Chapter 6 : The one with the bras.
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Especially, it seemed, in Jan.
She was very tanned this year, having just come back from Egypt, and given how strangely hot this September first was she was dressed in a white strap top that made her look even more so. Her purple bra peaking out. Not that I noticed.
Except I had, very much so, and she had short shorts on too –and very long tanned legs.
It wasn’t really very fair.
“How are you?” I asked, my voice sounding strained and awkward. It seemed she was very good actually. She looked good at any rate. Which was unfair.
“You’ve muscled up again,” Jan grinned, “Quidditch?”
“Yeah,” I nodded. The normal slightly awkward your-my-best-friend-but-we’ve-only-communicated-through-letters-for-five-weeks feeling seemed not to have infested Jan who was acting as cool as anything with her foreign confidence and really long tanned legs.
“And you’ve grown. I bet anything you’re taller than Rose.”
Jan may be shorter than rose but... she definitely has longer legs. Really long tanned legs. Have I already mentioned them?
“I’m taller than James and that’s the important thing.” I said. Jan had some red-ish coloured lip-stuff on. That was shiny. And glittered. I stared at her a little bit completely at a loss of what to say. When had Jan gotten so... sexy? (Was I allowed to think of my friend like that? Was that...permitted?)
“Shall we get a compartment?” She suggested, blinking obviously. She may have noticed my staring and looked a little uncomfortable. I made a note to pull out my eyeballs. Or just stop wearing my glasses.
“Yeah,” I said, returning back to my parents to grab my trunk. James seemed to be laughing at me and Lily had already disappeared with her trunk. This wasn’t altogether surprising: Lily was always disappearing and James was usually laughing at me. It was the way of the world.
“For goodness sake, Al, don’t stare at her.” Mum reprimanded, making a vague attempt to flatten my hair and pulling me in for a hug before releasing me. “I swear none of us were so sex obsessed when we were there age,”
...and thus I knew the awkwardness of the moment your parents start talking about their sex lives was upon us once more.
“That’s what you think.” Aunt Angelina said with a laugh, glancing pointedly at Uncle George. Freddie cringed visibly at that. Didn’t blame him. Internal death was waiting for us all if they continued. I’d suffered the same fate many a time over the course of the summer holiday and had even been subjected to the ‘sex talk’ which had been, er... an experience (especially considering James thought it would be funny to levitate a banana around the kitchen whilst Dad was delivering said talk, it was pretty funny though. Especially when he got the banana to repeatedly hit Dad on the head... until Dad threw it at him and made James sit through the sex talk for a second time as punishment, with half a banana smashed in his hair).
“He’s been like this all summer, honestly,” Mum said. “Worse than James.” I found myself flushing with embarrassment and picked up my trunk in a hurry. When either parent described you as ‘worse than James’ you knew they were slightly astounded by your behaviour. I needed to get out of here before they started elaborating.... Ah, Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione had arrived now. “I suppose the war must have put a downer on all our sex lives,” He commented. “We made up for it when it was over though,” Ron winked, nudging Hermione who blushed. Rose looked like she was about to throw up. Hugo had already run off –not that I blamed him. If I was sensible I’d have started looking for escape routes before the conversation had really started.
“Or mid-battle,” Dad suggested. “Anyway, stop embarrassing him, Ginny. He’ll manage that very well himself if he keeps staring at Janet like that.”
“She’s my best friend,” I countered, suddenly feeling very confused. Mum sent me her typical ‘awh – bless him’ look which always filled me with the desire to do something really disgusting so she’d stop regarding me as cute. Then again, she still sent that look at James on occasions and he thought it would funny to stick synchronised stink bombs down every single (girls) Hogwarts toilet.
“Precisely,” Dad laughed.
“Oh leave him alone,” Ron said. “Those sorts of romantic issues are hard on anyone,”
“What?” I asked, turning to James. “What are they on about?”
“Haven’t got a clue,” James said which I doubted considering he was laughing very hard indeed. Still, not unusual. “Anyway, compartment.” He said before heading off in the direction of the train. I waved back at Mum and Dad, not getting too close unless either (mum) wanted another hug, and headed towards the train.
James followed me into Jan’s carriage with a grin. Jan seemed slightly confused about his intrusion into our lives, which normally only occurred when he needed something from either of us – and surely he couldn’t be in trouble yet?
I suddenly began feeling very irritated. I’d dealt with James all summer – apart from the occasions when he went gallivanting off with one or other of his mates but they felt very rare when you were stuck in the house – and it was true that I’d seen a few of my dorm mates once or twice, and there’d been enough family get togethers that Rose’s (very very tall) presences was a given but... I hadn’t seen Jan for over a month. And she was my best friend.
