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Chapter 8 : Fighting, Gibb Slaps, and House Elves With Gambling Problems
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Man, I always have wondered who came up with the entrance to the Kitchens. I mean, really? Tickle the pear? It sounds kind of…twisted, you know? Either that or I’ve been watching too many American TV shows.
I tickled the pear (I’m telling you, it’s weird), and stepped into the Kitchens, breathing in the scent of cooking chicken and frying vegetables and boiling rice and baking cinnamon buns and- Potter?! (Yes, he has a smell. I’m pretty sure it’s what I smelled in the Amortentia a few days ago. I am very worried about that, incidentally.)
My eyes snap open and I turn to glare at him. He glares right back at me, looking quite pissed.
“What the hell are you doing here?” he asks, his voice twisting with scorn.
“I could ask you the same thing, asshole.” I say, stalking towards him, my anger returning from that little episode on the stairs outside of his dorm.
“Aw, lookit! Is ikkle Smithe angry?” Potter said, imitating the kind of voice someone would talk to a three-year-old with.
My jaw clenches and my hands curl into fists. I feel like every muscle in my body is stressed and tensed, ready to release in Potter-injuring power.
“Shut. Up.” I growl, feeling white-hot anger begin to run through my veins.
“No. Listen, I don’t know who you think you are, but you’re not in control of me. You just walk around, up there on your high horse, just doing whatever the fuck you feel like”, he snarls.
“I’m sorry, but are you actually accusing me of what I think you are? You’re accusing me of being an up-tight bitch with a stick up her ass?” I shook my head, and then pushed him back with both hands. “Eat shit and die, moron.”
Potter stumbled a little, but then regained his balance and rushed back up to me. “What is your fucking problem, you fucking bitch? Do you seriously think you’re in control of every fucking thing? Do you honestly think that you can be such a control freak all the time and get away with it? You are going to fall, and fall hard.” As he talks, he walks closer and closer to me, until we’re standing nose to nose, glaring daggers at each other.
“No, what is your fucking problem? I don’t know what you think I do every day, but it’s not what you must think. I don’t wake up and decide that I’m going to a major bitch with a control issue today! Potter, that’s you. Seriously, just because your Daddy is the fucking savior of the fucking wizarding world, it doesn’t mean you can do whatever the hell you feel like all the bloody time. Why don’t you just grow up and get a fucking life, Potter? Dickhead.” I sneer at him and then turn to leave. But just as I’m about to leave, Potter slams me up against the wall, one hand holding the front of my shirt, the other holding his wand against my neck.
His eyes are smoldering hazel, burning into mine. Against my will, my own eyes slowly begin turning red. (It’s one of the occupational hazards of being a Metamorphmagus.)
“Take it back.” He hisses, the point of his wand jabbing into my neck, right below my jaw.
I take it in: his jaw clenched as tight as a vice, his knuckles standing out white against his hands. The feel of the stones in the wall pressing up against my back. The worried faces of the House Elves swimming in my peripheral vision. And, more importantly, the seventeen-year-old, six foot three, two hundred twenty pound hunk of muscle and anger currently out for my blood. And all I have to do is tell him what he wants to hear, and I’m home free.
Some people would say “yes, I take it back, please don’t eat me”.
I am not one of those people.
“No.” my voice breaks the silence like a whip cracking. Potter’s eyes flash a thousand different shades of anger, but before he can even begin to think of a spell, my own wand is out and pressed into his neck.
“Now, this is a problem, isn’t it?” I ask, smirking slightly, faintly conscious of my hair starting to turn red.
I raise my free hand and push him away, using all of my strength. I barely register the sound of ripping fabric and the realization that Potter’s grip had been strong enough to rip my shirt when I pushed him away.
Before I can prepare myself, a flash of light comes from Potter’s direction and, without thinking about it; I drop to the ground, not even bothering to look back up at where the jinx made contact with the wall.
I flick my wand and whisper “Protego”. Then I stand up point my wand directly at Potter, who is standing a yard away from me, breathing hard and clenching his wand with his left hand.
I flick my wand again to take down the shield charm and then shout my own spell. “Petrificus Totalus!”
And so it begins.
