Chapter 8 : The Edge of Reality
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As he looked down at the black sludge in his goblet, Scorpius’s stomach churned. He had seen Polyjuice potion before, of course, but he had never actually had to drink it. While earlier it had seemed like a good idea to crash the Potters’ party disguised as other students, now that the moment was actually upon them, he was most certainly having second thoughts.
Bletchley didn’t look too happy about it either. “Um, Bella, are you sure about this?” he asked, regarding his goblet with suspicion.
“Of course I am,” she said impatiently.
“Does it hurt?” Scorpius asked tentatively, remembering grotesque pictures of transformations he had seen in his potions textbook.
“Don’t be such a baby,” she said, though she did not actually answer his question. “Now, everyone, add your hairs.”
In unison, Scorpius, Bletchley, Bella, and Grace dropped the hairs into their own individual goblets. Scorpius’s turned a pleasant sort of sky blue, and he started to think that maybe it wouldn’t taste so bad after all.
“I think we should – er – separate to actually drink it,” said Grace somewhat nervously. “Watching other people transform isn’t exactly enjoyable.”
So they all headed to a different corner of the dungeon, Scorpius taking the one closest to the door. He stared at the thick, blue liquid for a moment and then brought the goblet to his lips. After another second of hesitation, he threw back the potion.
It was utterly vile, without a doubt the worst thing he had ever tasted. It was all he could do not to spit it out after one mouthful, but he forced himself to keep drinking. The moment he had drained the goblet, his insides began to writhe painfully, causing him to double up, feeling as though he was going to be sick. This was followed by a burning sensation in his stomach, which quickly spread through his body to the very ends of his fingers and toes. Gasping, he clutched onto a nearby cabinet for support as a terrible melting feeling engulfed him: his skin was bubbling like hot wax as, before his very eyes, his body began to morph into that of the seventh-year Hufflepuff currently locked in one of the entrance hall’s broom cupboards.
And then, as suddenly as the process had started, it was all over. Scorpius shook himself slightly, making a mental note never to agree to any of Bella’s plans ever again.
With slight apprehension, he looked down at his hands, which were no longer a pale white, but tanned, with long, broad fingers ending in brutally short nails. He flexed his fingers experimentally, almost needing reassurance that they were actually his. As he did so, he observed somewhat snootily that this Hufflepuff was in desperate need of a manicure.
“Is everyone done?” someone called, though with his back to the room, Scorpius was unable to see who it was.
Three slightly bemused grunts of “yeah” came in reply. Scorpius was still marvelling at how bizarre this whole thing was as he headed to the middle of the dungeon, where the other three were already standing.
“Oh my God, this is so weird!” exclaimed a freckled, Weasley-esque redhead in a manner than was undoubtedly Bella.
“And you’re the one who claims to be a Polyjuice expert,” said the guy standing on her left – obviously Bletchley. He was, quite plainly, the embodiment of tall, dark, and handsome. Though Scorpius didn’t actually know from whom Bletchley had stolen his hairs, he had already taken against the guy on these grounds alone.
He did, however, rather agree with Bella that it was weird to be looking at three people he knew so well and yet not be able to immediately tell them apart. “You’re Grace, right?” he asked, addressing the smaller of the two girls, an attractive blonde, just to check that he had got them the right way around.
“Yep,” she said.
“C’mon, let’s get going,” said Bella impatiently. It worried Scorpius a little that, in her redheaded guise, he found her considerably more attractive (presumably because of her increased resemblance to Rose).
Grace collected their goblets and disposed of all evidence that they had ever been there with a flick of her wand, before handing each of them a truly miniscule silver flask. Bella examined it with something akin to suspicion.
“What the hell is this?” she asked.
“More Polyjuice. Didn’t it occur to you that we might actually need to maintain our disguises?”
“Well, why does it have to be so small?” Bella held it up between her thumb and index finger for effect; the two were barely an inch apart.
“I was teaching shrinking charms to a bunch of third years. Anyway, stop complaining, will you?” Clearly satisfied that her sister’s mutinous streak had been subdued for the time being, Grace continued, “Now, you’ll need to take a draught every half hour or so, or you’ll get chucked out. Understand?”
“Yes, yes, it’s not rocket science,” Bella said irritably. The other three looked at her questioningly, but she merely shrugged. “Yeah, I’m not actually sure what it means, but Professor Graves says it in Muggle Studies whenever we can’t answer his questions.”
