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A/N: Hi guys, Thanks for clicking! Everything you recognise is the property of JKR, the legend.
It takes me a while to read letters. It’s not that I’m dyslexic or anything, I just that I have this weird thing for observing handwriting. And the letter I was reading was like handwriting porn.
I knew this handwriting. It was neat, thin and cursive, with the letters leaning ever so slightly to the right. There was seven lines of “xoxo’s” written at the bottom. The sender had written the word “sorry” no less than twenty-two times. Merlin, I hated this girl. Simply hated her.
Well, actually no. I loved her. Quite a bit too. The letter was from my best friend Maya. She wasn’t going to be on the Hogwarts express today. In fact she wouldn’t be at Hogwarts at all. Like ever. She was moving to India. A whole different continent.
Why did she need to move with her family anyway? Surely Maya’s family could live without Maya for a few years, couldn’t they? COULDN’T THEY?
Oh Merlin, I’m going mental. Maya had told me she was moving months ago and now I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown.
You’re probably thinking ‘Hey, that’s not so bad. You have other friends, right?’
But you see, I’m one of those people who have one best friend, a group of people in my classes, and then a group of people I make awkward eye contact with.
Actually, scratch that. I make awkward eye contact with everyone. Except Maya. And now I had to go back to Hogwarts without her.
“Now Sophie, I want you to try extra hard this year to make the Quidditch team.”
I groaned dramatically, tugging violently on the seatbelt of the front seat. Dad always brought this up on the way to King’s Cross. I’m not even kidding. Every single year.
“Dad, I told you – I’ve already been selected for the Quidditch team.”
“But they’ve made you bloody reserve chaser! You’re better than that, Sweetheart.”
“No, Dad, I’m not. The whole Gryffindor Quidditch team is practically made up of the Potters and Weasleys. Quidditch takes human form in that family. Tell him, Charlie!” I barked at my little brother, who was sitting in the back seat, cleaning his ears vigorously.
“She’s right, Dad.” Charlie sighed, extracting his finger out of his ear and wiping it on his pants. God, thirteen year olds are disgusting. “James Potter, Roxanne Weasley and Louis Weasley are the permanent chasers, then it’s Sophie as reserve.”
My brother was the seeker on the team, the talented arse. It was inevitable really; my Dad had played Quidditch for England. Now he was a commentator. And not just any commentator, he was Cormac McLaggen, one of the most aggressive and harshest commentators of all time. It’s the worst, because every time he says something about a team or player that shocks the Quidditch nation, I need to shrivel up and die for a week; to avoid dirty looks.
But putting Quidditch aside, Dad’s lovely. I mean, everyone’s got that one person in their life who’s just misunderstood by the general public. I really don’t know how my Mum stands it.
We got to King’s Cross and pushed our way into Platform 9 and 3/4. Dad felt the need to enclose Charlie and I in a family bear hug me and gave us both embarrassingly heartfelt kisses, just as a group of popular Slytherin sluts walked by.
I face-palmed myself mentally.
I am sixteen years old, Father Dearest.
“Okay, Bye Dad!” I said as hurriedly but affectionately as I could, kissing him on the cheek.
I was already in the thick of the crowd when I heard “Bye Sweetheart!”
I pushed my trolley over to the trunk carriage. Then I realised what a bad idea it was to have run away from Charlie and Dad. I positioned my hands on my trunk and heaved, but I could barely lift the thing 3 inches off the trolley. I huffed and dropped it back onto the trolley. After three unsuccessful attempts I decided to just leave my trunk near the train carriage; surely someone would put it in for me … So I started backing away from the trunk.
“Do you need help with that?” someone asked.
I looked around for the source of the offer and my eyes found Albus Potter. The little famous child in the year under me. He looked a lot like his brother. Sigh. With all the fame and fuss surrounding his family, I never thought he’d be the typical “Need help with that?” kind of guy.
“Yeah, I would, if you don’t mind.” I replied, smiling, awkwardly walking back towards my trunk.
Together, we placed it into the trunk carriage, and turned to get back on the platform when someone carelessly plonked their trunk in front of the way we were walking. Albus tripped on it first and fell out of door of the carriage, back onto the platform. In a big blur, I found myself tripping right after him, flying through the air and then landing on top of him.
“Oh Merlin, I’m so sorry!” I yelped. I struggled off him hastily.
Fred Weasley suddenly appeared, towering over us, waggling his eyebrows at me and Albus.
“And what is going on here?” He asked suggestively, smiling mischievously.
“Nothing.” I replied, trying to sound chilled. I looked over at Albus and his face was fire truck red.
Why was he so embarrassed? I mean, we just fell over together. Surely I wasn’t that bad to be seen in public with? Was I?
I looked down self-consciously and realised the straps of my singlet were hanging off my shoulders, exposing my frilled bra to the world. I was horrified.
It was one of my worst pieces of underwear; my mum bought it for me when I was thirteen. Emblazoned across my bra were the words “CUDDLY BABE”. Accompanied by a little diamante motif of a cupcake.
I kid you not.
I fixed my singlet quickly. Great, now I was going red. Albus and I did not look chilled. And it definitely didn’t look like we’d been doing nothing.
To top it all off, James Potter and his mates came up behind Fred, eyebrows raised.
“I know Mum told you to enjoy yourself, but I didn’t think she meant it like that, little bro.” James said mockingly, winking one of those twinkling brown eyes at me.
I tried to roll my eyes but ended up gulping really, really loudly. I hate how saliva just builds up at the exact wrong moment. Seriously mouth, how many times do I have to tell you to control your salivary glands when I’m looking at James Potter?
Potter, Fred Weasley and their little gang (which consisted of Connor Peakes, some douchey Quidditch players and a progression of annoyingly pretty girls) continued to amble into the train, a few of them making exaggerated sexy faces at us.
“They are immature arses. I’m really sorry.” Albus apologised, looking thoroughly mortified.
“Don’t worry about it.” I assured him, nearly choked up in humiliation. “Thanks for your help.”
And before anything else embarrassing could happen, I leapt onto the train and started navigating myself through the narrow corridor packed with groups of people hugging, chatting, screaming and snogging. I caught a glimpse of James Potter and Co. in one of the front carriages and felt a slight twinge of annoyance.
I mean, he just walked up to Albus and I, and (EVEN THOUGH WE ARE IN THE SAME YEAR AND HOUSE AND HE BLOODY KNOWS ME) he didn’t say hi. And then he decides to be a git and crack a dirty joke.
Okay, it’s not the dirty joke that he said. I’m fine with that - make as many dirty jokes about me that you want people. What irritated me is the fact that he didn’t say hi. You don’t make dirty jokes about people without saying hi. It’s like getting a subscription to The Quibbler. You just don’t do that.
Of course, popular people don’t say hi to just anyone. It’s part of their image. Whatever. I was over it. He did see my bra though. I mean that deserves a ‘hi’, or at least a ‘hey’. I sighed. Popular people are always thinking that they’re the bee’s knees.
So my mind was rambling on about society’s view of popularity when the train started moving and I heard someone screech “SOOOOOPHIE!”
Okay, let me just get something off my chest. Before, when I was saying Maya was my only friend, I was lying. I do have a rather spectacular group of friends but I didn’t want you to get your hopes up about my popularity, because really, I’m nobody.
Anyway Dominique Weasley, also known as the human Barbie, ran down the corridor, arms outstretched, strawberry blonde hair streaming behind her like strands of satin.
Strands of satin? Wow. If I fail my NEWTs, I’m sure as hell becoming a poet.
Dom hugged me tightly. I squeezed her and she started rocking us from side to side, causing us to get weird looks from onlookers.
“Heeey Dom,” I said, letting go of her, but she wasn’t letting go of me. “Dom, Let go of me.”
“I’ve missed you so much Soph, you don’t understand.” She said into my shoulder. Well, actually into my back. See, I was so short, that people basically slumped over me to hug me.
“Well I didn’t miss you one bit.” boomed the Irish-accented voice of my mate, Tom Finnegan. I looked at him dejectedly, miming a heart attack.
“Only joking! How have you been Miss McLaggen?” He asked, putting his arm around my shoulders and leading me into the compartment.
“I’ve been bored as dung Mr Finnegan! All Dad wanted to do all summer was play Quidditch and I couldn’t even palm him off to Charlie, because he was at his friend’s place.”
“Ah well,” said my other friend, Raymond Thomas, who was sitting inside. “Maybe this year, Potter will pick you for the team and we can be Quidditch buddies!”
Ray was the beater on the team, along with Fred Weasley.
“I doubt it.” I muffled into his shoulder as I hugged him.
“Don’t stop believing!” Ray sang, half mockingly - half encouragingly, patting my head softly.
Ray was such a sweetie. So was Tom. It was probably why they were best friends.
Maya and I often wondered why the two of them had such bad luck with girls, to which Dom would wisely reply ‘Girls like guys who treat them like merde.’
I looked over at Dom, who was staring at me with her head cocked to the side. Dom was a funny one. She used to be much better friends with Maya and I, but as time progressed and puberty hit us all, Dom became this social butterfly who could hang with anyone if she wanted. Maya remained the smarty pants. I slowly became an awkward, shy flobberworm of a human being.
