“What in the name of Fleetwing the hippogriff was that?!”
“Didn’t your mummy and daddy explain this to you? You see, when a man loves a woman very, very much-”
“Very funny,” I stated, staring questioningly at the girl sitting in front of me. She didn’t meet my gaze. “You know what I mean. Why? That was Fred! Why?”
“I know that was Fred, genius”
“Then please explain. Because I’m bloody confused.” I shuddered and whispered, “and disturbed”
Daisy rolled her eyes and suppressed a smile.
Because yes, our Daisy was the one getting cosy with dear Fred. Who, by the way, had leapt up at the sight of me and rushed out of the room, muttering something about pie.
So I guess you can relate to the many feelings of confusion I’m experiencing right now. Are you feeling them too?
If you’re not, then you are dangerously close to being labelled as Fredish.
And that is not a good thing.
Either way, I don’t think I’ve been this surprised since I learnt that there was no such thing as conscience fairies.
You know the little beings that sit near your ear and whisper things to you? Up until the tender age of ten, I thought that they were the reason I was hearing voices.
But it had just been me all along.
I’ve lived a rather troublesome childhood.
Anyway, right now, sanity wasn’t looking too achievable for us all. Daisy had done two very un-Daisy-ish things in little more than 24 hours, I was sitting here contemplating the existence of conscience fairies, Fred was off searching for pie, Roxanne was dancing with some mysterious stranger, Josh was drunk (no comments), James was a prat and Amelie…I’m not even going to start on how many worrisome things she could be doing right now.
“I thought you had something going on with James!” I told Daisy, still shell-shocked. “I mean, you and Fred, that’s just weird, even though you and James was weird too, but less weird, because lots of girls seem to like James, for some unfathomable reason; but come to think of it girls like Fred too. I’m not saying-”
“Fee, be quiet.”
“-that Fred is unlikable, don’t get offended, ‘cause I mean, you were just snogging him. That was just snogging, right? Please tell me it was just snogging! You’re still a virgin, aren’t you? AREN’T YOU!? But I still can’t get over the fact that-”
“Phoenix! Listen to me!”
“-you snogged Fred! I don’t get it, I thought you guys were friends, and you don’t snog friends. Oh, were you trying to make James jealous? I guess that was a good plan then, because he deserves it, but that just seems so unlike you. Are you sure you’re still Daisy?” I poked her nose with my finger and prodded her cheeks. “Daisy, are you in there? Holler if you hear me, girlfriend! You see-”
“This isn’t the first time we’ve kissed!”
“-I thought you were being possessed -wait, what!?”
“This isn’t the first time we’ve kissed”
I think any hope for sanity and a normal heart rate is long lost for me. Goodbye Hogwarts, hello St Mungo’s.
Daisy sighed and stared at her hands.
“See, I knew you would react like this! And I knew Roxanne would freak and do her Incredible Hulk thing. The only person I could tell was Amelie. And all she could do was say: ‘Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Wow! You snogged someone?”
I smiled at Daisy’s imitation; it was really quite good. She nailed Amy’s hair flick down to the last strand.
“Amelie knew!” My smile had now disappeared. “How could she keep something like this? Ams is terrible with secrets!”
Dais shrugged. My mouth was still hanging open. I was going to need a jack hammer to close this thing.
“You know how I yelled at James?”
I nodded. My head was still hurting, and I was feeling kind of sick. I pressed my hand to my forehead.
It was burning.
“Well, the reason I did that was cause - Fee, are you okay?”
I had grabbed onto Daisy’s arm as a sudden surge of dizziness washed over me.
“I’m not feeling too good, to be honest.” She pressed her palm to my forehead.
“Fee, you’re boiling! Wait a sec, I’ll get you some water.”
I shook my head. “I just need some fresh air” I told her, slowly getting up. Daisy was still sitting on the bed, looking at me with worry. I waved away her concern.
“I’ll be fine, I just need some air,” I repeated. “You stay here and…think” I made indistinct hand gestures as I left the room. “Oh, and you might want to button up before you leave,” I advised my friend, sticking my head back through the door. Daisy blushed and started fumbling with her dress. Smirking, I closed the door shut behind me.
