Constructing the greatest fort in the history of forts was a bit harder than I originally thought. For one, the blankets were rubbish at staying up. I had to constantly charm them to stick to coffee tables and lounge chairs and my brain hurt from performing so much magic outside of class and Quidditch-related activities. Fred manned the inside, propping furniture to make sure everything was stable and Bink patrolled the outside to check for leaks and spies.
We didn’t find spies, but just looking for spies was cool enough for our cool fort.
Fred poked his head out of the entrance. “We need a name for this bugger,” he said, arching his back in a poor attempt to crack it. “We can’t just have people calling it something that doesn’t live up to its currently unknown name.”
“Like what?” Bink said, adjusting a chair. “Fort Fred Weasley is Screwing Kay Davies out on the Pitch?”
Fred flushed. “Shut your mouth right now, Legace. Don’t talk about Kay like that.”
“You don’t deny it!” Bink cried, laughing harder now. Emerson rolled over on the sofa by the window. He even rolled like a prat.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said, nabbing the final blanket from the pile. “I have players training on that grass and now all I’ll be thinking about is your contamination!”
“Don’t give me that,” said Fred, face still that perfect Weasley-red even though he was so tan. “You know you would do it if a woman ever asked. Which they never will.”
“Nia might,” Bink offered.
“No she won’t,” Fred replied. “Nia doesn’t know anything about Quidditch, she’d never want to fuck out there.”
“Would you two quit talking about my sex life?” I said roughly. “I thought we were talking about Fred being a tosser.”
“No,” Fred said slyly, “we were talking about naming this stupid fort.”
“Fort Stupid?” Bink said with a chuckle.
“Be serious.” I fell to my knees and crawled inside past Fred, literally amazed at what we did.
The fort was enormous, stretching from one side of the common room nearly to the spiral staircases with the blankets draped over tall chairs and side-stood coffee tables and there was even a broom involved. It opened up near the fireplace and I sprawled out next to the warmth. “This is brilliant.”
“Fort Brilliant?” Bink said, crawling in and sitting up beside me.
“Fort Ridiculously Brilliant and Super Wicked,” said Fred, laughing. He grabbed a pillow and flopped down on it.
The floor was surprisingly comfortable and when I closed my eyes slightly I found myself a great deal more tired than I was before. Staring into the fire, I wondered about what Fred came up with.
“That’s it,” I said quickly and Bink jumped. “Fort Ridiculously Brilliant and Super Wicked. That’s perfect and it gets our point across. We need some sort of sign-idge or something out front. No Pompous Head Boys allowed, write that down, Freddie.”
“Anyone else we want to keep out?”
I thought for a minute. “Let’s keep girls out as well. I’m sick of the lot of them.”
“What about Paloma?” Bink asked, smirking to himself and I knew he caught on to the way Paloma acted around me and the fact that she was gorgeous so how I had to react around her because of—well, because of my raging hormones and lust, really.
“Okay, she can come in,” I said, mostly to let him have his silly blond-boy laughing fit. Which he did.
“No Head Boys; no girls.” Fred finished off the sign and hung it outside the door with a flick of his wand.
This seventh year business was pretty amazing at times.
Other times, however, it was less than amazing. I remembered the Tactnia really well, thinking of Nia’s minty kiss, but the others I was sketchy on. The test wasn’t just identification either; a lot of it was fill in the blank and the blank was a little intimidating because it was blank. I filled in as many as I could, sweating like Dad when I mention things to Mum about him paying Al to take out the garbage bins.
Overall, I didn’t think I failed. At least I couldn’t have gotten Troll, right?
Pfft, I hoped not.
After the Herbology test it was back into the fort. It was the center of conversation that day, even through class when Professor Longbottom assured everyone he would sort the Doxies out that evening. Emerson was relieved and I couldn’t care much less than I already did.
I took some notes I already had into the fort and began looking them over.
“Studying for Charms?” Fred asked, crawling in behind me.
“Charms?” I cocked a brow. “This is the Ravenclaw flow chart.”
“Do you ever stop thinking about Quidditch?”
“Just wondering.” Fred laughed and leaned back against the floor, staring up at the blankets with a wondering expression crossing his face. “I could get used to this, you know, just lounging around in here with no sodding first years getting on our nerves asking us about broom lessons—I’ll give you a broom lesson, all right, shove the ruddy thing up your—”
“James, are you in there?”
I groaned. “Hey, Avery, I’m in here studying.”
“Can I come in?”
“Sure, what’s wrong?” I shifted around to look at the door.
Fred punched my shoulder. “No girls allowed, Aves, sorry. What can I do for you?”
“Avery’s not a girl. What’s up?”
“Can you just come out here then before Weasley tries to turn me into a boy?” she asked.
“No can do, this is Fort Ridiculously Brilliant and Super Wicked and I am in charge here.”