“Why are your cheeks so red?” Dom observed. Curse her awesome observing skills.
I felt my flaming cheeks and cursed myself.
“I kind of body slammed Albus Potter onto the platform before. And then flashed everyone my bra.” I mumbled ashamedly, “And then James Potter came around and implied that his brother and I were …” I broke off, unsure how to phrase it.
“Doing it?” Tom suggested, unabashedly.
“Yes.” I replied tightly, to Tom and Ray’s sniggering.
“Were you though?” Asked Dom, her eyes wary.
“No! Of course not! Ugh, he’s like fifteen.” I replied, scandalised.
“More importantly - he’s my cousin!”
“Oh yeah, that too.” I muttered uncomfortably.
Dom and I shared a communicating look. Her eyes were widened, questioning me. I squinted in disgust, shaking my head side to side. The boys looked confused and went back to their chess game.
Here’s the explanation, people - basically, I used to have a big crush on James Potter. This was back during my first three years at Hogwarts. Only Maya knew. Then in third year, Maya accidentally blurted it to Dom and Dom was all “Oh no you didn’t, girlfriend! James is my cousin!” Insert Dom clicking her fingers in a z- formation here. Anyway, being the dramatic thirteen year old Dom was, she demanded I stop liking him. She even set me up on dates with some of her ex-boyfriends (yes, Dom is weird like that).
But it was for the best. James is a big arse now days and if Dom hadn’t told me off, I would have been one of those idiots who would probably lick his shoes for him if he asked.
Dom was still looking at me suspiciously. I put my thumbs up at her.
“It’s all good Dom, I don’t like Albus. Or Ja- you know who. Not anymore.” Smiling, I turned to watch Tom’s queen behead one of Ray’s bishops.
“Seriously, you need to cool down your cheeks, Soph.” Raymond said, passing me his water bottle.
I pressed the cool bottle against my face.
“Not those cheeks…” Tom added, winking.
I winked back at Tom and slowly began moving Ray’s bottle toward my backside.
Ray snatched the bottle out of my hands and donged Tom and I on our heads with it.
“Idiots.” Ray laughed under his breath.
“You’re so lucky Sophie – you never need blush.” Dom said thoughtfully, checking her own perfect pale reflection in her mirror before handing it to me.
I huffed at my reflection. I always look like I’ve stuck my head in an exploding cauldron.
My hair is very nearly a blonde afro - it’s like a million long, blonde ringlets trying but failing to be influenced by gravity. I usually tie it back as tightly as humanly possible but this morning I was feeling pretty hippie so I just left it.
Then there are my eyes. I like the fact that they are a blue-green-grey colour. But they are bloody humungous. I mean, I know it’s supposed to be a good thing, but I think my eyes borderline scary size.
Pair those eyes with frequently pink cheeks, blonde ringlets and a severe height disadvantage and you’ve got yourself one of those dolls you had when you were two years old. Probably given to you by a random Aunt with a hairy mole. Okay, maybe that’s just me.
But, compared to Dom, I’m a moose. She’s gorgeous. Tall and slim with silky straight hair to die for.
A sudden wave of hatred for my hair came over me. I was about to ask Dom to braid it for me when a loud shout outside interrupted me. It was followed by a thump.
“What was that?” Dom asked me.
“I don’t know.” I shrugged.
She poked her tongue out at me randomly and we leaned out of the compartment to survey the situation.
It seemed that further down the train, someone was pinning someone else up to a wall by the collar of their shirt. It was very American-teen-drama style. Dom and I hustled excitedly with the crowd toward the commotion.
The person doing the pinning was none other than James Potter, looking pissed off as hell. But he was still looking really hot in that pissed off macho-man kind of way. Ahem. Anyway, due to me being vertically challenged, I couldn’t see the person he had pinned against the wall. But I could see Lily Potter, clinging onto her brother’s arm, screaming at him in high screechy tones.
“Let him go James! Put him down now you overprotective git!” She shrieked, pounding her brother’s arm.
Dom inhaled sharply under her breath.
“What is it?” I asked, stumbling on my tippy toes.
“Come on.” She pulled me towards the front.
I still couldn’t see the poor guy getting pinned to the wall. But I could hear him spluttering at Potter, who firing questions at him, one after the other.
“How long have you known my sister? How do you even know her?”
“Let go of me ...please.” the boy choked at Potter.
That sounded familiar. They were the words I heard whenever I tackled my brother to the ground for the front seat in the car.
I gasped and looked over at Dom.
She jerked her head in a ‘Get over there!’ kind of way.
I shoved through the few people in front of me, and then I saw him, pinned against the wall.
Charlie, red in the face, with his blonde curls all over the place. His eyes were wide with pleading, and I could tell he was feeling self-conscious.
Sisterly protective rage flooded into me like a tsunami. No one can make my brother look like that, except me. And then, I couldn’t help it. My inner Dad came out.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” I yelled. Potter’s shocked face quickly snapped towards mine. A few people gasped. Even I froze for a second.
What the hell had I just done?
“Got your shirt back on then?” Potter replied chirpily, recomposing himself.
I blushed furiously as people behind me muttered.
“If you don’t mind, I’m teaching this tosser a lesson.” He continued.
“That tosser happens to be my brother, and yes, I do mind. Put him down. Now.” I snapped back, trying to keep my voice from wavering.
Potter just raised his eyebrows.
“Okay,” I replied coolly.
I don’t know how, but suddenly my wand was out and pointing at him.
Fred Weasley then lurched forward next to me, with his arms up in the air, his fingers in the peace sign.
“PEACE!” He shouted dramatically, with his eyes closed.
Everyone laughed at Fred and he opened his eyes, looking amused.
“Just put the kid down James.” Dom said exasperatedly.
“Yeah, just put him down.” Someone else agreed. I think it was Rose Weasley.
Potter looked around at the crowd for the first time, and I saw a little sparkle in his eyes. It looked like he was pleased with himself for attracting so much attention.
He whispered something in Charlie’s ear and then let go of his shirt.
“Keep a leash on your brother.” He said to me as he pushed past. “And by the way, nice bra.”
He and his friends walked away and the crowd started to disperse.
“Charlie!” I rushed toward my poor brother, who was massaging his neck. “Are you okay?”
I realised I had said that in sync with Lily Potter. What the hell.
“I’m alright.” Charlie replied feebly.
“Why the hell was Potter doing that to you?” I demanded.
Charlie looked nervously over at Lily and then back at me.
“Well?” I asked impatiently, arms crossed.
“He – uh – he saw me and – uh – Lily together.” He mumbled, cheeks flushed.
I looked from Charlie to Lily, who were both blushing like crazy.
“And what exactly were you two doing that made him go nuts?” I asked, reluctant to hear the answer.
“We were just– uh – we were – uh –,”Charlie stammered.
What would’ve made Potter so mad and overprotective that he nearly throttled Charlie? I started to feel a bit sick. Charlie was thirteen and Lily was only twelve. Surely they wouldn’t-
Suddenly Lily burst out from next to me in exasperation.
“For Merlin’s sake, we were just holding hands!”
Holding hands. Potter had pinned my brother against a wall for holding hands with his sister. Merlin’s beard.
Several hours later, when we had reached Hogwarts, Tom and Ray were still chuckling over the Charlie-and-Lily Potter-holding-hands incident.
“I mean, I’ve lived in James’s dormitory for five years and I honestly didn’t know he was so nuts.” Ray said, climbing out of the carriage that was pulled by nothing.
“Yeah, I mean he always seems so chilled.” replied Tom, shaking his head.
“He probably doesn’t want Lily to end up like all the girls he’s been with.” Dom reasoned.
“Slags.” I couldn’t help muttering under my breath. Well, they were slags.
Dom didn’t hear me, because she was distracted by Professor Robins, the Head of Gryffindor house, calling to the crowd of people trying to walk into the entrance hall.
“I need to see Dominique Weasley, Beth Wood, Violet Clearwater and Sophie McLaggen in my office immediately!”
Professor Robins had just mentioned all the sixth-year, Gryffindor girls. I looked at Dom with wide eyes and saw her gulp. Had we left our dormitory too messy last term or something?
We said bye to Tom and Ray, and walked into Robins’s office behind Beth and Violet. Beth and Vi were the typical inseparable best friends. They were nice enough, but they kept to themselves.
“Don’t look so scared; I called you in for something good!” Professor Robins smiled as she hustled to her desk.
Professor Robins wasn’t really a clean-cut teacher. She was more of the fun, young Aunt. She would have little discussions in class about all the latest trends and songs, but would still cramp in some Transfiguration at the end.
The four of us were staring at Robins curiously as she took something out from her drawer. She held it out – it was a shiny, silver Prefect badge.
“Now girls,” She began brightly, “Since Maya has left; we need a new sixth-year Gryffindor prefect to take her place. Professor McGonagall told me to just choose the most eligible girl out of all of you. But I thought, where’s the fun in that?”
We all stared at her rather blankly. I had forgotten that Maya was a prefect. A pang of broken heartedness went through me at the thought of her and her prefectness.
“Anyway, I thought it would be good if you girls choose who should be prefect!” Robins finished happily, clapping her hands together in excitement.
