hair?!

“It’s my conditioner,”

Guys use conditioner? Oh, there goes my mind unlatching itself from Frenchy’s locks. For a second, I thought we’d be joined forever. Although going to the loo would be pretty awkward. And I’m sure he would have prised me off sooner or later.

“I’m joking, I was just born with super soft hair. Hey, your hair’s soft too!”

That’s how I can truly say I bonded with a French blonde over soft hair. That’s also why for the next 5 minutes said Frenchy was twiddling my hair around his finger.

I’m fairly sure by now that all of The Target’s extended family are keeping the same secret. If I get pieces from different family members, then I could put the pieces together. Like a puzzle.

I’m good at them. I once did a 500 piece puzzle in one day.

Beat that.

But, I’m also certain Imogen is in on the know too. That means it’s not a family thing. Plus Teddy too. The only thing they have in common except for the Weasleys is... their school. They all went to the same school.

Hogwarts. It’s a Hogwarts thing!

That helps.

Especially considering Hogwarts has no hits on Google.

One step forward, a gazillion steps back.

“Hey Sophie, Louis,” The Target appeared from nowhere, his jaw tight. What is it with Weasley’s and sudden appearances?

Why do I get the feeling The Target is upset with Frenchy? I don’t know, maybe because he spat his name or it could be because he’s giving him Stink Eye #47. 47’s lethal.

Just saying.

Frenchy dropped the strand of my hair he’d been winding around his finger and laughed nervously. Why the nervous laugh? Everyone knows it only makes things uncomfortable and increases the tension!

“I’ll just-“ I made friends with a spaz. Only a spaz can run like that, arms waving wildly. So much for trying to be normal, there’s no point, no one else is normal.

Screw normalcy.

Yeah, I said it.

How is Crookshanks still pissing? That cat must have a big bladder to retain and store all that pee. That can’t be healthy, can it? He doesn’t even drink that much water. That’s worrying to say the least.

The Target was till glaring at Frenchy’s retreating back. I’d like to tell him the house is the other way but he’s too far away.

His loss.

***

Once again, I was back in The Target’s bedroom. It was 11:00 at night and I was laying in his bed, contemplating my evidence. So RB/SB hinted at something beginning with Quid that you play and I was a mug.

I’m not sure it meant I was a mug, but again like Quid-something, a word yet to be finished.

I need to invest in a dictionary.

All this thinking was damaging my brain.

What was that brain? You want sleep? Okay.

I felt a hand smooth my hair, then I felt my body being carefully cradled within the arms of another. A loud crack. I was back down on a bed that smelt like my own.

As if I could get from The Target’s bed to my own with a crack. I was simply dreaming.

A/N: I’m sorry- slow update! Damn, kill me. School’s finished but I’ve been so busy with Work Experience, on Thursday I stayed from 9 AM til 10 PM. Remember to review, they really do inspire me. I was disappointed with the lack of reviews in the last chapter, so make up for it now!

Review, that box is lonely.


Chapter 5: Day Ten, Phase Four
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A/N: Chapter Four is upon us! Remember to read and review and I hope you enjoy the chapter. P.S. The days represent what day of August it is so this chapter is set on the 10th August.



CI by strawberries@TDA, isn't she a dear? TYSM Sarah!

Day 10, Phase Four

To say I was shocked when I woke up would be a complete and utter understatement. I freaked out, eyes bulging and arms flailing included, and all because I woke up in my own bed. My own bed, in my own bedroom, in my own house. I distinctly remember going to sleep on The Target’s bed last night, in his shared bedroom, in The Burrow. How the heck I got here from the other side of Devon without even noticing I don’t know, but I can’t remember a thing after falling asleep, not even a blurry, fuzzy memory, nothing. Zilch. Nada.

I must have the memory of a goldfish. That’s 3 seconds- I learnt that on the back of a yoghurt pack when I was six and it stuck with me forever. The only thing I remember from last night faintly is a popping sound. Which has as much meaning as a cracker.

Brilliant, I know.

Why is it I can never remember what I want to, yet when it comes to useful rubbish, I can recite it word perfect? Nothing’s ideal but I mean, come on, this could be vital evidence here!

The smell of cooking wafted up towards me. That must have been what woke me up, I can sleep through earthquakes (I have) but the smell of food? It’s calling my belly to go eat. And who can resist the call to devour delectable food?

I leapt out of bed in haste, threw my hair up in a bedraggled bun and did my bathroom business.

It smelt like pancakes.

We never have pancakes.

Dad’s always too busy and Mum? Mum set the kitchen on fire the last time she tried. Not that that deterred her from cooking.

The most disturbing thing about the smell of the pancakes was that it smelt good.

My mum can’t cook food good enough for rats.

We had an intruder.

I grabbed the rounders bat at the base of my bed. I didn’t have a baseball bat like in American horror movies, but a rounders bat should do the same job, shouldn’t it? They were roughly the same shape and as long as I can bludgeon the imposter over the head, what difference does it make?

Rounders bat wielding, pyjama clad me against a lethal burglar who decided to cook pancakes.

What burglar cooked on the job? Surely you’d want to get out of there as soon as possible.

 Meh, he was probably famished. I would be too if I had just looted from a house, it must take hard work to shift furniture.

“Hey Sophiebug! I’m making pancakes since it’s Dexter’s first day back, not that he’s awake to enjoy it. Poor boy’s out like a light.”

Okay, so it wasn’t a burglar. It was my dad in a floral apron and yellow nail polish flipping pancakes. And people wonder why I’m off, with a feminine transvestite dad it’s hard to be normal.

I dropped the bat (Dad didn’t bat an eyelid, it’s normal for me to be carrying around sports equipment as weapons) and sat at the table. A steaming mug of coffee was waiting to be transported down my oesophagus. My Dad might be a tranny, but at least he understood my need for caffeine in the morning.

“I forgot Dex came back yesterday,” Well really, Mum was going on about it in the car but I tuned her out and I was more preoccupied with surviving 21 truths with Imogen about-she’s very manipulative- and this new operation has consumed my life. It’s not like previous cases where all I had to do was find lost pets, because, really, that’s all the responsibility you can hand a teenage girl. But I still can’t believe I forgot my brother returning home after a year at an American College. It was a big, momentous occasion and I forgot it. I really do have a goldfishes memory.

Dad and I lapsed into a comfortable silence. There was never a need to fill pauses with incessant chatter with my father, unlike my mother who never stopped to regain her breath in fear of causing silence.

“Hey Soph? Do you know where the nail polish remover is kept? Your mum played a trick on me whilst I was asleep,”

“Yeah, I’ll get it after breakfast,” I’d loved to say I never doubted my Dad, never thought he was becoming a drag queen, but alas, that’s not true. I should have suspected something like this because even if my Dad does become a tranny, he has much better fashion sense and would realise that yellow isn’t his colour. I should have known it was a prank. The signs were all there...

Flowery apron? The only one we have.

Yellow nail polish? An amateur prank.

My Dad’s still masculine, for now.

***

“Dex! Wake up Dex! Dex Dex Dex! DEX!”

2.00PM. I was enjoying myself waking up my brother from his peaceful slumber more than I should. However, I was rarely given the opportunity so the jumping and duvet yanking was necessary to arouse my irritable non morning brother. But heck, it was the afternoon, he can’t complain and after 18 hours of sleep, how much more did you need?

Besides, I was told by a certain father of mine, devoid of yellow polish and flowery aprons that I was “free to utilise all the tools in my arsenal”.

“Andrea Sophie Carter, get off of me!”

He used the real name.

My brother dared to use the real name.

I staggered off my lump of a brother and fixed him with stink eye #67, a real bone shaker quaker. Those hours spent practicing really, really helped. Andrea’s an old fuddy duddy name, it doesn’t suit me at all. Which is why I made it my middle name. Even at the age of three I understood Andrea Carter was not the name of a badass detective that caught criminals and brought justice to the world. Sophie Carter wasn’t much better, but it was still an improvement.

“Now I’m going to go into the bathroom,” My brother gulped, his blue eyes so like mine on me. There was fear in them, like I was an animal that when he dropped his gaze would pounce. I quite liked that, as long as I was a lioness in his mind’s eye. Lions are lazy. Lionesses are awesome. “I’m going to do my morning-“

“Afternoon,”

“I’m going to do my afternoon business, and I’m going to come back where we’ll have a chat about your obsession with Fred Weasley,”

“Fin-hey!”

My brother was out of the room like lightning.

Except for lightning is not a person, it’s electricity and it travels tonnes faster than Dexter ever can. Scratch the lightning simile, he ran out of the room nothing like lightning, but very fast. As fast as he could I think.

What did he mean about ‘obsession’? I’m not obsessed with Freddie, sure, I spent every hour of my waking day, sometimes hours in my sleeping day too, thinking about him. But he was the centre of my operation, I need to find out his secret, right?

