Chapter 9 : The one with the magic wands.
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“What are you?” Jan demanded quietly, staring at the piece of parchment with her eyebrows knitted together. Jan talking to her homework was never a good sign; it usually meant that ink bottles were about to be smashed and pieces of parchment were going to collide with my head. “Al, stop being a tosser and help me,”
“What is it?”
“Defence,” She complained, “And I’ve been sat here struggling for an hour when my rubbish boyfriend is the son of the bleeding chosen one... what happened to sodding chivalry? And don’t tell me you’re crap at Defence, Al, because I know you’ve only been purposefully doing crap in Defence so everyone stops going on about it,”
“Okay,” I said, “that’s fair,”
“It’s these stupid spell-diagrams... I just don’t understand them and we’ve never even done stunning spells,”
“Well it’s not hard, Jan.”
“So, we’ve never done it! It’s not really defence anyway.”
“It can be used defensively – like a proactive shield,” I pointed out.
“Oh just show me how to draw the diagram, will you,” Jan said irritably, “I hate it when you act like you’re cleverer than me,”
“Shut up,” Jan said, throwing her quill in the direction of my head, “how do you draw the wand movement?”
“You’ve got to be able to do the spell first,”
“Why?” Jan complained.
“Because it might be useful in later life?” I suggested.
“Name three occasions?”
“James, James, James.”
“Touché,” Jan leant on her elbow and looked at me seriously for a long moment, “you know, you probably shouldn’t be purposefully crap because then when you get another O they’ll think the examiners just gave it to you for being HP’s son.”
“I can live with that. Get up Jan, you’re learning how to stun,”
“Just show me how to do the diagram!” Jan complained, “If you don’t stop being a tosser I can remove certain privileges you know.”
“Stop taking relationship advice from Rose!”
Scorpius had told me all about the way Rose had recently decided to ‘reserve privileges for bad behaviour’ much to mine and Jan’s amusement. Scorpius was still a pale git but we had now been forced into each other’s company. They were our WAGS (Dom likes muggle culture – she inflicts this pain on us regularly) or more like... we were their HABs (husbands and boyfriends –without the husband bit...) and thus we were now obliged to converse with each other and pretend to enjoy each other’s company. “Anyway, what privileges were you planning to reserve?”
Jan raised an eyebrow at this. The boys in my dormitory had last week realised that after two months of dating we had yet to have sex. They found this hilarious and have continued going on about it since. I am not particularly bothered by this fact: in fact the idea of having sex with Jan is terrifying as well as you known... good and all. The point is that sex is actually a very big deal and a decision which should be taken with maturity and great consideration. Both participants have thought this through and should be ready (and I’m not).
“Flirting with other girls privileges?” Jan suggested.
“...Can we expand on the definition of flirting? I didn’t realise I had been exactly...”
“Maybe I’m just paranoid,” Jan said, “now are you going to help me or not?”
“No, wait, who have I been flirting with? I didn’t mean to..?”
“Al, just teach me the damn spell will you,”
“Fine. Get up. Imagine you’re about to stun me,”
“Not a great stretch of the imagination now, is it?”
“You need to learn when to shut up,” I said lightly.
“You need to learn when to kiss me.”
“Point taken,” I said with a grin and then I kissed her. She grinned into my lips and I concluded it would be a much more productive use of my time to just forget about the whole Defence thing.
“Okay, stunners,” Jan said, pulling away from me with an arm still around my neck. Bugger on Jan, she ruined all my fun.
“You’re a stunner,” I grinned.
“The amount of cheese in the sentence literally killed me inside, “
“Stop whining and listen to me you hussy,”
“Shut up or I’ll stun you,” Jan grinned, pulling her wand out with a grin. “So... it’s like this.”
“No,” I said. Jan groaned with frustration and dropped her wand arm, “well, it’s nearly there – your arm needs to be higher and it’s more... That’s better. Try it on James,” I suggested, pointing to where he was walking in with Ruby, “Relax,” I grinned, putting my hands on her waist and breathing in the scent of her hair (blueberry shampoo and lemon conditioner – I asked her last Tuesday after several weeks of wondering), “And do you realise you’re supposed to point your wand at James.”