Robins was a bit too happy in my opinion. I mean, she was only in her thirties, and she had to leave her husband for months on end in order to teach at Hogwarts. She shouldn’t be happy. She should be depressed and on an anti-depressant potion. Seriously, what was wrong with her? Maybe she was a serial killer. Dun dun dun. Or maybe having an affair with the Bloody Baron. Or maybe … She was just a happy person. Gah. I hate those people.
I was reaching the end of my little thought cycle when I realised Dom, Beth and Violet were all talking over each other.
“Professor, I would make the worst prefect, honest to Godric Gryffindor. “ Beth said dramatically, with hand on her heart.
“This year I was really hoping to focus on my studies, Professor.” Violet reasoned.
“I’m really scared of the dark and I don’t think I could ever patrol at night.” Dom blurted out lamely, wiping a fake tear from her eye.
I was having an inner laughter attack at Dom when I realised everyone in Robins’s office was looking at me expectantly.
“I … er –“ I stammered, looking around for inspiration for an excuse not become a prefect.
My eyes only found a frame on Robins’s desk with a picture of Robins holding a baby.
Perhaps I could say I was pregnant …
No. Too weird. And too uterusy.
“I see no reason why you can’t be a prefect, Sophie.” Professor Robins said encouragingly.
“Yeah Soph, you’d be great!” Dom said with exaggerated enthusiasm. I looked at her with wide eyes and she winked at me.
“Um…” was all that could come out of my mouth.
“It’s decided then.” Robins said happily, pressing the badge into my hand.
“Congratulations Sophie! I’m sure you’ll make a wonderful prefect!”
What. The. Fudgemuffins.
I just stared at the little silver thing in my palm while Robins dismissed us.
Robins was chatting to me while walking to the door of her office but I wasn’t listening at all. I mean, I legitimately would make the worst prefect; I’m useless at being commanding unless it’s anything to do with Charlie, I’m as shy as a baby with a butt rash and I have the awkwardest tendencies in the world.
Robins suddenly looked at her watch and yelped.
“Oh my goodness! Hagrid and the first years must be waiting for me! Your Gryffindor prefect counterpart should be waiting for you outside my office. He’ll show you the reins.”
And with that, Robin’s hustled out of her office and sprinted toward the entrance hall.
As I walked slowly through the corridor, I racked my brains to remember who Maya’s prefect counterpart was. Connor Peakes came to mind. He’s the only Gryffindor sixth year that I can recall being remotely responsible. I guess he was alright. We had been Charms partners for years.
In that case, why wasn’t he here, ‘showing me the reins’?
I sighed again. Dom had abandoned me and was up ahead, chatting animatedly to Beth and Violet. I was about to break into a sprint to catch up to them when I heard someone behind me.
“Are you the new Gryffindor prefect?” A male voice asked.
“Yes. And you’re late. ” I turned around, irritated.
My face was about an inch away from an amazing smelling chest. I stepped back and stifled a surprised gasp.
Now that I had calmed down, my brain let me admire the sight before me.
I was looking up at a jawline that looked like it was perfectly chiselled out of pure sandstone. And the person’s hair, OH GOD, THE HAIR, was like shiny, black feathers sticking up in every direction possible. The brown eyes were trained mischievously onto mine.
It was the very person who I had screamed at this afternoon.
On his robes was a silver prefect badge, identical to mine.
No. Fucking. Way.
He smiled at my gobsmacked expression.
A/N: So, how was it? Your reviews would be significantly appreciated. Just a few of your thoughts, typed below in that grey box - You catch my drift? Thanks for reading!
I kept trying to talk but no sound was coming out. I ended up just doing this sort of circular nod with my mouth open.
Potter just smirked at me and started walking. I shuffled after him.
What is wrong with me?
Speak, Sophie. Let some words escape your mouth.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?
“Well obviously something’s wrong with you.” Potter replied, giving me a weird look, with his hands over his ears.
Shit. I had thought out loud. Really loudly, too. I laughed uncomfortably. He didn’t join in.
I looked down at my shoes as we walked down a flight of stairs. I was incapable of being un-awkward. It was something I was stuck with for life. Gloomy questions rushed into my head.
What was I going to do this year? How the hell was I to make new friends with this awkwardness? Who would sit next to me in class if Dom wouldn’t? How was I going to do my Transfiguration homework without Maya to copy from? How would I tell my Dad that I wasn’t going to make the permanent Quidditch team? How come my thirteen year old brother was in a relationship, whereas I wasn’t?
Next minute, I couldn’t help it - my throat became tight and my eyes started watering.
Merlin’s bloody beard.
Do not do this now, eyes. I’m warning you
Tears slowly overflowed onto my face.
No. No. NOOOOOOOO.
Potter was sliding down the staircase rail, whistling, and I was having an emotional breakdown.
I was attempting to take deep breaths to calm myself before Potter could notice that I was crying when my foot sunk straight into the stair. I was stuck.
Have I mentioned how much I HATE the Hogwarts staircases? They are the biggest trolls ever.
Potter looked up when I gasped in shock. He shook his head exasperatedly at me.
“Can you help me … please?” I asked weakly, my eyes looking skyward, to prevent frustrated tears escaping.
Without answering, Potter leapt back up the stairs gracefully and then stopped short at seeing my face.
“Woah, you alright?” He asked in a low voice.
I hate it when people ask that when someone’s crying.
“Does it look like I’m alright?” I snapped back squeakily.
Potter looked down at his shoes awkwardly.
He must’ve thought it was my time of month or something. Hah. Poor guy. If there’s one thing I can do, I can make people feel awkward. That always made me happy for some reason. It makes me feel in control.
“Can you quit looking at your shoes and help me out for Merlin’s sake?” I yelped.
Even though he was on the step below me, he was still taller than me. I stifled a gulp as he wrapped his hands around my waist.
Kind of awkward but nice.
He lifted me out of the step easily; I thanked Merlin silently - throughout the summer I had practically eaten the contents of the pantry on a daily basis.
We walked to the Great Hall. I was sniffling; he was giving me awkward sideways looks.
The delicious aroma of the roast chicken was like opera for my nostrils. All those spices. A work of art, I tell you.
I was walking into the Great Hall in a trance-like state when Potter spun around to face me.
“I didn’t mean it, you know.” He said quietly.
“What?” I replied, confused, reluctantly refocussing my gaze from the chicken to his face.
“Look; I said there was something wrong with you. I didn't mean to make you cry or anything.”
This was the part when I should’ve said ‘Oh James, it wasn’t you at all!’ and following that I would’ve spilled all my actual problems while sobbing into his shoulder. He would tuck my hair behind my ear and wipe my tears up with his thumb; you know the drill.
But I was actually thinking something else.
What a douchebag.
How idiotic and conceited was this guy to think that I was crying just because of what he said? I got a thousand problems, Potter dearest, but you ain't one.
I snorted loudly.
“Potter, sorry to disappoint you, but it had nothing to do with you.”
Shaking my head, with one hand in the air (like I just didn’t care!), I pushed past him and headed toward the Gryffindor table.
Merlin, I was such a bad ass.
No wait, real bad asses never say that they’re bad ass.
I take my bad ass comment back.
To my dismay, Dom had not saved me a seat next to her. Friend of the year, that girl. She was talking some poor brunette’s ear off. Luckily, Ray who was seated a few spots down from Dom, was waving over at me and patting a seat next to him and Tom.
I squeezed in next to them with a ‘thanks’ and then went straight for the chicken.
Ah, chicken; succulent, seasoned chicken.
Potter stalked right past us and went to sit in the middle of his groupies. He immediately noticed the brown-haired girl sitting with Dom and by the looks of it, he did the whole ‘sup nod’ to her and introduced himself.
Not inclined to listen to Ray’s discussion with some second years about the epicness of the Gobstones Club, I found myself staring at the back of the head of this brunette girl. The foolish child was giggling at all Potter’s jokes. Pfft. What a loser.
“That’s the new girl, Amy; She’s taking Maya’s place in your dormitory. She’s really fit.” Tom confessed, gazing along at her with me.
Potter pointed out the Great Hall’s magnificently awesome ceiling, and the Amy chick looked up at it. I got to see her properly, and well, shitballs.
She was quite a stunner.
So called, “Amy” was no part-veela like Dom, but she had this elegance and innocence in her features, like Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I love Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
But I was pretty sure I hated this Amy chick. She was taking Maya’s place like she owns the freaking universe. Pfft.
Dinner was soon over and Professor McGonagall got up to say some stuff. When we were dismissed, all hell broke loose.
First years were looking like little lion cubs caught in a stampede of wildebeests. Me, being the shorter, beardless, albino version of the Care of Magical Creatures Professor, Hagrid, went to save them.
“First years! Come on!” I called, beckoning the little ones toward me.
“We don’t have to do that McLaggen.” I heard Potter hiss from behind me.
“Then who’s going to do it?” I asked, confused. This was the Prefect’s job right?
“No, the fifth year prefects handle the first years.” He sighed, annoyed, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
I looked back at the substantial group of first years and then shrugged at Potter, who was vigorously face palming himself.
He turned around to face Amy, who was standing behind him.
“We can talk later then?” He asked her, sounding hopeful but not too interested at the same time. It was like the perfect balance of voice-tonage.
