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Chapter 7 : Mending of a Mess
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Amazing image by .Candy at TDA
We are all strangers in a strange land.
I sink back into a cloud of sugar and watch as two Lemon Drops do a tango. I clap and cheer as they come to a finish, leaping from my Cotton Candy bed into a mountain of Orange Sherbert. The Treacle Tart trees sing delightful tunes and I sing right along with them.
I’m running up a delicious mountain but I can’t seem to get my footing. It’s like I’m floating above the succulent Sherbert.
“La la, doo!” I sing, spinning around and gulping down Treacle Tart tree bark. “La la, doo doo loo -”
“Shut up, already!” snaps a Treacle tree from behind.
I open my mouth to retort and then close it, for the Treacle tree seems to be forming a face.
I squint my eyes, the bright and cheery scene blurring away.
I open my eyes and scream. Fred Weasley is leaning so far over me I can’t even see where I am. Out of reflexes I jump upwards, my head colliding with his.
Slowly, dizzily, I sink back onto the tiny couch, my head throbbing.
“Oi!” Fred bellows, clutching at his forehead, his eyes swimming.
“What the - Fred! What were you doing?” I snap furiously. “You woke me up!”
“Oh, I’m so sorry!” he says sarcastically, leaning on an armchair for support.
“Apology not accepted,” I say after a moment, “I think you broke my face.”
He rolls his eyes, standing up straighter. “Look, the reason I came down here is to tell you that the Gryffindors are celebrating that cookout we had today at the Quidditch match.”
“We didn’t have a cookout,” I say pointedly, massaging my forehead.
He grins. “Sure we did.”
I stare at him. “I would have remembered free food, Fred.”
“You don’t recall?” he laughs, “We made Slytherin-kabobs!”
It’s quiet for a moment.
“Witty,” I breathe, rubbing my forehead and standing up. “So where’s this celebration, anyway?”
“Room of Requirement,” Fred beams. “Want to take a look?”
I shrug. “Sure, I won’t be able to sleep again, anyway.”
We walk down the seventh floor corridor for a while until we reach the Room. To my great surprise though, Fred passes right by it.
“Er - you missed the Room, Fred,” I say, slowing a bit.
“I know,” he shrugs, continuing to walk.
I stare at him. “Fred, where are you taking me? I thought we were going to the Room of Requirement?”
“Laney, I only told you that to make you wake up. We’re doing something fun today. You could really use it.”
I groan. “I don’t think so.”
Before I can so much as turn to leave, Fred wheels around and grabs my wrist, pointing his wand at me.
“What the -” I say, going cross eyed trying to keep the wand in full vision.
“You aren’t going anywhere, Becks,” he growls.
I freeze. “Are you kidnapping me, Fred Weasley?”
“More like forcing you to have fun for a day,” he shrugs. “Now get moving, you, we’re already late.”
It doesn’t take very long for me to realize that we aren’t alone in this day of fun. We arrive at the edge of the Black Lake (shivering our arses off, I might add) at half past 3:00.
“This it?” I ask, making a point of peering around the freezing grounds. “This is supposed to be fun?”
“Oy,” Fred snaps, “here they come.”
My eyes find three figures as they rapidly make their way to us.
“Daniel, Lily, and James?” I ask skeptically.
“Only ones up for it,” Fred shrugs. “James has got loads of free time, Lily’s a third year meaning she really has no major exams, and Daniel, poor bloke, he just clings to anyone who mentions you.”
“Fantastic,” I hiss.
“Come on, Becks, don’t be a rotten dragon egg,” Fred says giddily.
I cross my arms stubbornly.
“Well, we’ve got it!” Lily says as they bustle up to Fred and I. Each of then are carrying a bundle of something. “We have everything you asked for.”
“Brilliant!” Fred says.
I raise an eyebrow.
“Oh hi, Laney,” Lily adds.
“What’s all this for, then?” I ask.
“This,” Fred says, pulling a spherical blue ball from Lily’s arms and holding it up for everyone to see, “is an Aquaglobe. Throw one of these little monsters at someone and the next three weeks they’ll be dripping wet no matter how hard they try to dry themselves off.”
“We’re going to throw them at first years,” James says enthusiastically.
“And these,” Fred continues, pulling what looks like small marbles from a velvet bag in Daniel’s hands, “are Dissolvoballs. You just slip a few of these into an enemies drink and watch as they ralph green muck for the next fourty-eight hours.”
“You’re joking, right?” I ask.
“No way,” Fred says cheerily. “These’ll really get the job done They’re the best pranks on the market according to dad.”
“This is what passes for fun around here? Throwing water at first years and make people vomit green for two days?”
They all look at each other.
“Yeah, pretty much,” Lily says.
I look at the lot of them for a moment. I shrug. “All right then, I haven’t got anything else to do. Dibs on the Dissolvoballs.”
“...and thus ends the tale of the dragon, the toad, and the wizard. Any questions?”
I watch glumly as Professor Woodniff rounds up today’s History of Magic lecture.
“No? All right then, class is about over. Make sure to have your essays on The Great Dragon Rebellion of 1201 finished by next lesson.”