“Oh.” They all nodded, none of them any the wiser.
The four of them then proceeded to leave the dungeon and started on their way up to the seventh floor and to the Room of Requirement, where the party was being held. All the way there, Bella chattered on incessantly about everything under the sun, permitting the other three to get no more than the occasional word in.
“Oh my God, can you believe Weasley and Matthews are going out?” she commented as they reached the fifth floor.
Bletchley threw Scorpius a long-suffering sort of look, which he returned, though his insides had given an unpleasant squirm at Bella’s words. Rose and that bloody Hufflepuff – who now, it appeared, actually had a name – was the last thing he needed to hear about just now.
“Who’s Matthews?” Grace asked, her tone bored. “And which Weasley are we talking about?”
Bella looked exasperated. “Jake Matthews,” she elaborated. “Seventh-year? Tall, brown hair, really fit? Was voted most eligible Hufflepuff by the female population of Hogwarts three years in a row?”
“I think someone has a crush on Matthews,” muttered Bletchley, and Scorpius gave a snort of laughter.
Bella ignored both of them and continued, “Honestly, Grace, do you pay attention to anything that goes on in this school?” She rolled her eyes. “And as for which Weasley, I meant Rose. You know who she is, right?”
“Yes, thank you, I do.” Grace now looked as though she was regretting entering into the discussion at all, which she almost certainly was. Scorpius too often felt that way after conversing with Bella.
After a few more minutes of mind numbing conversation, Bella at last seemed to tire of analysing couples, critiquing outfits, and laughing about Professor Vector’s new hairstyle, and they finally fell into a welcomed silence. Scorpius, however, was now in a determinedly bad mood. He’d been unsure about coming to the party all along, and now, with this new information about oh-so-perfect Matthews, no amount of alcohol was going to make it a success.
Most eligible Hufflepuff? Had Bella been serious? And for the third year running? That was just ridiculous. He, Scorpius, had once been voted most eligible Slytherin, but three years was simply unheard of. One thing was for sure: there must be an alarming lack of good-looking Hufflepuffs if Jake Matthews was considered the most eligible. Either that, or the female Hogwarts students just had seriously bad taste.
“Matthews isn’t that good-looking, is he?” Scorpius asked the group at large, without really thinking about what he was saying.
All three of them stared at him as though fearing for his sanity.
“Okay, so that was the most random thing you could possibly have said,” Grace remarked, looking amused, after taking a moment to get over the shock of Scorpius inquiring as to the aesthetic appeal of another male. “Why d’you ask?”
“Oh – er – I heard Melanie going on about him earlier,” Scorpius invented wildly. Melanie Flint raving about one guy or another was, after all, hardly a rare occurrence. “And I just really couldn’t see it.”
“My God, are you blind?” Bella said incredulously. “Jake Matthews is completely gorgeous, really clever, and super sweet too. He’s, like, the absolute perfect guy.”
“I repeat: someone fancies Matthews,” Bletchley said again, causing Bella to elbow him in the ribs.
“I do not,” she said, “but Grace, back me up here, he is good looking, isn’t he?”
“Yeah,” said Grace vaguely. “He’s not bad.”
The last thing Scorpius had wanted to start was an analysis of just how perfect Jake-freaking-Matthews was, but that was unfortunately the result, with Bella practically raving about him, and even Grace commenting on his faultless record and prefect status. Mercifully, Bletchley had the sense to ask Scorpius what he thought of the Appleby Arrows performance in their recent match against the Kenmare Kestrels, and an enthusiastic Quidditch discussion then ensued.
The Quidditch conversation, however, didn’t last nearly as long as Scorpius would have liked. The moment they arrived at the Room of Requirement, Grace and Bletchley both vanished quicker than a ferret in a crowd of hippogriffs, leaving Scorpius alone with Bella and a never ending supply of inane conversation. By this point, in normal circumstances, all that would really be keeping Scorpius going was the large amount of Firewhisky the Potters had somehow managed to smuggle in. They were famous for it, in fact – to this day, no one outside the Potter/Weasley clan was quite sure how they managed to get so much alcohol into school, particularly without being caught by a teacher, prefect, or overzealous ghost.