“Of course! I just do not know the way to the common room!” She replied chirpily, in a French-tinted accent.
She’s French. Brilliant. Bloody Brilliant, I say.
“Why don’t you just join the first years?” I suggested to her, a little coldly.
The first years were looking back and forth from Potter, Amy and I with nervous expressions.
“What I mean to say is; you’re new here as well. You should have a tour with us.” I added, in a nicer tone.
Amy smiled widely and nodded enthusiastically at me.
“You’re full of good ideas, McLaggen!” Potter grinned, ruffling my hair.
Ruffling my hair? We were not in that stage of our friendship yet, Potter. It’s the classic pat-on-the-shoulder THEN the ruffling of the hair. Jeez. Talk about taking things slow.
Actually, we weren’t even friends. We were just two people who were in the same classes and hadn’t talked to each other properly (before today) for about two and a half years. Not that I was counting.
To me, my ‘good idea’ was a failure. It was essentially me showing the first years to the Gryffindor Common room whilst Potter and Amy walked behind the group, flirting their arse cheeks off.
We got to the Fat Lady’s portrait and I stopped, looking at Potter pointedly. He was explaining to Amy about the village of Hogsmede.
“Yeah, it’s wicked; there’s a good pub called the Three Broomsticks. We should go someti–“
I cleared my throat loudly at this point.
“Potter, the password if you please?”
Potter shot me an annoyed look.
“Animus.” He answered flatly.
“In you go, dears!” the Fat lady smiled at the first years.
I stalked into the common room and basically pushed the first years up the stairs to their dormitories.
One of the first year boys paused on the staircase and looked at me cheekily.
“Want to come with me, sweet thing?”
He’s like eleven years old. He should know nothing about anything.
“In your dreams, hot stuff.” I chuckled back in a disgusted yet slightly complimented manner.
A crazy laugh exploded from across the room.
I turned around with an “I KNOW RIGHT?!” type of grin on my face, hoping I could share my astonishment with someone regarding the horny first year.
But no one was laughing with me. No one was even laughing at me. My grin faded awkwardly.
I saw miss floozy French chick practically having a seizure of laughter. Dom was sitting next to her, shaking her head exasperatedly and good ol’ humble Potter seemed to be pissing himself at his own joke.
I was slightly peeved at Dom for abandoning me after Professor Robins’ talk and also for not saving me a seat at dinner, but hey, I wasn’t eleven. I got over things.
“Want to go up, Dom?” I called out to her, inclining my head toward our dormitory’s staircase.
“I think I’ll stay for a bit, Soph.” She chimed apologetically.
“Ouch.” Potter sneered.
I rolled my eyes and continued up to the dormitory.
No one else had come up yet and I took advantage of the bathroom and decided to take a long, hot shower. Four things kept running through my head: Dom was not a good substitute best friend; French Floozy Chick was an absolute waste of a new dorm mate; I was the most unlucky and awkward witch to ever come to Hogwarts and of course; James Potter was an idiotic troll git.
Hot showers are generally supposed to make you feel better. But for me it was just a kettle where all my feelings got hotter and bubblier. I spent most of the shower furiously muttering a combination of insults, curses and Celestina Warbeck lyrics. As I walked out of the bathroom and collapsed on my blessed, beautiful four-poster bed, I sighed in dreading and agony.
It was going to be the worst year ever.
Without bothering to wait for Dom (Payback for the previous evening HAH! No more Mr Nice Sophie!), I headed down to breakfast. The only people in the Great Hall were the nerds who did early-morning extension classes. To avoid looking like an awkward loner, I propped up the Daily Prophet on the juice jug in front of me and pretended to be reading it.
After putting an incredibly hot spoon of porridge in my mouth, I was tapped on the shoulder by none other than Rose Weasley.
“Hey Sophie, do you mind if I sit with you?” she asked.
Due to the temperature of the porridge, my eyes were watering and I was flapping my hand in front of my mouth to cool my tongue. It looked like I was shooing her away. Rose obviously thought the same because she backed away worriedly saying ‘Never mind!’
Once I regained the use of my mouth I called out to her retreating back.
“Wait no, Rose come back! – I just had a really hot spoon of porridge in my mouth! Please sit with me!”
I had yelled the words ‘Please sit with me!’ quite desperately and really loudly, resulting in some judging looks from the early-extension-class nerds.
Rose smiled widley with relief and came back to sit with me.
“I just wanted to apologise for what James did to your brother on the train; sometimes he goes too far. You know he has a thing for drama.” She began, whilst buttering some toast.
“You don’t have to apologise.” I reassured her.
“Yeah, well I bet my broom that James didn’t apologise, so I thought at least someone should.”
Rose was so nice. We should have more Roses in the world. She was like the whole package – smart, friendly and really sweet. But she was kind of a loner too, but that was because the fifth year Gryffindor girls in her year were giggly idiots who trailed behind boys like superficial zombies.
We were talking about Quidditch, and how Rose wasn’t going to play keeper on the team anymore, when we were joined by Lily Potter. Then Louis & Roxanne Weasley joined our little breakfast club, followed by Hugo Weasley, and then right behind him were Molly and Lucy, the Weasley twins. About half an hour later Dom joined us, airily brushing off the fact that I left the dormitory without a word this morning.
In the middle of this big group of cousins, I felt like any minute someone would point at me shouting ‘IMPOSTER!’ and then continue to perform the Unforgivable curses on me, while the others chanted in the language of Ancient Runes. But they just continued with their loud, passionate debate on whether Cockroach Clusters were delicious or disgusting.
I personally think they are revolting.
“What the hell is this, a family reunion?” Fred greeted us all, sliding into the seat next to Dom.
“Yeah, this isn’t Christmas at the Burrow, people. Get lost – sit with your own friends.” James grunted, slapping Louis’s face softly.
The Weasley-Potter clan, who were just talking over each other in loud argumentative tones, shrugged and listened to Potter in a trice, dispersing toward their friends. It left just Rose, Dom and I sitting with Potter, Fred and Connor.
“That was mean.” I commented.
“Are you going to cry about it?” Fred asked me. James sniggered and patted him on the back.
So he told Fred about my near meltdown. Freaking wonderful.
“Yeah James,” Dom agreed with me, not picking up on Fred’s comment, “All of them just wanted some quality family time. And besides I-”
The arrival of French floozy chick distracted us from Dom’s argument. But I caught Potter’s muttered remark as I poured myself some juice.
“Not all of the family was here.” His tone implied that he was not talking about himself or Fred.
My eyes snapped immediately to the Slytherin table, where I could see Albus Potter
looking over at our table curiously and a bit miserably, completely ignoring whatever Scorpius Malfoy was saying to him.
Albus was on a different table to all of his family. That must suck.
I think Potter caught me gazing sympathetically at his younger brother, but instead of making some potentially awkward eye contact with him, I turned my attention back to the Daily Prophet.
Doxy numbers increasing rapidly, reports the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.
Wow, I could die of fascination. I forced myself through the article until Professor Robins started moving up the table, handing out our timetables.
“Bloody hell, there are only core subjects today.” Connor exclaims, scanning his timetable.
I looked at my own timetable, feeling pretty happy that I had been able to get into all of my NEWT classes. My timetable also included a period on Saturday morning – it was my guilty pleasure and I planned to keep it a secret this year.
“Sophie! You’re still doing choir?!” Dom exclaimed, scandalised, looking over my shoulder.
Thanks for that, Dom.
Yes. On Saturday mornings I wake up for choir. I am actually the only sixth year in choir. It’s sad, I know. But I happen to like being part of an organized company of singers, singing songs picked out for us by the 70-something year old Professor Flitwick.
I like it.
However, everyone sitting with me was looking at me like I just farted. Except French Floozy Chick.
“You must have a lovely voice.” She said to me, smiling.
Ew. Why was she so nice?
“Choir is social suicide, mate.” Fred said, shaking his head. “Social suicide.”
Everyone spent the rest of breakfast telling me how awful choir was for my street cred, until the bell rang and we all moved towards Transfiguration.
At the doors of the Great Hall I bumped into Tom, who was peeping inside every ten seconds.
“What are you doing, Tom?” I asked suspiciously.
“I’m – nothing! Just keep moving, Soph.” He hissed, sounding flustered.
“I’m not moving anywhere until you tell me.” I teased. I loved it when people got touchy.
“No mate, just go!” He said impatiently.
“I’m not going until you tell me.” I said firmly. I poked him on the shoulder repeatedly until he looked down at me in frustration and slight humiliation.
“I’m waiting for Amy, okay? I want to walk to class with her.” He whispered hurriedly, turning red.
I opened my eyes and my mouth widely to exclaim my happiness for Tom’s declaration of luuuurve, but he pushed me away with a “AH! She’s coming! I’ll talk to you later! Go! Go! GO!”.
Well. It’s nice to know my friends love me. You know, bros before hoes and all.
In Transfiguration, Tom was sitting on a table with Amy, but she kept turning around to talk to Potter and Connor, who were sitting behind her. It made my blood boil. The whole lesson was an internal battle with myself, debating whether or not to throw my sharpest quill in their direction. I wasn’t sure if I wanted it to hit Potter or Amy.