Letters just didn’t cut it and I missed watching Jan irritably pick of her nail varnish, and excessively paint her nails, and glare at James as though he was the devil incarnate (the latter especially given Jan was the only person in the whole world who did not think that the sun shinned out of James’s deformed arse – bar members of the family). Why couldn’t James just bugger off? Why was he even here?
“Guess what Albus did this summer!” James declared happily. Oh shit. I’d forgotten about the other reason for him bothering me – embarrassing the shit out of me. I braced myself for the onslaught and wondered exactly why my parents had ever thought having two sons was a good idea.
“I don’t know...” Jan said sardonically, examining her sky-blue nails instead of looking at him directly. She looked just as pissed off that he’d sauntered into our carriage as I did. Good.
“He lost it!” He practically yelled. Merlin.
“Shut up James.” I muttered slumping down on the seat and stretching out my legs. I had a distinct feeling that this story was not going to end for a long time. I did not need for it to be retold. Again.
“Rose,” James grinned as she pushed passed him to enter the carriage. “You’re here for story time too – wonderful. So, first there was this blonde girl on holiday. Spanish, wasn’t she Al? Couldn’t even speak English.”
“She spoke English fine!” I interjected irritably. It was inevitable now – my death would be mere seconds away with Rose-feminist-Weasley in the carriage.
“Well, anyway, Mum caught them making out in the pool. She went mental. It was hilarious. I’ve never laughed so much in my so life.”
“She only caught us because you freaking told her!” I said angrily. Bloody James. “And I didn’t tell when you went skinny dipping with that American girl last year,”
James ignored that. “So...then Al and this girl disappear for three hours the next day. No one has a clue where they’ve gone. When he eventually shows up he’s soaking wet, just had a shower...”
I swore at James very loudly. Jan raised a disgusted eyebrow in my direction. Rose was drinking in his every word and glaring at me with a terrifying blank expression. I feared for my manhood.
“He didn’t sleep with her though, Al assures me she just gave him a -”
“Shut up!” I yelled throwing my sandwiches mum made at his head. “Will you just piss off?” I asked. “Go back to your real friends.”
“Anyway,” James said, catching the sandwiches and putting them in his pocket. God damn it. Now I was probably going to starve or something. Eurgh. “Mum wouldn’t let him out of his sight the rest of the holiday, but she let her guard down when we got home. I guess she thought as soon as all the girls could understand what he was saying they wouldn’t go near the prat, but... maybe not. Mandy, her name was. Thicker than a Hufflepuff, easier than a first year test.”
“Get to the point will you?” Jan snapped.
“Al shagged her.” James finished. “Multiple times. See you later guys, there’s so many family members to tell – so little time!” I swore at him and sent a hex in his direction. He ducked it and sidestepped out the room before disappearing off down the corridor. I glared at the spot where he disappeared disgustedly.
“It’s all right Al,” Jan said after ten minutes of (deafening and awkward) silence. “I had a bit of a holiday romance too,”
How, in any way shape or form, did that make anything better?
“Heard you shagged a Spaniard,” Freddie said loudly, making a point of clapping me on the shoulder before taking his seat at the Gryffindor table. Rose rolled her eyes and looked highly irritated but remained silent. These were the times when I detested having such a freaking large family. Although, with James around even a small family would have taken up a great deal of my patients... but, seriously, six different cousins had approached me ‘congratulating’ me (the male variety) or informing me they’d ‘expected more’ (the female variety) and I’d pretty much forgotten I had that many cousins.
James sat down in the seat I’d reserved for Jan. I told him to go away (sort of). “When did Jan get so freaking hot?” James questioned. “I mean, seriously. Talk about sex on legs. And great legs too.” He seemed to be finding this question very amusing. Tosser.
“Sod off James, and stop eying up my best friend.” I said pushing him out of his seat and waiting until he was out of earshot until... “She has gotten hot though, hasn’t she?” I asked Rose. “It’s not just me? I mean, she was hot before, but...”
“I’m annoyed enough at you already Al, have this conversation with one of your friends with slightly higher levels of testosterone.” Rose replied primly.
“But he’s right, isn’t it?” I asked desperately. “She’s just... filled out and gotten really...Oh, hi Jan,” I said quickly turning round to face her feeling sheepish. Was it friendship betrayal to talk about her like that? Probably. Argh. I needed to sort out my head or something.
She was smiling slightly as she sat down with a slight blush on her cheek bones. Damn, she was beautiful. I scrunched my forehead up and thought of non-sexual things, like that time James had mooned those Italian girls and had gotten his boxers stuck somehow. They’d had to be cut off him. James had made me do the cutting.
