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Chapter 9 : Locked in a Closet
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A week later, the various inhabitants of the Potter/Lupin domicile were suffering from a variety of moodswings. Cam was still moping because Aisley wouldn't go out with him. Siuius was up on Cloud Nine because he and Jamie had really hit it off on their date two nights before. Rebecca was surly, rude, and she refused to accept the flowers Byron was sending daily. And Aisley was trying to keep her mind off of Cam...and James...by playing mediator between Rebecca and Byron. She was beginning to make progress with Rebecca, who was starting to at least read the notes that inevitably came with Byron's flowers before she gave them away, but Aisley couldn't seem to stop thinking about the brothers.
Her last date with James had gone well enough. He appeared to be the perfect boyfriend. Which was probably why she thought that their relationship wasn't going to last for much longer. And Cameron? Well, he avoided her at work and made sure that they were never alone together in the house for more than a minute or so.
Shaking away all thoughts of her guy troubles, Aisley pulled on her Trainee's robes and popped into the kitchen for coffee before she headed to the nearby Auror Headquarters. The rumor was that something unprecedented was to occur with the trainees that day, and Aisley was sure that she didn't want to miss out.
By the time she arrived at Headquarters, almost all the other trainees, not to mention their respective mentors, were crowded around her mother's office. Two years after Aisley had left, Tonks had been named as Co-Head Auror, along with Harry Potter. When the door to her mother's office opened, both Aurors came out. Aisley noticed with some amusement that, for at least the time being, her mother's hair was a bottle blond, and she wondered what color it would be by the next day. She noticed with less amusement and more alarm that Harry was shaking his head vigorously. She hoped it didn't have to do with her mother switching things around so that Harry was Aisley's mentor, and her mother, Cam's. Little did she know that the two Aurors were indeed speaking about her and Cam, but not in the way she would expect.
"I don't know, Tonks." Harry was saying. "Are you sure this is a good idea? From what Rebecca's said, they aren't even speaking right now."
"Potter, I've known you since you were fifteen. That's why I feel comfortable saying this to you. Yes, it's a bloody good idea! That is, if you want grandchildren before you die. Do you?" Tonks asked, exasperated.
"Well...yes." Harry said uncomfortably. "But they won't be happy about it if they find out."
"They won't find out. And besides, it's just for a few days." Tonks consoled.
"They're our kids. Trust me, they will find out." Harry countered darkly. "And when they do, I'm going to tell them it was all your idea."
Harry made his way towards Aisley at the same time that Tonks was heading to a makeshift platform, preparing herself to give an announcement.
"Har-Sir." Aisley corrected herself. She was so used to calling Harry by his first name that it was difficult to remember to refer to him as either Mr. Potter or Sir. "What's this all about?" Harry smiled at her and hoped she wouldn't kill him when she found out about her mother's little 'plan.'
"You'll see, Lupin. In fact, your mother should be making the announcement right about...now."
"May I have everyone's attention please?" Came Tonks' magically sonified voice. "Thank you. Now, what I'm about to do is...unusual. Trainees, you will please come forward when your names are called and in the order they are called and in the order they are called. Finnigan, Thomas, Nott, Malfoy, Jones, Bell, Brown, Anderson, Potter, Lupin, Michaels, Jordan." All the trainees walked up wondering what was going on. "You have all been deemed sufficiently able to do your job without your mentors. So, as a final test, you will be working with one other trainee to see if you can handle having a partner. Each pair consists of one young man, and one young woman, in the order that you're standing. For the next week, you will be in....forced isolation with your partner during work hours. For four hours each day, you will be expected to help each other study for your final exam, which occurs in two weeks' time. After that you will be taking care of your various duties. You will all have to learn to rely completely on one another, and to have each other's back at all time. And no, no one will be allowed to switch partners....you're stuck with each other." Tonks smiled briefly at the Trainees, most of whom were looking at her like she was insane. She probably was. "On behalf of all of your mentors. I congratulate you and wish you all well. At this time, each pair is to find an empty room in this hall and study until their brains rot. Any questions?" She waited a half beat and ignored the various hands stretched into the air. Then she grinned. "No? Good. You are dismissed."
Cam nearly groaned aloud. A week? Spent solely in the company of Aisley, who preferred his older brother to him? There was no doubt about it; the entire week was going to be torture for him. Cam turned to glare at his father and Tonks, and he nearly swore. His father was whistling, a sure sign of something being off, and Tonks was taking a leaf out of Aisley's book. She looked so innocent that she just had to be up to something. Just what that something was, he wasn't exactly sure. He turned to look at Aisley. Without a word, she took his hand and pulled him to the nearest empty room, then shut the door gently. She sat down indian style on the floor, pulle dout a heavy book from a nearby shelf, and began marking in it with a quill she'd taken from inside her sleeve. Taking his cue from her, Cam plopped down on the floor.
"What are you doing?" he asked finally, after an extremely awkward silence. They were the first words he had spoken to her in nearly a week. Aisley looked up brifly, then returned to what she was doing.
"Studying." was her one-word answer.
"Aren't we supposed to be doing that together?"
"Oh. Well then...get the other book from behind you, and we'll quiz each other."
"Okay, Lupin. What's an Auror's main objective when pursuing a dark wizard?"
"To bring him or her in alive." Aisley replied without a flicker of interest. "Who was teh youngest person to ever complete training?"
"Does it matter?" Cam asked in a bored tone of voice.
"Do you even know??" Aisley demanded.
