Chapter 7 : That’s So Albus!
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I’m gonna do it! I am going to ask Tegan to Hogsmeade (the next visit to which conveniently falls on Halloween—how do they manage to plan it that way every year?) and she is going to say yes and I am going to sweep her off her feet and be the very essence of masculinity and we are going to get married and Dan, Max, and Caro will be born!
I repeated these motivational words over and over again, mumbling to myself and most likely looking absolutely foolish, as I speed-walked to the hospital wing to bring Tegan to dinner with J.D. and the other Gryffies. The house elves were rumoured to be serving shepherd’s pie this excellent evening, which I considered the perfect food to nurse my dear Tegan back to health.
I jogged up the steps leading to the hospital wing, eager to greet my wounded Seeker. I hadn’t seen her in eight whole hours, which is the longest I’ve gone without seeing Tegan since the summer holiday.
I enthusiastically opened the doors to the hospital wing and trotted inside. Tegan, Tegan, where is my Tegan?
“Over here you moron,” I heard a disenchanted croak erupt from my right. I spun 90 degrees and spotted Tegan Llewellyn, who was frowning very determinedly.
“Hey,” I said coolly, waltzing over to her. I must be the essence of cool, or she will not fall in love with me. “How are you?”
“Itchy,” she promptly replied and poked the brace on her wrist. “I got all my other casts off this morning, but that fricking Madam Larkin is making me wear this damn confining contraption for another week. I’m gonna plotz.”
I smiled fondly at her. Tegan hadn’t had a proper shower in two days, and her normally shiny brown hair was a tangled mess of sweat and grime, which really made sense since she hadn’t washed it since the match. Her face was red and blotchy and her expression agitated, but she still exuded that lovely, sexy Tegality: the essence of Tegan.
“Do you want to go to dinner?” I asked formally to show that I can be a fancy pants. “Word on the street is that they’re serving shepherd’s pie.”
Tegan yawned. “Yeah, whatever. I’m all discharged and shit, so let’s book it. I’m starving.”
I took her sport bag (containing her bloody Quidditch kit, goggles, gloves, etc.) and she ambled along beside me down the stairs and in the direction of the Great Hall.
“So,” I said casually, running my hands through my untameable black hair, “the Hogsmeade visit is in three short weeks.”
She grunted (even Tegan’s grunts were lovely!). “Yep.”
“And it’s on Halloween,” I said with too much interest.
“The October trip is on Halloween every year,” she said bluntly. “How do you reckon they manage that? Halloween shouldn’t fall on a Saturday every year.”
“Yeah!” I agreed hastily. “You’re so right, Tegan.”
She cocked her head to the side and peered at me. “Thank you?”
We walked for several more minutes of the most horrible, awkward silence I’ve ever been privy to. C’mon Tegan, say something! Preferably something about how you’ve always thought I’m a fit bloke and you too dream of one day marrying and procreating with me!
Frick. Why isn’t she declaring her undying love for and undeniable physical attraction towards me?
“What’s your opinion of shagging?” I blurted. Oops. Really didn’t mean to say that aloud.
Tegan shrugged. “All that hoopla better be about something. I’d be really disappointed to find out that all the fuss about shagging is a conspiracy by Gynaecological Healers to get more babies to pop out. But I wouldn’t do it with a guy unless I loved him. I’m certain of that.”
I nodded. Getting Tegan to fall in love with me might take a little time, but I will make it happen.
“So what about you, Courtney?” asked Tegan playfully.
I chuckled. I love Tegan’s teasing, even if it’s about my overtly feminine disposition. “I guess I’d have to be in love too,” I answered honestly. And I love you!
“What a coincidence,” said Tegan sarcastically. “We share the same views on intimate activities! Fan-tiddly-astic!”
I frowned. Tegan might have been a little loopy from all the Skele-Gro, but why couldn’t she take my admittedly obscure hint about my curiosity of her philosophy on shagging? She’s s’posed to be the clever Gryffie!
“Ooh look, the Great Hall!” I exclaimed.
“It hasn’t changed much,” remarked Tegan as we stepped inside (I held the door for her like a proper gentlewizard).
