Chapter 26 : Of big mistakes and sneaky villains (The Banquet Part 2)
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The announcement had hit Toni like a sledgehammer. She had looked round to speak to Hayley, but her friend was already gone, tearing from the hall as talking about her grew louder and louder. James seemed hesitant, but after a split-second he was following her and Toni called out his name, desperate for some sort of explanation as to what had just happened. Josh looked equally stunned beside her as he picked himself up, suddenly gone off his food. Around him, it was clear everyone had the same idea, people were leaving around them. Rose and Dom were among the last to go, the latter looking dumbfounded as the former muttered things to her. Toni found herself as one of the last people still sat down, with Josh standing beside her, an arm on her shoulder.
“Josh?” she asked quietly. “What just happened?”
“I think we just discovered the reason James was acting so strangely at the start of this year,” he replied thoughtfully. “Fred’s going to have a fit when he hears about this, especially seeing as though he missed it.”
Toni winced at the mention of Fred and Josh put his arm around her. She smiled appreciatively and the pair headed out of the Great Hall, the school now filtering back to whence it had come, with very few stragglers. The two headed back up to the Gryffindor common room, but it felt surprisingly empty. Toni shot Josh a sympathetic look. Both of their other halves had been wrecked by a single incident and there was nothing either of them could do about it. At this point, they were happy just to be in each other’s company, but something bothered Josh.
“Why now?” he muttered. “What did Kassie have to gain from doing this?”
“Fuck knows,” Toni replied. “She’s probably had to deal with it for a long time, poor girl.”
Kassie was smiling smugly as she waltzed out of Professor Sprout’s office. She had been given a couple of detentions for her outburst, but it would be nothing compared to what would happen to Black-Hunt now that the word was out. She had even managed to paint James in a positive light. Molly and Darren were waiting for her, and they both looked highly amused.
“That was fantastic,” Molly cooed, patting Kassie on the back. “Did you see the look on Potter’s face? It completely destroyed him.”
“It really was something special,” Darren agreed, hugging Kassie and smiling. “Now, we all know what we have to do next. Pick your targets and move, we need to close the trap on Potter and Black-Hunt, but to do that, we need to remove their…support staff.”
“Then let’s do it,” Molly smiled evilly as the three headed out.
Darren moved in quietly but quickly. The Gryffindor common room was fairly quiet upon his return, but it didn’t matter because nobody really spoke to him much anymore anyway. He went up towards his bedroom, but stopped just short, carefully pushing open the door to James Potter’s dormitory. As he could have expected, Potter was alone, lying on his bed, making precious little sound. He wasn’t, however, asleep. Darren muttered “Accio map”, under his breath and sure enough, Potter’s Map drifted out of his pocket, floating beautifully into Darren’s hand. Even better, he hadn’t wiped the map clear, so he didn’t even have to mutter a spell. He quickly checked the position of the target on the map but his eyes were drawn towards Hayley, all alone. He smiled. It couldn’t hurt to deviate slightly from the plan, could it? Darren replaced the parchment carefully, but leaving it where if Potter shifted slightly towards where it would be, he’d be able to see what he needed to. Darren went down to inform Kassie of what she needed to know, then slipped off into the night…
Fred had spent the night drinking heavily, with no intention of stopping. Why should he? For him, everything was wrong. He was wrong. The world was wrong. Why should he endeavour to try and make things any better for anyone? He sipped his firewhiskey again, howling at the night as if it would make things any better.
“I take it you’ve had better nights, eh Weasley?”
Fred swivelled, struggling to lock on to the voice in his drunken state. He focused on a girl, standing in the corner of the room. He nodded and took in who she was. She was wearing a silver ball gown, so she had obviously come from the banquet. Her blonde hair was curly and fell around her shoulders like an angel, her smile equally heavenly.
“Yeah I’ve had better,” Fred slurred, attempting a smile as she sat beside him, taking a sip of his firewhiskey and giggling. “But what’s a beautiful girl such as yourself doing in the Shrieking Shack so late at night? And wearing such a pretty dress?”
“Hiding out,” the girl admitted. “I dumped my boyfriend during the banquet because he cheated on me with some Toni girl. He got violent, so I’m hiding away from him, you don’t mind do you Fred?”
The girl batted her eyelids, but there was something wrong with what she had said. Then it clocked in Fred’s mind. Toni. She couldn’t? She wouldn’t? Well he had told her they should break up…Surely she hadn’t taken him literally. Fred lumbered to his feet, but stumbled into the girl, who squealed and grabbed onto him to stop herself falling. She smiled sweetly and her lips crashed into Fred’s. Fred reacted with passion and anger, kissing back and running his hands through her hair. The girl pushed Fred to the ground and straddled him, biting his lips ferociously and unzipping his trousers as she did so.
