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Matchmaker by LittleWelshGirl99

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Format: Novel
Chapters: 11
Word Count: 45,399
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Fluff, Romance
Characters: Scorpius, James (II), Rose, Victoire, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: James/OC, Rose/Scorpius, Teddy/Victoire, OC/OC

First Published: 05/16/2012
Last Chapter: 12/03/2012
Last Updated: 12/03/2012

Summary:
Marzipan @tda




I liked love.
Romance, flowers, moonlit walks; the whole shebang. Love reminded me of soft pillows, and perfume, and colourful sequins that burst out of a letter and brightened up the carpet.
I also liked setting people up. I mean, it was fun, ok? Playing Fairy Godmother- giving people a Happily Ever After.

Except it didn't always work out the way we planned.


Chapter 1: The Collecting
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fab CI by laelia at TDA



It was something about the way he walked.


He didn’t have that usual confidant swagger or swinging, carefree gait. The casual clothes were more rumpled than usual; his hair not so much stylishly tousled but just plain messy. His hands were sunk deep into the pockets of his jeans and were clearly balled into fists as he marched down the Hogwarts corridors, heading towards the Slytherin common room. This in itself was a clear sign that something was up; he never went to the Slytherin common room unless it was to meet Savannah Woods, his current girlfriend. He didn’t even visit his brother in there. But if he was meeting Savannah, then why on earth did he look so bloody depressed about it?


I frowned, chewing on my bottom lip as I walked nonchalantly several metres behind James Potter. His broad shoulders were slightly tense, and he started to drag his feet reluctantly as he neared the common room. I watched him step inside after uttering the password in a low voice (Savannah must have told him what it was), and finally caught a glimpse of his face as he turned. It was hunched up with anxiety, the handsome curves screwed into apprehensive lines and a spark of resentment growing in his dark, hazel eyes.


I couldn’t help but gasp a little as I recognised the expression; I’d seen it countless times before in my career as Hogwarts’ resident matchmaker. I frantically pulled out my crappy phone and dialled Dom’s number. She picked up after the first ring, and I ducked behind a tapestry quickly to speak.


“Dominique Anne Maria Carlotta Jane Weasley speaking!” she chirped cheerfully. “Who is it please?”


“It’s me, you idiot!” I snapped. “It shows up on the caller ID display, I’ve told you a billion times before.”


“Yes but Hollie, you always have to check!” Dom said. “What if someone had stolen your phone?”


“Who’s going to be stealing my phone?” I sighed.


“Perhaps a secret admirer who’s been desperately pining after me for years and wants to hear my beautiful, melodious voice one last time before he kills himself with despair, for the unattainable Dominique will never even give him a second glance.”


“That’s lovely Dom. But we have a code JPSW on our hands!” I whispered excitedly. “Is Eve with you?”


“A JPSW? Ohmygod!” Dom yelled down the phone, and I had to hold it away from me to spare my poor eardrums. “What’s your location? LOCATION?!”


“Tapestry by the Slytherin Common Room. Come quickly, and bring Eve!”


“On it!” Dom hung up, and I popped my head back round the edge of the tapestry again to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.


You see, I’d been waiting for this opportunity for months. James and Savannah, the ‘hot’ couple of Hogwarts, were ridiculously unmatched. Savannah was sly and greedy, with a pout like a duck (I mean seriously, girl. Just start quacking, why don’t you?), and no sense of humour. James however was fun and adventurous; always laughing and joking with his friends. The only thing the two had in common was surreally good looks and goddamn gorgeous hair.


But I’d known from the start that their relationship was doomed- completely and utterly destined for a painful disaster. And now, it seemed that the Frumptious Day had arrived.


Just then, Dom clattered down the corridor in a whirlwind of flying brown hair and tottering high heels. Eve Turner was behind her, curiosity lighting up her dark features as she spotted me hiding behind the tapestry.


“What’s going on Hollie? JPSW? Is it a Frumptious?” asked Eve, her brain whirring with the endless opportunities this could present us with. Eve was the brainy of our brawny. Just…minus the brawny part.


“If James and Savannah break up, we can use the commotion following to orchestrate some potential ScoRose action!” whispered Dom happily as she and Eve scrambled behind the tapestry, squishing me against the wall.


“Yes- OW, YOU’RE BREAKING MY NOSE!” I shoved Dom away and dusted my dignity down before planting an impish smile on my face. “But I have an even better idea of what we can do with this.”


“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Eve asked, smirking a little.


“Guys!” whined Dom, “I don’t like being left out here.” I giggled at the doleful expression on her face.


“Savannah will be angry, Dom. Torpedo-explosion-earthquake-destroying-puppy-kicking-furious angry.” Dom did her Evil Grin as comprehension flitted across her face.


This whole operation was now balancing on a knife edge though; we weren’t sure how James was going to go about the break-up. If he let Savannah down gently, then my plan wouldn’t work. But if Savannah started screaming blue murder and tearing Hogwarts apart brick by brick, it was the perfect situation for us to do a little… ingredients gathering.


Sounding ominous? Good.


Our primary objective for this term had been Mission ScoRose; successfully setting up Scorpius Malfoy and Rose Weasley. I mean, you could see the sexual tension between those two from a mile away; it was a perfect matching.


But we were also in the middle of inventing a Very Special Thing which was Very Top Secret. We were in urgent need of this Very Special Top Secret Invention Thing right now, because Hogwarts just wasn’t romantic anymore. Hardly any of the classic set-ups were working these days, and the three of us were left scrabbling around in the dust for new ideas.


Basically, the invention was a love potion. But don’t be deceived; it wasn’t just any old joke shop, crappy pink, heart-covered junk. This was high-class, experimental stuff that we had been fantasising about for over a year, trying to figure out the right recipe. Because if we got it right, it would create actual, real love.


Not kidding.


So this wasn’t just a love potion, this was an M&S Love Potion.


Actually, I was kidding there. M&S could never invent a love potion as fantabulous as our one. But anyway, we called this true-love-potion-in-progress ‘The Awesome And Supreme Brain-Child of Eve’ in public.


…What can I say? We’re inventive people.


The sort of ingredients we needed for the potion was tricky to get, though. It wasn’t just a simple ‘raid the potions cupboard like a badass’ job, because a potion that created an emotion as powerful as love couldn’t be brewed just using material ingredients. No, we had to collect feelings.


We’d watched love enough times over the years to get the gist of how it worked. When you were in love, properly in love, it consumed your every thought and action and word. Love obliterated all other emotions- which could only mean that it could be created by collecting every emotion and stewing them together.


So now you probably think Hollie Parker’s gone off her rocker; you can’t collect feelings you blithering idiot. But that, my dear friend who I’ll probably set up with a cute guy anytime soon, is where Zoey comes in.


Zoey Turner, Eve’s older sister and occasional partner in crime, is officially the genius of Hogwarts. The stuff she can think up blows the rest of us into the last millennium. So naturally, she’s the person we turned to, to discuss our theory about the ‘The Awesome And Supreme Brain-Child of Eve’ being a possible course of action.


Turns out, it was possible. You see a while ago, Zoey invented something called a love-o-meter. When Eve and Zoey’s parents were getting divorced, Zoey had wanted a way to measure the feelings whizzing around the house so they could make their escape before any earth-shattering rows broke out. The love-o-meter did this for her; identified an emotion and the quantity of that emotion at the same time. All you had to do was hold it near the person.


But we had to be able to harness the emotion too, and then transport it to the common room and pour it into one of the many glass vials we had in the dormitory. So Zoey made a few… adaptations to the love-o-meter. And then she sold it to us.


I know right? She didn’t give it to us free out of sisterly affection or friendship or anything. She bloody sold it to us for twenty galleons and told us that it was an incredible bargain.


But we paid the money, because we were mega-excited that the potion was now actually very possible and not going to remain a child of Eve’s brain. Because Eve’s brain really wasn’t ready to have children yet.


So far, we had collected fifteen emotions (the easiest one to find being boredom in History of Magic classes). We only needed twenty, if Eve’s calculations were right. Five more… just five. One tiny little integer, and then Hogwarts would be filled with love and happy couples again *cue excited, girlish squeal and heart-shaped confetti raining from the sky*.


And it was all resting on Savannah Wood’s bitchy little shoulders. We needed to get some anger! Hopefully her imminent anger at James would be enough.


Silence fell as the three of us stood in the tapestry’s alcove, squashed together like sardines.


“Err, Hollie?” Eve asked.


“Yuh-huh?”


“Why don’t we just go into the common room? We are Slytherins after all.” I flushed,


“Good idea! Why didn’t I think of that?”


“Because you're an idiot."


Fair enough.


We crept towards the entrance of the Slytherin common room, and with a quick mutter of the password (“Handyshnack!”), we were through and stepping into the familiar green and silver surroundings of Slytherin. A warm fire was burning in the hearth as we looked around furtively, trying to spot JP and SW. If it was indeed a Frumptious Day (our code for the break-up of a longstanding couple), then we would know about it soon enough.


I couldn’t help but worry though; the pair where nowhere to be seen. We couldn’t take some of Savannah’s anger if they were in our dorm- she always locked the door on us. Pushing this out of our minds though, we collapsed onto a sofa near the stairs with big sighs.


“I’ve got a bitch of an essay to write later,” Dom complained. “And I wanted to go to that big ‘dares’ game the Gryffindors are organising later.”


“Gryffindor are idiots,” I snorted. “They can’t come up with a decent dare to save their lives.” Eve nodded,


“Namby-pansies, the lot of them.”


“They got the fittest guys though!” Dom tutted with approval. “Dang, Michael Jepson’s filled out over the summer- don’t you agree?”


“Ew!” I grimaced. “No! He’d be cute with Gabby in Hufflepuff though,” I added thoughtfully.


“If we get a spare moment, let’s arrange a classic broom cupboard meeting. They always work.” Eve said.


“I don’t know…they’re getting more and more unreliable these days.” Dom nodded in agreement, about to speak, but trailed away as a horribly familiar girl graced the dormitory stairs with her cow-like presence- James Potter trailing after her and looking a little scared.


“Psst,” Dom nudged Eve subtly. “Target approaches.”


“It’s not World War Three, Dom,” I smirked.


“It could be, actually. A bomb could land on you at any second of your life- it’s called the great mystery theorem of the unknown. And Savannah’s the kind of person to drop bombs.”


“Right…” Dom liked to think she was all philosophical and wise. We didn’t have the heart to tell her that she talked utter gibberish half of the time.


Meanwhile, James and Savannah had sat down nearby and were deep in conversation. I couldn’t hear everything they were saying, but I could get the gist of it: James was breaking up with her.


“Savannah, I just told you in the dorm! It’s just not going anywhere- I know it, you know it and-“


“I certainly don’t know it!” Savannah hissed, her eyes spitting flames. James recoiled slightly, and I almost felt sorry for the poor bloke. “I think you’re bored of me, aren’t you? Why don’t you just fucking admit it, James?”


“That's not fair. I still think it was you who I saw getting off with Ian at the party last week.” Savannah’s face flushed slightly but she hid it with a sniff of disbelief,


“You can’t break up with me over that! There’s no evidence whatsoever!”


“What, so it’s true?” James raised his eyebrows, shocked. “I’m sorry, this just…isn’t working for me anymore…” He shook his head, cringed and made to get up. But Savannah switched tactics and immediately turned on the tears. Big, fat blobs of l’eau de Savannah were rolling down her cheeks as she gripped James’s hand desperately.


“B-but…I love you James! Please don’t do this…” I shook my head, and stifled a snort of disgust. The only person Savannah loved was her reflection…she was consecrating the meaning of love by uttering those sacred words through such unworthy lips… Okay, I sound like a priest. I’ll stop now.


James dithered, unsure for a moment, and his dark eyes met my blue ones briefly. I betrayed no emotion, even though I was internally screaming RUN JAMES! RUN FAR AWAY AND NEVER LOOK BACK!


“Goodbye Sav,” James said awkwardly, pulling his hand away and walking away quickly. A few people tittered, and that was all we needed to light the fuse. Before James was even out of the door, Savannah’s face was turning purple with fury and humiliation. A small first year let out a frightened squeal as she stood up and kicked the table over. Another person yelled, “Save yourselves while you can still walk!” and scarpered. We’re Slytherins, get over it.


Dom however, was grinning with malicious delight as Savannah rapidly transformed into a bloodthirsty ogress; complete with blotchy face, hands clenched, and a roar of frustrated anger.


“Wish I had a camera,” she giggled in my ear. I nodded in agreement,


“Quick, get the LOM out, Dom!” Dom scrabbled in her bag for the precious love-o-meter, bringing it into view furtively. It was quite small and cylindrical; it looked like it was made out of liquid silver, but with a transparent centre. There were strands of precious, golden cupid hair- a part it had taken Zoey months to find- stretched through the middle. It was the cupid hair that transformed the emotion into a smoky, visible form.


Dom hid the LOM behind a cushion as Savannah continued to rant and storm about the common room like a rhinoceros with toothache. I watched it attentively, hoping that we’d get the right levels of anger; it had to be pure anger, not a mixture of, I don’t know, sadness? Her boyfriend had just publically dumped her after all. But I wasn’t disappointed, and the red smoke of anger soon appeared in the bottom of the love-o-meter.


I resisted the urge to fist pump as we sprinted up the stairs to get into the dorm before Savannah had the same idea and started smashing our belongings about. Dom handed the LOM to Eve, before collapsing onto her bed.


“That went well,” she stretched out with a yawn.


“Yeah…” I chewed a strand of hair, thinking about James and Savannah’s relationship.


“You’re analysing again, aren’t you Hollie?” moaned Dom. “Why do you do it?”


“It’s good to have a reference Dom! You learn from experiences- if I know what went wrong with their relationship I’ll be able to recognise the signs earlier next time.”


“I hate the word ‘analyse’ though. It’s so…analytical.”


There’s an English teacher if ever I saw one.” I grinned and chucked a pillow at her, disturbing her cat, Pythagoras, as I did so. Yes, Dom has a cat called Pythagoras. Or rather, she called her poor cat Pythagoras- after the Greek triangle guy.


Apparently, nerdy is the new sexy. I’m not seeing it.


“Hollie, where are all the stoppers for the empty bottles?” Eve asked, rummaging through the cupboard we stored all our ingredients in.


“Aren’t they there? I put them in a little cardboard box by the side…”


“Oh, I’ve found them. S’okay.” Eve poured Savannah’s anger into a small, glass jar and quickly capped it in. She wrote a label and then locked the whole cupboard up safely. “Well, that’s a day well spent! Only four more to go, guys!”


“Four more what?” spat a voice from behind us. We turned to see Savannah leaning against the door with a nasty look in her eye. “What do you three freaks even keep in that cupboard?”


“Oh, nothing much…just, err…”Dom blushed, looking around wildly for inspiration.


“Eve’s precious soap collection!” I blurted out, smiling sweetly. “It’s very valuable you see- wouldn’t want anyone getting their hands on it.”


“A soap collection?” Savannah rolled her eyes. “Should’ve known.” I could not believe she’d fallen for that.


“ANYway,” Eve grabbed my arm, “We’re off to dinner. Sorry to hear about James, Woods. Get over it quickly if I were you.” Then we ambled out of the room trying to look cool.


I hate to say it, but we very much failed.


Author’s note: Haha, sorry about the Marks & Spencers jibe- couldn’t help it :P So…yup. New story, and I’m excited about this one! It’s been in the back of my head for a while, but now it’s all laid out and planned and stuff. YAY!! :) Please review, it's always lovely to know what everyone thinks of my writing. x

Chapter 2: The Laughing
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lovely CI by smarticl398 at TDA!




One day, I was going to find love. I would feel that special, tingling feeling that filled you up like melting chocolates and sparkled in your eyes. I’d dance with happiness instead of walk, sing in the place of talking and know that there was someone out there, who really, truly loved me.


It was an incredible thought really; a miracle. For two people to honestly want to spend the rest of their lives together? That must mean something good for the world; the fact that a bond so strong can even exist. Love seemed like such an adventure, a whirlwind, a crazy swept-off-your-feet dance that I longed to leap into.


And one day, I would.


But until then, I was just happy helping everyone else find love. Or at least setting them up with a cute, functional relationship. And in the meantime, I would eat. Because you need to eat to even live in the first place. On the subject of food though, maybe I should take up singing? Music is supposed to be the food of love…


I drifted off.


The pumpkin juice tasted a little odd this morning as I sat in the Great Hall, drinking it. I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep; none of us had. Savannah had been rampaging round the dormitory until the ungodly hours of the morning, looking for more stuff to break or yell at. Her idiocy amused me; she was shrieking curses at a pair of my socks at one point, pretending they were James.


But it didn’t look so amusing now, as I tried to un-blur my vision and munch at the same time. I reached out blindly for some coffee, accidentally digging my elbow into cold scrambled egg which wasn’t very pleasant. Next to me, Dom was impersonating a cave man.


“Wugyublurgh!” she moaned, flopping her head onto the table in distress. Her make-up was smudged horrendously, but I didn’t dare point it out in case she started crying. She cries when her make-up gets smudged, which is stupid because it makes it even more smudged. I pointed that out to her as well, but she glared at me and said that ‘crying was a fulfilling feeling, and not to be dismissed lightly’ which had a very thin connection to smudged make-up dramatics if you asked me.


In stark contrast to Dom and I, Eve was as bright and merry as Mary bloody Poppins. “Potions first!” she grinned, eating bacon delicately with a knife and fork. How classy.


I couldn’t be bothered to respond to her statement, preferring to slump onto my arm and daydream about a romantic tragedy I’d watched the other day. It had involved a horrible love triangle, several deaths and bucketfuls of tears. I’d enjoyed it.


I had just nodded off, when I was disturbed by an almighty scream of anger coming from further down the table. It sounded like a banshee; I hoped it wasn’t a banshee. I’ve heard that they’re quite dangerous. But no, I glanced up to see Savannah Woods storming out of the Great Hall, mysteriously covered in egg and porridge. She paused at the doorway, and the eyes of the school all fixed on her as a pathetic piece of butter dripped its way down her face.


We all followed its progress intently. It was sliding off her nose now, all buttery and gooey. Someone laughed. And then suddenly, everyone was screeching with mocking, taunting laughter and I briefly remembered wondering what a cruel place school could be, before turning back to my coffee.


However nasty Savannah was, she didn’t deserve school-wide humiliation, right? I glared at Dom, who was laughing as much as anyone.


“What?” she asked with a giggle. “It’s made my morning.”


“Yes, but…Oh, forget it.” I looked around, wondering whether anyone was actually going to intervene and save the poor girl. It’s not like I was planning on doing anything, which I suppose was as bad as being one of the people laughing.


Whatever. It was too early for any heroics. Plus, I had the excuse of being a cowardly little Slytherin. Blame the Sorting Hat!


Okay, now I was just trying to make myself feel like a vaguely decent person again.


I was literally getting out of my seat to go and…I don’t know, distract the entire population of Hogwarts by doing some sort of fake faint, when a creepy hush fell over the room. James Potter was standing next to Savannah, looking furious.


“Where the hell is your decency, everyone? Can’t you all just fuck off now?”


No-one moved, and James began to look a bit awkward. He flushed, “Joke’s over, okay?” People began to move away but Savannah, though, rounded on him angrily.


“Joke’s over? JOKE’S OVER?” she screamed, brandishing her wand. “This was never a joke, Potter.”


“I didn’t mean it like that, Savannah…” James ran a hand across his brow looking weary.


“Well, keep your mouth shut then, you two-faced frog! And I don’t need you to fight my battles! I HATE you!” she half sobbed, half hissed before hexing James’s hair pink.


He groaned as Savannah ran out of the hall, her black hair dripping a slimy trail of porridge. No-one laughed at him, even though he looked just as ridiculous as Savannah had with his neon-pink hair.


“Let’s go guys, I don’t want to watch anymore of this,” my face was taut and upset as I got up. Even though Savannah and James had never been particularly well suited, I couldn’t help feeling distressed about the way their relationship had ended so abruptly. It didn’t make sense; I hated Savannah, and only knew James as an interesting acquaintance. But I felt as if it had been me up there just then, being embarrassed in front of the whole school.


I shook my head clear, and smiled again as soon as we stepped into the corridor with our bags on our shoulders. Relationship trauma always made me emotional. I was stupid like that sometimes; just a silly, angsty teenager thinking that the world revolved around the sexual tension of the latest couple. Or ex couple, as was now appropriate. I didn’t like it when people suddenly hated one another enough to hex their hair pink. Sometimes I wished…I wished that everyone in the world would just love each other. Surely that would solve the planet’s problems?


Dumbledore had had the right idea. I should start a club ‘The Dumbledorian Love Dove Club’. Our motto could be ‘No more angst! Spread the love, man!’.


Or something.


Dom would disagree. She’d start a rival club with the motto ‘Embrace the angst! Feel alive!’.


And Eve? She’d probably go and find new friends.


Eve and Dom were squabbling next to me as we strolled through the corridors. They always bickered over stupid little things- today, it was the best nail varnish brand.


“But that blue one you have- the Enchantex one- is just rubbish! It chips after about a second.”


“Don’t be ridiculous Dom,” Eve snapped. “That’s impossible. Anyway, at least Enchantex have glowing nail varnishes, unlike the boring, mugglesque shop you buy from!”


“Mugglemop is retro!” Dom defended her favourite cosmetics store fiercely. “No insulting Mugglemop!”


“Even the name makes me want to die!” Eve smirked, and Dom went off into a huff. Seriously guys, French manicures obviously win.


“Excuse me, are you Hollie Parker?” a third year approached us warily.


“That’s me,” I grinned. “What’s up?”


“I’ve got some information you might be interested in…my friend, Ash, said to come and find you immediately…” Dom, Eve and I immediately perked up and hustled the girl into an empty classroom. Ash was one of our many ‘gossipmongers’. They were all younger students, all from different houses, who had sworn to come straight to us with any relationship gossip. It had proved itself as a very successful system.


Although, sometimes we had to bribe them with chocolate cookies.


“What’s your name?” Eve asked.


“Millie. Millie Webber.” The girl had overcome her shyness, and stared at us unabashedly with wide eyes.


“And Ash told you this information personally, did she?” I chipped in.


“We overheard it together.”


“Okay,” Dom rubbed her hands together, the familiar manic glint in her eye. “Tell us everything!”


“Well, we got caught behind in the Hufflepuff common room this morning, and we heard Lily Potter talking about her brother with one of her friends.”


“Which brother? James?”


“Nope, Albus. He’s in the year below you; sixth year.”


“We know who Albus is,” Dom snorted. “What happened then?” Millie blushed,


“Alright, just making sure. Anyway, Lily told her friend that Albus’s other friend told an acquaintance of hers how Scorpius and Albus are planning a ‘friendly’ visit to Rose Weasley’s dorm to play a prank on one of her friends.” Okay. There were way too many friend’s in that sentence.


“Wait, so…” Eve was translating the sentence into legible English. “Al and Scorpius are planning a prank on Rose Weasley and co.” Millie nodded. “Did Lily mention details? Times? We need data here, Millie!”


“Err, yeah…it’s happening at some point tomorrow. Don’t know when.”


“Right.”


“Thanks Millie! Tell Ash thank you too. We’ll drop by with cookies at some point,” I promised, and Millie hurried out without looking back. My brain was buzzing with this new information, but we were already late for potions so there was no time to discuss ideas. We skidded to a halt outside the potions class ten minutes late, and peered inside. The class was milling around all over the place; luckily, it looked like Professor Shoehorn was late today as well.


I swung through into the potions classroom, taking my seat at the back next to James Potter. Annoyingly, every class was made to sit in alphabetical order at all times. James wasn’t so bad, but the boy on my other side always farted.


I swear he ate baked beans for breakfast, lunch and tea. And he probably had bean smoothies if he was a little peckish. He was never going to get a girlfriend if he kept up this unhealthy bean obsession. Honestly.


Several people smiled at me as I sat down, and I nodded back. I hated to think about myself that way, but Dom, Eve and I were some of the most popular girls in the school.


I took a quill out of my bag, and prepared myself for an hour of happy daydreaming. I was very fond of my bag; it was creamy leather with gold studs on. Well, they weren’t real gold but unless someone was a goblin they wouldn’t know that. I hoped that no-one around here was half goblin.


Actually, that was a bit of a creepy thought. I looked around furtively, comparing people to goblins.


And then…I fell off my chair.


It happened so suddenly! One moment I was happily sitting there, and the next… OUCH! I never fell off chairs. I wasn’t clumsy like Dom, who walked into her bed at frequent intervals.


“You ok, Parker?” James Potter asked from my left. I turned to look at him; he was smiling slightly. I clambered up from the floor.


“Yup! I’m mega. Can’t say the same for you though,” I laughed, looking at his pink hair. “Attractive, Potter.” He ran a hand through his hair, momentarily looking sad, before bouncing back again.


“I’m thinking of keeping it like this for a while actually.”


“I bet Savannah’s the only person who knows the counter jinx, isn’t she?”


“Yeah.” We both turned to look as a newly showered Savannah herself slipped into the classroom with Rachael Adams, her best friend-stroke-minion, close behind. “How was Savannah yesterday?” James asked me.


“Violent,” I grimaced. “You’d better watch out- I think she’s trying to make a voodoo doll of you.” James laughed at that; properly laughed. I didn’t really find it that funny myself, but oh well. If he was feeling a bit better about the whole break-up, then that was cool.


The lesson passed in a blur. I partnered up with James for the first time in ages (the farting guy, Ed, had a crush on me and always came up to me before lessons and asked to be partners. I wasn’t the sort of person to put out crushes, so I always let it slide and endured), and actually enjoyed myself a bit. I usually hated lessons; I was so lazy.


“Aargh, James! It’s turning pink!” James turned round.


“No it’s not. It’s brown, you idiot- are you colour blind?”


“Oh, sorry. It must be your hair reflecting off everything and blinding me.”


“Ha ha very funny,” he narrowed his eyes, jabbing his chopping knife at me threateningly. Oh, I was scared.


“Mr Potter! Miss Parker! No waving knives about please,” Professor Shoehorn scolded, causing the class to turn and stare at us. I grinned,


“Sorry Professor. James has violent tendencies.” James glared at me. I stuck my tongue out at him when everyone had gone back to their work. I’m so mature.


In no time at all, it was time to go. And for once, I had managed an acceptable potion. You’d think I’d be able to ace potions considering all the time I spend on The Awesome And Supreme Brain Child of Eve, but we haven’t actually got to the potion making part of that idea yet. And when we do, Eve had told me that I was only allowed to be the stirrer. I was cool with that though. Stirrer power!


I packed all my things up, ready to go and rejoin Dom and Eve.


“That was a fun lesson, Parker. We should be partners more often, yeah?” James said.


“I know! I actually managed to make a proper potion!” I beamed. “And sure thing, I’d like that. As long as you get your hair back to normal! My poor eyes!” He laughed, and I gave him a little wave before setting off.