I wasn’t aware of any truly conscious thought. I just dodged and screamed and taunted and, crazy as it sounds, laughed. I was relying on my instincts, determination, and rage. Just like him. He taunted. He laughed. He screamed spells and dodged jets of brilliant light.
We were evenly matched. We knew what the other was going to do before they acted. We knew how to react. A small part of mind that had not been reduced to horrifically violent rage thought idly that this fight was strangely beautiful in its ugliness.
The rest of my mind was completely absorbed in rage and concentrating on the fight.
“Reducto!” I flicked my wand, blocking the spell.
“Expelliarmus!” Purple light, a jet of it, coming out of my wand. Potter dodged at the last second.
The floor between us was starting to crack, the wreckage caused by our fight strewn around us. Out of my peripheral vision I could see House Elves scurrying around, some trying to fix our mess, some trying to move stuff that we might break, some hiding, some making bets.
Wow. We have some malicious kitchen helpers.
More and more. On and on. There was no end, and no beginning. The only thing that existed was his face, his wand, his words. His very presence.
A distant part of me heard an almost…feral snarl, and with a small, subdued shock, I realized it was me.
But was that going to stop me? Hell no. I laughed, an exhilarated laugh that scared even me, and I raised my wand again, shouting another spell, another spell in an endless battle.
Potter dodged the jet of light by centimeters. I growled in frustration, my wand and body awaiting the next attack. His face twisted in a vicious expression of pure hate, and I flinched involuntarily. The next second, a jet of bright blue light was coming towards me. I acted without thinking. I dropped to the floor, then shot back up and sent my own hex back towards my enemy. He flicked his wand, blocking it.
And so we continued in our fight. The small part of brain that wasn’t busy wreaking havoc and trying to seriously injure Potter was busy thinking. Watching. Observing.
It analyzed Potter’s expressions, which alternated between frustration when I dodged another hex and pure, terrifying hatred. It scared me, really. It scared me, what we became when we lost control. Lost control of our emotions. Of our bodies. Of our thoughts or actions. So why was I fighting like this? Why was I doing something that I knew I hated, I abhorred? Why was I following through with every violent whim that crossed my mind? Why did I honestly want to injure Potter, to hurt him, to truly cause him pain?
I heard it. I saw the light. And I raised my wand, ready to block the spell. But then I answered my question. I had lost control. I had let my anger get away from me. And as I thought it, I could feel the rage drifting away, leaving my body, leaving me with no reason to fight. I dropped my wand, watching it fall to the floor, hearing it clatter, and I let the jet of light hit me.
I stared in shock as Smithe let out a hissed curse and crumpled to the ground, by her dropped wand. What. The. Hell. Was. That.
I mean, one second we were in this really awesome fight, and I was all like “die, Smithe, die!” and then the next second she just…gives up?
Who the fuck does that?
I sighed, walked over to her, bent down, and poked her tentatively in the shoulder. “Smithe?” I asked uncertainly.
She groaned and pushed herself off the ground with shaking arms. Her skin was pale and covered in sweat, and her hair and eyes had gone back to lime green and chocolate brown, respectively.
“Had to be Impedimenta, didn’t it?” she bit out, her voice halting, weak, and breathless.
“Well, you didn’t have to let it hit you”, I answered, standing back up and glancing around at the ruined kitchen.
Most of the House Elves saw me looking at them and proceeded to squeal (yes, squeal) in terror and shield their faces. The others just glared at me in apparent anger for winning the fight, because I could see them forking over money to other Elves. Whoa. We have some malicious House Elves in our kitchens.
Smithe groaned slightly and then pulled herself to her feet, clutching her wand like a lifeline. I glanced over at her and immediately did a double take. I knew that I had ripped her shit, but I didn’t know I had ripped it that much.
You know, I think I like it better like that, actually.
I am a hormonal teenage boy. We’ve been over this. Let’s move on with our lives.
As I watched, Smithe took a deep breath and pointed her wand at her chest. Aw, don’t tell me she’s going to fix her shirt! I have such a good view. Speaking of which, I didn’t know that Smithe owned a bra that…sexy.
Instead, she whispered something under her breath and closed her eyes, letting out a deep breath. When she opened her eyes, she looked a thousand times better, her skin returning to its normal color and her muscles ceasing their shaking.
