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The Lonely Hearts Club by Margravine
Chapter 2 : Bad Poetry
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 18

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I own/am affiliated with nothing and no one you recognise, but I thought I’d give a cast list a go! Physical descriptions have changed in Ch 1 accordingly!
Left to right from the banner is:

Daphne Greengrass- Bryce Dallas Howard
Padma Patil– Freida Pinto
Lisa Turpin –Romola Garai
Susan Bones- Gemma Arteton
Hannah Abbott- Emilie de Ravin
ALSO: Roger Davies –Hugh Dancy
Oliver Wood –James Franco
Theodore Nott – Ed Redmayne

"You've been stalking Neville Longbottom again, haven't you?" Susan asked.

Hannah blushed even more deeply, a feat Padma had not thought possible.

“It’s not stalking, it’s investigating!” she insisted, her full lips falling into a pout.

Padma couldn’t help but scoff at this. “What’s to investigate? You did go to school with him, it’s not as if he’s a complete stranger,” she pointed out.

Hannah moved her hands restlessly through the air. “Yes, but then he was just Neville,” she said lamely.

“We’ve discussed this,” Susan said, her neutral therapist tone creeping into her voice, though amusement twinkled in her dark eyes.Hannah sighed and folded up her newspaper.

“I didn’t actually follow him this time, just watched him water his plants and trim his hedges”

Padma choked back another giggle and looked regretfully at her watch. “I’d love to get the full story – in fact, we should do coffee sometime, I haven’t seen any of the DA crowd in ages, but I must run, I’m shockingly late for a lunch.”

“You need to come back for another six sessions!” Susan called after Padma’s retreating back. Padma waved without turning around, shutting the door on the small white house hastily. Repinning her hair underneath her slightly askew beret, she turned on the spot and Apparated back to London.

She swayed slightly as she found herself on the threshold of a her favourite restaurant: a quaint little café tucked on the corner of Diagon Alley.  Heading instinctively for her usual spot, a table close enough to the arched windows that she could observe passersby, yet not so close to the carved doors that she was irritated by people and their entrances and exits. Surprisingly, her usual table was empty, and while no one has been foolish enough to attempt to secure her table, nor was the spot across from her filled, as it should be, by her handsome boyfriend.

Not a patient woman at the best of times, Padma was drumming her fingers against the lacy tablecloth in a matter of minutes and tapping her foot in accompaniment soon after. The fifteenth time she checked her watch she came to the conclusion he was not coming. Another woman might have assumed she was being stood up, or allowed the chilly fingers of neglect to play a dismal melody against suddenly hollow insides, but Padma Patil was made of sterner stuff. She gathered up her bag and cloak, making a graceful exit and apology to the staff. Stepping into the grey light of London, she Apparated not to the comfort of her flat but to the headquarters of Puddlemere United.

She turned the security guard who had the audacity to ask for her identification into a stuttering wreck with a one incredulous glance, sailed past the entrance gates and made her way down to the Quidditch pitch, where she could see a few blue clad figures on broomsticks. As she approached the pitch she heard the deep baritone of her boyfriend before she saw him.

“Mate, this is a disaster, plain and simple,” he said, his voice thick with irritation.

“What do we do?” asked a familiar Scottish tenor.

“You’re the captain, you tell me!”

“Oh, that’s right.”

Padma rounded a corner of the stands to see Roger roll his eyes at Oliver Wood. The burly Scot was scratching his beard thoughtfully, and neither man noticed her presence.

“Alright,” Oliver said after a moment’s hard thought. “We’ll send Nott another owl.”

“Of course,” Roger said. “Naturally, since he hasn’t answered the first five, unblocked his fireplace or taken down the charms around his house, this time an owl will work.”

“Do you have a better idea?” demanded Oliver.

Padma cleared her throat and both men started like schoolgirls caught chalking the board by the teacher.

“Problem, lads?” she asked, eyeing Roger meaningfully.

Roger cleared his throat. He was looking harassed, his hair rumpled from running his hands through it repetitively.

“Merlin, I meant to send you an owl,” he apologised. “This morning has been insane, we have a press conference in a few hours and Theo can’t be found.”

“Ah,” Padma said delicately. Oliver looked politely confused but Roger’s eyes narrowed.

“You know something,” he surmised. “You have to tell us, we can’t do the press conference without him, he owns the bloody team after all.”

Padma bit her lip. “Susan dumped him last night, apparently he’s not doing so well,” she said.

“Is that all?” Oliver demanded, looking outraged. “This is about Quidditch!

Padma jumped to Theodore’s defense. “There are other things beside Quidditch, you know,” she pointed out. As Oliver began to splutter, Roger stepped between them and drew Padma a little away.

“How bad is he?” he asked quietly.

