Chapter 1 : there should be an iconic pop song playing us in (an overture)
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Blood. Blood everywhere.
Especially on Nathaniel’s face.
And… is that… bone?
“You raging bitch!” he screams, clutching at the orifice that’s spouting more blood than he’s ever seen in his life, and he was in the delivery room when his sister gave birth. “You raging fucking bitch–”
The girl who’s done this to him is named Miranda. Her wand is aloft. And splattered with blood too. Because it was her wand that broke… his nose.
“Don’t touch me!” She recoils, skidding backwards until she hits the stone wall of the corridor. She is mentally freaking the fuck out at all of the blood and the bone too, and at the blood-covered bloke with exposed bone who is about to charge into her like a raging bull that sees red. The red of blood. “I–Anapneo!”
Nothing happens. The bone is still kind of (very, very) exposed and there’s still blood. Lots of blood. Blood, blood, everywhere, but none of it is hers.
“You idiotic bitch,” Nathaniel moans, still clutching his nose, “I don’t have a breathing problem yet–”
Miranda snorts to herself. The boy’s got a broken nose at the very least. Breathing should be pretty high on the list of Bodily Functions That Would be Affected by an Unceremoniously Broken Nose. Which, she would hasten to add, was totally justified in the first place. Yep. Right. Justified nose-breaking.
“Fine, then. Um…” She casts about for the right spell, and hazards a guess. “Episkey?”
There is a squelching sound that reverberates through the hall as all the little dislodged bits of nose and nostril realign and reattach themselves. Then Nathaniel lets out a very loud, rage-filled, yodel-like cry of pain, which reverberates in Miranda’s very soul. Completely undeserved, by the way. She just broke his nose and then fixed it! Who else would do that? No one. That’s who. No human ever would take the time to break someone’s nose and then (very generously, might she add) fix the damn thing too.
“You stupid stupid stupid bitch, you didn’t even do it right!”
Now that she looks at the middle of Nathaniel’s face, which logic dictates should have some sort of an orifice, it doesn’t look like it’s lined up very neatly at all. But that might just be the–
Miranda’s gag reflex is very, very astute.
Happily she hasn’t had dinner yet, or these two would be in even more trouble.
“Scourgify,” she mutters. And then all the trouble that was avoided with the lack of vomit comes in the form of bubbles. Lots of bubbles. And soap. Soap bubbles. Bubbly soap.
On the very bloody still broken nose.
“YOU CRAZY BITCH, WHAT THE–”
Only now does a good, foolproof spell occur to her, and she wastes no time or shame in casting it. “Silencio!” Ah, a spell even she can’t ruin. There is silence, glorious, beautiful silence, in the corridor. Although if murderous expressions could make sounds, they would sound like–
Is that the pitter-pattering of approaching feet? Belonging to a person? Or worse–Miranda shudders to think it, although the shudder may be a result of a healthy bit of terror and blood-shock–an authority figure? With punitive capabilities? She starts hyperventilating a bit, and tries to siphon away the soap and the bubbles from Nathaniel’s face, noting (with a not-entirely-undeserved sense of pride) that the crusting blood has been washed away, but it’s not enough.
There, coming in from the shadow of the far corridor, is… oh, no. Oh, no. There is something shiny and badge-like on this approaching figure’s chest. It’s a prefect. Or a Head Person. Miranda considers reaching out and dragging Nathaniel down through backways and frontways to the infirmary just to avoid this badge-wearing figure, but it’s too late, she’s been spotted. Also, she isn’t certain that she would escape unscathed if she tried to lay another hand on the bloke whose face she’s fucking up so tremendously.
Miranda Kohl: deer in headlights. Orifice-breaker in the reflection of a prefect/Other Important badge. She is so screwed now, it could be funny if there weren’t–oh, God, blood. Blood on her wand–wait, is that blood on the flagstones? Pooling at his feet? Pooling at her feet?
“Is something wrong back here?” the authority figure–a shortish creature, most likely a female, judging by the Mary-Janes on her feet–calls out. “Thought I heard some shouting.” This is probably just a prefect, and a lowly one at that–Miranda knows the sixth- and seventh-year girls and none of them would be caught dead in Mary-Janes.
But this young prefect does require an answer. So Miranda manages to squeak out, “Oh, it’s nothing, he just tripped… come on, Nate, let’s go to dinn–goddamn it,” she swears in a much lower tone that she prays won’t carry to the still-approaching prefect, “would you stop trying to stomp on me, I’m trying to help you.”
“Are you quite sure nothing’s wrong here?” the prefect asks again, more hesitantly this time. By now, she’s close enough for Miranda to tell that she’s blonde and button-nosed and round-faced.
Mary-Jane McHufflepuff is so close to the pooling, curdling pool of blood that Miranda can see the whites of her eyes. Her very bright, observant eyes.
There’s blood everywhere.