Well, thank Merlin. She looks a lot hotter without all the pale skin and shaking muscles.
…Okay, do we really need to have the hormonal teenage boy talk again?
“Oi, Potter!” Smithe snaps, breaking my gaze away from her chest region and up to her eyes. “We’ve got practice at six tonight. First of the season. And stop staring. Please. It’s rather sickening.”
I rolled my eyes and didn’t bother denying my blatant staring. “Fine. I’ll tell Fred and Al and anyone else I see. Now, that was a nice fight and all, but can you go now?”
Now she rolled her eyes. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m going. I mean, I actually have responsibilities, don’t I?” she asked, raising one pierced eyebrow.
Ouch. That was harsh. She knows that’s an old wound. A festering, old wound.
“Low blow, Smithe.”
“Yep.” She said, popping the p obnoxiously. “I need to go and let some friends of mine out of a broom closet now, so if I don’t show up for practice, I’m five feet under.”
I stared at her. What is she on. Seriously. I’m not even kidding or trying to be all “lookit the crazy Smithe beasty!” Because I know she’s bonkers, but locking two of her friends (probably my friends, too) in a broom closet?! That’s a whole new level of insanity.
“What? It’s a perfectly logical thing to do, and I’m sure you’d do the same if you had been in my situation.” Smithe said, nodding in a very somber manner. I continued staring at her in a mixture of shock and incredulity.
I want her to get a drug test. Now. ‘Cause this level of craziness is not healthy. For anyone.
Smithe raised an eyebrow at me (which probably had something to do with backing away from and then proceeding to cower behind an innocent and terrified House Elf who happened to get too close. Trust me on this one; I’m the epitome of manliness) and then turned and left the kitchen, but not before pausing to snag a large cinnamon bun from a pan where it was cooling. I looked after her, and distinctly hearing her mutter something about “bloody Potter and his bloody obsession for ripping my bloody shirts”.
I couldn’t help but chuckle a little at that. It was kind of true, after all. It seemed like every time we got in a serious, physical (dueling and everything) fight, I ended up ripping her shirt. It may or may not have something to do with the fact that hormones rule my life and Smithe does, indeed, have a very hot body.
…hormones, okay? Must we really go over this once again?
I glanced around at the House Elves again, and then casually waved my wand, fixing all of the damage we had done to the kitchens. The kitchens are literally the most important room in Hogwarts. I will not let it go in such a horrible state, if I can help it. (Never mind the fact that it’s actually my fault in the first place.)
“Sorry guys.” I said to the room at large, and then I snagged a large, delicious-looking pastry and sauntered out of the kitchen and back up through the dungeons to the Great Hall.
I looked around and saw Fred sitting and talking with Mary, Albus, and Scorp at the Gryffindor table. They were all frowning slightly and looked very deep in thought.
“Hey guys. ‘Sup?” I asked, walking over to them.
They all jumped slightly and looked up at me guiltily. I looked at them quizzically for a second, and then dismissed their odd behavior as “usual Marauder shit” and sat down next to them. Scorp casually slipped a piece of paper into his pockets, just as casually avoiding eye contact with me. I gave him a strange look, and then I shrugged and turned to Al and Freddy.
“We’ve got practice tonight at six.” I said.
Scorp edged closer to us, tilting his head so far in our direction that I’m sure it most have been slightly painful for the tendons in his neck.
“Scorp, what the hell are you doing?” Al asked, looking at him as though he had just sprouted an ear in the middle of his forehead.
“Nothing. Just…listening.” He answered, looking at us in a pathetic attempt at being innocent.
“You idiot. If you think we’re going to start spouting our team secrets in front of the Slytherin Captain, and star Chaser, than you have obviously been drinking.” I said, scoffing at the mere possibility of us Gryffindors being that stupid. Never mind that we’ve actually done that before.
He muttered something under his breath, got up, and stalked off towards the dungeons. I watched him go with amusement. After all, watching one of the infamous Marauders storm away pouting like a three-year-old girl is not something you see every day.
“Right. So, what were you talking about?” I asked, looking at Al, Fred, and Mary questioningly. They all immediately cleared their throats and shifted in their seats.
I just stared at them, waiting for their response.
“Oh, nothing, just…um…potatoes!” Fred invented wildly. I raised my eyebrows, looking at him uncertainly.
