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Chapter 2 : Of Demiguise Girl and Pumpkin Pie
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Also, quick little list of Ravenclaw's Quidditch Team to help you guys out so Lola doesn't need to make awkward introductions in the chapter:
Lola Cartwright -- Captain -- Keeper -- 7th Year
Briar Hawthorne -- Beater -- 7th Year
Noah Kobayashi -- Beater -- 6th Year
Adam Davies -- Chaser -- 7th Year
Hampton McDougal -- Chaser -- 6th Year
Callum Ashworth -- Chaser -- 5th Year
Georgia Simons -- Seeker -- 5th Year
Of Demiguise Girl and Pumpkin Pie
“No.. no.. no… no! Stop it, that tickles! Mmmumph…”
There are very few times in my life where I find myself in exceedingly awkward situations. This, unfortunately, happened to be one of them.
It was well past four o’clock in the morning when a congested-sounding giggle had erupted like Mount St. Helens from a bed near mine. Naturally, at that time I’d been snuggled up under my comforter dreaming of cauldron cakes, rugged men, and the Quidditch Cup, so such a mucus-filled distraction was not considered welcome.
Ugh.. Liz.. die, were my first astonishingly coherent thoughts.
Liz Ackerman is one of my four roommates. With a perpetually runny nose, mousy brown hair, and a comic book constantly attached to her side, she’s practically captain of Hogwarts’s Flamboyantly Dorky and Culturally Aware Teenagers Unite club. Normally, she’s great fun to be around, but, alas – in the cover of darkness she can annihilate my REM stage with no remorse.
“You naughty boy, you!”
Oh, boy. This was more entertaining than usual. Where was my wand? I could probably record this and sell it to tons of sexually frustrated teenage boys. I bet I’d make loads of galleons off of those suckers. Plus, it’d help me get my hands on the latest Affrettarsi, an Italian racing broom that I’ve been mooning over for months.
Damn it, too slow.
“Oi, Liz?” I heard Briar murmur sweetly.
“Mmmmgh?” Ah, eloquence. Gotta love it.
“Shut the hell up or, I swear to Merlin, I will chop off your head.”
Briar is not a morning person. In fact, she’s not an anything sort of person. She likes to say this means she has a low tolerance for people who purposefully agitate her, but she really just has a low tolerance for, well, everyone.
“If Wildebeest Man couldn’t take down Demiguise Girl, there’s no way you’d manage to decapitate me,” Liz mumbled back amidst a yawn.
Judging from the snort Briar made, she clearly didn’t agree. Or understand. It was a fair toss up. “Just shut up. I’m not in the mood for anything X-Rated right now.”
“Are you kidding me?!” Liz mumbled monotonously, but trust me, I could tell that if she was fully awake that question-mark-exclamation-point would totally be necessary. “I was dreaming about my dog, genius. Chill."
“Your dog? That’s even worse th–”
Sweet Rowena, it was way too early to be dealing with this sort of thing.
“All right guys, that’s enough,” I said in what was supposed to be my commanding Head Girl Voice™ (closely related to the Head Girl Grin™, just less charming and more obey-me-or-fear-my-wrath) but what actually sounded more like a dying cat due to, you know, my lack of sleep and whatnot, “Get back to sleep or I’ll be forced to take points from Ravenclaw.”
Like I’d ever do that, but whatever. I only got half-hearted grumblings in response, so the ensuing silence was well worth it.
And then, just I was settling back into my blessed comforter, I saw something that made my blood turn cold.
Time? 5:15 AM.
“Merlin’s bloody beard!” I yelped, rolling out of bed and cursing like a Falmouth Falcon.
Every morning I wake up at four thirty. Yeah. Four freakin’ thirty in the morning, when the stars are still twinkling cheerfully in the night sky. Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why I subject myself to such torture. The answer, unfortunately, requires you to understand that being both Head Girl and Quidditch Captain is NOT easy. Seriously, it’s not. I’m sure it’s even harder than defeating Voldemort. (Well, let’s be honest – that was so easy a baby could do it). Every second of my day is scheduled, from the time I allot myself to work on homework (four hours fifteen minutes) from the time I spend sitting in the loo (one minute thirteen seconds).