"No." he answered truthfully.
"Your father was, you dimwit!"
Cam ignore the dimwit comment, and they continued to quiz each other for another half an hour.
"We've been all the way through this book, and you haven't missed a question yet, Aisley." he said in amazement.
"That's what happens when you study." Aisley replied. "Besides, you didn't do too bad yourself."
"Yeah, I guess so. But I'm glad we have a practical exam, too, otherwise I'd never pass." Cam replied with a laugh.
"Probably not." Aisley said absently. She went back to studying her book, and had taken out her quill again, poised to take copious notes, when Cam pulled both away from her.
"Hey!" she cried indignantly. Cam ignored her. "I need my book back, Cam!"
"Oh, come on Aisley. You know the material backwards and forwards. And we both know that you'll complete training with the highest marks possible. So forget the book and talk to me." Cam replied.
"Oh, that's just rich, Potter!" Aisley responded indignantly. "You've had plenty of opportunities all week to talk to me, but you wouldn't take them. So you want to talk? Fine then, talk."
Women. Who could understand them? Cam sighed. "I'm sorry. I've...had some things on my mind." he lied swiftly. The truth was, he hadn't wanted to talk to Aisley because her rejection had...well, hurt his feelings. Plus, it was awkward. But it would be even more awkward to spend twelve hours a day for a week in 'forced isolation' with her if they weren't speaking.
Aisley looked at him blandly, telling him without words didn't believe his story.
"I've actually been thingking about...Rebecca. And that Davies guy. I thought she broke up with him a while back, but now he's sending her flowers?" Cam continued. That part wasn't actually a lie; the constant deliveries had occupied his thoughts when he hadn't been concentrating on ignoring Aisley.
"Really?" she asked in surprise. Cam nodded. "She did break up with him. And he wants her back. I think. Do you have any idea why they split in the first place?"
"Only what I bullied Lily into telling me." Cam admitted.
"Well?" Aisley demanded. "Are you going to tell me or not?"
"Well...from what I can tell, Rebecca was pretty serious about this guy. And then they went to a dinner at his parents' house, or something, and his mother introduced Becca to Byron's...'fiance.' Lily's good friends with him, and she says it isn't true, but..."
Aisley frowned. "Well, from the way he acts, I'd say that Lily's right. Obviously Rebecca doesn't agree, though. Aw. Now I fel like I should help them." she said.
"And how will you do that?" Cam asked warily.
"I know! We'll throw a party!"! Aisley exclaimed brightly.
"And...what's the....'reason'....for this party?" Cam wanted to know.
"To celebrate...uh, us not killing each other during training!" Aisley said somewhat randomly. To her surprise, Cam appeared to agree with her.
"Perfect! Becca'll totally go for that."
"Um. Right. So..." Aisley continued, completely dumbfounded. "Uh. Make sure and invite tons of peple. Including Mr. Byron. And then....oh, I don't know. What else?"
Cameron blushed. "Well...I was thinking..."
"Yes?" Aisley prodded when he didn't continue.
"Uh. Well. We could uhm....play Seven Minutes in Heaven." he mumbled.
"We could what?" Aisley asked incredulously.
"I didn't mean us personally! I just meant that it could be a party game. You know, once everyone gets there, put the guys in one room and the girls in another. Assign everyone a number. Then, to make sure no one bolts, we make sure that no one sees the other person go into the closet, Just give Byron and Becca the same number and let them work it out." Cam said in a rush.
"Cam, that's brilliant!" Aisley told him with a laugh.
"Yes! But....how close are Lily and Byron?" she asked suddenly.
"Close enough that he told her what went down at that dinner." Cam said, baffled.
"Well...waht if you got Lily to explain the situation to Rebecca? I'm sure she'd believer her."
"That could work."
"Honey, we're a right pair of evil geniuses." Aisley said, bemused. "But....who to invite?"
"Well...Lily, I guess...and James. Some of the other trainees..." Cam said with a shrug.
"Hmm...well, we have to invite the rest of the Falcons. And Jamie. Oh, and all the Weasley's who are of age, not in school...and not married."
"So...let's see. That means..Edmund, Deidre, Quent, Nick, Ursula...um, Reeny, Xan, Trevor....York, Vi, and Zack. Right?" Cam asked, trying to mentally picture each cousin.
"I think you got them all." Aisley grinned. "Oh, and don't forget my older siblings."
"How could I?" Cam asked wryly. At the exact same moment, it struck both of them that they were finally comfortable around each other again. And each began to squirm in their minds; Cam squirmed because he had finally fully realized that he was interested in Aisley as much more than a friend, and how could anything happen between them if she continued to treat him as she always had? Aisley squirmed because she was dating the brother of tthe guy she'd loved for as long as she could remember knowing what love was. And at the same moment, they both started to speak.
Each looked flustered and was starting to try again when the door clicked open. That was their signal to go complete their daily duties. Both of them realized that the conversation could go no further and subsided. For the moment, anyways.
A/N: Well, what did you think? Come on, tell me? I know the chapter title is somewhat misleading, but do you guys think you can forgive me? I certainly hope so. Seriously though, how was it? I know I went AWOL for...a month and a half, so I'm probably rusty. But I hope y'all enjoyed it. Anyways, I already wrote Chapter 10, so it should be up in a few days. I hope you guys like the fact that you won't have to wait forever to learn more. Anyways, you know the drill! Reviews are great, I send e-cookies, and I lurve you all very much. Especially when you give me something to respond to. Maurader out for now!
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