And I was officially grossed out enough that I could talk to Jan properly. “So was it a good summer, apart from your holiday romance?”
“Pretty good,” Jan nodded. “It’s James’s last year – you excited?”
“Relieved. At least then he won’t insist on making everyone believe that I -”
“But did you?” Jan asked, whispering now because someone at the front was talking. Her breath on my skin made my stomach feel funny. I felt lightheaded and dizzy. This wasn’t good for my health (mentally and physically).
“Erm... yes,” I admitted. Jan’s breath was suddenly no longer on my skin, and was now directed downwards at her lap. For a second she looked upset, but that wouldn’t make any sense, so I assumed she was just angry at me or something. Or ‘disappointed’ as Lily had lamented when James had – through laughter – retold the whole story to her (I repeat: tossseeerr).
“Did James get with anyone?” Jan asked after ten minutes in which I had to listen to the beginning of the sorting.
“No,” I said, suddenly feeling even more ashamed of my actions. I glanced at the table. Probably best not to look at Jan, she made me feel guilty. Why? Well. That was confusing. Irritating too, I didn’t want to feel this weird pit of guilt every time she half looked in my direction. It was horrible. “I don’t think he wanted to do anything more to upset Mum, after the tattoo thing.”
“Oh yeah,” Jan said with a vague attempt at a smile. Damn.
“She went mental, just like you said she would.” I said desperately clinging on to any conversation topic which didn’t revolve around my sex life. “Especially when James told her I’d paid for it, but... it was better than her believing Lily’s tale.”
“Right,” Jan said distractedly. And then “my sister’s turned Goth.”
“Your twin,” I corrected, “and Goth? Really?”
“Yeah,” Jan said, rolling her eyes. “Well, a strange and slightly confused mix of punk, Goth, and metal head. I don’t think she really understands.”
“Has she dyed her hair pink?”
“No, but she’s got piercings in places that would make your hair lie flat.” I grimaced. “Let’s just say she definitely will not be able to breast feed.”
“Seriously? Your Hufflepuff twin?”
“She has a name,” Jan said with an exaggerated eye roll.
“I know,” I said. “Ellen, right?” I laughed. James had dated her twin once. And had called her Ellen. That’s probably when Jan’s deep rooted hatred began to take its full form.
“Eleanor.” She said, smiling slightly as she turned back to the front and began to ignore me.
I wasn’t in the dog house too much then.
“Jan,” I complained, desperately trying to keep up with her ridiculously long (currently brown and smooth looking) legs (I may be taller, but her body pretty must doesn’t start till my chest. It’s unquestionably bizarre). “Slow down,”
“Don’t walk so sodding slowly then,” Jan said, skipping down the steps with ease. “I want to talk to Professor Whatzit about potions.”
“You’re continuing it?” I asked, “You hate it.”
“Yes,” Jan snapped, whirling round to face me at the bottom of the stairs. “But I, Albus, unlike you, have thought about the future and I need Potions to be able to enter Healer training, so I have to be early to breakfast so I can talk to Professor Whatzit and persuade him to let me continue, even thought I only got an A.”
“You got an A?”
“I told you it was a bad exam,” Jan sighed, folding her arms crossly.
...And that’s when it struck me painfully on the shoulder and I swore loudly. “What the-?” I demanded, rubbing my shoulder. It must have at least fallen from the fifth flight, and that thing had picked up shit loads of speed.
“A galleon,” Jan said, “Hey, of all the things that could have hit you... wait? What? Why have you gone pale?”
I shook my head and brought a hand up to my head.
“Do you remember? I told James... I wouldn’t help him out until he’d paid every last galleon...”
I was genuinely scared. Well, that was depressing (don’t tell James/Jan/Lily/anyone please).
Jan bent down and picked up the galleon. Sure enough when she turned the coin over there was one of those all familiar notes... ‘Help me.’ I shoved it into the depths of my pocket and decided I would ignore it until James inevitable did something more drastic to catch my attention.
“Do you think I’m good enough to be a Healer?” Jan asked nervously, reaching up and playing with a lock of her hair. She was just too cute.
“Sometimes I think you lack the caring capacity,” I said, ducking as she lunged for my head. I laughed. “Seriously, Jan, you’d be great at it. Why, what’s made you doubt yourself?”
“Potions,” Jan sighed, still playing with her hair and that normal nervous fashion that I was so fond of. “It’s just... it’s not my favourite subject in the world, and no one else is doing it, and it makes me wonder if I’m good enough to do it.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I said simply, shoving my hands in my pocket. “Anyway, let’s go get our timetables. I need to talk to someone too.”
“James?” Jan questioned. I called James something that Jan’s mother probably wouldn’t like and used a wonderful phrase that made Jan grin. “Who then?”
