A/N: Sorry this took a while, guys. I've been horribly distracted by the Olympics, and the absolute man candy that is Shaun White. This chapter is dedicated to flying_rabbit, for helping me come up with a title. Happy reading! (Just so we're clear, I want to make sure we all know how 'Bryn' is pronounced. It rhymes with 'tin' and 'pin' and 'fin' and 'grin.')
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my odd plot and odder characters. I'm pretty sure no one else wants them anyway.
By Monday, word of the Gryffindor Halloween party had spread throughout the entirety of the school.
“I’m bloody mad about it! I really don’t want any annoying fourth years coming to my party,” James announced angrily at breakfast that morning.
I looked up from my waffle. "James, it's not that big of a deal. We used to try to crash parties all the time when we were fourth years, and we always got kicked out. If any younger kids try to come, we'll just tell them that a party is not an appropriate place to be, and that some of the things they will witness will be traumatising."
He laughed. "You always have a way of cheering me up, Bryn. I suppose you're right."
"Of course she's right," piped up Dominique. "She's the only rational one here."
C.C. leaned towards me and whispered, "Albus is rational."
I kicked her under the table. She hit me on the arm. I stuck my tongue out at her, and continued to eat my waffle.
After a few happy minutes of warm food, I saw Leo Davies approach our table out of my peripheral vision.
I leaned over to C.C. "Guess who's behind you," I whispered.
"Who?" she asked, looking around. She spotted Leo and beamed at him. She beamed? Really? Since when was she that happy to see Leo?
The two of them left the table, and headed out of the Great Hall.
"What was that about?" asked Fred, raising an eyebrow.
"No idea," I answered vaguely.
Rose and Dominique gave each other a look. Then Dominique gave me a look, inconspicuously cocked her head over to James, and then nodded her head at me.
I took this to mean she wanted me to talk to James.
I nodded as if I knew why I needed to.
I stood up, abandoning my waffle. "I'm going to head out for a walk around the lake before classes start. Would anyone like to join me? James?" I asked, before Fred could pipe in and go with me.
James looked up at me, and I gave him a look that I desperately hope he took to mean: you come with me outside right now and don't question it.
To my great relief, he stood up, and the two of us walked out of the Great Hall.
“Why’d you bring me out here?” he asked, as we were walking outside.
“Because I’ve been meaning to talk to you since Saturday, and haven’t had the chance. I don’t think we’ll have enough time for everything I want to talk about, but I guess I’m going to have to make due. First off, why did you not tell me your cousin was going to ask me to your Halloween party? Secondly, why did he imply that you were going to ask C.C., and thirdly, why did he imply that I would be going with Al-”
James cut me off. “Calm down, Bryn. First, I never told Fred I was for sure asking C.C., though I may have hinted at it, and he thought he ought to ask you, just so he’d have ‘some nice arm candy’ -his creepy American muggle words, not mine-and I told him the idea of a date to his own casual party was a bit silly but he didn’t listen. Secondly, I didn’t tell you about it because I knew it wouldn’t do any good. You would probably either spaz out, or you’d avoid him as much as you possibly could. I also just wanted to see you squirm.”
I hit him.
“And finally, I don’t know why he’d be implying that you would be going with my brother. He was probably just being a sore loser, and he knows that the two of you are Potions partners. Not sure how he knows, but he does.”
I pondered this. It seemed acceptable.
“So why’d you tell Fred and not me that you were thinking of asking C.C.?”
“Because I know you, and I knew you’d make a big deal of it, and you’d pressure me into doing it. And I was almost positive she was going to ask Davies if he wanted to come, and I didn’t want to feel like an idiot saying ‘Hey C.C., would you like to go to my party wi- oh, never mind, there you are over there, snogging Davies in a corner.”
I laughed on the inside. I didn’t want James to feel insulted.
“You still could have told me, and silencio’d me or something so I couldn’t bother you about it.”
“I just didn’t want to make a bigger deal of it than it was. Because it wasn’t.”
“Why were you so freaked out about Fred suggesting you were going with Al?” James asked.
I faltered a bit.