On this occasion, however, the ninety or so students crammed into the Room of Requirement were all being forced to remain sober, for the time being, at least. Upon their arrival, Louis Weasley, the Head Boy, had pompously informed them that his cousins Fred and Molly (who had been sent on a booze-finding mission some hours previously) had, for reason or reasons unknown, not yet returned, and so, for the time being, at least, there was nothing to drink. This had, understandably, resulted in more than a little mutiny from the assembled masses, but Louis’s threats of group detention and large-scale point deduction had instantly quashed all complaints.
Unfortunately for Scorpius, however, the lack of alcohol only seemed to be fuelling Bella’s ability to irritate. She was generally a little mellower after a couple of drinks, which he had rather been counting on, but unless Fred and Molly came back very soon, then he couldn’t see the situation improving in the slightest.
He had just helped himself to another glass of pumpkin juice – the only beverage currently on offer – when a slightly dishevelled looking blonde made her way over to him. “Hey,” she said, smiling.
“Hey…” he replied somewhat hesitantly. Was this Grace? He had a feeling it was, but then if he addressed her as such and then turned out to be wrong, he’d look like a total idiot.
The blonde rolled her eyes. “For heaven’s sake, Scorpius, it’s me, Grace. You have an appalling memory, you know that?”
“Whatever,” he grunted, taking a swig from his goblet. He did attempt to memorise her appearance, however. He eventually decided to remember her by the delicate image of a swallow on her upper arm, thinking as he did so how the current fashion for Muggle-style tattoos never ceased to amaze him.
“Anyway,” Grace continued, “where’s Bella? I thought she was with you.”
“Oh, I managed to lose – I mean, she went to the bathroom.” He looked at her accusingly. “Have you ditched Bletchley?”
“No…” She looked a little confused. “I wasn’t with him.”
Well, this was certainly a surprise. He’d assumed they were off somewhere together and had even thought that maybe something might finally be happening between them. Evidently, however, Bletchley had not worked up his courage and confessed to his feelings. Oh well, Scorpius was hardly one to talk.
“Oh,” he said rather lamely. “Where’ve you been, then?”
To his surprise and slight suspicion, Grace declined to answer his question and said instead, “Martin’s off with a bunch of Ravenclaw girls. Having rather a lot of fun, actually, the last time I saw him.”
“I can’t remember what he looks like,” Scorpius admitted. “Where is he?”
“He’s the tall, dark one over by the fire, talking to Ashley Farrow.”
“Farrow?” Scorpius whistled, observing the tall, leggy blonde in question. “Go Bletchley.”
“Scorpius!” came an unmistakable trill.
Oh God. She was back. He turned around and saw, as he had known, the currently redheaded Bella bounding towards them.
“The name’s Max, remember?” he said pointedly. Indeed, he was disguised as Max Towers, a seventh year Hufflepuff. He tried not to think about this too much, however, as thinking about seventh year Hufflepuffs led to thinking about Matthews, which led to Matthews-and-Rose, which was something Scorpius was now determinedly disregarding all knowledge of.
“Well, whatever,” Bella said dismissively. “And by the way, you guys were right, actually. This party’s total crap.”
“Wishing you hadn’t come?” asked Grace sceptically; she and Scorpius both knew that Bella was probably just grumbling for the sake of it.
“No, not really.” Bella grabbed a goblet from a nearby table. “At least I can have some fun complaining about it.”
“Oh joy,” Scorpius said sarcastically, and Grace grinned.
“But seriously, no Firewhisky? What’s with that?” Bella said, apparently having chosen to ignore his previous comment. “Pumpkin juice is all very well and good, for breakfast.” She glared accusingly into her goblet, screwing her nose up in a disapproving sort of manner.
“I think it’s a good thing, to be honest,” said Grace somewhat prudishly. “It’s a Monday tomorrow, you know, so we actually have to go to lessons.”
“My God, Grace, lighten up. You’re worse than Dad.”
“Well, the next time you stumble in at three in the morning and throw up on my bed, I’ll tell him and write to Mum.”
“You wouldn’t dare!”
“I would, believe me.”
Throughout this bickering, Scorpius watched the Zabinis with mild interest, contemplating the strange phenomenon that was siblings. He’d often wondered what it would be like to have a brother or sister, but seeing how Bella and Grace treated each other, he had generally concluded that he’d probably got the better end of the deal.
Grace was clearly tiring of the entire situation. “I’m going off to find Martin,” she said. “See you guys later.”