We took our usual seats at the end of the Gryffindor table, next to the other Gryffies. J.D., Freddie, and Micah were there, and Mattie and even Arlie.
“Tegan!” exclaimed Arlie, rushing ‘round the table to give her a hug. I guess most girls really like to shout each other’s names and hug.
Apparently not Tegan. “Hi Arlie,” she said, slightly overwhelmed. Tegan uncomfortably tried to hug Arlie back, but ended up awkwardly patting her on the back.
Arlie disentangled herself and cocked her head in confusion.
“I’m not very good at hugging,” answered Tegan. “I wasn’t hugged very often as a child.”
Oh Tegan, I can help you practice! My mummy hugged me all the time when I was little and I’m a hugging expert.
“That’s okay,” said Arlie, scrunching her nose. “You smell really bad, to be honest.”
“You good, Tegster? Relatively?” asked Fred.
She shrugged and began piling her plate with shepherd’s pie. “I guess. All the Skele-Gro Madam Larkin made me take has made me really cranky, and I still have to wear this damn brace on my wrist.”
“When can you fly again?” asked J.D.
“Not ‘til my fricking wrist heals,” replied Tegan. “I don’t get the brace off until Friday.”
“That blows,” said Micah dramatically.
“Yeah,” agreed Tegan. “Sure, I can’t write, which is all well and good because I have an extra week to make up the Transfiguration test, but I’m going to go mad not being able to fly or Seek. It’s cathartic for me.” She picked up a roll from her bread plate and her butter knife in the other hand.
“Ooh, Tegan, do you need help buttering your roll?” I piped up.
“That’s what—” began Micah.
Mattie smacked him upside the head.
“Ow!” exclaimed Micah.
“Thank you, Matthew,” grinned J.D.
Tegan held her roll in one hand and her knife in the other. “I’m fine, James,” she insisted, but grimaced when she tried to bend her wrist.
I grabbed her roll and began to butter it. “Tegan, you have to be careful of your wrist, okay? You can’t further injure yourself and put yourself out of Quidditch commission for another week!”
“Fine,” said the strong-headed, very independent girl reluctantly.
“No more exerting your wrist,” I said decisively. “I will take notes for you in class. My penmanship is better than yours anyways.”
“Okay!” barked Tegan.
“And I’m going to carry your book bag between classes.”
“I don’t carry my messenger bag on my wrist!”
“But if you throw out the tendons in your shoulder, then you’re no help on the pitch either.”
Tegan groaned. “Oh-kay Potter. You win. Dote upon me in my weakened state.”
I grinned widely. There was nothing else I’d rather do.
I took care of Tegan that entire week. It was fantastic. I took notes on all of the teachers’ lectures and got to carry her books and transcribe her homework for her and cut all her food for her and it was glorious. I’m a very nurturing young man.
But I wasn’t upset when she got her brace off that Friday. I’m not so selfish that I wasn’t relieved to see my ladylove healthy and well again. Plus now she could participate in Quidditch practice.
Er…I didn’t exactly get around to asking her out that week. Tegan was still traumatically injured, okay? I didn’t want to further fluster her! Don’t worry, I will ask her to Hogsmeade. Eventually. But it’s gonna happen. Pinkie swear.
Tegan flew pretty damn well in practice that afternoon, considering she’d gotten the wrist brace off only that morning. She kept zipping around and making sharp 180-degree turns and practicing her Wronski Feint (which is actually quite remarkable for a seventeen-year-old).
Oh, Tegan’s birthday was the first week of school. She’s the oldest kid in our year. Which is why she’s seventeen now, in the October of our sixth year. I suppose I tend to go for the older ladies. Older by six months.
But I thought I saw her wince once after executing the umpteenth perfect Wronski Feint, and this is not acceptable. Tegan is my soul mate. If my soul mate is wincing, then she’s probably in pain. That is the last thing that I could ever want.
So I took a lovely long shower after practice (the locker room shower stalls are actually much cleaner and more tastefully decorated than the dormitory ones), carefully washing my ebony locks with kiwi shampoo and slathering myself in lavender body wash. By the time I emerged from the steamy shower and waddled back into the locker room, all my Gryffie men had gone. Figures. Rumour was that steak and kidney pie was on the menu tonight. We Gryffies love pie of any and every variety.