I was doing my job.

I wasn’t obsessed.

...

Holy crap on a fish finger, I’m obsessed!

I’m obsessed with Freddie. Surely that’s not healthy? What happened to the rule about personal attachment? Never become personally involved in cases, it’s Detective 101. Actually, screw that rule, this whole op is personal, The Target’s my best friend for Christ’s sake!

Hey, I’m allowed to be obsessed with my best friend, right?

***

“Soph, are you all right? You haven’t moved since I left 10 minutes ago,”

10 minutes? I spent 10 minutes obsessing over whether I was obsessed with Freddie Weasley, oh the irony.

“Completely fine, absolutely chipper, super and dandy,”

I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a normal response for me, I’m fine is just so dull. Dex was none the wiser even though I’m sure my pitch went up an octave or two.

“A simple yes would’ve sufficed. So, tell me all about your new operation,”

Ah, Operation Weasley, my baby. Cue a thirty minute monologue about my crap findings.

Sophie’s Super Awesome (Super Shit) Findings:

1.       The Weasley’s are weird (Not really a finding, we knew this already).

2.       The Weasley’s are liars (Non-existent football teams and joke shops anyone?)

3.       The Weasley’s have a huge family (I’m pretty sure this has nothing to do with   The Secret and constitutes under weird but I don’t have many points).

4.       The Secret is a Hogwarts thing.

5.       Hogwarts doesn’t exist (Bolsters Point 4).

6.       The Weasley’s own cool indoor fireworks.

7.       The Target owns a broom?

8.       There is a sport/game/instrument/something else that you play beginning with ‘Quid’.

9.       I am a ‘Mu-‘.

This whole thing make even less sense than it did when I started.

Not even Google can help me.

All I have are made up places, household objects and half finished words. Not exactly concrete evidence.

“Why don’t you try being yourself? Freddie might tell you his secret just because, I don’t know, you’re his best friend? Thought of that?”

I hate being pat on the head condescendingly.

“That, is a stupidly, absurdly- brilliant idea! Thanks Dex,”

“Don’t mention it,”

So off I went to spend the day with my BFF. Having fun and gathering intel, now that’s multitasking. Shame I didn’t have a Dictaphone or lipstick camera, then I could dissect The Target’s every action and every word.

I really am obsessed.

***

“Freddie! Freddie! FREDDIE!”

How come when a guy throws pebbles at a girl’s window it’s romantic but when a girl (me) throws pebbles at a guy’s (Freddie) window, she attracts glares from neighbours who thinks she deserves an ASBO, a look of witchlike amusement from the cat lady, and to top it off, she ends up throwing a pebble at the guy’s face. Not exactly remotely anywhere near as pleasant as romantic mush. I blame the stereotypes and a patriarchal society.

“OW!”

I’m guessing how The Target’s covering his nose with his hand, which is coincidentally dripping blood rather than snot that this isn’t good.

“Ach, I’m sorry!” I called up, gaining more glares. I was going to have a real fan base soon.

“Ib’s fibe. Whab bib you wanb?” Shit, his voice has gone weird now his nose is congealed with blood. What if he didn’t want to be friends anymore? Then I would never figure out his secret and I would never finish this operation. Not to mention I would lose the one person who knew me better than myself.

“Let’s go to the park?” I asked meekly. Surely I was in for a rebuff? A ‘your useless, go home’ at the very least.

“Suwe, I’b be bown ib a sec,”

Within a minute, Freddie was out of the door, all traces of blood siphoned off, his voice restored to normal.

How the heck had he healed from a nosebleed in a minute?! Damn, I need the medicine he uses, because that stuff must be seriously magic.

“So, which park?”

We lucky ducks picked prime housing location because not only was it a couple of roads away from the school, but also we had 4 parks each an equal, short distance from our front door. Not that I had any say in the matter of house choice, I wasn’t a glint in either of my parents’ eyes at the time.

“The Mall,” Of course it was The Mall, that was the biggest park, it took forever to walk around it, which is what I intended to do, stretch my legs and have a good long chinwag with my good ol’ friend, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal.

What I hadn’t intended was to run into my arch nemesis, the devil reincarnate herself, the antagonist to my protagonist.

Lindsay.

Okay, she wasn’t that evil, but she’s just the complete opposite to me. She’s up to her eyeballs in fakery, so much so she can’t blink, whilst I thought an eyelash curler was a form of finger torture. She’s naturally clever and I have to sweat over textbooks just to scrape Cs. She was blonde, I was brunette, she had boys fawning over her, I had no one. She was the most popular girl at school and I had a total of three friends in that hellhole.

So naturally, she grated my nerves. Not that she did anything to stop that.

“Oh look, Sophie’s got a boyfriend,” Childish and immature. Her ‘friends’, more like slaves, simpered in the background.

“He’s not my boyfriend,” I retorted back easily. Not that that would stop her flirting with him. Already trying and failing to bat her eyelids seductively. I just hoped she didn’t get her talons in him because one, Freddie deserved better and two, I wouldn’t be able to stand seeing her within a mile radius of my house.

“Of course not, a hot guy like him would never go for a girl like you, you’re all scraggy, no curves, just a plain, pale stick,”

“Enlightening Lindsay, but just because I didn’t have a boob job and fat implanted into my ass doesn’t mean I don’t have curves. It means I’m not slaggy enough to transform my body for male attention,”

“Your brother must be real jealous of you Carter,” And now the annoyance shines through. Done with the girly innocent act, she was going in for the kill.

“And why’s that?” I asked, deciding to play along. She was going to say it anyways.

“Because you can grow a moustache and he can’t,”

“Oooh, burn!” The slaves twittered in the background.

“Your brother must want his belt back,” What was Freddie doing? Lindsay wasn’t wearing a belt...

“What belt?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, that’s a skirt?”

“Oooh, burn!” We chorused together, mimicking the slaves.

And that’s how you tag team against the enemy.

“So, Soph, who’s the Oompa Loompa?” He gestured to Lindsay behind us as we walked away and I couldn’t help but laugh. The fake tan really did make her resemble the characters from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“Don’t you remember Lindsay Brookes from primary?”

“Ye-that’s her?! She’s gone a few shades darker, added some inches of makeup and hemmed her skirt by at least a foot since I last saw her,”

“Yep, well, that’s what attracts the guys,”

“Why would anyone be attracted to someone who must really dirty the bed linen? Imagine sleeping with a girl like her, she’d ruin your bed sheets! Nah, I’m more for a natural brunette beauty myself,”

Weird. I thought Lindsay was every guy’s type. Every guy’s dream girl. Except Noah, he only likes girls who understand sport to a certain degree and I’m not sure Lindsay even knew what a football was.

“It’s been a crazy 10 days, hasn’t it?” I asked The Target, bringing him out of his reverie. Now for the subtle interrogation to begin.

“Yeah, I’m really sorry about inflicting my family upon you the other day, they’re nuts,”

“I would have been startled if I wasn’t crazy, but I am, so I felt right at home. Besides, now they’re weirdoes loaded on cheese and jam sandwiches. Imogen and James are really nice but I still haven’t worked out how Imogen rigged 21 truths, it never landed on her!”

“Well, she’s a sly one,” The Target’s gaze was on the horizon rather than on me. He wasn’t participating fully in the conversation, and I couldn’t for the life of me work out why.

“What’s it like at Hogwarts?” Usually when I brought this up, Freddie closed up or made a distraction. Usually when I brought this up I was at his house or he was at mine but now we were in open fields with no one else around. Insert evil laugh. Internal evil laugh of course.

“Big castle, secret passageways. We have a gigantic lake with all the creatures you can imagine. It’s cold, it’s up north in Scotland. There’s mountains around and it’s peaceful, y’know? Drafty corridors, ancient brickwork, high ceilings, torches instead of light bulbs. It’s lovely there, has a medieval feel that makes it seem as if you’ve been taken back hundreds of years. It’s my second home. You should see the mischief we get into, me, James and Imogen, sneaking round the castle after curfew, all the pranks we pull off. You’d like it there,” His eyes finally rested on mine and my breath hitched in my throat.

There certainly was something about Freddie Weasley.

But now I was sure there was something more. Something other than The Secret. Something else he’s keeping from me.

I felt an unfamiliar tingle in the pit of my stomach. Freddie’s brown eyes glinted in the sunlight. I never noticed- they were dark around the edges and a rich chocolate colour flecked with gold in the middle.

I broke eye contact, cheeks flushed, finding interest with my badly scuffed shoes. Why was I blushing? Why was I uncomfortable under Freddie’s (intense) gaze? I never blushed and we’ve had many a staring competition before.

I hate being confused.

“Erm, we should continue walking,”

I don’t know if I was hallucinating but I’m sure I saw a flicker of a smirk appear on The Target’s face, no matter how fleeting it was.