For exactly two hours every weekday at 4:45 AM I’m down on the Quidditch Pitch, doing everything I can to stay in peak physical condition for Quidditch. Running, plyometrics, practicing my intimidating growl – you name it, I do it. I’m usually joined down there by my best guy friend, Adam Davies, who plays chaser for the team.
As a matter of fact, he’s probably wondering where I am right about now. I can only imagine the trauma he’s going through; I’m never late. Ever. Maybe he thinks I’ve been stolen by Potter or some nefarious Hufflepuff, about to become some sort of ritual sacrifice for a cult.
Hey, don’t give me that sort of look. You never know with Hufflepuffs.
“Darghsparghsmanrd,” I cursed in Gobbledygook, bending over my trunk. I grabbed the pile of neatly folded clothes I’d already prepared the night before, yanking them on any which way.
“Shut up,” I heard Briar groan, and then I was out the door, broom in hand.
“You’re late,” Adam crowed, looping about in gleeful circles above my head.
Adam Davies and I are sort of like a dynamic duo, two people that are just meant to be best friends. Like.. peanut butter and jelly, or Bonnie and Clyde (sans romance). Whereas Potter and I had formed a mutual disdain for one another on the train ride to Hogwarts first year, Adam and I had hit it off immediately. Actually, most of the time people assume we’re dating, no matter how emphatically we try to set things straight. I mean, even my mum just thinks I’m refusing to tell her that I’m engaging in shameless, filthy fornication with Adam (blech). After a while, we just stopped bothering to set people straight, since it’s a lot easier than going around explaining that, (a) we’re not dating, (b) we will not end up marrying one another, and (c) no, I am not in denial.
Seriously, sometimes I wonder why I put up with my teenage years. I have yet to find the answer. Life sucks.
“I’m not late. You’re just early,” I explained with a grin, dropping my broom on the dewy grass. I stood on my toes, reaching my arms into the air in a luxurious, distinctly feline stretch.
“I think not,” he shot back with a matching grin, dismounting his broom and beginning to stretch beside me in the crisp October air. “Tsk, tsk, tsk; Lola Cartwright, late to something for the first time in her life. Never thought I'd live to see this day. Did someone try to kidnap you on your way down here, or something? The Hufflepuffs have looked awfully suspicious lately; I wouldn’t put it past them.”
See, it’s totally not just me who thinks of these things! Those kids are sketchy. I’m pretty sure the majority of them are going to be criminal masterminds when they graduate.
“Nah,” I shrugged, fighting back a yawn. “They dragged Norah Stebbins into their den of doom ages ago, so she should preoccupy them for a while. This time, it was just Liz talking in her sleep. Again.”
Which may or may not be worse than villainous Hufflepuffs. I haven’t decided yet.
“Ah, you poor thing,” Adam snickered, reaching out and ruffling my already disheveled hair. Then, with one look at my pitiful appearance, he doubled over in laughter.
Well, gee. I’m flattered.
“. . . Thanks, Adam. That does so much for my confidence.” Behold, yet another one of my friends who is wholly unconcerned about the state of my mental health. I clearly choose 'em well.
“Don’t get me wrong; you’re ravishing, Loles,” Adam beamed up at me from beneath the fringe of his floppy brown hair. See, coming from someone else, I might’ve taken that as a compliment. Seeing as Adam was still practically crying from laughing so hard, however, I figured it would be perfectly acceptable to whack him over the head with the next beater’s bat I came into contact with. “Those freckles ooze sex appeal.”
“I’m sure,” I said, rolling my eyes good-naturedly. Don't get me wrong: I know I’m pretty. I totally hate it when gorgeous girls pretend to be ignorant of their natural ability to ensnare any hapless blokes that come within a 3.34 meter radius of them. Seriously, it’s annoying. I want to sucker punch those Veela wannabees. (It should be noted that Dom, the actual part-Veela, is completely aware of how stunning she is and never complains about looking bad without makeup on or anything irritating like that).
Well, anyway, my point is that despite the fact that I am fully aware that as a whole I’m rather pretty, my freckles are simply not. They make my face look pockmarked at worst and dirty at best, and there is nothing I can do about it; I can’t even charm them off or make them invisible, because then everyone would know that I don’t like my freckles, and I’d probably be tormented about them all the time by a certain James Potter the Second.
