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Chapter 4 : Nascence
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I leaned back against the tree, wiping the tears from my eyes. Jen and I had made up in Defense Against the Dark Arts when I explained to her that I just wanted to get to know Albus, as he had just become a romantic option and I wanted to know if I was interested. She bought it too.
That leads me to the next day at lunch. The girls and I had gone out to sit under the tree by the lake for lunch. They all thought that I needed some cheering up; I had Divination first on Tuesdays, and Defense Against the Dark Arts third. Having Potions in between was not enough to raise my spirits, so they brought me out to the tree and proceeded to make me laugh until my stomach hurt.
“Oh!” I looked over at Vanessa. “Classes start up again soon. We should head back in.”
“Really?” Annily scrunched up her nose, looking at her watch.
“Time really does fly, then?” Jen giggled, still not over Emily’s last story.
I grabbed my bag and stood up. I only had Charms that afternoon because I had Astronomy that day and, apparently, they try to give those in NEWT level Astronomy one free period every day they have it so they can keep up with their course load.
I was pretty happy about that. A free period every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday? How awesome is that?
“So. First Charms class, huh?” Vanessa grinned at me as we separated from the rest of the group after we entered the castle.
I frowned. “Why is it that for practical magical classes they give us four a week? And Herbology, Astronomy, and Potions, the classes I actually want to take, only three times a week? And last but not least, why is Divination considered a practical magic course?” I stopped for a breath. “It’s complete rubbish!”
Vanessa was looking at me like I was insane. “I was referring to sitting next to Albus for seventy-five minutes without being able to run back to me when conversation gets too awkward.”
“Oh.” I felt my cheeks heat up. Well then.
Vanessa laughed at me as we got to the point we had to separate. “I’ll see you later!”
“Bye!” I waved and made my way down to Charms class.
Now that she mentioned it, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to spending a whole seventy-five minutes with Albus. I was more than content to talk with him a couple of minutes at a time, ease him into the whole we-actually-have-some-kind-of-relationship thing I was trying to get started.
I was almost to the classroom when I felt a strong arm wrap itself around my shoulders and pull me into a very nice male form. I rolled my eyes and failed miserably at suppressing a smile. I didn’t even need to look in order to know it was the flirty, dark-haired Fred Weasley who, it seemed, had taken a liking to my hair.
I knew because Fred was the only boy who walked up to me randomly and put his arm around me and played with my hair, and didn’t even pause or slow down his pace. Secretly, I was impressed with his ability to do so.
“What can I do for you Freddy, dear?” I had decided, after he did this exact same thing to me the day before on my way to supper, that I would play along with him when he acted like this. Sure, Fred and I had never really interacted before, but I was pretty comfortable around him and he did amuse the hell out of me.
“I just wanted to wish you luck, my lady dearest.” Fred tugged on a strand of my bangs, the only part of my hair not tucked securely into the messy bun on top of my head. “Al came into our dorm–when I say our, I mean Jimmy-boy’s and mine–and talked our ears off over how he was going to be sitting with you last night.”
I rolled my eyes once again and felt my cheeks heat up. “Thank for the support, but I’ve got to get to class.”
I shrugged his arm off and turned into my Charms class. I saw Al immediately, off to the side a bit where I usually sat in all my classes. I didn’t know if I should be flattered that he sat where I preferred to sit, or uncomfortable that he paid such close attention.
Fred, though, didn’t seem content to just let me walk into my Charms class all calm and unnoticed. No, he decided that I couldn’t walk into the room unless he yelled after me, causing everyone to stare at me.
“WHAT? STILL NO KISS?”
I sighed, and knew–just knew–that my face was bright red. I quickly hurried over to Al, trying my best to ignore the amused look and sniggers that followed me. I looked up at him after I sat down and saw he was actually trying not to smile. The fact that Albus Potter–the boy who is, apparently, completely gripped by me–thought it was funny actually amused me. Nice to know he’s not the jealous type, eh?
I took a deep breath and swallowed my embarrassment. I needed to tell him this before class started. “I feel I should warn you, I suck at Charms.”
“And any other practical magic course.”
The words seemed to slip out of Al’s mouth before he could stop them, and then it was his turn to go completely red in the face. I was shocked into silence for a minute. Had he just teased me?
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry–“
I cut Al off before he could finish stuttering out his apology. “No worries. I’m perfectly aware of my own talents. Or lack there of, as it were.”
I smiled at him, and wasn’t surprised in the least when his attempt at a smile back turned into something more similar to a grimace. Maybe James wasn’t on the right track when he said he’d be going out with Jen by Halloween after all?
I shrugged, and turned to the rapidly aging Professor Flitwick as he began the lesson. I could feel Al’s eyes on me every couple of minutes. I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with it, and was extremely relieved when Flitwick waved his wand and a small quiz showed up on every desk. I could do the theory part of it, and it would hold Al’s attention for a bit, so I was pretty happy to be receiving it.
The small quiz turned out to be a very long test covering everything we’d learned from first year all the way up to the end of fifth and took up all of class. I had just barely finished the last question when the loud mosquito-like buzzing signaled the end of class.
I didn’t have another class until that night with Astronomy so I gathered up my things and decided to walk with Al to his next class.
“What do you have?” I asked as we headed in, what I assumed, was the direction of his classroom.
“Me? Oh, uh, I have, uh, Transfiguration. I think.” His face was red.