First of all, Potter could have any girl he wanted, yet he kept trailing after this silly one. And Amy, well, she should know that Potter is an idiot and that Tom is just, like, better.
Okay … I know I’m biased. Potter’s got the looks, the charm and the fame.
And if I was a new, pretty girl at Hogwarts I’d probably go for him too. It just made me feel so bad for Tom, because as much as he tried, Amy would probably always like Potter.
Potter’s a life ruiner, I tell you.
“Life ruiner.” I muttered darkly.
“Did you say something?” Dom asked, looking away from the random Ravenclaw she was eyeing.
I shook my head.
I really have to stop thinking out loud.
“Yeah, you do. It’s kind of creepy, Soph.” Dom replied.
Since the WHOLE of the Tranfig was Professor Robins having a spirited class discussion about our holidays, every class we had afterwards was a drag. As the day went on, we were lectured and lectured about our NEWTs and how we had to study hard and encourage each other.
Encourage each other. Yeah right. Just look at how much slack I got for being in choir. It’s not even that lame. Like, come on.
When I got to Potions, I was already incredibly tired – I had become incredibly unfit during the summer, and the Hogwarts staircases were like a torture weapon.
The potions classroom had changed – there were fewer tables and the ones that remained were circular. I sat on a table with Dom, and some random Ravenclaw who I think was Maya’s cousin.
She had her nose down in Advanced Potion-Making, and seemed to be doing a practice test. A practice test. In the first potions lesson of the year. She glanced up at my incredulous expression.
“Hi. I’m Meera.” She said to me, looking a little sheepish.
“I’m Sophie.” I said, trying to look as if I wasn’t judging the biggest nerd at Hogwarts.
The door of the dungeon banged open again and in strode Professor Slughorn, the oldest Professor at Hogwarts. He was still as fat as he was when I was in first year, and his jolly face didn’t seem to have aged a bit. He was just slower. He took about 17 seconds (I timed it) just to walk to the front of the room and when he did; he gave a little wink to Potter and a twinkling wave to Dom.
Dom and Potter are his favourites in the Slug Club. As hard as it is to believe, I’m in the Slug Club too. I’m not outspoken or funny or smart or charming or whatever. I’m just a little wallflower who comes for the killer profiteroles.
As we all took out our textbooks to start our making our Draughts of Peace , Slughorn walked around, asking about people’s holidays and the wellbeing of their relatives. He stopped when he looked at our table.
“Ah, is this the girls club is it?” He asked, smiling looking around at Dom, Amy, Meera and I.
“Yes Professor, I’m afraid you can’t join!” Dom replied.
“I think one of you needs to swap with one of the boys on the ‘boys table’ I don’t like this segregation.” He chuckled, gesturing to Potter’s table which sat Potter, Connor, Fred and Tom.
Slughorn is a weird man.
Potter was eyeing something next to me, which I realised was Amy. He seemed to brighten at Slughorn’s suggestion.
“I’ll swap.” He suggested casually.
“No, I’ll swap. You can sit with your mates.” Tom said to Potter, smiling innocently.
“Nah, its fine mate. I’ll swap.”
“Seriously. I’ll swap.”
“Mr Potter, Mr –er Finnegan, pipe down! Someone has to agree to swap with you first!” Slughorn chortled, moving on to the Ravenclaw table.
“Sophie! You’ll swap, right?” Tom said casually, but his eyes were practically pleading.
WHAT? These two guys were crazy. All this just for Amy? They were fighting over my bloody spot next to her.
How rude and utterly demeaning.
Just kidding. It made me feel empowered, deep in my soul.
“Fine.” I sighed dramatically, rolling my eyes. I shot an apologetic look at Dom, who was looking at me with a dejected expression.
“I’ll swap with you, McLaggen.” Potter offered, giving me a winning smile. Merlin, it was gorgeous. His brown eyes crinkled up a bit and his pearly white smile just brought attention to his perfect jaw line. I could practically feel the answer that was going to absentmindedly come out of my mouth–
“Sophie?” Tom asked slowly.
My eyes slipped off Potter, to Tom. Tom, who has incredibly bad luck with girls but is really nice and deserves a chance with Amy. Tom, my friend.
“Sure I’ll swap with you, Tom.”
He is face lit up but he kept his reply pretty laid back.
“You know Slughorn was just joking about the swapping.” Dom laughed exasperatedly, as Tom and I swapped seats.
Tom reddened but shrugged. I did the same, and fell into my seat next to Potter with a sigh.
“You’re really annoying, you know that?” Potter muttered to me with a side glance.
“Shut up. I’m trying to do some serious work here.” I replied back huffily. I continued to sign my own name again and again in the cover of my potion’s book.
Connor looked up from whatever he was chopping, glanced at my book and chuckled. His respect for me had increased. I could see it in his eyes.
A few minutes later, I was bored out of my mind. Potions didn’t require a lot of my concentration and usually I would just listen to Dom gossip away. However, on Potter’s table, the discussion topic was Quidditch.
It felt like I was sitting at the dinner table with my Dad and Charlie. I like Quidditch, I really do. But I hear about the bloody sport ALL THE FREAKING TIME.
I knew it would be rude if I told them to shut their annoying mouths. So I decided to eavesdrop on Tom’s conversation with Amy.
“So, you lived in France?” Tom asked politely
“Well, I lived in London until I was 3, and then we moved to France for my Dad’s work.” Amy replied with a smile, while dropping some leaves into her cauldron.
“That’s cool.” Tom commented.
There was an awkward silence.
Tom tried again.
“Did you, er, like Beaubatons?” He asked woodenly.
“Yes, the campus was very beautiful – We had ice sculptures and stain glass windows and nymphs that sung when we ate.”
There was another tense pause.
“But, I mean, Hogwarts is a good school too.” Amy continued lamely.
“Yeah. Yeah, it is.” Tom agreed.
I couldn’t bear to listen to any more of their conversation. It was too painful. As an awkward person, seeing other people being awkward usually soothes me and gives me hope. Not this time, though. Poor Tom.
A chuckle from Potter brought my table-fellows back to my attention.
“Something funny?” I ask him.
“Finnegan’s making a right fool of himself, McLaggen. Nice going.” Potter smirked.
“Not all of us find the need to flirt shamelessly.” I replied back hotly, filled with second-hand embarrassment for Tom.
I looked up at my cauldron to find Fred giving me a weird look.
“What?” I snapped.
“Firstly, flirting shamelessly is kind of like, my life.” Fred said solemnly, “And secondly, since when did you become all angry and stroppy?”
“Excuse me?” I ask, eyebrows raised.
“No offence, McLaggen, but I was not aware that you had a personality til, like yesterday.” Fred replied simply.
“So for the past five years you thought I was some random, brain-dead, boring nobody?”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
“Well, that’s nice.” I said blandly, pouring some of my potion into a test tube.
I went to put my potion on Slughorn’s desk and let myself have a moment to digest the insult I was just given.
Well, on the bright side, at least people think I have a personality now. There’s nothing I can do about how boring and awkward I’d been in the past. I wasn’t really insulted.
I walked back to the table to find Connor and Fred looking at my face with slightly worried expressions. They were obviously looking at me to see if I was upset. Even Potter’s eyes flicked up at me nervously for a second.
I thought about giving the boys a reassuring smile, but I felt they didn’t deserve it.
Not because James and Fred were mean, judgemental arseholes, but because of what they did this morning.
No one makes fun of choir without facing the consequences.
The bell rang, and I grabbed my bag and strode out of the dungeon.
A/N: I apologise for the hideous amount of time between updates. It’s actually despicable of me. But anyway, how was it guys? Do you like the characters? Was Sophie too awkward?
Your reviews make me smile!
“Alfred, I feel like have no close friends anymore. I mean, I have Dom, but we’re so distant – she’s like, barely there.” I complain, pacing the corridor.
Alfred nodded glumly, stroking his magnificent grey beard.
“I’m sorry I’m being self-centred right now, but sometimes a girl needs her best girlfriend, you know?” I exclaimed, thinking longingly of Maya.
“I know.” Alfred replied kindly.
“Sophie? Is that you?” someone called down the corridor.
I jumped suddenly and glanced back at Alfred’s portrait. Luckily, he just walked out of the frame. Ah, Alfred. He understands me.
Okay. I acknowledge that my one and only confidant being a painting of a fifteenth-century Astronomer is not exactly healthy, but Alfred was (or is? – I don’t really know hisliving status since he’s a painting) a good listener.
I squinted into the dark corridor and my eyes found Connor. As he strolled up toward me, I observed him, like the creep I am. He had grown up a bit over the summer; he had filled out his previously lanky frame with muscles and his skinned was definitely more tanned.
“Who were you talking to?” He asked, with a puzzled look on his face.
“A ghost.” I lied easily.
Connor’s expression cleared. I love how at Hogwarts, you can answer questions withanswers like “a ghost” and people will just accept it.
“What’s up?” I asked casually, ambling toward the Great hall.
It had been four days since the potions lesson in which Fred admitted that he used to think I was as boring as a doormat. I had planned not to speak to the guys but I got tired of silently getting up to retrieve every ingredient I needed. Eventually I just asked Fred to pass me a jar of beetle wings. After that, I couldn’t be bothered keeping up my cold-angsty-teenage persona so I began to listen and occasionally contribute mindless shite into their Quidditch conversations.