See, this is why Hogwarts sucks. Short of moving to another country, I CANNOT ESCAPE.
“It’s true,” he continued, nodding sagely. “More than anything else, it’s those freckles. They’re maddening.”
I rolled my eyes again. “Spending too much time pining for Potter’s freckles, Adam?”
He laughed, scratching the back of his head. “Not exactly.”
Well, that was suspicious.
“I’ll race you to the goal posts!” He added, and zoomed off.
Even more suspicious.
Unfortunately for him, Adam's literally got no subtle bone in his body. Seriously. Whenever the situation arises where one might need to tell a little white lie or two ("Why, yes indeed, Professor, Potter did it."), you better not depend on the chaser; cunning he is not. Of course, I had to learn that the hard way, but that's another story for another day -- let's just say it involves blatant nudging and obscene giggling whenever the guy I used to lust after would enter the room.
Yeah, I know. Never again will I make the mistake of letting Adam in on that aspect of my life, unless I suddenly have an insane desire to subject myself to copious amounts of mortification.
Regardless, I’ve never been the type of girl to turn down a good challenge. Silently commanding my broom into my hand (okay, so I can be a bit of a show off when it comes to Quidditch – don’t smite me), I jumped on and streaked after Adam the Evasive, letting whatever had just happened slide -- at least for now.
We practiced together for the next hour, cooperating effortlessly. Just as I was about to ask Adam if he wanted to throw a couple of Quaffles at me, though, he glanced down at his watch and frowned. "I forgot you got here late today, Loles. It's already 6:17."
"Great," I groaned, having just freed myself from my headache. Once my muscles stopped burning from exertion, I was sure the throbbing in my temples would come back quickly enough. "I don't even have time to stretch. Brilliant."
He glanced over at me. "Come on," he said, picking up my broom as well as his own, despite the fact that I'm perfectly capable of carrying it myself. That's Adam for you, though, always the gentleman, even to a fault. "If you hurry up and shower quickly, I'll promise to wait for you and we can go down to the Great Hall together. I'll even refrain from stealing your precious biscuits for once."
"Your sacrifice is duly noted," I mumbled, smiling wearily over at the lanky seventeen-year-old. Even if the rest of my world came crashing down around me, at least I could always count on him.
Aww, sentimentality. Good thing I finally know I'm capable of it, too. Maybe I'm not such a defective human being after all.
The day was passing by at an alarmingly quick pace. Breakfast, classes, lunch, classes... I could hardly keep up with it all. Seriously, someone must have been tampering with time; there's no way my day would go by that fast normally. But I guess it's like they always say -- time flies when your impending doom is just around the corner. Or, in my case, starting at 7 o'clock sharp in the Dungeons.
When it came to head down to practice after class, I was already feeling jumpier than usual. I think my team noticed something was a little off with me, too, which only proceeded to irk me further. I hate letting other people know what I think or feel. After all, anything you tell someone else can just be used against you later.
"Lola, it burns! Oh, the agony! You're killing us, Lola!" Noah Kobayashi howled.
Oh, err, oops. In my brooding inner monologue (I'm aiming for one per chapter, can't you tell?) I guess I forgot to let my teammates know they could stop doing Mountain Climbers. It's my mum's fault I'm such an emotionally challenged adolescent in need of such a monologue though, sheesh.
"Bloody hell, guys, sorry! You can stop now," I grinned sheepishly, watching all six members of my team collapse onto the ground in pure exhaustion.
"I -- hate -- you -- Lola," Briar wheezed, her limbs sprawled awkwardly on the ground.
"What was that?" I replied cheekily, bending down and hauling her up into a sitting position. "No, seriously, guys, I'm sorry. I got a bit carried away."
Noah groaned. "A bit?"
"Something on your mind?" Georgia Simons asked, her chocolate brown eyes overwhelmingly kind. I forced a smile down at the ever-observant fifth year, shaking my head.