“I’m not an idiot,” Jan rolled her eyes. Then Jan sent a streak of red light towards James’s chest.
“Right on,” I beamed, watching Rubes (Ruby) look slightly confused about why James had just collapsed half way through a conversation (cough ridiculous-flirting cough).
“I stunned someone!” Jan grinned excitedly, turning around and hugging me.
“Actually, you didn’t. You just knocked me over,” James said from the floor as Jan released me again, “this is how you stun someone -”
Jan’s face loomed over my vision. There was a searing pain in the back of my head. I blinked up at her in confusion. “Are you okay?” She asked and I could tell she was trying not to laugh at me out loud. Internally, hyenas were jealous of her ability to laugh like a crazed madman. “You er... hit your head on the desk,”
“Hey! You could have caught me - I was a damsel in distress.”
“Dear Merlin,” James muttered, “you’ve been so bloody boring since this whole dating malarkey started.”
“That’s what happens,” Freddie commented, “first they stop being fun... then comes the focus on dinner parties, the weight gain, the conversations about the weather... then the divorce comes rolling around and after that everything goes back to normal,” except I wasn’t really listening to any of that bullocks because Jan was kissing me better. I like Jan. She’s cute.
“Did you just throw your wand at me?” Jan asked, breaking away from me and giving me a hand up off the floor. My head hurt. It was a mixture between a migraine/hangover and being hit in the head with a beaters bat (thanks James). Standing up so fast had made me feel slightly dizzy, so I sat down woozily and stared at my transfiguration notes with a smile.
“Could you not think of anything better to do with your wand than throw it at her?” Freddie questioned.
“That’s what she said.” I added helpfully. I was ignored. I’d more or less expected this.
“It’s all this revision; it’s turning my head puffy.”
“Like a Hufflepuff,” James returned with a grin. He took the liberty of sitting himself down in Jan’s seat. I tried very hard not to find this irritating. Apparently I owed James for the whole getting Jan and me together (although I was pretty sure this was cancelled out by the fact that James bloody snogged her at that party, but according to Jan I still had to be nice to him). And if I disagreed with her my flirting-with-others privileges might be retracted.
“You had a study session with Rubes,” Jan pointed out, “I highly doubt there was that much revision involved.”
“I resent that,” Ruby said, pulling up a chair and leaning back with a grin. She didn’t deny it though. I kind of wanted to give James the thumbs up at this point (Ruby was hot) but I wasn’t sure if this would be considered as flirting or not, so I kept my hands firmly on the desk. Jan sat on the arm of my seat. I smiled at her.
I noted that her nails were painted pale pink as she threaded her fingers through mine. I was almost entirely sure that it was the same nail varnish she’d worn two Valentine’s days ago.... I was almost entirely sure that paying this much attention to Jan’s nail varnish meant that there was at least a small percentage of my persona that was actually a woman. I decided to call that part of me Janet.
“Anyway,” James grinned, “I’ve started a little project of sorts, you want to help?”
“He’s actually asking this time!” Jan mock whispered in my ear, “what’s happening to the world?”
“Jan’s right – that was a request. What’s wrong with you?”
“I’ll tell mum you said that,”
“Tell her, I’m her favourite anyway,”
“Sod off,” I muttered, screwing up my charms homework and throwing it at him irritably.
“Oh come on Al,” James whined. My patience with him had been decidedly thin since the whole Jan thing... Now that I knew I was capable of punching James in the face the option always felt like a really good one. “I’m your brother,”
“Really?” I asked, shoving my books and stuff back in my bag, “As much as I love you, it’ll be a no this time.” Then I swung the bag onto my shoulder and headed for the door, knowing full well that Jan would come after me in a couple of minutes.
Jan was sat on my bed painting her toenails bright green. I’d tried telling her it was a Slytherin colour but she’d rolled her eyes and told me to stop being a prejudiced woman.
“Do I have an ugly nose?” Jan asked randomly after a few seconds of comfortable silence in which Jan finished the second coat on her left big toe, and I watched her slightly transfixed.
“What are you talking about, you nutcase?” She screwed up the lid of the nail varnish with an audible sigh. Then she placed it down and hugged her knees into her chest.