“I–is he all right?” Mary-Jane McHufflepuff points to Nathaniel, who is still quietly shuddering and trying to shoulder the witch who fucked up his face into the wall. “Oi! You! Big man!” He is a rather burly bloke. Unsurprising for a Slytherin seventh-year. In fact, it’s almost comical, seeing that he’s so crippled by bubbles. And blood. And bone. “Are you okay?”
Nathaniel whips around, the bubbles pretty much gone and the blood only on his shirt (his shirt! How could she forget his shirt? And his pants? And his robes? And his shoes?). His nose is more than a bit crooked, but someone as clearly oblivious as this little Hufflepuff prefect won’t realise that. She’ll be charitable and assume his nose always looks like that. Maybe she won’t even see the blood! Maybe she’ll think it’s tomato sauce or something. Or corn syrup with red food colouring. Or watered-down ketchup.
“Is that blood on your shirt, there, mate?”
Blood. So much blood.
“Is it?” Hufflepuff O’Blonderson repeats. Only now does Miranda notice that she’s been chewing bubble gum this whole time.
Bubbles. So many bubbles.
Miranda is too terrified to answer her. Nathaniel doesn’t either.
The utterly justified culprit’s eyes widen in the badge-reflection-light.
The Silencing Charm.
Why oh why didn’t she try harder the other day when everyone was practicing non-verbal spells…
“Excuse me. You. Brunette.” Miranda starts twirling a lock of that brunette hair out of sheer nervousness. “Is this bloke under a Silencing Charm?” When the culprit still doesn’t say anything (for all intents and purposes she might as well be Silenced too), Goody DeTwoshoes marches forward and takes both of their hands. Bloody hands. Blood! Her bubblegum-chewing seems especially loud at this proximity. “Right. First we’re going to the hospital wing because you two are mental–and no, mate, I’m not lifting this Silencing Charm, because I can tell I’ll have half a mind to put it back on before we get there–and also because you’re both really bloody. Come on!”
It takes all of about ten minutes for Madam Fairbairn, the nurse, to straighten out Nathaniel’s nose. It takes another fifteen seconds for her to scrub clean his and Miranda’s clothes. Chubby O’Hufflepuff takes at least twenty minutes manually washing away the dried blood in her fingernails, though.
What a prude.
This very same prefect, who introduces herself as Jeanie DeWitt (Miranda is vindictively pleased that one of her fake surnames was kind of close), says that she’ll stick around in the hospital wing for now. “I will have to testify against you two once your Heads of House stop by,” she says imperiously.
Nathaniel, whose Silencing Charm was lifted only belatedly, while Fairbairn was enjoying more than her fair share of peach schnapps, leers at her in true elitist-Slytherin fashion. “Testify against us? I didn’t do anything, she did, and what, d’you expect a fucking tribunal for us?”
Jeanie smiles, still rather imperiously for a Hufflepuff. Miranda grudgingly suspects that maybe, maybe, she underestimated this button-nosed prefect. “You keep saying us, which means there’s something between you, so there must be a reason why she broke your nose. And as a prefect of this school, which is more than you can say, I should think my input would be helpful when your Heads of House are deciding on your punishment.”
Miranda gulps at the word. She’s no prude like Miss Vindictive Bitch Prefect, but that doesn’t mean she likes going on the edge of the Forbidden Forest and gathering mooncalf dung/fertilizer with Hagrid. And she was so hoping to stay out of trouble for at least the first term…
While Miranda’s still freaking out about the smell of mooncalf dung, Nathaniel makes a move and sits up straighter in his hospital bed. His face, now fixed instead of fucked, is more than a little… dashing. In that devil-may-care-because-I-don’t way. Fringe that falls gracefully and carelessly in his dark-as-pitch eyes. He’s going to try to charm his way to this other girl’s heart.
“I see your point,” he whispers. Though there really isn’t any reason to, since there’s only one other occupied bed, whose occupant is passed out on Skele-Gro, and Fairbairn is already singing soft love songs from her corner office. “So, Jeanie, is it? Maybe you and I can strike up a deal. Nail this one for what she did to me and thus to you, so that both of us can walk away scot-free. How,” he murmurs in an even lower voice, the type that sends chills down girls’ spines, “does that sound?”
Jeanie blinks. “… you realise I am in nil amount of trouble, right?” she says slowly. Her expression makes it clear that she doesn’t trust that this bloke’s mental faculties are in working order. How would they be, when his nose… bone…
A fresh wave of nausea.
“Jeanie.” Miranda leans forward in her chair besides her victim’s bed and stares imploringly at the prefect with the fate of the next fortnight’s worth of evenings in her hands. “I will do anything, anything, if you lie. Or leave. Just–you don’t even have to pin this on him, just don’t… um… testify against me. D’you like money bribes? I’ll give you five Galleons. Are you a biscuits person? I’ll give you biscuits and tea and scones and little cucumber sandwiches and everything, it’ll be a whole tea service–”
Jeanie’s face crumples up. “Sorry, I don’t accept bribes. I’ve got some principles.”