“Martin now, is it?” Bella said to Scorpius, once Grace was out of earshot, clearly regarding the use of his first name to be of the greatest significance.
He shrugged. “Apparently so.”
“They would be so cute together,” Bella mused. “If only she’d give him a chance.”
“Well, she’s your sister; why don’t you talk to her?” Scorpius suggested, trying to spot Rose in the crowd. After all, her cousin had thrown the party, so surely she must be here? So far, however, he hadn’t seen her anywhere. He didn’t know quite why he was looking for her – it wasn’t as though he would dare talk to her or anything if he saw her – but even so, he’d like to know where she was.
Oh, what did it matter? She was probably too busy with her tongue down Matthews’ throat to be bothered with anything else…
Around two hours later, however, Scorpius was rather wishing that he had remained ignorant of Rose’s whereabouts. It was approaching midnight, and he and Bella had somehow managed to end up in conversation with none other than the golden couple themselves, Rose and Jake. Apparently, Jake was good friends with Max Towers, something Scorpius rather felt he should have foreseen. But Divination had never been his forte, and so there he was, struggling not to throttle the Hufflepuff as he droned on and on about Merlin-knew-what, all the while with his arm around Rose’s shoulders.
“Oh, Max, I meant to tell you,” Jake was saying, “Quidditch is cancelled tomorrow night. Rescheduled for Wednesday.”
Scorpius nodded vaguely. “Oh – er – okay. I’ll be there,” he added, when it became clear he was expected to say more than that.
“Good man.” Jake took a long draught of pumpkin juice. “Hufflepuff for the cup this year, eh?”
“Oh, yeah, totally,” Scorpius agreed, endeavouring not to choke on words of such treachery. Professor Zabini would certainly not be impressed at this lack of Slytherin pride.
Rose, who was clearly not lacking in house loyalty, said, “Not a chance – Gryffindor all the way! Isn’t that right, Tash?”
All three looked expectantly at Bella. When it became apparent that she had forgotten yet again the name of the girl she was impersonating, Scorpius attempted (without success) to be surreptitious in elbowing her in the ribs.
“What? Oh – right – yeah. Go Gryffindor!” she said lamely.
Scorpius rolled his eyes. Honestly, she was even worse at acting than he was, which, as he had proved tonight, was a serious achievement. He was surprised neither Rose nor Jake had picked them up on it yet, actually. For two very clever people, they could be remarkably dense at times.
But not only were they dense, they were boring on top of it. Well, Jake certainly was, and whatever he had seemed to be contagious, because Scorpius knew that Rose wasn’t usually this dull. Even Bella seemed to have been infected by it, though it was hard to say whether or not this was an improvement to her character. This was certainly saying something, however, as while she could be called many things, boring was certainly not one of them. At the rate things were going, the next thing they knew she’d be joining the Gobstones club and signing up for extra Charms.
Jake, who just happened to be head of the Gobstones team and the organiser of remedial Charms lessons, was still droning on about the many delights of Hufflepuff when Scorpius tuned back in. Honestly, what did Rose see in this guy? He was good-looking, yes (even Scorpius had noticed that), he was ridiculously clever (having achieved no less than twelve O.W.L.s) and he clearly liked Rose, but didn’t the sheer monotony of his company overrule all that? Apparently not. Apparently Rose was into the solid, sensible type, in which case, he, Scorpius, didn’t really stand a chance.
Now struggling to stay awake, he glanced at Bella, whose eyes had glassed over. Turning his head the other way, he observed Rose who, in stark contrast to the other two, appeared positively riveted by every word Jake said, leading Scorpius to the conclusion that he had been right, and she must actually retain some affection for the Hufflepuff. How bloody annoying.
Then, very suddenly, things got even worse. Rose’s gaze left Jake’s face for the tiniest of instants and locked with his instead. Mortified to have been caught staring at her in such a manner, Scorpius ripped his gaze away at once, though he was unable to prevent his cheeks flushing with embarrassment. Stupid uncontrollable blood-rush.
To his great surprise, Rose, bizarrely, smiled at him. “I think I’ll go and find James,” she said to the group at large, cutting off Jake’s intricate dissection of the chess club’s mentality. “Get the latest on Fred and Molly, you know.” She shrugged off Jake’s arm and set down her drink, saying as she did so, “Max, if you’ve got a minute, I wouldn’t mind a word about that Divination homework.”