Well I never. I do believe I became sort-of-friends with James Potter today.


~~~


We were sitting in the common room that evening playing a game of chess. Eve was winning, as usual, and I was scowling at my Queen who had just been beaten up. Dom lounged on the sofa next to us, watching people come in and out of the room like the creep she was.


An owl suddenly flew through the window (or slimy, grilled hole- we were in the dungeons) and dropped a letter onto the chessboard, causing the rooks to get very angry and start fighting each other aggressively. I think I have a dodgy chess set.


Dom picked it up with interest, and opened it. “Oh, this is Errand, Mum’s new owl. I wonder what…” her eyes began to grow wide, and her face flushed as she read. Clear signs that something was wrong. I was a little distracted by my mental chess pieces though; my bishop now had a pawn in a headlock. This was so much more fun than the normal game!


“WHAT THE BLOODY QUEEN MARY OF HELL?” There we go. I knew it was coming.


“Wassup Dom?” I asked.


“WHAT’S UP? WHAT’S UP?” Dom yelled in response, attracting the attention of the whole of Scotland and then some. “MY PARENTS HAVE GONE AND TURNED MY BEDROOM INTO A STUPID GYM! WHAT THE HELL!? WHERE AM I SUPPOSED TO SLEEP?”


“Well don’t keep your emotions bottled up, Dom. Let it all out!” Eve gestured towards the scared first years. Dom glared at her,


“Well that’s just so hilarious Eve, because I DO have bottled up emotions. A whole cupboard full of them! AND I CAN’T LET THEM OUT!” she shrieked. I bit my lip.


Then I paused for an earth-shattering yawn that ripped my face apart, before standing up and taking the letter from Dom, who was seething. Dom was in fact, a world-class seether.


I quickly scanned what was written in her mother’s neat, floral handwriting. Yes, Fleur had floral handwriting. How perfectly quaint. It was true though; for some stupid reason, they were turning Dom’s room into a temporary gym until they could have a new one built. But that could take some time; Dom’s family weren’t particularly rich, despite being famous and all. They were sort of the smallest branch of the Weasley-Potter clan though, the most insignificant.


Not that anyone in the world was insignificant. Some people were just less in your face than others.


“Oh, Dom.” I comforted her with an awkward hug. “I don’t think they mean any harm. You know how insensitive your mum can be sometimes.”


“But Hollie, it’s always me. Always MY room, and MY things, and MY bicycle. Not Victoire’s; never Victoire’s. That must mean something! Can’t you see it?” Dom always got worked up about her parents’ apparent favouritism of Victoire. Everything they did had a subtext, a hidden meaning to it. By this point, Dom was under full steam; ranting and raving about her monstrous family. She jumped up and down with anguish, squishing my foot. I generously let it slide, refraining from squishing her own foot back in revenge.


“Dom,” Eve began. “Do you want to go get some ice cream to cheer yourself up?”


“NO!” Dom pouted for a second. “Well, actually…ice cream sounds kind of yummy.”


We went on an ice cream raid.


For those of you who don’t know, an ice cream raid is very different to a boring ‘let’s wander down to the kitchens and get some ice cream’. It requires wit, skill and a keen nose for danger.


The three of us painted warlord lipstick streaks onto our cheeks and did a battle cry in the dorm (“Yabadabadooo!”) before stealthily sneaking through the darkened Hogwarts corridors. Dom didn’t stop muttering about Victoire and her mother, and still had the letter clenched furiously into her right hand. I knew she was going to dunk it in strawberry ice cream now before ripping it up. That was her little ritual for when things went wrong, and Eve always stood tutting on the sidelines. Eve didn’t like unnecessary waste.


It sometimes scared me how well I knew these two girls.


We crept into the kitchens, hands formed into guns shapes and eyes narrowed with defiance. We were getting that ice cream, or prepared to die trying. I didn’t even feel like ice cream; but Dom was in need of sugar or she’d be grumpy all night. And a grumpy Dom wouldn’t paint my nails for me tomorrow morning (she’s the best nail painter ever! Not a single smudge). Maybe I’d be able to snaffle a chocolate croissant though. Yum.


And that’s when the universe exploded, and we were unexpectedly being ruthlessly attacked from all sides by screaming, custard-bearing…


Gryffindors.


“ABORT! ABORT ICE CREAM RAID!” I shrieked as cold custard rained down on the world and clumped my hair up over my eyes. I scrambled towards the door.


“NEVER!” shrieked Dom happily. “Fight back! DESTROY THE ENEMY!” Then Dom became overwhelmed by chocolate éclairs, that were being catapulted from the depths of the kitchens. My loyalty defeated my cowardice, and I rushed in to help, slipping on a banana skin like something out of a classic comedy that no-one ever found funny. But Eve grabbed my arm, her face dripping with chocolate sauce, and pulled me to safety as Dom went down.


“DOM!” I yelled. “ARE YOU BREATHING? Bloody Gryffindors.” Well, I was pretty sure it was Gryffindor. I’d caught sight of a red and gold badge before the person with it was swallowed by the shadows of the Hogwarts kitchens at night. But suddenly, it all went silent.


No-one moved.

 

Not even to breathe.


I really needed to sneeze; this custard smelt funny. But if I made a sound, Slytherin would have lost the… silence match!


“Dom? Is that you?” came a voice from the deep. HA! Slytherin win! Take that you Gryffindor pansies… Wait, that was James Potter’s voice!


“James? What the hell?” groaned Dom from her chocolate éclair mush-pile. “I thought we actually had a serious enemy to fight for once.” James strode into view, followed by Fred Weasley and a few otehr guys, all of whom were spotlessly clean and un-custardised. Damn them.


“Aw, you don’t mean that little cos!” he patted Dom on the head.


“I’m older than you, you prick.” James ignored her, looking at Eve and I who were fiercely glaring at the boys.


“Parker! Turner! To what do we owe the pleasure?”


“It’s not like you own the kitchens, Potter,” Eve snapped. “And why did you idiots attack us like this? We just wanted ice cream not a free custard bath.”


“Well,” James said sheepishly, “We might have been waiting for someone else to come down to the kitchens this evening.”


“Yeah…” Fred added, looking at the devastation surrounding us.”Wrong Slytherins!”


“Gah, you lot are idiots!”I licked the custard off my lips. “But now… you owe us one!” I smirked.


“What?” James frowned. “We do not –“


“Ha! Hollie’s right; you SO owe us one!” Dom laughed happily. “This is gonna be fun. What shall we make them do, girls?”


“Be our servants for the rest of the year,” grinned Eve evilly.


“No way!” Fred grovelled. “Don’t make me paint your nails and shit! MERCY!”


“Pull it together, man,” James kicked Fred in the shin. “Of course we’re not going to be the servants of Slytherins. In fact,” he grinned at me. “We’re going to walk away completely debt free. And you’re not going to do anything about it!”


“Oh yeah?” I stepped forwards so we were right in front of each other. “Don’t count on it. We know stuff about you. We know stuff about everyone, seeing as we run the gossip in this school.”


“Creepy,” Fred acknowledged.


“Why thank you Freddie,” Dom bowed. James looked a teeny bit worried; his brow was all scrunched up in a really cute way. Ha.


“Okay Hollie Sarah Parker,” he nodded. “Let’s not hold any hard feelings, yeah? We clean up this mess and get you whatever snack you came for. You don’t grass on us. We leave as friends! Okay?” He stuck his hand out for me to shake. I considered it, my head on one side. I glanced at Dom and Eve; they were shrugging, already looking bored with the whole thing.


“Whatever, James.” We shook hands.


“Brill!” Fred cheered. “Well isn’t this just spiffing?!”


“Get us our ice cream, and then it’ll be ‘spiffing’,” Dom demanded haughtily.


The ice cream they brought us was extremely delicious.


Author’s Note: I do not own Mary Poppins, Twelfth Night (‘If music be the food of love…’ quote), Harry Potter or anything you recognise!


I hope you enjoyed that second chapter everyone. I’ve literally been thinking about this story all week, even though I have exams and revision to do. It’s one of those plots- ones you can daydream about happily for hours :D. Oh, and also- this is one of the longest fanfiction chapters I’ve ever written! A review would make me extremely happy. -LWG


 
 


Chapter 3: The Wild Cat
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chapter image by the wonderful SophieScarlette at TDA! :)


I was all alone in the common room, gazing morosely at a transfiguration essay that just refused to write itself, no matter how much I begged it to. After an hour of chewing my quill, I had finally concluded that transfiguration essays were mean. And so was Eve, for not letting me copy hers and prancing off with Dom to spy on Al and Scorpius, while I was drowning in my piles of ‘I’ll just do it later’ homework. I’d briefly considered hiding their shoes until they let me copy, but gave it up as a silly idea. So for now, I was stuck with Salazar Slytherin’s portrait for company, which was glaring down at me viciously.


I honestly had no idea why I was a Slytherin. I couldn’t be mean to somebody if I tried- and I wasn’t saying that in an ‘oh look at me, I’m so saintly!’ way, but more as a fact. I just couldn’t. And I suppose I was quite cunning in the way I set people up, and I was definitely a first-class coward. But apart from that, I wasn’t ambitious or clever or sly or evil or Slytherin-y in the slightest. And whoever heard of a loving Slytherin anyway? Not to mention a muggleborn Slytherin. Dom was very opposed to the idea of having different Houses at all; she had this theory that it was the deliberate consortium of like-minded individuals that had resulted in Voldemort’s rise to power. Dom was funny.


I was sinking past the levels of ‘insanely bored’ and hurtling down towards ‘mind-numbingly bored’ and ‘Dementor-despairingly bored’ when Pythagoras the cat jumped onto my lap, making me jump and blot the few sentences of essay that I had actually written.


“Oh, shi-it!” I grumbled, pushing Pythagoras off. He gazed up at me reproachfully and I sighed, stroking his head. “What are you doing down here anyway?” Pythagoras didn’t reply. Funny that. “Well, you’re named after someone clever, unlike me. Maybe you can do my essay for me?” I offered him my quill, an amused smile tugging the corners of my mouth as I watched him bat the brown feather with one paw. Then Pythagoras suddenly mewled and sat down, worn out by the brief burst of feather-batting excitement. “You really should get out more you know,” I fiddled with his tail. “Get married, settle down…or whatever cats do…Hey! Maybe you and Mrs. Norris Junior could get together?” Pythagoras ignored me and began licking his paws haughtily as I turned back to staring into space. It was a bit creepy when it was just you and a cat on your own in the common room together.


Actually, it was very creepy. Maybe the library would be a better place to work in.


I shovelled the essay into my bag and shuffled out of the common room. Pythagoras followed behind me; apparently he felt the same way about being alone in the common room. I hummed to myself as I strolled along, blinking when something got into my eye. Damn this dust coating every available surface in the castle! We were magical beings for heaven’s sake, why didn’t someone just wave their wand and clean it all away. What did they pay Filch for anyway?!


Pythagoras was like this weird cat ninja, his paws making almost no noise as he trailed along by my heels. I had to turn around every few minutes to check he was still there; Dom would murder me if I lost her cat. I turned around for the fifth time, and jumped in shock as Thaggie suddenly streaked through my legs, his fat stomach wobbling as he ran.


“Wait…oh, shit… PYTHAGORAS! Thaggie, come back right now…owmph!” I began to run after him, and had nearly caught up when I tripped over a wonky tile and became unwillingly acquainted with the ground. When I lifted my head up again, the cat was nowhere to be seen. I swore, pacing the width of the corridor as I tried to think of what to do now. I was in a part of the castle where several corridors branched off from this one, so it would be futile trying to find him again- I’d just end up lost in the bowels of Hogwarts, alone and starving until some handsome Hufflepuff arrived to save me, carry me off into the sunset and marry me so we’d all live Happily Ever After. I think the Hufflepuff would be called Stan; that’s a Hufflepuffian sort of name, right? Yeah…


Hang on, back to the issue at hand Hollie. “THAGGIE!” I screeched. “Pythagoras Einstein Newton Weasley! GET BACK HERE-“ A hand shoved over my mouth and I was pulled behind a tapestry and into a hidden alcove, struggling against the (surprising) strength of my abductor. I fell over backwards, my leg tangled in one of the tassels on the tapestry, and ended up sprawled over someone’s lap, their hand still over my mouth. This was it, this was how the wicked wizard came to imprison the lost princess, terrified and alone she would rot in a cage full of bones… My eyes focused on a familiar looking cat, who was sitting regally in one corner, eating some sort of chocolate.


“Pythagoras?” I asked in a muffled voice. So these villains were involved in the catnapping trade too, were they? Despicable. I tore the hand from my mouth and kicked the leg of the person who’s lap I was trapped in, trying to get out.


“Whoa, chill Parker.”


“Fred?” I shouted. “What are you doing-“ Fred clamped his hand back over my mouth.


“Ssh! We’re hiding from Filch.”


“We?” I hissed. “So James is involved too, is he?” An unmistakeable snigger could be heard from above.


“Comfy on Fred’s lap there, Hollie?” James asked.


“You…you…idiots! You nearly gave me a heart attack!” I fumed.


“No need to flatter us too much,” Fred grinned as James helped me up.


“You’re right with that one,” I rolled my eyes, brushing my clothes down. “Why do you need to hide from Filch?”


“We nicked back some stuff of ours that he’d confiscated.” James informed me, his hands in his pockets. “But he cottoned on and was chasing us for a while… I think he’s gone now though.”


“Well huzzah for you lot then!” I tutted. “I’d appreciate it if you’d just give me Dom’s cat back, and we can all go on our merry way.”


“Sure thing,” James grinned and snapped his fingers at Pythagoras, who immediately looked up and trotted over. No fucking way.


“How…how did you do that?” I gaped.


“What, this?” James snapped his fingers again and I stared at his hand sadly. “You mean you can’t snap your fingers?” he smirked.


“Maybe…” The boys fell about laughing, oblivious to my death glares. Pythagoras started nibbling Fred’s sock, and Fred howled with even more laughter, obviously ticklish. I filed away that interesting snippet of information for use at another time.


“I may not be able to snap my fingers, but I can pack one hell of a punch,” I threatened, raising my fist in mock aggression. My smile may have given me away though.


“Oh no! Freddie I’m scaared! It’s a scaary Slytherin!” James cowered behind Fred.


“Yeah, you’d better be scared, Potter,” I growled. Fred poked his head out of the alcove, and looked from left to right furtively.


“It’s all clear out here guys!” he relayed back to us.


“Are you sure?” James looked anxious. “I really don’t fancy a detention tonight.”


“I’m one hundred percent positive old bean!”


“Don’t call me old bean, you old carrot,” James punched Fred’s arm as we wandered back into the corridor. Wow these guys were cucumber cool. I scooped up Pythagoras and began to make my way down the corridor. James and Fred, for reasons unbeknown, followed.


“So Hollie… what’s up? What’s down? What’s all around? What’s under? What’s over? What’s in? What’s out? What’s-“


“Fred. Shut up.”


“-in between? What’s…what? You don’t like my greeting thing?” his face fell.


“Um…” I looked at James for help, feeling a tiny bit awkward. Was this normal behaviour for Fred Weasley? I had no idea. I tried to remember all his past girlfriends…they’d all seemed relatively normal. I think. Perhaps not… there had been that weird Ravenclaw who enjoyed eating banana skins…


“Fred, you’re a freak mate,” James yawned.


“So are you!” Fred blew a raspberry. Really? Seriously? Was this for real?


James and Fred were laughing at me.


“Did I say that out loud?” I questioned, embarrassed. Pythagoras was also clawing his way up the side of my face, so I winced too.


“Yup.” Fred beamed. “That was like the kind of thing they say on those soapy American TV shows. Hah.”


“Soapy American TV shows? Don’t you mean American TV soaps?”


“Pfft,” Fred waved a hand carelessly. “Potayto, potahto.” I giggled as James helped me control Pythagoras’s weird fascination with my hair. I don’t know why he seemed to love it so much- it was thin and shapeless, although my mum always said it was my biggest asset. Thaggie obviously thought it was though, since he was attempting to eat it.


“Stop it Thaggie!” I grumbled, trying to disentangle cat from hair.


Dom hated me calling Pythagoras ‘Thaggie’, but I thought it was just too cute a nickname to not use. And considering how mega-ugly Pythagoras was who can blame me, right? STOP BLAMING ME.


Seriously, stop it. I feel like you’re Dom, stalking me to check I don’t say Thaggie.


She’s a Thaggie hater. A Thagater. A Haterie. A…a…


Whatever.


Thaggie finally buggered off of my head, and James decided to carry her now to save me from the trauma of having my hair eaten away from my scalp.


“Dommie has a crazy kitty!” exclaimed Fred wildly. “We should totally breed this cat and make a new series of… KrazyKitKats!”


“I’m sure that’d be a great success Fred, if you ever got Dom to agree to her cat being bred,” I shuddered.


“Err, Hollie?” James was struggling with Pythagoras. “I think we should try and find Dom and return her demon cat to her. Where is she?”


“Well…” I wondered whether I should tell them. I supposed it wouldn’t cause any harm. “Eve and Dom are spying on Al and Scorpius, because we had a tip off that they’re playing a prank on Rose at some point today, but we don’t know when.”


“Okay…” James began. “And why do you guys need to know when they’re playing this prank?”


“Because we need to stop them of course!” I shrugged. “We’re trying to set Rose and Scorpius up, and playing a prank on Rose won’t do Malfoy any favours.”


“Oh yeah, I forgot about your matchmaking thing,” James said.


Fred waved a hand in front of our faces. “Hollie, your phone is ringing.” It was; I fished it from the pocket of my jeans and saw that it was Eve calling.


“Hello?”


“Hollie, thank god! You need to come quickly- they’re setting off now.”


“Okay, I’m right there. Location?”


“Seventh floor, near the Room of Requirement.”


“I’ve got James, Fred and Pythagoras with me by the way,” I glanced at the two boys, who were trying to listen to what Eve was saying. “They’ll have to come too.”


“What? How did that happen?” Eve asked, perplexed.


“Tell you later!” I hung up and turned to James and Fred. “You two don’t mind coming along for the ride, right? I can’t be bothered to carry Thaggie- and he seems to like you James.”


“No problem,” James smiled. “Any chance to see my little bro’s pranks mucked up.”


I grinned.


~~


We found Dom and Eve creeping along a corridor, heading for the Gryffindor Common Room. Eve waved us over frantically, and James handed Dom Pythagoras with a sigh of relief.


“We hate this cat by the way Dom.”


“Cheers,” Dom grumbled, putting Thaggie on the ground. “Go back to the dorm, Pythagoras!” she commanded, and the cat obeyed without a fuss, or a scratch, or any hair being ripped out of heads.


HOW DO ALL MY FRIENDS HAVE SUCH POWER OVER CATS?


“Right, so what’s the plan?” Fred looked ridiculously eager, bouncing on the balls of his feet. “Do we run in screaming, dance the Macarena to scare Al and Scorpius away, sweep Rose off her feet and push her in a bath full of frogs?” We blinked at him.


“No.”


“Why a bath of frogs?”


“Why not?”


“Why not not?”


“Why not not not?”


“Why not not not not-“ I snapped my fingers in front of Dom and Fred,


“We have a mission here, guys.” Fred at least had the decency to look vaguely abashed, until Dom stuck her middle finger up at him and smiled sweetly. Then he glared at her.


“Cousin or not, I will throw you into the Black Lake tomorrow morning.”


“Cool.”


“OKAY!” Eve cleared her throat, holding up the Marauder’s Map and examining it. “Al and Scorpius are by the Great Hall, waiting for a first year Gryffindor to tell them the password to the common room.”


“Hey, how do you have the Marauder’s Map? We’ve been looking for that!” roared James.


“Dom stole it from you ages ago,” Eve shrugged as if it was no big deal. James snarled and mouthed a threat at Dom, who blew him a brief kiss.


“But anyway, their prank was basically going to be to stick all of Rose and Trisha’s underwear to the ceiling with a permanent sticking charm. And then cover the rest of the dorm in hair gel,” Eve continued.


“Well, that’s what we’re guessing from the giant vats of hair gel they’ve bought, and the permanent sticking charms they’ve been practising all morning,” Dom interrupted.


“And we are going to stop them by lying in wait in the Gryffindor common room and confounding them into forgetting all about the prank. The only fly in the ointment was not knowing the Gryffindor password either, and we have to be in there before Al and Scorpius are. But now that we have you two…” Eve smiled winningly.


“If we help you out with this, you have to give the map back,” demanded James.


“Fine,” I agreed. “But shut up and let’s go! What’s the password, you two?”


“I’ll tell you for a kiss,” Fred winked and smacked his lips. I sighed,


“Seriously, Fred.”


“I am serious! I’m being as serious as McGonagall on the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts!”


“James? What’s the password?” I turned to him. “If I have to kiss Fred, you don’t get the map.”


“It’s Jubilee.”


“Oh, MAN!” Fred pouted. This matchmaking thing has just become a whole lot weirder.


~~


The five of us were lying in position in the rafters of the Gryffindor common room, waiting for Al and Scorpius to move their arses and get the password off of a firstie already. And yes you did read that first sentence correctly; five almost-fully-grown people are precariously perched in the rafters of an ancient castle. I really doubted that these beams had been built for this sort of shit.


Don’t even ask how we got up here in the first place.


James, who was next to me, was convinced that we’d be waiting here for about an hour yet, due to Albus’s apparent social awkwardness and inability to pull off a good prank. He kept looking down at the floor, and muttering about how high up we were, worrying about whether he’d still be able to play Quidditch tonight if he broke a leg after falling off. And then he began worrying about whether it would hurt to break a leg, and if Madam Bones would be able to fix it or not. He even worried about the fact that his blood would probably stain the carpet if he cut himself in the fall.


“God almighty James, stop worrying!” I elbowed him and he shrieked slightly, gripping the rafter more securely.


“Are you trying to cause my premature death?”


“…Yes?” James harrumphed as I tried to shift my position a bit- a splinter was poking into my stomach and it was really annoying. I put my foot on a slanting beam underneath me, and twisted so I was sitting up with my legs dangling down towards the floor. I sighed happily; this was better. Albeit I still felt slightly weird, lurking high above the Gryffindor common room like a lunatic assassin. Yup. All I needed now was a dodgy balaclava.


A couple that we’d set up a few months ago were having a little snogging fest on the couch below, and my thoughts strayed to James and Savannah. I desperately wanted to know James’s thought process behind the break up, but I didn’t have the courage to ask him. It was a bit of a personal question. And I might offend him.


…should I just go for it? I mean, I was really curious. I examined James carefully, following the line of his jaw and the scrunch of his eyebrows to his hazel eyes, which were fixed upon the couple on the couch, who were getting quite vigorous now.


With noises, too.


I clapped my hands over my ears. Ugh! People had no shame! I wouldn’t be able to stand it if we were stuck up here with a canoodling couple directly underneath us for an hour. What if one of us fell right on top of them?


That would be one awkward conversation.


“That was all Savannah ever cared about,” James nodded down at the passionate pair of hormonal teens. “She didn’t think about anything else.” I looked at him, wide-eyed.


“You seem better off without her,” I offered after he was silent for a while. “I never thought you were a great match." James grimaced,


“I hope it was the right decision. I feel so bad whenever I pass her in the corridor- cos it was my fault, the thing that happened yesterday, and I worry about what people will think of her now-“ I cut James off with a finger placed on his lips. God, that boy worried like HELL! He’d give me a nervous breakdown soon. But wow, this felt weird. I was touching James Potter’s lips, a guy I’d only talked to properly about 5 times, with my index finger.


They were really soft, by the way. Just so you, er, know.


James looked surprised at first, but then he smiled against my finger. God, that really tickled! I snatched my hand away before I laughed and gave away our hiding spot.


“No offence James, but she’s a bitch to everyone but you,” I stated a little bluntly. I didn’t want him to beat himself up over this!


“Yeah, I know…” he studied the beam I was perched on. “And I want more from a relationship than just the…physical stuff,” he avoided my eye. “I want someone who I can talk to, and hold a decent conversation with. Buy flowers for and stuff.”


Gosh, he was such a CUTIE! Seriously, this bloke needed some serious matchmaking attention. He was perfect relationship material. I smiled at him,


“That’s really sweet James. You did the right thing.”


“Really? D’you think so?” he looked as if Christmas had come early.


“Yep. I know so- and I'm sort of experienced in this stuff.”


“You have no idea what a relief it is to hear you say that,” sighed James. “Guess what Fred did when I tried to talk to him about this?”


“I don’t know, but I’m thinking something radical?”


“He poured shampoo into his ears so he wasn’t able to hear me.”


“Nice.”


“Not so much.” We lapsed into a semi-comfortable silence.


And then, because recently I seem to have morphed into a klutz, I fell off the rafter. Backwards. It was quite an elegant back flip, or so Dom told me later.


For a moment, everything became a blur of colours and sounds; James’s shocked face, the Gryffindor fire, the red carpet and my startled squeak of surprise. And then it all stopped, because I had landed. Right on top of our targets, Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy.


…oops.


~~


The first thing I noticed about Scorpius Malfoy was that he was so pale he glowed. As in actually emitted a soft light, like the moon. It was totally sexy.


I’d never been this close to him before in any of our ScoRose attempts, and now here I was lying on bloody top of him. My feet were on Al’s face, who was lying on his back looking stunned. I suppose it wasn’t every day that girls fell out of the sky and landed on you, so I resisted the urge to laugh at the priceless expression on his face. Then the rest of me was on Scorpius, who raised an eyebrow at me, completely unruffled.


“Parker.”


“Malfoy.”


“And Potter.”


“Yes, Potter too.” I glanced at Al, who was still frozen in one position. “But I think I’ve killed him.”


“Most likely.”


“Um, yeah, sorry about this…”


“No worries. I’m not complaining,” Scorpius winked. I glared slightly and rolled off him, dusting down my legs. A few people who had been idly chatting on the sofas were now craning their heads to look at us, giggling and speculating. I glanced up at James, Dom, Eve and Fred who were staring down at me with expressions of horror on their face, pointing behind me to where Scorpius was dragging Al up and heading towards the girl’s dormitories. They were getting away! Panic-stricken, I glanced around, trying to think of a new plan. To buy myself some more time, I yelled after them,


“Albus! Scorpius! Wait up!” The two boys paused and glanced at me, confused.


“What?” Al asked, recovered from the shock by now.


“I, er, have a…message for you! From… Rose! Rose Weasley!”


“You do?” asked a familiar voice from behind me, and Rose Weasley herself stepped into my line of sight. “I don’t remember asking you to send a message to these two prats.” Oh Merlin, I was in deep shit.


“AH, well, yes, it was very late last night and you were tired so you probably didn’t…” Rose ignored me, striding up to Scorpius and jabbing him in his (muscled) chest,


“Malfoy,” she growled. “I have a bone to pick with you.”


“Oh, well there’s a surprise!” Scorpius snapped.


“How is locking Trisha in a broom cupboard amusing to you? Get her out, now.”


“Aw, can Rosie not undo the door? Is the spell too advanced for Her Royal Prefectness?”


“Just. Let. Her. Out. You. Prat.” Rose was scarlet with fury, and I felt my heart sink. This was not going as planned. I felt like locking the two of them in a broom cupboard together until they finally snogged, but we’d already tried that and they managed to destroy all the brooms in there with another argument. And we sort of value our lives.


“Why don’t we all calm down and-“ I tried, Albus and I sharing an exasperated sigh.


“Why should I let her out? Give me one good reason!”


“Because of a tiny thing called morals and decency which you seem to know sod all about!” Rose fumed, her eyes spitting fire. Just then, Dom floated down out of the rafters, being levitated by Eve. She was sort of gliding through the air like a fairy, her feet moving in a walking position as she came to rest gently on the ground right in front of us. Rose gaped at her, going slightly cross-eyed. Al went silent, looking between everyone, trying to figure things out. Scorpius stared at Dom, suddenly fidgety, as if he’d been caught stealing cookies by a professor.


“You would not believe how smelly it is up there,” Dom exclaimed, wrinkling her nose. The strange silence was gone, broken by my muffled laughter, Scorpius’s reluctant grin, Al’s sneeze and Rose’s sigh of acceptance.


“Anyone fancy a nice Butterbeer?” James asked, also landing next to us. “We’ve got plenty upstairs.”


“I’m not sure, I have lots of work to do…” Rose started.


“Aw, c’mon Rose! Do it for your cousins?” Fred pouted, grabbing her arm. Dom steered Scorpius along with us, and I found myself next to Eve as we all trooped up to the seventh year boys’ dorm.


“That went…”


“Really well,” Eve nodded.


I smiled slightly, looking forward to that Butterbeer.


a/n: hi! What’s up? What’s down? What’s all around? Anything you recognise doesn’t belong to me. Also, I really wanted to put in the ‘potayto, potahto’ thing but didn’t know how to get the pronunciation across, so a huge thank you to Jenny (starryskies55) who briefly helped me out with that :D. I hope you’re enjoying it so far! I’m really thankful for all the reviews I’ve had. In the next chapter, we’ll be meeting Zoey Turner, and Hollie has some bad news. Thanks for reading!


edit 27/9/12: CI added!
 

Chapter 4: The Name Game
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this beauty was made by SophieScarlette at TDA!



“PUT ME DOWN YOU UTTER MORON! LET ME GO, NOW!”


We had been minding our own business, trying to relax by the lake in our free period this morning, and then Fred had barged in, thrown Dom over his shoulder and engaged her in some cousin-on-cousin warfare which was involving a lot of screeching. Gah. It was pretty rare to be able to nab a spot of nice sun this late in October, and when we do, Fred chooses that exact time to carry out his threat of chucking Dom in the Black Lake. And I had been voluntarily reading a book as well, until he disturbed us all. I know right? Hollie Parker turned temporary bookworm. And okay, it might have been smut, but it still counts as voluntary reading!!


“SERIOUSLY THIS IS NOT FUNNY-“Dom’s panicked cries echoed through the grounds once again, and I lowered my sunglasses to peer at the proceedings. Dom was kicking and struggling, yanking on Fred’s hair as he attempted to get closer to the water’s edge.


“Now, now, Dommie. A bit of a bath won’t hurt ya!” Fred tutted, shooting me a wink. He looked sort of scary, with this really cheesy smile plastered over his face and popping eyes. I propped myself up on my elbows, revelling in the fact that it wasn’t me getting thrown into a lake today. I’d curled my hair this morning and everything. Oi, don’t judge me! It’s a rare occurrence for my hair to curl nicely.


As I was thinking this, Fred reached the lake and chucked Dom in as if she were a sack of mouldy potatoes. I’m sure Dom would appreciate my amazing simile. Dom’s limbs flailed attractively as she belly flopped into the cold-looking water, and after a few moments she emerged again- the hair on her bobbing head all tangled and straggly, and a murderous expression on her face. She waded back out, her clothes heavy and dragging as she wrung out her precious hair. “Frederick Remus Weasley, you are a piece of DEAD MEAT!” she roared, suddenly charging at Fred and tackling him to the ground. They rolled down the bank, Dom spitting like Pythagoras and Fred laughing, and then once again Dom ended up in the water- except she dragged Fred down with her this time. Instead of looking perturbed though, Fred just dove beneath the surface and grabbed Dom’s leg, pulling her under with a splutter. Several people were looking on now, including Savannah Woods who had a nasty habit of tattling to professors, so Eve and I decided with a brief nod that we should probably haul them apart.


“Oi! Guys, stop it!” I got off the blanket I’d been ‘studying’ on, and ventured down a little closer to the lake. Big mistake.


I heard Eve shout out a cry of warning but I didn’t hear her properly, because Fred sent a wave of water splashing over me just as someone shoved from behind. With an undignified snort, I cart wheeled into the Black Lake to join Dom and Fred for a swim with the squid. Who I was positive had only eaten that first year because he was a tragic, lonely and misunderstood soul with no love in his life. Yep.


The water was just as icy as I’d expected, and I felt my toes go numb as I sank like a stone. On impact, my body froze with shock, and I thrashed my arms around wildly in an attempt to get to oxygen again. As soon as my head broke free of the water, I drew in deep, gasping breaths and looked around for the person who’d pushed me. It was James Potter, standing by the lake with his latest-model broom over one shoulder, and laughing hysterically at the sight of the three of us in the lake. Right-


Time. To. Die.


But before I could lift my arms to drench him with freezing water, he was offering me a hand out. I raised an eyebrow, surprised. So James Potter was the sort of guy who shoved you into a lake, and then helped you out again immediately afterwards, was he? Interesting. If I was going to set him up in a perfect relationship, I needed to know as much as possible about him. And this time, I didn’t think using the gossipmongers would be as…fun.


“Come on, Hol! I’m not poisonous y’know.”