“I don’t–” Miranda falters. Nathaniel snickers. Jeanie simpers.
It’s over before it’s even begun.
“I could go for a service,” Nathaniel mutters.
Miranda very discreetly sits on her hands to prevent further bodily harm from being done to this massive, annoying prick.
But then Jeanie, either totally oblivious to or diplomatically ignoring the Slytherin’s comment, pipes up, “You’re Gryffindor, aren’t you?”
“D’you know James Potter?”
Miranda clears her throat noisily. “I… um. Um. Yeah, I do.”
Jeanie narrows her eyes.
“No, really, I do,” the culprit repeats. “His brother’s a friend of mine.”
She isn’t sure if Jeanie believes her or not (Nathaniel, officially bored but secretly intrigued, has leaned back on his pillow and is awaiting his rescue/doom), but the Hufflepuff continues. “See the thing is, my friend has a massive crush on him. It’s so embarrassing. But she’s been dying to meet him, and I mean this literally, because she sat in his Astronomy class once and her telescope fell off the edge of the tower and she almost went with it. Anyway.” She clears her throat and lowers her voice. Miranda leans in, heart-pounding and hysteria rising again. “I’m sure my friend would appreciate it if James Potter became her, er, friend.”
Nathaniel sneezes, rather pointedly, from his hospital bed perch. The effort seems a lot for his healing nose, so he grabs a towel from the bedside table to press it against his face. So much for his devilishly dashing face after all!
Miranda tries not to chew her lip. Nerves will not help her out of this. “I… I can get your friend” (she tries not to smirk at the term the same way he sneezed at it) “a meeting. That’s it. That’s all I can guarantee. And you won’t say anything to Robards?”
Nathaniel mutters something, but with the towel over his nose, no one can really hear him. Also, his voice has gone from seductive to reedy, which is very amusing.
Miranda grins, cocky despite how badly she’s still screwed over. “Would you like a meeting with James Potter too?”
He glares at both of them. Jeanie giggles a bit, so she doesn’t seem that possessive, which Miranda supposes is a good thing.
“You’re going to have to account for the broken nose somehow,” Jeanie informs him. “They can Prior Incantato her wand–”
Nathaniel throws Miranda yet another glare, and it almost makes her miss the come-hither-save-me-from-my-brooding-because-I-long-for-you stares. “She didn’t use a spell, this one.” His voice is still all nasally, which is just funny enough to make sure she doesn’t miss the come-hither-save-me-from-my-brooding-because-I-long-for-you voice. “Any spells Robards sees will be her trying and failing to fix me.”
Jeanie smirks at the other girl. “You actually jabbed his nose open? Wow, Miranda. I kind of thought better of you.”
Miranda blushes and stammers, “I… er… he made me do it.” She throws him the umpteenth glare today and adds, “And I can tell Robards and everyone why, and then you’ll be in just as much trouble, won’t you, Nott?”
Only now does he realise that she really isn’t kidding. It’s a belated conclusion to come to, considering she did just make him spout a whole lot of blood, but he sees a way out now. And it lies with Sensible Shoes McStickinthemud. “Will you, Miranda? You’re still not off the hook for breaking my nose.”
Oh, yes. That.
“And you, Jeanie. You didn’t lift the Silencing Charm that Miranda put on me. You didn’t tell Fairbairn about it, either.”
The Hufflepuff blanches. She could get in… trouble? For something so silly? The horror. The shame…
“So it seems,” Nathaniel says smugly, “that we’re at an impasse. But it can easily be resolved.”
“The point of an impasse is that it can't be easily resolved, isn't it?”
“Shut up, Miranda.” She scowls but doesn’t say anything, unwilling to anger him more. “Now, as long as you keep your cute little mouth shut–” the Hufflepuff to whom this is directed jumps, probably finding it weird that someone who isn’t her one twu wuv James Potter would call her cute–“we’ll all be in the clear, and I won’t say anything about your deal, either. Got it, Jeanine?”
She jumps again. “How did you–”
Jeanie (Jeanine is a horrid name, and Miranda can’t blame her for avoiding it) scowls spectacularly. “You’re a good guesser.” She refocuses her attention on Miranda. “So you’ll introduce James Potter to my friend?”
Her throat is suddenly very dry. And so are her mouth and lips. “Yep! James Potter plus you…r friend. Consider it done.”
Jeanie holds out both of her hands. Miranda clasps the right and Nathaniel reaches out and barely scrapes the left. “So we’ve all got a deal?”
The three new conspirators whip around as best they can.
It’s the occupied bed.
Whose occupant is clearly not passed out on Skele-Gro.
His jauntily waving left arm does look a little floppy, though.
“I think you’re forgetting about someone here.”
Author's Note Oh noes, Gubby's got another WIP. What is she thinking of? Well, you'll find out soon enough, friends! This is yet another foray into humor and vaguely cracky fic, and I hope you all enjoy.