My head was pounding, sending waves of pain flashing through my brain. I knew I should just find a bed and lie down, but my footsteps brought me back to the cushion room. It was pretty much empty by now. I guess as the night went on, more and more people were being motivated to dance.
The only people in the room were a couple snogging in a corner and some poor sod with glasses staring mournfully into the shallow innards of his cup.
I remembered that I had left my drink in Daisy’s room, and hoped to God that she wouldn’t find it and decide to drown her sorrows in alcohol. Because then that would make three un-Daisy-ish things in two days, and I would have to start getting seriously worried.
I could hear the music from the other room vibrating into this one, and I could hear the screams and laughing of all the other students. The snogging couple had gotten more intense now, and I wanted to tell them to go find a room so I could keep my dinner down, but suddenly the world around me started spinning out of control and my vision faded to darkness.
I groaned and lowered myself to the floor, pressing the heels of my hands to my eyes. Little white dots were flashing across my sight, and a searing hot pain was coursing through my head.
I felt sick. Thankfully I had decided against a second serving of treacle tart at dinner.
“Fee! Fee, what’s wrong?”
I removed my hands from my face and squinted up at Roxanne, who was leaning over me in concern. The Tall Dark Stranger she had been dancing with was hovering behind her hesitantly.
I moaned in response to her question. Roxanne pressed her hand to my forehead.
“You’ve got a fever,” she stated.
Well no shit, Sherlock.
“Wait here, I’ll get you some water.”
I pushed her hands away with an angry growl. “Don’t worry about it,” I told her, using her arm to help myself up. Roxanne didn’t seem to hear me.
“Ollie, could you get some water please?” she said, half turning to face the Tall Dark Stranger.
So he has a name. Not much of a stranger after all, huh?
“I’m fine!” I repeated, with more conviction this time. Roxanne and her Tall Dark No-longer-stranger both stared at me sceptically.
I shot them a glowering look, pushed Roxanne gently aside and continued on my way.
“Be careful!” Roxy yelled out as I walked away.
Really? She knew me better than to ask for that.
As soon as I stepped foot onto the dark dance floor, I realized that the pain I had been feeling before, that was nothing. That wasn’t real pain; that was a shadow of pain, just a glimmer of it.
This, now this was real pain.
Blinding, throbbing, piercing waves of fire were rushing through my skull, making my ears ring and my eyes water. All around me the lights were flashing and glaring, and the music had turned into a dull roar, nothing but a distant sound in the back of my head.
All the dancing bodies around me were blinking in and out of my vision, merging together, flashing madly. I could see the wild grins of all the excited people around me race through my brain, one after the other, illuminated by red, blue and green light. Someone bumped into me and I stumbled, falling onto someone else.
I wanted to be anywhere but here. This place was scary and unfriendly, and if I stayed here much longer, I was going to puke on the next person who knocked into me.
Colours were spinning around me, round and round and round and round; I was on a merry-go-round from hell.
All I wanted was for the ride to end.
“Walker!” Someone grabbed my shoulders. I lashed out at them angrily, but their grip on me didn’t loosen. “Are you mental? What’s going on?”
I couldn’t see who was holding me, but I recognized the voice. The person was steering me away from the lights, over to a quiet corner. I breathed a sigh of relief as I broke out of the crowd.
“You nearly collapsed in there,” Potter said, his hands on each one of my shoulders, pushing me up against the wall. I closed my eyes tight and whimpered as a particularly aching wave of pain washed over me. His grip loosened a little, and when he talked again, his voice was more careful, less angry. “Are you alright?”
DO I FUCKING LOOK ALRIGHT?
Potter pressed his palm to my forehead. I was getting seriously sick of people doing that.
“You’re burning up,” he said. Wow, thanks for that mate, I honestly wouldn’t have figured it out for myself. “You need to drink some water.”
So I’ve been told.
I was too weak to argue this time, so I didn’t really have a choice as Potter grabbed my hand and led my stumbling, moaning body out of that room, and into other places that I didn’t really acknowledge, because I was too busy trying to nurse my killer migraine.