As I hear the bell sound, I stand up and shove my quill and parchment (which I had been doodling on the whole class) into my bag.
“Last class of the day,” I sigh as Rose and I make our way into the sixth floor corridor.
“I know, it’s awful, isn’t it?” Rose says sullenly. “I was learning so much...”
I look pointedly at her and laugh. “No, Rose. We’re free! It’s the weekend! It’s time for Quidditch and Treacle Tart and pranking first years and-”
“-studying?” she says smartly. “It’s OWL year, Laney! We need to be studying for our exams.”
“Live a little, Rose.”
“Yes, yes. I hear you....Good Merlin, why on Earth is Ivy vomiting green?"
Quickly, I avert my eyes and change the subject. "Er...no idea. So how about that Defense essay?"
Later that night I find myself spread across a squashy love seat, my feet stretched to maximum body length on a nearby armchair. I have had a long day.
“Could she physically take up any more room?” Lily asks from the floor. “Check mate, by the way. I win again.”
“Bloody hell! Again?” Hugo whines.
“Language, Hugh!” Rose snaps from behind her book. She is sitting in the only open armchair.
“Quit acting like mum, Rose,” Hugo says, clearly annoyed.
Rose seems disgruntled.
Liam Scott is stretched across the floor scribbling away on a piece of parchment. “My back is screaming,” he moans, sitting upright and looking over at me pointedly.
I blink down at him from the couch. “You should really take something for that.”
“Ignore it,” Lily says before Liam can retort. “She’s clearly just tired.”
“It isn’t like she’s done anything that physically grueling today,” Liam complains.
“It’s Laney,” Lily says, “just getting out of bed is a struggle.”
“It’s true,” Rose adds, “lately it takes her three tries to get off the sofa.”
“Hey!” I snap from above. “I’m right here, you know!”
“She also ate her way through an entire 64 ounce steak tonight,” Lily continues.
“Yes, I wouldn’t be expecting her to be in her right mind,” Rose says.
“Hey! I can hear you!” I squeal.
“Yeah, she’s right heartless when she’s too full. You know, I think I saw her kick a first year this morning...” Hugh adds thoughtfully.
“Okay, I think I’m crying a little,” I say.
The next few hours are of sleep on my part and homework for everyone else. After a while I notice Dara sitting on the window seat and looking oddly melancholy. My first instinct is to of course ask her what’s wrong, but then I remember that kind-of-enormous fight we had. Well, it wasn’t exactly a fight, per se, but more of a backstabbing on both our parts. I snogged her true love and she dumped me for Ivy.
I scowl away from her, glad she is sad. She deserves to be sad for once. After everything I’ve gone through...especially losing Netta. She knew Netta, too. She never said one word to me about it. Some friend.
“Hey, Rose,” I hear a familiar voice say. I blush, pulling myself up for my awkward position.
“Al!” Rose squeaks happily, reaching up to hug him.
“Hugh. Lil. Liam,” he nods at each and pauses. “Hi Laney.”
My heart jumps. “Hi.”
“So Al,” Rose continues, “did you turn in your Potions paper yet?”
“Yeah,” he responds mildly, turning his attention back to Rose. “It was easier than I figured.”
“Good!” she squeals. “And uh, where’s Ivy?”
I grind my teeth.
He seems irritated. “She’s being high-maintenance,” he grumbles.
Rose looks concerned. “Is everything all right with you two?”
“I dunno,” he shrugs not seeming to want to talk about it. It’s quiet for a moment and I suddenly take into account that Lily, Hugo, and Liam are all staring awkwardly at me.
“I’m going to bed,” I mutter.
I slowly make my way up the girls' staircase feeling like my limbs are made of lead. It’s so hard around Al these days. I made such a fool out of myself at the blasted party. He probably thinks I’m a terrible slag. I groan.
My thoughts whir on as I make it to our room, but before I push the door open, I hear a pair of hushed voices from inside the dormitory.
“He’s going to end it with me, I just know it,” someone sobs. “He’s going to dump me for that Laney Becks. I can’t bare it, I really can’t. I’ve already lost Dara this morning; she thinks I’m absolute slime because I kissed Albus on purpose that night at the party. Laney. That’s all they ever talk about these days. At first they loathed her because of that night at the party. It was wonderful. But then they started missing her and feeling guilty. These past weeks have been like I’m not even there to the pair of them. It’s like I was just a way of making Laney jealous for them! And I even tried to explain it Albus, b-but you know what he said? He said I was just b-being jealous and dra-dramatic!”
“Oh Ivy,” the other person says in a soothing voice. It must be Chaz. “It’s all right. Look at it this way: maybe you and Albus aren’t meant to be. And as for Dara? Well her and Laney have a lot of history together. I’m sure she misses Laney very much. And I’m still your friend! I promise, anytime you need me, I’ll be here.”
I lean in closer to hear more.
“What are you doing?” snaps a voice from behind.
I jolt and whirl around. “Dara,” I say, surprised.
“What are you doing?” she repeats. “Why are you spying on our dorm mates?”
It’s not really your business, is it?” she says pointedly. “They don’t spy on you.”
