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Breathing by flyaway
Chapter 2 : Vanity, Or Something Like It
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 15


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So here's Chapter two.  I'm not quite as happy with this one but it does what it was supposed to do. 

Read on, loves :)











Demeter Vane, I’ve been told, has been stalking James for quite a while.  I don’t think he minds very much.  Well, either that, or he doesn’t know, and even he isn’t that thick. 
I decided not to say anything the next day.  For all I knew, it was just a celebratory kiss and meant nothing.  Then again they could end up together.  Which, interestingly, is something I’m not sure I feel entirely comfortable with. 

I was tempted to mention what I’d seen when I met him in the common room the next day, but I didn’t. 

He looked tired, with his hair, which was usually sticking up anyway, looking a bit like he’d run throught a hedge backwards.  I think I saw something that looked like a love bite, but I shrugged it off, ignoring the tiny pang that settled in my stomach. 

“Did you get any sleep last night?” I asked.  He smiled blearily and shook his head. 

“Couldn’t.”

I didn’t push it as we walked down to breakfast. 

Trying to learn anything on the first day back is usually a bit pointless.  No one’s focused, people are late because they lost their new timetables and everyone feels sleep deprived, because after three months of sleeping until noon everyday, half seven seems like a bit of a shock. 

My new timetable was a nice surprise, what with the free periods first thing Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  That meant I would get a lie in, as long as I did my homework before hand. 

Grinning, I turned to check James’.  He hadn’t looked at it yet, because it was lying where Longbottom had left it.  He had the same, except he had taken Runes and Muggle Studies instead of Astronomy and Charms. 

I held back a sigh.  I’d been kidding myself thinking that I’d have a year off from James.  I’d thought that maybe he’d do some work but I doubted it now.  Not that I minded.  Not really anyway, no matter how much stick I gave him for it, I wouldn’t not do it. 

In short, if he needed help, I’d be the first to give it. 

Across from us, Bludgers and Splinters were sitting, pouring over their new timetables.  I heard Bludgers muttering angrily at his subjects, and assumed that he must have failed a couple of O.W.Ls.  

I remembered being in his position.  Sixteen and completely nerve wracked, I had waited up all night for the results and had been practically hyperventilating by the time they arrived.  I’d gotten everything I’d hoped for: All ‘O’s and two ‘E’s.  Lovely. 

I smiled to myself, and James nudged me, looking at me like I’d just sprouted horns. 

“What’choo smiling at?” he asked, his chin on the table.  I grinned at him.  “Never mind.  It’s got to be to do with classes.”


*

As I sat in Charms without James, waiting for the professor, my mind started to wander.  I hadn’t seen Demeter Vane since the night before, which was somewhat relieving.  Maybe they wouldn’t be…well, you know. 

If there was anyone I hated more than Demeter Vane, I couldn’t remember them.  She was everything I hated.  In short, she was everything my stepsisters were.   She was blonde, with the kind of body that doesn’t look very nice in mini skirts.  She wore them regardless.  This, coupled with her love of giggling and basically slagging around had earned her the amusing nickname, ‘the Hogwarts bicycle.’

Then I heard the one noise that made me want to lock myself in a dark, windowless room for the rest of my life.  Demeter Vane walked past the door, giggling and sounding like a chimpanzee on helium.  She was talking to a Hufflepuff, who looked startlingly similar. 

“And then he told me he liked my skirt, which was weird because it was my shortest one yeah, and then…” she paused for dramatic effect “he kissed me!”

I felt my insides turn to lead.  She was talking about James.  Although it was hardly something new, hearing airheads like Vane and her Hufflepuff counterpart gossip about James made me angry. 

I couldn’t concentrate after that, as I was itching to beat some sense into Demeter’s thick head, and the churning in my stomach didn’t go away until after I’d left the classroom and hour later. 

*

Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait that long, because I ran into Demeter Vane in the common room before lunch.  Literally ran into her.  She jerked backwards, with a glare onto her would-be-pretty face. 