I staggered along after him, the voices and the music getting dimmer and dimmer with every step we took. I was so dizzy by then that I couldn’t walk straight, and eventually, my knees gave way and I started falling to the ground.
“What the hell has gotten into you?” Potter asked, catching me before I hit the floor and scooping me up in his arms. I didn’t answer. His chest was hard and firm, and smelled strangely of mint and coffee beans. I clung to his T-shirt like it was a life raft.
Amidst my haze of pain and nausea, I heard the sound of a door opening, and soon I was placed gently onto a soft, bouncy surface.
My fists clenched into balls, grabbing hold of fistfuls of bedspread, and I started mumbling to myself, something about Fred and pie, and tall dark strangers. I heard someone walk around the room and the mattress I was lying on sagged a little as another weight was added to it.
Someone’s strong hands grabbed my forearms, softly pulling me up to a sitting position.
I grabbed hold of the cup of water with shaking hands. The glass was cold on my burning fingertips, so I pressed it against my cheeks and forehead. I heard a chuckle, and a pair of cool hands encircled my hot ones, bringing the cup up to my lips.
“This is how you drink,” someone murmured. I gulped the water down thirstily, not realizing until then how dry my throat had been.
When I had guzzled down the whole glass, the person sitting next to me sighed and gently helped me back down on the pillows. I tossed my head from side to side, red hot iron burning through my skull, mumbling nonsense. My shoes were being pulled off, along with my bracelets, and I heard Potter mutter:
“You’re starting to make a habit of this.”
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I smiled.
Who the hell invented sunlight, anyway? God? Well, he was a bloody moron. Sunlight was a completely unnecessary substance, in my opinion, especially when it was attacking my retinas and urging me to wake up. Exactly like it was doing now.
It was just plain cruel. Heartless, the sun is. Heartless, I tell you, HEARTLESS!
I groaned and rolled to the side, my head colliding with something firm. I cracked one eye open, wincing at the bright light. Once my poor eye had adjusted, I peeled open the other one.
Lying next to me, in a bed (a bed!!), was -wait for it- James Sirius Potter.
Various feelings of disgust and panic rose to my throat, and I scooted to the very edge of the bed, feeling my legs, waist and chest:
All items of clothing: intact.
I brought my knees up to my chest and wrapped my arms around them, staring wide eyed at the sleeping James Potter. His hair was even messier than usual, sticking up in every possible direction, his perfectly shaped lips lifted in a sort of half smile.
He was sprawled on his stomach, arms spread out, and amidst my shock and alarm, I felt a short stab of annoyance at him for taking up all the room.
He looked so innocent when he slept, reminding me of Al more than ever. I slowly stretched out my legs and threw them over the side of the bed, as quietly as possible.
I was now faced with a challenge: remembering the events of last night.
Because of the lack of hangover symptoms, I knew it wasn’t alcohol clouding my memory, so I decided that after a good waking up shower, my brain would start functioning properly. I stumbled over to the bathroom door, fumbling with the handle for a moment, before mastering the art of door-opening and slipping inside as silently as I could.
I squinted around the room, taking in the stone shower with the ancient nozzle, a toilet, and a sink with some strange beast hovering over it.
I looked once again at the beast, and jumped back in fright.
That was no beast. That was me.
I stepped closer to the mirror to have a better look at the wild animal reflected there.
My skin was pale and sallow, a sickly pale, a kind of Scorpius Malfoy pale. My eyes were bloodshot and underlined with heavy bags, and my lips were pasty and chapped. There was a circle of crazy brown curls surrounding my face, as more than half of my hair had come undone from the elaborate bun Roxanne had put it in last night. Now it was just knots and tangles, and I was dreading the moment I had to brush it all out.
With some difficulty, I managed to undo all the buttons on my dress and lift it over my head, even though one of them got caught on The Beast in the process.
The shower was amazing. I let the steaming hot water wash over me, loosening my muscles and relaxing my mind, before finishing off with a jet of cold water to wake me up.
When I hopped out, I could see clearly and move normally again.
I wrapped a towel around my head and started to get dressed.
And then the door opened.
And there stood Potter.