Padma shrugged. “ I haven’t seen him, but he doesn’t seem the type to take the end of a relationship well. She’s barely holding it together, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s cracked open the Firewhisky and is playing The Lonely Hippogryffs on repeat.”

“This is a really important conference,” Roger exhaled. “And we can’t put it off, people are coming from all over for it.”

“I’ve got a friend in the Auror department if you’re absolutely desperate?” Padma offered.

Roger grimaced. “I’d like to keep this as low profile as possible,” he said. Tucking a stray lock of hair behind Padma’s ear, he suddenly grinned.

“I’ve got it,” he said triumphantly.  “Can you ask Daphne to try and get through to him?”

“Daphne? My Daphne Greengrass from work?” clarified Padma.

Roger nodded. “They were close at Hogwarts, I know they still keep in touch. Hell, he has a picture of the two of them on his desk, I don’t know why I didn’t think of her before. If anyone can get through to him, it’ll be her.”

Padma nodded. “I’ve got to head back to the office now anyway,” she said, a hint of frost in her tone. Roger kissed her cheek briefly.

“You’re an angel,” he said fervently. “I will make this up to you, we can go out for dinner after the conference,” he promised.

She sniffed but returned his quick smile. Readjusting her slipping beret for what felt like the tenth time, she Disapparated from the Quidditch pitch and back to the hustle and bustle of the office, her second home.

Daphne Greengrass scrunched her short red hair into a semblance of a ponytail, rolled up her robe sleeves and kicked open the iron gates of the Nott estate. She could have probably used her wand instead, but kicking gave her a rush of adrenaline magic never could. It also meant she limped up the flight of sandstone stairs to entrance of the ancestral abode of the Nott family. 

She doubted she would have been quite so daring if the imposing Nott senior was in residence rather than Azkaban, but she had known Theodore for years now. And if he was going to give her the passwords to unlocking the Charms around the house, he couldn’t complain about her actually using them. Granted, he had only let them slip one very forgettable night which involved their first experience with Firewhisky and subsequent confessions of dying alone, becoming a cat lady, and it taking several weeks for someone to notice he was trapped inside his house, let alone figure out how to rescue him.. but she remained the only person beside Susan who could stroll casually through the front door.

The minute she pushed open the carved wooden doors, she found each of her hands seized. Biting back a shriek, she looked down at the familiar bulging eyes of Poppet and Pip.

“Thanks goodness you are here, Miss Daphne,” squeaked Pip. Poppet merely hung her head in relief, allowing her twin to speak. “Master Theodore has not left his bed since yesterday!”

“I’ll take care of it,” Daphne said reassuringly, extricating herself from their grip. Giving her cloak to Poppet, she followed the distinctive warbles of Celestina Warbeck to the master bedroom. The door was locked, but she had expected no less.

“Open the door, Nott!” she demanded forcefully.

“Go to hell,” came the pleasant response over the music, if one could call it that.

“Theodore Nott, either this door opens or it gets splintered into pieces. One – two – two and half – two and three quarters-  thrrrrr-“

The door swung open, allowing her to step into the darkened room. The heavy curtains were drawn and when she took a step toward them she was stopped by a feral snarl from the lanky figure sprawled face down on the four poster bed, wand in hand.

“Don’t even think about it,” he grumbled into his pillow.

“You’re pathetic,” Daphne told him, defiantly crossing the room and throwing open the curtains. Light streamed in to reveal a room littered with several empty wine bottles, a broken photo frame lying in pieces beside the wall opposite the bed and a collection of half eaten chocolate blocks.

“Go away and leave me to wallow in my misery,” Theodore begged.

“Theodore. Get out of that bloody bed or I will set it on fire. Don’t think I won’t!”

“Death isn’t looking so bad right now. Do it. Put me out of my misery. I don’t want to go on.”

“You have a press conference to go to. You have worked damn hard for years to clear your family name, are you going to give it all up because you have girl troubles?”

At this, Theodore lifted his head.

“You know?” he asked, dismay written on his unshaved face. “Does everyone know? Has she been telling people? Is it in the paper?”

“Yes, darling, it’s the front page of The Prophet, Theodore Nott’s love life or lack thereof,” Daphne said, wrenching the Warbeck record from the record player with satisfaction.

Theodore whimpered and she resisted the urge to jinx him. He really had been head over heels for Susan, so she supposed she was lucky he hadn’t been experimenting with cutting spells or writing bad poetry. He also had let her cry on his favourite shirt when Blaise Zabini tossed her aside, so she made an effort to infuse some kindness in her voice.

“Now look here you great buffoon,  I came because Padma told me Puddlemere are in a right state trying to get through to you, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. Plus, the last time you listened to Celestina Warbeck was when Fleur Delacour walked over your heart in high heels.”

“I liked you so much better when you were a mute,” Theodore said plaintively, flopping back down on the bed.