“I need to talk to Professor Whatzit about taking potions.” Jan sent me a funny look. “You need a potions partner, right?” An expression of semi-delight from Jan crossed her face – making taking potions for the next two years entirely worth it – for a split second and...
Then the galleon in my pocket exploded.
“So,” James grinned, “You know how I had a bit of a back to school rave last night?”
“Yes,” I said. “Because you made a point of not inviting me.” I angrily stabbed my treacle tart and thought of all the things I could be doing on my first lunchtime back, rather than sitting here with my idiot of a brother, sorting out yet another of his problems.
“You cramp my style,” James shrugged. “Point is. I slept with Teagan Reaves and -”
“Slytherin chaser Teagan Reaves?”
“How many Teagan Reaves do you know?” James asked, running a hand through is hair. “She’s er... Quidditch Captain too. Now Flint’s gone.”
“Well Quidditch just got slightly more interesting.”
“Hmm.” James said, seemingly lost in thought for a moment. “Well, do you see my dilemma?”
“No.” I answered truthfully. “Unless you’re thinking of starting up something serious with her.”
James laughed at that and it took him a long few moments to recover, during which I stared at him expressionlessly and wished I had been able to ignore the six different summons I’d received over the course of the day. In the end Jan had forced me to come. She seemed to think James’s next attempt to capture my attention could be fatal. For who, she didn’t specify. “Okay,” James said, taking a deep breath to compose himself. “This is my problem.”
Then he pulled a bra out of his pocket and placed it on the table. I chocked.
“No need to get excited Al,” James smirked. “It’s only a bra.”
“Why do you have that in your pocket?” I demanded.
“Teagan left it.” James said. “I found it in the dorm this morning. She left... and... Well, I can’t exactly go and give it to her, can I? And if she realises it’s missing and asks for it then... So, it’s got to be put back in her dorm.”
“Okay,” I agreed. “So you want some kind of distraction whilst you do it or...?”
“Silly naive little brother.” James smiled. “If I break into her dorm and anyone catches me... how stalkerish will I seem? No, you have to break into her dorm and return the bra to her suitcase.”
I stared at him for a long moment.
“You don’t mean that.”
“James,” I said slowly. “I’ve already had to go to the Hospital wing twice today because of you and because of you every single damn member of our family is calling me Spanish Casanova and it’s really...”
“Was Casanova Spanish?” James interjected. “Its sounds slightly Spanish, if you see what I mean? Maybe I should just tell them to drop the Spanish bit, I mean...”
“You told them too?”
“Well,” James grinned. “I figured otherwise I didn’t have any leverage, and as you’ve been such a moody sod as of late.”
I told him to disappear (ish).
“Anyway, Al, you’ve got the invisibility cloak... I’ll lend you the map. What could go wrong?”
I weighed up the options in my head... The map and the cloak changed things... It meant that I was safe. There wasn’t really any harm then... was there? And every time Louis walked past half-singing ‘spaanisshh Cassannoovaa’ Jan practically winced and would be irritable for the next five minutes... if they’d all shut up then... surely that would be worth it?
“You’ll make them stop?” I asked warily.
“Sure,” James grinned.
“Fine.” I agreed, taking another spoonful of my treacle tart with a strange yet familiar feeling that I would regret this. A lot.
“Oh and Al?” James said standing up with a grin. “This mission requires strict confidentiality, you follow? Not a word to anyone.”
“Aren’t you going to eat your treacle tart?”
“I’m watching my waist line.” James smirked. “Maybe you should try it. Laters little bro!” And then. “Hey, Al. I love you man. Best brother ever,” He added at the doorway.
“Next time you’re on your own.” I muttered, hastily removing the bra – which of course James had left – off the table and into my pocket: just in case someone walked in and found me sitting there, noming on a treacle tart with only a bra for company.
“So, you’re going to try out?” I asked Jan, nudging her with my arm as we sat in the library. Jan had decided that in order to get good grades she had to study more... something which of course I was dragged into. It was okay though. There was no way she’d keep it up the whole year. Personally, I was giving it a week.
A week was also the same amount of time I’d given myself to get over Jan becoming all hot and stuff. For the next week I was allowed to appreciate this: stare, ogle and the like. Then I had to man-up and stop being a shitty best friend. It was like Rose said, objectifying woman and all that shit, and I couldn’t count myself as Jan’s best friend if I didn’t even respect her enough to not continually think about her legs/surprisingly attractive arms. No, it must not continue. I had an entire week to get over this whole Jan-is-really-really-hot-now thing and then it would be gone and I could continue my best friend duties guilt-free. Simple.
If only I could actually concentrate on what she was saying.