And I was in my underwear.
“GET THE FUCK OUT!” I screamed, pointing at the door. He just smirked and strolled in. He looked adorably scruffy in the mornings, with his messy hair and crinkled shirt, and-
What the hell was I thinking?
Potter looked me up and down, casually, before padding over to the sink and opening the cupboard.
“Morning, Phoenix,” He greeted, sending a dashing smile over his shoulder. I opened and closed my mouth, my rage too great for words.
“This…this is an incursion!” I spluttered. “You’re invading my bubble, I’m…I’m argh! Get out Potter, before I resort to violence! I’m not even dressed, for Merlin’s sake, I can’t-mmrff!”
My rant was cut short as Potter covered my mouth with his hand, reaching to the cupboard and pulling out a toothbrush with the other. I squirmed in his grip, scratching and biting his hand, but he didn’t let go.
His arm was holding me against him, and I could feel all the firm edges of his muscles pressed up against my bare back. I stamped on Potter’s foot, but that didn’t draw a reaction, so I tried licking his hand instead.
With an angry growl, Potter dropped his toothbrush and wrapped his free arm around my stomach. My muscles contracted slightly where his fingers brushed my hip.
Didn’t he find this the slightest bit uncomfortable? I wasn’t exactly wearing clothes, and even though he had seen me in my underwear countless times before (I did practically live with the Weasleys, after all), there was no stomach grabbing or hand licking involved.
I let out a muffled squeal as I was thrown over Potters shoulder. I hammered his back with my fists, screaming at him to let me down, but with every blow his hand tightened its hold the top of my thigh, so I soon gave up. He carried me all the way over to the bed and threw me onto it roughly.
What the hell did he have in mind? That was the first thought that popped into my head, but Potter only walked back into the bathroom, throwing my dress out over his shoulder and saying:
“I’ll be naked, don’t come in.”
Damn right I won’t. Because I, unlike some, have a sense of decency.
I’m looking at you, James Potter.
Or I would be, if you hadn’t rudely interrupted my morning shower.
I lay on the bed for a while, trying to shake off the anger/annoyance/shock/uncomfortablility I was feeling, slowly regaining memory of last night.
I remembered the lights, the music, Tristan, Dom, Fred/Daisy (what the fudge was that about?)…and then the headache, the blinding pain, Potter carrying me to a room and giving me water, and then blank. I guess I must have fallen asleep.
There was still a dull throb pulsing being my eyes, but nothing compared to last night. I sighed and got up, picking my dress up off the floor and pulling it on. It was crinkled from where I had slept in it, and my hair was still wet and messy.
I bet I still looked dreadful.
I was just on the way to pick up my shoes when I let out a yelp of surprise and fell to the floor, crying out in pain, sure that a knife had just been driven into my skull.
Or a machete.
At my agonized scream the bathroom door came crashing open and James ran out, with nothing but a towel around his waist. Small white dots danced across my vision, before becoming bigger and bigger, until all I could see was white light. Then, suddenly, Daisy’s tearstained face flashed through my mind, clear as daylight.
And the pain was gone.
Just like that.
I moaned and curled my legs up to my chest, burying my head in my arms. Something cool and damp touched my shoulder; I went to brush it away, but it was just James’s hand.
“What happened?” he asked. I lifted my head up to look at him. His hair was wet and dripping into his eyes, which were looking down at me, full of worry. I was tired of people looking at me like that.
I had gotten those looks at my mother’s funeral, at my father’s second wedding, and then at his divorce.
I didn’t want to be that girl everyone always pitied.
So I pushed Potters hand away.
“Nothing happened,” I growled. “It’s just a headache, I’m fine”
This just earned me a sceptical look.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Potter said. “I didn’t realize screaming out in agony and falling to the ground was a regular occurrence for you. I guess I’ll just leave you to it then.”
He stood up and walked back over to the bathroom without a backwards glance.
“Please get some clothes on,” I yelled after him, as he closed the door shut behind him.
I touched a finger to my temple, but there was no pain there anymore. It had gone just as quickly as it had come.
Pushing myself up from the floor, I brushed the dust off my dress. I glanced at the closed bathroom door, from which I could hear the sound of water running.