I grabbed the proffered hand, and James yanked me up onto dry land easily. I briefly considered pulling him in with us instead of allowing myself to get lifted out, but I didn’t think I’d have much success against all those Quidditch muscles. Hollie versus Quidditch muscles = not a fair match. At all. In fact, the score in a match like that would probably be 400-10. And the 10 points were awarded for effort.


So instead, I ran up to him and gave him a massive, squelchy hug- making sure to get my wet hair all over his shirt (that’s the highest it would reach anyway). James yelped and tried to shove me away, but I clung on like a limpet, laughing manically.


“My Quidditch shirt!” James complained, wrinkling his nose. “You crazy woman- it’s ruined!”


“Well my shirt’s soaked too- and probably see-through- which means every boy between here and Hogwarts will be perving on me. So I think that the least you deserve is an equally ruined shirt.” I stuck my tongue out at him.


“Oh you are so dead,” James growled, before he began to tickle me.


Uh oh.


I am spastically ticklish. If someone even brushes against my arm, I will giggle. Once Dom tickled me for a mere ten seconds, and I was a writhing lump on the floor in less than three. And James seemed to be getting all my most ticklish places, like my left side and my neck.


“Stop it!” I gasped, trying not to snort all over him, one arm frantically trying to push his hands away. “Seri…ously!” I giggled, falling over and dragging James with me. He carried on tickling me though, until my face was bright red and my legs were waving around in the air. Everyone nearby was staring at us, most of them with jealous expressions on their faces. They so didn’t need to be jealous; this was pure hell. “James!” I begged, trying to wriggle free. He smirked.


I hate him.


Then he stopped tickling me.


…I still hate him though.


“I hate you,” I muttered, standing up with a few wobbles. “I must look worse than Filch on a bad hair day by now!”


“Nah,” James said. “You only look worse than Aragog.”


“The spider?” I asked in disbelief. “You little-“


“I was kidding!” James backed off, picking up his broom that had been abandoned on the floor.


“Latest model of broomstick, I see,” I teased. Weirdly, James seemed to take it really badly.


“I didn’t choose it,” he snapped grumpily, dropping the broom back onto the ground. There was a snap, and James’s face immediately clouded over with anxiety. He quickly bent down to inspect the broom for damage, and sighed with relief when he saw there was none.


How odd.


“You alright?” I asked cautiously. James grinned and said,


“Yeah, it’s cool,” just as Dom and Fred crawled out of the water, spitting water out.


“My haaair!” Dom complained. “WHY ME?” Everyone ignored her.


I couldn’t remember the incantation for a drying spell, so I got Eve to dry my clothes and hair off for me. They floated down around me all silky and warm, and I grinned. “Thanks Eve!” I sighed, stretching, and following the girls back up to the castle for lunch. “I could murder a bacon roll.”


“I could murder Fred!” Dom exclaimed with a snort. “So immature, honestly. Being immature wastes your life!” Eve rolled her eyes,


“Honestly, as if you can lecture on immaturity. You don’t even pronounce the word right!”


“What are you talking about?” Dom scoffed. “Of course I pronounce it right- you just pronounce it wrong!” I noticed how she’d defended the insult to her pronunciation, and not to her maturity. Hah.


“Sure. If you say so,” Eve coughed blatantly into her hand.


“Don’t cough all over me, you’ll give me Annoying Disease,” Dom put one hand on her hip, and Eve narrowed her eyes.


“Shut up you two,” I sighed as we entered the Great Hall, tired of their constant spats. “Let’s just eat some lunch.” Dom huffed and sat down as far away from Eve as possible, while Eve merely shrugged and crossed her legs, pulling the pumpkin juice towards her. They forgot about their disagreement a moment later though, because James and Fred came over to sit with us, instead of sitting with their usual gang of Gryffindor mates- which was slightly perplexing.


“Hey guys,” Fred said, stretching and sliding his legs onto the bench.


“What’s up?” asked Eve, putting a bread roll onto her plate.


“The sky,” Fred promptly replied, looking very proud of his incredibly witty answer.


“Original,” Eve rolled her eyes, and I laughed.


People were staring at us.


But screw them all. James and Fred were, dare I say it, our friends now. And there was nothing wrong with sitting next to your friends at lunch time.


Right?


“Did you know,” Dom said, reading from the back of her apple juice carton, “That the surface area of the small intestine is about 250 metres squared, which is the same size as a tennis court!”


“Er, no I didn’t Dom…” I said, making ‘loopy’ signs around my ears to James.


“Gimme that,” Eve snatched the carton and scanned it quickly. “None of these are true you know! I read somewhere that it was, like, 230 metres squared not 250.”


“Oh,” Dom’s face fell. “And I thought I’d sound all clever for a day, just chucking that fact around. I should totally sue this apple juice company. What tossers.” James was grinning, looking at the back of his own juice carton.


“Did you know that the quickest time that someone has eaten a full chocolate cake in was a minute and thirty-three seconds?” he announced, impressed.


“Rubbish!” Fred shook his head. “I bet I could eat a chocolate cake quicker than that!”


“Go on then,” I grabbed a particularly large, gooey-looking one from further down the table. “Someone time him!”


“I will,” Eve said, looking at her green, muggle watch (a present from her mum). “Ladies and gentlemen, pick up your forks…” Fred arrogantly chose a large spoon. “Get set…” Fred narrowed his eyes, focused on the cake in front of him. “EAT!” He began shovelling the food into his mouth.


I felt sick after three seconds, and I wasn’t the one eating anything. Food was being sprayed everywhere, splattering the table and all our food with sticky, brown goo.


“If you do this, you will not be called Fred Weasley any longer, but Cakemongasoar Weasley!” Dom announced.


“He looks like a Cakemongasoar, doesn’t he?” James said, raising one eyebrow at his best friend and cousin who had chocolate smeared all over his face and in his hair. A small crowd had gathered around our section of the table by now, chanting Fred’s name as he gulped down slice after slice of cake.


“Fre-ed! Fre-ed! Fre-ed!” the girls squealed, while the boys just whooped.


“He’s not called Fred, he’s called Cakemongasoar!” I tutted, correcting them all. They looked confused for a moment, but then they took up the new chant cheerfully.


“Cakemongasoar! Cakemongasoar! Cakemongasoar!” Eve shook her head, a faintly amused smile playing around her lips, and muttered something like ‘waste of a cake’ before taking a neat sip from her glass of pumpkin juice.


“You should’ve been called Frogspawn Warthog Ducklington, Hollie,” Dom stuck her tongue out at me, “It suits you.”


“Actually, I think SmexiGoddess suits me better,” I pouted and posed.


“As if!” Dom scoffed. “I think you’ll find that I am the smexiest in this room.”


“Nope, sorry, I’ve already bagsied SmexiGoddess. You can have Mildred, Dom. And Eve looks like a…” I squinted, “An Alicia! Or an Adele…what do you think?


“My parents were going to call me Cordelia,” Eve admitted with a wince, “But my mum wanted a more muggle name.” Eve’s parents had split up because of the rift that crossed the muggle and magical worlds; her mum just hadn’t been able to deal with it. I felt terrible for Eve and Zoey about it, but a selfish part of me was happy that we’d got the Love-o-meter out of it.


That was a very Slytherin-like thought. Perhaps I am a Slytherin after all. Mwehehe.


“Cordelia’s an alright name,” James said. “It’s a flower, isn’t it?”


“I don’t think so…” Eve said. “She’s a Shakespearian character.”


“A whowhat?”


“Shakespeare,” I said. “He’s a famous muggle writer.” Everyone gave us blank looks.


“What name would suit me?” James interrupted the silence.


“Bartholomew,” I said solemnly. “Or… Bob.” James pretended to wipe a tear from his eye,


“I feel so special that you think I’m a worthy Bob.”


“You should do, there are very few worthy Bobs in this world.”


A very loud belch interrupted us in the middle of our name game, and we glanced at Fred, who was leaning back on his chair, looking thoroughly satisfied. The cake was all gone; just a few lonely crumbs remained on its plate. Eve glanced at her watch,


“Just under two minutes!” she said. “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Cakemongasoar Weasley, Hogwarts’ very own almost-record-breaker!” There were a few weak cheers, and Fred looked very up himself as one girl blew him a heartfelt kiss. I glanced at her critically- short, curly hair, pouty face. She’d never be right for Fred. I noticed Eve looking at the girl too, a frown on her face. Couldn’t agree more Eve m’love, couldn’t agree more.


~*~


“Oi, Frogspawn Warthog Ducklington, got any lip gloss? I left mine by the lake,” Dom nudged me.


“Sorry Mildred m’dear, I am lipglossless. Perhaps one of your friends at the next hideous skirt convention will have some century-old lipstick you can borrow.” I shrugged helplessly.


“Oh, darn!” Dom pouted. “That’s too bad since I wasn’t allowed into the last hideous skirt convention, seeing as I had a totally sexy skirt on.” Then this fifth year called Lorren Lawson fell into step with us, grinning and holding out her neon-pink lip gloss for Dom to use. Lorren was sort of amusing- she liked to act all cool and funny but everyone could see that she was just this sad little wannabe.


School hierarchies are tough, honey. You’re either at the top, or you’re just not.


Wow, how bitchy does that sound? Answer = very. I picked that line up from Dom though, so no judging allowed. Nooo judgy. Get it? Got it? Good.


“Thanks Lorren,” Dom accepted it and inspected the label. “Oh shoot, it’s Enchantex!” she glared at Eve before handing it back, “I’ve sworn to never put that muck on my face again after it made me break out in, like, fourth year.” Lorren looked crestfallen, and immediately rummaged in her fake-designer bag for a replacement gloss. She pulled out a pale red one,


“Well, I’ve got a Milady’s one too if you want.”


“Yeah, that’ll do,” Dom took it and spread some round her lips happily.


“I love your hair today, Hollie!” Lorren complimented me.


“Thanks,” I smiled. “Cute shoes.” Lorren blushed,


“They’re from Brown’s Boutique.”


“I know.” Dom had finished doing her lips, and handed back the tube of lip goo with a, “So, see you around Lorren.”


“Yeah, see you!” Lorren called, before going over to a group of fellow fifth years. We turned out of the corridor and filed into the Transfiguration classroom for our next lesson. I took my usual place in between James and Ed, uttering a quick “Hello there Bob!”,before taking out my stuff in preparation for another two hours of doodling. I am a master doodler- seriously. It’s just intricate hearts and patterns usually, but sometimes flowers or smiley faces. Come on, you can’t beat smiley faces. They. Are. Mega. I was in a really good mood this morning, so when James turned to speak to me, I beamed at him.


“Hey, Hol, I think McGonagall’s handing back those ‘Transfiguration of Inanimate Objects’ essays today- what did you put for the comparison between wand movements paragraph?” I racked my brains, hoping that I’d actually given this one in. Then I realised that it was the essay that I’d spent ages over a few weeks ago, determined to get a good mark for once. I tried to remember what I’d written for the comparison.


“Something like ‘the shorter action requires less force for an inanimate object- which is to do with the total mass- so therefore it makes sense for the wand movement for an animate object, like a ferret, to be more elaborate’,” I replied. James nodded thoughtfully as the essay landed in front of me. I stared at the blank back page for a while, before eagerly turning it over, only to drop it back down like a hot coal. A spiky red ‘D’ with ‘see me’ written next to it stained the top right corner. It seemed that even when I actually tried my best, I still failed abysmally. I felt my heart sink through the floor, and tasted the cold tang of disappointment in my mouth, suddenly extremely anxious about the looming N.E.W.T’s. I’d always put my bad grades down to lack of effort, but obviously I just wasn’t clever. Thinking back, a small miracle must have occurred for me to pass O.W.L’s. All I could do now was hope for another one when N.E.W.T’s came around. Or, you know, actually listen in class for a change.


“So, what’d you get?” James asked, craning his neck to get a glimpse of my mark.


“Doesn’t matter,” I said quietly, feeling embarrassed, and quickly shoving the paper into my bag.


The lesson passed in a blur. James and I chatted a bit, making fun of McGonagall’s animagus form, but my heart wasn’t in it. I waited behind as everyone filed out, motioning for Dom and Eve to walk on ahead. I approached McGonagall’s desk nervously.


“Ah yes, Miss Parker,” McGonagall began seriously, a few stressed lines appearing on her forehead. “Take a seat.” I pulled a chair up to the front desk, realising that the palms of my hands were all sweaty.


“You wanted to see me about my recent essay, Professor,” I said.


“Yes. I just have a few questions for you regarding your academic performance,” McGonagall pulled a sheet of paper towards her and adjusted her reading glasses. “Could you tell me, how many hours a week do you think you spend on your studies?” I bit my lip,


“I couldn’t really say…”


“Well, the expected amount for a N.E.W.T level student at Hogwarts is ten hours a week. Do you think you’re below or above this average?”


“Below, I guess,” I admitted.


“Below or above five hours?” McGonagall asked, her bright eyes searching my face for any untruths. I hung my head, my face reddening,


“Below.”


“Okay. And how long did you spend on this latest essay assignment?”


“About two hours!” I said a little more confidently. “I tried really hard.”


“And yet you still only achieved a D?” McGonagall shook her head with a sigh, “I’m disappointed, Miss Parker. You have potential, but you do not work. I am going to have to assign you a tutor.”


“Really?” I said, sort of relieved. I thought I would be receiving a week of detentions, at least. “Who?”


“Professor Lupin. He’ll see you every Thursday evening- starting next week. If I hear that you are giving anything less than 110% to these sessions, I shall be most unhappy. Is that understood?” I nodded hastily, and made to get up, but McGonagall added on one more thing-


“Miss Parker, I know that having a boyfriend might seem like the most important thing in the world right now, but you really need to think about your future.”


“Yes Professor,” I said, and then I got the hell out of there.


~*~


Dom and Eve were fencing with the fire pokers when I arrived back in the common room. They paused to grin at me, before continuing with their fight. I collapsed onto a sofa, feeling a little down in the dumps, and pulled out a textbook ready to do some work before dinner.


“What did McGonagall want, Frogspawn Warthog Ducklington?” asked Dom.


“She’s assigning me a tutor,” I admitted.


“Oooh! Who?” asked Dom, putting down her fire poker, out of breath. Eve jabbed her quickly in the stomach and she squealed, leaping back and falling on top of me.


“Oof! You fatty!” I shoved her off. “Teddy’s going to be the tutor, so that’s not too bad. Least it’s not McGonagall herself!” We all started giggling a bit- we were in the middle of trying to convince Ted to propose to Victoire, Dom’s older sister. We had a massive scheme set up for the Christmas holidays.


“See if you can get him talking about Vic to you, and spew out a load of romantic mush about what a perfect couple they are blah, blah, blah,” Eve said, sitting down cross-legged by the fire


“Okay,” I agreed, staring into the bright flames. People always seemed surprised to hear that we Slytherins had a large fire in our common room. Obviously they thought we were cold-hearted bitches who didn’t need any warmth in their evil lives. Suddenly, the hot coals shifted and morphed into a familiar-looking face. It was Zoey, Eve’s older sister, genius extraordinaire. I jumped up and ran over to the fire, Eve was beaming at Zoey and Dom looked confused for a moment, but then realised what was going on. Zoey winked,


“Hey kiddos! How are you lot then?”


“Zoeeyyy!” Eve shrieked, air hugging the fire, which earned her a few odd looks. “We’re all superdooper.”


“That’s good,” Zoey smiled. “SO girlies, what’s the latest juicy Hogwarts gossip? Any cute boys that I’ve had yet to hear about? How’s the potion going?”


“Ssh!” Eve muttered, glancing around. “It’s a secret remember?”


“Oh yeah,” Zoey rolled her eyes. “What’s your code name for it again? Something stupidly long and weird that includes ‘Eve’ and ‘brain’ in the same sentence, which should basically be illegal?” Eve scowled and raised her fire poker threateningly. “Just kidding little sis, just kidding,” Zoey laughed her tinkling laugh.


“What are you calling for anyway?” asked Eve. “Don’t you have work and stuff?”


“What, so I need an excuse to check up on my favourite sister?” Zoey said playfully.


“I’m your only sister! And come on, don’t give me that. I know you want something.” Zoey stuck her tongue out at Eve,


“Ok, well I was wondering if you had any old textbooks that I can use for my educational psychology project at the ministry. Preferably ones you’ve doodled all over.”


“Hollie’s the doodler,” Eve smirked. “I’ll send some old ones of hers over.”


“Yeah, take them, I beg you,” I smiled.


“Thanks guys, you’re stars.”


“Well you’re a pile of frogspawn,” Eve said.


“Says the dragon dung.”


“Says the ugly nerd!”


“Says the single cat lady.”


“Says the equally single cat lady!”


“Says the flobberworm lover.”


“I know you are but what am I?” Zoey shook her head in amusement,


“Well, it was cool to see you all. I’ll write soon Evey!” Zoey blew Eve a kiss, before disappearing. Eve caught the kiss with her hands and put it on her head.


Sometimes I really wished that I had siblings.


~*~


The three of us were huddled together on my bed. Dom was painting her nails a neon orange, Eve had a book on her lap, and I was sprawled across my pillow idly. We could hear Savannah and Rachael bitching about people in the beds next to us, but their words were muffled by the thick, green curtains.


“You have peeling feet, Dom,” Eve remarked, flicking Dom’s big toe. Dom leant over her long, perfectly tanned legs to inspect her feet.


“Shit, you’re right!” she groaned. “It’s my new platforms. They make my feet all sweaty and gross.” I pulled a face, picking at the chipped varnish on my own toenails.


“Repaint my toes, would you, Dom?” I begged her, as she was sure not to smudge the paint all the way up my ankle like Eve had done once. Dom nodded happily, reaching for a bottle of ‘Purple Panic!’. I shoved a foot onto her lap and collapsed back on the pillows, my hair splayed out all around me. Eve turned over a page of her book.


“What do you think of James and Fred?” I suddenly asked, as Dom started on my little toe.


“What do you mean?” She had her tongue out in concentration.


“Well…don’t you think it’s a little odd- them suddenly hanging out with us so much?”


“Depends on how you look at it,” Dom replied. “They’re both my cousins, so while it’s weird that they suddenly want to act all pally in school, it’s not as if I find their company weird.” Dom finished my right foot, and moved over to start on the left one.


“I know what Hollie means though,” Eve chipped in. “We barely speak to them for, what? 6 years? And now – POW! – we’re all friends.”


“It is pretty nice though,” I admitted. “I like having someone other than you lot to mess around with.” I got a pillow thrown in my face.


“It’s just happening so fast,” Eve continued. “I hardly know them, and at the same time I feel like I’ve known them forever.”


“I do know that we have to get James into a proper relationship,” I said firmly. “He’s actually such a romantic!”


“Oh?” Dom raised an eyebrow. “And how would you know?”


“Just some stuff he was telling me while we were in the rafters yesterday,” I shrugged.


“Oh yeah,” Dom screwed the lid back onto her nail varnish bottle. “Was it just me, or did Rose and Scorpius seem to actually be getting along last night?”


“They’re definitely getting better,” I nodded. “And the fact that Rose even forgot about Trisha in the broom cupboard for a while shows that she must’ve been distracted by Scorpius.” But, I mean, who wouldn’t be?


Eve stretched and yawned, “I’m in the mood for a film tonight. Hol? Got anything?”


“Of course,” I winked and slid off the bed, rummaging in the cupboard for a moment before bringing out my portable, muggle DVD player that had been adapted in a way that I can recharge it’s batteries with a simple spell. I pulled out my all-time favourite movie, ‘The Titanic’ shortly behind it. “Anyone feeling up for a few twanged heartstrings?” I giggled, setting it all up on the bed. We snuggled in amongst the pillows and fluffy blankets, and began to watch as the opening credits rolled up the screen. I even forgot about that dreaded ‘D’ staining the pages of my transfiguration essay for a while, caught up in the spellbinding story of Jack and Rose (who were actually quite similar to Scorpius and Rose, now that I thought about it).


Disclaimer- nothing belongs to moi.


a/n:
~Hello everyone, and hello to a plotty chapter (at last)! Sorry this wasn’t a particularly quick update- life’s been busy. But anyway, excuses aside, what did you think of this chapter? I’m not entirely happy with it to be honest, but hopefully it gives you a better insight into the characters’ minds. I’m sorry if people hate Hollie’s attitude towards Lorren etc, but it’s a part of her personality that I wanted to show. Also, I got Dom’s random lunch time quote from the back of an innocent smoothie carton, which I was drinking while writing that part of the story :D. A few lines from the film Mean Girls were adapted, so I don’t own them either. Please leave a review if you have a spare moment, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks for all the support so far- 31 favourites after only 3 chapters? I’m blown away! Plus YAY I finally have a banner- thanks Marzipan

Chapter 5: The Discussions
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It was eight o’clock the next morning, and as I carefully plucked my eyebrows, I went over everything I knew about James Potter so that I could begin my hunt for his perfect girlfriend.


It sounds creepy doesn’t it? The love-obsessed teenage girl, staring into a mirror (and probably drooling a bit) whilst yanking hair from her skin and analysing the characteristics of a 17-year-old boy who she has recently become friendly with.


But honestly, what did you expect? That I was just going to let the most popular single guy at Hogwarts walk around without a girlfriend? That I was going to wait until he asked out another Savannah Woods? Honestly, you people don’t know me at all. Although sometimes, I don’t even know me, so I suppose I can let you off.


But here’s what I had so far:


Firstly, he was a regulation hottie. The angular cheekbones, tanned, muscular body, soft-looking black hair and dreamy eyes all screamed this at me. Yep, James was very good-looking -you’d have to be blind to not realise that. I didn’t really know where he got it all from- his parents weren’t stunningly attractive, and neither were his grandparents. Albus and Lily were nice looking, but didn’t have that strange, alluring other quality that James did (one that I couldn’t quite put my finger on). James must just be a very yummy genetic anomaly then.


Ok, then I knew that he was romantic, but not the overly soppy, almost girly type of boyfriend though. Guys like that should just become gay and get over it. He seems to stress about things quite a lot; when we were in the rafters, when he thought his broom was broken. Oh, and he pushes people in lakes then helps them out again, which is utterly counterproductive and, frankly, a bit plain odd. He plays Quidditch- but I didn’t know what position, or how enthusiastic he actually is about the sport.


Right, I definitely needed to find out a bit more about him, but I wasn’t sure how (the thought of just chatting to him didn’t even cross my mind for some reason. I blame how early in the morning it was. Yes, eight o’clock is early!). I didn’t want James to think I was stalking him though, so I’d have to be subtle. Ambiguous. That sort of thing.


Or, I could hire a ninja!


…Maybe one of the gossipmongers is secretly a ninja?! That would be amazing. Wait…I’m now imagining little firsties army crawling all over the school with pink balaclavas on their heads.


And I wonder why I’m failing so many classes.


I’d been so busy thinking about all of this that I didn’t notice the way I’d done my eyebrows all wonkily; one of them was still really bushy, and the other was barely there at all. I groaned loudly, like a whale.


“What?” asked Dom, looking up from her nails with a disturbed expression on her face. I swear to Merlin, that girl spends half her blinking life looking at her nails. Her neck’s going to grow all deformed and wonky! Like my eyebrows…


“My eyebrows!” I covered them with my hands, but Dom immediately leapt up and forced me to show her. That girl is freakishly strong.


“Oh my god. What a fail,” Dom shook with funny little bursts of laughter. “You better get Eve to fix it for you, or you’ll look like a tramp all day. Oh you idiot!” I slapped her arm grumpily and looked around for Eve.


“Where is Eve?” I asked. “I swear she was here a minute ago.”


“She went down to the common room,” Dom giggled and grabbed my arm, pulling me down the worn steps after her. “Evey! Hollie has a little problem!” she sang at the top of her voice, and I sighed, wondering why I couldn’t have normal friends.


“I hate you,” I informed her.


“Aw! Love you too, Hol!” Dom pinched my cheek affectionately.


We scoured the room, but Eve was nowhere to be seen.


“She must’ve gone down to breakfast,” I sighed, rubbing my eyebrows. “I suppose I can just get her to fix it quickly as soon as we get there.” Dom didn’t reply- she was busy climbing onto my back.


“Piggyback! Whoop!” she shrieked, poking my head to make me grudgingly move forwards.


“What are you, three?”


“You should thank me! I can give you a back massage while you walk!”


“Right,” I shook my head as I stumbled down the corridor, trying not to fall over. The last time I’d given someone a piggyback, I’d been pushed from behind by a stupid fourth year who thought it’d be funny, and ended up breaking my arm. Dom beat up that fourth year for me, because I had a broken arm and stuff so I could hardly do it myself. Plus, I’m not the ‘beating up’ sort of person, and Dom definitely is, despite all her philosophical, ‘morals’ and ‘human rights’ shit. She is one scary person if she needs to be.


“Nice eyebrows, Parker,” smirked Scorpius as he and Al strolled past. I scowled, reaching up self consciously to touch my wonky brows- completely forgetting that my hands were the things keeping Dom on my back. I went crashing forwards, knocking over Scorpius who pushed Al, who grabbed a random fifth year by her waist, who then shrieked, “SEXUAL ABUSE!” really loudly, and made a first year burst into tears and trip over her satchel.


Well, yippykayay for human dominos.


…Dominos pizza. Yum.


I found myself on top of Scorpius Malfoy for the second time in three days. How awkward. I rolled off him, onto some random person who I was pretty sure had just dove into the pile-up for the sheer hell of it. Someone’s foot was on my stomach, and I had hair in my mouth and eyes. I spat out all the hair, and was just about to get up when Professor McGonagall, Professor Shoehorn and Roxanne Weasley, the head girl, came striding down the corridor towards us (a.k.a, the huge pile of tangled limbs on the floor)- all looking pissed.


I am never, ever giving someone a piggyback again. Never. I should take an unbreakable vow, just to make sure.


“What on earth do you think you are doing?” demanded the angry voice of McGonagall, who did not sound amused. I thought about replying with some witty, Fred-worthy comment like ‘lying on the floor’, but decided against it. I wouldn’t be able to pull it off anyway- I just wasn’t that cool. Sigh. “If you are not up off the floor and walking to breakfast in precisely five seconds, you will all be getting detention!” McGonagall raved. “One! Two! Thre-“ You’d have thought that she would’ve mellowed up after the war and everything, right? Apparently wrong. I hadn’t even registered what she’d said, never mind attempted to get up off the floor, when I heard Fred (who had mysteriously appeared at the scene) interrupt McGonagall.


“Roxy! Sis! How are ya? Too cool for school? Or is it too school for cool?” Fred started laughing rather loudly, distracting the teachers long enough for us to pick our sorry arses up and dust ourselves down.


I sighed, grabbed Dom before McGonagall had a chance to regain her composure, and slipped into the crush of students heading over to the Great Hall. Fred and Roxanne caught up with us soon after, and Roxanne grinned at me,


“That was the funniest thing I’ve seen in ages!” she laughed. “Why don’t I know you again?” I blinked, confused – she’d looked annoyed with us about a minute ago.


“Wait, you’re not apeshit?” Dom phrased my thoughts so very elegantly.


“Course not,” Roxy shook her head. “But I have to act like I take my head girl duties seriously, don’t I?”


“Wow, that must be hard,” I said. Fred popped his head into the conversation with some very unnecessary introductions-


“Hollie and Dom meet Roxanne Weasley, my sensible other half but in the sisterly meaning entirely! Roxy meet Hollie Parker and Dominique Weasley, the love of my life and my cousin. Oh, wait…you know Dom of course…being her cousin too…” Fred scratched his head for a moment, looking adorably confused. I resisted the urge to pat his shoulder and pinch his cheek.


“Honestly Fred, I haven’t been living under a rock for my whole life. I know the names of the people in my year! Especially my own cousin!” exclaimed Roxy, flicking her twin on the temple before turning to me. “You’re the love of Fred’s life? Didn’t know he had a girlfriend. Congratulations…I think…”


I shook my head, “I’m not his girlfriend. He’s joking.”


“I am not joking!” Fred gasped, clutching his chest. “You have just ripped out my heart and stomped on it, woman! The pain! It consumes me!” Roxy rolled her eyes.


As we approached the Gryffindor table, Roxanne peeled away from us to sit with her fellow Ravenclaws. Eve glanced up briefly as we sat down next to her, stared at my face for a moment, and then lazily flicked her wand at me- immediately sorting my eyebrows out. Wow, how simple. Maybe I should think about learning some useful magic like that.


Fred leant across and stole some bacon from Eve’s plate, stuffing it all in his mouth before mumbling, “GottagoQuidditchbye,” and skipping out of the Great Hall. Skipping. I think he’s secretly a little girl. With ribbons in his hair and everything. Maybe he has a big set of ‘Barbies’ in his dorm that he plays with every evening. I make a mental note to ask James about this later.


The post arrived in a flurry of wings (and a few owl droppings splashing into cups). A letter from my parents dropped neatly into my lap, and I opened it quickly, popping a bite of toast into my mouth at the same time.


My Darling, my mum began in her neat, almost child-like handwriting.


It was so lovely to hear about all the things you girls have been getting up to in your letter last week. The thing with whatshisname and the classical music sounds particularly hilarious! Ah yes, Dom’s little brother, Louis, had developed a passion for creepy music recently. He may or may not have performed a synchronised dance with some of his friends in the middle of the great hall last week, after we told him that it would get him loads of girls. That was fun.


I have to say, Hogwarts just sounds more and more fantastic each time I hear a crazy new story from you.


It’s been quiet at home recently- Dad got that new job at thingymebob, and he’s working a lot. It’s good though, because I’ve been able to buy a nice new kitchen table! You’ll be able to see it when you come home for Christmas. Oh, Bill and Flower (My mum called Fleur ‘Flower’- much to the amusement of Dom) have invited your dad and I round for Christmas dinner, and we accepted because we thought you’d enjoy spending the day with your friends. Your other friend, Eve? Yes, she’s been invited too of course. It should be great fun! I’m practising my new cookie recipe so the Parker family will arrive prepared!


Now I have to say some motherly things now, or I shall feel like a neglectful parent. So have you been eating healthily? No drugs, sex or rock ‘n roll? Remember darling, your studies are very important this year. I don’t know much about how it’s done in the wizarding world, but just try your best, and I’m sure it’ll be good enough. (I felt a pang of guilt after reading those words.)


Lots and lots of love,


Mum (and Dad says hi) xx


P.S. We had to take Deefur to the vets yesterday. He has a stomach ulcer, but he’ll be fine- don’t worry! We’ll keep you updated, sweetie.


Deefur was the family dog- an adorable chocolate Labrador who I loved very much. He’d been named by me, when I was about five years old- ‘Deefur dog’. D for dog was what I’d been trying to say, but it just sounded like Deefur. I’d been gutted when I realised that I wouldn’t be able to take him to Hogwarts with me, so now I prayed that he was alright.


“My whole family are spending Christmas Day at yours this year, Dom,” I say to her with a strained smile.


“Blimey, adults plan ahead, don’t they? It’s not even November yet!”


“Well, it will be in three days,” Eve grinned.


“Can Deefur come too? I love that dog.” Dom asked me cheerily.


“Hopefully,” I looked away. Dom, being the amazing bestie that she is, immediately knew that something was up. She stared at me, one eyebrow raised,


“Better out than in, Hol! What’s wrong?”


“Deefur,” I admitted reluctantly. “He’s sick. Mum had to take him to the vets.”


“What are vets?” Dom asked, confused.


“Animal doctors.”


“What are doct-“


“Healers,” I cut across her. “Mum says he has a stomach ulcer.” Dom looked more upset than I did, her face paling. It really didn’t help to quell my own fears.


“He’ll be alright though, right? I mean, of course, those muggle medicines are absolute crap, but surely old Deefur will be tough enough to pull through. Yeah?”


“Yeah,” I mumbled, suddenly imagining what it’d be like if Deefur died. He was like the brother I’d never had, always there, looking up to me, following me around the garden. He had this one spot, just behind the ear, that he loved being tickled in- and if I stopped he would give me this heart-melting look that made me immediately wrap my arms around his neck and kiss his head, breathing in that warm, dog smell. Some people don’t think that your pet can mean that much to you, but actually, they’re a part of your family; in all the photographs, all the best memories, all the worst memories. Although, our family hasn’t had many bad memories to be honest.


I stood up, and decided to go back to the dorm for a bit. Dom and Eve watched me anxiously as I walked out of the Great hall, but I was honestly fine. Just a bit shaken up.