“Jenny said I had a nose like Voldemort,” I tilted my head at her nose slightly to look properly. Jan slammed hand over her face and look mutinous. “I don’t even know what Voldemort’s nose looks like! But it’s not much of a compliment, is it?”
“I suppose your nose is a little on the small side.”
“I’m joking, why were you talking to thumb-tack Jenny anyway?”
“I share a dorm with her Al, and I was talking to Rubes about us and then she just appeared behind me and said that my eyeliner was wonky and that I had a nose like Voldemort.”
“Really?” I questioned with a raised eyebrow. As much as Jan was a wonderful person and a wonderful human being, I very much doubted that Jenny would be malicious without due provocation.
“Well,” Jan said sighing deeply, “I may have said that I was your first proper girlfriend... insinuating that she didn’t count. But only because she kept making comments about me taking her leftovers! As if I would!”
“Tell, technically...” I began, but then Jan sent me a look so I turned the rest of my sentence into laugh instead. “You have a cute nose, at any rate. Eyeliner confuses me though, so I can’t tell you about that,”
“That’s probably for the best,” Jan said wisely, “if it helps eyeliner is the stuff that Eleanor uses down to her chin. Speaking of siblings...”
“Nice conversation transition,” I said with an eye roll. Jan fluttered her eyelashes at me and grinned. I should have known she was going to bring this up as soon as she possibly could.
“Look, Al, you can’t stay mad at James forever.”
“We agreed that you weren’t allowed to say anything nice about James ever again. That was what we agreed, was it not?” I could deal with the James/Jan moment as long as I didn’t think about it properly. Whenever I actually thought about it I felt nauseous and had to loosen my tie so that I could still breathe. It was easy not to be mad at Jan somehow, but whenever I saw James the anger bubbled up again.
“Yes, but it’s getting ridiculous and I’m worried about him. I saw him trying to climb the whomping willow this morning – what if he’s suicidal! You’re his best friend!” I didn’t say anything. “Look Al, you know how drunk we both were. I was mad at you, I wanted to get back at you - I would have done anything. You know what I’m like, Al! Act now, think later.”
“But James -”
“Was just as drunk as me, if not more so! And it was in the middle of the boycott. No one had so much as flirted with him for about six months out of fear of Teagan Reaves, and then there I was throwing myself on him -”
“-Stop it Jan, I don’t want you to -”
“We don’t even like each other Al! We’re always at each other’s throats!”
I muttered “sexual tension” under my breath. Jan laughed at that and shook her head. She lay down on her stomach, in doing so smudging her green nail varnish all over my bedcovers, and leant on her elbows looking at me seriously. “There’s a difference between sexual tension and pure irritation, as many people fail to see.”
“It’s the oldest cliché in the book! The whole love/hate thing.”
“No, Al, ending up with your best friend is the oldest cliché in the book.”
“Or ending up with your best friend’s brother! That always happens in those stupid books you read,”
“Yeah, but that only happens when the best friend is female, meaning the author can’t shove the best friends together romantically!”
“They could be lesbians.” I said grumpily.
“Well, I’m not,” Jan said scooting closer to where I was resting on my pillows, “And I like you rather a lot Albus Potter, so can you just let it go?”
“I don’t know.” Irritation flashed across her face again.
“Well I can’t ruin your relationship with your brother! If I’m the reason you can’t be friends then maybe we shouldn’t be dating,”
“Are you threatening me?” Jan looked alarmed for a second before realising that I was joking. She reached up and pulled me towards her so she could kiss me.
“My threats would be much more colourful,” Jan grinned, “so will you talk to James?”I made a face. Jan kissed me again and hooked her thumb in the back pocket of my jeans. I blinked. “So you’re going to talk to James, right?” Jan repeated.
“Yes, dear, right away.” I agreed with an eye roll, kissing her again before dragging myself off my bed and onto my feet.
“Good boy,” Jan smiled, reaching up and wrapping her arms around my neck, “but don’t go right away.” Jan kissed me again. I like Jan. She’s pretty.
The door banged open so loudly that I reacted so violently Jan ended up with a bloody lip and my teeth really hurt. Jan turned to the door with a hand up against her mouth and let out an exasperated stream of swear words at the figure in the doorway. “Rich, for Godrick’s sake will you knock! I could have been doing a naked tribal dance or something!” Rich seemed to consider this and seemed to enjoy the consideration much more than he should have done. Jan picked up one of my socks and threw it at him. It hit him in the face.