I dressed quickly and towel dried my hair (which was now sticking out in seven different directions—thanks, Dad, for the crazy hair gene!). I wanted to check to see if Tegan was still in the girls’ locker room, on account of my concern for her wincing. I just wanted my little Seeker to be all right. Well, Tegan’s not so little. She’s almost as tall as me.
I gathered my things and knocked on the door to the girls’ locker room. I wasn’t going to barge in. Arlie and Tegan could have been stark naked! It would be entirely inappropriate for a guy cap’n to walk in on his nude female players. So I knocked.
“Yeah?” I heard Tegan’s voice call back.
“It’s James!” I said brightly. “Might I have a word?”
“Yeah, come in,” said Tegan’s voice crisply.
I turned the door handle and stepped inside. I briefly admired the fine detail of the carvings on the girls’ solid oak lockers before my eyes popped open and my jaw dropped.
Tegan wasn’t wearing a shirt or half her pants. She yanked a pair of crumby old jeans all the way up and turned to face me, apparently shameless that her wobbly bits were only covered by a bra.
Frick on a stick with a brick.
“What?” she said coolly. “You’ve changed in front of me loads of times. It’s not weird.”
“Yeah,” I croaked. Oh dear. I had a decent view of her wobbly bits and let me assure you, Tegan most certainly has slight mammary growth.
She grabbed her ratty old Weird Sisters t-shirt and slipped it on. Thank Merlin! But blast the old codger as well!
“There,” said Tegan, holding up her hands. “I’m not even close to naked anymore. Happy?”
“Your wrist,” I said quickly. “How’s your wrist?”
Tegan held it with her other hand and glanced at it. “Fine. Tip top shape. I’m going to kick Davies’s ass in the next match ‘gainst Ravenclaw. Metaphorically, of course. I’ll be doing a great deal of flying and Snitch-catching and my foot technically won’t come into contact with the bloke’s hindquarters.”
I stepped towards her and tenderly took her right wrist in my hand. “You were wincing while Wronski Feinting,” I said seriously. “Don’t deny it.”
“I—” she began
“No,” I said sternly. “Your wrist is still acting up, isn’t it?”
Tegan bit her lip. “Madam Larkin says I really did a job on it. I mean, my right arm was outstretched when I crashed into the pitch, and my wrist got the worst blow. The pain starts at really random, sucky times, but it comes in short bursts. Madam Larkin said I could play if I was careful.”
I stared into her beautiful olive eyes. “Tegan, you have to be careful, then.”
Those olive eyes rolled. “I am careful!”
“You practiced two hundred consecutive Wronski Feints today,” I said. “On your own. I didn’t tell you to do that.”
“Doesn’t practice make perfect, cap’n?” she said, slightly immature.
“And completely broken wrists mean bad Seekers,” I replied. “Watch your wrist and yourself. Please, Tegan.”
Her eyes grew softer as she stared into my blue ones (please let her think my eyes are as pretty as I think her eyes are!). “Okay, then. I won’t overexert my pesky wrist, Cap’n.”
I smirked. “Oh, you can just call me James,” I drawled. “‘Cap’n’ is so impersonal.”
Tegan grinned back. “James, eh? What about Jamie?”
“No,” I said promptly. “Never.”
“Not if you don’t have a death wish.”
We grinned devilishly at each other, pleased with our level of wit. I was kinda sorta almost holding her hand, as my tricky fingers had gravitated south of her wrist. Definitely in the hand region.
“So, James,” said Tegan very dramatically. “What oh what shall we do now?”
I sniggered. “Well, it’s about that time of evening when the student body gravitates towards the Great Hall for that meal that we call dinner.”
Tegan gasped in sarcastic surprise. “Dumbledore’s beard, what oh what might they be serving at dinner this lovely night?”
I smiled widely. “Tegster, there is pie in our future. Of the steak and kidney variety.”
She began to walk to the door, but didn’t let go of my hand and dragged me along with her. “Why do we Gryffies love pie so much?” asked Tegan as we began on the path leading to the castle.
The twelve dozen butterflies that had been obnoxiously fluttering around my stomach exploded from my very close proximity to Tegan as we walked, and my hands’ much closer proximity to hers, actually touching.