“Watch where you’re walking, four eyes,” she snapped, using that age-old cliché.  I rolled my eyes and adjusted my glasses, which I’d forgotten to take off after the lesson had ended. 

“It’s you who should be watching where you’re going,” I said quietly “Or is that too much for your brain cell to handle?”

She stepped back, her mouth opening and closing like a fish.  I looked her up and down. 

“Thought so.” I muttered, loud enough for her to hear. 

I could feel everyone in the common room looking at me as I left Demeter in my metaphorical dust.  I felt extremely embarrassed.  The spotlight was James’ thing, not mine.  I pretended not to notice, and walked upstairs to get rid of my charms stuff.  I had a free period again, but on my own, and then it was lunchtime. 

I wanted to make sure James and Demeter were not in any way involved.  I didn’t think I could force myself to be around her more than one or two minutes a day.  Then again, perhaps I was overreacting slightly. 

After spending a good twenty minutes in the dormitories, I went back downstairs and saw Demeter Vane and her bimbo friends sitting on the sofas.  No matter where I sat, I would still be able to hear them cackling, so I gave up thinking strategically and sat down on the comfiest of the remaining seats. 

They didn’t notice me.  I smiled in relief. 

“Oh my gosh, I cannot believe he kissed you!” one of Demeter’s friends, Janet, I believe, was squealing.  I fought an eye roll and failed.  How many times would I hear this conversation today? 

“I know!” squealed Demeter “He was soo sweet!  And he’s so hot too!  And an amazing kisser-” the list continued. 

By the time lunch rolled around, I was ready to bang my head off the table.  I was so sick of hearing about how fabulous James Potter’s taste in shoes is. 

Then the man himself walked through the portrait hole, slammed his books on my table and slumped in a chair.  I watched him calmly, hearing whispers of “who’s that?” and “there’s a seat here!”

“James?” I asked finally.  He looked up at me, and I saw how tired he was. 

“No fun in Runes eh?”

“Not a bit.” He said, smiling weakly.  I nodded, trying not to laugh at the shock on Demeter Vane’s face.  James raised his eyebrows.  I jerked my head in her direction and comprehension dawned on his face.  He winked at me, before turning his head and waving at Demeter and her friend “Hello ladies.”

They both burst into fits of giggles.  I rolled my eyes, as James turned back to me, looking incredibly pleased with himself. 

Boys. 

*

The library was my favourite place.  For one thing, no one ever followed me there, unless James needed something.  For another, there were books there.  And every so often Rose Weasley would be there too.  Not that we spoke.  It was a funny kind of friendship; when she wasn’t berating James for one thing or another; she was reading on her own. 

That was how we’d bonded.  I spent nearly all my time in either the library, on my own or with James.  It was nice having someone else to talk to. 

She wasn’t there this time, but someone else was in her seat: a tiny first year girl, with plats down to her waist.  I recognised her as Artemis Lewis.  She was so small; her feet didn’t even reach the floor.  She looked up, terrified.  I smiled, trying to be reassuring.  I think it must have worked because she smiled back, revealing a set of shiny braces on her teeth. 

She was reading a very dusty volume of what looked like Ancient Runes.  I’d dropped Runes the year before, but I remembered most of them.  I did wonder, though, why a first year was reading runes at all. 

Even though I was supposed to be reading Charms, I was failing miserably.  I’d read over the stuff on the swapping charms what felt like hundreds of times and I knew it by heart. 

“‘Scuse me?” the girl, Artemis, asked, in a tiny voice.  I glanced up “d’you know runes?”

I told her than I knew runes.  She smiled and I followed her to the massive book.  I noticed that it was the Tales of Beedle the Bard.  I smiled softly.  She pointed to a funny Rune I recognised as ‘raidō’, which meant ‘the journey’. 

She was reading the Wizard and the Hopping Pot, which had been my favourite when I was younger.  My mother had read it to me before she died. 

And just like that, I felt my eyes start to fill up with tears.  I smiled weakly and got out of there as quickly as I could, and I knew Artemis was watching me go, confused probably. 

I couldn’t find the strength to care.  I couldn’t even muster the strength to stop hurting at something that happened so long ago.  I hated that about myself.  I always had.  That was the reason I’d never even bothered to connect with Lydia, the woman my father married.  After a while she’d stopped trying to make an effort and she started to resent me the way I resented her.  She saw me as the only obstacle to her perfect family.  She had two daughters, one of whom was my half sister, and she had my father.  When he wasn’t away for his Auror work, that is. 

I didn’t even bother stopping in the common room, I just went straight up to the dormitory. 

I don’t know how long I was there for.  My fellow seventh year girls came in and out throughout.  None of them paid any attention to me.  I wasn’t surprised.  I’ve never been that close with any of them.  Not in a long time anyway.  I mean, it isn’t like I’ve only had James the whole time I’ve been here.  The girl who sleeps in the bed next to mine, Yvaine Lennox, and I used to be good friends.  But where I lost interest in boys and make up and shopping, she was the opposite.  She and the other girls in our dormitory had become friends, and we had drifted apart.  We haven’t spoken in about three years. 

She didn’t hesitate to say hello, or even look at me as she came in to rifle through her trunk and pull out a tube of lip-gloss. 

I groaned under my breath, and using my wand because I couldn’t be bothered to move too much, shut the hangings. 

*

I woke up still in my school uniform, and hungry.  I’d missed dinner and with a lurch, realised I’d missed History of Magic too.  But I’d slept for a good – I checked my watch – seventeen hours.  That had to make up for it. 

It wasn’t exactly time to get up but who cared?  I rolled out of bed and went for a lovely long shower. 

I looked at my sleeping roommates and left the room, heading down towards the common room and on down to the entrance hall.  I toyed with the idea of going for breakfast but in the end went outside. 

The sky was lovely.  It was all pink and orange with streaks of glowing clouds.  The Giant Squid was there too, enjoying the early morning air as it drifted along the water. 

I sat down on the edge and removed my shoes.  The lake water was icy cold, even though it was still summer.  I sat quietly for a while, just thinking.  The funny feeling that had developed when I’d seen James kissing that wench was still on my mind.  I had no idea what it was.  I’d never had that much of a problem with anyone before, so needless to say I was at a dead end. 

I checked my watch.  It was time for the other students to get out of bed, to go down to breakfast.  I didn’t much feel like it to be completely honest. 

It was incredibly relaxing on the grass; the only sound was the sloshing water and the rustle of leaves. 

*

As it turned out, I was free first so I didn’t need to rush back into the castle but eventually, the time came and I dawdled back inside and was about to climb the marble staircase when Janet, Demeter Vane’s friend came running down the stairs and crashed into me and lost her balance.  She landed on the floor. 

She just huffed and ignored my offer of help as she pulled herself off the ground.  I raised my eyebrows slightly at her tearstained face. 

“You know James Potter right?” she spat.  I nodded.  She continued “Well when you see him and her, let her know…. just tell her…. ARGH!”

And she stormed off leaving me feeling extremely confused.  As I walked up to the Gryffindor Common room, a sense of dread started to build. 

I gave the password to the Fat Lady hurriedly and leapt into the Gryffindor Common room. 

“Charlie!” James said, looking extremely proud of himself “look who just asked me out!” 

Then I was only aware of three things. 

One, Demeter Vane was sitting on the red sofa next to James, looking at me like she wanted to jump up and start dancing the ‘in your face’ dance. 

Two, I was suddenly overcome with the sudden urge to punch her fake eyelashes right off her face. 

And Three?  I felt like I wanted to throw up, cry and shout all at once. 

Fan-bloody-tastic. 







So that's number 2 done.  Three will be along soon. 

I know that this chapter isnt very funny or very eventful but it moves the story along, which is the main thing. 

Reviews are much appreciated, as is constructive criticism and plain old reviews telling me if you liked it. 



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