On the way to the common room however, I changed my mind and decided to get a bit of fresh air. I wasn’t really an outdoors-y kind of person, but now and then I enjoyed walking next to the lake and watching the seemingly endless expanse of water shifting and rippling in the wind. I stood there for a long moment, slightly lost in thought. Except I wasn’t really thinking about anything in particular- just whatever happened to swim through my mind, I would fish out and mull over for a few seconds, before letting it go again. It was kind of weird. I had never been the contemplative type, preferring to always be busy doing something instead of sitting, thinking, wondering about life, the universe, and blah blah blah.


Suddenly, I became aware of someone next to me. James, wandering back up from the Quidditch pitch, had obviously spotted me and come over to say hi. I was sort of pleased that he was here, and he smiled at me, rubbing the back of his neck. I smiled back, and looked at the lake again. Neither of us spoke but I was shivering, so James immediately pulled off his jacket and wrapped it round my shoulders, his hands lingering there for a moment. I was pleased he’d done it- even though it was a bit old and clichéd, it meant I could add ‘chivalrous’ to my mental list of James Potter’s attributes. The jacket smelt really nice, like…peppermint and strawberry creams. I breathed in the scent happily, looking up and meeting James’s eyes. He was gazing at me intently; his expression the same as Dom’s had been earlier.


“Are you alright?” he asked finally.


“Yeah…sort of,” I wrapped his jacket more tightly around myself to keep out the chilly breeze.


“Ok,” he says, clearing the autumn leaves off a nearby tree stump so we could sit down. “Do you want to talk about it?”


I think that I might melt any second now from the adorable cuteness.


“It’s not really a big deal,” I reply, sitting down anyway.


“Yeah, but it doesn’t always have to be,” James cocked his head to one side, looking at me sideways. The breeze ruffled up his already windswept black hair.


“My dog, Deefur, is really sick,” I confess. “I just got a letter from my mum saying she’s taken him to the vets- animal doctors.” I look at my hands with a sigh, and James puts his arm around me in a comforting, brotherly gesture.


I’m honestly so unbelievably glad that I partnered with him that time in potions. I may have only known him properly for a week, but Eve’s right, it feels like I’ve known him and Fred forever. It’s really strange. And I don’t even know what his favourite colour is or anything! I mean, Dom’s is pale blue and Eve’s is a dark, grungy green.


Mine’s pink. In case anyone was wondering.


“I’m sure Deefur’ll be ok,” James says in such a convincing tone. I have to remind myself that he’s never even seen Deefur, that’s how much I believe what he’s saying. “What’s wrong with him?”


“He’s got a stomach ulcer.”


“Oh,” James says simply. He squeezes my hand and I immediately feel better.


“What’s your favourite colour?” I ask suddenly. He looks at me quizzically, so I elaborate. “It’s just…I feel like I know you really well, but then I still don’t know you at all…if that makes sense,” I smile faintly, “And, I mean, that’s sort of the first thing you ask, right?” James laughs at this, a really nice, rich laugh. He doesn’t sound like a donkey in the way that I always do when I’m laughing.


Chivalrous. Check. Nice laugh. Check.


“That’s true,” he grins, scratching his nose. “Well, I like white. I like how it’s a mixture of all the other colours, and how flawless it is, and how it can be so intimidating and so beautiful at the same time.”


Poetic. Check.


“I know what you mean about it being intimidating,” I nod. “Like when you’re in an exam and there’s this horrible, white piece of paper on the desk in front of you, and you get all panicky and your brain goes blank and fuzzy.”


“Yeah, that’s exactly it,” James says, and then continues. “What’s your favourite colour then?”


“Pink. Really pale pink, like rose petals, because it’s so pretty and dainty and makes me think of romantic movies and candyfloss.”


We sit in comfortable silence for a while longer, and then decide to walk back up to the castle for the first lesson. It’s a really beautiful morning, even if it’s a bit cold. The sky’s a serene sort of blue colour, dotted with fluffy clouds, and the whole of Hogwarts looks like something out of a fairytale. I suddenly feel so thankful that I’m a witch, and don’t go to some modern, muggle high school in an ugly concrete building, like the ones in our neighbourhood back home. I remember the day I got my Hogwarts letter- I had thought it was some sort of stupid trick. I mean, I’d always thought that witches were green and warty, and ate little girls for dinner- that’s what they were like in all the stories my dad had read to me- so it’d taken a fair amount of getting used to. But I couldn’t imagine my life without Hogwarts; I loved every single spider, portrait and trick step in this place. I loved the parties, and the food, and the common rooms, and the lake, and Hagrid’s hut, and all the people-


“Well, isn’t this a sickeningly cute little encounter?” sneered a voice from the left. “I have to say Potter, I’m surprised you’ve sunk so low.” Okay. Not all of the people. James stiffened and frowned as Savannah Woods and Rachael Adams strolled over to stand in front of us, smirking at each other.


“We’re not together,” I blurt out, knowing that we should just walk off and ignore them, but apparently not having the willpower to keep my mouth shut. “Not that it’s any of your business.”


Seriously? James and I? A couple? That’s ridiculous.


“Oh, don’t worry, Parker. You will never be together. Trust me,” Savannah hisses her empty threat, sounding totally pathetic and a little freaky.


Ok, I’ve changed my mind. Now I wish that James would ask me out just so I could rub it in that little bitch’s face. Actually, I want him to ask me out right now, on the spot, in front of them. And I’d say yes as well, if it weren’t for the fact that I’m really not good girlfriend material.


It’s sad, isn’t it? The one girl who wants a proper relationship more than any other person in Hogwarts is, frankly, a rubbish girlfriend. I get too distracted in other people’s love lives to focus on my own, and when I do focus, I’m constantly searching for flaws in it. And I always find some. Which, you know, depresses me and keeps me awake at night, wondering if there really is a perfect someone out there for me -or whether it’s all just some big sell-out ideal.


No, I’m better off single for now.


Anyway. Mini self-doubting session over.


“Yeah,” Rachael says, smirking. “Why would James want to date a midget with bad hair and morning breath?” I flush furiously, feeling James tense up even more beside me. He glares at the two girls,


“Leave her alone, Adams. You’re both being pathetic.”


“Oh, we’re pathetic?” Savannah snorted unattractively. “She,” she points at me, “Has a ‘precious soap’ collection with her two freaks for friends. How’s that for pathetic?” Savannah sneers at me, as if she’s just revealed some deep, dark secret. James just laughs,


“I used to collect the interesting twigs in my garden,” he says calmly. “And soap is a much cooler thing to collect than twigs anyway.”


“Well, you’re pathetic too then!” Savannah narrowed her eyes at him. “I always knew you were a poof, Potter.” I glared at her so fiercely that I was surprised the flesh didn’t melt off her face. James seemed unfazed though, merely shrugging. Skirting around Rachael and Savannah, James and I continued walking back up to the castle.

 

I breathed a sigh of relief once we were clear of them. Who knew what else they could drag up to embarrass me?


“I don’t actually have a precious soap collection, you know,” I tell James. “It’s Eve’s.”


“I did actually have a twig collection,” he smirked. “And I named every twig, too. There was Albert, and Nora, and Brogan, and Bill, and Archie-”


I burst out laughing. “Aw, you’re such a freak.”


“Aren’t we all freaks, in some unique way?”


“Wow. Deep.”


Freakishly deep?”


I giggled.


~*~


The five of us were sitting on the sofas in the Gryffindor common room, attracting more than a few curious stares. I had some potions notes spread out on the table, James was reading, Eve and Dom were poking each other, and Fred was scribbling something furiously. I could hardly believe it; we were actually being normal people for a change.


It was only a matter of time before someone got bored now.


James put his book down and yawned, half watching Eve and Dom in their poke war.


“They’re freaks, aren’t they?” I say to him with a grin, leaning against the sofa. He chuckles, putting his feet up on the coffee table.


“I think I still have the freak crown.”


“We’ll see,” I wiggled my (nicely shaped) eyebrows menacingly. Sort of.

 

Dom stopped poking Eve and glanced at Fred,“What are you writing? I didn’t know you could write!!” Fred huffed, and put his quill down. It rolled off the table and clattered to the floor.


“I'm writing my last will and testament!” he announces proudly.


Silence.


I raise a (perfectly plucked) eyebrow.


“Err…why?” James asks.


“Because Professor Trelawney predicted my death today!” Fred whined. “And I wanted to make sure that all my cool stuff didn’t go to waste on Molly or someone.”


“Hey!” yelled Molly Weasley from across the room. “I heard that, you prat!”


“You’re my favourite cousin really, Molly!” Fred shouts back, then adds to us in an undertone. “She’s probably my least favourite, tied with Hugo.”


“What’s wrong with Hugo?” I wonder. He always seemed cheerful when I saw him around the school.


“He killed my pet woodlouse! Killed it! Squashed it dead!”


“Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss,” I deadpan.


Dom rolls her eyes, and grabs Fred’s will from the table. Clearing her throat, she begins to read,


“The last will and testament of Frederick Remus Weasley. Fred is the coolest, and his word is gospel. YOLO. I realise the true significance of this motto now. Dear mummy, please don’t ever look in that box under my bed if you value your life. Which you should. Just saying.” Dom snorted, quickly reading the rest, as the rest of us fell about laughing. Fred looked offended,


“Hey! If any of you could do better, then by all means, be my guest!”


“Dom,” I say in heartfelt voice. “I leave you my moisturiser, in the hope that it will save the utter disaster that is your face.”


“I leave Hollie my toenail clippings!” Dom screeches.


“I leave my nail varnishes to Fred!”


“James can have my cat suit!”


“Gee, I’m honoured.”


“You should be!”


“Dom, why do you even own a cat suit?” Eve asks, horrified.


“Eve, I generously give you my ancient runes textbook.”


“I don’t even take runes!”


“Well, here’s your chance then!”


“My broom goes to James,” Fred says, scribbling it down.


Silence falls as we all hastily write down a list of our possessions, and who we’ll give them to after we die. Such a cheerful way to spend your evening.


“I can’t decide who to leave my underwear to,” Dom sighs. “Flame Flanders or Leonard McGuire? What do you think, girls?”


“Flame Flanders,” Eve says, “Definitely! He’s a better singer, and he has this really dreamy voice…” she sighs.


“I agree with Eve,” I add.


“But Leonard has such gorgeous hair!” Dom moans.


“Well, leave your knickers to Flame and your bras to Leonard then!” I chirp.


“Good idea!” exclaims Dom, writing this down.


“Don’t we need witnesses, to make this official?” I ask.


“Yeah, and a lawyer too.”


“I’ll be a lawyer!” James bounces up and down on the sofa.


“We can all sign each others’ papers then.”


I sign everyone’s last will and testament (if they can be called that), shaking my head at how weird we all are. Ah well. All I could do now was pray that no-one died before the end of Hogwarts. And really, what were the chances of that happening?


Although, with people like Savannah Woods roaming free, I wouldn’t venture out alone at night.


Author's note-- Hi! So this was a bit of a filler, but with some fluffy Hollie/James moments for you all! I’m getting my tenses a bit muddled up at times, but i’ll go back and edit it all later. Ok, I know some of you probably think this story is looking a bit like a Fred/Hollie at times- but, frankly, it’s not! Nor is it Hollie/Scorpius, even though I know it’s weird how she keeps finding herself on top of him and stuff. Wow, i must be really confusing you all with this. :P Thanks for all the support so far, i’ve enjoyed reading every review so, so much- but please remember to keep things 12+ (I had one review deleted). The next chapter might take a while, as I’m on holiday in France with limited internet access (holidays! Yay!). But I’ll do my best! <3 Love you all! -Annon 



Disclaimer- I don’t own Dominos Pizza. Or Barbies. Or anything else. 

 
 


Chapter 6: The Big Boom
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Teddy Lupin’s office wasn’t half bad, really. I mean, compared to McGonagall or Shoehorn’s offices it was positively glamorous. There was a poster of Flame Flanders on the wall, which was pretty cool- and he had this super-awesome lava lamp on the windowsill as well, with purple goo floating around inside it. The alien-glow light from the lamp made the framed photograph of Dom’s sister, Victoire, look hideously ugly- which I knew Dom would be only too pleased about. The chairs were ridiculously comfy too- soft, with lots of squishy cushions- which was probably why Teddy himself was currently hunched over his desk, snoring.


This was the best tutoring session ever.


I sat in front of Teddy, vaguely twiddling my thumbs, and wondering whether I should just leave or sit it out here for the entire hour and a half. I could see the light slowly leaching out of the sky through the small window, and half-watched a large spider crawling across the ceiling- climbing over each uneven bump as if it were a mountain- and hoped that it didn’t fall on my head.


A particularly loud snort from Teddy made me jump slightly, and look over at him curiously. His long, blue hair was splayed across the desk and kept changing colour from dark to light, shimmering softly like water. I could definitely see why Victoire had fallen for him- they both had sparkly hair. I had to admit, Dom hadn’t been as lucky as her sister hair-wise. Whilst Victoire had shiny, Veela-silver hair, Dom’s was curly and brownish-red. But, obviously, Dom was much cooler than her uptight, prim and proper sis. I had to say that though, it’s just simple bro code.


Eve was probably the prettiest of us three- her large, dark eyes seemed to swallow you up every time you looked in them, and I swear, she never had a bad hair day. It was always so spotlessly styled! Not a strand out of place. Then her mocha-coloured skin was smooth and flawless and milky. She was so lucky- I had freckles and a light dusting of acne on my forehead that just never cleared up.


I pulled out a nail file and began working on my thumb nail. I wasn’t going to waste a whole hour and a half, was I?


I wondered what Teddy might be dreaming about right now. I sincerely hoped that it had nothing to do with Victoire.


Time passed, the clock moving at an agonisingly slow pace. I helped myself to a couple of biscuits that I’d found while rummaging around in the desk drawers. I also found a book of jokes (?), a bouncy ball, a toothpick, a single chess piece and a broken quill. I pocketed the bouncy ball, but left the rest alone. Who even used toothpicks these days anyway?


…This was boring.


I wanted something interesting to happen, like a volcanic eruption, or a lightning storm, or a band of criminals suddenly breaking into the room and kidnapping me, or-


BOOM.


The ground shook beneath my feet as the sound of a muffled explosion reached my ears. A thin trickle of dust fell from the ceiling into my hair as a second, louder blast shook the walls. I jumped up in a panic, regretting wishing for anything exciting to happen. A scared jumble of thoughts ran through my mind; Savannah had just murdered James, Fred had blown up a classroom, Voldemort had returned from the afterlife, a plague of locusts had descended upon us, an evil dude with a chainsaw had…had…


I heard screams from several floors above.


What the hell was going on?


Leaving Teddy to his beauty sleep, I rushed out of the room to try and find out. My bag was digging into my arm as I ran through the corridors, looking for familiar faces. But the castle was eerily empty; if it hadn’t been for the sounds of a kerfuffle upstairs I could’ve bet good money that I was the only one here. Just as I was about to give up, I spotted Roxy hurrying out of a nearby classroom with a Ravenclaw girl called Annie Summers. She spotted me and made a strange, pained noise.


“Hollie, have you got any idea what’s happening?”


“No, sorry,” I shook my head, feeling worried. “I was with Professor Lupin when I heard this massive explosion.” I decided to save the story of how he was asleep the entire time for Dom and Eve later on.


“Oh, God!” Roxy pulled her dark hair. “It sounds like a war’s broken out up there! We’d better go and help, Annie,” she looked at her fair-haired, petite friend, and then at me. “Hollie, come with us! We know which way to go.”


I hadn’t even realised that I was lost.


We ran up countless flights of crumbly, grey staircases until we emerged into the bright light of the Entrance Hall. I suppose it wasn’t really that bright, but after the gloom of the corridors down below, it seemed very bright indeed. I couldn’t immediately see what was wrong because there was such a throng of people surrounding something in the middle of the room. But then I stood on my toes to look over everyone’s heads, and felt my heart sink like a stone.


Rose and Scorpius. Duelling. Intensely.


And with such looks of hatred on their faces that I felt like cowering in fright.


I nearly did.


A particularly violent spell hit the wall behind me and caused the ground to rumble and little cracks to appear by my feet; God, what if they killed each other?!


“Holy shit!” breathed Roxy from beside me, pushing through the crowd to try and reach Professors McGonagall, Flitwick and Shoehorn who were attempting to reach the two angry teenagers, but failing because they were constantly being shoved back by the students clamouring to watch. A few first years screamed shrilly as bits of stone fell from the ceiling with a crash, and the air was alive with the hiss and hum of spells. Meanwhile, Scorpius and Rose were oblivious to their surroundings, completely caught up in the fight.


I was left with Annie- who grimaced at me. “Gosh, I wonder why they’re fighting?”


“It’s over something stupid, I bet,” I muttered in reply, trying to stop my toes from getting trodden on.


“What if someone got seriously injured?” Annie said, her pretty face scrunched with concern.


“Oh, God!” I sighed. “This is a disaster!”


“I know, the professors are going to be mad for weeks after this. And I can’t even bear to think about what they’ll do to Rose and Scorpius!”


“No, I meant this!” I pointed at my purple shoes, which were now covered in mud and the marks from the soles of people’s trainers. Annie laughed slightly, shaking her head.


Ok, so I’m a bit of a brat. But when things get too out of control I tend to focus my thoughts on smaller, more insignificant things to help myself deal with anything big. So right now it was just easier to think about my shoes than to worry about the marathon of a duel raging right in front of me and all the implications it would have on the rest of us.


And, you know, these shoes hadn’t been cheap either. Eve would understand.


Annie nudged me and pointed at Rose, “Listen! They’re yelling at each other now.” She seemed half intrigued, half horrified as she watched.


“Always. Insulting. Every. Single. Thing. ABOUT ME!” screamed Rose. “I’ve had enough! JUST GO TO FUCKING HELL!”


“You complete psycho!” Scorpius snarled, blocking a jet of purple light easily. “I’d gladly go to hell if it meant I didn’t have to see your fuck-ugly face.”


“THERE YOU GO AGAIN! God, I hate you! I wish you’d never been born, you complete arsehole!”


“Oh, well I’m sorry if I’m upsetting precious ickle Rosie! Does she need a cuddle from famous mummy and daddy to make her feel better? No? WELL MAYBE SHE SHOULD JUST MAN UP A BIT THEN!”


Don’t bring my parents into this, Malfoy!” Rose warned, sending another jinx at him. Scorpius didn’t reply, too busy dodging and ducking and casting his own spells to bother. Then he looked up briefly as the spells stopped, and sneered.


“Oh, look! Hiding behind your cousins again are we, Weasley?”


“Stop it!” snapped James angrily, who was clutching one of Rose’s arms- Hugo had the other. As the dust settled over the scene, I saw Albus standing next to Scorpius- but he was glaring at him fiercely. Roxanne was with Rose, screaming at all the students to shut up.


“She’s a good head girl, isn’t she?” Annie whispered in my ear. I nodded automatically, too shocked and upset by everything I’d just witnessed to listen to her. I thought they’d been getting better! I thought they were almost tolerant of each other now! I wildly searched for Dom and Eve as the Professors stormed onto the scene, grabbing Rose (who was now sobbing) and Scorpius (who was stony faced and silent) by the wrists and marching them off. James went with Rose to comfort her. No-one went with Scorpius.


I had no idea how I felt about that.


Luckily, Dom and Eve found me only a little while later and launched themselves on top of me.


“Ohmygod, PHEW! Hollie! We had no idea where you were, WHERE THE FUCK WERE YOU?”


All I could do was raise my eyebrows at the catastrophe to our right and mouth, “shit.” They nodded gravely; Eve was looking shell-shocked and Dom looked a little insane- bloodshot eyes and a fake grin plastered on her face (I had no idea why). Annie stood a little way behind us, frantically texting someone. Mobile phones became extremely popular among the students of Hogwarts as soon as the first muggle-borns introduced them. It seemed as though everyone had one these days, apart from the hardcore purebloods like Scorpius and the Notts, whose parents had strictly forbidden it.


Dom was shaking her head sadly now, looking at the retreating figures of Rose and Scorpius. “Arguments,” she growled. “If you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!”


It was weird hearing her say that in such a menacing voice, because my mum would always lecture me with this line in a depressingly chirpy, cheerful one.


Eve shook her head, looking slightly irritated. “It’s not that simple, Dom! Sometimes people just have to say what’s on their mind or they’ll go mad. Like me, for instance. If I didn’t argue with you, I’d probably end up killing you instead!”


“Well, they almost did kill each other just then,” I stated dully.


Annie wandered back over to us, “Hi Dom, Eve. Anyone see where Roxy went? I want to go check she’s alright- she gets stressed out easily. Probably hyperventilating in a corner right now.”


Hmm, that was funny. James got stressed out easily as well. Must run in the family a bit.


“Yeah, she went into the Great Hall,” Dom replied.


“Thanks! See you, Hollie.” Annie walked off quickly, brushing a loose strand of hair behind her ear. She was extraordinarily nice.


And then it hit me.


“Oh my god!” I yelped, clutching Dom’s arm. “Annie! Annie…her…James…stressed…HOLY…ARGH!”


“What the hell, Parker?” Eve raised an eyebrow.


“Annie and James!” I spluttered excitedly. “They’re perfect for each other!” Eve and Dom frowned, watching Annie walk into the Great Hall.


“Are you sure? I mean… they’re a bit… I don’t know-“


“Ssh! They are perfect! We’re setting them up!”


Eve looked a bit disgruntled and doubtful, but Dom shrugged. “Okay, whatever.”


Why are they being so unenthusiastic about this? It’s so obvious! They will be the cutest couple ever. Annie was the sort of innocently sweet, inconspicuous person that would suit James down to the ground. Whenever I saw her around the school, she was always a) smiling or b) helping a lost first year. She was just nice. And James was sweet (even if he seemed a little arrogant to people who didn’t know him). So sweet + nice = perfect relationship.


Now I just had to think of a way for them both to realise that for themselves. But that should be a piece of cake; after all, that was what I did best.


Happy sigh.


~*~


We were huddled round a table in the library, discussing plans for The Awesome And Supreme Brain-Child of Eve. With the recent Scorpius/Rose explosion (quite literally) the situation was really quite dire. We had to think of where we could possibly get four more emotions.


Eve had made a list.


Emotions We Have Collected For The Awesome And Supreme Brain-Child of Eve So Far In Order Of Most Recently To Least Recently: Anger, boredom, jealousy, hatred, joy, sadness, frustration, irritation, disgust, anxiety, anticipation, shame, pity, pride, patience, hope.


“What else can we get easily?” Eve asked anxiously, chewing the end of her quill. I ran a hand through my hair, trying to think of an emotion that wasn’t already on our list.


“Happiness?” Dom suggested.


“That’s the same as joy,” I pointed out.


“Yes, but is it?” she replied mysteriously.


“Are you willing to risk it?” Eve snapped. Dom sulked. I rested my head on my hands, but then suddenly had a brainwave.


“Guys!” I said. “What about tiredness?” Eve scanned the list and smiled,


“Great! We can get that quite easily.”


“Um…” Dom thought for a while. “Epicness!”


“That’s not an emotion,” Eve rolled her eyes.


“It could be! How do you know? Maybe it’s just that no-one’s ever felt it yet.”


“Fear…Surprise…Panic...” Eve murmured, jotting them all down and ignoring Dom completely. But Dom grabbed the quill and wrote ‘EPICNESS’ in huge writing across the paper.


“Ugh, you are so annoying!” Eve glared. Dom stuck her tongue out. I laughed.


“Right, which one do we do first?” I asked, but Eve hushed me hastily and hid the list under the table as James trudged over to our table, running a hand through his hair.


“Hi,” he said wearily. “Just finished comforting Rose. God, she and Malfoy really need to sort out their differences. Someone could’ve been properly injured in all that.” James collapsed into the spare seat next to me.


“That’s exactly what Annie said,” I remarked absent-mindedly.


“Who’s Annie?” James asked, confused.


“Annie Summers. She’s Roxy’s friend.” I try to subtly gauge his reaction, noticing Eve and Dom doing the same.


“Oh! Summers, yeah. She was at Fred’s house once.”


“Yeah, anyway,” Dom interrupted, shooting me a glance, though I wasn’t sure what for. “What’s their punishment?”


“Rose and Scorpius’s?”


“Mmm.”


“Well they’re lucky they weren’t expelled, but they got four months of detention each and Rose had her prefect’s badge taken away. Plus, they wrote home,” James shudders. “So I’d expect a howler from Aunt Hermione, Dom.”


Eve sighed, “I guess any chance of those two getting together is pretty much non-existent now then.”


James made a noncommittal noise, frowning. “Oh yeah, I need to ask you something Dom.”


“Shoot.”


“Ryan Davies is looking for a reserve keeper, and because he thought I could persuade you being your cousin and all, he sent me to ask if you’d be up for it?”


“The Slytherin captain asked the Gryffindor captain to persuade Dom into being Slytherin’s reserve keeper? I don’t know much about Quidditch, but that seems a bit odd,” Eve frowned.


“Well, I’m not bothered by it- don’t agree with all the stupid ‘rivals’ hype off of the pitch. Don’t even like Quidditch all that much.”


“If you don’t like Quidditch, then why for the love of Merlin are you the captain?” I asked incredulously. James shuffled awkwardly on his seat,


“My Dad was pleased I got asked,” he muttered obscurely, avoiding all eye contact with us. “But anyway- Dom?”


“Why do they even need a reserve keeper?” Dom asked, “And why me? I mean, I can sort of play but not that well.”


“Didn’t you hear how Slytherin’s keeper is really sick? Some weird creature-thing bit him last weekend and he hasn’t recovered yet.”


“Ok…but still, why me?”


James just shrugged, rocking back and forth on his chair. “What should I tell Davies? Preferably something short. Don’t want to talk to him for longer than necessary, he creeps me out a bit.”


I smirked and shot James a look. He raised an eyebrow. I kicked his leg.


“I suppose I can give it a shot,” Dom took up a very stern expression. “But if I break a single nail, then I’m outta there!”


James started laughing quietly, and soon we were all laughing- even Dom. The librarian shushed us, but we all carried on anyway. It felt too nice to stop, and the librarian just shrugged, going back to her book. Madam Douglas was a sweetie, really. She didn’t really care about what people did in the library, as long as her precious books didn’t get damaged. She was absolutely nothing like the horrible old bat before her, Madam Pince. Although, it did mean that nerds like Ed Sampson tended to throw hissy fits when the incessant giggling and chatting became too loud, and the Restricted Section had become a bit of a free-for-all, too.


Ah, well. It wasn’t like I spent much time up here anyway.


Author’s note: Eep, so mission ScoRose isn’t looking too groovy is it? I hope I wrote that duel scene alright, couldn’t tell whether I should make it longer or not- and this is a bit of a shorter chapter anyway. Also, what did you all think of Annie Summers? Anyone else find her adorable (even if you do probably hate me for introducing her to Hollie, who’s now determined to get her together with James)? Thoughts on Teddy, and why he might’ve been asleep?

 

I can officially say that this is the first time I have ever used the word ‘kerfuffle’ in a story. I am also officially in love with said word. But anyway, chapter 6 has been fun to write. I hope everyone’s having a lovely summer, by the way! (If it’s summer for you, wherever you are. If not then I hope you’re having a lovely winter /autumn /spring /life). Chapter 7 should be up by at leeast the end of August. Reviews would be awesome, guys. ;D

 


Chapter 7: The Yawning
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We had decided that the next emotion to collect would be tiredness. And, as Dom chirpily reminded us, there was ‘no time like the present!’ So we were off to the Gryffindor boys’ dormitory, as James and Fred were the only two people in this castle that it would be vaguely acceptable for us to shake awake, collect their fatigue in the love-o-meter, and then charm back to sleep again.


Hopefully they’d think it had all been a dream by the time they woke up again in a few hours. If not, we’d have the excuse of ‘we were going to prank you, but a racoon was in your dormitory and scared us away!’ all ready.


It’s lame, I know, but it was the best the three of us could come up with in a space of about three hours. So there we go.


We slunk like slinky things through the dimly lit corridors. Eve and Dom were in front of me, eyes narrowed in concentration as they navigated the way to the Gryffindor common room. The ears of my bunny slippers wibbled around as a draft of air caught them.


Don’t laugh.


It was five in the morning.


This was serious shit.


And anyway, I rock my pink-and-white fluffy bunny slippers like a boss.


“All clear ahead!” Eve whispered back. “Agents, move out!” We tiptoed across the corridor, and I wished that the Jaws theme tune would start playing just for that added atmosphere that Jaws could give even the most menial of tasks. My mum used to have it playing while she did the washing up. She’d pretend the knives were shark fins in the soapy water.


My mum was epic.


“Stop!” Eve whispered urgently. “Hide! Quick!” Without questioning it, we dove behind some handy suits of armour, holding our breath as light footsteps made their way towards us and Mrs Norris Jr. strolled past on patrol… with Thaggie in tow?! That traitor! I elbowed Dom,


“Your psycho cat’s hooked up with Norris!” I whispered as Dom looked round and her face paled. She watched her pet stalking arrogantly behind Mrs Norris with his tail proudly stuck in the air behind him as if he was King fucking George.


I don’t know why King fucking George in particular. He sounds fucking cool though.


When the two fearsome animals had passed, we soldiered on with our mission.


The Gryffindor password was still ‘Jubilee’, so we got into their common room easily. There was a first year asleep on the couch and drooling everywhere, but he was a minimal threat and we ignored him. The stairs up to the seventh year boys’ dormitory posed the most difficult obstacle however; they were more creaky than the ones in my grandma’s ancient old place. Did they invent these specifically so that they would give away any intruders trying to sneak up them in the middle of night? So the girls had the transforming slide thing, and the boys had insane creakiness – was that the deal then?


Whatever the reason was, Eve was not a happy mission controller. She kept glaring at the floor venomously and muttering like a mad person. I ran a hand through my hair, hoping that I didn’t look too dishevelled (on the off chance that one of the guys was awake).


We slipped into James and Fred’s room.


The first thing I remember was being amazed at how the place somehow smelt like fresh laundry and orange shampoo. The smells of cleanliness! In the room of four 17-year-olds! It was like a miracle. Even our dorm didn’t smell as nice.


I’d always assumed that it was because Savannah slept in there. She was a bad smell if I ever saw one.


“Lumos,” whispered Eve softly, raising her wand high so that we could see properly and get the right bed. We’d decided to do Fred; he was the person most likely to believe it had all been a dream the next morning.


I tiptoed over to the bed I could see him sprawled across. He was wearing glow-in-the-dark yellow boxers which were decorated with red flamingos- so obviously it was the right guy. Dom passed the LOM along to me, and I was poised in position, ready to wake him up, when he screamed.


“NO! NOT THE BUTTERCUPS!”


I froze, inches away from Fred’s face. He was still asleep.


“He sleep-talks,” Eve whispered softly. “I forgot to tell you, sorry!” I rolled my eyes, and slowly moved my hand forwards to prod the bloke awake, when he sat up in bed so violently that my hair was tousled in the resulting gust of air.


“Stop! Step away from the lawnmower!” Fred whimpered loudly, thumping the bed.


“He also sleep moves,” I hissed at Eve, retreating, a little creeped out. “Should we just do James instead?”


“Ok,” Eve shrugged and checked her watch. “But hurry!”


I approached James’s bed cautiously, half listening to Fred’s unintelligible murmurs in the background. This whole operation was turning out to be far trickier than previously anticipated.


The curtains around his bed were drawn, and as I reached forwards to open them, my foot caught on something and I tripped. I desperately tried to steady myself, but another shriek form Fred (“ORCHID MURDERERS!”) threw me off, and I crashed down onto James’s bed.


Only turns out, it wasn’t James’s bed.


Joe Brown yelped from underneath me and started flailing around with the bed sheets, meaning that I became hopelessly tangled. Eve’s groan was horribly audible, along with Dom’s giggles, as Joe and I rolled onto the floor together (him screaming about assassins and demons). Then a light was flicked on, hurting my eyes with the sudden brightness, and James was standing in front of us in a tight grey t-shirt and shorts, looking suitably shocked and confused.


“Bloody hell!” Joe exclaimed, standing up and staring at the three of us. I coughed sheepishly, then realised that I was wearing a tank top from three years ago coupled with decidedly skimpy shorts and bunny slippers, meaning that Joe wasn’t staring so much at my face but at a different area of my anatomy. James, it seemed, hadn’t let this go unnoticed.