I relished in the fact that sock was dirty.
“Oh go get laid,” Jan muttered, grabbing my hand and pulling me to the door – one hand still on her lip. I hope I hadn’t bitten it off or something.
“I do!” Rich returned.
“Well get a bloody girlfriend then,” Jan muttered.
“I have a girlfriend – YOUR MOM.” Rich added before Jan had a chance to slam the door behind her and grimace.
“What is with him? Why does he have to be such a bloody arse!?”
“He hasn’t got any sisters, doesn’t understand girls,” I said distractedly.
“I honestly do not know why everyone thinks he’s so hot, well... I suppose I do but, really, he’s a complete tosser. Anyway, Al, you best go talk to James? Yeah?”
“Look, Jan, James isn’t in the common room so really I don’t have a chance of talking to him right now. It can wait, right?” I asked, knowing that Jan was just far enough behind me that she couldn’t hear a word I was rambling on about. “So really...”
“James is probably in the library revising for his NEWT’s,” Jan said loudly as I reached the bottom of the steps. We both considered the prospect of James being in the library for a long moment... “Fine, you can wait till he materialises at dinner,” Jan said, “but I’m going to go talk to Eleanor.”
“Why on earth would you do that?” I asked, feeling disgruntled.
“Because some of us like our siblings,”
“But you don’t,” I pointed out, “You regularly say that Eleanor is all the embodiment of all the bad things about yourself that you try and suppress. You say that her gothness is not an expression of individuality, but a way to purposefully defy the hufflepuff stereotype to gain sexual attention.”
“I wish you wouldn’t memories everything I said, Al,” Jan said, “I’ll see you when you’ve talked to James, right?”
Now that definitely was a threat.
I collapsed onto the spare seat next to Hugo and Louis, who were engaged in yet another ridiculous game of chess that made me want to stab myself. Still, it wasn’t like playing chess with Lily – she couldn’t be arsed with and would occasionally convince her players to start jumping over other players and such, it was simply ridiculous.
“How’s Jan?” Louis asked distractedly.
Lovely. And also she has a lovely boyfriend.
“Where’s Rose?” I asked Hugo, growing steadily more bored with the progress of the game.
“Library, I think.”
“Bloody nerds,” I muttered, “James?” I asked tentatively.
“St Mungo’s I expect, flaming weirdo. I woke up this morning to find him hovering over my bed with a pair of tweezers, for fucks sake,” Louis said angrily, “then he pulled a hair out of my eyebrow, and ran off cackling.”
Merlin. Maybe Jan was right about James cracking up.
“Al,” Rose said bursting thought the portrait hall looking mutinous, “you better go sort James out. He’s landed himself in the hospital wing – Hagrid said he was trying to ride a baby unicorn. Poor things broken his leg.”
“James, or the unicorn?” Louis questioned.
“The unicorn of course,” Rose muttered patronisingly. “James has just cracked his head open or something ridiculous, I ran into Jan in the library and she told me to send you ever there,” HA! Jan wasn’t seeing her sister! Jan had lied! “She was researching something about pregnancy with that god awful twin of hers.”
“In trouble, eh Al?” Louis questioned. I threw a bishop at his head. He ducked and it collided with Hugo’s skull instead, which was all the better if I was honest about things.
“They haven’t shagged yet,” Rose said. Stupid bitch.
“Ha!” Hugo grinned manically. As if anyone would ever sleep with him. Bloody weirdo. No doubt he was going to be telling all his slimy friends about this as soon as he’d kicked Louis’s arse at chess. What would he know about relationships?
“Is Eleanor knocked up, then?” Call me selfish, but if Jan was having to deal with a pregnant twin she definitely would not be promoting sibling unity any time soon. Then I wouldn’t have to deal with James’s premature midlife crisis. I may, however, have to deal with Jan’s.
“I doubt it.” Rose said, “But your brother is bleeding profusely from the head.”
Why is it always me?
