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Chapter 1 : My Best Friend
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A/N: This story is dedicated to TheOtherGirl, who provided the character base for Talianna and let me manipulate her to do whatever I want.
The first time I paid any attention to Talianna Remington was my first Saturday at Hogwarts. I had seen her at the Sorting Ceremony a few nights ago, but I was way too nervous to actually acknowledge anybody or anything. I couldn‘t do much else but talk with all my brothers. Then there were lessons I had to pay attention to. But I sure paid attention to her that morning.
I was sitting on a common room couch at one in the morning, staring into the fireplace because I didn’t have anything else to do. Tali skipped down the stairs from the dorm. She apparently hadn’t thought to put on a dressing gown, because she wasn’t wearing anything but a tank top and shorts. I thought she would turn around and run up the stairs to make herself a little more decent when she saw the common room wasn’t empty. But she surprised me. It wouldn’t be the last time.
Tali made a beeline to the sofa I was sitting on. She jumped up and landed on her knees, sitting on her feet, right next to me. She stuck her hand out to me.
“Hi! I’m Talianna, but I go by Tali. I’m a first year.” I continued to stare at her. “You know,” she said, wiggling her hand, “you’re supposed to shake it.”
I snapped out of it. “Sorry,” I replied, shaking her hand. “I’m Fred. I’m a first year, too.”
A smile broke across her face. “Really? You’re a first year, too? Isn’t this the best place ever? My parents are Muggles, so I was so surprised when I got my letter. What about you? Are the people in you family magic?”
Tali and I sat there and talked for three hours. When we got hungry, we walked straight down to the kitchens George and I had found the day before. We talked in the kitchens for another two hours. I told her everything I could think of about me and my family. She told me everything I could ever wasn’t to know about her (like what her favorite foods are) and a lot of things I wouldn’t necessarily think to ask (like why she won’t eat Altoids). She quickly became my best friend. She is one of very few people and the first girl (the second and only other being Ginny) to successfully pull a prank on George and I. (I won’t go into specifics, but let’s just say it involved glitter, a Niffler, and every pair of dirty socks me and George have.) Tali, Lee, George and I were easily the closest four friends Hogwarts had ever seen.
Until second year, that is. That’s when Tali discovered there were boys at Hogwarts.
Not that she didn’t realize her three best friends were male. She’s not that stupid. But we were guys, not boys. Guys knew her as loud, blunt, and sometimes annoying, wearing tank tops and ponytails. Boys were treated to a quieter, ladylike, flirtatious girl who wore make-up. Make-up! I didn’t even think she knew what make-up was until I watched her putting on lip gloss in the Great Hall.
It was through her adventures with boys that I realized that Tali could have legitimately been sorted into any of the four houses. She showed Ravenclaw intelligence by learning everything she could about her most recent target. Ahem, I mean, potential boyfriend. Then she showed Gryffindor nerve by flirting outrageously and Slytherin cunning by manipulating the poor boy. After she acquired her prey, I mean, had secured a date, she showed a fierce Hufflepuff loyalty to him until she broke up with him a week later (if they were lucky, it was two weeks). But she showed her true scarlet-and-gold Gryffindor pride by always coming back to her guys.
She stayed close to comfort at first, dating the only other Gryffindor in our year, William. Then she started going for older Gryffindors she went after Aidan, Alexander, and Henry in quick succession. She had a fling with Oliver until she realized he was a little too obsessed with Quidditch. She considered Percy, but George and I talked her out of that one. She also thought about Charlie, but quickly decided he was too old for her.
After that, Tali began dating outside our house. She and Cedric were together for a full two-and-a-half weeks before they both decided they weren’t right for each other. Then she dated a long string of Hufflepuffs (including Colin F., Byron, Ian, Colin R., Tristan, Ben, Colin P., and Alan. We couldn’t keep up, so we called them all Colin.) with a few Ravenclaws like James, Noah, and Joseph thrown in. Then she developed a rebellious streak and decided on a Slytherin. She and Marcus Flint lasted two days before she hexed him for wandering hands and decided “No more Slytherins.” After that, she fancied herself as a “cougar” like those older actresses and dated a few twitchy little first years named A.C., Karl, Wendell, and Duane.
Truth be told, I was frustrated by all this. I never told anyone, not even George, but about halfway through the Colins, I started resisting really strong urges to punch the “Flavor of the Week.” They were all right, and I was even friends with some of them (post-break-up).
But when my Tali talked about how happy they made her, I wanted them gone.