“Erm, I dunno. It was just a weird implication and it didn’t make sense because it’s not as if we like each other, we’re just Potions partners, and I barely ever talk to him, even though we do talk after Quidditch practice, and we talk all the time in class so that argument isn’t legitimate, and it’s not as if he was the only one to notice my hair cut, because he wasn’t and-” I slapped a hand over my mouth, and could feel myself turning red.
James’s eyes widened, and a big, happy, overly indulgent grin spread over his face.
“You fancy my brother! You like Albus! OH MERLIN! This is excellent!”
I slapped a hand over his mouth, and gave him a look that I hoped was intimidating.
“I do not, I repeat not, fancy your brother. I don’t fancy anyone. We’re just friends. Kind of. More like acquaintances.”
James bit his lip to, I presume, keep from laughing. He ultimately failed, and just began laughing again. I rolled my eyes, and spared a glance at my watch.
“Charms starts in 10 minutes, so I have to go. You have fun with your free period or Potions or whatever it is you have first on Mondays. I don’t fancy your brother, so please keep your happiness to yourself. Bye,” I said, and walked away.
“Bryn! Don’t be ridiculous. You can tell me if you fancy Albus, but you can certainly keep that to yourself if you want to. And I won’t say a word to anyone, you know that. What are best mates for?”
I looked up into his familiar, shining hazel eyes, and I caved. I knew James wouldn’t tell a soul about anyone’s secret; he was one of the most loyal people I knew.
“Well, James. I’m almost positive I don’t fancy Al,” I said. Liar, said a little voice in my head. I tried to ignore it.
“But if I ever do begin to, you’ll be the first to know.”
He smiled, and gave me a big, brotherly type hug. We walked back up to the castle together, and he turned to go to the library, and I headed up to Charms.
After Charms, I cornered C.C.
“So are you and Leo an item now? Are you bringing him to the Halloween party? Have you snogged him yet?”
“No, possibly, and I’m not telling.”
“So there’s a possibility you’ve snogged?”
“Yes, Bryn. I decided I could snog him if I wanted to.”
I didn’t have a good answer for that, so I just nodded and made my way to my next class.
C.C. followed me. “Wait, Bryn!” I didn’t wait, and just let her catch up with me.
“Why does it matter to you so much?” she asked.
“Because I assumed, which I really guess I shouldn’t do anymore, that you, being my best mate, would want to share this kind of stuff with me, and I didn’t figure it would bother you if I asked.”
“It didn’t bother me. I’ve just had a crap morning, which isn’t really an excuse. And I like Leo, you know that, so I figured I could snog him if I wanted to. I’m sorry I snapped at you.”
“Whatever, it’s fine,” I replied, and continued to walk to my next class.
After classes were done for the day, the Gryffindor Quidditch team had practice. I was feeling good about it, and was actually kind of excited.
Until I actually got there.
And found out that James was making us go running.
We began running, I began my routine oggling of Al's bum, and James began laughing at me.
"What exactly is it that you are laughing at James?" I hissed under my breath.
"You. And how much you stare at my brother's bum," he whispered back.
"I do not!" I lied.
I rolled my eyes.
"Bryn, why don't you just admit you fancy him, so we can all live happily ever after?"
"For the same reason you refuse to make any semblance of a move on C.C. And I don't fancy him."
It was his turn to roll his eyes at me.
After we finished our rather unfortunate run, we began the flying portion of our practice.
I simply drifted in front of the goal posts for a while, since the chasers were off flying on their own, and the beaters were off flying on their own. I continued to do this patiently until James decided to actually hold practice.
James and Al both had excellent aim, and their shots were hard to block, and Dominique was just kind of scary. I was definitely feeling the adrenaline rush Quidditch was so famous for, and by the end of practice, even I couldn’t believe how well I had done.
We all walked back to the locker rooms, chatting animatedly about the upcoming party, as well as the upcoming Quidditch match.
“Who do you think is going to win?” voiced Fred.
“Gryffindor, for sure. The Hufflepuffs don’t stand a chance,” said McLaggen.
“Watch it McLaggen. Gryffindors don’t trash talk,” said James, ever the captain.
“That, and we don’t like to jinx ourselves,” said Dom.
By the time I finally found my clean socks and put up my broom, I saw that the rest of the team had gone up to the castle already, save Albus.