James had used the blood coming from his head to draw a lightning bolt on his forehead. The sad thing was, this wasn't the first time. Freddie was sat beside him laughing hysterically (in a manly sort of way). He too had a blood scar drawn on his forehead. “Al! Al! Look, I’m Dad,” James said eagerly, “do you want one?”
“Do I want you to draw a lightning bolt scar on my forehead, with your blood? No, thank you actually James.”
Freddie yawned deliberately.
“Why were you trying to ride a unicorn?” I asked, finding it hard not to find the situation slightly amusing, “And why were you trying to climb the whomping willow? And Louis said he woke up to find you hovering over his bed with a pair of tweezers! What’s going on?”
There was a long awkward silence. “Well,” Freddie said with a grin, “I’ll leave you to explain this one,” then he’d left James and I alone with a big heavy silence hanging between us.
I sensed that it was going to be a very long day.
“So... you’re here,” James said, eloquent and fascinating as always. I knew what he meant though – that’s one the annoying things about living with someone for your whole life, you can’t stop understanding the weight behind all their words, and knowing exactly what they’re trying to get at with a stupid meaningless sentence.
“Jan sent me,”
“Thought so,” James said sadly – and his expression was certainly more serious than it usually was, even after the incidence with the near expulsion – then suddenly he brightened up and said, “let’s get out of here.”
“What about your head?”
“Its fine, anyway – I want see how it will look when all the blood congeals,”
Merlin, I’m related to this bloke.
“Well, if you’re fine then...”
“No, Al, we’re going for a walk.” Then he got up, winced, sat back down again for a few seconds, took out the tweezers from his pocket, picked the lock on the potions cabinet and helped himself to a pain killer potion.
I’m now slightly worried that James might be a drug addict. Never mind.
Neither of us said anything until we were out buy the lake at which point James sighed deeply and looked out over the lake as if trying to preserve some profound thought. “I should have tried to stun the Unicorn first,” he said thoughtfully, “but I thought Hagrid might be upset of I did that. Oh, well, hindsight is a tragic thing,”
“Oh?” I questioned listlessly.
“Yeah, I mean... in hindsight... I shouldn’t have got you, Jan and myself drunk after that Hufflepuff victory,” I cannot explain how much it irritated me that he used the word ‘victory’ rather than ‘match’ – as if even when attempting a vague apology he hadn’t to remind both of us that he’d won, that he was a success. Urgh. Bloody James.
“Is drunkenness your line then? Because it’s not very original,”
“I want you to understand... how pissed of Jan was, I mean... she’d just seen you glued to Becky after I’d got her hopes up about the whole thing and then, she just wanted to get back at you. You know Jan, she always has to act and because she was so drunk she wasn’t thinking about things like reason or consequence. She didn’t want me to tell you – said it would do more harm than good. She meant to make you mad at the time, but...”
“So you’re saying my girlfriends a bitch?”
“No!” James said hastily, “I’m saying she’s not... I’m saying you shouldn’t be angry at Jan.”
“Well I’m not.”
“No, you’re angry at me,” James said slowly, “and that’s fully deserved,”
I was getting angry all over again. “Jan is the one thing that I... and you just, you just fuck everything up like you always do,”
“Why the hell did you do it?”
“God, I don’t know,” James said wildly, “I mean, I... that bloody boycott! Everyone stuck to it and it had been six months and then suddenly Jan’s drunk and throwing herself at me in that ridiculous dress, and I was drunk out of my mind and being an arrogant tosser after winning, and then she kissed me and I... I didn’t mean to kiss her back. If you’d taken any one of those factors out, it wouldn’t have happened. It was just... I’m just a bastard and, well, that’s that,”
“What makes it even more bloody annoying, was that the whole thing was just a great big misunderstanding. I wasn’t doing anything with Becky! I was looking for Jan. The password had changed and I couldn’t get back in,”
“...but, Jan saw you talking to Becky the next day,”
“Oh, that,” I rolled my eyes and stuffed my hands into my pockets angrily, “I had to ruddy apologise,”
“Well, I was mad okay! I was locked outside, and Jan was inside and I was drunk so, well... I told Becky that... I wasn’t interested.” James raised an eyebrow, “I think I said... well, I definitely told her that she was the uglier twin, and I’m pretty sure I said that she was the person least I’d least like to be stuck outside with – with the exception of Voldemort, although maybe not even Voldemort because at least there might be some stimulating conversation. Oh god, I said that my Bogart was her suffocating me with her breasts and... Anyway, I made her cry,”
“You’ve got such a way with the ladies,” James said with a grin. “I’d loved to have been a fly on the wall,”
“Unfortunately, you were upstairs snogging my best mate turned girlfriend,” his expression froze again, and he looked down at his feet and didn’t say anything for a long time.