I grabbed my shoes and slipped on my bracelets before padding over to the door and opening it with my hip.
With one backwards glance at the room, I stepped into the hallway, closing the door shut behind me.
As I tiptoed past closed bedrooms and passed out bodies, I just couldn’t shake off the feeling that I was running from something.
The cushion room was a mess. There were spilt drinks everywhere, chards of glass, items of clothing. I looked up and noticed a red bra hanging from the chandelier.
Lots of people seemed to have been too lazy to go and find a bed, because there were sleeping bodies scattered all over the room. I stepped over a snoring bloke in a chipmunk costume, carefully picking my way across the mine field.
I spotted Roxanne, sleeping TDS’s arms. They did look cute together, but I wasn’t getting a very good feeling about this guy. You know what I mean? Like bad vibes and whatnot. Did I just say vibes? Jeezum, I’ve been hanging around Roxanne too long.
The dance floor was even worse. The floating balls had disappeared, and the drink table had been pushed over, one of its legs lying on the other side of the room.
Shoes, jewellery, and different items of value littered the floor, and countless spilled drinks were being soaked up by the wood.
It seemed like this had been a pretty crazy night, and I was disappointed that I had missed it.
The corridors were all empty. I followed a bread crumb trail of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans to the Gryffindor Tower (yes, an actual trail of them), and wondered if Fred had been past yet. It seemed unlikely. If he had, there would be no bean trail to follow. There were more sleeping people in the Common Room, along with a couple of awake ones. Rose Weasley was sitting on the couch next to a dozing Lily Potter, reading a book. I said good morning to her, and made my slow way up the spiral staircase to the girls’ dormitories.
For some strange and unknown reason, there was a third year Hufflepuff boy lying in my bed. I stared at him for a while, wondering how the hell he had gotten up here.
But then I shrugged it off.
I changed into something comfortable, brushed my teeth, and attempted to tame The Beast, but my hair just wouldn’t listen, so I finally gave up and decided to pull it into a messy pile on top of my head, knowing that today there were going to be people walking around looking much worse than I did.
Once I was feeling a little fresher, I went back down to the Common Room, where Rose had been joined by Al, Josh, and a now woken Lily.
“Morning all,” I greeted, throwing myself down next to Josh. Rose smiled, Lily waved, Al scowled and Josh winced.
“Not so loud,” he whispered, pointing at his head. I shot him a look of innocent surprise.
“WHAT DID YOU SAY?! I DIDN’T QUIET CATCH THAT!” I exclaimed, making Rose laugh and Josh cover his ears, whimpering.
“You evil, evil person,” he moaned, shoving my knee half-heartedly. I smiled sweetly at him.
“You know I love you, Josh,” I told him, a tad louder than necessary. He just scowled at me.
He sighed, looking defeated. “I love you too, Phoenix,” he said.
I grinned, accepting my victory with pride and honour, like the true Gryffindor that I was.
“What was last night like?” Lily asked us, with a slightly disgruntled expression. I looked at her in surprise.
“Didn’t you go?” I asked. She shook her head.
“James wouldn’t let me,” she told us. “He said I was too young and that he didn’t want his baby sister being taken advantage of.” She rolled her eyes. “As if any boy would talk to me anyway. They’re all too scared James will hex them into next week if they even try.”
“I tried talking to him, Lils,” Al told his sister. “But he refused to see reason”
Lily growled. Rose looked up from her book.
“He’s a prat, that’s what. He gave Henry Spencer purple hair the other day just because he helped me clean up the frog spawn I’d spilt.”
Lily chuckled and started to tell Rose a story of her own. I turned to the two boys, who both look tired and miserable.
“Long night?” I asked, arching an eyebrow. Josh put his head in his hands and groaned. Al just continued to look grumpy. I prodded his leg with my foot. “What’s wrong?” I asked him.
“You know Hannah Davies, in Hufflepuff?” he asked me. I nodded. Hannah was a cute looking kid with short, curly blonde hair. “We sort of…had a thing. But last night, I caught her snogging that git, Spinnet. You know, the captain of the Ravenclaw team?”