“Yeah,” Jan nodded. “I’m a good chaser, after all – why shouldn’t I try out?”
“James overdose,” I frowned. Flicking open my new potions book (mum had delightedly posted it as soon as she’d found out, thanks to Lily – of course. Mum had spent three weeks trying to persuade me to take potions in the summer, after all. Giving James such regular opportunities to mention learning how to brew contraceptive potion). I turned to the first chapter but I just wasn’t in the mood to study – the words looked more like squiggles and didn’t make any sense. I was much too lazy.
“Symptoms included becoming him.” Jan commented lazily, copying down another two lines of neat notes – her purple fingernails gliding across the page smoothly.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“That you’re acting like James?” She suggested lightly, flicking over another page and copying out another line. “Well, a mixture between James and a hormonal Lily.”
“Lily doesn’t have hormones. She’s not allowed.”
“See, right there. That is James.” She said placing down her quill and staring at me. “And I don’t really want to talk to James right now.”
Maybe that was why I was acting like such a prat with all this staring and such? I had inadvertently become James.
....did James stare at Jan?
“Well, you didn’t seem to have a problem with James last year.” I commented, suddenly feeling irritated. “You fancied someone a bit like him, didn’t you?”
“Oh, the irony is sickening.” Jan said, rolling her eyes.
“Who was that, anyway?”
“It was you, you idiot!” Jan exclaimed. “I fancied you last year.”
“Oh.” I said, letting the pages of my potions book fall. I swallowed and looked at Jan curiously. “Me?”
“That’s why I was annoyed about bleeding Jenny.” She rolled eyes. “And why I went out with Wood again. I wanted to make you jealous.”
“Obviously it was stupid,” Jan said, turning back to her book and redipping her quill in the ink. “I realised that after you ignored all my hints.”
“Really, Albus, stop sounding so gormless. You’ll be acting like Hugo soon, and no one wants that.”
“You were hinting things?”
“I thought you knew,” Jan said, putting her pen down again and looking over at me thoughtfully. “I made it so obvious. Rose had a field day over it.”
“Why would I have known?” I asked, suddenly realising that my head was beginning to hurt. When I really thought about it, it almost made sense. She’d been so angry at me... she hadn’t talked for ages... but, had Jan really fancied me? How... bizarre. Also kind of flattering. Considering she was hot and all.
“You’re so oblivious!” Jan exclaimed, half laughing, “But it doesn’t matter, anyway, because I got over it. It would never have worked. We’re too good friends.”
“Too good friends...?” I repeated, my head definitely feeling confused now. We were good friends. Best friends. But... surely that was a good thing when it came to relationships and the like? Knowing each other was bad?
Jan used to fancy me!?!
“Yeah, you’re right.” I agreed – because she was watching me very carefully and this concept of knowing each other ‘too well’ was a little too girlish for me to understand it. I still didn’t really know what she was on about and became slightly distracted by the way the sun was shining on the left side of her face, making her look kind of angelic and beautiful.
“Glad we’re on the same page.” Jan said stiffly before placing her elbow on the desk and returning to copying down her notes, now seeming almost as distracted as me. It also seemed that she didn’t want to look at me.
What had I done wrong this time?
“I honestly didn’t have a clue,” I told Jan after a few long minutes.
“Oblivious,” Jan laughed –seemingly recovered from her confusing spout of coolness. “Anyway, let’s go get some food. I’m hungry.”
I nodded enthusiastically – anything to get out the god damn library – and hastily shoved all my books back into my bag.
“Right,” I said, but Jan had frozen again – staring at the floor with a horror struck expression all over her face. “What?” I asked, following her gaze and then...
“I’m sure I probably don’t want to know,” Jan began, swallowing. “But why the hell did a bra just fall out your pocket?”
James had said it would be simple. Break into the Slytherin common room (wait under the invisibility cloak until someone else entered) somehow work out which were the girls dorms, break into said girls dorms then find the correct trunk and leave it there. But... he had forgot to mention that the stairs still worked in the same turning into a slide way (although, even I had to admit that watching all the Slytherin’s confusedly stare up at the spontaneous staircase had been fairly amusing) and I’d had to leave, go get my broom and then return again.
Then there was the whole deal about finding the seventh year’s dorm, which I did – although I had to go into every single dorm (accidently walking in on several poor Slytherin girls whilst they were getting changed) to finally discover that the seventh years were at the bottom.
Then, as it turned out, the most difficult bit was working out whose trunk was whose. There were books all over the place, robes flung any old how and no names on the trunks. I sighed deeply and thought for a long moment.
There was only one thing for it.