His reply of “Yes” was out of his mouth before Scorpius could stop himself. Bella looked murderous, flashing him a glare that said quite plainly: I am going to kill you. He couldn’t say he blamed her, supposing grudgingly that he should probably make it up to her later. All he could do for now was hope that she wouldn’t blow their cover, something she had come close to doing on more than one occasion. If he had learnt anything from this experience, it was to never, ever trust Bella with anything remotely resembling espionage.
Hoping that she wouldn’t be too hard on him for this act of betrayal, Scorpius too discarded his drink and set off after Rose, leaving Bella and Jake alone together.
“So, Tash, what do you think of the chess club’s chances this year?” he heard Jake say as they pushed their way through the crowd. Knowing as he did that Bella had never played chess in her life, Scorpius could only imagine what her reaction to such a remark would be under normal circumstances. He stifled a snort of laughter, which, understandably, caused Rose to look at him questioningly.
“What?” she asked.
“Oh – er – nothing,” he said lamely. Merlin, he really needed to work on his cover-story skills.
She smiled almost sardonically. “You’re not Max, are you,” she said. It was not a question, merely a statement of fact, yet there was nothing accusatory in her tone.
“W-what?” he stammered, succeeding in appearing suitably bemused by this allegation.
“Oh, come off it,” she said. “No offence, but it’s pretty obvious.”
“Fine,” he surrendered, his boredom and tiredness overruling his general instinct for self-preservation. “And yes, yes, I’ll get out. Just don’t tell Potter I was here, will you?”
She grinned. “’Course I won’t. And there’s no reason for you to go.”
“Really?” He couldn’t help but be surprised by this.
“Yeah, I’d rather you stayed, if it’s all the same to you. And besides, I haven’t seen James around in a while.” She scanned the crowd. “Seriously, where the hell is he?”
Scorpius looked around half-heartedly for a moment, before asking, “So, having worked out I’m not Max Towers, do you actually know who I am?”
Abandoning the search for her cousin, she turned to face him again. “Well, you’re either a fourth-year or a Slytherin,” she said. “That’s obvious.”
“Um, really? Why?”
“Because fourth years and below are banned, but the really tiny ones wouldn’t dare crash a party, and then the Slytherins weren’t invited either, so...”
“Fair point. All right then, which one am I?”
“Slytherin,” she said without hesitation.
“Right…” She scrutinized him. “I’m guessing… Pucey?”
Oh Merlin. That was, frankly, rather offensive. “No,” he said firmly.
“Bletchley?” she tried.
“Nope. But he is here.”
“Oh. Better keep a look out for him too, then. Anyway, that makes you…”
“Oh, come on, Weasley. There aren’t that many of us.”
She grinned. “Malfoy,” she said decisively. “No one calls me ‘Weasley’ quite like you do.”
“Oh. Um, thanks, I guess. And yeah, it is me.”
“Knew I’d get there in the end.”
“I always had faith in you.”
“I appreciate it.”
She grinned again. “You still up for coming to find James, then? You can go back if you like, but I won’t tell, I promise.”
Unable to believe that he was putting his trust in a Weasley (even if it was Rose), Scorpius agreed nevertheless, and the two of them continued through the crowd in search of the obnoxious, raven-haired host. As they did so, Rose amiably made conversation.
“Sorry about – you know – not inviting you guys,” she said. “It was originally going to be a Gryffindors-only thing in our common room, but then some idiot decided that James should get a say in it.”
“Ah.” Scorpius nodded wisely. “Well, it’s fair enough, seeing as you actually won the match and we’re all pissed off about losing.”
“Yeah, I guess. I thought you played really well, by the way.”
“But your Seeker was crap.”
“Yeah, I know. Bella will be back for the next match, though.”
Rose nodded. “Is Zabini here?”
“She was disguised as Tasha Richards, right?”
“Yeah. In hindsight, it might’ve been a good idea to give her a name-tag.”
She chuckled. “Yeah, she did keep forgetting.”
“Were we really that obvious?” he asked.
“She was. As for you… not so much.”
Well, this was some comfort, at any rate. It was gratifying (and hugely reassuring) to know that, pitiful as his performance might have been, it had not been worse than Bella’s. Scorpius almost asked whether or not Jake had realised just who had had been speaking with, but no sooner had the notion formed in his mind, he dismissed it. Here he was, alone (for all intents and purposes) with Rose, and he was actually considering bringing her boyfriend into the conversation? What was wrong with him?!