His jaw clenched and I saw his hands close into fists. I got up and walked over to his chair, plunking myself onto his lap.
“I agree, Spinnet is a git,” I assented fiercely. “And one day, I’ll show him just how scary I can be when my friends have been hurt. But until then, don’t worry about it. Hannah’s a sweet girl. She’ll come round.” I smiled and gave him a hug. He returned it, but I could tell it was only half-hearted.
I kissed him lightly on the cheek, and then went back to my spot next to Josh, throwing my legs over his lap. He looked down at them warily.
“They don’t bite,” I assured him. He frowned and looked up at me.
“Will you hurt me if I touch them?” he whispered. I poked him playfully on the nose.
He grinned and placed his hand on my thigh.
“You’re in a good mood this morning,” he stated. “I no longer have to fear for my life.”
“Bite me,” I snarled. Josh sighed.
“And now, the return of the Phoenix we all know and love,” he said, slapping my leg. I grinned at him mischievously.
“Love being the key word,” I clarified with a wink.
“I didn’t see you last night,” Al announced. “You were at the party, weren’t you?”
I nodded. “I crashed early, though,” I explained, deciding not to delve into any unnecessary details.
“You missed a great night, then,” Josh said, his eyes glazing over as he thought about it had gone down.
I decided that I didn’t want to know.
“Don’t tell me you actually remember.” I said, dubious. Josh shook his head blissfully.
“That’s the beauty of it. Now I can make up any memory I want.”
“I wish I could do that,” Al sighed. I gave him a consoling look. Josh was still rattling on.
“I do remember one part, though. I was with Ams, see, and we-”
“You tell anyone about last night and I will castrate you with my bare hands.”
We all turned around at the sound of Amelie’s snarl. She was standing at the bottom of the staircase leading to the boys’ dormitory, hands on her hips. A pair of loose pants and a plain white singlet had substituted her dress form last night, and her blonde hair was tied in a loose bun on the very top of her head.
“Speak of the devil,” Josh quoted, smirking. Amelie growled and wedged herself in between Rose and Lily.
“Morning, lovely,” I greeted. Amelie shot me a salute, before resting her head on her knees and sighing.
I love people with hangovers. They make my day.
I was going to ask Ams if she would like a double chocolate, extra cream, sweet sugary éclair, but Josh thought there were more pressing matters to be heard of.
“What was a fine young lady such as yourself doing up in the dark, dangerous regions of the boys’ dormitories?” he asked her, quirking an eyebrow. Amelie kept her head on her knees and mumbled something about bras.
“What was that?” Rose asked, looking a little shocked.
Amelie raised her head. “I was looking for my bra.”
I raised my eyebrows, Josh looked interested, Rose frowned, Lily wolf-whistled, and Al sulked. Amelie pouted in response.
“It was a really pretty bra.”
My eyebrows rose even further.
“The silky red one with the lace?” I asked. Ams nodded her head sadly.
It was a terrible loss, that bra. I tried not to think about what it was doing off Amelie and up in the boys’ dorms.
We joked around for another minute or two, but then decided that it was high time we went and got some breakfast.
I was glad, when I caught sight of the scrambled eggs, the golden toast and the crispy bacon, that I was in a state to eat.
Everyone sitting in the Great Hall looked tired and worn, and a few had even fallen asleep in their cereal bowls. I caught sight of Dom, and she death-stared me as I walked past.
James and Fred were already sitting down at the Gryffindor table when we approached it. James was wolfing down waffles, while Fred stared at his cornflakes, looking slightly sick.
Me, Ams, Al, Josh, Lil and Rose took our seats next to them.
“Lovely day, don’t you think?” I pointed out as I poured myself some coco pops. “Ooh, strawberries and cream! Anyone fancy a bowl?” I got simultaneous groans from Fred, Josh and Amy. Grinning, I spooned the crunchy chocolate into my mouth.
It really was a nice day. The sky was blue and clear, and even if the sun was a bit weak, it was enough to warm your face.
“Phoenix, dear,” James started. I looked up from my cereal warily. “I think you should wear pink more often. It really brings out the brown in your eyes.” He smirked, winking. My grip tightened around my spoon.