“James wanted me to tell you that you have a patrol tonight, from nine to midnight.” Connor replied, matter-of-factly.
On a Friday night? Gee, I would love to spend the best night of the week boringly wandering around with an arrogant git, whilst being overly conscious of my breathing patterns.
Time of my life, right there.
“Why can’t he tell me this himself?” I asked. Connor often ran errands for Potter and Fred. It was like he wanted to prove his allegiance to them since he wasn’t related to them. It was kind of sad, in a 16th –century-allegiance-proving kind of way.
“He was busy with something.” Connor shrugged, not looking at me.
“You mean busy with someone.” I corrected him, thinking uncomfortably of broom cupboards.
“James doesn’t really give much detail as to where he’s going. But yeah, probably.”Connor smiled cheekily.
Here was Connor, a normal guy. Maybe I could ask him for advice about Dom? He probably wouldn’t be better than Alfred. But at least he was human and more importantly, alive.
“Dom.” I blurted out randomly, my mind failing to connect with my mouth.
The sophistication of my conversational skills astounds me.
Connor’s neck cricked from the speed that he turned to me with.
“What about her?” He asked quickly. Too quickly. His ears had gone red.
Hmm. If I didn’t know better, I’d say Connor fancied Dom. Interesting. Very interesting. I was internally stroking my sage beard. But frankly, my problem was more important. I pushed away the temptation of prying into Connor’s love life.
“Dom and I are in a friendship rut.” I exclaimed miserably.
“A friendship rut?” He queried, rubbing his neck.
“Yes, Connor. You know, when a friendship turns mind-numbingly boring?”
“Oh.” Connor replied, surprised. “I always thought you and Dom were best mates.”
“We were.” I sigh.
Connor was silent.
I had over-contributed and scared him off. Connor didn’t want to hear about my girly friendship troubles – he was a teenage boy with raging testosterone levels and the stomach of a troll. He was probably thinking about what was for dinner.
I needed to say something masculine and cool to get the conversation going again. Preferably in a low voice to maximise the masculinity.
“I hope they have proteins tonight, gotta work on my tricep-”
“You probably need to talk to Dom more. She talks to you a lot, but you seem to be more of a listener.” Connor interrupted me, with a serious expression on his face.
I thought about that for a moment.
“But you know Dom; she doesn’t shut up. I listen. That’s how it’s always been.” I explained.
“That’s your problem, babe.”
“Did you just call me babe?” I asked, horrified.
“Yeah.” He exhaled, looking disgusted. “Don’t mention that to anyone please.”
“I won’t… babe.” I replied smugly. I think I knew what I was going to call Connor for the rest of his life.
We reached the Great Hall.
“Remember what I said about Dom, though.” Connor said, walking toward where Fred was stuffing his face. “Talk to her. Honestly.”
I nodded and walked further down the table to where Dom was sitting.
“Hey Soph!” Dom greeted me chirpily, with a blinding smile.
Merlin. She was so happy to see me, it made me feel horrible. I felt myself about to reply with a fake but equally-chirpy hello, but I stopped myself, thinking about what Connor had just said.
Talk to her. Honestly.
“You’re happy to see me, Dom.” I observed simply.
“I am, Sophdog. It feels like we haven’t talked properly in ages. I was looking for you before.”
Huh. I paused in shock for a moment - it’s not just me who feels the quiet, awkwardness. That was pleasantly unexpected.
“And then James and Fred told me you had been pacing near that portrait of Alfred the astronomer, and I figured you probably wanted to be left alone. So I left you alone. I really wanted to talk to you. But you need space and I get that. And I respect that.” Dom went on, serving me liberal amounts of shepherd’s pie.
“Wait, hold up. How did they know where I was?” I asked, holding my breath.
“I don’t know.” Dom shrugged. “James has his ways.”
Oh Shitty McShitkins.
Why? Why me?
Knowing my luck, Potter and Fred probably, most-definitely saw me venting to Alfred.
Why is the world so against me having street cred? I must’ve looked like a freaking maniac.
“Your cousins think I’m a weirdo, Dom.” I wailed, putting my head on her shoulder.
“Honestly Soph, I’d be worried if they didn’t.” Dom smiled, patting my head.
“Let’s do something fun tonight.” Dom said suddenly, flinging her fork into the air in excitement. “My seventeenth! Merlin’s pantaloons, Soph! We need to plan it! Its two effing weeks away! ”
I sighed, and pulled out the piece of mashed potato that Dom had flung into my hair.
“I can’t. I have to patrol the corridors with your charming cousin.” I complained resentfully.
I was genuinely bummed. I would’ve loved to spend time with Dom without French Floozy Chick being all annoying and French and you know, existent.
“Sucks to be you.” Dom said sympathetically. We ate in a satisfied silence for a few minutes. The Hogwarts house-elves were skilled creatures.
“Just don’t let James make any moves on you, Soph.”
That was random. I shot Dom an incredulous look.
“Come on! I’ve heard about a bajillion stories about prefects who eventually hook up.” She explained, poking my prefect badge with a stick of carrot.
“Dom, that would never happen. He hates me. And I think he’s a moron.” I say exasperatedly, wiping the carrot-juice off my badge with my robe.
“That’s what makes it worse, Soph. You two practically hate each other, which makes the sexual tension like, fucking colossal.”
I shook my head at her, chuckling.
“Want proof? Well, you’ve come to the right girl, honey.” Dom whispered crazily, suddenly scanning the Great Hall like some sort of spy.
“THERE!” Dom yelled excitedly, pointing wildly to the Hufflepuff table.
Wow, Dom. Way to be discreet.
People were looking curiously toward where Dom was pointing.
“Dom. Let’s just calm down, okay?” I muttered through gritted teeth, reaching out and lowering Dom’s arm. I shot the obligatory ‘my-friend-is-nuts-don’t- judge-me’ smile at people in our vicinity.
“See them?” Dom whispered, now pointing to a Hufflepuff couple who were feeding each other pie.
Ugh. I was judging them. Sharing food should be a crime. For Godrics sake, they were using the same fork and everything. Effing disgusting. It was too much. I had to look away.
“I know. It’s freaking cheesy.” Dom agreed. “But that’s Robert Bones and that Grace Watts. Rumour has it that they hooked up on their first patrol. Now look at them! They’re still dating each other in their seventh-year. Practically married.”
“That’s true.” I said feebly.
However, one couple wasn’t going to convince me of Dom’s hook-up hypothesis. Dom seemed to pick up on this, as she delved into educating me on the love lives of various other prefects.
“Daniel Peterson and Jessica Clearwater. Ravenclaw fifth-year prefects. Current status: Snog buddies.” She said, pointing out two Ravenclaws who were talking quietly to each other.
“Jenna Flint and Ryan Peebles. Slytherin and Ravenclaw. Seventh-year prefects.” Dom continued, pointing out two random people, sitting on different tables. “In an open relationship, from what I gather.”
“Karen Woodcroft and Dugald Ricket. Hufflepuff fifth-years. Also snog buddies.”
“I think I get the picture now, Dom.” I say worriedly. Did prefects seriously hook-up that much? Horny bastards.
What the actual fudgemuffins was I to do? I hadn’t snogged anyone in a while. My snogging skills weren’t exactly in tip top shape. The only thing I made out with in the summer was a pumpkin pasty (it was great).
WAIT. I don’t even WANT to snog anyone. Especially not Potter. What is wrong with me? I so totally did not need to brush up on my snogging skills.
“Josh Zabini and Rachel Finnegan. Slytherin and Gryffindor. Head boy and girl. Going steady since last year.”
“Holy merlin, I get it, Dom!” I cry, pushing my plate away from me in disgust. My appetite had disappeared.
“Sorry, got a bit carried away there.” Dom apologised breathlessly, downing a glass of water like she’d just run a marathon.
I nudged my glass of water over to her. “I don’t want to snog anyone, especially Potter.”
Dom thought about this for a minute, her face a mask of concentration.
“There’s only one thing you can do, Soph.” She said gravely, coming out of her reverie. “It’s the only thing to prevent you from snogging my cousin and other randoms. And you’re not going to like it.”
I felt scared. Dom was looking at me as though she was about to diagnose me with a terminal illness.
“What is it?” I asked desperately.
“It’s something you hate doing. You despise this thing.” She said seriously, her blue eyes, wide and serious.
I searched my mind for things that I hate. It was probably something that I was bad at.
Realisation hit me.
“No.” I gasped, shaking my head slowly.
No. no. no.
“Yes.” Dom replied tightly, the corners of her mouth twitching.
“No.” I gasped again, now suppressing wild, internal shudders.
“Yep,” Dom grinned wickedly. “Sophie, you have to engage in small-talk.”
Cue the groans of agony.
Small talk: conversing in a polite yet irrelevant manner in attempt to appear friendly and normal.
Also known as a complete bullshitting session between two individuals, which commonly involves comments about the weather and homework, and often backfires into feelings of pure and glutinous awkwardness.
I was staring at the clock above the fireplace.
I looked back at Potter, who was lounging on the best couch in all of the common room, talking to Amy, who was perched on the arm rest.