A/N: Okay, a short chapter there, took me quite a while, I’ve been doing up my gallery at TDA so I haven’t had much time for writing. Next chapters almost done so that should be put in the queue as soon as this one is out.

I have a question: Would it be worth it if I did a spin off about Imogen/James after I finish this?

Remember to review, I love to hear your thoughts. I’ll do a shout out next chapter to everyone who has reviewed <3

 

 


Chapter 6: Day Eighteen, Phase Five
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A/N: Okay, so this chapter has advancements in Operation Weasley and Freddie/Sophie, hope you enjoy, remember to read and review!







^Oh, this piece of gorgeousness? It's only by strawberries@TDA.

Day Eighteen, Phase Five

Eight whole days and phase four was failing. Eight days of being myself hadn’t convinced Freddie to trust me with The Secret.  I was vehemently against it, I said it wouldn’t work, but no, Mr Dexter-I’m-so-clever-I-wrestle-watermelons Carter had to push the idea.

Which is why I came up with Phase Five all by myself with no outside help and dragged Operative Queenie along for the ride. She is my sidekick after all, the Robin to my Batman, the Rodney to my Del Boy, the Watson to my Sherlock.

“Sop-“ I silenced her with a glare. I really was getting good at those. “Operative Coffee Addict, why do we have to be in black jumpsuits and balaclavas in the middle of summer, not to mention with the current heatwave, it’s officially the hottest summer on record!”

“Everyone knows all black helps aid swiftness and stealth. Look at the New Zealand All Blacks, aptly named, and all burglars and ninjas are kitted out in head to toe in black. And we’re ninjas so we fall under the category of people who only wear black,”

“I thought we were detectives and Goths wear black but they’re not really swift or stealthy, just sickly looking,”

“Shh! Not so loud!” I hissed and pushed Queenie and me headfirst into a pile of bin bags. Black bin bags I might add which meant we were camouflaged. Ninja...

Just as well that we were chameleons for those 5 seconds as The Target turned around curiously before resuming on his travel.

Back to dodging behind cars and trees then. Bins are bad for hiding. Bins have fish bones and half eaten rats. Cars and trees were much cleaner and less of a health risk.

“Why are we stalking Fre-The Target?”

“We’re not stalking, stalking’s such a crude word. We’re detective ninjas, we tail,

“Why?” Queenie was beginning to sound irritatingly like a toddler. Why, why, why, incessant whys. We had to tail Freddie because I got nothing else. Nothing. I would have done house surveillance again, but that turned up no results before, so I doubted it would work this time, the Weasley’s are as elusive as the last mint in the packet that conveniently falls down the side pocket of the car when you just had onion rings, and you really need it. This kind of surveillance was much more thrilling though. Ducking and diving, the fear of getting caught pumping adrenaline that coursed through my arteries (arteries travel to the body contrary to popular belief, veins travel to the heart)- I could certainly do this for a career.

“He’s going into Mario’s Bistro! Wait, who’s that blonde?”

Queenie had piqued my interest at Mario’s, Devon’s very own couple’s restaurant. It was notorious, not for its Italian food, but for the copious amount of PDA. Freddie and I usually abandoned places like that (neither of us liked mushy romance or watching people exchange saliva that much) yet here he was with a blonde girl, who, if her hair was anything to go by, was stunning.

Freddie was dating someone. And he hadn’t told me. My throat stuck and my chest ached, whilst my stomach felt as if it had dropped 25 miles and my heart was beating as if my body was running in a marathon.

What was my body doing? This isn’t normal for me. So what if Freddie has a girlfriend, it’s not like he hasn’t dated. And yes, it’s normal for me to be peeved at Freddie when he doesn’t tell me things, but this? I felt as if I was being crushed by a 10,000 tonne block, except unlike in the cartoons, I didn’t just pop back up.

“-makes sense. Are you alright Soph?”

“Yeah, fine,” I didn’t have the heart to tell her off for using my name or provide a lavish description rather than the exceedingly dull ‘fine’ I was usually so set against. My heart hurt and the similarities between me and a kicked dog were striking.

I was not fine.

“There’s another guy now, who’s that?”

James Sirius Potter.

Which meant that the blonde was Imogen, not some bint who was dating my best friend.

The hurt and aching stopped, replaced by hysteric laughter. Freddie didn’t have a girlfriend, and it was the best feeling in the world.

No blonde would take The Target away from me.

Besides, blondes weren’t his type, he preferred brunettes, he said so.

***

We waited outside, hurling ourselves behind a decrepit Nissan Micra every time Freddie’s or James’ eyes began to turn towards the window. After the best part of an hour, The Target exited Mario’s Bistro, a huge grin on his face and resumed walking.

Naturally, we resumed tailing, running crouched though when we passed the restaurant window- James and Imogen were still inside, eating. Figures, those two have stomachs eerily like cows (Cows have 4 stomach compartments) which meant they couldn’t just eat a horse, but a whole stable.

“Damn kid walks fast,” I muttered angrily as we almost lost The Target around several corners.

“One, you’re younger, you can’t call him kid, Two, you’re just slow, it’s you, not him,” Queenie quipped back at my four word rant. Can’t call it a rant then can you? My four word angry utteration.

“Taking the side of the enemy, I’m disappointed, I expected more from you,” Ha, condescending head shaking, take that Queenie, take that for being bias towards The Target, take that for being suckered in by his charms.

“No, I’m pointing out the obvious and he’s your best friend, so he’s not the enemy per se, and I’ll reiterate, he’s your best friend, not mine, so I’m obliged to take your side over his anyday, unless of course you want to rob a bank and he’s trying to stop you,” I really shouldn’t speak around smart people, it only makes me look dumb.

“Thanks, I think?” Really was that a compliment? Queenie would pick me over The Target unless I start turning to crime- sounds like a compliment to me. “But we should really get back to tailing, he’s getting away,”

Which is why you should never get into a tiff over the smallest of things when following a suspect in August. You have to run to catch up, dressed entirely in the standard black ninja uniform (which is stiflingly hot) because you’re a detective ninja full of awesomeness. Running+Heat+Black Clothes= Very Bad Heat Stroke.

Freddie lead us, not that he knew we were there, into a dark alleyway (all the better for camouflage) that smelt of piss, alcohol and also had a dead end. God knows why anyone would go here, which confirms my already solid knowledge that I was best friends with an escapee from a mental institute. Not that that was why I was best friends with him, I was best friends with him because he threw a rock at my head in nursery.

Yeah, that totally makes sense. My two best friends earned their title because one blackmailed me and the other threw a rock at my head. I really need to make friends the proper way, through talking.

Just as I was musing over how I could get to talk to the ultra dishy teen idol Ryan Michaels (also coincidentally a Disney star) to talk to me so we could somehow be buddies, the unbelievable happened.

The Target disappeared with a pop, leaving me and Queenie behind grasping at air in vain hopes of catching a single particle of him.

***

“That’s got to be the most substantial point on the list so far,” I said faintly, lying on my bed trying (and failing) to comprehend what had happened this afternoon.

There was no smoke, no mirrors, no holograms. Just an alleyway devoid of anything except broken beer bottles and ,last time I checked, broken beer bottles don’t really make you disappear.  I felt a tug in my gut that said that I have stumbled upon something bigger than your average best friend’s secret. Either my gut was right, or those were some dodgy doughnuts.

Besides, it’s not like Freddie hasn’t kept things from me before.  He hasn’t told me about a single surprise birthday party he’s organised for me, and he didn’t tell me about when Jack Lawson used to bully him in Year Four until he caved in with a little pressure from me.

And I know Freddie trusts me, we tell each other everything. He told me about the time he lost his trousers in the forest at Hogwarts and I told him about when my shoe was trailing toilet paper for a whole day. I know all his embarrassing moments and his deepest secrets, such as living up to the expectations of a big, successful family and how terrified he was of the future. Of course, he knew my secrets too, how I was afraid of not achieving good enough grades to train with the police and how I was scared stiff of dogs. That’s what made him my best friend. The fact that I knew him inside out and that he knew everything there is to know about me, yet, miraculously, still accepts me for it.

Then there’s The Secret, the one barrier, the thought in the back of my brain, saying that I might trust Freddie wholeheartedly, but there are some things that Freddie will never trust me with.

“Disappearing acts,” Queenie said from a similar position on the floor. “He literally vanished into thin air-“

“Stop quoting Shakespeare,”

“What? The only Shakespeare I know is Juliet’s soliloquy and I wasn’t saying that. I could- Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?  Deny-“

“No, please don’t, you really defile Shakespeare’s beautiful work. I was referring to the ‘vanished into thin air’ Queenie, Shakespeare made that. He also created ‘it’s Greek to me’, ‘knock knock’ jokes and ‘Green-eyed jealousy’,”

Suddenly, she smirked at me, her eyes glinting dangerously. It was her legendary I-know-something-you-don’t-about-yourself-and-I’m-going-to-take-the-piss-until-you-realise-then-take-some-more smirk. I gave her my much shorter, patented Why-don’t-you-try-me smirk. Then she gave me her I-wasn’t-asking-for-your-permission-but-okay-then smirk. I replied with a classic Bring-it-on smirk.