“There are three things you should know,” I snarled, eyes lowering into two scary looking slits. “One: I have a full bowl of coco pops at my disposal, so you don’t want to piss me off. Two: if you ever mention the colour of my knickers again, you’ll wish that every girl was as forgiving as Daisy. And three,” I paused, and inhaled another spoonful of cereal as I thought. “Eh, I don’t have a number three.” I shrugged and went back to my breakfast. Potter pretended to look terrified, his expression then changing from fabricated fear to one of utter smugness. I made the decision then and there that I would never talk to Mr Arrogant again. For real this time.
I glanced up at Fred, who still looked sick.
“Anyone seen Daisy?” I asked, looking pointedly at him. He met my gaze and his dark cheeks blushed. A chorus of mumbled ‘no’s answered my question. I felt a stab of worry, but I decided to finish my coco pops first.
“Good morning!” someone sang, walking up to us. I recognized the voice as Roxanne’s.
She was still wearing her dress from last night, and her cheeks were oddly flushed. She smiled at us all, sitting down next to her twin brother and pouring herself a cup of tea.
I looked over at Fred again. He hadn’t touched his cereal, and my stab of worry came back, stronger, this time.
“Rox, have you seen Daisy?” When Roxanne shook her head, Rose turned to me.
“Why? Is she alright?” she asked. I shrugged and saw Fred shift uncomfortably.
“I’m going to go look for her,” I announced, standing up. Rose stood up too and said she would come with me.
With one last parting glance at my unfinished breakfast, I walked out of the hall, Rose following me from behind.
I knew Daisy wasn’t in our dorm, or the Room of Requirement, and I knew that there were too many places in this castle to search through every room, so I decided to go to the one place I knew Daisy would be if she was upset.
“The Greenhouses?” Rose repeated when I told her. I nodded and grabbed her arm, dragging her in the direction of the buildings.
We poked our heads inside each one of the stuffy sheds, but Daisy was nowhere to be seen. Deciding to try out the back, where the gardens were, we walked around, following a winding dirt path.
Daisy was sitting with her back up against Greenhouse 2, her dress dirt-stained and her short hair messy, the headband I had managed to put it in last night disappeared.
Her head was bent, so I couldn’t see her face, and her knees where curled up to her chest. Her shoes were gone, too. Her bare toes dug into the soft earth angrily.
Rose was looking at me with large, worried eyes. I put finger to my lips, and slowly walked over to Daisy, kneeling down next to her and placing a hand on her trembling shoulder.
As soon as my hand touched her skin, she lifted her head and looked up at me. Her cheeks were tearstained, mixing with the dirt on her face, and her eyes were staring at me with anguish and sorrow, so honest and painful that I felt her sadness too, for a second.
A queer, creepy feeling came over me at the sight of her teary face, and I removed my hand from her shoulder, frowning.
Have you ever had déjà vu? You know that feeling, where you feel like you have seen a place before, or a person, or something. And it’s gone just as soon as it comes, right?
Well, multiply that feeling by one hundred, add twenty and then double it, and you’ve just about got the crazy déjà vu I felt.
But I was too worried about Daisy to get freaked out.
“Daisy? Talk to us,” I said, as Rose circled around us and sat down on Daisy’s other side. Daisy didn’t look at either of us, instead stared straight ahead, her eyes staying stubbornly dry.
“Is it Fred?” asked Rose. I glanced over at her when she said this, surprised that she would think that. No one had noticed anything strange going on between Fred and Dais, and yet Rose was acting as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.
I was even more surprised when Daisy nodded.
“He’s not talking to me again,” she sniffed. Rose nodded in understanding, while I sat there, stunned. “It’s like I’m some sort of distraction for him. ‘Daisy love, you’re the only girl I want, you know that. I like you, I need you, I love you, I’m such a lying prat and I know it’. I never believe him. Ever. But I want to. I-” Her voice broke into a sob, and her small shoulders shook. I cooed and wrapped my arms around her, laying my head on her quivering shoulder. Rose imitated me from her other side.