He was showing no signs of getting up, even though our patrol was literally in two minutes. It was time for me to put the responsibility pants on. I mean, I had already broken up Potter and Amy’s flirt-fest once. I was pretty sure I could do it again.
I began marching over to the aforementioned couch.
Potter’s back was to me as I approached. I tapped him on the shoulder.
“Let’s go. It’s nearly nine.” I say, trying to look stand-offish and not at all apologetic that I was breaking up a conversation between the future Mr and Mrs James Potter.
“What?” Potter replied, looking a little dazed.
“Patrol, dimwit. Come on.” I reply sharply, flicking his head with my finger.
Wow. Why did I just flick him? I’m not a violent person. Godric, that was so unlike me. I’m definitely the ‘violence-is-not-the-answer;-use-your-words’ kind of gal. What has happened to my morals?
“Sorry.” I muttered quietly, patting the side of Potter’s head.
When you injure someone, you just had to pat them. It was practically the law.
Potter’s hair was amazing; it was silky but also quite bristly. A bittersweet sensation that left your hand kind of begging for more.
Potter and Amy were both looking at me weirdly. I took my palm off the side of Potter’s silky head and cleared my throat.
“Patrol. Outside. Waiting.” was all I managed to cough out, before marching incredibly quickly out of the common room.
Nicely done, Sophie.
I was waiting outside til nine oh-two. It was ridiculous.
Potter eventually stumbled out of the portrait hole, fiddling with something in his hands.
“Finally, he comes.” I sighed irritably.
“Sorry, I had to get something.” He reasoned. We started walking toward the fifth floor.
“And what did you have to get?” I asked suspiciously.
“Disinfectant for my head.” Potter lied smoothly, gesturing to the side of his head that I patted.
I laughed sarcastically.
“I wish I could protego myself from your bad jokes, Potter.”
He let out a low whistle.
“You love them, just admit it, McLaggen.”
“I’d sooner kick myself in the face than ever say that.”
“I’d like to see that.” Potter smirked defiantly. “Go on, kick yourself in the face.”
I rolled my eyes, about to tell Potter something I’d truly like to kick.
I couldn't engage in this sort of sarcastic banter with Potter. Not if I didn’t want to get snogged. I mean, Dom’s theory hadn’t completely convinced me, but I’d read enough romance novels to know that banter led to sexual tension and sexual tension led to snogging and snogging led to THE DEED and THE DEED would lead to babies and the babies would need their nappies changed and I was SO NOT READY to be wiping another person’s backside. Nuh uh. Not me. No way.
I led the way through the dark corridors, already pressingly aware of the awkward silence that would soon engulf Potter and I.
Small talk. Okay.
I racked my brain for something normal to say, but not something too normal. I didn’t want to make my hideous attempts at small talk obvious. Potter just had to think I was normal and boring. That would be easy, on account of the fact that I was normal and boring.
Think, Sophie, think.
Potter was overtaking me. Then he turned around, so he was walking backwards. He was looking at me.
His body language just said it all.
He wanted the goods.
I could not look at his gorgeous face (which personally, I felt he didn’t deserve) otherwise he might mistake my awkward, silent stare for a lusty look of masked desire.
That’s what Dom had said to me, anyway.
Potter cleared his throat loudly. The silence we had shared was too long.
AH THE AWKWARDNESS.
I looked up at him.
Last chance at small talk. I urged myself to say something, anything. To just put together a goddamn sentence would be great.
“Lovely weather we’re having, don’t you think?” I observed, lamely gesturing to a dark window.
Wow. Not cliché at all. I wondered if he picked up on it.
“Seriously, McLaggen?” Potter guffawed. “You want to do the whole small talk thing?”
I felt like slowly applauding myself.
“What else are we supposed to do?” I asked defensively.
“We could just walk around silently like the indifferent teenagers we are.” He suggested calmly, waving to a passing ghost.
WE CAN’T DO THAT BECAUSE THE SILENCE WOULD END UP FRAUGHT WITH TENSION AND WE COULD END UP SNOGGING AND THAT WOULD BE HORRIBLE.
“Oh, you know, that’s to – er – mainstream. I don’t really go with the flow, Potter. I’m more of a fish-against-the-current kind of gal.” I stammered.
As you can tell, lying really isn’t my thing.
Potter raised an eyebrow at me.
“You just used three aquatic-related proverbs in a row.”
“So?” I asked casually.
“I’m impressed.” Potter replied, giving me a nod of approval.
What a supercilious git. I narrowed my eyes. I did not need his nod of approval.
“Well thank Merlin I have impressed you. It was one my goal in life. For now I can die a happy woman.” I proclaimed dramatically, clutching my heart.
Potter chuckled, shrugging. That’s right. Laugh at my mockeries of you.
We walked up a flight of stairs in another awkward silence.
Merlin, how was I going to survive this patrol?
“We could just snog.” Potter suggested brusquely, shrugging as though this was his last resort.
THAT WAS DIRECT.
I had no idea how to reply. But I tried anyway.
“I don’t know about the other prefects, but I, for one, am not some hormone-crazed barbarian and I don’t think I should be subject to this swinger sort of behaviour because, I mean, let’s be honest here, that’s just a recipe for disaster. Like, what if I was in a relationship, huh? What if I was gay? What if I had an STI? I’m sorry but in my opinion, snogging would just be really irresponsible and as prefects, as prefects, I don’t think we should be condoning this kind of behaviour. I don’t think snogging is the answer here. Snogging is not the answer to your problems, Potter. SNOGGING IS NOT THE ANSW-”
“HOLY SHIT MCLAGGEN.” Potter interrupted me. “Please, shut up.”
My face was burning and I was gasping like an obese man.
“It was just a suggestion.” Potter shrugged, unabashed. “Your loss.”
As I thought about how to reply in this odd situation, Potter muttered something unintelligible.
“What?” I asked.
“Nothing, nothing.” Potter trilled casually.
The phrases ‘nothing, nothing’ and ‘don’t worry’ are two of the most frustrating and redundant phrases in the English language. Instead of extinguishing your curiosity, they just ignite it to massive proportions.
I was suddenly very interested in what Potter had to say.
“Tell me, Potter.”
“Come on, spit it out.”
I widened my eyes to a scary size. “I will torment you for the rest of this patrol until you tell me.”
“Fine.” He sighed, defeated. He didn’t look me in the eye. Then he fidgeted with his fingernails for a bit. “I just said that that’s not what your friend Maya said when I asked her.”
He’d asked Maya the same question?
And she had a different response to me?
It took me a few moments to put two and two together.
“WHA- WHA- WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? YOU AND MAYA SNOGGED?”
“It only happened like three, maybe four times.” Potter bleated, looking embarrassed.
“WHAT?” I roared. My heart was suddenly beating like crazy.
How could Maya not have told me this? How could it have possibly slipped her gifted mind to tell me that she was SNOGGING THE FUCKING SON OF THE BOY WHO LIVED?
“Hey!” Potter replied, his hands put up in front of him defensively. ‘It was a mutual decision! Don’t get all bitchy on me - it was Maya’s choice too.”
I couldn’t say anything. I was just growling under my breath. This was FUCKING OUTRAGEOUS. They were the most unlikely pairing that I ever did know. She was smart, responsible and genuinely cool. He was arrogant, showy and a serial whore. Maya never even mentioned who her patrol partner was, let alone tell me that she was hooking up with him late into the night. What did he see in her? What did she see in HIM?
GAH. My brain was rejecting the information it was receiving.
Potter was still talking.
“…but noooooooo. It’s always the guys fault isn’t it? And besides, it was just a bit of snogging, nothing serious.”
The thought of the two of them, pressed up against each other in a storage cupboard filled me with revulsion and horror. I felt disgusted to be in Potter’s presence.
“I think maybe we should split up.” I stated coldly.
I took an abrupt left turn and trooped down the narrow corridor at full speed. The sleepy portraits adorning the corridors were hissing irritably at my loud footsteps against the stone floor. I was too caught up in my flabbergasted thoughts to care.
Potter’s revelation had worked like Polyjuice potion in my mind; turning Maya from someone awesome to a heartless monster. Maya knew that I told her about every single person I snogged (Even that time I kissed a second year when I was in fifth year. Not one of my greatest moments. But he was really tall, okay?). She even knew that I liked Potter, once upon a time. Didn’t that at least warrant a ‘hey I snogged Potter last night’?
Merlin, I was confused.
“McLaggen, wait!” I heard Potter call from behind me.
Gah. Twenty minutes with me and he’d already developed separation anxiety. I have that effect on men.
In a trice, Potter had materialized next to me.
“Are you always this dramatic?” He asked, observing my face.
In response, I began walking faster. I did not sign up for this to be traumatized by my fellow prefect. In fact, I hadn’t even signed up for this! This was all Professor Robins’ doing. Her and her idiotic, optimistic attitude. The first thing I was going to do tomorrow was to give the stupid, silver badge back to her.
Potter matched my pace with ease.
“You need to chill out.” He advised me.
“Potter, I want to be alone right now, if you don’t mind.” I said, through clenched teeth.
“I do mind.” He replied simply. “I hate walking around alone.”