It was one huge smirkfest.

“Green eyed jealousy? You got a touch of that back there before you realised it was darling Imogen, didn’t you?”

“Me, jealous? Kiss my ass Roberts,”

“Gladly, but that still doesn’t change the fact you were jealous,”

“Wasn’t,”

“Was. You know what, I’m calling Ravi and Noah,”

Excuses, excuses, she just wants to see Noah.

“Shall we discuss the disappearance of one Target in the meantime?”

“Yes, that should be the first on our agenda, detective ninja stuff always trumps silly made up schoolgirl crushes. So what’s your thoughts on this latest piece of evidence?”

“You can’t disappear. It’s impossible for humans to literally disappear into nothing. What is... what if Freddie was a magician?” I let out an oh so attractive derisive snort. Oh, Queenie has a lot to learn.

“Magicians just go through trap doors in stages, it’s all about illusions, and it never really works. Magic is more about performance than actual magic because obviously, magic doesn’t exist. What if he was a space time traveller?”

But Queenie shot that idea down as quickly as I had to hers.

“You’ve been watching too much Doctor Who. He could be an angel,”

Our theories spiralled out of control- we’d considered everything from being James Bond’s apprentice to an inhabitant of Neverland and even a shape shifting insect/human/orange.

“Sophie? Kelly?”

“Up here!” I shouted back in answer to Ravi’s call.

“Keep your voices down!”

“SHUT IT DEX, YOU’RE NOT MUM OR DAD!” I bellowed back through the wall.

“THEY’RE NOT HERE SO I’M IN CHARGE! AND I SAID SHUT YOUR TRAPS!”

“WELL I THINK YOU’RE STUPID!”

“AND YOU’RE PSYCHO!” This was quickly descending into a slanging match.

“WELL YOU’RE A JERK!”

“AND YOU’RE IN-mfff,”

What the heck? Dex would never stop himself from insulting me. He was my brother, he loved to insult me. What was happening next door?

“Where’s Ravi? Hmn, must be with Dex,” Queenie mused, answering her own question. She was weird like that.

So, Ravi was in the other room, doing what? Holding a pillow to my brother’s face to shut him up? Feeding him? Covering his mouth with her hand? Whatever she was doing, it was clearly working. It sounded a lot like sucking though, so she was probably shoving a drink down his throat.

1 minute later, Ravi came back in and sat down where we had convened on the carpet. Her clothes were sufficiently crumpled and she was wiping the corners of her mouth. I looked at her expectantly, as did Queenie, although I couldn’t raise one eyebrow like she could. Suave show off.

“What?”

“Well, how d’ya get Dex to keep schtum?” I asked, as if the question was obvious. It actually was, what else would I be asking about?

“Isn’t it pretty obvious?”

“Yes, it’s clearly obvious, we wouldn’t be asking if it was obvious, spill,” Queenie jabbed a finger at Ravi whilst I opened my Capri sun simultaneously.

“I snogged him,”

I really shouldn’t have opened that Capri sun. Choking is not a pleasant sensation. It was probably worse for Ravi and Queenie since they got sprayed in the juice-saliva concoction from my mouth. Queenie, I felt sorry for. Ravi, she deserved it. Snogging my brother when I was in the other room, the cheek.

“You, what?!”

“Yeah, he’s a great-“

“We don’t want to hear it!” Queenie shrieked shrilly. “Ew, that’s disgusting,”

“What, he’s a fit bloke. You really are round here too much Kels, you’re thinking of him like he’s your brother,”

“I’ve seen him sniff his armpits and he’s seen me with acne, He practically is my brother, we even fight like siblings do! You’re not really going to find an ally in me to gush about your new attraction for your friend’s brother.”

“Damn, might have to resort to my sister,” Ravi sighed sarcastically.

Ravi’s sister was, for want of a better word, a prude. She was 26, has been married for 2 months and still hasn’t even kissed a male. The thought of Ravi talking to her complete personality opposite about a boy was laughable.

“Where’s Noah?” Queenie asked, glancing hesitantly at the door. Oh, the pining of a young love sick heart. Raveena caught my eye and we shared a knowing glance. It was nice to be in on the knowing glance this time instead of being out of the loop. It seems I was out of the loop a lot nowadays.

“He’s coming after football practice. What did you call me for Kelly?”

“Watch this,”

From the lapel of her black jumpsuit, Queenie removed a miniscule camera which she hooked up to my TV.

“How, how, how-“ I spluttered. I was the head of this op and here was my second in command with a top notch gadget. Surely that could be put down as withholding information?

“Dad wanted to find out what was eating all the cheese, he thought it was mice. Turns out it was mum,”

It was strange watching myself duck and dive. I thought I looked cool, especially when I held my arms out kung fu style but Queenie and Ravi’s laughter proved otherwise. I suppose I better remove the ninja from my detective title. Such a shame, I was getting attached to that.

The tape ended with The Target disappearing. Ravi’s jaw was somewhere on the floor which seemed appropriate due to the spectacular feat which had occurred before her. It was more amazing live though. Freddie could join a circus with those skills... Fred Weasley the Great Disappearing Boy.

I’d pay money to see that.

“You, yo-“ she stammered. Stammers and splutters used to be my thing. I’m a trendsetter.

“Yeah?”

“You like Freddie! You like him!”

The guy disappears right in front of her eyes and that’s all she has to say? Typical. Absolutely ruddy bloody typical and useless.

And like him? Psh, I don’t like Freddie. I mean, I like him, obviously, he’s my best friend, but I don’t like him in the romantic sense at all.

“Sure pet,” I did that thing again, where the barrier between thoughts and speaking came down momentarily, didn’t I? I need to get that checked out.

“Hey what’s up?” Noah arrived sweaty, chucking each of us three a can of cold, super cold, coke, before downing one of his own without stopping for breath.

“The sky,”

“The stars,”

“Sophie liking Freddie,”

“Brillia- oh really?” I really hate smirks.

“No I d- I hate you all, go die,”

“Now, now, let us have our fun,” I really, really hate smirks.

They all had on the universal I’m-going-to-enjoy-watching-you-suffer-under-our-torment-until-you-crack smirks on. I really, really, really hate smirks with a burning passion.

“I DON’T LIKE FREDDIE, END OF CONVO, NO!”

I need new friends. Ones who preferred not to annoy the crap out of me. I wonder if there was a shop for friends... I’d get an obedient friend who did everything I asked. They would feed me grapes and massage my feet.

Ah, that would be the life.

A/N: End of another chapter. Quick update huh? The writing’s just flowing out of me. I’ve edited the other chapters slightly so if you want you can go back and read them.

I said in the last chapter I would thank everyone for the reviews so far. Here goes:

·         Blackzero

·         Emma

·         AlwaysSev

·         Mystique

·         Hetty

·         Ellen

·         Jakesintown

·         JRose16

·         Dezire_427

·         Leela

·         Seriously_in_love

·         MiSTY_VoLPe

·         Pheonix_feather123

·         Jess

·         (Another) Emma

·         StarStorm49

·         Claire5555

·         Killjoy15

·         CassiePotter

·         Hope

Thanks for all your wonderful reviews and keep them coming because at the end of this story I’ll be handing out prizes ;)

One more thing, the next chapter is a break from the detective stuff and important fluff, but it will be a quick update hopefully, unless the site is taken down for maintenance again (always seems to happen when I want to update).






 


Chapter 7: Day Nineteen
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A/N: This chapter looks back at Sophie’s relationships with Freddie and Kelly. It is a filler, but I need to develop the characters, rather than everything being plot. Before you read, in the UK, we have results day where in August (Yeah, they make us go to school during the summer holidays) we have to go to collect our exam results. This is Sophie’s and Kelly’s results day. I have to wait a week till my results day... Enjoy reading!



Chapter Image by my love Ande, Carnal Spiral @TDA, damn, she's too perfect...

Day Nineteen-Results

5:43 AM. A total of 1 hours sleep. Too nervous to get to sleep, too nervous to stay asleep. Summer sun filtered through the curtains which did nothing to keep the light at bay.

I need my flaming coffee.

The house was (and I hate my lack of good adjectives, but it was rather early and I was sleep deprived) silent and dark at this ungodly hour. My heart raced every time the floorboards creaked or the plumbing gurgled. I was alone in my jammies, wearing a matching multi coloured polka dot dressing gown rather than a bulletproof vest, I’m allowed to be afraid. Not that I had a bulletproof vest to put on.