“I do wonder how many different girls he says that too,” Daisy went on, her voice getting stronger. “I just don’t understand why he has to torture me. We used to be friends, do you remember?” Rose and I nodded. “And then…then it changed. I was fine with it at first. I liked him, and I thought he liked me. And then James,” she spat out the name like it was some sort of disease, stiffening as she said it, “had to come and…and mess it all up. Fred and I got together in the summer holidays, see, but we didn’t tell anyone, because Roxanne would have gone crazy, and Phoenix was getting drunk too often to keep a secret.”
I blushed at this. We had spent summer in Brighton, Daisy, me, and all the Wotter cousins. It had been two months of lazy days on the beach, and laughing nights spent around a fire, with a tall supply of marshmallows and a never-ending stream of tales from the war, told by the Chosen One himself.
“James found out, and had to stick his fat nose into it,” Daisy continued bitterly. “He came up to me and said that Freddy didn’t want to see me anymore, that it had just been a fling…and when I went and talked to Fred, he said he had never said anything of the sort. So we got back together. I don’t really know if you could call it together, but either way, Fred was feeding me a steady supply of lies.
“And then school started up again, with a whole new flurry of excuses. ‘Roxanne will go crazy, I don’t want to ruin what we already have, I don’t want you to end up hurt.’ Fat load of good that did,” She snarled with a humourless laugh. “And onto the last holidays. While I was in France with my aunts, James was calmly convincing Freddy that because I wasn’t around, it was okay to shag Marissa. And then I come back, and on the Hogwarts Express, James decides it would be a dandy idea to tell me all about it. And he acts like it’s all fine!” She finished her story on an angry note, and I realized that if I didn’t let out my frustration before seeing James again, there would not be a soul in this universe capable of holding me back when I threw myself at him.
Then I remembered something. A faraway memory, covered in dust, but just reachable.
“Fred didn’t shag Marissa. I heard him and James talk about it. Fred didn’t shag her.”
Daisy glanced up at me hopefully at these words, but her face was soon crestfallen once again.
“Marissa isn’t the only one,” she muttered. “If I tried to count all the girls Fred has been with since the first time he said I love you, I would be at it for years.”
“What was the deal with you two last night?” I asked her, hoping I wasn’t hitting a soft spot. I was never one for tact.
But Daisy shrugged, unperturbed, and I realised I would rather have her crying. “He came up to me at lunch the day before, and said that he wanted to forget everything that happened and start fresh, to really give it a try this time. So I said I’d think about it.” I thought I could see where this was leading up to. “Then in the Common Room, on Friday, when I saw James I just sort of…lost it. I felt like this was his entire fault, I guess. When does a girl ever blame the guy who actually hurt her? I thought Fred had meant what he said, but then I ran into him snogging Little Miss Easy, that Chang girl, and I vowed to never give into him again.” She shrugged. “I lasted a day.”
“What are you going to do now?” Rose asked her softly. “I could talk to Roxanne if you want. I’m sure she would understand.”
Daisy shook her head sadly. “There’s no point. Fred’s gone back to giving me the cold shoulder.”
Rose opened her mouth to say something, but closed it again. She seemed just as sad as Daisy was, and it ripped at my heart to see my friends like that.
“Fee, what are you doing?” asked Dais, as I leapt to my feet. I looked down at the two redheads, a stony expression on my face.
“I’m going to go fine that shitfaced git, Fred Weasley, and I’m going to make him see reason,” I explained, holding up a hand to stop Daisy’s protests. “I’m going to make him see what a mistake he’s making by letting this lovely, sweet, kind redheaded girl go, and if he doesn’t come crawling back to you, showering you with gifts and grovelling for forgiveness, I’ll make him do it with my foot on his butt.” I paused for breath. Daisy looked somewhere between slightly perplexed and highly scared, and Rose was surveying me with an amusing little smile. I lowered my eyes into slits and clenched my fists as I went on:
“And when I’ve done that, I’m going to hunt James Potter down, and I’m going to punch that arrogant git until not even his bloody mother will be able to tell him apart from Voldemort.”
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With chocolate sprinkles! And whipped cream, and a milion and one cherries!!
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