“When did you get put in charge?” Fred asked, obviously offended.
“Right now, I’m manning things.”
“It’s odd knowing I am currently being manned,” he replied offhandedly.
“I just wanted to let you know Professor Longbottom is upstairs fixing the Doxy problems and you can head up and make sure all your things are all right.” I saw her face lowered to the door. “Can you even hear me in there? I feel like I’m talking into a black hole.”
I nodded. “Yeah, I can hear you. Thanks, Avery. I’ll definitely head up there sometime.”
“How long are you going to be in there?”
“Probably the rest of my life.”
Avery paused. “Okay, just let me know when you come out, okay? I wanted to talk to you for a bit.”
“I promise you’ll be the first to know!”
Her footsteps wandered off toward the spiral staircase and she was replaced by Bink, who crawled inside and grinned. “Just told Meta off for making fun of the fort. I think Wes wants in. I feel a bit bad for the bloke—only other guy on the team that’s not a Chaser. Sorry, boyo. We don’t Beat in here. Well, Freddie wanks when he has a night without Kay, but that’s neither here nor there.” He snickered and fell down beside me.
“Don’t go poking fun at me,” Fred replied sardonically. “James is the one who almost let Avery in here a few minutes ago.”
“She’s not a girl,” said Bink. “And her name isn’t Paloma.”
“Oh, shut up. She’s practically not even a girl anyway.”
“Pfft, she is with those grades,” said Bink.
I pointed my wand at his face.
“Bleeding what, Albus?” I whined, rolling over to see my brother’s thick head of black hair dangling in front of the entrance. His glasses were sliding down his nose.
“You’re going to have to take this down. It’s a safety hazard.”
I groaned. “How so?”
“If there’s a fire there won’t be enough space for all of the residents to get through to the portrait hole…not to mention that thing could go up in flames at any second. And you’re also hogging all the furniture.”
“It’s nice getting some quiet in the common room, isn’t it?” I asked nonchalantly. “Seriously though, Al, don’t you think we could just, I don’t know, charm it out of the way if there was a fire? Put out the flames with our wands if it went up? I know you might be a bit jealous and reckless because of Fort Ridiculously Brilliant and Super Wicked, but let me just tell you it is going to be okay. Get some therapy—I heard Edwards is signing up in the morning.”
“Just get it down by tonight, James,” Albus said and left.
Yeah sodding right I was going to get it down by that night. That fort was my new home! Warmth, no first year whining about the dancing suits of armor, no women fawning over my freckles…this was the life. Though when I wanted to snog I was pretty sure Nia was lingering around somewhere waiting to help me study Herbology.
“Do you think Longbottom will make us tear this down?” asked Bink, glancing at the door to make sure we weren’t heard. “It took us hours to get up.”
“Edwards will see to it that it’s taken down,” Fred interjected. “I saw the way he looked at it this morning—would have hexed it down if my wand wasn’t out.”
“How often is your wand out?” Bink said, laughing, and Fred smacked him on the shoulder.
“Will you two get your minds out of the gutter!” I said. “We have to save our fort from the evils of Head Boy-idge and severe prat-dom. We must stand up for what is right. Take a stand. Never leave.”
“Okay, one question.” Fred cocked his head to one side. “What about this food situation?”
“This is no time to be selfish!” I cried. “Take one for the team and stop eating. We have to figure this out. We need a plan to save our home.”
I wheeled around again. Why was I so popular? It was surely something to do with the freckle support system on my cheeks and nose. “Can I help—oh, hi, Elizabeth.”
She smiled, crouched down in front of the doorway with her hand holding back the bangs that would have fallen into her eyes. “Hey. Longbottom wanted me to pass on the message that he’s coming back in the morning for the Doxies. He needs reinforcements apparently so I think Sinatra’s going to help him.”
I smiled wickedly.
“Are you lot okay sleeping down here? I heard there are extra beds being set up in the sixth years’ dormitory. I can’t imagine sleeping beside your brother would be all that fun, though.”
“As much as I would like to play immature pranks on him all night and watch him wet himself, I think we’ll camp out here again for the night. Thanks, Elizabeth.”
“Let me know if you need anything.” She beamed and I thought about asking her to snog over notes or something. No sooner had my thought wandered off to inappropriate touching was she gone.
I heard people tripping over the fort most of the night. Emerson let out several loud grunts as he attempted to pass it for the bathroom only to knock his shin or some other thing I didn’t want touching my super amazing fort. I thought about rushing outside and accosting him, but my laziness got the best of me. That, and I knew the fort was already anti-spy enough by harming enemy shins.
Fred and Bink fell asleep early when all three of us realized Potions simply just wouldn’t happen. That essay was supposed to be three feet and I hadn’t done one toe. Fred sprawled out on the north end with a quill hanging out of his left hand and Bink wandered to some corner behind a coffee table to get some privacy. I stared at the fire and watched a few salamanders skip across the logs. They looked to be playing tag.