"Not really," I lied smoothly, and turned to face the rest of my team. Now, when they were practically weeping on the ground from overexertion, was the time for an inspiring pep talk. This was good. This I could handle. Not talk about feelings, Merlin help me. "Look... I know I'm being a complete hardarse on you guys, and I hate doing it. But this is my last year here -- and Briar's, and Adam's if he doesn't fail his NEWTs --" They chuckled. "And I really want to make this a special season, you know? I mean, you guys know that I'm probably one of the most ridiculously competitive people in the entire school, but I want more than just winning. I want to stomp over each team with everything we've got." I paused. "Especially Gryffindor. And even if we don't win," which we will, "I want us to at least put up a hell of a fight. It's what you all deserve."
Woah. I had to wrap it up, or else I was bound to start getting all emotional and calling them my family soon, or something. Ugh. So much for not talking about feelings. Lack of sleep really addles with my brain.
"So, yeah. Let's just kick arse this season," I finished lamely, tugging awkwardly on a piece of hair that had fallen out of my ponytail.
There was a pause. For a moment I was overwhelmed with panic that they'd think I was a horrible captain, so I added hurriedly, "Err, you can all hit the showers." But then I saw brilliant grins stretch across each and every one of their exhausted faces. Phew. I think that was a good sign.
"Hear, hear!" Noah whooped, dramatically fist-bumping Hampton McDougal, his fellow sixth year.
"That was a lovely speech," Georgia smiled sweetly, eyes aglow. I think Callum liked it, too, but he was too busy mooning over Georgia with his own eyes aglow. Yeah, that kid was way too obviously enamored. I hope he never has to realize that there's nothing more to love than lustful infatuation.
For once oblivious to my sardonic half-smile, Adam grinned over at me and gave me one of those obnoxiously tight bear hugs of his, twirling me around in the air. After he dropped me back to the ground, he proceeded to ruffle my hair. "That was uncharacteristically sweet of you, Loles," he said, clearly amused. "I'm proud of you."
Briar snorted. "I guess you had to gain a heart sometime or another."
I shuffled awkwardly. Now, let it be said that I'm not the shuffle-awkwardly type of person. I'm much more of a hands-on-the-hips sort of person, as I'm sure I've mentioned. But, seriously, I'm not kidding: when people start mentioning feelings I want to high-tail it outta there, wherever there may be.
"Right," I said in an attempt at nonchalance, glancing at my watch. 6:35. Practice usually ended around 6:45, but if I wanted to make it up to the Dungeons by seven... "Well, I'm going to hit the showers. You guys can finish up stretching if need be."
"Oh, that's right," Briar said, a smirk sliding wickedly across her narrow face, "You and Potter've got a date tonight."
Adam looked at me incredulously. "What?!"
Thank you, Briar. Much appreciated.
"Not a date," I spat, glaring viciously at my former best friend before glancing around to see if any of my other teammates were listening. They weren't. "I thought I told you..." Lies. "Gwen told me I had to tutor Potter in Potions until he brings his grade up. I've got to meet him in the dungeons at seven tonight or she'll have a hippogriff."
"Tutor him, eh?" He sounded skeptical.
"I know," I agreed darkly. "I don't really get what he's playing at, either. But I'll be careful, I promise." I beamed up at him now, standing on the tips of my toes to ruffle his hair for once.
Adam mumbled something under his breath, but it sounded sort of like, "Bats shot butt crime hurried drought," so I think I heard him incorrectly.
"What'd you say?" I asked, just in case.
He shook his head, and the grin was back in place. "Don't worry about it and go shower. I hate to break it to you, Loles, but you smell like a rotting kneazle."
I sniffed. Huh. True story.
There it was. I could see the door right in front of me, mocking me in all its oaken glory. "You are pathetic," it seemed to say. "You can deal with the conniving, materialistic Romilda Vane every day of your life, but you can't deal with an annoying seventeen-year-old boy for two hours?! You don't deserve to be Head Girl! You don't deserve to be Quidditch Captain! You don't deserve your f--"
I opened the door and stepped into the classroom.
"Would you look at that; you're right on time, Cartwright. Not a second too early or a second too late. How do you do that? I mean, that sort of timing takes talent," James Potter drawled from somewhere in the room. So, I guess he was back to normal after yesterday's odd personality fluke; after all, I could hear rather than see his smirk. What a shame. I was going to miss the Potter that was actually somewhat cordial.