George and I stayed at the school over Christmas break. Tali stayed too because she had to break it off with Vinnie. (Nice bloke. Ravenclaw Prefect. Never turned us in for sneaking around the kitchens, which was his patrol area.) George and Lee were serving detention the first night of holidays for transforming all the Christmas decorations in the corridor to the Slytherin Common Room into rather angry flobberworms. I wasn’t blamed due to being in detention myself at the time. So I lazed about in the Common Room with my older brother, playing Exploding Snap. (To clarify, I was with Charlie. Can you imagine dear old Perce lazing about, or me lazing about with him? Sign of the apocalypse, that is.) We talked about Charlie’s girlfriend, Brenna, until we saw Tali come down the girls’ dorm steps in her customary break-up outfit (her school blouse and tie, along with a pair of jeans) and head out the portrait entrance.
Charlie glanced at Tali before returning to our game. “Enough about me and Brenna,” he said. “How are you and Miss Tali doing?”
I looked at him like he was crazy. “We would be fine, except for the fact that there is no ‘me and Miss Tali.’ She’s my best friend, and for the next ten minutes, she has a boyfriend named Vinnie.”
“So who is the next poor soul to fall into her trap?”
“She hasn’t chosen yet, and don’t talk about her like she’s some evil mastermind. She’s not You-Know-Who, you know.”
Charlie smiled at me. “Yeah, but apparently she’s got you as a follower. You like her, don’t you?”
I played with my cards guiltily. “Maybe. I guess that makes sense. But she’s my best friend! What if, when we break up, we’re not friends anymore? What would I do then?”
“I don’t know. But is it worth the risk? That’s what you have to ask yourself. If you think it could last, or if you fall apart, you’ll still be okay, then you should go for it. Because it’s better to take the risk and be happy than do nothing and wonder what could have been.” He put his cards down in front of me. “Night,” he said and went up to the seventh year boys’ dorm.
After my talk with Charlie, I made myself a promise. I was going to ask Tali out before the end of Christmas holidays, when everybody came back. On the last day of holidays, I still hadn’t gotten up the nerve. I was sitting on our couch, the one we met on, when she climbed through the portrait hole. She spotted me and jumped onto the couch. The first thing I noticed was a surprising amount of clothing covering her body for a day without classes (even if it was January). The second thing I noticed was a giddy smile on her face. (I’ll admit, then my eyes wandered down to the v-neck of her sweater, but she didn’t notice before my eyes were back on her face.)
"Guess what, guess what, GUESS WHAT!" she shrieked, bouncing up and down.
I grabbed her hands to stop her from bouncing off the sofa and hitting her head on the floor. They were warm and soft. "What?" I said smiling. She was like a two-year-old waiting to tell someone what she got for Christmas.
She stuck out her lip in an adorably pouty way. "Spoil sport. You're supposed to guess." She smiled again. "Anyway, Roger Davies just asked me out!"
"I wasn't even considering him, but he asked me out and I said yes!"
"So now we're going to hang out on the grounds next Saturday!"
"We're going to skinny-dip in the lake and ride the Giant Squid!"
"Freddie? You okay?"
"Yeah, I'm okay. I'm just a little tired. I'm going to go to bed. Night."
"But it's only two in the afternoon!"
"Then, I'm going to...take a nap." I walked quickly up the stairs. I collapsed onto my bed and thought.
Davies. I attached every bit of hatred I could to that name. The Ravenclaw dating machine. He's gone through more girlfriends than Tali has boyfriends. He's a firm follower of "use 'em and lose 'em." Merlin, I hope she knows what she's getting into.
Shoot, I didn’t lock the door.
“You sure you’re okay?”
I sat up on the bed. She had poked her head in the door and looked upset. And I had done that to her. She had shattered my world into a million little pieces. But she didn’t know that. And it wasn’t her fault. It was mine for not acting sooner. So I shouldn’t treat her like a criminal. I can’t stand to see her like this. I smiled.
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
She smiled back. She’s so pretty when she smiles. “Good. Because you’re my best friend and I love you. You know that, right?”
“Right. And I love you too.” Just not in the way you think I mean.
“And I tell you everything.”
“Yep.” More than I want to know, sometimes.
“And you tell me everything, too?”
“Of course.” Except the one thing I want to tell you most.
“Yay!” She threw her arms around my neck. She smelled like winter air, you know, that smell you think you smell when your nose goes numb from cold? That’s my favorite smell. It makes me think of Christmas, snowball fights, and Tali. She pulled away too soon for me. “I’ll let you get back to your nap.”
“Or,” I stopped her, “we can have a no-holds-barred snowball fight. You and me versus Lee and George.”
She giggled an evil little giggle. “They are going DOWN!”