“Oh, yes, definitely! We were having a riveting discussion about freakin’ potatoes! Great job, genius.” Mary said scathingly, giving Freddy a poisonous glare.
“Okay, what are you guys hiding from me?”
Al sighed and then stood up calmly. “Well, mates, I guess we’re going to have to go with the ‘run away like really brave Gryffindors until this all blows over and James forgets’ plan.” And then, after grinning at me, Al took off. Freddy and Mary quickly followed suit (but only after Mary tapped the side of her nose and winked), leaving me in the Great Hall.
I looked after them, shaking my head. Man, sometimes I think I need new friends. You know, friends who don’t hide things from me and run away when I start inquiring into whatever they’re keeping secret. Which I just know has to deal with me.
I got up from my seat and started towards the Common Room, absentmindedly running a hand through my hair.
“You know, Myra hates it when you do that. Do you know why?” someone asked from behind me. I turned around in surprise, and found myself looking down into the smiling face of Amy Love.
“Oh, hey Amy. No, I have no idea.”
Amy stepped into pace with me, walking beside me as we made our way to the Common Room. Merlin, she was tiny. Sometimes I don’t realize just how small Amy is, even though she’s one of my mates, but then she ends standing next to me and I look down and think “I’m walking next to a First Year! Oh, wait, no, that’s Amy. Whoops.”
But I would never mention her height, or she might get mad. And when Amy gets mad, people get broken bones. Namely, whoever pissed her off. And I don’t really fancy a broken nose in my future. Smithe might offer to “fix it” for me.
“By the way, did you and My get in a fight recently? I saw her walking to the Common Room with her shirt ripped and a cinnamon bun. I said hi but she just muttered something about you and evil House Elves and walked away.” Amy said, looking up at me with her seemingly innocent gray eyes.
Amy and innocent don’t belong in the same sentence. Trust me. Don’t let her height and innocent, pixie-esque features cloud your judgment. She’s a fucking demon. And she’s also the first person out of anyone in a room to crack a “that’s what she said” joke.
“Uh…yeah, we did.”
Amy sighed, frowning up at me. “I wish you guys would stop doing that. You should just get over your pride and have a good shag already. I mean, honestly, your sexual tension is through the roof.”
She did not just say what I think she said.
I coughed, choking on my own spit. “What?!” I managed to get out, after hacking up a lung. (And while I was doing this, I might add, Amy was just standing there, watching me with a “really?” expression on her face. My friends are all out to get me.)
“Oh, please. It’s not like you rip her shirt every bloody fight you have on accident.” She said, rolling her eyes and crossing her arms.
“Alright, fine, you’ve got me there. But that doesn’t mean there’s any sexual tension! It’s all hatred!”
“Yeah, that’s what you want me to think. Shit, you’re probably just trying to convince yourself. And, as you should know, there’s a thin line between love and hate.”
“No fucking way. That’s never going to happen. Not until roasted pigs fly in a frozen hell.”
“OH MY FUCKING GOD THERE ARE FLAMING PIGS FLYING AROUND IN A SNOWSTORM INSIDE PROFESSOR BINNS’ CLASSROOM THAT IS SO FUCKING COOL!!!”
My jaw hit the floor painfully. I turned around slowly, not even wanting to think about what Amy was going to say. (She’s a demon! No, really.)
Before I had time to prepare myself in any manner, shape, or form, Dom tackled me in an enthusiastic…I don’t know what. She just tackled me. And it hurt. A lot. Mostly because she managed to knee my manly bits as she sent me crashing to the hard, unforgiving stone floor.
“Well, now. Isn’t that interesting, James?” I heard Amy ask as she pulled Dom off of me. I just moaned in pain and curled up on my side.
Why Dom, why?
“Oh. Sorry about that. Didn’t mean to…er…well, you know. Are you alright?” No, I’m not fucking alright! You just destroyed any possibility of me having kids, Dom! Well, not that I’d want to. Kids can be very annoying.
“Fine.” I gasped, getting unsteadily to my feet. Dom reached out and yanked me up the rest of the way. Painfully, of course. I really hope she didn’t just yank my wrist out of its joint, because then I wouldn’t be able to practice, and then Smithe would probably cut off my head and impale it on a stick as a warning to anyone else who even thinks about disobeying her. Bitch.