Jan had seen fit to ensure I understood bra sizes from the day she started wearing them (a strange day for me, as she insisted on detailing exactly how it felt. Given I had been twelve at the time I hadn’t exactly known what to make of it). I’d just have to... try and work it out by bra size.
I pulled the offending bra out of my pocket and flicked it over to read the label. 30 D.
Was it strange that I now new Teagan Reaves bra size? Yes. Almost definitely.
I knelt down next to the nearest trunk and began searching for bras, which – honestly – really wasn’t how I’d envisioned spending my time when I’d got up this morning. This, right here, was ridiculous.
If I was a girl, where in my trunk would I put my bras?
No. Too weird. Where did Jan keep her bras? Down the side of her trunk, to the left. Should I know that? Maybe not. (Jan. Bras. Mental implosion. Seven days. Used to bloody fancy me?!?) I shook my head, suddenly feeling even more confused, when my hand came into contact with something stringy and bra-strap like. I pulled and out came a particularly lacy red bra that I rather hoped belonged to Teagan. Partially because it would make everything so much simpler, and partially because it was a better mental image than if it belonged to Parkinson.
Distinctly not a match. And probably Parkinson’s, unfortunately, because she was probably ten inches less skinny with an extraordinary amount of breast. Which, for some unknown reason that I will never understand, she feels the need to display on regular occasions. Shudder.
The second trunk contained a 30 B. Again, probably not a match.
The third was a very very padded flowered affair. 28 AA. So we all knew whose that was.
I sighed deeply and began rummaging through the forth trunk. Why did I let James talk me into these things? The next one I pulled out came attached to a matching thong. It was a strange black thing with very tangled straps and a very old label. I turned it over in my hands to try and locate it and then...
And then the strap fell off. I picked it back off the floor and hastily tried to reattach it, finding the fastening incredibly fiddlier than I’d expected. I shrugged the cloak off my shoulders because the room was incredibly stuffy and I was feeling very hot and ridiculous as I rummaged through random girls bras like this was something I’d normally do. James was a prat and... the strap was backwards. Sod. This wasn’t how this was supposed to go.
Bloody hell. I was going to die.
Never mind, I thought, throwing it to the side and digging back into the trunk to find a bra that I could actually read the label off. This time I accidently dragged out a whole armful of assorted bras in bright block colours – some patterned and some lacy. I stared at my hoard in alarm feeling panicked and suffocated and then...
Then the door burst open and I was suddenly face to face with all the Slytherin seventh years.
They stared at me, which wasn’t right, because I was supposed to be invisible... but then I’d shrugged it off my shoulders and, the hood must have fallen down and... I was standing in the middle of their dorm holding their fucking bras.
“Erm...” I began, not knowing how on earth I was supposed to explain this away. “I can explain?” I suggested nervously. I couldn’t.
Yasmin Hardy screamed.
I threw the bras in the air, grabbed my broom and ran for my bloody life.
Jan had been laughing for twenty fucking minutes. She was actually chocking now. On most occasions I probably would have stepped up and become a man by helping her out or something, but given she was laughing at me I’d decided just to watch her suffer. If she stopped breathing all together I’d give her mouth to mouth.
You never know she might even enjoy it (given she used to fancy me!). Hell, maybe I would enjoy it. Actually... the whole mouth to mouth thing was becoming more and more tempting...
Seven days, Al, seven days.
I leant against the wall and sighed. Jan was doubled over, still laughing, tears streaming down her face in violent looking waves. Ever so often people kept stopping to stare at us – either to give Jan a concerned glance (she was an alarming shade of red at this point) or to look at me in horror. It seemed, the word about me breaking into some girls dorms and looking at a couple of bras had spread...
Which was why, incidentally, Jan was hysterically laughing. As soon as I’d managed to escape the rampaging Slytherin girls (who’d chased me half way round the castle, partially because when I’d thrown the armful of bras several had attached themselves to me and were later lost on route.) I’d hidden out for ten minutes, had a breather, and then come to find Jan.
She’d been in the library having not given up her study kick just yet (although, if truth be told, she had just been painting her nails in a brilliant turquoise) and yet she’d already heard the story. Given I’d explained the mission previously she burst out laughing the moment I walked in. Thus both of us had been chucked out the library pending further notice and Jan was still bloody laughing.
“I’m going to say,” I said slowly. “That it wasn’t me and someone was just pretending to be me with polyjuce potion.”
She took a deep breath. “No one would believe that. It’s too farfetched.”
“Can I transfer schools?”
“If you learn French,” Jan said, before bursting into giggles all over again. It was so tempting to bang my head against the wall it was unreal. “Did they all run after you?”
“Yes.” I muttered irritably. “And I ran into a wall because one of the bras fell over my eyes,”
Then she started laughing again.