“Eyes on her face, manwhore,” he growled, and Joe backed off looking a bit embarrassed. I grinned at him impishly.


“Give me the bloody lawn fertiliser, you dumb shit,” mumbled Freddy groggily as I sighed.


“Hi there James! Fancy seeing you awake at this time of night!” I chuckled awkwardly.


“Weee’ll just be going now!” Dom announced, quickly hauling me to my feet.


“Hope you don’t mind me asking,” James paused. “But what exactly … are you doing here?”


“Yeah,” Joe frowned. “I wake up to some chick lying on top of me? Was this like, attempted rape or something?”


“Ew!” I wrinkled my nose. “No way!” I decided that I didn’t like Joe Brown all that much.


“Soap!” Dom suddenly blurted out. “I was, err, looking for some more soap for my rare soap collection!”


James looked unimpressed. “Hol told me that collection didn’t exist.” Damn, I did didn’t I?! With a lazy flick of his wand, James locked the dormitory door. Great - we were trapped until we told them the real reason. I wondered just how long we could think up alibis for until we cracked.


“…we were trying to prank you!” I tried our prefabricated excuse. “And then this racoon -” I made a hand gesture that was supposed to show the path of the ninja racoon.


“Really?” James asked with an amused grin. I couldn’t help noticing how cute his hair looked all ruffled up and messy. I was sure Annie would… admire it… as well.


“Nah, you’re right, pranking’s too mainstream for us.”


“The truth is… “ Dom began. “Well…” We looked at each other. Joe was looking disgruntled. James looked like he was having fun, his arms were crossed and he was leaning against his bed.


“Well?” he prompted.


“A… a meteorite is about to hit earth … and we came to rescue you!” James laughed,


“As much as I appreciate the thought, I don’t think a meteorite is about to hit earth.”


“How do you know?” Dom piped up. “It’s called the great mystery theory of the unknown -“ I groaned,


“Don’t go there, Dom!”


She pouted.


Which gave me an idea.


I turned on the puppy dog eyes. Wrapping my arms around my middle I blinked up at James, softening my eyes and mouth and trying to look helpless and innocent. Like a chinchilla. Or some other such cute and adorably furry little animal.


“Please just let us out? We pinky promise with sugar on top that we won’t disturb your beauty sleep ever again.”


James considered it. “Um… no.” But while he was distracted, Eve had been inching towards the door.


“Alohomora!” Eve quickly opened it with her spell and we all ran out and were half way down the stairs before the boys really realised what had happened. They didn’t follow us, but we were certain that we’d be grilled by James in the morning. Dom bellowed up the stairs with a,


“So long, suckas!” before we darted out of the portrait hole.


Well.


That was kind of awkward.


Why had I suddenly developed the unfortunate habit of falling on top of people? More particularly, why did I always find myself in situations almost as awkward as the time Voldemort hugged Draco Malfoy in the second wizarding war? It just wasn’t cool. In the slightest. And it meant that random boys like Joe Brown could perv on me in the wee hours of the morning, which is always a treat.


I was going to have to get this falling-on-top-of-people problem looked into by a professional! And no, Dom, that does not mean you, you philosophical freak.


I suddenly remembered the love-o-meter; had we even managed to get what we came for in the end? I held it up to the light, and was gratified to see a silvery, misty substance swirling in the bottom.


Eve whistled to herself happily.


~*~


I invited Annie and Roxanne to sit with us at breakfast, and they accepted cheerfully. I purposefully told Dom and Eve to sit themselves so that Annie would have to be opposite James. The two were currently discussing the recent potions project quite animatedly, but James kept shooting me side glances. They were probably to do with last night.


“How are your buttercups, Freddy? Not murdered yet?” Dom teased. Eve looked up from the Daily Prophet and tried to hide her grin.


“Huh?” Fred frowned. “How do you know about my- James, have you been telling them about my sleep-talking?” Fred asked James in a hiss. James looked up from his conversation with Annie.


“No, why?”


“They’re asking about my buttercups!”


“And your orchids,” I chipped in.


“Oh,” James chuckled. “They were in our dorm last night.”


“Really?” asked Annie, looking intrigued. “Why were you in their dorm?” Oho! Do I detect a hint of jealousy in her voice? This is a good sign indeed. *cue: creepy, knowing smile* Fred merely grumbled to himself and shovelled bacon into his mouth, earning a disapproving tut from Eve- ever the ladylike one. She’s the kind of girl to dress up as a fairy princess on Halloween instead of a slutty bunny, like I usually do. I wear my bunny slippers too. They complement the costume rather nicely.


“You know,” James said. “That is a really good question. Any of you going to tell me the truth yet?”


“We were trying to find the lost diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw…?” Dom tried, but trailed off under James’s stare. I could tell that he was getting suspicious. But we couldn’t tell him about the love potion because it was kind of top secret and may have been slightly … illegal?


We’d never really checked.


“Seriously,” James said. “I’m not going to just ignore the fact that there were three girls in my freaking bedroom last night, am I? You’re going to have to crack sometime.” He smirked.


We really had to think up a believable lie to feed the guy. And soon. But luckily, Roxy saved us from further interrogation that morning.


“Anyone want to hear about the time we were on holiday in Dubai and Fred sleepwalked into another person’s bed?”


~*~


“You know, you totally have a crush on Annie,” I said to James as we walked back to his common room together after the last lesson of the day. I was in a good mood because I’d got quite a good grade on the latest test (an A!), so I’d decided to execute stage one of the Annie/James plan: ‘planting the seed’. (of romance, duh)


“What?” he raised an eyebrow. “No I don’t.”


“Come on,” I pushed his arm playfully. “It’s so obvious!”


“What are you talking about? I barely know her!”


“So?” I paused. “Don’t you think she’s pretty?” James shuffled and harrumphed awkwardly,


“Well, yeah, I suppose but-“


“Seriously, she’s perfect for you! Trust me.”


“I’ve only recently broken up with Savannah, Hol,” James frowned. “Don’t you think it’s a little soon?”


“Well you don’t have to ask her out right now!” I said.


“Hey! Who said I was going to ask her out at all?”


“I did,” I replied smugly. “Because you will. You’ll see.” I dug my lip gloss out of my bag, and reapplied it carefully. My lips felt slightly naked without the comforting shimmer of a lip gloss. As we reached the Gryffindor common room, James suddenly stiffened.


“What?” I asked anxiously.


“Just remembered that I need to go and set up in the Gryffindor locker rooms. It’s the Gryffindor-Slytherin game tomorrow,” he sighed.


“Nervous?” I asked.


“No. More like bored of the stupid hype and fuss it all creates.”


“I’d have to agree,” I smiled slightly. “Well, I’ll see you later, yeah?”


“Definitely,” James grinned and ruffled his hair. “See you around, Parker.”


“Alright, Potter,” I rolled my eyes as he jogged off and I was suddenly left feeling rather lonely.


The space that James had been standing in seemed extremely big and empty. I hurried off to find Eve, hoping that she could fill it.


~*~


I found Eve in the dormitory, re-organising her cupboards. She often did this; and for fun too! I would never be bothered with something like that. She didn’t even look round as I came in.


“There’s a Hogsmeade notice on the notice board downstairs,” I remarked, throwing myself onto my bed and rubbing my temples, where the beginnings of a headache were emerging. “We can probably collect the rest of the emotions while we’re there. I’m hoping James asks Annie out, too!”


“Yeah,” Eve said vaguely and I wondered if she was feeling ill or something.


“Seen Dom?”


“She’s at Quidditch practice. Can’t believe she agreed to play.”


“Can’t believe Ryan Davies asked her to when the first match is tomorrow.”


“I know right.”


“Have you picked up anything new on Scorpius and Rose today?”


“Nope.”


This was weird. It wasn’t like Eve to be monosyllabic. She was usually so full of new information and facts and figures that it was hard to get her to shut up.


“You ok?”


“Yep.”


I stood up, “Eve Turner, I have been your best friend for nearly seven years. I know when something is wrong.” Eve turned round, irritated,


“I’m just tired, okay? It’s not always some big, dramatic deal.”


“I don’t make everything into a big, dramatic deal!” I protested. “I was just trying to make sure my friend was okay!”


“Well, don’t,” Eve snapped. “Leave me alone.”


“Oh, so would you rather I ignored it when you act weirdly? Or pretend that everything’s fine?!” This was horrible. Eve and I were fighting! It was always Dom and Eve who got into tiffs. This was horrible. I hated arguments.


“Yes, actually,” Eve snarled. “Sometimes, people just want a bit of personal space!” I gasped,


“What is your problem today?”


Her response, however, was cut off as Dom came barrelling into the room, her face flushed and excited. I paused. Obviously Dom had enjoyed Quidditch then.


“Ryan Davies asked me to Hogsmeade, and I said yes!” Dom blurted out in one big rush.


Eve and I both stared at her.


She agreed to go on a date with someone? Without talking to us first? Why was everyone acting so oddly today?! And besides, Ryan Davies really wasn’t the type of guy Dom was usually attracted to. He had a bit of a reputation as a ladies’ man, and was short and blonde, instead of the tall-dark-and-handsome that Dom preferred.


Dom hadn’t dated many boys from school, but plenty outside of it. I wasn’t even sure if Eve had even kissed a guy; she was very closed up about her love life which Dom and I didn’t understand. And me? I’d been on a few dates before, but only ever had one proper boyfriend. But things hadn’t worked out. Because I was a crap girlfriend.


Yeah, I know, it sucks. I’ve got used to it.


I suddenly realised that Eve and I were still staring at Dom with open mouths.


“You know, you could at least pretend to be happy for me,” Dom scowled and stormed into the bathroom, flipping us off before slamming the door behind her.


Well, I could have handled that one better.


But at least one thing made sense to me now: the reason why Ryan Davies had seemed so keen to get Dom onto the Quidditch team.


What was he up to?


a/n: Hi everyone! Really, really, really sorry about the wait! My grandma had a heart attack in Malta, and life became hectic and horrible for a while. :/ I’m so sad that I didn’t manage to get this out before I went back to school! Wah.


Anyway, I hope you at least enjoyed this chapter! It was slightly bits and bobby, but there were a few important sections. Sort-of-credit to the tv show ‘Friends’ for the racoon thing at the beginning. Joey, anyone? :P What do you think will happen next? Will things get back to normal between the girls in the next chapter? What could’ve been wrong with Eve? Next chapter: we finally find out what the deal is with James and Quidditch! A review would be luvverly ;D. I don’t own anything, by the way!


Chapter 8: The Quidditch
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Things were going a bit wrong this morning.


The Gryffindor-Slytherin Quidditch match was due to start in about two hours, and Dom was still not speaking to Eve or I because of our reaction to her announcement that she was now going out with Ryan Davies – and Eve wasn’t speaking to me either because of our argument last night. We were sitting in a stony silence at the breakfast table. Dom was determinedly stuffing her mouth with food, along with the rest of the Slytherin team – who were being overseen by Ryan Davies, already immaculately dressed in his emerald green Quidditch robes.


I was suspicious of that guy. First, he wants Dom playing on the Quidditch team (Dom. Dominique Weasley, nail varnish princess & glamour puss extraordinaire. Playing Quidditch.) Then, he asks her out at the training session! Why?!


But I also wanted Dom to be happy, so I wasn’t going to pry; she was annoyed enough with me already.


I glanced over at James and Fred, who were sitting with the rest of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. James looked a bit bored while strange girls kept coming up to him, showing him their banners with his name on and blown-up photograph. One girl had even written ‘Go Gryffindor’ in purple glitter across her chest.


The rest of the Gryffindors looked a bit nervous, staring into space blankly and chewing like camels- as if they weren’t even aware they were doing it. Slobbering too. Even the girls. Ew.


“Good luck Dom,” her brother Louis Weasley commented as he strolled past our table. Ryan immediately glared at him,


“No distracting my team, Weasley!” Louis raised an eyebrow and backed away,


“Whew, alright. Keep your lid on, psycho. By the way, if you upset my sister, I’ll beat you up.”


“I’d like to see you try,” Davies smirked. Louis narrowed his eyes, but strode away quickly. Wise of him. Davies had muscles to rival a polar bear. On steroids.


Dom was looking unhappy. I grabbed her shoulder when we were in the entrance hall and clear of Davies and his psycho-polar-bear-ness.


“Look, Dom, I’m sorry about last night.” I offered her a weak smile which she didn’t return. “I just want you to know that I’ll fully support all your relationship choices from now on. Even if I don’t like the person you’re dating.” Because he’s a psychotic polar bear on steroids.


Dom shrugged. “I guess I overreacted. But I knew you guys would be like that, and it just pissed me off that I could predict you both so well.”


“Why would that piss you off?” I asked, confused. It’d be more worrying if she couldn’t predict us. We’d been friends for years! We'd been through everything together!


“I don’t know. It just … did.”


“Ok.” It wasn’t really. “Well, I’ll be cheering in the stands for you anyway,” I squeezed her hand. “You nervous about the match?”


“Sort of,” Dom admitted cautiously. “But it’s not as bad as I thought it’d be. And anyway, no-one’ll care if I’m rubbish – everyone knows I’m just filling in.”


“That’s true,” I said, although secretly I was thinking that the students of Slytherin probably would care if she was rubbish. We were known for being stupidly competitive. With emphasis on the stupidly. “You’ll be great though. I know you will be.”


“Thanks Hol,” she smiled brightly at me, seemingly back to her old self.


“See ya!” I winked and Dom walked off to the locker rooms for the pre-game pep talk. Poor sod.


Eve came out of the Great Hall at that moment, talking to Annie and Roxanne. Annie waved at me happily, and I smiled back, attaching myself to the end of their little group as we walked out to get a good seat in the stands. I avoided looking at Eve the whole walk down. It was sunny but cold again, and I was glad that I was wearing a warm jumper with my green mini skirt (I’d had to wear the mini skirt, because it was the only thing I owned that was green). I sighed resignedly as I plonked myself into a seat and prepared for several hours of mind-numbing boringness. At least there was a Hogsmeade trip next weekend that I could start planning for in the long, cold hours ahead. And yes, Hogsmeade always needed a lot of forward thinking and plotting. Eve, Dom and I were the people who tried to keep an eye on the main couples and help things run smoothly for them. You know; casting a quick spell to stop a girl tripping over, refilling their glasses of butterbeer discreetly, fixing any unnoticed smudged make-up. And now that Dom would be unavailable (curse that Ryan Davies), it would be double the work for Eve and I.


…If Eve managed to get over what problem she currently had with me by next week. Blimey. Girls were so difficult. I was going to need to go and spend a day with James and Fred now to balance out all this stupid drama and fighting and stuff.


“What position does James play?” Annie asked me. Yes! This was good – interest in James!


“Chaser,” I told her.


“And he’s the captain, right?”


“That’s right.”


“It must be hard, having that much pressure to win from everyone.”


“I don’t think he’s that bothered by it,” I told her. “He’s got some weird views about Quidditch. I’m not entirely sure what’s up with it all, but he doesn’t even like it that much.”


“How odd,” Annie frowned daintily, her fair hair swinging across one side of her face and shining in the sun.


“I think he likes you, y’know,” I told her, watching intently for any signs of a blush. And… yes! There we have it! Currently creeping up her neck, an unquestionable spot of blushing!


“No, that’s stupid.”


“Why? You’re pretty, and fun, and sweet-“


“Stop it!” Annie blushed even more and slapped my arm. “He’s the most popular guy at Hogwarts. Why would he be interested in me?”


“Why wouldn’t he be?” I smirked.


“No, what I meant was-“ Annie took a deep breath. “Why would he be interested in me, when he could go out with anybody in the whole school?”


“Like who?” I prompted, rolling my eyes internally. This was going to be harder than I’d first thought; Annie was way too modest.


“Like you,” Annie blurted suddenly and my mouth fell open. She thought James would want to date me? That was the most ridiculous idea since jeggings! (And seriously, why would anyone ever want to wear those fugly jean-legging hybrids? Fashion suicide.)


“No way,” I said in an exasperated voice. “He likes you, Annie!”


“But you’re so popular and stunning… I just assumed that you two would sort of… you know. Get together. It’s what the whole school thinks.” I raised an eyebrow. How had the gossipmongers not told me about this rumour before now?!


“Well I can assure you that James and I are just friends,” I grinned impishly. “And as for me being stunning, have you even seen your reflection? You’re gorgeous! James even said so himself!”


“He did?” Annie asked, amazed.


“He sure did,” I replied smugly. “He told me last night.” Sort of.


“Wow,” Annie slumped back into her chair, looking stunned.


A loud cheer swept through the gathered collection of students and professors as the Gryffindor team came sweeping out of the locker rooms. The commentator, Michael Jepson, roared his approval along with the rest of them.


“And here they come, ladies and gentlemen! The ever-triumphant, the courageous, the dashing GRYFFINDOR LIONS! Their captain James Potter leads the way looking relaxed and cheerful. There are a few rumours going round about his entanglement with a certain Annie Summers of Ravenclaw!” Speculative whispers began to whistle through the throng in the stands, and Annie’s eyes were ready to pop out of her skull as she heard this.


“I told you!” I whispered happily, glancing at James. He seemed bewildered. Michael Jepson glanced at me and I winked.


It’d only cost me five galleons to persuade him to announce that particular ‘rumour’ to the school, and keep his mouth closed about the bribe too.


“Keep on topic, Jepson,” scolded Professor Shoehorn.


“Right then!” Michael continued. “Gryffindor team, in order: James Potter, Joe Brown, Fred Weasley, Rose Weasley, Andy Patil, Mick Finnegan aaand Lisa Summers!”


“That’s my little sister,” Annie whispered to me proudly, and pointed to the smallest figure on the team. I smiled; I could certainly see the resemblance.


“And now, give it up for the opposition, ladies and gents! The sneaky, the smart, the slimy,” Michael got a smack up the head from Shoehorn for that, “SLYTHERIN SNAKES!”


The Slytherins marched onto the pitch proudly, led by Ryan Davies.


“In order: Captain, Ryan Davies, followed by Scorpius Malfoy - and it’s surprising that he hasn’t been banned from Quidditch after the recent, ahem, debacle in the entrance hall. After Scorpius we have Albus Potter, Lara McGlaggen, Jack Bates, aaand last but not least, Dominique Weasley- who is filling in for absent keeper Harry MacReynold!”


I cheered loudly as Dom waved at the crowd, sucking up all the attention.


The captains shook hands, Rose and Scorpius glared at each other (until Rose flipped him off), and then the snitch was released and the game began.


It was a fast and furious game, the quaffle changing hands so quickly that Michael Jepson was having trouble keeping up.


“Malfoy…Potter…Malfoy, wait, no, intercepted by Weasleywhodropsit back to Potter…Weasley again-“


Even I, someone who had never seen anything remotely fascinating in the sport, was following the movements of the players with incredulity. They just moved so fast, so accurately! And Dom was up there!


“Potter in possession!” Michael announced and I watched the concentration on James’s face intensify as he flew towards the three Slytherin hoops that Dom was anxiously hovering in front of. “It looks like the time has come to test Slytherin’s new keeper, Dom Weasley…” I crossed my fingers, praying for Dom to save the goal. James flew confidently towards her, quaffle firmly under one arm. It looked as if he was going to shoot through the left hoop, and Dom followed his movements, hovering carefully. Then he changed direction and flung the ball towards the middle hoop with all his might. Dom baulked and dived forwards on her broom, managing to save the ball by the tips of her fingers.


An enormous cheer resounded from the Slytherin section of the stands, and I grinned along with them. Annie and Roxanne were supporting Slytherin too; they said they’d rather be playing Slytherin than Gryffindor in the next match.


Unfortunately, it started to rain at that moment, and I winced every time I felt the fat blobs plop into my hair. Eve produced an umbrella, but I was sitting too far away for it to be of any use, and in fact it only made things worse – I was seated directly underneath the rivulets of water running down the sides of the material. I glared onto the pitch, pulling my jumper over my head and using it as a makeshift shield. If anyone else had done this, they would’ve been laughed at. But luckily in my case, it was not so. Several other umbrella-less people even copied me, pulling off their own jumpers.


I merely gritted my teeth and tried to ignore the abysmal weather. I had to stay out here for Dom’s sake.


Slytherin scored two goals, but then Gryffindor scored two more as well, out of the three they threw. The score was 90-70 to Slytherin and the crowd was going wild, but then a movement up in the air caught my eye and I shrieked as the two seekers came hurtling towards where I was sitting, watching a shiny gold object intently.


“And the seekers appear to have spotted the snitch! Hold your breath ladies and gentlemen, it seems that this match will be over before it has even begun…”


I squint through the rain as the most ear-splitting cheer yet rears up, trying to figure out what’s happened.


“Gryffindor have won!” Annie tells me, and my thoughts fly to James, and I’m wondering how exactly he’s feeling about this. I see him being mobbed by adoring fans down below, but I can’t make out his expression. The Slytherin team land a small distance away, and I trudged off to visit Dom, Al and Scorpius. But when I got there, Ryan Davies was busy giving Dom a ‘celebratory snog’ (despite the fact that they bloody lost), so I turned to Scorpius, the nearest to me.


“Um… well played?” I said vaguely.


“We were absolutely shit,” he growls without looking at me.


“No you weren’t. It was a close result.” Scorpius glances at me disbelievingly,


“Hollie, it was 220-90.”


I bite my lip, “Just trying to help… “ I should definitely remember to stay away from all Quidditch matches / Quidditch-related discussions in future.


I leave the Slytherins and run over to a beaming Fred, who gives me such an enthusiastic hug that I’m lifted off my feet and have to spit hair out of my mouth.


“WE WON HOLLIE! WE BLOODY WON!”


“Yes, Fred, I realised-“


“THAT MEANS IT’S PARTY TIME!”


“Okay that’s nice-“


“AND LOTS OF FOOOD!”


I smiled fondly.


“You’re coming to the party right?” he asks hopefully. “You’ve got to! And Dom and Eve.”


“Sure, we’ll be there,” I shrug and he turns to James, giving him an awkward man-hug thing.


~*~


The Gryffindor common room after they win a Quidditch match. There’s nowhere in the world quite like it.


The blast of cheering and laughter washed over us in a waterfall as Eve, Dom and I emerged into the spacious, yet cosy, room. Groups of people were chatting, holding drinks, playing wizard poker, dancing. The Gryffindor team were surrounded by admirers, slurping Butterbeer or firewhiskey. Dom and Eve immediately rushed off to mingle, and I helped myself to a glass of water, watching all the drunk girls make fools of themselves and the drunk guys reciprocating. I didn’t quite realise it, but I was looking for James.


I spotted Annie and Roxanne on a sofa, and plonked down next to them.


“Hey,” I smiled.


“Hola!” Annie giggled, slopping her drink.


“Are you drunk, Annie?”


“Noooo… maybe…” I raised an eyebrow and glanced at Roxanne,


“You let her drink?!”


It’s always the quiet ones.


“She was already well into her third glass by the time I got here,” Roxanne shrugged. “What can I say?”


“You can SAY NO to drugs and alcohol!” I proclaimed loudly, then added as an afterthought, “And knife crimes too…” Roxanne rolled her eyes. But it wasn’t as if I was being hypocritical. I never drank at parties; I preferred to stay sober and then orchestrate the proceedings with a level head. Many a drunken snog in the dark had bloomed into a healthy relationship, thanks to me.


Not that I’m expecting credit or anything.


Although a trophy would be nice.


Not that that was a hint or anything.


Except it totally was.


“Seen James anywhere?” I asked Annie.


“Nope! James has disappeared! Like a bumblebee!”


“He’s in the dorm,” Roxanne whispered to me. I decided to go and pay him a little visit.


The boys’ dorm was empty when I initially walked in, but I noticed that the bathroom door was closed. I knocked quietly.


“James?”


I received an answering grunt.


“James, what are you doing?”


“What do people generally do in the bathroom?”


“You don’t fool me.”


“Yes I do.”


“No, you don’t.”


“Yes, I- Oh, whatever.” The door opened suddenly and I almost fell over, but managed to steady myself with the wall just in time. I smiled at James. Then realised that he was wearing his pyjamas.


“What the hell are you wearing?” I asked. “Aren’t you coming to the party?”


“I’m tired,” James shrugged, trudging over to his bed and lying down with his arms behind his head. I sat at the foot of his bed, crossing my legs. He nudged my leg with his toe.


“Ok, what is going on with you, mister?”


“What d’you mean?”


“Aren’t you even the slightest bit happy to have won the match?”


He shook his head, “You don’t understand-“


“-shut up, I’m not gonna rest up that easily,” I cut him off. James sighed and stared at the ceiling, and I held my breath, hoping that he would finally explain about all the Quidditch weirdness.


“I don’t want to be a Quidditch player.”


“Okaaay-“


“-I want to do something worthwhile, make a difference. And frankly, I think Quidditch is only really good for exercise and a bit of a laugh with mates. And it used to be fun. But I’ve been dragged in too deep. I keep getting all these letters from scouts, wanting me to try out for professional teams, and it freaks me out. And I don’t know what to do; becoming a Quidditch player would make my family so proud, and they always seem a little distant. I really want them to notice me more. But I don’t want to get them to do it through Quidditch.” He paused. “I’m confused, I guess.”



I sighed, “James Potter, do you really believe that your parents won’t be proud of you no matter what you do? That’s basically a parent’s function in life! And you shouldn’t be upset that you’re good at a sport – people might start to think you’re crazy!” I teased.


“Yeah, well. It’s not as simple as that. My parents can be weird sometimes. They just zone out.” I crawled up the bed to lie next to him, resting my head on his shoulder and he smiled slightly.


“Just do what you feel is right.”


“I don’t know which feeling is right.”


“Then just don’t think about it for a bit. Come downstairs to the party,” I got up and began rummaging around in his wardrobe for an outfit he could wear. “Get drunk,” I threw the outfit at him. “Kiss Annie Summers,” I winked and left the room quietly.


Downstairs the party was in full swing, and everyone was chanting and singing. I weaved through the dance floor and found Eve sitting on her own by the window. Time to deal with the next angsty teenager.


“I’m sorry,” Eve blurted out. “I’ve been a bitch.


Well, that was easy.


“That’s ok.” I noticed James slip out from the boys’ staircase and get lost in the crowd.


“I think I need to tell you something, though,” Eve sighed, and I suddenly became nervous.


“Has something happened?” I asked anxiously. “Is Zoey ok?”


“Zoey’s fine,” Eve shook her head. “But… I’m just constantly being distracted these days. And it’s annoying me. I like to be focused.”


“What do you mean distracted?” I frowned.


“As in, my attentions are elsewhere…”


“Where are they then?”


Eve blushed.


“On Fred.” I gaped at her, and then started to grin. Then I squealed because it seemed like the appropriate thing to do, and gave her arm a squeeze.


“That is the cutest thing ever,” I beamed.


“You think I’ve got a chance?”


“Honey, you have more than a chance. You have a billion chances with cherries on top and chocolate sauce and sprinkles-“ I cut myself off as Fred came over to us, grinning drunkenly and swaying. He poked my forehead.


“A leprechaun stole my shoe!”


Oh yeah, he wasn’t wearing any shoes.


“Really?” I pretended to gasp, and Fred nodded proudly.


“And then a unicorn stole my other one.”


“That’s great, that’s really great.” I gave Eve a sideways glance. She was quiet. “Hey, Fred, I think Eve can help you find your shoes. She’s a qualified unicorn tracker stroke shoe-finder.”


“Seriously?” Fred raised an eyebrow. “Cool!” I nudged Eve, who mouthed “love you” and grabbed Fred’s hand happily, wandering off with him to somewhere over the rainbow.


I stood up, straightened my skirt, and immediately saw Annie and James dancing together. And, as I watched, he leant down slowly and kissed her gently. A slow smile spread across my lips.


This had been an unexpectedly brilliant day.


a/n: sorry about the slow updates for this story- I'm under a lot of stress at the moment and ideas aren't flowing as easily. D: Please don’t throw socks at me for the ending. It was necessary! [I suck at writing Quidditch scenes by the way, I know]. Thank you so much for reading, & please review – special mention to missclaire and TimeSeer for their amazing reviews, I love you both :). But I’d really love some more feedback on my writing, if you could! It’ll only take a moment. A few words, then a click, and I’m a happy writer! Even if you think it’s all rubbish, I’d still like to know. I also have a new story up, an Albus/OC called “Against the Dying of the Light” if you want to take a peek. ;D It’s in a very different style to this story.

Chapter 9: The Force to be Reckoned With
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The November Hogsmeade weekend had officially arrived.


Eve and I sat on the stairs to the Entrance hall, fully kitted out in our ‘matchmaking’ gear (leather jackets, knee high boots, sunglasses, and satchels of useful necessities including but not limited to: the L.O.M, Peruvian instant darkness powder, a cheap invisibility cloak, and bottles of crappy love potions just in case). We were watching couples and groups of friends skip off merrily down to Hogsmeade. I spotted Dom, in a criminally short skirt that she’d spent ages deciding on this morning, flounce out of the door with Ryan Davies, purposefully tossing her dark hair around every now and then which earned a snort from me. Her nails flashed in the sun – she’d spent ages on them last night, using a brand new (and very expensive) type of sparkly varnish.


Then I saw Scorpius and Albus cross the hallway, chatting lightly, Savannah Woods and Rachel Adams walked through the doors surrounded by a group of drooling boys, Louis Weasley with a pretty brunette, Rose Weasley and Lucy Weasley debating something animatedly (“The goblin riots WERE NOT premeditated by wizards, Lucy!”).


And finally we watched James Potter and Annie Summers head off to Hogsmeade, hand in hand. James was beaming like an idiot. Annie was blushing.


Yes, they are officially together now! It’s absolutely adorable. Everyone should worship the matchmaking skills of Hollie Sarah Parker! No-one in Hogwarts shall remain single for long!


Well. Except for Hollie Sarah Parker herself.


I suddenly felt a sharp stab of sadness, and just a hint of despair. And for a moment, I wondered why I bothered with all this. Matchmaking. It seemed so pointless every now and again.


And yes, I found a certain satisfaction from it, but it was nothing compared to the way I would feel if I were to fall in love, have a relationship, have a guy around to call me beautiful even whilst I’m in sweatpants and a tank top with no make-up on.


Because that’s what love was. Unconditional.


I put my head in my hands, and Eve looked up from retying her bootlaces, an alarmed expression on her face.


“Hollie!?” she asked. “What’s wrong?”


I believe I am having a mini teenage-life-crisis/ panic attack because I have suddenly realised that I will probably never fall in love and will die a virgin/old maid surrounded by the spawn of Pythagoras and Mrs Norris Jr. But out loud I merely said,


“I’m such a fail at life!” and started shivering even though I wasn’t cold.


“What do you mean?” Eve frowned, giving me a vaguely comforting pat on the shoulder, and then a full-blown hug.


“I mean,” I said shakily, “That I am going to wind up as a smelly old maid surrounded by cats and parrots with no husband and no friends and no life and no… no… nothing!” I wailed, covering my mouth with one hand in horror. Eve sighed – she knew exactly how to handle this.


I’d had similar panic attacks before. Many times.


“Hollie, love, you are not going to end up as an old maid surrounded by cats with no life and no friends. I swear it.”


“But what if I do?!” I gasped slightly; I could just see it all happening. First, there would be the denial. I would tell myself that I’d definitely meet that perfect someone tomorrow, or next week, at latest next month. Then would come depression as I realised that it wasn’t going to happen, then the self-loathing as I wondered why it wasn’t going to happen, then the RESIGNATION to the fact that it wasn’t going to happen, and then…


…the cats.


Every girl’s worst nightmare.


“You’re too gorgeous and amazing for that to be even remotely possible!” Eve protested, rubbing my back soothingly. “If you end up as an old cat lady, then there’s absolutely no hope for the rest of the world.”


“Don’t be silly,” I sniffed dolefully. “You just have to say that because you’re my best friend.”


“Yes, and I always will be! And if the worst comes to the worst, we can be old cat ladies together.” Eve paused, “with Dom of course. If we’re going down, then she’s coming down with us, the tosser.”


I smiled weakly, “As long as Pythagoras is gone by then.”


“I’ll make sure of it,” Eve winked.


“So do you promise?” I asked.


“Promise what?”


“That you’ll never leave me?”


“Never,” Eve smiled down at me fondly and wrapped me in another hug. “Now come on and cheer up you silly goose. We’ve got some matchmaking to do!”