I looked up at him to see if he was serious. Surely James Potter, the badass son of the boy-who-lived, didn’t mind walking around alone. He seemed serious enough, as he was staring straight ahead, absent-mindedly ruffling up his hair with his hand. Merlin, his hair was shiny. I wanted to touch it again. Potter caught me gazing at him and I rearranged my face back into the scowl I was wearing before.
Potter opened his mouth to say something, but promptly closed it again. He did this a few times, until finally, his whole face brightened and he turned to me.
“You want to see something cool?” He asked excitedly. His eyes were twinkling with enthusiasm. I couldn’t refuse.
I shrugged and Potter plunged his hand into his pocket and pulled out a piece of parchment.
‘I don’t want your signature, Potter.” I said flatly. “I don’t care how famous you think you are.”
“Very funny, McLaggen.” He muttered, tapping the parchment with his wand. “But you haven’t earned my signature yet. What I’m about to show you, I’ve only shown to Al, Connor and Fred. You should feel honoured.”
I rolled my eyes, but I was touched. Potter was obviously trying to make up for the whole snogging-Maya shebang.
He held out the parchment to me. Faded ink was slowly appearing on it. I peered at it intensely.
Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs, Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers are proud to present the Marauders Map.
Potter flipped open a fold in the parchment and inside was a map, with moving dots on it. The moving dots were footprints of every freaking person inside the Hogwarts castle. EVERYONE. I KID YOU NOT.
I could see Albus Potter, Scorpious Malfoy and a bunch of other cool Slytherins sitting in their common room. I could see Rose Weasley walking back from the library. I could see Professor Slughorn freaking standing in the shower.
NOT GOING TO LIE, IT WAS PRETTY STALKERISH. However, its redeeming quality was the handwriting.
Holy shit. Whoever scribed the map had thin, cursive script that was perfectly angled to the right. It looked like it had been typewritten.
“Merlin, that handwriting is amazing.” I breathed.
“I show you an enchanted map of Hogwarts, and you look at the handwriting?” Potter snorted, shaking his head in disbelief. “McLaggen, you really are something else.”
“But, I mean, look at it! Look at how the letters lean! All the ‘e’s are the same – that is a really hard skill because ‘e’s are often quite versatile when it comes to writing.” I splutter, trying to redeem myself.
“Yeah, ‘e’s are the worst.” Potter agreed sarcastically, face-palming himself in mock-disgust.
I shoved him with my shoulder and opened another flap of the map. This section of the castle was pretty deserted.
Potter put his hand through his hair again, gently ruffling up the strands that were hanging in his eyes. His arm nudged mine softly.
“That’s us, there.” Potter said, pointing at two dots.
Two dots which were pretty close together.
I looked up at Potter again. He was already looking at me. Those gorgeous brown eyes were looking straight into mine. I realised I was holding my breath.
It was just this strangely intense moment. It felt like time was going really slow. I loved it. Potter’s face was quite enchanting to look at. He had clear, creamy skin, long eyelashes and a few freckles here and there. His eyes were a warm, deep, velvety brown. I mean, the brown was somehow both light and da-
And then the moment ended. Bluntly. Like a rubber band snapping.
Potter cleared his throat loudly and looked away.
I felt a little drunk. Merlin, looking straight into people’s eyes was freaking weird. Kind of like drugs.
“Er- bathroom?” Potter muttered, his voice croaky.
“What?” I asked. My voice sounded really loud.
“You want to see the prefect’s bathroom?” Potter asked, now looking intently at the map.
He was completely avoiding eye contact. I started smiling. Could James Potter be feeling – Heaven forbid –awkward?
“Yes!” I cried enthusiastically. Anything to stop him feeling weird. “I’ve been meaning to ask you for directions.”
Whilst we were walking, I chattered on about what I’d been told about the legendary prefects’ bathroom. Apparently it had a huge bath tub, and a bazillion different types of soap. Maya had described it to me in explicit detail after her first visit.
“Why didn’t Maya just tell you where it was?” Potter asked simply, “I’ve been telling Fred and Connor the password to this place for ages.”
I opened my mouth to reply but closed it, feeling rather affronted.
“Maya and I …” I broke off, thinking of a witty direction to steer the conversation. “We actually followed the rules.”
“Yeah, yeah. I know you’re a saint. No need to remind me.” Potter sighed impatiently.
Was he feeling offended about me declining his invitation to snog? Hmm.
“There’s nothing wrong with following the rules.” I replied reasonably.
“It can just get a little boring.” Potter said pleasantly, shooting me an artificial smile. “But anyway, we’re here.”
He stopped at a door behind a bewildered-looking statue.
“Welcome to the crème de la crème of prefect life, McLaggen. Citrus breeze.”
The door to the bathroom opened as he said the password and I was suddenly immersed in the scent of assorted floral, fruity and herbal soaps.
I gasped as I walked in. The room was made completely of marble, which seemed to twinkle under the warm light of the candle-topped chandelier. In the very middle of the room, directly under the elaborate chandelier, was a freaking hexagonal pool. Not simply a huge bath, but a pool. It was inset into the ground, and one side of it was lined with hundreds of bejewelled gold taps. The pool was situated under three huge, exquisitely-cut; stain glass windows, which turned the night sky into a glittering masterpiece.
It was one of the coolest rooms I’d ever seen.
“Are you going to pass out?” Potter asked humorously, walking toward the taps.
I shook my head and caught my reflection in the mirror. A few curly tendrils of my hair were escaping from my braid, and my eyes were widened with shock. I looked significantly crazy.
Potter turned on a tap, and thick, white foam gushed out. I laughed with delight. He tried another one and out came blue bubbles the size of my face. I nearly shrieked.
I felt vehemently irresponsible, but I spent nearly the rest of the patrol trying out the taps in that bathroom.
It was phenomenal.
Potter and I ambled back to the common room in a (wait for it …) comfortable silence.
A silence. That was comfortable.
I know, I couldn’t believe it either.
“This patrol was …” Potter began, as we walked toward the dormitory steps, “ ... not that bad.”
“Yeah.” I agreed. Apart from the whole Maya-and-Potter-fiasco, the patrol itself was not a fail of epic proportions.
I paused on the steps to the girls dormitories. I wondered if I should say ‘good night.’
Would it be lame?
It was the polite thing to do.
“Have a good night.” I said feebly.
“Technically it’s morning.” Potter remarked, inclining his head toward the clock.
I cast my eyes skyward in annoyance, and started retreating up the staircase to my dormitory.
Honestly, the sheer discourtesy of it all. You try to be nice, and you get corrected. You simply can’t win with this guy.
“But thanks. You too, mate.” Potter yawned. I heard him moving up the stairs to the boy’s dormitory.
Hmm. I wasn’t sure about how I felt about that.
I mean, this is a guy who has literally never called me by my first name. Now, all of a sudden, he decides he’s going to address me as ‘mate’?
No. Just no.
As I opened the door to the snoring dormitory, my thoughts drifted to Maya. Would I tell Dom about Maya’s snogging escapades?
Whilst feeling around for my bed in the dark, I decided against it. Dom didn’t have to know. It would just cause drama.
“OH, FINALLY!” Someone yelled loudly, nearly stabbing me with a lit wand.
“MAYA AND POTTER SNOGGED AND I’M SORRY PLEASE DON’T HURT ME.” I cried out in shock, completely taken off-guard. I cowered away from the blinding Lumos charm that Dom was casting.
“WHAT?” Dom shrieked. Her wand seemed to glow brighter.
Let’s just say it took more than a few minutes to calm Dom down. Eventually, when Dom had stopped muttering about ‘ultimate betrayal’, ‘violations of the girl code’ and ‘the legal obligations of friends,’ I took the opportunity to distract her.
“So why were you waiting for me?” I asked, “It’s pretty late.”
“I just wanted to know how your first patrol went.” Dom sniffed, leaping gracefully from my four-poster bed, back onto hers.
“As if.” I snorted in reply. “I know you’re not that selfless, Dominique Weasely. Tell me the real reason.”
“Okay, fine.” Dom huffed. “I have no idea where to host this birthday party of mine.”
I started laughing loudly at this but stopped abruptly at seeing Dom’s wounded expression, illuminated by the blue wand-light.
“Soph, if this is funny to yo-”
“What about the Room of Requirement?” I interrupted brightly.
“That room’s been overdone.” Dom replied sombrely.
“True.” I agreed. Everyone seemed to have their parties there. I was very accustomed to bobbing awkwardly to music in that room.
We were silent for a while.
And then it hit me like a bludger to the head. I knew somewhere bloody brilliant to have a party.
“Dom! I know the perfect place!” I laughed, thinking of pools and bubbles.
“Dom?” I whispered. “Dom, I have an idea!”
Right on cue, Dom snored softly.
“No one appreciates me around here.” I whispered to myself gruffly.
“Soph, shut up.” Violet mumbled sleepily.
See what I mean? Even my private, angst-ridden exclamations are silenced by others. Where’s Alfred when you need him?
A/N: Hi! Sorry this chapter took a while! *Insert typical teenager excuse here*
Please review if it is humanly possible for you to do so! Words cannot describe the amount of love I feel when reading reviews! (SO MUCH LOVE <3 ) I'd love to know what you think of the characters so far (hint hint, can you tell me?). Hehe.