“Meow,”

Joey leapt onto the kitchen counter, green eyes boring into mine not blinking. Typical, my cat had instigated a staring competition with me before 6 o’clock whilst I was so nervous I felt like I was going to start chucking up organs. Hey, at least I wasn’t alone now. But really, a staring contest? Very comforting.

“Hey Joey,” I replied, stifling a yawn behind my hand. Didn’t want him to think I was rude now did I? Do cats understand human though? Do they understand English? Who knows?

“Meow,” Joey repeated, nuzzling up to me. I scratched him behind the ears and he closed his eyes in content. Either that or he was screwing them up in pain. I’d have to go with the former, my pitiful physique ensured I couldn’t harm a fly, except when handed an electronic fly swatter that zaps them dead.

So I was a fly murderer?

Sue me.

Flies are disgusting, they’re repulsive and they produce maggots which, other than fish bait, have no uses whatsoever. Flies are the food of spiders and really, who needs more spiders in the world? Flies essentially, killed the old lady, as horses are up the food chain from flies and she swallowed a horse to catch the dog who needed to catch the- in short, she swallowed the horse because she swallowed a fly.

I think I’m very justified in killing flies.

They inadvertently caused the swallowing of a horse. Horses are awesome.

“Meow,” Joey looked up at me again and I felt myself melting into his pools of emerald green eyes. There was so many ways that sentence could be misinterpreted for romantic feelings, but I felt none of those for my cat. Just a sense of companionship. Anyway, you can’t have a relationship with a cat, that’s just...weird.

I’ve had Joey since I was 11. Freddie gave him to me as a going away present. This was the day after my birthday and the day of his birthday, so I was already happy with the present he’d given me the day before and wasn’t really expecting to receive anything. Joey was a surprise, but a very good surprise. Like an accidental baby. You’re sure you used the contraception correctly but oh, you’re up the duff. Then 9 months later, out pops a baby that you weren’t expecting to have, but it’s a joyous occasion, because a new life was brought into the world.

I can’t believe I’m comparing Joey to accidental babies.

Hey, it seems we do have a lot in common after all.

“Meow,” Joey was sidling up to me again and that could only mean that the fat git was hungry. I poured him a bowl of cheap supermarket cat food and some milk before eating my own cereal and coffee. I had to say, I was jealous of the bowls he had, his was printed with paw prints and his name in silver, my bowl was plain, ceramic and from IKEA.

No wonder Joey’s a hit with the ladies, it’s that bowl.

It’s a very attractive bowl.

I’m going to buy me a bowl with my name on it in silver.

I wonder how much of a hit with the guy’s I’d be then?

The answer is none. As if a guy would fancy me.

***

7:29 AM. I was getting anxious. Whoever said patience is a virtue had never had to go through results day. The waiting’s even worse when it’s only you, the cat and breakfast TV.

Breakfast TV is a whole load of crap. It’s not even Saturday which means that I can’t watch children’s programmes. Not that I do, I mean Arthur? Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow? Horrid Henry? What the heck is Horrid Henry? The alliteration is atrocious, Horrid Henry, Moody Margaret, Perfect Peter, Rude Ralph, yeah, I don’t watch shows like that, I watch sophisticated things, like the opera.

Because the opera is a much more riveting option.

All the high pitched sopranos and tenors with amazing lung capacity, all the singing in Latin and Italian that I really can’t understand, it’s absolutely fascinating.

“Meow,”

“’’Sup Joey, how’s it hanging?”

“Meow,”

“How’s your mad game with the bitches?”

“Meow,”

“That good huh? Brilliant, I’m glad you’re getting some,”

“Because you aren’t,”

“Joey-oh it’s you. I hate you Dex,” My brother smirked and shook his rain soaked hair in my direction. Of course it would be raining on results day, as if I didn’t need a bad omen already. Wait, why was he coming in at 7 am, the time at which he was normally hibernating, in the same clothes he wore yesterday?

“Where were you?”

Dex blushed and scratched his head. Nervous.

“I was out at a mate’s house,”

A slight tug of the ear lobe. Lying.

Nervous and lying. Dex was somewhere he didn’t want me to know about. Which, of course intrigues me even more. They say curiosity killed the cat, but it never did me any harm, I wasn’t a cat. Besides, even if curiosity does kill the cat, it has 8 more lives the lucky things.

“Where were you?” I repeated, cocking an eyebrow and drinking in his dishevelled appearance.

“Mffmfffmf,”

“What?” I was smirking. Hey, who was I to pass up the opportunity to embarrass my brother?

“I was at Ravi’s,”

Okay, I really didn’t want to know anymore. Actually I do, morbid curiosity, one day, it’s going to make me vomit.

“Doing what,”

“Fixing her wifi,”

Sounds like an invitation for sex. Oh my gosh, what if they did? Holy crap on a holy cow, mental images! My eyes widened and Dex locked gazes with me. His eyes widened in reply.

“No! No! We didn’t Soph, NO!” He hastened and I let out a breath of relief. At least I didn’t have to dither about whom to unleash my wrath on. Seriously, do you get angry at- the brother for shagging the friend or the friend for shagging the brother?

“What were you doing that was so riveting that it made you stay the night?” And we return to Big Brother Teasing Event, BBTE for short, where Sophie and Dexter Carter are certainly churning up a storm full of wiggling eyebrows and furious blushing. They are definitely in gold medal contention in this competition. The other big brother little sister pairs do not hold a candle to the talent of the Carter duo.

“Snogging,” I snorted. Typical of Raveena to get her claws into him and typical of Dex to not mind one jot. “And talking,”

“So do you like her, or are you just snog buddies?”  I had to know. Like hell if I was going to let my brother use my friend. Damn, I’d have to ask Ravi as well, she couldn’t pass my brother off as her new flame and dump him the next day like she had done to many a boy before.

“I- I like her, I like her personality, she’s attractive. I can see myself in a relationship with her,”

“Well then, I’m going to pretend I hadn’t seen you just walk in, you’re going to go up those stairs, shower, get dressed and then have breakfast. And please don’t tug on your ear when you’re talking to Mum and Dad, everyone knows that’s your trademark lying sign,”

Dexter opened and closed his mouth like a goldfish before leaving the room stunted. I just made my brother speechless. Boy am I good.

But Dex and Ravi? That has got to be the weirdest thing I’ve seen in my life.

No, Freddie disappearing tops that.

***

“We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!”

I hate my fucking doorbell.

We haven’t changed it since the Christmas of 2010 when Dad thought it’d be good fun to have a doorbell that sung a yuletide appropriate carol. After 12 years though, it can be a bit tiring. No, it can get severely annoying, especially when it was summer and nowhere near Christmas time.

“We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you-“ I flung open the door, not that that stopped the novelty doorbell from singing. “-a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!”

“Y’know, that doorbell gets me every time,” Freddie chuckled good naturedly. Freddie had a nice laugh, deep and throaty, not loud and obnoxious. It was a nice calming laugh that sent vibrations through my body every time I hugged him whilst he was laughing. The point was, he had a nice laugh.

“Come on inside,”

Unlike Kelly, Freddie waited to be invited inside and although he also treated my house like his, he had manners and self restraint. Kelly just trashed this place with no qualms.

Freddie fell back onto the sofa in that calm, reserved manner of his. He looked up at me, smiled, not smirked, and said:

‘Plant your bum’

It was enough to take me back 13 years into my memories.

I was playing in the sand pit, happily failing at trying to make a sandcastle using dry sand. It wasn’t working and the sand never held the shape of the mould. That didn’t stop me from my fruitless endeavours at making a sandcastle though. Just when I was about to lift the mould on my 14th try, a pebble hit my head. It hurt, but unlike the other 3 year olds, I didn’t start bawling but rather looked at the offending object curiously as if it would tell me where it came from.

“I’m sorry,” Fred Weasley at 4 years old was the oldest in the nursery. He towered over everyone and was intimidating. However, now he seemed humble and nervous? Why was he apologising? “That rock was for Jimmy, he’s mean,”

Jeremy Ackerley was 3, brown, mousy hair and a heavily freckled face. He never smiled and most of the time his face was twisted into a sneer. He carried around a stick that he would then use to dissect dead bugs and animals he found in the playground. Jimmy was a whole head shorter than Fred, the same height as me, so it was shocking that he could ever harm him, or cause him distress.

“What did he do to you?” I enquired. It piqued my interest- Fred being bullied by Jimmy?

“He stole my toys and he spat his milk at Johnny. Yesterday, he threw an apple at George and hit Yara with his stick. He’s a bully and I don’t like bullies!” Fred stamped his foot and crossed his arms in anger. Fred was sticking up for everyone.

“Here,” I held my hand out and Fred dropped the rock into it. Without notice, I threw it and with a resounding thud, the pebble hit its target.

“You’re good!”

“Thank you Fred,”

“It’s Freddie,”

“Sophie,”

We sealed the meeting with a handshake, and Freddie told me to ‘plant my bum’ on the grass beside him.

“Plant my bum? You can’t plant bums!” I cried shocked. There was no such thing as bum plants, didn’t he know?

“It’s what my dad says!” Freddie defended, sticking his nose up in the air.

“But what does it mean?”

“It means you have to dig a hole in the grass and sit in it, like you’d do with seeds, except with your bum,”

“He he, bum,”

Unsurprisingly, I came home with a muddy butt and a new friend called Freddie Weasley who I vowed to never call Fred again.

I sat beside Freddie on the couch. He had hardly changed since nursery, sure his muscles had developed, his voice deepened and he had the start of a beard, but he was still the same, the same warm brown welcoming eyes, the same courageous behaviour, Freddie was still the boy who stood up for the underdogs. I’d known him for 15 years, been best friends with him for 13 of those years (Somehow we were next door neighbours without becoming friends, we needed a rock and bum plants for that) and yet, it was startling how he hadn’t changed.

I’m pretty sure I hadn’t changed either.

So, why did it fell like everything is different all of a sudden? Operation Weasley has really been going for 13 years-I’ve always been curious but I decided to make it official this summer-so that couldn’t be it.

What has changed?

“Results day,” Freddie said, rubbing his hands together in anticipation. Git. I take back all the good things I said about him, he’s enjoying my nervous disposition more than he should. Talk about kicking a dog when they’re down.

“Don’t remind me, I feel like my insides have been replaced with drunk people doing the conga, except they’re so wasted they’re throwing up all over the place,”

“Nice,” Ah, the fake disgust makes an appearance. I knew it would sometime or other.

“Y’know what’s weird? How I’m never nervous before the exam, when I’m taking the exam or directly after the exam, it’s only well after that I feel like crapping myself,”

“That’s not weird at all. It shows you prepared enough and it’s only fear warping your mind. You’re jumping to conclusions that aren’t at all founded because you can’t remember what you wrote, that’s when you’re nervous.”

Hmn, makes sense I suppose, but I’m not sure I have that much faith in me. I wanted an A badly, on the other hand, I’ve never had an A in my life, only Bs and Cs. Maybe my expectations were just too high...

“Sophie,” Freddie sighed heavily and pinched the bridge of his nose. “You’re going to do fine, kay?”

“What did you get?” I blurted. Academically, I had no idea how Freddie was doing, whereas he seemed to know every grade I’ve ever got.

“This year?” His voice rose an octave. “I got an O in History, an E in Chemistry, an A in Physics and an E in Maths,”

“A, E, O?”

“Acceptable, Exceeds Expectations and Outstanding. An A is like a C, an E a B and an O is the same as an A,” Yes, because that’s not at all confusing. Why would Hogwarts divert from the national grading system?

“I’m sorry, it’s confusing,” Freddie needs to stop reading my mind. He knows me too well, what if he already knows about Operation Weasley? “Today is about you. Where are you meeting Kelly?”

“At school. Freddie, what if I don’t get the grades? If I can’t progress from AS to A2, how will I ever get into the force? I won’t be able to ful-“

“Soph,” He cut me off, sending me a look that said you-overreacting-bint-I-can-read-your-mind-and-I’ll-pierce-you-with-my-sexy-intense-gaze. Well, except for the sexy part, he’s my best friend, I don’t think of him that way. “You’ll do fine, in fact, better than fine, y’know why? Because I have faith in you. I can bet you my life and Roxy’s rubber duck collection-“ She was very possessive of those, touch one, I wouldn’t stick around to see the consequences. “-that you will pass everything and you’ll even get an A,”

“Really?”

“Really.”

Freddie’s words of belief washed over me and calmed me more than Joey’s nuzzling ever could. Freddie believes in me and my results will be good. I can do this, I can walk in that hall, I will take my envelope, and I will shout my results out with glee!

“Let’s get going then,”

“You might need to get dressed then,”

Curse you spotted dressing gown and matching pyjamas. I really don’t need to blush this profusely at only 10 o’clock in the morning.

***

Three outfit changes, two kisses on the cheek (parents, overemotional saps, cor) and a phone call later, I was standing with Freddie and Kelly in our schools Assembly Hall. The paint was peeling, the wooden floor had lost its varnish (Can floors lose anything?) and the curtain above the stage had fallen down on one side and was now at a 45 degree angle. It was a dump and the rest of the school wasn’t much better. That 30% pass rate certainly reflects the schools kind of calibre. It was a shithole.

“Have you got my envelope Sophie?”

“Yep, you have mine? You’re not going to use it as blackmail material?”

It was 2 months into high school. Lindsay and I were the only kids from Alder’s Primary School to move on to Teignbridge Academy. Lindsay had already drifted off with her new friends, exchanging long skirts and knee high socks for belts and stockings. I had no friends and I didn’t intend on making any new ones. People weren’t showing the courtesy of being friendly towards me so I’d become a recluse. If no one wanted to talk to me, I wasn’t going to talk to them.

“Hello,” Kelly Roberts was a dark haired, green eyed clever girl who had more than her share of friends. She was in every one of my classes and never before had the need to speak to me. I ignored her.

“That’s very rude y’know, not answering when someone’s speaking to you,”

I said nothing.

“Fine, I’ll give you an ultimatum, speak to me and become my friend or I’ll tell everyone that you snogged Liam Simons behind the bike shed last week,”

Liam Simons had a constant drip of snot from his nose and rumour has it that he never washed his hands.

“What?! That’s blackmail,” I hissed, forgetting my rule about not speaking.

“So?” She smirked.

It was only until later that I realised Kelly’s friends weren’t her friends at all, but rather people who she was forced to hang around with due to a lack of other girls not involved in a clique. I also hadn’t realised that she wanted to be my friend because she saw I was lonely, she just had a funny way of going about it. Furthermore, I hadn’t realised that she wouldn’t have spread that rumour and her threat was... empty.

“Of course not,” Kelly gasped in mock indignation. “Let’s open it,”

We tore open each other’s results, rather like we had done last year for GCSEs. Freddie looked over Kelly’s shoulder reading my results while I looked at hers.

Maths (Core): A

Maths (Applied): A

Chemistry: A

Biology: B

Physics: A

Of course. Not a single fail grade, not even a single C and only one B. I could always count on her to excel academically.

“Sophie, can I just say ‘I told you so’?”

I snatched my results from Kelly at Freddie’s remark, giving her back her own at which she squealed delightedly. My eyes travelled over the white paper and black ink, not taking in a word. I read it over and over again until I actually absorbed the information.

English: B

French: A

Chemistry: C

Maths (Core): A

Maths (Applied): B

Huh, BACAB, my results spell Bacab.

What, 2 As?

“I GOT TWO A’S! I GOT TWO A’S, FREDDIE, I GOT TWO A’S!”

Needless to say, I think I was ecstatic. Freddie, not so much, I had kind of flung myself around his neck, putting all my weight on his. I was sure that if he wasn’t so muscular we would have toppled over. Of course, if he wasn’t so muscular he wouldn’t be Freddie. I came to my sense 5 seconds later after Freddie’s laughter rippled through my body and my cheeks pooled with blood. Why had I thrown myself on him? I looked over the crumpled piece of paper again to steady myself.

Two As. Two Bs. One C. Okay, the C was a downer, but 2 As?! I’ve never gotten an A in my life then two come along at once, rather like London buses.

Does this mean my curse is over? Will I no longer be unlucky? I’ve had a breakthrough in my work, will I have the same in my Operation? Does this mean cows will fart less? Will we ever prove the Big Bang Theory?

I don’t know, all I know is I was so happy, I could have a burger thrown on my face and I wouldn’t care less.

Besides, if I caught it, it’d be free food.

You can’t argue with that.

***

“Step into my office,”

Freddie and Kelly had gone home after we watched Doctor Who reruns and had a popcorn fight. The living room was completely decimated but Mum said I needed to ‘blow off some steam’ and that this ‘had done me some good’ so ‘because you worked so hard and got the results you wanted’ she’ll ‘clean up the mess’ herself. The mess was more of a tropical storm and I was more than happy to oblige and leave her to it before she changed her mind.

At least she hadn’t seen Dex’s room, because I’m pretty sure her reaction wouldn’t be Snow White doing spring cleaning with woodland animals.

Coincidentally, I was standing in the doorway of said rubbish tip, gawking at my brother.

He had his glasses on.

See, every time Dexter put’s his glasses on, he goes all psychoanalysis on my ass or any other poor soul that happens to cross his path. It comes with studying psychology and the farce of intelligence that glasses give him and he feels the need to dissect every movement, every action, a need, that cannot and will not be suppressed.

However, he still maintains the notion that he can’t read minds. Which can’t be true (That’s what you learn when you study psychology at Uni) and would have increased his street cred and ability to pull girls (Not that he needs it- Case and point Ravi) tenfold.

“Nice work on the results by the way,”

“Thanks,”

“But that’s not why you came here, is it, for compliments?”

“No,”

“Then pray tell, what brings you into my domain?” Okay, Dex was sounding less a super cool smart Sherlock and more like a super nerdy smart Lord of The Rings follower.

“Ho, how, how do you know if you like someone?”

Be jealous of my stutter bitches.

Dex fixed me with a piercing stare, and I felt as if he was x-raying me, as though he could really, truly, read my mind. Well, I’ll be well and truly fucked and Freddie won’t live another day.

This visit into the toxic lair of the Dexter creature all boiled down to a culmination of feeling I’ve been having my whole life but stronger now, in the past few weeks.

Butterflies, giddiness, drooling.

I was a love sick puppy.

The only problem? I was trailing after my best friend.

And I had no idea whether or not this was normal crush behaviour. I never had a crush on Noah, he was just an attractive jerk who was there for a good snog. What if my stomach turning to jelly was nothing to do with romance, what if this was the norm for best friends? I couldn’t ask anyone else because everyone else seems to have best friends of the same gender.

Woop-de-fucking-doo.

“Well, your stomach tingles, you smile when they smile, the smallest contact can make you blush,” Check, check, and oh, check. “Soph, I think you need to be looking more towards love and I can’t help you out there sister. It’s different for everyone but when the time comes, you just... know. Now, I have a 10,000 word dissertation to finish about the pre-frontal cortex so I won’t be good company, however, you’re more than welcome to stay.”

“Nah, I’ll leave you to write about the brain,” I said as I shut the door on my way out.

What? Why did Dex have to be so bloody cryptic? Was he saying I’m in love with Freddie?

That couldn’t possibly be it, could it?

Can you really be in love with someone you’ve seen in nappies? Could you be in love with someone you’ve seen shove rice krispies up their nostrils? Can you be in love with someone you’ve known all your life bar one year?

Can you be in love with your best friend?

Could you be in love with someone you know better than yourself?

Can you be in love with someone you’d do anything for?

The answer is yes, yes you can.

Shit, I’m in love with Freddie Weasley.

Fuck. My. Life.

A/N: Wahey! Sophie’s not so frustratingly oblivious anymore, isn’t that brilliant? So back to the detective stuff next chapter, this story’s just flowing. There’s only 12 days left of August –in the story and god knows how many chapters. I don’t want to write this too quickly and have it come to an end. I’ve been neglecting summer homework and just writing and it’s progressing. The next chapter will be put in the queue on the 23rd, my results day, because I have half a book to read and tonnes of questions for Geography, which I haven’t studied for two years.

I have a lonely MTA page, so I’d love it if you guys popped over, came and have a chat with me, you can ask me literally anything and I’ll respond ;)

Oh, and the reviews on the last chapter were amazing, thank you, quite a few people reviewed for the first time so hello! I loved reading those, they were brilliant.

Peace out.


Chapter 8: Day Twenty, Phase Six
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Day Twenty, Phase Six


A/N: So, we’re back onto the plot! This chapter was one of my favourites to write, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Things will speed up from now on though so try and keep up ;) I’m aiming for this story to be about 17 chapters which means after this we only have 9 chapters left :O Remember to read and review!




“Phase Six!”

We were back in HQ with Operatives Queenie, Man-eater and PE sitting diligently, cross legged on the carpet whilst I was using my pointer (rather violently) to explain phase six (rather rubbishly).

Oh, who are Operative Man-eater and Operative PE I hear you cry? Well, since Ravi and Noah are way too involved in this case already, I decided I might as well go the whole hog and involve them full time. One guess as to who’s who, it’s really not that hard.

“Operative Coffee Addict is going swimming today with The Target and his cousin James, who, really needs a code name,” Queenie rolled her eyes as I rambled off topic.

“The J-ster?” Operative PE supplied which I shot down with a glare. I have to say, my glares are getting really effective, which, from where I started, is a big improvement. I wonder if there are awards for that kind of thing... I see it now, the award goes to Sophie Carter, for the most improved glare! The raucous cheering and whooping, Mum crying in the front row, Freddie sweeping me off my feet...

Oh, a girl could dream.

“That’s The Target’s mother,” I stated dryly.

“The J-ster 2.0?” PE said timidly, expecting a rebuff. Ha, be afraid.

“I like it, let’s roll with that. Okay, so I’m going swimming with The Target and The J-ster 2.0. Here the opportunity arises to perform a search and seizure with their belongings-“

“You’re going to pickpocket?! That’s illegal!” Man-Eater squeaked, eyes wide.

“No, I’m going to look, then put it back, we can’t have them getting suspicious. Everyone clear?”

I’ll take those head shakes as a yes then.

“What are we doing today?” Queenie asked.

“Well, the rest of the Weasleys are shopping for groceries and they’ll be gone for about an hour. That means you have a guaranteed half hour window slot to snoop. Here’s the keys, don’t mess anything up too much and don’t get caught!”

“Same goes for you too,” Queenie smirked. You get caught once and it’s never forgotten.

“Let’s roll out, go, go, go!”

It’s never a good idea to attempt to ninja roll down the stairs and simultaneously jump over the banister.

It ends in disaster and a hurt coccyx.

***

“Ow, ow, ow,” The sounds of pain escaped from my lips as I waddled off the bus. It took a full minute to walk down the aisle just to get to the doorway. It was especially embarrassing when I had to ask the driver to lower the bus so I could even get off. That only ever happens for old ladies. I’m sure none of the passengers were convinced that I was an old lady. In fact, the calls of ‘Golden Oldie!’ from a bunch of rowdy boys at the back of the bus proved this.

 

The Target helped me step down whilst The J-ster 2.0 smirked on in amusement. Git. I don’t care if he is the cousin of my best friend, who I just happened to have a crush on. He’s still a git.

 

East Devon Lido was an outdoor swimming pool that most people went to due to the lack of beaches (unless you lived by the coast, then you were sorted). It was most active in summer because in winter, it had a tendency to freeze over-it wasn’t heated.

 

Today though, it seemed the whole of Teignbridge Academy had turned up with beach balls flying everywhere. Lindsay was sitting with her minions by the pool edge, not so much as dipping her toes in- Lindsay? Ruin her makeup? Never!- in a bright, neon yellow bikini that seemed to be the same shade as her toxic hair. Bikini would be stretching it too far though, that would suggest some kind of clothing.

 

I was currently standing in the doorway of the changing rooms, peeping out just enough to see the whole scene. The J-ster 2.0 and The Target were flexing their muscles in competition to see whose were biggest (Freddie won, but they were both skinny runts) before simultaneously diving into the pool, unintentionally warranting the attention of every female in the joint, including Lindsay who checked them out appreciatively over her sunglasses. Yeah, we don’t get a lot of good looking guys popping up all over Britain contrary to popular belief and although James had big, knobbly ears and Freddie had a chipped tooth, their cocky attitudes more than made up for it.

 

Shit. I was going to look like a blotchy, awkward but thankfully hair free, ugly duckling next to those two.

 

Oh well, here goes nothing.

 

Bikinis were not my thing. All that flesh? Heaven forbid. Neither were one pieces, I wasn’t particularly keen on emphasising my short stumpy legs.

 

So, naturally, I wore the only piece of swimwear left.

 

My tankini.

 

Now, my tankini was bloody gorgeous. Didn’t suit me at all, but still, it was gorgeous. The top was black, halter neck and unfortunately showed more back than I cared for, but it was a swimsuit, so it was probably designed by a pervert male, like all other swimsuits, to show as much off as possible. Unfortunate, but unavoidable. The bottom was a red miniskirt with built in shorts which meant guys couldn’t look up it- bonus.

 

All in all, it was a tankini for some tall, leggy model.

 

I was not a tall, leggy model.

 

Bummer.

 

“Soph!”  The J-ster 2.0 called and waved. Seems like he’s already caught onto the nickname. I waved back. Lindsay glared. As if she would get him, there was too much sexual tension between him and Imogen. Unresolved, imaginary sexual tension, but sexual tension all the same.

 

I said sexual tension way too many times.

 

Meh, it’s in my head, it doesn’t count.

 

I cannon balled into the pool, making sure I splashed Lindsay on the way. The high pitched squeals were well worth the hard force of the impact on the water.

 

“Man, that was epic Sophie, look at Brooks’ face!” Freddie drew out in between laughs. Lindsay resembled a badly tanned panda. A badly tanned panda with dyed fur and acidic tears that melted the dye.  Poor panda.

 

“My respect for you has just gone through the roof,” The J-ster 2.0 high fived me. Respect? Does that mean he’ll put in a good word for me with Freddie? Nope, he doesn’t even know you like Freddie, remember Sophie? Besides, you can’t tell him, you barely know him and his loyalties lie with his family, he’ll tell Freddie and you’ll be rejected.

 

Thank you voice in my head that sounds suspiciously like Kelly.

 

You’re welcome.

 

Talking to myself, first sign of madness.

 

You said it.

 

Stop it.

 

Okay.

 

...

 

Are you still there?

Nope.

Yep, that is definitely myself.

“So, Sophie,” The Target swum around me in circles on his back. “Didya hear about ol’ Mrs Crawford and the great football fiasco?”

“No, when did that happen?”

“Last night,”

“So, that’s what you’re calling the cat screeches and glass smashing and the shouting?”

“Yes,” Freddie smirked as if something I said amused him. “It’s a little more complicated than that, see, I was teaching Dad how to play football correctly but he has a killer powershot, instead of kicking it in between the plant pots we set out as the goal, it went over the fence, over your garden and into her greenhouse. And well, you know how much she likes her tomatoes...”

Yep, crazy cat lady was also a crazy fan of tomatoes. Go figure.

“Well, Dad managed to damage one of her vines. She went nuts, yelling about hooligans and when we went over, she had pierced my ball with a knife. Dad was peeved of course and when he told her it was his fault, she not only made him promise to pay for the damage but clobbered him with one of her cat statues by her pond,”

I have weird neighbours. Why do I even bother?

“So, let me get this straight, your Dad smashed Mrs Crawford’s greenhouse, potentially killed her prize winning tomatoes, then, after you heard her venomous shouts promising revenge, you went over and ended up with one dead football and a bill to show for it?”

“In a nutshell, yes,”

“You’re crazy,” I shook my head, disbelievingly.

“Not as crazy as you,”

Somehow, that perception was ruined by an inflated tiger bouncing off his head. Nothing screams crazy like a multi coloured animal.

“Why James?” Freddie groaned as if this happened a lot. Judging from his behaviour before, this I could certainly believe.

“It’s a Bengali tiger with the colours of the rainbow, it’s endangered and it took a liking to your luscious raven locks,”

...

“How am I related to you?”

James shrugged and swam off after the tiger that floated the length of the pool. If I didn’t know better, I would say that the tiger was trying to get away from him, but, alas, it was an inanimate object, made of plastic, it couldn’t really swim.

Besides, even if it was animate, tigers can’t swim.

I think.

We swam about for an hour longer whilst I got to know James better. He was quite the oddball and did nothing to hide it. Often he would sprout a fact or story, leaving me agape and Freddie rolling his eyes as if he was used to it. I also got to know Imogen too without her presence. It was weird hearing about her boyish tendencies and constant scheming with her not actually physically being there but I laughed along all the same.  Especially when I heard about the flash mob she tried to gather together but was stopped by Freddie.  She got up to 25 people signed up, which was impressive considering most people wouldn’t want to be caught dancing spontaneously in school. Scary teachers are definitely a factor in that. So are embarrassing dance moves.

“I’m going to get out of the pool now,” I crossed my fingers and prayed that this time, I wouldn’t get caught on my excursion.

“We have an hour left till we said we were going to leave,” The J-ster 2.0 asked, confusion clouding his features. Dear god, did guys not understand at all how hard it is to get chlorine out of long hair?

“Yeah, but I’m a girl,”

“So?” Why won’t he let me leave? Is this some kind of dastardly plot to ruin my investigation?

“I take longer,”

“Okay,”

Hallelujah, freedom. I made a break for the changing rooms, not glancing back just in case James decided to question me further about my female tendencies. I wondered if his mother ever sat him down and gave him the birds and the bees talk or avoided it.

I’m going to have to go with avoidance.

I turned left instead of right and ducked behind locker after locker before finally coming to the secluded corner where Jimbob and Fred Astaire got dressed. Thanking my lucky stars that they didn’t have enough money for a locker- really, they couldn’t spare 20p?- I delved into their belongings. It wasn’t that interesting.

There were sweet wrappers in surplus, scraps of paper, broken pens, a few feathers (?), a couple of used tissues, mouldy oranges and two weird looking sticks of wood, one with a white hair poking out the end.

In short, the boys hadn’t cleaned out their pockets for a while.

The only thing suspicious out of the pile of rubbish that I had to rummage around in were the sticks. They didn’t look like your ordinary, run of the mill sticks that you find on the forest floor, no, these sticks were pretty and polished and weren’t encased in mud as they should have been.

They were very intriguing. For sticks I mean.

“Did you know that it takes 8 minutes for light from the surface of the sun to reach the earth but it takes 300,000 years for the light to travel from the centre of the sun to the surface?”

“No, I didn’t James and you know muggle science isn’t my forte,”

Shit.

Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit.

I hastily shoved everything I’d taken out, all but one sweet wrapper that landed on the other side of the room, back into where they came from as the footsteps of The Target and The J-ster 2.0 echoed in the hallways, wet feet slapping against the hard stone floor.

Where do I hide?

I dove under the bench just as the door swung open.

I stopped breathing as Freddie and James’ feet appeared by my face. My nose twitched as a sneeze tickled my hair. What if I sneeze on their feet?! The swimming pool water was drying off my skin and I had to suppress the urge to itch myself all over.

Great. Absolutely splendid.

Itchy, sneezy Sophie hiding under a bench.

1 minute. Freddie has awesome toenails. I wonder if he gets pedicures...

2 minutes. There’s a spider, there’s a spider, dear God, don’t let it eat me!

3 minutes. Let me just itch that spot behind my knee, urgh, ahhh.

4 minutes. What on earth is a muggle? That’s what Freddie said, wasn’t it? And why aren’t they in the showers yet?!

“So, have you found it then?” I heard James’ voice from across the room. When had he gotten there?

“No, I definitely had the wrapper when we came in...”

“Have you checked under the benches?”

I’m pretty sure I should be dead now because my heart stopped beating.

Freddie’s hand groped towards me and I wriggled constantly trying to avoid the hand of truth. Yes, his hand is the hand of truth because he’ll find me and that would mean the end of all the deception and all the deceit.

“Forget it, it’s lost. Let’s hit the showers Freddie,”

“Chuck me my towel will you?”

The feet disappeared and I sighed in relief.

The stares I got from other guys as I scrambled out of my hiding place and out of the boys changing rooms bore into the back of my head and unnerved me. So, it was a blushing, frantic me who had 15 minutes to have a shower and get dressed.

Let’s just say not all of the chlorine left my hair, shall we?

***

“So, what did you learn?”

I was pounced upon by Kelly as soon as I walked through my front door. Was it weird how that girl practically lived here, even when I wasn’t present? Yes, yes it was. I didn’t stay as much at her house though granted, not as much happens at hers as it does at mine.

“Nothing,” I huffed. “Except for the fact that they’re definitely guys,”

She didn’t say anything, knowing better to question my ramblings. Smart girl. Either that or she’s learnt how to put up with them or blank them out, which after 6 years, I’m sure she’s found a way of doing.

“Well, Noah and Ravi have gone home, but you’ll be pleased to know that we found this,”

She presented me with a badly stained train ticket and I quirked an eyebrow at her, scoffing under my breath.  She rolled her eyes and just pointed at it, which was universal for- you silly clot don’t you dare dismiss this, read on. Onwards I read and I felt my eyes widen subconsciously.

“Where did you find this?”

“Taped to the fridge,” She smirked at me, smug that she had found a piece of evidence that I could have found ages ago. How many times have I gone into that fridge to make myself a sandwich or eat one of Angie’s brilliant leftovers? How many times have I walked past that fridge when going to the garden, or the dining table, or the living room? The evidence, right there, this whole time...

“Nine and three quarters...” I muttered under my breath. Yes, this was beyond abnormal.

The platform for departure to Hogwarts was nine and three quarters at King’s Cross. As far as I knew, there were no platforms with fractions involved at major train stations, it would just confuse people even more, platforms with added numbers, nightmare. Besides, how many people really had a good, basic grasp of fractions with the education system failing us?

Plus, the ticket said Hogwarts School of Wi-, the rest of the sentence blotted out by what looked like Chicken Korma. That meant that Hogwarts was a specialist school, but what they specialised in eluded me.

One step forward, three steps back.

A/N: I’m really sorry this took forever to get out! True story here, my mum asked me whether or not I would like to go to Cardiff, I said yes and then she said great, you’re leaving in 2 hours. So, I’ve kinda been on a last minute holiday, don’t kill me! I missed results day but ended up having to hear my results being read out to me by my brother who collected them. I won’t be posting any more3 chapters this month as I want to revise this story and make it better as I think my writing is improving so I want to make sure everything’s consistent. That and the fact that I don’t want this to end.

Oh, and I’ve started getting ideas for my Imogen/James spin off, it’s going to be called The Set Up, so keep your eyes peeled once this is completed. And I have a new story, St Mungo’s, go check it out ;)

Come and ask me questions on my MTA page!


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