Although relatively dark compared to the rest of the castle, the Potions classroom is actually pretty bright compared to the rest of the dungeons. I remember Gwen having told me she hated working in such a depressing, damp room all the time, and had done her best to give it a more homey feel once she'd settled in. That being the case, it didn't take me very long to spot the object of my irritation. He was, indeed, smirking (who would have guessed?), leaning back on the hind two legs of his stool. On the table beside him was a lumpy bag of something I couldn't see from the doorway, but for some reason I highly doubted he'd actually brought his textbook or potions kit. Dungbombs seemed the likelier case.
Taking a deep breath to calm myself, I started towards him.
"What's in the bag?" I asked him, pleased at how even my tone was. No one could see through my flawless act! I was the master of diplomacy. Man, I should totally go into politics.
He just looked at me. "Maybe if you ask me with less of a pained, dear-Merlin-please-save-me-I-don't-want-to-breathe-the-same-air-as-POTTER expression on your face, I might tell you."
You're kidding me, right? HOW DOES HE DO THAT?! Is he a Legilimens?!
I raised an eyebrow and forced myself to chuckle. "Don't be so dramatic. I'm just thinking about the History of Magic essay I have to write tonight." Lies, lies, and more lies. Sometimes I feel like all I do is lie.
"Right," he said, rolling his eyes.
See, this is why I don't like talking to Potter. He's unnervingly perceptive -- it's like every single barrier I put up, every lie that comes flawlessly out of my mouth... they all get ripped apart when he's around.
"I hope that's not anything I'm going to have to confiscate," I swiftly changed the subject again, motioning to the bag. I then plopped down into the stool two away from his, just so I wouldn't be too close. You know, he's got cooties and all that jazz.
"I don't have cooties, Cartwright," he said, grinning over at me and running a hand through his perpetually messy hair.
DAMN MERLIN TO HELL, HE IS A LEGILIMENS!
I blinked once, twice. Then I shoved all of my emotions down into the corner of my mind and said calmly, "I just got back from practice. I smell horrible. I was trying to be nice."
The bottom of his stool clanked loudly against the stone floor as the Gryffindor stood up and slid over into the stool next to mine.
And then he sniffed me.
Yeah, you read that right. He got all up in my personal space and took a big, long whiff. If you're thinking something along the lines of, "Um.. what the hell?" Then welcome to the club.
"Actually," he said, beaming up at me with eyes practically brimming with amusement, "You smell like... vanilla? It's quite intoxicating, really."
He was so doing this on purpose. He knows that flirtatious comments make me uncomfortable. I mean, does he seriously like seeing me lose my temper? I only ever find myself doing it around him -- but then again, he's the only person I know audacious enough to actually test my limits.
"Remind me to change my shampoo," I grumbled against my will. He always did this. Always. It's like it's impossible for me to be civil around him.
"Aww, be pleasant, Cartwright! I'm just trying to be friendly." He put his tan, calloused hands up in mock-surrender.
"Pleasant my arse," I grumbled yet again, shifting to sit on my hands. No, I will not take out my wand. No, I will not use violence as the answer. Be a good, respectable Head Girl, Lola, don't give in to the temptati--
My stomach chose that moment to rumble obnoxiously, and I looked down at it in horror. Well, that was embarrassing. I hadn't had time to grab anything to eat on my way here if I didn't want to be late, and it was around this moment that I was beginning to severely regret that fact.
Potter looked up at me and suddenly gave me one of those smiles. You know the type. The legitimate smile, the crinkly brown-eyed smile. The makes-girls-swoon smile. Yeah. That one. Though don'task me how having my stomach whine entitles me to such a sight, but for whatever reason, it did.
"I figured you wouldn't have gotten anything to eat," he said, nodding knowingly. "You always have to be on time for things even if it kills you."
I didn't appreciate the tone of his voice; it almost sounded like a parent reprimanding a child. Seriously, out of the two of us here, who was the child? Definitely not me. "What's wrong with being on time?" I said, defensive.
"Nothing," he countered lightly, dark eyes watching me carefully, and I was suddenly extremely aware that he'd gotten here at least five minutes before me. "Except when it harms you physically."
I scoffed, losing all pretenses of cordiality. He was seriously being so dramatic. I mean, who doesn't skip a meal every now and then when they have to? Everyone does. And who was he to act so concerned about the state of my health, anyway? My friends barely did. "I hardly think skipping one meal is really going to harm me physically, Potter. You should be glad I put in the effort to come to the tutoring sessions on time -- to benefit you, might I add, not me."