“Is your Bogart being suffocated by...?”
“No,” and I wanted to say ‘it’s you shagging Jan’ but thought better of it and said “last time I checked, it was walking in on Ron and Hermione,”
“That’s what I hear when dementors get too close.” We both shuddered, “Anyway, can I tell you about my project?”
I thought about this for a few long seconds and made them seem less empty by beginning to walk slowly around the edge of the lake. James fell into step with me.
“Shouldn’t you be revising for your NEWTS, rather than trying out random projects?”
James pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket and pushed it into my hands. I unfolded it and began to read
Dear Mr Potter,
We are delighted to offer you the position of Chaser at the Wimbledon Wasps following –
“Quidditch?” I wondered aloud, “is that what you really want to do?”
“I think so,” James said, “I don’t know what else I’d do, can’t see myself doing much else... anyway, it’s easy isn’t it?”
“Well, I wouldn’t say easy. You’d have to work really hard if you wanted to end up in the international league or, as a captain somewhere -”
“See, that’s the thing – I don’t. I’m quite happy to play for a second rate team for the rest of my life. But, I’ve got the simplest future I could ask for on this piece of paper,”
“Simple? Dad’s not going to let it be simple,”
“Well, he’s married to a Quidditch player,” James said distractedly, “he can’t really talk,”
“He still won’t like it,”
“Hmm, maybe not,”
“Are you sure this is what you want James?” I asked seriously, scanning down the rest of the letter and finding nothing else important written.
“No,” James said, “but, there’s nothing like regrets, right? Like kissing Jan and shagging Teagan Reaves. You haven’t lived properly if you don’t regret a couple of things on your deathbed.”
“Teagan Reaves?” I asked.
“She was out to get me from the start.”
“And she got you.”
“Yeah, and she got under my skin. That’s Slytherins for you – sly, ambitious and far too sexy. You know what Al? I think I’m going to boycott women for a change. And that includes Lily.”
“What did Teagan do, other than organise the boycott?”
“Nearly beat me at Quidditch, for one! She broke the boycott herself too, little hypocrite. Still, she plays the game well.” The ambiguity of his final sentence made me wonder whether James really had liked a girl this year. It seemed like James would fall for someone who ensured that no one so much as flirted with him for six months. Teagan Reaves was also a first class bitch, so that seemed fitting too. “Anyway, my project. Now, I know it’s a bit rich of me to ask help but... really Al, I like it when we do things together. I know sometimes I push things a bit far – how you ever forgave me after that bra incident, I don’t know.... but how was I to know you’d take of the cloak? – but we’re closest when we’re doing something together so... help me?”
“Is that a question, or a demand?”
“There’s a definite question mark this time.”
“Hi,” I said, slightly breathlessly as I arrived at Jan’s side – one hand delicately shoving the Marauders map into my pocket.
“You look cheerful,” Jan smiled.
“Yeah, I talked to James and -”
“Really?” Jan grinned, “Oh Al, I’m so proud of you,” and then she grinned and kissed me.
I’m talking like a proper kiss. The sort of kiss that made me feel like when she stopped kissing me, either my lips would fall off or I wouldn’t be unable to talk for the rest of my life. A kind of this-could-be-going-places-kiss (except not going in a sex direction because it was in the middle of the corridor, and because it was early days and because I really really didn’t want to fuck anything up, but maybe in the direction of other places which weren’t sex but were slightly more than holding hands).
Then Jan stopped kissing me, and I found that my lips didn’t fall off and I could still speak. Although both these things did come as a bit of a shock.
“So, um... anyway, I was just coming to tell you that I won’t be around at dinner.”
“What?” Jan asked, caught off guard by this sudden declaration, “why?”