“It wasn’t my fault!” I exclaimed. “If they had their clothes labelled then none of this would have happened!”
“Do you label your clothes?” Jan demanded through her laughter.
“Mum sews our name in the back of our robes,” I mumbled, suddenly feeling embarrassed. “Except James changed all mine so it’s says ‘Allboobs Potter.”
“Oh god!” Jan grinned. “That’s going to be your new nickname!”
Every single pupil in the entirety of Hogwarts was talking about ‘Alboobs Potter’ the perverted freak who’d been sneaking into other girls dorms since before the dawning of time sniffing, taking hostage and thoughtlessly abusing girl’s bras. It was not funny. It was so categorically not funny that I wanted to cry or run home and complain to mum until her ears fell off.
I was doing neither of those things. I was hiding in my dorm and pretending that I did not exist. I gritted my teeth and stared at the opposite wall feeling increasingly irritable.
This was all James’s fault. I resented him for it.
James had claimed it would soon ‘blow over’ but this was the kind of thing that stuck in people’s memories until decades afterwards at some washed up reunion this same story would be struck up again: ‘you remember that Albus Potter? Harry Potter’s slightly less impressive son? Remember the time he was caught perving on girls bras?’ and everyone would remember. I was certainly going to remember.
And this time James had gone too far – much too far – and with everything that had proceeded it there was no wonder that I was so pissed off. He just had to keep pushing. He didn’t care about the affect his little schemes had on me as long as he remained in his top spot: with the grades and the girls and the Quidditch. Everything he’d always been expected to have.
I angrily punched my pillow. Was it my fault that I couldn’t help resenting him for it? Resenting him for always being that little bit more impressive? And I was that resentment which meant I always felt obliged to help out on his silly schemes. Out of guilt.
No, that wasn’t it, not really. James had a strange magnetism that nobody could help resist. There was something about his attitude that even I, his long suffering brother, couldn’t help but be drawn too. I wanted to be part of his insane life. I wanted to be involved. Even if that did mean running around carrying out little errands and whatnot at my expense – it was really the only time we spent together and...
“Hey,” Rose said, stepping into the dorm and sitting herself down on Rory’s bed next to mine.
“Hey,” I said in response. I didn’t much want to look at her. I was quite happy wallowing in my resentment until everyone had been struck by sudden amnesia and forgot who I was, and who my brother was, and anything that had ever connected me to girls (except Jan because, even though I was annoyed at her too, I wasn’t altogether sure if I could live without her).
“Feeling sorry for yourself?” Rose asked.
“Why shouldn’t I?” I returned suddenly feeling even more irritated. “My life is over!”
“Slightly melodramatic, don’t you think?”
“Everyone else is as melodramatic as can be, so why can’t I? It’s so unfair! James is allowed to prance about doing whatever he likes and Jan’s allowed to PMS and start being all dramatic about failing things and... and laughing, and then if I ever do anything everyone just expects me to shut up and suck it up. I’m so fed up.”
“Well, yeah,” Rose agreed.
“James can just go sleep with whoever he likes but as soon as I do something it’s this great big deal and everyone’s talking about it and laughing about it... why am I such a joke?”
“Because you let yourself a joke and because you like feeling hard done by.”
“I am hard done by!”
“I’m not saying you’re not,” Rose said, “because James is a prat and Jan does have the tendency to be slightly insensitive on occasions – not that you don’t too–but you let James walk all over you because you like being a martyr.” I stared at her for a long moment. “And you think that people will think you’re kind and generous if you help James out all the time – when really you just look like a spineless woman.”
“Thanks Rose, you’re making me feel so much better.” I said stiffly. “My brother is an arsehole and Jan is -”
“Be honest Al, you’re hardly mad at James. You’re never mad at James. You have the patience of a saint and you’d do anything James asked of you because he’s your brother and because you like to think he can’t cope without you – which is yet to be seen – and this is the first time you’ve ever been really pissed off. Admittedly, this is one is more of a screw up than normal... but you’re really mad because Jan laughed at you.”
“She’s supposed to be my best mate!” I said irritably. I couldn’t deny that Rose was right on the mark with that. Jan laughing had been the nail in the coffin of my bad mood. “She should be... supporting me or something.”
“Well,” Rose said, “she’s spent the past two hours nagging at James to apologise and telling everyone that would listen what really happened. I think she was planning to put big posters up of your face saying ‘this man does not like looking at your bras’ until Rubes pointed out everyone would think you were gay. She’s trying, Al.”
“Hmm.” I said feeling my heart lift in my chest a little bit. Jan was lovely sometimes, she really was, and maybe I could forgive her stupid laughing fit if she really had been nagging James and...and anyway she was Jan and there wasn’t much I could hold against her for a long time. I supposed it was funny. Could I blame her for laughing?