He smiled, but it wasn't the typical mirth-filled smile I was used to seeing on his face. Maybe he actually was a little out of sorts today, like yesterday. "Well, I don't want to take that chance. It wouldn't be fun for my team to beat Ravenclaw if their captain is so thin she's getting blown away by the wind in the middle of the game."
Oh. Well, that explains it.
"Well," I said, relaxing, "There's nothing we can do about it now. So tell me what potion you're having the most di--"
"Actually," he interrupted smoothly, seemingly relaxing as well if the mischievous grin he sent me had anything to do with it, "There is something we can do about it."
I rolled my eyes. "Potter, you're not getting out of these tutoring sessions by hoodwinking me into going to the kitchens with you, if that's what you're thinking."
"Do you honestly think I'm birdbrained enough to think I could convince you to break out of here?" He said, and I was startled to hear that he was actually laughing. It wasn't the mocking sort of laugh I was used to hearing from him, the type of laugh where I know he's laughing at me... it was just a laugh. In fact, it could have been anyone else's laugh, and I wouldn't have known any better. It was sort of deep, the kind of laugh where you can tell the person finds something genuinely amusing, the sort of laugh that sort of dances through the air and makes you want to laugh, too. It was just a laugh.
But that didn't explain why I was so...
"Here," he said, chuckling now, taking the lumpy package he'd had on the table and pushing it in front of me.
Curiously, I peeked inside.
Lots of food.
Food, I could tell, now that my nose was right on top of it, smelled delicious. Food from dinner. Coincidentally, it also happened to be most of my favorite types of food: lots of crackers and biscuits and roast chicken and was that pumpkin pie?!
Err... what the hell was going on here? I felt like this was some sort of significant moment, where I was supposed to say something important. I looked up at Potter, eyes wide, and he was watching me with an indecipherable sort of smile on his face.
"Err," was what ended up being the something important that came out of my mouth.
"You can dig in. There's plates and forks and napkins at the bottom, if stuffing your face with your fingers doesn't really appeal to you." He was still watching me.
I couldn't think. This was.. way too much. I mean, I knew Potter was acting all wonky lately, but this?
"Wh... What about you?" I found myself asking, stumbling over my words for the first time since I was a little kid. Damn it, Lola, get a hold of yourself!
"I already ate," He shrugged offhandedly, propping his head up on his hand, which in turn was propped up on the desk in front of him.
"Did you..." Get it just for me? Why? I wanted to say, but then my throat closed. No, that would not do. "Poison it?"
This time it was his turn to roll his eyes. "No, Cartwright, I didn't poison it."
"By eating it will I be physically harmed in any way?" You never know with Potter. He was a master of the loopholes.
"No, Cartwright." And he smiled again.
"No, Cartwright." The smile got bigger.
Slowly, again struck with the feeling that this was an important moment and that I should be, like, documenting it or something, I took the plate out of the bag and began to eat.
Bloody hell, and I'd promised Adam I was going to be careful.
A/N: So, this chapter took a long time to release. A long, loooong time. I'm sorry I suck so much, but I'm really busy with schoolwork. I could whine some more about how much I hate having to work so hard, I'm sure you've heard it all before. XD I really will try to update quickly, though I can't make any promises. I'm also sorry; this chapter was supposed to be a lot longer, finishing after the first tutoring session. But it's taking me so long to write, I figured I should just update it as is and get the rest of it pumped out afterwards. Hope you guys don't mind too much. XD
Also, Halloween's coming up! Anyone else as excited as I am? I went to a costume party last night (my friends like to get started early, haha -- ((As I'm writing this it's Friday the 23rd))) and it was super, super fun. I'm just wondering, do you guys prefer to make your own unique costumes, or do you typically buy the outlandishly overpriced ones in stores? This year I actually bought one: Robin Hood, amazing feathered hat and all. :3 What're you guys going as, or are you not doing anything at all?
This note is way longer than necessary, haha. Oh well. Please review! They make me super, super happy. :D I'm going to try and answer all of the reviews you guys posted for the first chapter tomorrow, if I can. <333
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