“Good practice today,” he said.
“Wasn’t it though? I felt really good about it, I had a lot of fun.”
After a few minutes of walking in silence, I was about to say something to Al about the Halloween thing, but he began speaking before I did. Thank Merlin.
“When are we going to finish writing up that essay for Potions?”
“Whenever you want. It’s not due for a while, so whenever you want to do it, that’s fine with me.”
He nodded, and we continued the walk to the castle. By the time we reached the oak doors, I was exhausted. I was also hungry, but I disliked eating late at night, so I decided to go to bed and get over it. Once we had reached the Common Room, I wasted no time heading upstairs.
“See you tomorrow, Al,” I called over my shoulder as I hurried to my room.
“Yeah, see you,” he responded.
I opened the door to the girls’ room to see that C.C. was already asleep, even though it wasn’t that late. Dominique wasn’t back yet, and Rose was reading.
“Hey Bryn,” she greeted.
“Hey, Rose,” I said, and headed to my trunk to get some pajamas. I went to my little toiletries cubby thing and grabbed a towel and soap and shampoo. I took a relatively short shower, I was so tired and I just wanted to go to bed. I stepped out of the hot shower into the cold bathroom, and got dressed in my pajamas as quickly as I could. They weren’t much warmer, but they were better than nothing.
I walked back into the room to see that Rose had put her book down, and was now sleeping. Or trying to get that way.
C.C. was snoring slightly, and mumbling.
“Worms...in his face. Like those biscuits. No, I don’t want fruit salad. No, mom, I said I don’t want any! Yeah, let’s go for a bike ride.”
I snorted, and resisted the urge to hit her with my pillow. I crawled into bed as Dominique entered the room and headed to the showers.
I made myself more comfortable under my blankets, and drifted off.
The rest of the week passed by in a bit of a blur. We suffered through more Quidditch practice, only made worse by the incessant rain.
By Friday, the night of the party, the halls of Hogwarts were buzzing. With anticipation, of course.
I had no costume. Probably for the best really, I was never that creative. C.C. and James were the ones who always loved Halloween; they dressed up every year, except this one. C.C.’s excuse was that costumes were too immature for her if she was going to bring Davies. James decided not to wear one because he figured he’d be the only one dressed up.
I was the only one of us to go to dinner, until Rose and Al joined me a few minutes after I walked in the Great Hall. As I was eating some Shepherd’s Pie, a couple of Hufflepuff girls, who only looked about 14, came up to our table.
"Hey, Bryn," one of them said. "You're James Potter's friend, right?" She didn't give me time to answer. "I was wondering if you would talk to him and see if he'd let us in to the party tonight? James and I are really close, but I haven't seen him in a few days, and I figured I could just ask you."
I raised a brow, and chanced a look at Al and Rose to see them looking as flabbergasted as I felt.
"Erm, what year are you?" I asked.
"I'm a fourth year."
"Sorry, but the party's fifth year and up. He doesn't want anyone too young being around a bunch of rowdy, drunk Gryffindors. But I'll tell James you said hello."
"I'm pretty sure James would make an exception for me," she said.
"Sorry," Al piped up, "but I'm his brother, and I was just wondering who you were."
"I'm Jenny Mills," she answered.
"Well Jenny Mills, if you get caught at the party, you'll get in a lot of trouble, and we don't want that to happen. And James doesn't want anyone under fifth year there because he doesn't want to get in even more trouble for serving alcohol to fourth years. He's a really great guy, and he's looking out for his fellow classmates. I'm sure you understand."
She blinked stupidly, and then nodded. "Yeah," she said vaguely, "that makes sense. I can't believe he'd be looking out for me like that, what a sweetheart."
She gave a big smile to Al, ignored Rose and I, and she and her silent friend went back to their table.
"What exactly was that all about?" asked Rose.
"No idea," I answered, laughing.
"Seems James has some admirers," said Albus. I laughed again.
We finished eating our dinner, and then walked up to the Common Room. The party was already underway; the music was playing, people were drinking and dancing, and James and Fred were in the middle of it all.
Upon seeing us enter, James walked over.
"Welcome to the party, relatives and Bryn!"
"You have a new admirer James," I stated.