I wrinkled my nose, and let the conversation fall. I was more than content to walk in silence. I took that moment to wonder what Albus Potter would look like if he weren’t blushing. He was a very good looking boy, but I assumed he would look much better if his face matched the nice, if slightly pale, shade of his hands.
We turned the corner and I saw James and Fred off to the distance. I don’t know how they did it, but they went from laughing and joking together to immediately noticing Al and I walking around the corner. Maybe they had “the sight”? Notice my sarcasm. No, they didn’t have “the sight,” but they were extremely observant. Abnormally so.
Al didn’t seem to notice they were there, because he turned to the door of McGongall’s class and sighed. I felt my cheeks heat up a little at his sigh, as he sounded disappointed to have arrived. It was also that moment I realized just how much Albus Potter seemed to make me blush; I'd never had a boy like me like that before and I found it to be quite embarrassing, even if extremely flattering.
“This is my class.”
I smiled at him. “Yeah, I guess so. Well, I have Astronomy later tonight so I should probably head back to the common room and do my homework while I can.”
I tried to think of some final words, but nothing came. Albus smiled at me, and stuttered out a shy “I had fun.”
I laughed. “Yeah, me too. I like a guy who doesn’t try to force the conversation.” I winked at him. “Well, I’m going to go before I make you late.”
Al nodded, and I waved at him as I continued down the hall. It wasn’t long until I was sandwiched between both James and Fred. I sighed and resigned myself to my fate. I was forever destined to be the recipient of strange, somewhat inappropriate, physical contact from the very handsome Fred Weasley, and, it seemed, the equally handsome James Potter.
For some mysterious reason I just couldn’t bring myself to mind. I was a teenaged girl, who could blame me really?
Neither seemed to be in all that much of a hurry, so I decided to start the conversation. “And what can I do for you boys?”
“Well, Camry, darling, Jimmy-boy here has something he wants to say to you.” Fred’s hand had once again found its way to my hair. What was with him and my hair?
“Really now? What does Jimmy-boy have to say to me?” I turned to James, and noticed with no small amount of satisfaction that he frowned at my use of Fred’s nickname for him. I’m not going to pretend that I hadn’t heard how much he hated being called that.
“Yes, Jimmy-boy?” Fred prompted. I could tell from Fred’s voice that he was goading James. I really hoped they wouldn’t get into a fight when I was, in the most literal sense, in the middle of them.
“Well, Camry, you see, I want to thank you.” James’s frown just seemed to fall off of his face and was replaced with the largest grin I’d ever seen in my life. I doubted very much that I would ever see a grin larger.
I nodded. I’d figured as much. James continued. “I know Albus is pretty much hopeless, but I’m counting on you to stick with it. I consider you talking to Al to be the start of my relationship with Jen, you know.”
I scoffed, but didn’t say anything. My parents had both told me that his father had been a little on the high and mighty side at school, so I assumed he hadn’t sounded that arrogant intentionally. Like I was doing it for him? Please!
Instead, I smiled at him. “Anything for Jen.”
“Exactly!” James stepped away from me so that he could clap his hands together. “Anything for Jen.”
“Jimmy-boy is whipped and he hasn’t even gotten any yet.”
I tried not to. I really did. I couldn’t help it though, when Fred’s comment was mixed in with the glare James was shooting at him, I laughed. I didn’t just laugh, no, that would be to dignified and lady-like. No, I laughed, and wheezed, and coughed, and snorted, and hiccoughed, and hollered like a banshee. I couldn’t help it. I really couldn’t. The whole situation was just too ridiculous.
It was too much like one of those moving story things on one of those muggle tilly things.
I don’t know how long I was laughing before Fred and James joined in on my hysteria, and I don’t know if they started laughing because of the way I was or because they found humor in the situation like I did, but they were laughing just as hard as I was nearing the end.
As I calmed down, I noticed that classes had started. James and Fred were both chuckling still, and holding their stomachs. They didn’t even realize. “Don’t you two have classes?”
“Free period. Have Astronomy later tonight.” James shrugged, turning in the direction of our common room. His shoulders were still shaking with mirth.
“Why aren’t you in class?” Fred raised an eye brow at me, while I furrowed mine.
“How can you two have Astronomy when I do?”
Fred clapped. “Oh, yay! You’re in our class with us!”
I shook my head and looked to James. He rolled his eyes at Fred before answering my question. “NEWT level Astronomy is pretty much independent study. We are given assignments and we do them. That’s it, really, so they just combined both sixth and seventh years.”
“Well if it isn’t the young lovers, and that Potter boy too. Is he bothering the both of you? Did he interrupt your little tryst?” The Fat Lady, it seemed, had gotten it into her head that Fred and I were a couple. I didn’t care enough to correct her.
It appeared that Fred was determined to encourage her though. “Why yes he did! I am very angry about it too.” He turned to James. “How dare you try to interfere with a new relationship like this! I know you think she’s hot and that you want in on the action, but you have to learn to listen James! I asked her if she was up to it and she said no. Do hear, James? No means no.”
By the end of Fred’s tirade both James and I were thoroughly embarrassed and I quickly said the password as The Fat Lady began telling James off for being a pervert. We both rushed in as Fred walked in calmly and slowly with a very proud grin on his face.
We both stared at him. He just continued to grin and then clapped his hands together. “Who’s up for a nice, friendly game of Exploding Snap?”
James and I exchanged a look. A look that said exactly what we were both thinking. What we were both thinking was friendly game my ass.
We both gave our exact same answers at the exact same time.
“I’m up for one.”
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