“Who else is here, then?” Rose asked, interrupting his train of thought. “You, Bletchley, Zabini…”
They continued to make their way through the room which, in typical Potter fashion, seemed to be far larger than Scorpius could recall it ever being. He was just wondering why everything in this castle seemed to bow down before James bloody Potter, when Rose unexpectedly grabbed his arm.
“What?” he asked somewhat stupidly.
“Let’s get back to Jake and Zabini,” she said urgently.
“Um, all right,” he said, rather taken aback by the abruptness of her request, and more than a little apprehensive. “Why –?”
He broke off, however, as a highly suspicious scuffling from somewhere behind him reached his ears. Oh dear Merlin. What now?
Rose’s grip on his arm was a clear sign that she desperately wanted him to leave, that nothing at this moment was more important than him not turning around and seeing just what was going on over his shoulder. This, of course, meant that there was only one thing Scorpius could do. He turned around.
As was the way with these things, the instant he turned, he wished more than anything that he had not. The sight that greeted him was shocking, horrifying, and, frankly, disgusting all at once.
“You weren’t meant to see that,” Rose almost whispered.
That, Scorpius could easily believe. James Potter intricately wrapped up with a scantily dressed blonde was something he would have been able to die happily without ever seeing. And yet, he couldn’t take his eyes off the pair of them. There he was, gawping at them like a complete pervert, while Rose continued in vain to try and drag him away.
“Malfoy, come on, please,” she hissed.
It was the girl. He knew the girl. Oh Merlin, no, it wasn’t, it couldn’t be…
“I can explain, I promise, let’s just go,” Rose pleaded.
As the blonde shifted her position slightly, wrapping her arms a little more tightly around James’s neck, Scorpius caught sight of… a swallow tattoo on the girl’s upper arm. The swallow tattoo. Oh God. This just couldn’t be happening.
He turned to Rose. “Grace,” he said, his tone something akin to panic. “Grace. And Potter. James Potter.”
“We have to go,” Rose insisted. “They’ll kill me.”
“It is her, isn’t it?”
“Yes, but –”
“And you knew about this?!”
“Well – yeah – maybe – but please just come?”
Just as Scorpius was on the verge of giving in, deciding to thoroughly interrogate her about the matter once they were a fair distance away, but it was not to be. As fate would have it, the currently blonde Grace chose that moment to break away from James.
“Scorpius!” she exclaimed.
Fate, apparently, was a total bitch.
“Grace,” he growled back.
“Scorpius?” James repeated, and then snarled, “Malfoy!” as comprehension dawned on him.
Uh oh. “Well done,” Scorpius said scathingly, trying to appear braver than he felt. The problem was, Potter was considerably bigger than he was, and apparently had a few drinks in him too, though where it had come from Scorpius could not say.
For some reason, Rose was still pulling on his arm, fruitlessly attempting to drag him away. He wasn’t quite sure why, as the damage was long since done. He was just trying to decide whether to scream, hyperventilate, or curse someone, when the door to the Room was flung open with a bang.
“Drink’s here!” Fred Weasley announced happily, as Molly closed the door behind them.
As the entire room instantly flooded in the direction of the door, Scorpius was swept up in the crowd. Deciding there was no point trying to fight it, he allowed himself to be carried away by the sea of enthusiastic students, and, when he reached the doorway, seized one of the bottles Molly was distributing. He was glad to see that there was an ample supply of the stuff, anyway.
Having secured a drink, Scorpius now fought the throng, battling his way back towards Grace and Potter, fully intending to find out what the hell was going on. As he turned away from the now jostling crowd, however, he saw Bella making her way towards him, wearing an expression of undeniable determination. Oh dear.
Whatever this was, it couldn’t possibly be good.
A/N: Okay, yeah, it doesn't make up for the wait at all, does it? I know it's not my best chapter, but I just wanted to get it out. I'll definitely be going over it again when I have some time, and all suggestions and CC are welcome. What did you think of the length, by the way? It's the longest chapter I've ever written, but was it too long?
I'd like to thank my beta, Megan (Tomfeltonisdeadsexy), so much for all her help! You're fabulous, hun. And to anyone reading this, you're fabulous too! Thanks so much for your continued reading, and for making it through this chapter as well. It really means a lot :)
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