“You’re right, I was just-”
“-being untrustworthy? You’ve got a problem with that, don’t you?” She pushes past me and makes for the door, but I stop her.
“Just hang on a moment,” I say heatedly. “You never gave me one second to explain myself that night at the party. I didn’t kiss James to hurt you.”
She looks enraged.
“I did it because it just hurt so badly when I saw Ivy and Albus all over each other. He invited me to that party for Merlin’s sake! It just, it hurt. So badly I went and got myself drunk and James was the one who had to drag me away from the bar. I wasn’t thinking, Dara. I just saw Ivy and Al snogging and went for it. I wasn’t trying to hurt you or anyone else for that matter. I was only ever trying to heal this dead, emotionless monster that lives inside me. My parents have dumped me, Netta is dead, the only boy I’ve ever had feelings for hates me, and people avoid me like a stigma. How the hell do you think it feels to lose a best friend, too?”
And then I lose it. The tears come and I swear loudly for looking like such an idiot.
She looks torn. Her eyes are brimming with tears. “I-,” she seems lost for words. “He doesn’t hate you. And - and I know this long overdue but I’m so s-sorry about Netta!”
Our eyes lock.
“Dara, I’m so sorry,” I say earnestly.
“I - I’m sorry, too. Laney, I should have seen through Ivy. She was terrible to you - straight from the start. You were right about her. I finally confronted her this morning about that night and I realized - realized that what you did, while wrong and hurtful, was only a response to Ivy’s scheme and - and I’m just so sorry!”
In that moment she rockets herself at me, wrapping me in a big bear hug.
“Can we just move past this?” she asks wholeheartedly.
“Of course!” I say, hugging her back. “I missed you so much, Dar. I’ll never snog James again! And probably anyone else for that matter, it was right disgusting.”
She laughs her tinkling laugh and beams at me. “Or get drunk like that again, at least not until you’re 17! You were acting wild, Laney!”
We laugh together.
“Want to break into the kitchens and get some food?” I ask.
“Is that even a question?”
Together we descend the girls' staircase, mended hearts and all.
My mood is near stellar during the next week. I feel on top of the world. Dara and I are as close as ever. And the most wonderful part? Ivy and Al broke up on Monday. The split was bad, too. One of the worse I’ve seen...
“What the hell do you mean by ‘it’s not you, it’s me’?” Ivy screeched in the common room on Monday night. She glared daggers at him.
“I - I just...” he said nervously.
“Just what, exactly?”
“Ivy, I just don’t think we’re good together. I’m not happy. You can’t possibly tell me you are?” He looked pleadingly at her.
“This was a mistake,” she said, and she darted back up to her room.
I have been absolutely giddy since I saw this take place. I have even been going to class all week. It’s a birthday miracle! Granted my birthday isn’t until March, and it’s only November, but still. The Birthday Fairy is always watching over me.
“Okay Becks,” Al says firmly. “Try it again.”
I groan. “I can’t do it!”
“Come on, yes you can,” he nods.
“Yeah Laney, if I can do it, you can,” Dara adds.
“Just think of something happy,” Al says. “Put that cynical mind to rest for a moment.”
“Expecto patronum!” Dara calls, a blue dragonfly zooming out of her wand and misting around the room. Al’s ram is digging its hooves into the ground from next to him.
I continue to try and practice for the remainder of the class, and by the end, I’m exhausted and all I can seem to produce is wisp of blue. As we walk to dinner Al, Rose, Carter, and Dara laugh at me.
“I wonder what your patronus will be...” Carter wonders aloud as we cut across the courtyard.
“Probably a steak,” Dara says.
“Or a bacon strip,” Albus laughs.
“Well, we know it won’t be a book,” Rose interjects. Everyone bursts into laughter.
“Very funny,” I growl. I always fancied my patronus something smart and fierce. “At least mine isn’t a turtle,” I say to Rose.Her face scrunches up defensively.
“Turtles are wise!” she snaps.
“Or a bug,” I continue, looking at Dara.
“Dragonflies are not bugs, Laney!” Dara squeals.
After dinner I walk up to the common room and knock out a load of homework. Lately I’ve been actually trying in school. My mood has been raised and I even think Rose’s study habits are beginning to rub off me. It’s sort of a good feeling knowing you’re doing well in school for once.
I feel something soft rub against my legs as I sit, staring at the blazing fire place.
“Presto,” I smile, allowing him to spring onto my lap. I stroke his black tail and notice something tied around his collar. It’s a little scroll of parchment. I extract from his his collar and unroll it.
Will you meet me in the common room at 1:00 am? I need to talk to you in private. Don’t tell any of your roommates. Just nod if that’s all right with you. I’m sitting next to Rose and Fred at the table behind you.
My heart leaps into my throat. Al wants to see me? Me? I swallow, turn around, and see him grinning at me. I nod, smiling back.
Oh sweet Merlin.
Author's Note: Hi everyone! SO sorry about my sort of long hiatus! But you mustn't blame me! I needed a good break. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Lemme know what you think by leaving a review. Thanks to Sarah (rocketbabydoll9) for betaing!
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