“Are you still awake?”
I smiled and crawled toward the door. Avery was in her striped purple pajamas with her hair tied up in a loose knot. “Of course I am. The other two lazies are asleep though.”
“This is quite the mansion you have here, Mr. Potter,” she said, staring behind me to the overturned furniture and piles of Ravenclaw notes. “Is that a Potions book I see?”
“Unopened. Don’t judge me.” I propped myself against a wall beside her in the semidarkness and glanced over. “Sorry about the no girls thing. I nearly forgot you were a girl so you can’t blame me.”
“Not like that. You’re beautiful of course but we’re just so close I forget sometimes.” I smiled and she didn’t look thoroughly convinced. I didn’t blame her. I always mucked stuff up when it came to Avery and her actually being a female. “But I was just sick of women lately—too much hassle so it was easier to just ban them instead of writing out names and offended people. Now I can just make it seem like it’s a bloke hideaway without Edwards.”
“Do you really hate him that much?” she asked softly, staring over to where Emerson snored on the sofa.
“I can’t hate the idiot—I feel too bad for him being a moron. But I don’t like him. He’s always trying to throw me in detention to prove he has more power than I do.”
“He doesn’t!” I replied. “He has more authority. That’s it.” I leaned my head against her shoulder. It was warm. “But I have the brains and the real power—power of the people and of the Quidditch.”
“And what a power that is,” she said playfully.
I poked her in the ribs. “You think Longbottom will owl my mum if I don’t take this down when the Doxies are gone?”
“If he doesn’t, I will.” Avery grinned. “I have three bruises already and if I get another I’m going to throw it out the window.”
“I’d like to see you try.”
“Is that a challenge?” She raised a distinct brow.
I shuddered. “No. No, it isn’t because I know you’d do it, foul woman.”
Us awesome Chasers blew off Potions the next day. It wasn’t like we were doing anything important anyway and I felt as if Ravenclaw dive charts were more important. I was the only one because Fred slept in and Bink tossed loose threads into the fire. I concentrated on the way Kay Davies tied her hair back so with the wind just right she could win a dive battle against a broom twice as fast. Sneaky woman.
I heard Longbottom come in and talk to a couple of first years about their Herbology scores. Apparently they were pretty low and I wasn’t entirely surprised because they were first years and first years and bollocks at everything, including even being first years considering I mistake them for second years on numerous occasions.
He left and went upstairs with a few other people (who I assumed to be professors so I said nothing) and a door shut quickly. I returned to the Ravenclaw charts. This was important business after all.
I jumped and the charts went everywhere. “Gahh, sorry. What do you need, Nia?”
I could tell right away what she needed. That sultry look was back in her eyes and Nia glanced around before answering. “James, I think we need to talk.”
“Can it wait?” I asked, hoping she would be out of this strange almost split-personality mood when we talked next. “I sort of have a lot of stuff going on right now.”
“Actually no, it can’t,” she said. “Can I come in?”
“The signs says no girls, sorry, love. I think Fred and Bink would have my head if I said yes.” I attempted a smile but my jaw seemed wired shut.
“Speaking of which,” Nia said in a charming tone and I nearly choked, “I was thinking you and I could use this fort for something other than doing Quidditch notes. Ravenclaw is so boring—just toss those for a bit and let me take care of you.”
Take care of me? Exactly what
did that entail?
Fred and Bink were probably listening in at that point, so I took a deep breath. “I don’t think tonight is a good night,” I replied carefully. “The boys are in here with me after all—and no girls allowed. That too.”
“That didn’t stop me from leading you to my bedroom when I won the auction.”
Yeah, well you’re insane, I thought.
“It’s the middle of the day.”
“I’m quiet,” she said.
I nearly had a heart attack. What was she playing at? And most importantly, why wasn’t I jumping at the opportunity to finally gloat to everyone? Here it was—standing at the edge of the fort with exceptional grades and a sly smile, and I wasn’t moving. Did this count as chickening out?
“Nia, I’m sure we will have plenty of alone time in the future, if you’ll just—”
“Come on, James, you’re being ridiculous,” she whined.
“Nia, leave him the hell alone. He doesn’t want to have sex with you in the fort now go finish your Transfiguration essay I saw you struggling with a few minutes ago.” The voice came from the right and I saw a black shoe kick Nia swiftly in the back of the leg before moving toward the window. It was my baby sister. Little Lily Potter with a sarcastic wit about her and a hard kick, just the way I brought her up.
Nia gaped at her. As a matter of fact, so did I. I didn’t expect Lily to come to my rescue after all the horrible things I did against her love life.
Did she just say sex?
What a pervert my baby sister was.