“I’ll leave you to wallow in your misery,” Rose said, clapping me in the shoulder before disappearing out the dorm and leaving me on my own again. I smiled slightly – feeling overwhelmingly better – and lay down on my bed staring at the ceiling.
James was an idiot and there was nothing new there. He hadn’t exactly meant for this to happen (but next time he was definitely on his own – the bloody idiot) and if I hadn’t let the invisibility cloak slip off my shoulders then...
I definitely shouldn’t be so forgiving. But Jan was Jan, and Jan was different to everyone in the world and I could help it. She had that effect on me. How could I stay mad at her, or the world, when she was down there trying to sort everything out for me?
“Hey,” Jan said from the doorway. I smiled at her. Couldn’t help it. She smiled back, her normal snarky expression currently absent. I didn’t say anything though – she still had to apologise for laughing like a drugged up duck even if she was already forgiven. She lay down on my bed next to me and looked up at the ceiling thoughtfully for a few seconds.
“Sorry,” She said after a few minutes.
“S’okay,” I returned turning to look at her. She rested her head on my shoulder and was silent for a few minutes.
“And Al? If you ever want to sniff my bras then...”
“Hate you.” I said. She grinned at me and fluffed up my hair absently.
“I am sorry though,” She added. I closed my eyes for a long second. It was easier to not care that everyone thought I was a sicko pervert when Jan didn’t think so. “James feels bad,”
“He should do.”
“I feel bad.”
“You should do, you hussy.” I said but I half wrapped my arm around her so she didn’t think that I was actually mad at her anymore. I couldn’t stay mad at Jan. Not for anything. She leant into my arm and closed her eyes for a second.
“Muscle,” Jan said after a little more silent, pocking my arm. I wondered if it was appropriate to poke Jan back and say ‘sex on legs’? I decided against it and instead kept silent. “Is that how you won over the Spaniard?”
“Not you as well,” I sighed. “I can retract my forgiveness,”
“Was she hot?”
“So that’s a yes then,” Jan said. “What did she look like?”
“Like a Spanish version of you?” I said.
“Are you calling me hot then?” Jan asked with a grin (and a slight flush that I was going to pretend I hadn’t noticed).
“Am I allowed to call you hot?”
“If you think I’m hot then you are.
“Jan,” I said with a grin. “You’re hot.”
“You’re not so bad yourself,” Jan returned. “It’s a shame about the bra-sniffing...” I laughed at that. “Thanks,” She added, “if you were telling the truth,”
“Well I was,”
“Well so was I,”
“Well then,” I finished.
There were a long few seconds of comfortable silence and then...
“Hullllooo,” James. He proceeded to lie down on my bed, next to Jan, and drape his arm over the two of us like a first class idiot.
“This is romantic.”
Jan called him something that her mother wouldn’t like, and then James swore back, and they traded insults like first years trade chocolate frog guards. I closed my eyes and absorbed it. It was nice when James got the comeuppance he deserved. Especially when it was delivered by my (hot) best friend. It was like music.
“Jan,” James said after a blissful few moments of insults. “Will you tell Albus that I’m a selfish slytherin-shagging fuckwit who should be ashamed, please?”
“Al,” Jan said, turning to face me with a grin ready to repeat her insult all over again. “James says he’s a selfish Slytherin-shagging fuckwit who is merely jealous because he got the crappy genes which lack both intelligence and looks and leaves him pinning after your wit and charm on a daily basis, which leads him to this miserable place in his life where he abuses your patience, generosity and general lack of spine by getting you to sort out his continuous fuck ups. He says he is very very sorry and has promises to tell everyone that he shagged Teagan Reaves and was not man enough to take on bra returning duties so that everyone knows what a power-abusing-heartless bitch he is. He also laments that you have the most wonderful hot best friend in the world which also adds to his immeasurable jealously. Finally he promises to sod off and not ask anything of you until no one can remember the words ‘bra incident’ or until he’s humiliated himself in such a way that your embarrassment cowers in comparison. Do you accept his humble apology?”
“All right,” I said, “Given it was so articulate.”
“Yessssssssss!” James said with a grin. “Janet Harper, you are the best!”
Jan who, obviously, had not really intended this to be considered as a good thing by her arch nemesis James Potter scowled for a moment, rolled her eyes and said “Stupid bastard.”
A/N - Must. Stop. Updating. This. Story. Something else will be updated soon - promise! Next time in SSTTAP: ZERO 'I love yous' (oh dear), valentine's day rolls around again and Jan reaches the end of her patiences. Reviews are wonderful... :)
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