~~~


“So how was it with Fred at the Gryffindor victory party?” I waggled my eyebrows, feeling cheerier as we walked down to Hogsmeade.


“I found his shoes,” Eve smirked, “They were stuffed up the chimney. But then he passed out from the drink, and I doubt he remembers anything anyway.”


“You should tell him how you feel!” I encouraged. “I’m pretty sure he likes you, Eve.”


“And what if he doesn’t?” she moaned. “He’s not usually the type I go for, you know. He’s… well, he’s Freddy.”


“Who cares if he’s not your usual type?” I paused for a second. “Hang on… what is your usual type?”


Eve struck a pose, “Enigmatic, brooding, handsome, license-to-kill.”


“Really?” I raised an eyebrow.


“Uh-huh,” she nudged me with her waist. “What about you Miss Parker?”


I didn’t have time to answer however because a certain teenage boy pounced on us from behind, pushing his way in between us and flinging an arm over each of our shoulders.


“Freddy,” I complained, “We were talking about girl stuff.”


“Like what?” he beamed. “Like bra sizes?”


“No,” I slapped him. “Like the qualities we look for in a man.”


“Oooh, what are they then?” Fred asked eagerly.


“Well, I can tell you that ‘nosy’ is not one of them,” Eve snorted.


Fred harrumphed and stole my sunglasses. “What’s with the sexy ninja shades then, ladies?”


“We felt like it,” I shrugged.


“Can I come round Hogsmeade with you?” Fred begged, pushing the sunglasses onto his head so he could shoot me the puppy dog eyes.


“No,” I frowned. “We have top secret business to attend to.” Fred increased the forlorn cuteness of his expression by a few notches. Darn it. Bloody puppies.


“Please Hollie Wollie my bestest dolly? I have no-one else in the world, not now that James is with that Annie girl!” Fred threw his arms to the sky and began to warble about how lonely he was. I glanced at Eve and she nodded.


“If you agree never to call me Hollie Wollie again, then yes you can come-“ Fred hugged me happily,


“BUT!” I continued in a mysterious voice, “Do not ask any questions about what you see throughout the course of the day, if you value your life…”


Fred gulped.


A few minutes later, and my feet were hurting. It always surprised me, how long the walk down to Hogsmeade could be.


“Ugh, why do we have to walk all this way?” I complained, nursing a stitch. “Why couldn’t we have, like, a zip wire from the astronomy tower or something?”


“What’s a zip wire?” Fred asked.


“A long piece of wire with a handle which you slide down really fast,” I explained as Fred’s eyes widened with glee. “It’s a muggle thing. We still have one in our back garden from when I was little – Deefur used to run along next to me when I was playing on it.”


“Aww that’s cute,” Eve grinned. “I remember seeing that in your garden when I visited that time. Didn’t have a clue what it was though.”


“THAT SOUNDS AWESOME,” Fred drooled. “I need one of those right now…” he drifted off into a zip wire induced daydream. Suddenly, I had an idea.


“Hey, Fred,” I elbowed him.


“Yes Hollie Mollie the Jolly?”


I scowled slightly but otherwise let the nicknames slide. Why did my name have to rhyme with so many things? “If I’m still single by the time I’m 40, will you please marry me?” I asked hopefully.


Safety husbands for the win, people.


“Sorry Hollie Dolly,” Fred shook his head much to my surprise. “But I am already promised to another woman!”


Eve looked shocked, “What? Who?”


“I am the proud safety husband of Josephine Anne Bortkerwitz!”


“Is that a real person?” I asked suspiciously. Fred looked hurt,


“Would I lie to you, my Hollie Trolley or my Evey Weavey?”


“Maybe…”


“Describe her for us then, Fred,” Eve quirked an eyebrow.


“Well,” Fred shifted uncomfortably under Eve’s stern gaze. “She is a girl and she has hair, and eyes, and teeth, but no legs – and she’s a mu-“


“Wait,” I interrupted. “She has no legs? Why not?”


“She was in a car accident when she was little,” Fred said sadly.


I shared a confused look with Eve. We couldn’t figure out whether Fred was joking or not.


An awkward silence ensued, and it was at times like this that I was reminded that we really didn’t know Fred or James that well. Eve was the next to speak.


“Gum?” Eve offered me a packet of Drooble’s best.


“Thanks,” I took a piece and popped it into my mouth, chomping like a pro. Blue bubbles immediately engulfed my head, before the wind caught them and blew them up into the sky. Fred grinned and frolicked around trying to pop them in a way that made me worry for his manly reputation.


We finally reached the outskirts of Hogsmeade, and Eve eagerly led the way into the village.


In my opinion, Hogsmeade was a bit dull really. Sleepy. Retirement-home-y. There was no passion to the place. I mean, how many glasses of Butterbeer could a person deal with before you wanted to just kill yourself? I suppose it’s everyone’s personal opinion in the end, but I much prefer muggle drinks and things. Except it’s not just the food; after you’ve seen the place once, you’ve seen it a thousand times. I’m a city kind of girl, I suppose. Bright lights and parties and exciting noises; places to explore. They suit me a lot better than these small, country villages.


But the one place I do love in Hogsmeade, is the hair salon.


Now before you cringe and sneer and think I’m another classic, shallow teenager (which I am. There are stereotypes for reasons, you know!), you obviously haven’t met Ralph.


Ralph Markson is an actual god. Owner of the “Purple Prose Hair Salon” for about four years now, that man can work miracles, I swear. Unfortunately, Eve was adamant that we didn’t go in today (“You had your hair done two weeks ago, Hollie. It looks fine.”) – but I saw Savannah Woods and Rachel Adams slip through the doors. Savannah caught me watching her and smirked. I merely pursed my lips in response – being the bigger person! - and turned to listen to whatever Eve was saying.


“So I think we should check up on Dom and Ryan first – I have a dodgy feeling about that guy,” Eve scanned a page in her notebook. “Then there’s Louis Weasley and his date, Hannah – oh, and I had a tip off that Samuel Smith was planning to break up with his girlfriend today. We should probably check that out.”


Fred was watching, intrigued, and I wondered whether it had been a good idea to let him come around with us today after all. Thankfully, he stayed quiet and didn’t ask any difficult questions.


“Shall we start then?” I gestured towards the main street. Eve smiled and looped her arm through mine.


“Hey!” Fred protested indignantly, jogging to catch up with us. “I feel left out now!” I looped my arm through his as well, but he sniffed and pulled away.


“That’s not what men do.” Then he slung an arm round my shoulder instead. It was sweet, but I wished he would’ve done it to Eve instead. I could see her neck muscles clenching, a sure sign that she was experiencing emotional turmoil.


Yes, turmoil.


Hogsmeade was surprisingly busy; and not just with Hogwarts students. There were plenty of shoppers and families milling about, and I could smell a bonfire, which immediately made me think of Christmas.


It was bitterly cold and overcast, and I decide to take my sunglasses off because I did look slightly ridiculous in them. They’re not my nice pair either, so they’re not fashionable whatsoever.


Soon we spotted Dom and Ryan walking hand in hand on the other side of the road, a little way ahead of us. Dom stopped to admire some window decorations, but Ryan tugged on her hand impatiently and pulled her along after him. Eve noticed and frowned.


“Let’s go,” she muttered to me, grabbing my arm and increasing her pace, catching up with the couple slightly. We could overhear their conversation now.


“But can’t we just go in for a moment or two?” Dom was asking. “It’s my friend’s birthday soon and I saw something she’d love.” I glanced into the window display Dom had been admiring, and spotted the pair of exquisite leather boots I’d been hungering after for a while. I felt a surge of affection for Dom.


“We don’t have time – I have a reservation at Puddifoots, and we’ll miss it unless we hurry.” I could see Dom’s expression of distaste at the mention of Puddifoots, and it was true. Even a romantic like myself found all the pink glitter a tad unbearable. Dom sighed,


“Sure, whatever. I can get them another day.” When? My birthday was on the 25th and there wasn’t another Hogsmeade trip between now and then. Eve suddenly whispered urgently to me,


“Damn it, look – there’s Hannah and Louis. We might not spot them again, it’s busier than I expected here. How’re we going to keep track of everything?”


“You take Fred and follow Hannah and Louis. I’ll stay with Dom and Ryan,” I suggested and Eve flashed me a grateful smile.


“Good idea. I’ve got the L.O.M, so if I get the chance I’ll use it. Meet at The Three Broomsticks at 12?”


“Sure,” I waved them off and darted quickly after Dom and Ryan. As I watched them slip into Madame Puddifoots, my phone buzzed. I pulled it out and read the new message.


Go away! –Dom


Darn, she’d spotted me! Even though I had my leather jacket on! What is my life?


Hey! How’s it going? I typed back.


Really great, not that it’s any of your business!


If it’s great, how come you have time to be texting? Man, I love muggle technology.


I repeat: go away!!!!!!


Fine. Have fun in puddyhoots.


Very funny, Hollie.


:) xxx



Well. It seemed as if Dom could take care of herself. I did what she wanted, and strolled off, humming quietly to myself. I still had half an hour before I was supposed to meet Eve and Fred, so I headed for Honeydukes. The smell hit me even before I was through the front doors; rich and inviting.


It was amazing how quickly Hogsmeade, and indeed the whole wizarding world, had got back on its feet after the end of the war – and while many things were different, some did not change. And Honeydukes was one of those unchanging things. Generation after generation of Hogwarts students had passed through these doors, all with different stories and lives and thoughts, but all of them experienced the same exquisite smells of the sugary snacks within. The same smell that I too was experiencing.


I closed my eyes and breathed deeply as I walked inside, feeling pretty wise and profound after that little internal monologue.


…So wise that I forgot to open my eyes again, and crashed into a stand of multicoloured sugar quills, falling to the ground with a cry. Sugar quills went everywhere, and as I plucked one from my hair I sighed dejectedly. Everyone around me ignored the girl lying on the floor, merely stepping around her, too distracted by the thought of chocolate to help. But then footsteps approached me and I began to apologise, assuming it was the manager… but it wasn’t the manager.


“Hollie?” someone chuckled. “What are you doing on the floor, kid?” I blinked up at the person who offered me their hand and pulled me up off the floor. When I was standing again, I suddenly recognised who it was.


“Zoey!?” I shrieked. “What are you doing here?” Zoey Turner grinned and quirked an eyebrow,


“I don’t believe you’re supposed to answer a question with a question these days, gal.”


“I, erm, fell,” I admitted with a shrug.


“I can definitely believe that.” Zoey winked. “Well, I’m here on business.” She picked another quill off my head and gave me a warm hug. “Good to see you, anyway. Where’s the rest of the gang?”