“Well, James is doing this project, and I said I’d help out, but it’ll probably take all evening and James said I should tell you I wouldn’t be there so you didn’t get mad, so, see you later!” I said, very quickly, and then I was off nearly running back down the corridor to find James again.
“I told you to talk to him! Not to sell your soul to the devil” Jan yelled after me.
She didn’t sound too mad, though. So she probably wouldn’t remove privileges that are yet to exist, but might exist at some point in the near future if she kisses me like that again. I should do what she tells me to do more often.
“You didn’t research it properly, that was your problem,” I said as James as I walked around the edge of the forest, “Wood from the whomping Willow wouldn’t have worked, you need wand wood... and Louis isn’t Veela enough to use as a wand core... and why an eyebrow hair? Anyway, point is...the unicorn hair was a superior choice, if you hadn’t got knocked out. Why didn’t you just nick some for the supply cupboard?”
“That wouldn’t be any fun, would it?”
“Suppose not,” I agreed, “do you reckon it will work?”
“Should do: it’s got a core and it’s made of wand wood, why shouldn’t it work?”
“Because it was made by a couple of teenage guys, because its wonky and because the core’s poking out the end... and I’m sure making wands is much more complicated than what we’ve done. If it’s that easy there’s a hell of a lot of fuss made over wand lore and stuff,”
“Yee of little faith!” James declared loudly, “when are you going to shag Jan, anyway?”
“Piss off,” I muttered darkly.
“She’s my best friend you tosspot,”
“I thought I was your best friend,” James pouted.
“God, when did I ever give you that impression?”
“It’s just the way you look at me,”
“With hatred and irritation?”
“With manly love and brotherly affection,” James corrected with a grin. He spun our make shift wand through his fingers and turned to me with a slightly more serious expression, “I didn’t tell Freddie or anyone about why you were mad at me – they all just think you lost a bet,”
“A bet about what?”
“You theoretically bet against me winning the Quidditch cup, but there wasn’t a chance of failure, was there? Especially not with Jan on tip top form. Oh yeah, I need you to make a promise Al – promise that you won’t upset Jan in anyway next year.”
“I’ll do my best, but James – you know I’m good at screwing stuff up, I got the prat gene too.”
“Okay, but don’t break up with her,”
“Why would I ever need to break up with Jan?”
“Hell if I know,” James said, “if I had a Jan in my life I wouldn’t, but you are a bit of an idiot at times. Especially not before Quidditch matches though? Yeah?”
“Why?” I asked suspiciously.
“She’s my new Quidditch captain. You’re on the team, Al. I’m going to force you. Even if I’m not captain anymore Gryffindor are not going to lose – and with Freddie gone...”
“Am I allowed to tell her she’s captain?”
“Sure, right... think of a spell to test the wand then, Al.” James said as we found ourselves at the edge of the lake where we’d had our conversation earlier this morning, “actually, you do the honours mate! Enlarge this stone!”
I took the wand from James ceremoniously and pointed it at the wand feeling half excited and half slightly nervous. I rolled up my sleeves. “Engorgio!”
The spell shot out the wrong end of the wand and hit me with a small explosion. I suddenly found myself on the floor coughing as the wand caught fire and burnt to ash in my hands. I blinked and silently cursed myself for not listening to Jan and getting caught up with one of James’s ridiculous ideas. I couldn’t see properly through the smoke and my leg was throbbing painfully.
“Er... Al?” James began, “you appear to have enlarged your left thigh. Ha! People are going to think you were aiming for something else and just missed!”
“You spread that and I’ll murder you in your sleep!”
“Al, I didn’t realise that was what you were worried about as far as Jan is concerned,”
“Stop talking right now.”
“Jan wouldn’t mind Al!”
“James, I am warning you – ”
“Sure, we both know she slept with Wood even though she denies it... but I’m sure she wouldn’t compare -” I kicked James hard in the shin with my enlarged left leg and tripped him up. He not so gracefully wound up on the floor next to me with a self satisfied grin.
“Maybe Jan will kiss it better,” He added cheerfully.
A/N - Hello all! I didn't expect to update this story so soon... but here we are I guess. Your reviews mean the world and I really hope you enjoyed the chapter :D
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