She probably thought I was asexual or something now. Or that I was interested in blokes because I turned away every woman that tried to seduce me. Bollocks, what kind of a Quiddich Captain was I? I didn’t even have a horrible reputation and I was already a seventh year. I smiled sideways at Nia, silently telling her Lily was right and I was a coward.
She sighed. “All right, James. But when you come around, you know where I’ll be to help you come around again.”
She giggled and I flushed so dark I had to scoot away from the fireplace to cool down again. What a crazy woman she was.
“Boys, are you in there?” Professor Longbottom stuck his head in the entrance to the fort and I groaned. I forgot to tell Freddie to add “professor” to the list of people not allowed in the fort because that seriously notched down the coolness factor.
“Unfortunately,” I muttered, trying to hide my Ravenclaw notes and open my Potions book. Ha, yeah right, like that would be convincing.
Longbottom stared at me. “Aren’t you supposed to be in Charms right now?”
“Probably,” I said and Fred groaned in his sleep.
“You’re not setting a very good example as a role model in the school, James.” Longbottom stared at me with his Longbottom-y eyes and sighed in disappointment. “I expected better of you when I appointed you Quidditch Captain instead of Meta McLaggen.”
“You expected I would win the Cup, whereas she wouldn’t because I would have quit.”
“Mind your attitude,” Longbottom said. “I came down here to tell you the Doxies have been taken care of. They’re all cleared out now and it’s safe for you to move back in upstairs. Emerson has already moved back in and all of his things are in fine condition except for a few ties he found missing. We’re guessing the Doxies got to them.”
“I’m sure they did,” I replied slowly. “I’m sure we’ll go back up there sometime, especially to get more clothes. These robes are starting to get a bit musty.”
“Sometime?” He looked perplexed and I didn’t blame him. Too many run-ins with dangerous Tactnia could addle ones brains similar to the addledness of Freddie’s.
“Yeah, we’re quite comfortable here actually, but when it starts to lose its flare I think Fort Ridiculously Brilliant and Super Wicked will just get renovations like stainless steel and granite countertops.”
“Just tear it down by tonight,” Longbottom said, clearly ignoring my rambling. “It’s a hazard and it’s monopolizing the entire common room. I’ll come back and check in the morning. Have a good night, boys. Try to go to class.”
I flipped him off after the portrait hole slammed and I fell backward onto the floor. “What a load of rubbish,” I mumbled.
“Big load,” said Fred, opening an eye.
“Thanks for coming to my rescue there.”
“You handled it quite nicely on your own,” he replied cheerfully.
“So Edwards is back in there, eh?” Bink said, crawling out from behind a coffee table with his blond hair sticking up at odd angles. “What a tool he is. We’ll have to do something to him to make the dormitory less inviting than it is.”
“Just have Nia go up there and he’ll run for it,” chuckled Fred. “She’ll just try to seduce him like she did James earlier.”
can’t stand you,” I said loudly.
“So are we ever going to leave?” Bink asked, placing his head a few feet away from my shin. “I think this is rather homey but when we have classes together I reckon they’ll chop it up for us.”
“Shall we just take turns going to class so one of us is always in here?” I offered. “We can put some enchantments on it and whatnot so little Albus can’t go poking around then maybe install a mini bar or something in this sucker.”
“I’m not going back to that stinky dormitory,” Fred announced. “Emerson made it smell like sauerkraut and that pygmy puff of yours poops too much.”
“I’m bringing Victoria in here you know.”
“She’s a woman.”
“She’s a pygmy puff!” I cried. I heard a muffled yell from outside.
“Oh, that’s it!
” someone cried. “I can’t take any more of this rubbish. That’s four!
I wheeled around and nearly fell out the door as I scrambled. “Avery—no!
Come on, I’ll let you in. Let’s just revoke the rule!”
She held her wand pointed straight at Fort Ridiculously Brilliant and Super Wicked and I twitched. “This has gone on long enough. I’m not taking any more of this. Sorry, James, your fort has to come down.” There was blood on her shin and I knew she was serious. We should have put the poufy sofa near the edge instead of an end table.
A/N: A little early as a gifty for all the fab reviews...that, and I'm off to the cottage for Memorial Day weekend so no updates until next week! I thought I'd give you something you hold yourselves over :) That, and coming back to reviews really makes my day. Oh, and for those of you who asked, I got my grades back the other day and I ended up with four A's and two B's with my crazy 18 credit hours. Managed a B in the hardest class I've ever taken! Sorry, off topic.
Anyway, how about that Nia? Sorry about the huge amount of dialog in this chap, but I tried to keep it light and all of it moved the plot forward because they were hanging out in Fort Ridiculously Brilliant and Super Wicked.
Things to look forward to: Halloween is quickly approaching.
Favorite quotes? Parts? People? Nia moments? hahaha. Thanks in advance to everyone, by the way, I can't believe we're already over 200 reviews on this! You all are AMAZING!