“What did you say your name was?” Fred breathed as she smiled wickedly, allowing Fred to unzip her dress.
“Kassie,” she replied gently, breathless as he pulled her closer and undid her bra. “Kassie White.”
“Kassie, Kassie White.”
“Well Kassie White,” James grinned his famous smile, “It’s a pleasure to meet you. I mean I’ve seen you around Hogwarts but it’s a pleasure to be in conversation with you.”
“You are not nearly as smooth as they say,” Kassie teased as she pulled him towards her by his collar, planting her lips on his.
“Darling, we’ve only just met,” James laughed, kissing her back.
“You’re James Potter, your reputation speaks for itself,” Kassie purred, gesturing around the night club as if for effect. “Now are you coming back to mine or what?”
James glanced towards Hayley, who snorted and shook her head, raising her hand as if indicating for him to go. James winked at her and turned back to Kassie, leaning in close so he was practically kissing her ear before whispering: “Oh I’m coming back. And it’s gonna be the best damn night of your life.”
And that much it certainly was. Whilst getting pregnant had indeed been the overall objective, getting there proved to be the best night of her life. James knew positions and tricks that other guys couldn’t even dream of, easing her in to it before really pulling out all the stops. It was a shame it had to come to an end, but then they snuggled for a while, which was an unexpected bonus. Sleeping beside a topless James Potter generally tends to be a positive experience, but with him cuddling up to you, it was practically heaven to Kassie. It was only when her parents returned home in the morning and she was reluctantly forced to kick James out of her house (that much was true at least) that it had finally come to an end.
Then came the wait. The long, patronising wait as she waited to see if her plan had worked. When she missed her period, she had practically punched the air, the test confirming exactly what she had hoped. James Potter was hers and nothing would be able to stop her. Until that bitch Hayley had intervened…
Hayley was sat in the corner of the Charms classroom, for some reason this had been the place she’d ended up as she’d run from everyone. She’d been expecting James to come and find her. Well, she’d hoped he would. He always did. But apparently not this time. The voice sent a chill through her bones and she looked up, shooting as much malice as she could into a single glare. Darren held up his hands in a truce sign.
“I didn’t come here to hurt you. I had no idea. About Kassie, about you…You did something really bad Hayls, I didn’t think you were capable of such a thing. I’m kind of proud of you; it really does turn me on, this bad streak of yours… I mean give me a feisty chick over a blubberer any day of the week. Come find me, I think we could be good together. And I’m sorry for everything that happened.”
Hayley didn’t reply, she went back to slumping on the floor as Darren left, a smirk firmly planted on his face. Everything was falling perfectly into place.
Josh yawned as he climbed the last of the stairs up to his dorm, shutting the door behind him and watching James for a moment before climbing into bed. The raven-haired boy hadn’t moved since he’d taken up his position several hours earlier and Josh was worried as he climbed into bed.
“Are you alright James?” he asked quietly. “I mean that’s a stupid question, obviously you’re not alright, I mean after that banquet you probably want to find a hole somewhere and bury yourself in it. But talk to me James, why didn’t you tell us?”
“Tell you what?” James replied harshly, finally turning to look at Josh. “That some psycho bitch I barely knew engineered a situation whereby she got pregnant? Yes, I shagged her, but I used protection, which for the record she popped, and she point-blank refused both adoption and abortion, determined to have the child so me and her would be together forever. Do you have any idea how hard that is to tell people Josh? I was barely able to tell Hayley for fuck’s sake! And look what happened! I told her and she…”
James broke off and slumped again, Josh plucking up the courage to speak.
“I don’t blame you mate. Nobody does. These things happen, people make mistakes, they just have to move on and what happened, it’s in the past. Don’t let it affect your present. You and Hayley, you have something special, don’t ruin it.”
“What Hayley and I have?” James almost laughed. “Whatever Hayley and I had mate we can’t go back to that. It’s over. I want it to be anything but, but after everything that’s happened; I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’m sorry Josh.”
“Don’t apologise to me mate,” Josh sighed. “Now don’t you think we ought to find Fred, he’s probably drinking himself into a coma.”