Daphne snorted inelegantly.“You liar, you asked me if I was crippled by my own overwhelming inadequacy or just too stupid to string two words together and then I hexed you to Sunday,” she reminded him.

“Gentlemen do not raise a wand to a lady,” Theodore said primly. “I could have stopped you anytime”

“Of course you could,” Daphne said kindly. “And that is why you are going to get out of bed, pop in the bath, and be dressed and ready in twenty minutes. Or else.”

She stood over him threateningly until he dragged himself out of bed, and forcibly propelled him into the ensuite bathroom.

“I can bathe myself,” Theodore said with dignity.

“If you even think of drowning yourself, I will come in there,” she warned him. He slammed the door in her face and in retaliation she picked out what she considered an appropriate outfit for a press conferences.  As the owner of Puddlemere United, he had to look suitably naffy, and a nothing said distinguished like a cravat and top hat. Poppet and Pip crept into the room while Theodore took his sweet time in the bath, and when he at last emerged , it was to a spotless room empty of any litter – or alcohol.

“I can’t believe you have your initials embroidered on your towels,” Daphne chortled, eyeing the snowy white towel Theodore had wrapped about his lower half.

“Would you be so kind as to leave so I can change?” Theodore asked stiffly.

Another day Daphne would have refused just to irritate him, but noting the tension in his face that shaving had only served to emphasis, she acquiesced with bad grace and flounced out of the bedroom.

She leaned against the door while she waited for him, toying with the sash of her wrap around green dress and trying to escape her thoughts. A cross, sulking Theodore was a sight she was not unaccustomed to, but a Theodore who could barely summon the viciousness to insult her worried her. As the door opened, she staggered and nearly fell into him, he up righted her and subjected her to the keen, assessing gaze she knew well.

“Darling, I’ve been meaning to have a talk with you too,” he said ominously.

Biting back a “you’re breaking up with me, aren’t you?” just in time, Daphne offered him her most innocent look, which only made him snort. He tucked her hand in his arm to prevent her escape and began towing her down the corridor. She noticed with disappointment that he had left off both the cravat and top hat, although his pinstriped navy robes were clearly of the superior quality and cut to show his lean form to perfection.

“McLaggan? Really? What were you thinking?” Theodore asked abruptly.

She shrugged carelessly. “He’s not that bad looking really, and as long as he isn’t allowed to talk, he’s quite.. bearable.”

“I’ve been hearing things, Daph,” Theodore said seriously. Daphne sniffed.

“You’re a shameless gossip,” she said lightly.

Theodore paused outside his cloakroom, grabbing a black cloak fastened with silver absently.

“That doesn’t match what you’re wearing,” Daphne pointed out immediately. He ignored her, fixing his usual glare on her.

“You’re smarter than this, love. We survived Hogwarts, and the war, because we kept our heads down and stayed out of trouble. Having public flings with a different man every week, creating a scandal everywhere you go is not keeping your head down. It’s not the done thing for a pureblood lady, you know that!”

Daphne pulled away.

“I can do what I want, Theodore,” she said dangerously, her eyes dark with anger. “I don’t have to explain myself to anyone.”

Theodore didn’t balk from her furious look, and there was a sympathy which stung more than censure would have in his eyes.

“Why are you deliberately trying to have yourself blasted off the family tree?” he asked her softly.

Daphne was horrified to find hot moisture in eyes that had been dry since Blaise Zabini tore her heart into knut sized pieces. She blinked furiously and opened the double doors of the Nott manor.

“You’re going to be late to the conference,” she said firmly, stepping into the afternoon sun and pulling Nott along with her. “If we don’t hurry, you’ll find yourself owning Pride of Portree or something instead.”

“You really do know absolutely nothing about Quidditch,” Theodore said scathingly. “I wish I owned Portree, they’re the best team the league has seen for some years now. If I could convince Collette or Gina to jump broom I’d die happy..”. Theodore’s voice trailed off and his eyes were momentarily glazed until Daphne cleared her throat impatiently. She wished she had left him to his daydream as his sharpened gaze lingered on her face knowingly.

“You can’t bottle everything in forever,” Theodore warned her. “Sometime soon, everything is going to come flooding out.”

“Not today Theodore,” Daphne said determinedly. “Not today.”

And if a small voice in her head whispered that famous last words always come back to haunt you, she pushed it away. Daphne Greengrass had never been one to heed the portents of fate, and that at least  was not going to change now.

A.N : So I fail at studying, but you get another chapter! I actually intended to include Lisa/the conference in here as well but Theo doesn’t shut up, so that’s next up! This chapter's song was Bad Poetry by Ben Lee

Thankyou SO much for the overwhelming support for this random whimsy of mine, and your very kind reviews! Also to Rita for the beyond divine banner!

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