“Dom’s on a date,” I grinned at Zoey’s grin. “And Eve’s off somewhere with the L.O.M. I’m meeting her at The Three Broomsticks.”


“Ah, yes, the love-o-meter.” Zoey stroked her chin. “I still think I should’ve got more money for that invention you know.” I gaped at her, but then she smirked and elbowed me. “Just kidding, just kidding. How many more emotions do you need?”


“Three,” I said proudly, picking my bag up. Zoey frowned,


“Do you know how you’re going to actually make the potion yet?” she asked.


“Eve does,” I nodded. “But I’m really not good at potions. Or anything else, really.”


“Well, I’ll have a word with Eve then.” Zoey frowned. “I feel a bit irresponsible letting a bunch of 16/17-year-olds meddle around with things as powerful as liquid emotions.”


I pouted, “We’re fine! We know what we’re doing.”


“But do you really? What if something went wrong?”


“It won’t go wrong,” I said confidently, although truth be told I did have my niggling doubts.


“If you say so,” Zoey began nibbling at a half-eaten chocolate frog.


“Hollie!” someone else hailed me. I turned around and saw Annie dragging James over to me. Zoey looked up with interest.


“Hi guys!” I beamed. “How’s it going?”


“James has bought me so much chocolate - I’m convinced he’s trying to make me fat and spotty.”


“James, shame on you,” I scolded, turning towards him. “Do you want Annie to be fat and spotty?”


“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!” he turned his nose up at me, and I laughed.


“This is Eve’s sister, Zoey,” I introduced Zoey and they both smiled at her.


“Wow you look so similar to Eve,” Annie gushed. “You could be twins.”


“Apart from the fact that I’m twenty,” Zoey smirked. I could see several boys checking her out as she spoke, and I subtly jinxed them. Zoey was completely out of their league. Zoey nudged me, “Aren’t you going to tell me who your friends are?”


“Oh yeah – sorry,” I flushed and gestured to Annie first. “Annie Summers and James Potter.”


“You mean the James Potter who was going out with Savannah Woods?” Zoey asked incredulously, peering at James. “I imagined you as much more of a jerk.”


“Err… thanks, I think,” James grimaced. Annie looked uncomfortable at the mention of Savannah, so I decided to help the conversation out a bit.


“Annie and James are going out now,” I explained slightly proudly.


“Well, you make a very nice couple,” Zoey said. “But if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment with the manager.” She smiled and bid her goodbyes. “Tell Eve to call me,” she told me, before making her way towards the back of the shop.


“Hollie, what do you think of this skirt I bought,” Annie immediately waffled on, pulling a short denim skirt from her bag and holding it up. It had a cute matching belt made of diamante.


“Pretty,” I nodded my approval.


“Phew,” Annie smiled. “I couldn’t really trust James’s judgement, and it was quite expensive, so I was hoping to bump into you actually…” James was in the middle of ripping the head of a sugar mouse, probably in order to reassert his manliness after all the shopping he must’ve endured so far today.


“I need to get to The Three Broomsticks,” I told them. “I’m meeting Eve. I’ll see you later guys!”


“No, wait,” Annie said. “We’re going to The Three Broomsticks too.” But when we looked out the window, we realised it had started raining heavily. I groaned, and rummaged in my bag for an umbrella, but couldn’t find one.


“What are we going to do?” Annie asked.


“I’ve got an idea,” James replied, hurrying off somewhere.


“Ok, what’s he doing?” Annie bit her lip, trying to see. “This is worrying.” I nodded my agreement.


James came back a moment later holding an enormous chocolate umbrella in his hand.


“Oh, cause that’s going to work,” I scoffed.


“Wait and see Miss Parker,” James wrapped an arm around Annie and opened up the umbrella before stepping into the rain. I hesitated, and he smirked. “Do you want to get completely soaked or not?”


“I guess not,” I muttered, running out to huddle underneath the chocolate umbrella with them.


We’d made it halfway to the pub, when the rain solidified into hailstones, and the chocolate was eventually destroyed. We decided to just make a run for it, and sprinted through the street, the hail stinging our faces and necks and ripping at my hair. When we arrived at the pub we were soaked through, and I plunged desperately through the doors, infinitely thankful for the warm and dry. Eve rushed over, a concerned expression on her face. There was a band playing softly in one corner, and the faint smell of bacon in the air.


“I was so worried when you didn’t turn up!” she cried, and I suddenly realised that I was an hour late for our rendezvous. She hugged me, Annie and James in order. “Have you heard the news?”


“What news?” James asked.


“There’s this huge storm approaching, and loads of people have been injured by falling trees and roof tiles. The Magical Weather Offices are urging people to take shelter indoors – it’s nearly reached Hogsmeade.”


“Whew,” I glanced out the window at all the hail and howling wind. “Looks like we made it just in time then. Where’s Fred?”


“I don’t know,” Eve’s face creased with concern. “He just disappeared while I was… you know…” Eve glanced at James and Annie, but they weren’t listening and had moved to the window.


“Did you get any emotions?” I asked quietly.


“Yep,” she patted her bag. “Panic. The oncoming storm was announced in Flourish and Blotts by loudspeaker and everyone started rushing to get home. It was madness in there.”


“That’s good at least.” I looked at the approaching dark cloud solemnly. The hail was beating against the windows so hard that I thought it might break them, and you could hear the wind moaning as it worked its way in through the cracks in the walls. I didn’t like to think about Fred all alone out there.


“Dom and Ryan are here,” Eve said at last, after we’d sat ourselves down on a sofa by the fire. “Came in a while ago. Ryan wouldn’t even let her talk to me.”


“I don’t like that guy.”


“Neither.”


There was a pause.


“Fred might’ve found shelter, you know,” I suggested. “Gone into the Hog’s Head or something. Honeydukes maybe.” Then I was reminded of my meeting with Zoey. “Oh! Zoey’s in Hogsmeade! I saw her earlier at Honeydukes.”


“What?” Eve’s eyes widened.


“Yeah, she said she was here on business. Wants you to call her.”


“Ok- thanks for telling me.” Eve punched in Zoey’s number at once. “If she’s still at Honeydukes, then Fred might be there with her.”


There was an eerie silence as the phone rang, and the fire suddenly went out as wind poured down the chimney. I was dusted in a coat of ash and soot, and I started coughing violently. James was by my side immediately, rubbing my back.


“Are you ok?”


“Fine,” I shivered and shot him a grateful smile. “Thanks.”


“No problem. Hey, do you guys know if Fred’s ok?”


“We think he might have taken shelter in Honeydukes. Eve’s phoning Zoey to see if she’s still there…” There was a cry of frustration, and Eve threw her phone down angrily.


“No signal,” she explained.


Of course there was no bloody signal.


James sat down next to me, and Annie had just perched on the sofa’s armrest, when the door flew open violently and two girls stumbled in, sobbing. I recognised them as Ash and Millie Webber, our third year ‘gossipmongers’. Eve and I rushed over to them, along with several other people. Ash was supporting Millie, who was the sobbing one. She was clutching her leg, and blood was running through her fingers. I squirmed at the sight of the jagged gash in her flesh.


“Move out the way!” A strong voice demanded, and Madame Rosmerta came striding through the crowd of people trying to help. “You there,” she pointed at me. “Help me carry her to the sofa.” Tentatively, I helped Rosmerta lift Millie up and place her on the sofa. Ash was hysterical.


“She’s going to be ok, right? It’s just a flesh wound, isn’t it?” I heard James trying to calm her down.


“Shh, it’s fine. She’ll be fixed up in no time. Come and sit down.” He led her to a chair and poured out a drink. The pub was crowded now with people taking shelter, attempting to make frantic phone calls, trying to get warm. And still you could hear the sound of the hail and snow hammering down upon the building, burying us alive. Nature was indeed a force to be reckoned with.


I sat next to Millie and began stroking her hair. Rosmerta was muttering furiously, trying to remember the correct healing spells to mend the tissue damage.


“How did this happen?” she asked Millie gently.


“A building…” Millie gasped. “It collapsed. A piece of metal hit me. There were all these people screaming…” she choked up.


“Which building was it?”


“I-I don’t know- OW!” she convulsed and winced at the same time. Slowly, I withdrew from the scene and left Rosmerta to handle it. No-one was talking very much. I joined Annie and Eve by the window, anxiously scouring the outside world for signs of possible movement. But there was nothing but the tortured trees and flurries of snow.


Suddenly, I spotted some sort of flying shape coming towards us. It was an owl, straining against the elements, it’s head drooping, exhausted.


“Quick!” I cried. “Let that bird in!”


Someone opened the window a fraction, and even that tiny gap sent snow and ice swirling into the room in a blast of cold air. The owl flopped to the floor, too exhausted to move. The letter it was carrying was damp, but readable. It was addressed to Rosmerta. Someone handed it to her, and she wearily opened it, her eyes widening as she read. She slowly looked round at us all.


“We’re going to have to wait it out,” she sighed. “There is no help coming until tomorrow morning – the Healers and Aurors are too stretched already.”


And then all the candles blew out in one fell swoop, and we were plunged into an eerie twilight.


a/n: Eeee hello! So at last I went to see the film the Perks of Being a Wallflower the other day (ASDFGHJKL IT IS SO AMAZING), and being a huge indie music fan and stuff was totally inspired by book & film alike. Which is why you now have this chapter! I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year so there won’t be any November updates. :/ But I’ll get back to work on this fic in December! I was listening to the song “Eet” by Regina Spektor and “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers while writing this in case you wanna know! ;)


Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot of this story.


Chapter 10: The Waiting
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It was cold now. The fires would not relight, despite our best efforts, and there weren’t enough blankets to go round. Rosmerta had moved Millie up into her own bedroom, and was watching over her carefully. The wound was deeper than expected, and Millie was drifting in and out of consciousness, whimpering constantly.


Meanwhile, the rest of us could only wait, anxiously, for any sort of news. The storm still raged on and it was impossible to see outside; even more so once night had fallen. There was noise at first; chatter and comforting words being whispered, stories regaled. But now it was quiet, with nothing much more than the wind to listen to.


At first, we had tried to melt a path through the snow piled against the door with our wands- but the freezing wind was burning people’s skin and faces as soon as they ventured outside, and opening a door meant risking it being yanked from its hinges and carried off into the night – that was how strong the wind currently was, and it was showing no signs of dying down. It was impossible to apparate in Hogsmeade as well - the same anti-apparition enchantments as at Hogwarts had been placed on the village after the war. So there was nothing else we could do but wait.


I glanced around at the many familiar faces, and a few unfamiliar ones. It had been lunch time when the storm had really picked up, so the pub had mainly been filled with Hogwarts students – or elderly shoppers – no rowdy night time drinkers. But still, no-one knew how long we would be holed up here for, and there was only so much food and drink to go round.


“This is awful,” Eve muttered. “God, I feel so claustrophobic.” She stared at the screen of her phone desperately, and I could see how much she was worried about Fred and Zoey.


James was anxious too, possibly more so than anyone. He didn’t know where either of his siblings were, or his best friend. He was pacing the width of the sofa restlessly. Annie and I sat mutely side by side, and I was trying to stealthily interpret the signals Dom was sending me from across the room. I couldn’t believe that jerk Davies – not even letting Dom talk to her best friends? God, possessive much?


I had no idea what Dom saw in him. But I’d only had to put one foot down that path before Dom started getting prissy with me, so I wasn’t planning on experimenting there again (even if I did think Dom should break up with him).


I shook my head hopelessly at her, indicating that I had no idea what she was trying to communicate. Someone was crying softly in the corner, and the sound raised goosebumps all along my arms.


When people eventually began to get hungry, James and I decided to take charge of the proceedings. I could cook relatively well – my parents had always made sure I’d be able to look after myself – and James, apparently, could conjure up a meal from something as meagre as stale bread and mushrooms (a thought that I grinned at). With Rosmerta currently unavailable, no-one argued with the rather undemocratic decision. They were all too weary to bother.


One small saving grace was that neither Savannah nor Rachel were stuck here with us. If that had been the case, then I think I might’ve braved the trip back to Hogwarts instead. Scorpius was here though, but not Rose. And neither was Roxanne.


Scorpius, I noticed, was sitting on his own in one corner shooting people surly looks – and at Dom in particular for some reason.


I sighed, too tired to bother with trying to analyse anyone’s behaviour right now, and followed James into the huge kitchens. The whole place looked decidedly eerie by wandlight, and it took us a fair few minutes to even find where the oven was. I started rummaging around in the cupboards, trying to build up a picture of what we had available to us.


“What should we do for them all? Soup?”


“Something like that,” James sighed. “God, this is not where I imagined myself in a few hours time as I was coming down to Hogsmeade today.”


I shook my head, “I know. This sucks royal hippogriff.”


James sat down heavily on the floor, leaning against the counter and splaying his legs out in front of him. “I just wish there was more we could do… maybe we could send out some kind of search party…”


“James,” I said quietly, coming to sit next to him. “Fred’ll be ok. They all will be. It’s just a storm; think about it like that. It could be much worse.”


“Give me some examples of worse situations so I can feel better,” James implored.


“Hmm…” I thought for a moment. “A volcanic eruption. An earthquake!”


“Depends on the scale of both of those,” James responded monotonously.


“Stop being such a Ravenclaw,” I scowled. “Fine. An alien invasion then.”


“Well… highly improbable, but I suppose it is possible. And that would be pretty bad, but only if these aliens were violent.”


“Voldemort rising again?” I asked hopefully.


“Impossible. My dad finished him off once and for all,” James grinned and I swatted his knee.


“Arrogant sod.”


“Nope. Just a fact.”


“Shall we?” I gestured towards a stack of dirty plates. James got up and bowed, offering me his hand.


“With pleasure, my lady.”


I giggled and took his hand, and he pulled me into a spin. There was no music except for the sound of the wind, but we danced for a few moments, an awkward waltz kind of thing- until I was laughing so much that I couldn’t exactly stand up straight any longer. Then we calmed down, became serious again, and faced the stacks of washing up and cooking we now had to do.


I gulped.


I was lazy at the best of times, so when faced with the prospect of cooking something actually edible for around 45+ people, it was a little bit horrifying. James seemed to cotton onto my train of thoughts though, because he wrapped me in a bear hug. I buried my face in his shirt, breathing deeply.


“Don’t worry,” James murmured into my hair, “I’ll be with you.” And I suddenly realised that maybe that was all I had ever wanted.


I blinked.


No, no, no, no, no. I did not just think that.


I did not just feel what I think I just felt. This couldn’t be happening; not when it was all so perfect. I stiffened in James’s arms and he felt it.


“You ok?” he asked with concern. “You look pale.”


I stared at his face, drinking it all in. Before I could stop myself, I imagined what it might feel like to kiss those lips, to run my hands through his hair…


I gasped and stood up abruptly.


“Just going to the toilet,” I told him before rushing out of the kitchen.


How was this even happening. Oh, god.


What was WRONG with me? I couldn’t just start thinking things like that!


I barged into one of the toilet cubicles and sat down on the lid, taking deep, gasping breaths. The wood of the door in front of me was covered in deep gouges; hearts containing pairs of initials, scrawled profanities and beliefs. I thought of the people who must have made those marks, crouched low in the filthy cubicle, wand out in front of them, determined to leave a piece of themselves behind in the world.


Ok, so I’d had a moment with James (however one-sided it may have been). But no biggie, right? I mean, it didn’t have to mean anything… We hadn’t even been flirting; he saw me as a friend. And I wouldn’t want anything different anyway. I was just letting my imagination run away with me.


I let out the breath I had been holding and stood up, pulling the flush chain so that anyone outside wouldn’t get suspicious.


It was all fine. All normal.


He’s dating Annie. You set them up, remember?!


I slowly made my way back to the kitchen, deciding to just completely block out the previous incident. We still had food to cook.


“Everything ok?” James asked. He’d found a chef’s hat and was wearing it at a lopsided angle on his head. There was flour all over his arms and face, and he looked completely adorable. I shook my head and smiled ruefully,


“Yeah. Just felt a bit sick, but I’m fine now.”


“You’re not pregnant are you?!” James’s eyes widened.


“Don’t be stupid,” I rolled my eyes. “Of course I’m not.”


“Just checking. ‘Cos if you were, I’d have some beating up to do.”


I grinned and peered over his shoulder at a lump of… something lying on the chopping board in front.


“Err… James, what is that?”


“It’s pastry,” he explained. “I thought we could do a really large apple pie or tart or something – there are plenty of apples and flour and eggs.”


“Ok. Well, if you do that, I could do a large soup or stew. Is there any meat?”


“There’s lots of beef… but a stew would take quite a long time to do. I think we’d be better off doing a quick soup for people, and then the pie can cook while they’re eating it.”


“Whatever you say, captain.”


“Head chef, actually,” he flicked my hair around.


“Hey!” I protested. “Why couldn’t I be the head chef?”


“Because you were absent when the ranks were being handed out,” James smirked.


I pouted, “Can’t I at least get a hat?”


“Only the head chef gets a hat, darling.”


“I’ll get working on that soup then,” I replied, after punching him in the shoulder.


James had wedged his wand in between two cooking books so that we had enough light, but it was still quite hard to see things, and we kept bumping arms and hands as we reached for different objects. I don’t know whether it was the same for James, but my skin kept tingling at the contact, and I internally cursed my reaction to him.


Because this was one of the clearest signs of physical attraction to a person.



And that meant that I was in big trouble.

~~~


The soup was… interesting. It was edible, certainly, but I couldn’t quite remember what vegetables I’d used in it so when people asked what flavour it was, I had to tell them they were supposed to guess and that it was a competition. They all scowled at me. Apart from Dom, Eve and Annie.


But sod it! I’d spent the larger part of an hour working on it, so the least they could do was be polite. We were all stuck in this place until further notice, so it wouldn’t do to create any ill feelings. Scorpius Malfoy was doing enough of that already: his dark, broody mood was casting a metaphorical cloud of anxiety over us all. One person had already been sick, so now the whole place stank of vomit. It was, quite frankly, hellish.


“The pie’s nearly done,” James announced to the room, earning many sniggers as he was now covered from head to toe in flour and pieces of sloppy apple. The first person to queue up for a piece of this apple pie was an elderly lady with a hearing aid and glasses so large they took up half the room on her face.


“Did you use brown sugar, dear? And self-raising flour, I presume?” she croaked.


“Err… yes, of course,” James responded. “Wouldn’t make it with anything other than self-raising sugar and brown flour.”


“He means brown sugar and self-raising flour,” I hastily corrected. The woman appeared satisfied, and trudged off to reclaim her place on the sofa. I hugged my arms to my body, and shivered as a particularly large draught of wind swept through the room. The frame of the building rattled worryingly.


Eventually, Dom came up for apple pie. I leapt at the chance to talk to her.


“Are you ok?” I asked quickly. “Sorry I couldn’t get what you were trying to say earlier.”


Dom shrugged, “Don’t worry. I’m fine.”


“Why won’t he let you speak to us?” I demanded suddenly. I hadn’t planned on bringing it up, but I was angry at Dom’s careless attitude towards it all.


“He isn’t. He just wants to spend more time with me, that’s all.” I felt like saying ‘oh, sure’ but decided against it.


“Oh, sure,” Eve rolled her eyes, butting in on the conversation from behind me. I jumped and spilt breadcrumbs everywhere. “He’s controlling you, Dom!” Dom glared, grabbed a bowl of apple pie, and stalked off back to Ryan. I vowed to put pepper in his apple pie if he came up for any.


“Only staff are allowed in the kitchen,” I informed Eve snootily.


“And you count as staff?” she raised her eyebrows.


“Actually, I’m the assistant head chef, so yeah.”


I got another eye roll in response.


“Have you managed to get a signal yet?” I asked.


“No,” Eve frowned. “But I’m going to keep trying. Annie and I are wandering around the place, seeing if there’s a particular spot that’s more receptive than the rest.”


“Good plan,” I nodded. “But all we can do is wait for news, really. James wanted to send out a search party,” I watched him hand food politely to a young boy of about seven, “But that would practically be a suicide mission.”


“I wonder how long this is going to last for though,” Eve sighed. “If it goes on for another night, we’re all screwed. It’ll get too cold and there won’t be enough food.”


“Yeah, I know… but let’s not think about that right now.” Eve nodded her agreement and wandered over to Annie, leaving me and James to clear up the kitchen now.


“I think we should ask people to pay for it,” James said.


“What?”


“Well, don’t you think so too? I mean, this is all Rosmerta’s stuff. She can’t just be expected to give it out free just because of some storm.”


“I suppose you’re right,” I replied thoughtfully. “But the fact that we made it will probably reduce the value.” I smirked.


“I’ll talk to Rosmerta about it later,” James muttered distractedly. “Meanwhile…” He waved his wand and the dirty dishes did a feeble twitch in the air before falling back to their original positions. “Ok, that didn’t work.”


“Let’s just leave it now,” I yawned. “Someone who actually knows household spells can clean this up.”


“Ok…” James sighed and slung an arm round my shoulders. I wished he wouldn’t now that… well, now that I could not be held accountable for the actions of my stupid hormones.


Hear that? I cannot be held accountable!


People were curling up in corners of the room and on sofas, tables and chairs all over the place. The blankets were being given to the elderly or young children, so unfortunately neither James nor I would be eligible for one.


“I don’t think I’ll get a wink of sleep,” James said. “I don’t know how everyone else expects to.”


Nevertheless, we joined Annie and Eve in their spot by the fireplace. Annie kissed James quickly and brushed flour from his hair. I turned away quickly to sit down next to Eve.


“Not enough blankets,” she stated morosely, pulling her leather jacket more tightly around her. I punched my bag a few times to get it into a more comfortable shape, and used it as a rather lumpy pillow. I lay on my side, facing the fireplace, so that I wouldn’t have to see the many pairs of eyes, blinking silently in the dark, tortured by a night of insomnia.


I drew hearts into the ash and soot around the hearth until I eventually drifted off into a restless sleep.


~~~


The morning dawned with a shriek of glee from Eve Turner.


“I’ve got it! I’ve got a signal!” she was holding her phone up in the air triumphantly, surrounded by a crowd of eager onlookers. I rubbed my eyes wearily, stiff all over from sleeping on such a hard floor all night, and struggled into a sitting position. Eve bounced over to me,


“Hollie! Get up! Check your phone too! We’re the only people here who have them, after all.” I silently extracted my phone from my bag and checked the signal. One bar.


“There’s only one bar,” I croaked, my voice not warmed up yet from the cold. My fingers felt numb. “Phone Zoey quickly before it goes again.”


The next thing I noticed was that the wind appeared to have dropped, and that the faint light streaming in through the windows was tinted a strange, blue colour.


“We’re snowed in completely,” James explained. He looked rumpled, but otherwise ok.


“Alright, everyone!” I heard Rosmerta’s voice over the dim murmur of everyone else’s. “We need quiet so Miss Turner here can find out whatever the hell is happening in the outside world.”


Eve dialled Zoey’s number and every single person held their breath.


Finally, the call was answered.


“Zoey,” Eve said breathlessly. “It’s me. There’s a whole load of us buried in The Three Broomsticks awaiting help. Are you ok? Where are you?”


There was a pause.


“I see. How long?”


Another silence from Eve. And then she pulled the phone from her ear and stared down at the screen: it was completely black. The battery had died. With a groan of frustration, she flung the phone onto the sofa. But people were clamouring for information, and Eve motioned for everyone to be quiet.


“She’s going to contact the Ministry, remind them we’re here,” Eve explained. “Help should be coming in two to three hours time.”


This was met with expressions of relief and plenty of talking.


“Is your sister alright, Eve?” Annie asked. “She was very nice.”


“She’s at St. Mungo’s,” Eve bit her lip. “With Fred and Lily Potter.”


James went pale, and his fists clenched. When he spoke, it was in a very quiet voice. “Did she say why she was in St. Mungo’s?”


Eve looked upset. “I’m sorry, James,” she whispered. “She was cut off before she had the chance.”


“How long before people get here?”


“I said just then, two to three hours.”


“What’s the truth though?”


Eve chewed on the inside of her cheek. “Seven.”


James swore loudly and spun in a circle, looking for something to take his frustration out on. Annie grabbed his arm before he could punch the sofa though.


“James. Stop it,” she said sternly. “This isn’t helping anyone.”


But James barely listened to her. Instead he started heading towards the stairs that led up to Rosmerta’s private quarters, the place where Millie was currently sleeping.


“What’s he doing?” groaned Eve, hurrying after him. I glanced around the room to see if anyone had noticed us disappearing off up the stairs. It seemed not.


We found James in a spare bedroom, the bed covered in dust and stripped of its sheets – they were folded neatly on the floor. A dusty picture hung on the wall, barely distinguishable after years of sunlight streaming onto the canvas and fading the paint, but I thought I could make out a mountain and a dragon. James was fiddling with the window latch, trying to open it.


“What the hell?” Eve exclaimed. “You can’t jump out of the window! You’ll kill yourself.” My blood turned cold. Surely that wasn’t what James was aiming for? He wouldn’t…


“Relax,” he said. “I just want to see how deep the snow actually is.”


“Be careful,” Annie said anxiously. “The ledge will be slippery.”


James gave the window an almighty shove, and it swung open with a bang that made me jump. He poked his head out and glanced down, then began to laugh.


“That boy has problems,” Eve scowled. “Oi, Potter! What the fuck are you laughing about?”


“Come and see,” he grinned, gesturing towards the window.


I had to stand on my toes to see over everyone’s heads, but then I chuckled disbelievingly.


“Are you fucking serious?” Eve shrieked. “We can just step right out.”


The snow was piled so high that it lay only a few feet below the upstairs windows. If we wanted to, we could jump out and walk away.


“But how is it even possible for that much snow to fall practically overnight?” I wondered out loud.


James shrugged. “I don’t care. I just need to get to St. Mungo’s.” And with that he swung his legs out and jumped. Then there was an extremely loud curse and a thump a few moments later.


Hang on… if he was landing on snow, then surely there wouldn’t have been such a loud thump…


Panic suddenly squeezing my chest, I rushed back to the window and looked down.


“Shit!” I screamed. We’d got it horribly, horribly wrong. The weight of his body hadn’t been supported properly by the snow, and instead of just being able to walk on top of it, he had plunged straight through as if it were cotton wool, and had landed on the ground as if the snow wasn’t even there. Which meant that he had basically just jumped out of a very high window.


“What?” Eve demanded, rushing to my side. I ignored her, panic clouding my thoughts.


“James!” I screamed. “Are you ok?” Eve and Annie suddenly realised what was happening, and Annie paled when James didn’t respond.


“Oh, god,” I felt like puking. I couldn’t even comprehend what may have just happened. My vision was starting to go blurry when we heard a muffled cry.


“I’m ok, guys,” James croaked up to us. “I don’t know how, but I haven’t broken anything.”


“You sure?” Annie yelled.


“Yeah!”


“But what if the snow caves in on him?” Eve asked in a horrified whisper. Annie was trembling.


Then I had an idea.


“We need to get to him. Quick – tie those sheets together,” I ran over to the pile of folded sheets and frantically threw them at Annie and Eve before leaning out of the window again.


“James?”


“Yeah…?”


“We’re coming down, ok?”


“No, don’t- I can get to St. Mungo’s on my own.”


“But what if the snow caves in on you?” I said exasperatedly. “We’re tying sheets together,” I continued. “So just… hold on…”


Annie and Eve hadn’t moved. They were just staring at the pile of sheets on the floor.


“Come on, guys!” I insisted. “If the snow caves in on him, we’re in big, big trouble.”


This seemed to shake them into reality, and they began tying the sheets at the ends with rough knots. I suddenly realised that Dom hadn’t been told that Fred and Lily were at St. Mungo’s yet – with a yelp, I dashed out of the door and down into the main part of the pub. I immediately spotted her at a table, looking slightly glum, with Ryan – who was talking to a bunch of other people and basically ignoring Dom. Without even looking at Ryan, I yanked her from her seat and pulled her along behind me. I don’t even think Ryan noticed.


“Hollie- what?”


“No time,” I gasped, clutching my side from sprinting all the way back to the spare bedroom. “Fred and Lily are in St. Mungo’s. James jumped out the window…”


“He did WHAT?” Dom stared at me and rushed to see for herself. “Holy crap! James, you idiot!”


“I thought the snow was fucking thicker!” he bellowed.


“Ok, we’re done. It should be long enough,” Eve announced, holding up the chain of sheets.


“Great,” I grabbed the end and tied it to the bed, then threw the other one out the window. “Since I’m the lightest, I’ll go down first to see if it’ll hold.”


“Are you sure?” Dom asked uncertainly. “You’re not the most… athletic.”


“Hey, I saved you from Davies!”


“You didn’t save me… ok, maybe you did…”


“Less talk, more action!” Eve snapped, practically pushing me towards the window. I took a deep breath, and swung out onto the ledge, gripping the sheet so tightly that I thought it might rip. I’d read plenty of adventure stories when I was younger about escapes from castles or towers via sheet-knotting, but had never dreamed that the day would come when I would be doing the exact same thing. It was a lot harder than it sounds, especially as we hadn’t thought to tie random knots along the length to serve as footholds. I half abseiled, half shimmied down the side of the three broomsticks, until I got to the snowy part that the end of my makeshift rope was curled up on. Gritting my teeth, I plunged into the freezing depths of snow and ice, moving as fast as possible so I could get to the bottom and push my way out. There was a moment of fear when I was completely surrounded by snow, apart from above, and I thought I might let go of the sheet and go crashing to the ground and be frozen alive. But then my feet hit a solid and I was standing at the bottom of a rather long hole of snow, staring at the three faces of my friends still up in the bedroom.


I turned to the direction I thought James was, and was about to kick at the snow when Eve stopped me with a warning cry.


“Wait! Hollie, if you kick the snow in, it might collapse on you! There’s only a very thin wall of it separating you and James.”


“Well, what do I do then? How do I get to him?”


“Hang on…” Eve muttered, fumbling around somewhere. “I might be able to melt away the top of the column with my wand.” I felt a wave of warm air drift over the top of my head, and I watched in awe as the snow began to melt; slowly at first, but then faster, forming a puddle around my feet. After a minute or two, I could see the top of James’s head and it was easy to trample down the remaining snow and reach him.


“Phew,” I muttered, and he pulled me close to him for a moment, before I wriggled out and went to adjust the position of the ‘rope’.


Eve came down next, then Dom, and finally Annie who fell into James’s arms immediately. Considering they’d only been on one date, which had been completely ruined by the storm, they were awfully comfortable around each other.


Wait, awfully? Not awfully. It was great! They obviously had good chemistry.


“Ok…” Eve said, circling the little hollow in the snow that we’d manage to make. “Now what?”


a/n: I GOT IT DONE FOR YOU GUYS. DESPITE NANOWRIMO. LOVE ME. REPAY ME WITH REVIEWS?! ;D I hope you got to be a bit more familiar with James in this chapter because I’m aware of the fact we don’t get to see much James-Hollie interaction. Sorry about all the drama though – I hope it’s not totally unrealistic! I think I need to change one of the genres to ‘drama’. :P I do not own the quote ‘this sucks royal hippogriff’ – that is from avps/avpm, can’t remember which.


Chapter 11: The Hospital
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The team of Aurors and Healers arrived at the scene before we’d even figured out a way to now get out of the snow hollow without ending up as ice statues.


By that time we were all feeling a bit pissed off with James for jumping out of the window and instigating the situation we then found ourselves in: trapped outside by walls of snow that were threatening to collapse at any minute, in sub-zero temperatures, and not even a blanket between us.


But luckily, the healers swept in on broomsticks before anything major happened. I have never been relieved to see doctors in my life – and I usually hate anything to do with hospitals, being as squeamish as I am – but this was a bloody relief, I can tell you.


Someone official-looking took our names and then agreed to apparate us to St. Mungo’s using the special apparition pass they had all been given for the day, to help with evacuation from storm damage and places like this. We kept trying to get information about the size of the storm and the amount of damage it had done, but he refused to answer our questions, and by the time we landed in the lobby of St. Mungo’s we didn’t even care anymore. All we wanted was to make sure Fed and Lily – and anyone else we had yet to hear of – were alive and kicking.


James approached the stressed-looking receptionist, who was being inundated with calls and owls due to the storm. The wizarding wireless was playing in the background, and I managed to pick out a few words.


-latest statistics reveal that there are rumoured to be nine recorded fatalities, six muggle and three magical, in Hogsmeade and the surrounding vicinity which includes three muggle villages and one town…


-twenty people still believed to be missing, and the hospital of St. Mungo’s is full to bursting with minor casualties…


It sounded big. I didn’t know what the storm had been classified as yet- snowstorm? Blizzard? Hurricane? But it had certainly caused enough damage.


“Fred Weasley and Lily Potter, yes,” James was saying. “What ward are they in?”


“Err…” the flustered receptionist rifled through piles of notes. “Healer Kenworth’s ward, ground floor. Take that corridor,” the woman gestured, and the five of us rushed off in the right direction. It didn’t take us very long to find Healer Kenworth’s ward; Harry Potter was standing outside it.


James and Dom immediately rushed over to Harry, and he shot them a strained smile once he’d looked up and seen them. Eve, Annie and I hung back, unsure what to do.


“James,” he said, standing up and hugging him thankfully. “Thank god I’ve caught you – I was just leaving. Lily’s at home now. Are you ok?”


“We were trapped in The Three Broomsticks overnight,” James replied. “Dom, too.”


“Dom,” Harry smiled kindly. “Bill and Fleur are worried sick about you. It’d be best to floo home; Professor McGonagall has given permission for all students to return home for a few days.


I frowned. There was no way I’d be able to get home; my house wasn’t connected to the floo network, and I couldn’t apparate, and unless someone knew where my house was I couldn’t ask anyone else to apparate me.


“Oh… ok, thanks for telling me. I’ll floo in a moment,” Dom was tying her hair into a knot on the top of her head. I rubbed my eyes wearily, and the movement attracted the attention of James’s dad. James motioned for us to come forward.


“I don’t believe we’ve had the pleasure,” Harry said, looking at Annie, Eve and I appraisingly, then holding his hand out for me to shake.


Tentatively, I shook hands with the saviour of the wizarding world. Even though my family weren’t magical, they had lived through the war, and when I came to Hogwarts I discovered that my grandmother had been murdered by a Death Eater- not died from a heart attack like my parents believed. So I could fully appreciate everything this man must have done, when he was just my age, and I was more than slightly in awe of him. I sort of felt like anything I did or said would seem too shallow and stupid.


“Hollie Parker, sir,” I introduced myself.


“Call me Harry, please,” Harry grinned.


“I’m Eve Turner,” Eve said reluctantly.


“And this is… my girlfriend, Annie Summers,” James flushed slightly, and took Annie’s hand. I crossed my arms and smirked at his deer-in-the-headlights expression. He glared at me defiantly.


“Is she now? I didn’t know you had a girlfriend, James.” Harry rolled his eyes. “He never tells me anything,” he winked at Annie and shook her hand as well. “Pleased to meet you, Annie.”


“Well, yesterday was our first date. And, well, obviously…it didn’t quite go as planned…” James explained, blushing again and looking around at the various charts and portraits lining the corridor walls. I remembered who we were actually here for in the first place, and glanced nervously at Harry before speaking.


“Erm… is Fred in there? Because we’re all really worried about him… and we sort of came to find out what’s happened to everyone.”


“Oh, yes, of course,” Harry moved away from the door. “He’s the first bed on the right. A girl called Zoey is with him, can’t say I’m sure why. She was pretending to be a Healer, but it was pretty obvious she wasn’t,” he smiled again, and turned to James as the rest of us walked into the ward.


I saw Zoey first, looking very disgruntled in a too-big Healer outfit that she’d probably nicked from a storeroom. Then there was Fred lying in the bed next to her, looking as right as rain, apart from the leg that was heavily bandaged and propped up on a pile of pillows.


“Guys!” his smile was so wide that it stretched to America. “You came for meee!”


“Of course, you moron,” I hugged him tightly. “We were worried to death about you. What did you go and get lost for?!”


“I sincerely apologise.”


“What happened?” Annie asked, her hand over her mouth as she inspected Fred’s injury.


“A falling tree branch,” Fred shrugged. “I know it’s awesome. I’ll have battle scars now.”


“Well, at least you’re not dead,” Eve smiled.


“You wish,” Fred said, before flopping back onto the pillows with his tongue out. “Shee? I’m deabd bow.”


“I think he means ‘I’m dead now’,” Dom interpreted wisely for us. “This is technically the only thing you can never say truthfully. So, Fred, you are a big fat liar.” Fred sat up and scowled,


“Shouldn’t you be running off to your mummy by now?”


“Shut up,” Dom said. Fred just stuck his tongue out at her.


“Hey, where’s James?” he then asked, clutching his heart. “Doesn’t he care about me?!”


“I’m here,” James called, trudging across the room to us. “Was just talking to dad. Apparently no-one form Hogwarts has actually been killed, but there are plenty of injuries – so, yeah, we’ve all been sent home for a few days so the teachers can get organised and stuff.” James grinned at Fred and thumped his arm. “Good to see you alive and kicking, mate.”


“I don’t have any way of getting back home,” I frowned.


“You can come home with me then!” Dom’s face lit up at the prospect.


“So you can keep her sane while she’s with her evil family,” Fred sniggered.


“They turned my room into a private gym!” Dom snarled. “They are made of pure evil!”


“Look on the bright side,” Fred chuckled. “At least you’ll be able to work out in the familiarity of your own room!”


Yep, Fred was perfectly ok. Although looking around the ward, I recognised quite a few of the other bed occupants; including Rachel Adams. Dom spotted who I was looking at and smirked devilishly. She grabbed my wrist.


“Let’s go and pay our bestie buddy a little visit, shall we?”


“Um…”


Ignoring any protests of mine, Dom dragged me over to Rachel’s bed. I could feel James watching us, and I hoped Dom wasn’t going to do anything … well, mean.


“Hey, Rachel,” Dom said. “What happened to you then?”


Rachel looked confused, and not just because of the fact we were talking to her. She had a lump the size of a large chicken egg on her head.


“Dom,” I said. “Look at her head. Just leave it.”


“Why should I? She’s a bitch!”


“Who is now crying,” I stated. It was true; Rachel had turned onto her stomach and was sobbing into a pillow.


Dom huffed and stalked back to Fred, but I felt bad.


“Hey… sorry about her. She doesn’t mean it.” I got no answer, but I could see Rachel’s shoulders shaking as she cried. I realised that she had no visitors, while every other bed had about three of four at least. Slowly, I sat down in the chair nearby, shocked. I reached forward and picked a magazine up off the floor. I hadn’t heard of it before, but there were some dog-eared pages, and I flipped to them curiously. They were full of images of couples, walking along a beach, kissing under a full moon, that sort of thing. It was cute. Rachel rolled over and saw me looking at the photographs, and quickly snatched the magazine from me.


“J-just go away,” she sniffed, her face red and puffy. She winced as the pillow scraped against the swollen lump on her head.


I nodded, and walked back to Fred’s bed, silently cursing Dom for starting this. Because now I actually felt sorry for Rachel Adams- and the fact that she appeared to be very lonely indeed underneath that confidant mask.


James was looking at me curiously, but I ignored him.


“Ok, so if Lily’s at your house James - and Fred’s fine here, I think we should all head off,” Dom announced, clapping her hands together.


“What! You’re leaving me?” Fred exclaimed sadly. Zoey had taken off her fake Healer uniform and was standing with Eve by the door, giving her knowing glances. It looked like Zoey had worked out Eve’s thoughts about Fred then.


“D’you want to come back to my place?” James asked us all.


“I can’t,” Annie looked slightly crestfallen. “I need to go back to the castle and find Lisa – she wasn’t in Hogsmeade today, but we’ll floo home together now.”


“Hollie and I will come, James,” Dom announced at once.


“Dom… don’t you think your parents might want to make sure you’re ok first?” I asked. Dom scowled,


“I guess…Screw you. So how about we come back to visit Fred tomorrow and then go to James’s?”


I looked at James, “Does that sound ok with you?”


He nodded, “Sure.”


“Zoey and I are going too,” Eve said, hugging Dom, Annie and I briefly before finally hugging Fred, and I imagined that she would be feeling pretty awkward. Sure enough, there was a faint flush on her cheeks as she pulled away and waved goodbye to us all. They both disappeared out of the door and I felt strangely melancholy.


“Come on,” Dom grabbed my hand. “See you lot tomorrow.” We asked the receptionist if we could use the fire, and then Dom grabbed a pinch of floo powder before even waiting for the answer.


“Rude,” I shook my head.


“Shut it, Hols.” Dom threw the floo powder into the fire and the flames burned emerald. “Shell Cottage!” She stepped into the fire and was whisked away. It still made me slightly nervous, using floo powder. My house had loads of large fireplaces and as a child I was warned to always be careful around the fire, as it would burn you. So I got quite paranoid about magical flames; what if I wasn’t quick enough and the fire burnt me? Or the floo powder ran out halfway through and I was stuck in a chimney? But my tactic was to just block those thoughts from my mind and get on with it. As I disappeared into the fire, the last thing I saw was James walking into the lobby before I was being spat out into Dom’s house.


“What took you so long?!” she was standing, tapping her foot.


“Slow and steady wins the race,” I quipped one of her favourite sayings back at her, and Dom scowled.


“Stop emotionally abusing me!”


“I’m sorry?!” I raised an eyebrow.


“You heard me. Now let’s go face the evil people.” Dom pushed me in front of her.


“Oh, so now I’m your human shield?”


“It’s in case maman starts throwing a tantrum and smashing vases again.”


“Glad to know I mean so much to you,” I hummed.


“You’re welcome.”


Personally, I really liked Dom’s immediate family. Fleur made the best brownies, Victoire always had really good fashion magazines for me to steal, and Bill was alright, if a little intimidating and serious with all his scars from when the werewolf Fenrir Greyback attacked him. I reckoned that was where Dom got her slightly aggressive streak from. But I never admitted this to Dom, as she was convinced that she must have been Grindelwald in another life to be stuck with such “infuriating relatives”. But at least her dad helped save the wizarding world. Mine was just a boring old lawyer.


“Dominique!” I heard a voice trill. “Where ‘ave you been?! Your papa and I were so worried!” Then Fleur came hurrying out of a neighbouring room, looking overjoyed to see her daughter alive and in one piece.


Dom reluctantly let her mother hug and kiss her.


“I’m fine, stop fussing maman. We were just snowed into The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. Loads of people were, and Hollie was there too,” Dom pushed me in front of her again, where Fleur proceeded to hug and kiss me as well. She smelt like vanilla and Chanel.


“But you did not reply to our last letter!” Fleur exclaimed after she was done with me, her blonde hair coming loose from its messy bun.


“You mean the one where you said you were turning my bedroom into a gym?” Dom replied angrily.


“Yes, yes, but zat is only because Victoire eez moving out, and so you will ‘ave her room!” Fleur said absent-mindedly, oblivious to Dom’s sudden expression of surprise and glee.


“You didn’t explain that in the letter!”


“Well, no… I thought you would realise that was the case, my darling… Of course, Victoire has taken the bed and furniture with her into her new flat, but I’m sure that’ll be no problem. You can sleep on the floor until we find you a new bed!” Fleur beamed.


“I knew there’d be a catch,” Dom rolled her eyes. We followed Fleur into the kitchen, which smelt like baking dough.


“Now, who wants some cookies?” Fleur asked. “It must have been awful food at zee… what is it? Three Broomsticks? I hate zat place…”


“Maman, people were killed and all you can worry about is whether we had good food?” Dom cried with disgust evident in her voice. “And besides, Hollie and James were cooking, and it was lovely food.”

“Ah!” Fleur said happily, seemingly oblivious to her daughter’s opinion of her. “You can cook, ‘Ollie?”


“Um… a little,” I shrugged.


“That eez very nice to hear. Baking is one of my favourite pastimes, I have to say… Now, how long are you planning to stay, dear? Because I can show you some of my favourite recipes…”


“Actually maman, we’re going to visit Fred in the hospital again tomorrow, and then go to Aunt Ginny’s,” Dom interrupted hastily.


“Fred is in hospital?” Fleur’s eyes widened, and Dom sighed.


“Yes, maman.”


“Why? Is he sick?”


“His leg was bashed about pretty badly by the huge storm that seems to have blown completely over your head!”


I tried not to smirk at the pun.


“Now, now, don’t be rude Dominique,” Fleur frowned. “Of course I heard about zee storm on zee wireless! But zee media, zey always over-exaggerate zese things.”


Dom gave up.


“Come on Holls, let’s just go and look at my new room,” she sighed.


“But what about zee cookies, girls?” Fleur asked.


“I’m on a diet,” Dom waved them away.


“I’ll have some after dinner if that’s alright, Mrs. Weasley,” I said, trying to keep the balance between pleasing the woman who was letting my stay here and staying on Dom’s good side. Luckily, Fleur didn’t mind, and smiled fondly at me as we tramped up the stairs.


I adored Shell Cottage. It had that wonderful seaside-village feel to it, but at the same time it was homely and cosy.


Victoire’s (or should I say Dom’s?) room was huge – french windows facing out to see, an en-suite bathroom, a large wardrobe. The only downside to the room was its distinct lack of furniture… but it was a damn sight better than having to sleep in a gym. Dom went straight to the wardrobe, hoping that Victoire had left some of her old clothes for her to have. She opened the double doors eagerly and her eyes lit up when she saw an array of blouses, dresses and shoes – slightly worn, but still gorgeous-looking and probably designer.


“I LOVE MY SISTER!” Dom squealed, pulling out a silky lilac dress and hugging it passionately to her chest. Then dancing round the room with it. And tripping over a box, then twisting mid-fall so that she landed first, not the dress.


That girl.


“Ouch,” Dom pouted, and I giggled.


“You,” I said whilst helping her up. “Are ridiculous.”


“But Hollie- look how prettyyy!” She found a ballerina skirt and a matching camisole covered in little flowers that opened and closed from a spell placed on the material. “Try this on!”


Smiling fondly at her, I grabbed the outfit and went into the en-suite bathroom to change. It did look rather nice. I did a little twirl in the mirror and felt utterly stupid when Dom opened the door and caught me at it. She burst out laughing, and I smacked her arm.


“So what, I’m not allowed to be goofy around my best friends?”


“Except you thought I wasn’t watching then, so that means you were twirling for your self.” Dom thought for a moment. “I wonder if we would all be different people if there was no-one around to judge us.”


“Whoa. Deep thinking going way over my head there,” I made a whooshing motion over my head with one hand. I wandered over to the wardrobe and found some high-waisted, black and glittery shorts and chucked them at Dom along with a slutty cropped pink jumper.


“Put these on. And wow, was Victoire a slut at Hogwarts or something?”


“Something like that,” Dom smirked. “But she and Teddy are really cute together now. Even if mum fawns over them so much that I want to barf.”


“Teddy was asleep at my last tutoring session,” I piped up and Dom frowned in surprise. “Maybe he was up all night doing things with Victoire…” I suggested with a wink.


“Ew! Yuck! Hollie!” Dom groaned and covered her ears. “That’s my sister! Just… no.”


“It is weird to think about them having sex,” I admitted with a sly grin, laughing at the way Dom’s face went green.


“But I bet she’ll think it’s even weirder when I start having sex,” Dom finally said. “Being the ‘baby’ of the family and all. Actually, that’s even a weird thought for me …”


“Is it?” I asked, surprised.


“Well, yeah,” she said, pulling the glittery shorts on over her tights. “I’m waiting for the perfect guy, duh. That was like one of our pacts we made together a few years ago; that you should definitely be in love with the first person you have sex with.” I remembered that pact. And I did still believe in it; I’d just assumed that Dom didn’t. Dom pulled her top off over her head and pulled on the pink jumper. She struck a pose. “Sexy, right?”


“A jumper? Sexy?”


“On me? Of course!”


“Prat,” I flicked her with the lilac dress.


“Careful!” she squealed. “That’s so adorable!”


“Don’t worry,” I chuckled.


“Hey…” Dom shook her hair out so that it cascaded down in waves around her shoulders. It was a bit knotty from spending the night on the floor of a freezing pub, but it still looked lovely. But one of the things I loved about having short hair was the way it could go a day or two without a brush, and would still look ok. “I think I have an idea.”


“Oh, god,” I sat down on a box and faked a yawn. “Let’s get this over with then.”


Dom laughed, “No, seriously.”


“Go on, then.”


“How about, tomorrow, we put on a fashion show for the Kenworth ward.” Before my expression of horror could mature any further, Dom barrelled on. “I know you think that sounds crap and embarrassing and stuff, but most of them are Hogwarts lot anyway- and let’s face it honey, nothing we do looks dorky. It’s just cool.”


“Unless we trip or go bright red or look stupid,” I added.


“Come on,” Dom pleaded, and I hid my face to resist the power of the puppy dog eyes. “Fred will absolutely love it. It’ll cheer him up so much.” But I accidently caught a peek of her sad-puppy expression and knew that I was done for. Deefur always got me with it, and Dom was no different.


Okay. I basically just said that my best friend was no different to my dog.


Although, a dog was man’s best friend! So there!


Ahem.


“Ugh, I hate you for making me say this,” I groaned. “But I’m going to go along with it. For you.”


“Yay!” Dom shrieked, prancing around. “Ok so I’m thinking glitter. Lots of glitter- and maybe a collection box if people want to donate money to our cause-“


“What cause?” I scoffed.


“The, err, charitable school kid cause.”


“Dom,” I tutted. “Let’s just do something nice for a friend. There doesn’t always have to be money involved.”


“But money makes the world go round!” Dom protested.


“If you agree to no collection box, I’ll agree with the glitter proposal,” I blackmailed.


“Hmmm…” Dom thought. “Glitter, or money… Well, that’s a no-brainer. I simply must have the glitter!”


I smacked my forehead.


~~~


Fleur made us pancakes for breakfast the next morning. She slathered them in golden syrup and sugar ( how does everyone in this family stay skinny?!) while Dom chattered on about the fashion show we would be performing in a few hours. Well, at least Dom was a drama-queen enough that she’d be able to make it vaguely enjoyable for the spectators instead of just… awkward. We’d organised music and disco-type lights, and Dom was insisting we get there early so that we could hang streamers from the ward entrance so we could make dramatic entrances with each new costume.


St Mungo’s had agreed to it on one condition; that Healer’s would be guaranteed instant access if a patient needed tending and that there was at least one adult in the room. Naturally, Fleur had volunteered herself.


I wanted to die when I thought about how embarrassing this was going to be.


But I knew it would make Fred happier (not that he really needed it – he seemed cheerful enough, but maybe that was just a brave act), and I was also subconsciously thinking about Rachel Adams. Yes, she’d been horrid to me. But was that just because she was insecure? It sounds cliché, the school bitchy girl turning out to be insecure, with ‘issues’ or eating disorders or whatever. But clichés are there for a reason, I guess.


And then I had a sudden thought.


Did people think of Dom, Eve and I in the same way that I regarded Savannah and Rachel? Did they think we were typical ‘mean, popular’ kids? I really, really hoped not.


I blinked. Fleur had been talking to me.


“So what do you think?” Fleur asked.


“Err… sure, yeah,” I mumbled vaguely.


“Super! Now, girls, I’d suggest you go and pack up all the clothes and decorations you want to take. And remember those old costumes I showed you!”


Ah yes. Fleur had pulled out of a store cupboard several rather… revealing… old Halloween costumes of Victoire’s. A slutty bunny. A slutty barmaid. A slutty teacher. In fact, I think Victoire had just thought of an object, and made it slutty.


I bet she could have even done it with a teapot to be honest.


“My sister,” Dom declared as we prepared to apparate to St Mungo’s. “Was a hardcore slut.”


“Dominique!” Fleur scolded. “I will not be having you use such a derogatory term in this house! Especially not to describe your sister!”


“Sorry maman,” Dom said meekly, but mouthed to me, “She must’ve been a slut too.”


I had to stifle a giggle.


Fleur apparated us straight into the lobby of St Mungo’s. The very same receptionist was sitting at the desk, looking just as stressed and frustrated as yesterday.


“We,” Fleur announced proudly. “Are hear to present a fashion show to zee residents of zee Kenworth ward. I ‘ope zat you ‘ave been informed of zis fact?”


The receptionist blinked slowly at Fleur as if she couldn’t quite believe what she was hearing.


“A fashion show, you say?”


“Zat is correct. A fashion show.”


Another blink.


“I’ll need to call the managers to check this… I mean, it’s not exactly regulatory to have spontaneous fashion shows around here, I’m sure you understand Mrs…”


“Weasley,” Fleur snapped, starting to get irritated. “Fleur Delacour-Weasley.”


There was a pause, and the receptionist tapped into a computer. Then her face took up a vaguely impressed expression.


“It appears that you’ve been authorized. Go on in.”


Dom whooped and the waiting patients stared at her in annoyance.


“Sorry,” I told them as we passed. “She has a whooping disease called whoopolaria. It’s like whooping cough. But it comes out as a screech.”


Their expressions changed to sympathetic.


“Poor dear,” someone muttered. “I’ve heard that’s fatal…”


Dom and I burst out laughing, but we were gone before the woman who’s said it had looked round.


We saw James moments later. He looked bewildered. Then he saw our armfuls of costumes and some muggle disco lights and his expression changed to that of incredulity.


“So you’re actually doing a fashion show?!” he asked. “You’re actually that insane? I heard the rumours but… gawd.”


“We sure are!” Dom grinned a toothy grin.


“Well, you’ve got quite an audience already. People from other wards are coming in.”


“What?” I shrieked, rounding on Dom. “The only reason I agreed to this was because there were mostly Hogwarts kids in Kensworth so he wouldn’t look like dorks in front of this. I can’t parade in front of strangers!” I panicked and thrust my box into James’s hands. “James, you’ll have to take my place.”


James gingerly picked up a blue flowery bra and held it across his chest. “You are kidding, right? Are you sure this is just a fashion show or are you both secret pole dancers or something?”


I snatched back the box, and the bra.


“We weren’t going to use that,” I muttered awkwardly.


“Hollie, you can’t back out now!” Dom pleaded. “And you seriously want James to take your place?”


“Err…”


“Well, I’m not,” James grumbled. We reached the door to the ward and I took a peek inside. There were people in there.


A lot of people, actually. I’d say… forty maybe? I gulped.


“Where are we going to change?” I asked shakily, and Dom screamed excitedly and hugged me,


“Thank you thank you thank you! I love you so much right now!” I staggered backwards into James with the weight of Dom, who laughed and helped me upright again. My body tingled slightly and I felt horrified once again at my reaction. God, I was such a rubbishy sort of person.


But at least it was just a physical attraction.


Right.


If I ignored it for long enough, it would just go away.


“Guess I’ll leave you supermodels to sort out the show then,” James smirked, vanishing into the ward. Fleur had been talking to a passing healer throughout this exchange, and turned to us with a beaming smile.


“I’ve got a spare room for you girls to use as a dressing room. Let’s take all zee boxes in there! I’ve brought some homemade refreshments for zee audience as well.”


“Homemade refreshments?” Dom exclaimed. “Maman! Hollie’s nervous enough already! Don’t make it into a bigger thing than it really is…”


“Nonsense! Hollie will be just fine, won’t you chérie?” Fleur patted my head which I resented slightly. I was sixteen after all, not three.


“I think so…”


“Right! Well, as they say, ‘zee show must go on!’”


Damn that saying.


A/N: I do not own Chanel or ‘slow and steady wins the race’. ‘Chérie’ is french for ‘dear’. This chapter was originally going to be longer but it got too long so I split it into two! :D

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