James nodded in agreement, scanning the map, his eyes bulging when he saw where Fred was and indeed who he was with. He leapt to his feet, panic clear in his eyes. When Josh questioned him, one glance at the map was enough for Josh to realise the seriousness of the situation. They legged it down to the Gryffindor common room, but nobody was down there. James muttered a swear word and exchanged a non-verbal agreement with Josh that they didn’t have time to wait for a girl so they could contact Toni. James took a moment to relax and think, before haring back to his room to grab his cloak. Then, they ran, mainly covered by the cloak as they practically jumped down all 7 flights of stairs. They reached the grounds and James didn’t stop running as he immobilised the Whomping Willow, Josh moments behind him as they tumbled down the passageway, making their way into the Shrieking Shack.
“Fred Weasley, what the fuck do you think you’re doing?” James yelled as he charged in.
“Well I was in the middle of making sweet love to the gorgeous Kassie here,” Fred replied, each word enunciating his drunkenness as he lay naked on top of a furiously blushing Kassie. “Why is there a problem?”
“Yes there’s a fucking problem!” Josh exploded. “Your girlfriend? Toni? What the fuck would she say if she caught you like this?”
“Toni doesn’t love me anymore!” Fred almost wailed. “She dumped me and then she snogged some other guy, Kassie’s boyfriend.”
James’ eyes were burning as he stormed over, practically throwing Fred off of Kassie. He had never been more dangerous.
“Kassie,” he said, attempting to keep his voice level. “I swear to God, whatever the fuck you are doing here; it’s not going to work. You hear me? Now get the fuck away from Fred and stop whatever shit you’re trying to pull, because it is not going to work? You hear me?”
Kassie smirked victoriously as she picked her clothing up off the floor and stared down James, eyeing him up with a vicious smile.
“Face it Potter,” she breathed. “Your life is in pieces. You can blame me all you want, but I didn’t make you sleep with me, I didn’t make you cast an Unbreakable Vow on your friend, I didn’t ruin your friendship with Black-Hunt. You did all that yourself. You, not me. I knew that if I tricked poor Darren into going to the dance with me, you’d be so focused on him you’d never expect me to try such a stunt. Have fun James, because I’ve already won. You could have had me; you could have had it all. But instead, you’re just a lonely little Potter.”
James found himself unable to reply as Kassie pushed past him and left the shack. Josh put his hand on James’ shoulder, but he made no move to push Josh off. He just stood there, unable to react. Josh hauled Fred up off the floor, as the red-head continued to wail and thrash around.
“James?” Josh called. “I can’t do this on my own…James!”
James seemed to linger there for over a second before he eventually moved, looking almost stupefied as he lumbered forwards to help. Josh and James lifted Fred, managing to cover most of the three of them with the cloak after some considerable effort. It was even harder getting him back up to the castle, especially unspotted, but after a thankfully uneventful return trip, Josh and James hurled the drunken Fred into bed before slumping himself, without so much as a word to Josh.
To say that Josh wasn’t looking forward to telling Toni the truth was the understatement of the century. He was up early, hoping to catch any girl before they headed down to the train and, luckily enough, he managed to bully a first year into fetching Toni. If you could truly call it luck, which in many respects, wasn’t really an option for Josh at this stage.
“Hey Josh,” Toni greeted wearily, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. She was still in her PJs and her hair was rough and all over the place. “What’s wrong?”
“Listen, Toni,” Josh took a deep breath. “It’s Fred. He got really drunk last night. And he made a mistake. And I need you to be brave.”
Toni’s face visibly paled. “Where is he?” she said angrily. “Where is he Josh?”
Josh opened his mouth but she was already moving, taking the stairs two at a time as she charged up to their dorm, kicking the open door and diving onto Fred, punching and kicking the sleeping and hung-over boy repeatedly as Josh dragged her off.
“She took it well then,” James muttered, barely glancing up from his bed.
“Fred Weasley!” Toni screeched. “Get your sorry arse up and tell me you did not cheat on me!”
“Toni?” Fred mumbled pitifully. “I thought we’d broken up. I thought you were with some other guy. I thought you didn’t love me anymore.”
“I do love you Fred,” Toni sobbed. “Or at least I did, but I hate who you’ve become. And I would never cheat on you, ever. But I just can’t do this anymore. The drinking, the ignoring, the spiral. I just can’t deal with who you’ve become Fred and if you cheated on me, then we are through, understand. Now answer me. Did you cheat on me?”
“Yes,” Fred replied weakly, as Toni burst into tears, burying her head into Josh’s chest and he glared at Fred. James promptly rolled over and went back to sleep.
A/N: Ah well that ended well... any thoughts about what you think will happen next? Who's your favourite character? About 10 chapters left now so we're just about hitting the home straight. Thanks to my beta Elizabeth for all her help with this and other chapters and as always, thanks for reading and leave a lovely review to make my day :P
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