“Ow…” I moaned, holding my wrist in my other hand and cowering away from Dom. “Amy, she’s injuring me!” I whined.
Amy reached over and hit me upside the head without looking at me. “Shut up, James.”
I quietly grumbled the rest of the way to the Common Room, occasionally getting another head slap (or Gibb slap, as Amy put it – something about NCIS and watching Muggle TV with her aunt) whenever my voice got too loud.
When we reached the Common Room, I made a beeline to the stairs to the Boy’s Dorms, abandoning Amy and Dom. Merlin knows what they would have “accidentally” done to hurt me next. I reached my dorm and promptly started searching for my broom. Smithe isn’t an overly strict captain, and she’s not biased against me (well, she’ll still pick me as the dummy whenever she wants the Beaters to practice their aim, and she enjoys it whenever I get hurt, but other than that she’s not too horrible), but she’ll still make me run extra if I’m late. It’s the same for everyone, too. And trust me, by everyone, I mean everyfuckingone. Smithe will actually run extra herself if she’s late to practice. Which has only happened once before, and that was pretty much all my fault, but still.
“Hey James. Got practice today?” I heard someone ask, and I turned around to see one of my roommates walk into the dorm as I searched around under my bed for my broom.
This particular roommate was Jake Finnegan; a nice bloke who loved a Muggle sport called football and had a knack for blowing things up. He usually hung out with us (that is, me and the rest of friends, which unfortunately tends to include Smithe), but he managed to be late to Platform 9 ¾ every year, and ended up Flooing into the castle. Which is not exactly out of the norm for Jake.
“Yeah, Jake. Smithe has us out there working our asses off a good month before any other team every year.” Okay, so it’s only a month, but still!
“C’mon James, give her some credit. She’s a great Chaser and she’s captained you to victory for the past two years.” Jake said, grinning at me as I yanked my broom out from under my bed with some much force that it lost a few twigs off of the end.
I glared at Jake for even mentioning the fact that Smithe was actually a brilliant Chaser and an amazing Captain. Those are details and are not necessary right now. I’m just going to be pissed at Smithe and completely ignore the fact that I really don’t have much of a right to be. Like I said: details.
Jake just shook his head and smiled as I stalked out of the room, clutching my broom angrily.
When I reached the Quidditch pitch I was fifteen minutes early, and as I entered the changing room, I heard yelling.
“Myra, I can’t believe you did that!”
“Hey, it worked, didn’t it? You two are dating!”
“But still! You locked us in a broom cupboard!”
She did what?
“But it worked! You’re totally in love with each other! And anyways, I did a little research on my own time. He’s from a respectable pureblood family. Your parents will be psyched!”
Wait…what’s this about a “respectable pureblood family”? What’s that got to do with Smithe’s stupidity?
“Gah! You stupid woman!”
I rounded a corner in the locker room to find Ash and Smithe arguing animatedly, both of them wearing clothes for practice and with their brooms resting against the wall. As I walked in, Ash happened to glance up and notice me. She glared at Smithe, grabbed her broom, and left. Smithe watched her go with an expression of remorse on her face.
“You locked Ash in a broom closet?” I asked, raising my eyebrows in question.
“Yeah…looking back on it, it might not have been that good of an idea.” She murmured, still staring at the spot where Ash had walked out.
“Ash doesn’t get angry like that. What the hell did you do to piss her off?”
“Well…I kind of locked her in a broom cupboard with the bloke that she’s been in love with since, like, First Year, and there are a few other contributing factors, but that’s not really something I should tell you.” she said, rubbing her chin like she usually did when she was doing some serious thinking. She did that a lot while she was coming up with new plays for the team.
“It’s not something you should tell me. Well, fat load of good you are.” I said scathingly.
Smithe just shrugged and said, “If you want to know you should talk to Ash. Practice starts in eight minutes, moron. Get changed.” She walked out then, leaving me alone in the room.
Alright. So, that was a horrible update, but it’s a long chapter! I really want to hear your feedback on this. Not the chapter, but just his question: do you think the characters are flat? If so, which ones? Who should I develop more?
Because I feel like I’ve had way too much James/Myra action, so please give me a sentence or two about that.
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