Tali and Roger lasted a while. On Valentine’s weekend, Tali took off early Saturday morning. She had been really excited the night before because Roger wanted to meet her in the branches of “their tree,” one right on the edge of the lake.
“I think he’s going to ask me to be his official girlfriend! Eeeep!” she squealed.
I just sat there and smiled like an idiot. I had to be the supportive friend. “Of course he will. You two have been unofficial for over a month now. That’s a record for you!” And for him.
Morning came. She didn’t know it, but I woke up at five to watch the Marauder’s Map to see when they were together. At seven, I saw Davies walk out the front doors of the school and heard Tali run down the stairs, trip on the leg of a table, hit the ground, groan in pain, then laugh, and, finally, the Fat Lady asking her where she could possibly be going this morning. I bolted down my stairs, tripped on the same stupid table leg, and went through the portrait hole. I ignored the Fat Lady’s “And where are you going?” and ran to the only window on the seventh floor with a view of the tree they were meeting in. I checked the map and found Tali walking through the entrance hall. Then I glanced at the spot on the map representing the tree and saw something I probably shouldn’t have.
Marietta Edgecombe was in the tree with Roger Davies.
I looked back out the window. Yes, there were two people in the tree. And it looked like Davies was snogging her. And, Merlin’s pants, her comes Tali, skipping across the lawn. Now she stopped. She looks like she’s yelling toward the tree. Davies stopped snogging Marietta and climbed out of the tree. He’s pleading with Tali, looks like. Ooh, that has got to hurt! Ouch, so does that! She slapped him across the face and kicked him in the crotch. He sunk to the ground on his knees, covering his family jewels. Tali strode away proudly, but I knew her well enough to know there would be tears streaming down her face, if not already, then by the time she got up to the tower.
I headed back to the Common Room, keeping my eyes on the Map. She was running by know, trying to get to the tower before she completely lost it. If she could, she would drag me out of bed to help cheer her up. But I would be waiting for her instead.
I stood in front of the portrait hole in the Common Room, waiting for her. A few seconds later, she came through and threw herself at me before I completely registered she was there. I gently led her to the couch in front of the fire. We sat down and she curled up to me, her face pressed to my shoulder, crying. I patted her back, smoothed her hair, made “Shh”-ing noises, anything I could think of the make her feel better. But she just cried.
About fifteen minutes later, the tears slowed and the sobs became less violent. Eventually, she stopped altogether and just stayed there, her head on my shoulder, my arms wrapped around her.
“Thanks,” she whispered.
“For not asking why I was upset. For just being there. For being a best friend. For being you.”
We sat in silence for a few more minutes, then:
“I dumped him. He was making out with Marietta Edgecombe in the tree. He started with the whole ‘It’s not what it looks like’ deal, but I just slapped him. Then kneed him.”
I had to ask. “Where did you knee him?”
She looked at me with a devilish grin. “Where it counts.”
I couldn’t help myself. I bent my head down and kissed her. She seemed shocked, but almost happy. It was my first kiss, so it was a little awkward, but I wanted it to last as long as possible because the conversation that was coming could be even more awkward.
She pulled away. “What was that for?”
“I don’t know. But you have to know that I really like you, and that day when you came in and told me about Davies, I was trying to get up the courage to ask you out myself, but you were so happy, so I couldn’t burst your bubble, but his whole time I’ve wanted to tell you that I’ve liked you since, like, Halloween when you were dating all those Hufflepuffs, even though I didn’t realize it until Charlie told me that I liked you the day you broke it off with Vinnie, and it all made sense, like why I really wanted to punch a guy when I saw him holding hands with you, and why I wanted to be the one to hex Flint but you got to him first, and Charlie told me that if it can be something more, then we should take that chance, and I really want to, but I’m scared that if we break up, our friendship will be ruined, and then-”
She kissed me suddenly, then pulled away. When I looked at her, she shrugged and said, “You were babbling.”
“You do that when you get nervous.”
We sat in silence for a few minutes, then she said, “Well? Are you going to ask me out or not?”
“Have you ever known me to turn down a first date?”
I racked my brain. “No. But you wanted those guys to ask you out.”
She cuddled closer to me. “Who said I don’t want you to ask me out? People are supposed to be best friends before they fall in love. Why shouldn’t we make it that far? We’re already halfway there.”
I still had my doubts. “Are you sure?”
“Ask me the right question and you’ll find out.”
“Fine.” I got off the couch and pulled her so she was standing next to me. I took her hands in mine. “Tali Remington, will you go out with me?”
She looked like she was thinking about it, then smiled one of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen. “Of course.”
A/N: Extreme cheesiness at the end there, but I’m a hopeless romantic. Leave a review if you love me. Review all my stories if you really love me.
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