"Some fourth year Hufflepuff by the name of Jenny Mills. She says the two of you are really close. We convinced her that a Gryffindor party was not the best environment for an impressionable, young thing like herself."
"She and Davies were getting drinks earlier. I don't know where they disappeared to," he said, darkly.
I nodded. "Well, I'm going to try to find her," I said, and left.
After a few minutes of searching, being pushed by dancers, and nearly having a drink spilled on me, I found C.C. on a couch in the back corner of the Common Room.
"Hey, Bryn!" she yelled enthusiastically.
"Hey, C.C.," I said. I took a good look at her expression. She was already trashed. C.C. drank rarely. She couldn't hold alcohol very well, and she was a horrible drunk.
"C.C., how much have you had to drink?" I asked.
"Not nearly enough," piped up Davies.
I looked at him in disgust. "C.C., can you come with me please?"
She got up, and stumbled her way over to me, and we headed for a quieter place a few feet away.
"C.C., you know how you handle alcohol. Please be careful."
"I'm always careful, Brynnn," she slurred.
"Right," I said. "Just, be extra careful. Don't drink too much more, and just stay on your little couch back here."
"I will," she said, and winked extravagantly. You know, one of those exaggerated, open mouthed wink things.
I walked back through the Common Room, where I saw James talking to Fred and Al.
"C.C's drunk, completely smashed. And so's Davies," I announced.
"Well, did you separate them?" asked James.
"I plan on it. I left her on her little couch. She was just sitting there anyway. But I could use a little help taking care of her. She's bound to drink more, and when she's drunk, she's impossible."
"Where is she?" asked Al.
"Back there," I answered, pointing. "I don't know how she got drunk so fast, but I think I need to take her down to the kitchens or something and get her some food."
"I'll go get her some," said James.
He walked out of the portrait hole, and headed to, I presume, the kitches.
"I guess she'll be all right for now," I said. "I wonder how long she's been drinking? We just got here ten minutes ago."
"She came up here with Davies about an hour ago, when there weren't a lot of people here yet. They headed straight for the drinks," said Fred.
I was frustrated with C.C. for drinking with Davies, but at the same time I was more frustrated with Fred and James for allowing there to be that much alcohol at their party.
Annoyed, I walked over to a slightly more peaceful area of the Common Room, and plopped myself down on a couch. Al joined me a few minutes later.
"Sorry about C.C.," he said.
"There's nothing for you to be sorry about. It's not really a big deal, I'll make her go upstairs after she eats something, and I'll give her some hangover potion in the morning. It's just frustrating that she thought she needed to get drunk so quickly."
"You should see my parents when they're drunk," said Albus, trying to lighten the mood.
"There's no way Harry and Ginny Potter are bad drunks," I said, laughing.
"They absolutely are. You should have seen them for Aunt Hermione's birthday a couple years ago. We had it at Nana Weasley's and mum, dad, Uncle Ron, and Aunt Hermione all got smashed. Mum holds her alcohol better than dad but she's still terrible, and Aunt Hermione is a classy drunk. You should see Uncle Ron though. He's the funniest drunk I've ever seen."
I laughed again. "You should see my mum get drunk. She's a complete light weight, and she babbles and babbles about Hogwarts and television and my dad."
"Are you parents married?" he asked.
I looked up at him. "No. They never got married. Mum got pregnant with me during their sixth year, and dropped out of Hogwarts, and lived with my dad's parents. Dad finished Hogwarts, and then went on to become a Healer. I think they originally planned on getting married, but my dad started travelling the world, healing people. Mum doesn't tell me much about it, but I know they separated, and she went and bought her own place, and raised me there. I only see my dad during the Holidays, whenever he can catch a break." I blushed, realizing how much I had told him.
"Do you think they still love each other?" he asked. He seemed genuinely curious about my crazy parents, so I answered.
"Sometimes, yeah. Neither of them date anyone, and they're always really awkward and blushing around each other. Kind of like James and C.C., but twenty times worse. And I've never seen a woman who rants so much about a man as my mother does about my dad."
"Have you ever thought about trying to get them together?"
I laughed. "Definitely. But I have enough on my plate, what with trying to get James and C.C. together, but they're being horribly stubborn and not following the plan at all."