“Because all pies are warm and have light, flaky crusts and delicious eatables within aforementioned crust,” I babbled.
Tegan smiled slyly. “I personally would never eat steak and kidney outside of a pie, but everything changes when gross eatables are suddenly prepared in pie form.”
“Like pumpkins,” I said. “Who eats straight pumpkins? But everyone goes mad when the pumpkin is baked as a pie.”
Thinking of pumpkin pie made me think of Halloween, which in turn made me thing of the Hogsmeade, trip and how I ought to ask Tegan so we can get a head start on the perfect lives we will live together, until we are old and succumb to either a horrible disease or maybe plain old old age.
I opened my mouth, but Tegan said, “Thanks for being really annoying and overbearing and shit. About making sure I don’t screw up my wrist any more.”
I pursed my lips in a faint smile. “I’m your cap’n. It’s part of the job description that I do my best to make sure my players are in the best possible shape. And a constantly-acting-up-from-overexertion wrist isn’t fit shape.”
Tegan glanced down at our hands. “You’re pretty darn protective of my little wrist, there. Except your hand’s kind of fallen to my hand.”
I retracted my left hand quickly. “Whoops, sorry—”
“No,” interrupted Tegan as she placed my hand back on her wrist. “It’s kind of cute. In a protective cap’ny way, I mean!”
I gulped, slightly befuddled. “Okay. If it makes you feel better.”
Tegan bit her lip, her green-brown eyes sincere. “It’s nice to know you’re looking out for me, Cap’n.”
I lightly shoved her. “I’m James, remember?”
She pushed me back considerably harder, though laughing. “Oi, James, you physically struck your invalid of a Seeker! Who’s a girl!”
I smirked. “Sorry. I’ll go back to protecting your wee wrist.” And I once again placed my fingers around her wrist.
We trotted to the castle as the sun was setting and the cool October breeze picked up, hand in wrist. It was close enough to hand in hand. Baby steps, Jamesie. You’ll win her over.
“You smell funny,” said Tegan bluntly as we entered the Great Hall.
“I smell wonderful!” I insisted. “I just had a lovely shower!”
Tegan scrunched her nose. “Lavender and kiwi don’t mix well together, James. And I’m not even going to ask about the scented bathing products you obviously use.”
“You just don’t understand beauty,” I joke-scoffed.
When we reached the Gryffies’ section we took our usual seats, and Tegan slipped her wrist out of my grasp.
Sad. But I guess she needed two hands to eat her steak and kidney pie.
“Oi, J.S.,” said J.D., his mouth full of pie. “I thought of sumthin’ frickin’ awesome, mate.”
I carefully began to cut my pie. “Yeah?”
“I’m gonna start a new fad,” he chewed.
I took a sip of pumpkin juice to cleanse the palate before I dug into my dinner. “Do elaborate, bestest mate.”
J.D. swallowed. “Mmkay, so say something fantastic has happened, like they cancelled Potions for the day or Slytherin surrendered in a Quidditch match. What would you say?”
I thought for a moment. “Yippee?”
He rolled his eyes. “No, not ‘yippee’. You would say: That’s so Albus!”
I cocked my head in confusion just like my dog Snuffles does. “Huh?”
“I’m starting a fad!” said J.D. loudly. “That’s so Albus!”
“So it’s a sort of proclamation of joy?” inquired Mattie.
“Somewhat,” replied J.D. “It’s more an affirmation of the validity of a person or event’s coolness.”
“So if I hit a Bludger to Scorpius Malfoy and gave him a concussion—” mused Freddie.
“That’s so Albus!” I piped cheerily. This fad could be fun.
“I just talked my way out of a detention,” said J.D.
“That’s so Albus!” declared Mattie.
“And if Drystan Davies asks me to Hogsmeade?” said Arlie.
The XY Gryffies looked at each other. Drystan Davies was the Ravenclaw Seeker and in his seventh year. An enemy of Gryffie Nation.
“That’s so Albus!” exclaimed Tegan.
I shot a most contemptuously look at her.
“I know, I know, he’s the enemy and all that. But he is gorgeous. You have good taste, Arles,” said Tegan.
All of a sudden Micah, who’d been in a strange quiet trance the whole time, lightened up and proclaimed, “I have a fad too!”
We all spun ‘round to look at him. “Well, what is it?” asked J.D.
“That’s so Voldy,” said Micah proudly. “For when things aren’t going your way.”
“That’s so not Albus!” said J.D. in disgust.
“I don’t think it’ll catch on, Horowitz,” said Freddie as tactfully as he could. “It just doesn’t have the sparkle of that’s so Albus.”
“You don’t get it!” said Micah defensively. “It’s basically the same thing! How can it not have the sparkle?”
“How ‘bout we just stick with that’s so Albus for now,” I said in an attempt to compromise. Comes with the territory of being cap’n of the Gryffies. “Well see if that catches on, then figure out whether or not we want to introduce that’s so Voldy to the ‘warts.”
“Fine,” snapped Micah contemptuously. “None of you ever take me seriously, so why start now?”
We all looked at each other. Was Micah, the light-hearted “that’s what she said” man of our group, actually irritated?
“Er, Micah,” said Freddie cautiously, since he was basically Micah’s best mate, “are you okay?”
Micah violently prodded his pie with his fork. “Obviously not. You lot don’t respect me, and I’m sick of being the scapegoat and belittled Gryffie. ‘Snot good for my self-esteem.”
“Micah, we didn’t—” began Tegan, concerned and sincere.
“But you did,” he said, his voice hollow. “I’m the joke Gryffie. The comic relief. Which is all well and good everyone once in a while—you know how I love a good laugh—but I can’t deal with it 24/7 anymore.”
J.D. looked to me, and I nodded. J.D. was, by far, the hardest on Micah. “I’m sorry, mate,” said J.D., weirdly solemn. “I didn’t mean to offend you in any way or hurt your feelings or whatever, but Horo, it’ll be much easier for me to act civilly towards you if you cut down on the ‘that’s what she said’ jokes. They drive me mental.”
Micah stared hard at J.D. “Okay. I will try to cut down on ‘that’s what she said’ jokes, but it’s really hard because I always think in terms of ‘that’s what she said’. But you have to hold up your end of the deal. All of you. Stop making me the jester of the Gryffies.”
We Gryffies all looked ‘round at each other and gave curt nods. We’re a team. We have to start acting like one, and in the representative democracy in which we operate, each Gryffie is equal and must not be denied his or her inalienable right to respect, Quidditch, and the pursuit of pie.
Wow, that would make an awesome speech!
“Gryffies,” I said, my tenor voice strong, “we’re a team. We have to start acting like one, and in the representative democracy in which we operate, each Gryffie is equal and must not be denied his or her inalienable right to respect, Quidditch, and the pursuit of pie.”
J.D. began to slowly clap. Arlie, Freddie, Mattie, and even Micah smiled broadly at me. But the renewed bloke love of my Micah Horowitz was nothing compared to the fantastic, enormous grin I received from Tegan. Damn, that girl can smile.
“Okay!” I proclaimed. “Peace has returned to Gryffie Nation?”
“If you lot stop acting like pricks, then yeah!” whooped Micah.
“I think it’s high time for a little chant,” I beamed.
J.D. jumped up and stood on the bench. “What team?”
“Gryffindor!” we Gryffies shouted back.
“Gryffindor!” the chant was slightly louder as more of our housemates chimed in.
“GRYFFINDOR!” boomed throughout the massive Great Hall, sound waves bouncin’ off the stone walls. The entirety of Gryffindor House joined in on this one, I reckon.
We Gryffies. United as one. With respect, Quidditch, and pie for all!
A/N: Ahh. AHH. It’s 5:47 AM. I haven’t slept since 10:00 AM yesterday. Gotta wake up at 8:00 AM today. But I like writing We Gryffies, so here I am. Yeah, so this was Chapter 7. Thoughts? Opinions? Criticisms? Musings? Ramblings? All are welcome in reviews. I wrote this on no sleep (which I think I’ve stated…don’t remember anymore) and little nutritional fuel so it’s probably crazzzy weird towards the end. Apologies. Will revise. Eventually.
Thanks for reading! You want to leave a review? That’s so Albus!
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