Al laughed. "What plan?"
"What do you mean 'what plan'?," I asked, nervously.
"Don't play dumb, Bryn. You know what you said," he responded, the shadow of a smirk creeping on to his face.
Figuring I could trust Al, I thought why the hell not? And told him everything.
A few minutes later, Al was still laughing. "You mean to tell me, that a few weeks ago, around the time we became Potions partners, you created a plan to get James and C.C. together? With steps? And details?"
"Yes," I said defiantly. "I did. And it's not working anymore, because C.C. and Davies are getting too close too fast, and I haven't been able to ditch James and C.C. at Hogsmeade yet, because you keep showing up, no offense,and I can't figure out how to get them together anymore."
I hadn't realized I was that stressed about the Plan. It had felt like such a long time since I came up with it, and the two of them just weren't following it.
"How about you let me see this plan?" asked Al, smiling.
"What? No! It's juvenile."
"Let me see it," and he leaned closer to me, smiling in that warm way of his, and his Christmas-y smell just kind of over took me, and his pretty green eyes looked so deep and hopeful, and I just couldn't help but give in.
"Fine, I'll go get it," I said blushing. "Actually, I don't want to risk bringing it downstairs, so how about you just come take a look at it?"
"I can't go up there," he said, looking confused.
"Yes, you can. I just have to invite you up."
I walked up the stairs to my dorm, stood at the top, and announced, (quietly of course, I didn't want anyone jumping to conclusions) that Al was genuine and could come up stairs.
He followed me up, and I opened the door to the room I shared with C.C., Rose, and Dom.
"Well, this is it. Please ignore Dom's and C.C.'s mess."
I headed over to my bed, and opened my trunk, where the Plan was buried underneath some clothes.
Al sat down on my bed, and I sat down next to him and showed him the Plan.
" 'How to Get James Sirius Potter and Cecilia Michelle Philips Together by Bryndle Ophelia Walker'?" he asked, amused.
"Yes," I said. "I know it's stupid."
"It's kind of sweet actually. In a busy body kind of way."
I laughed. "Glad you think so."
I took the Plan back from him, and stuffed it in between some pants in my trunk.
"Let's head back to the party, shall we?"
The two of us made our way back downstairs. Thankfully, no one seemed to notice our absense or return.
"I'm going to go find James, see if he found C.C. some food."
He followed me, which I secretly really enjoyed.
What we found was shocking.
James was sprawled out on the couch, shit-faced.
"James! What the hell are you doing?" yelled Al.
"I am drinking Fire Whiskey, and basking in my own glory."
I rolled my eyes. "James, I thought you didn't plan on drinking tonight."
"I didn't. C.C. made me," he said, sounding childish.
"What do you mean, C.C. made you?"
"Go look for yourself," he said, defeated.
I made my way over to where C.C. and Davies had been before, only to see the two of them in an inappropriate position, doing things to each other's mouths that shouldn't have been possible.
"What's going o-oh God," said Al, who had just come up behind me.
I started to laugh.
"I'm just going to let her work this one out on her own," I said. "She looks like she's having too much fun at the moment anyway. As long as they don't start taking off clothing, then they'll be fine."
He raised a brow at me. "You're willing to take that chance?"
"C.C.'s a big girl. She needs to be able to make her own mistakes, I can't always be there to fix them. She'd yell at me if I tried anyway."
He chuckled. "I hope you're right," he said.
"Me too, Al. Me too."
"Hey, Bryn, would you like to d-," Al began, but was interrupted by Fred heading toward us.
"James just passed out on the couch. I think the party's about over."
EDIT: March 4, 2010- Nothing major edited, just some spelling mistakes that disgusted me. I honestly don't know how I made them.
A/N: Ah! What did you think? I personally loved it, and I had a lot of fun with this chapter. Al wasn't a big part of the beginning of the chapter, but I think I made up for it at the end. What in the world was Al about to ask Bryn?
I'm so sorry for the horrible wait, but I hope you like Chapter 9!
Please remember to drop me a review, they're greatly appreciated. Any questions about me, the story, where it's headed, favorite movies, books, TV shows, anything, just drop by my MTA page. (: