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Falling Through My Dreams by busybusybeta
Chapter 17 : To Be or Not To BeA Proper Girlfriend, That Is
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4


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A/N: I hate pulling out the ‘I’m-a-student-so-forgive-me-for-shit-updates’ card, simply because I know that I’m just a procrastinator, and if I had better time management, I wouldn’t get myself into these types of fixes. But I am just so annoyed right now.
Here’s the deal: I put off updating because I had a slight block and it was easier to just study for a huge exam I had coming up in Classical Mythology (I’m an English major, so I’ve got all of these random classes in my schedule). I studied and studied, had all of my assignments and etc. prepared for the exam, and then my freaking alarm never went off. I am not Ivy Shelton. I can’t just wake up at the drop of a hat. GRRR! So I missed my exam COMPLETELY, AND I missed my Ancient World Lit class after Classical Myth. I am so irritated with myself right now. I just shot off an email to my professor, begging for forgiveness and an opportunity to do a make-up exam, and I decided “screw it, I’m going to write that damn chapter RIGHT NOW.”
So here I am. Sorry for that giant rant that you totally don’t care about. MRGGGG.....

 

 




Ivy awoke to the sound of Amelia humming as she came out of the bathroom.

“Must you be so obscenely cheerful at the crack of fecking dawn on a Saturday?” Alice groaned.

“Breakfast has already begun. Hardly the crack of dawn,” Amelia snorted. When she squawked affrontedly, Ivy could only assume that Alice had displayed a few choice fingers in her direction.

Ivy turned over in her bed, and blearily wondered why she felt an ominous haze of foreboding hovering just outside of her periphery. Then her stomach flipped over before attempting to jump up into her chest as the previous night came rushing back.

“No,” she moaned audibly before burying her head in her pillow.

“What’s the matter with you?” Amelia inquired as she brushed out her curls with her fingers.

Ivy stilled and slowly peered out from under her pillow. She knew if she told them what she’d done, they wouldn’t have the most constructive advice for her.

“Nothing,” she croaked, mouth dried by the thought of the day she had ahead of her.

Amelia’s eyebrows scrunched together but before she could pry any further, Alice promptly rolled too far to one side and fell out of her four-poster with a loud bang and lots of swearing.

“Honestly,” Amelia rolled her eyes, and Ivy forced a giggle out of her parched throat.

“Screw you two. Some friends you are,” Alice pulled herself up into a sitting position and pouted at them from the far side of her bed.

20 minutes later, Ivy entered the Great Hall ducking behind Alice and Amelia with her head bowed, praying that Ryden wouldn’t see her and call her over. But she glanced at the Hufflepuff table through her bangs and didn’t see him or the rest of the team. They’d probably already gone down to the locker room. Just as she let out a breath of relief, she crashed into someone and knocked into Amelia.

“Oi! Wa–” the figure snapped but stopped.

Ivy looked up into Severus’ eyes, unable to mask her surprise, and saw a flicker of recognition. In his moment of hesitation, his scowl slipped, but he quickly replaced it.

“Watch where you’re going,” he glared and pushed past her and out of the hall.

“I swear, Snape’s become a real piece of work lately,” Alice muttered, giving him a nasty look as he stalked away.

“Are you okay, Iv?” Amelia asked, and Ivy realized that her fists were clenched so tightly that her knuckles were white.

“I’m fine,” she replied shortly. “What about you? Sorry I fell into you like that.”

“It’s okay,” Amelia said, the uncertainty evident on her face.

“Oi, you three!”

They all turned and saw Sirius beckoning them over to where he, the rest of the Marauders, and Lily were sitting. They hurried over and Ivy dropped down beside Lily, who had James on her other side. With Remus beside James, Ivy was spared the agony of having to look him in the face, with the knowledge of what she’d done.

She grabbed a piece of toast and attempted to force it down while the others laughed and joked.

Lily turned to ask Ivy a question but stopped short.

“Ivy, you look green,” she observed, slightly concerned.

“Just tired,” she shrugged.

“You can probably leave off on the game and get some more sleep. It’s just Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw,” she lowered her voice to a whisper, just in case a student from either house happened to stroll by. She couldn’t allow anyone to think that the Head Girl played favorites. Even if she did belong to an awesome house.

“No, I’m sure I’ll be fine,” Ivy replied resolutely. She took several large gulps of coffee to help her choke down a particularly vicious bite of toast.

“Any particular reason you want to go to the match, Marcell?” Sirius asked with a smirk.

“What?” Ivy snapped at him with such a wild look in her eyes that he was momentarily shocked into silence. He looked about the rest of the table, and no one seemed to have noticed Ivy’s impromptu loss of sanity.

“Erm, nevermind,” he said slowly, deciding to let it go. Clearly there was something bothering Ivy, and it had to do with the match. Sirius was suddenly filled with a slight feeling of dread, but he shrugged it off. Don’t go borrowing trouble, Black, he dismissed the inkling.

****

They shuffled into the stands, Ivy stuck between Peter and Lily with Sirius directly behind her. Remus, Alice, and Frank were also behind her, and she thanked God for it. At least Remus won’t see my puke face when Ryden comes out.

Ivy looked around the stadium and immediately noticed the difference from the game two weeks previous. For one thing, the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws were amicably exchanging only halfhearted trash talk. And for another, they were all clothed.

According to Amelia, Ivy and Remus had missed out on seeing several 5th year Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and even Ravenclaw girls get sets of hideously puce colored robes semi-permanently stuck to their bodies when Professor McGonagall found out that they had each painted a letter of Sirius’ name on their chests. Chests that were very bare underneath their easily removable t-shirts.

Nobody told Sirius. They figured that his ego was huge enough without the knowledge that his groupies had risked hypothermia and the wrath of Minerva McGonagall for him.

Ivy also noted that the Slytherin section was barely a quarter full. Jerks, she mentally snorted, but her derision vanished when students began cheering. She looked down and saw Monsieur Wright, the flying instructor, levitating the chest of game balls to the center of the pitch, both teams following him in parallel single files.

He put the chest down and spoke to the captains. Ryden exchanged a handshake with the willowy blonde Ravenclaw captain, Ophelia Grant. Ivy even saw a flash of Ryden’s white teeth as he smiled, the handshake clearly not aggressive in the least.

“My, don’t Kale’s teeth look particularly dazzling in this early morning light?”

Ivy stilled, not entirely believing that she had heard what she just thought she heard, coming from behind her in Sirius’ voice. She turned around to find him with a cheeky grin on his face, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.

“Shut up, Sirius,” she said mildly, rolling her eyes and turned back towards the players, who were now airborne, waiting for the quaffle. Monsieur Wright threw up the quaffle as he blew his whistle–

“And they’re off! Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the second match of the season, Hufflepuff Versus Ravenclaw,” Leo Jansen’s voice echoed excitedly around the pitch. “We have a slight wind coming from the north, but the sun is out, and this is, as they say in the big leagues, a perfect day for a massacre! Just who will be emerging from this game victoriously, it is uncertain. Ryden Kale, Hufflepuff’s fearless captain (eat your hearts out ladies) has been whipping his team into top form for the past three months, and I have it on good authority that there’s more to them than friendly smiles, folks!”

“He has to say that,” Alice rolled her eyes. “He’s a Puff, isn’t he? And why does he sound so thrilled? This match is dead boring.”

Alice,” Lily admonished but couldn’t hide the fact that her lips were twisting into a smile.

“But Ravenclaw always proves to be a spot of trouble each year, always emerging as a dark horse when their opposition least expects it. Suspect it’s got to do something with those legs that Grant is always flashing whenever she’s on the pitch,” Leo grinned and wolf whistles were heard around the pitch.

Ophelia whipped around on her broom and brandished her beater’s bat at the 5th year commentator threateningly.

“Alright, alright, so maybe it’s got something to do with those infamous Ravenclaw plays that don’t give the opposing team any leeway,” he conceded. “Please, for the sake of all the guys here, keep your pants on, Grant.”

The cheering from the male students had reached a new high, Sirius had even joined in. Ivy saw more than a fair share of guys getting their ears boxed by irritated girlfriends.

“Jansen!” Professor McGonagall’s voice snapped. “If you’re not going to do the job–”

Okay, Professor. Sheesh,” he said, and Ivy saw him try, and fail, to duck away from a resounding thwack that McGonagall delivered to the back of his head.

“Capital punishment that is! Are you watching, Headmaster?” Leo demanded, sounding more cheeky than ever before.

“Jansen!”

“And it’s Harlgrowe with the quaffle,” Leo finally realized that he might have just reached the formidable Deputy Headmistress’ limit, and reverted to his profession commentator voice. “She approaches Kale aaaaand–saved!”

Ryden tossed the quaffle to one of his chasers and absently flicked his hair out of his eyes. Play had only been going on for 15 minutes, but the sun was really starting to beat down on them, and his hair was already partially plastered to his forehead.

“You know,” Sirius suddenly spoke up, sounding all too innocent to actually be believable, “that’s a really great shade of brown. What would you call that, Marcell? Sable?”

“What are you talking about now?” Ivy asked peevishly as she turned around to look up at him.

“Golden Boy’s hair color. I’ve been thinking about dying mine for ages,” Sirius said with an exaggerated hand flip.

Ivy glared at him, one of her eyes unconsciously narrowed more than the other due to a twitch, giving her an air of pure irritation. Her eyes flitted briefly to Remus, who shrugged, as if to say “What can you do?”

Ivy decided not to dignify Sirius’ jibe and instead turned back to the game.

****

Remus grew bored of the match quickly. He wasn’t particularly invested in quidditch in the first place, but watching people he didn’t really know play was more than tedious. It was agony.

If he was honest with himself, he had only come because Ivy had decided that she wanted to come. But he didn’t even manage to sit anywhere near her, and she was uncharacteristically quiet, even through Sirius’ continual cracks about Kale.

“Ooh, that was a nice save by Lover Boy,” Sirius leaned forward to say cheekily into Ivy’s ear.

Remus saw her bristle and she turned around to glare at Sirius, who merely grinned back.

“Go fall of the Astronomy Tower,” she snapped.

“Someone’s touchy today,” Sirius said, pretending to be hurt by her words.

“Ignore him,” Peter rolled his eyes.

“What did you ever see in that twat, anyway?” James asked, leaning around Lily to join into the conversation.

Remus’ patience was wearing thin. It was a full moon tonight, his friends knew he fancied Ivy – well, that wasn’t entirely true. He hadn’t expressly admitted it to them, but they weren’t complete idiots, were they? Why did they insist on continually bringing up some other guy that she didn’t even talk to anymore? Could they be anymore irritating?!

“Guys, just drop it,” he said shortly.

“I have to know,” James insisted.

“Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? I mean, look at him!” Sirius said in a girlish voice.

“Why does it matter to you, anyway?” Amelia finally spoke up for Ivy. She knew that Ivy didn’t fancy Ryden, she fancied Remus. It was clear as day, for heaven’s sake! We’re they just trying to get Ivy to fess up to it?

“It matters, dear Amelia, because Kale is a git!” Sirius said with conviction.

“He’s not so bad,” Peter tried to say diplomatically, but his lack of sincerity was evident.

“Not so bad?!” Sirius shouted, suddenly sounding irate. “Pete, he–”

Shut the fuck up!” Ivy finally screeched at the top of her lungs, effectively silencing not only her friends, but the entire Gryffindor cheering section. She was standing up and glowering down at Sirius with more venom than he had ever seen her possess.

“Why so serious, Marcell?” He asked, trying to lighten the awkward mood with a bad pun.

“Because,” she said through gritted teeth, “I happen to be dating that git.”

She whirled back around and plopped down on her seat, crossing her arms and returning her attention to the match.

Silence reigned over the Gryffindor 7th years and any of those unfortunate enough to be sitting within their vicinity.

Behind her, Remus’ fists were clenched so tightly that he lost all feeling in his hands within a matter of seconds. His eyes quickly homed in on Kale at the far end of the pitch, and for a moment he saw yellow, and it wasn’t just the Puffers’ robes. He must have growled, because suddenly Sirius was shaking him by the shoulder, urgently whispering his name.

“Moony,” Sirius hissed until he saw the haze in his best friend’s eyes fade away, and Remus’ gaze focused on him. But then he saw something much worse than fury: pain and disappointment.

“I’m sorry mate, I didn’t know,” he said quietly, and they both knew what he was apologizing for. Students all around them were whispering and pointing at Ivy, and just like that, the whole school knew who Ivy had supposedly moved onto after Remus.

“It’s fine,” he said shortly, his lips barely moving.

Remus abruptly stood and clambered over Sirius, Alice, and Frank and down the steps from the stands. He made his way back to the school with a forced numbness. He knew that Ivy was better off without him, being what he was, but did she have to choose Kale? Fucking sod.

****

Ivy was both relieved and smug when the Hufflepuff seeker finally caught the snitch. She threw a contemptuous look over her shoulder at Sirius before quickly shuffling down towards the landing players to congratulate Ryden. She noted that Remus was no where to be seen, but thought nothing of it.

“Well,” Amelia said, trying to stave off the shock that had descending upon their group after Ivy’s declaration. “That was, erm, eventful?
****

It didn’t take long for Ivy to see that she was in trouble with everyone. The rest of Saturday was spent in relative silence.

The guys had disappeared after sunset, which unfortunately didn’t occur before an awkward dinner. Ivy chewed her lip as she noted the full moon outside. She hoped that Remus’ disappearance during the match was due to his condition instead of her announcement, but her gut instincts were screaming at her for being an idiot.

Amelia kept sending her reproachful looks over her book. Alice had only spared her one disgruntled glare before disappearing with Frank after dinner. Lily had maintained a rather neutral veneer before she headed off to bed, probably wary of the sudden unease they could all feel but refused to acknowledge.

****

Moll,
I did something so unbelievably cliché and stupid, but I don’t know if I should fix it. I had good intentions, I swear, but I feel like shit.
I like a guy, but I know I’m not here for personal reasons, so I thought it would be best not to pursue him. So naturally I, like an ass, asked out someone else. Now my friends are being weird, the guy I like is ignoring me, and I feel bad knowing I took advantage of the guy I asked out, because he actually likes me. What do I do?!
Lots o’ lurve,
Ivy
P.S. Please tell Arthur that he’s a berk for skimming over nonverbal spells. I’m constantly getting my ass handed to me in DADA by some Hufflepuff.
P.P.S. Please hug the boys for me.
P.P.P.S. Fine, tell Arthur I forgive him.
P.P.P.P.S. But he’s still a berk.


Ivy tried to end the letter on a somewhat cheerful note. She sighed as she sealed it and coaxed a school owl down from the rafters.

She was just about finished tying her knot when the door to the owlry swung open. Ivy glanced over her shoulder as she carried the owl, perched on her arm, towards a window, but who she saw caused her to stop abruptly.

“Oh,” she said stupidly and blinked twice.

Remus cleared his throat uncomfortably. He looked like hell even more than usual following a full moon, and Ivy couldn’t help but feel responsible. Don’t be stupid. He experienced full moons before you, and he’ll have more after you, her conscience attempted to give her some respite from herself, but it wasn’t working.

“You disappeared during the match yesterday,” Ivy said lamely, as if he didn’t know this particular bit of information.

“Yeah,” he nodded. “I forgot an essay I had to write,” Remus lied, equally pathetically. They both knew it was a lie, and each knew that the other knew it. When had they progressed to being able to read each other like the books they both enjoyed?

The owl on Ivy’s arm grew impatient and nipped her wrist. She flinched and swiftly deposited him on the nearest windowsill, where he opened his impressive wingspan and took off towards the sunset.

“I’ll see you,” she nodded at Remus, who stood by another owl holding its leg out for his letter.

Just as the hem of Ivy’s robe was about to disappear out the doorway, Remus growled and threw down his letter. The owl hooted indignantly and flew back up to her place in the rafters.

“Why Kale?” He demanded.

He heard Ivy’s steps halt on the stone staircase. Then they started back up, growing louder until she was in the doorway once more.

“Sorry?”

“Why. Kale?” He repeated with deliberate calm.

“What’s the matter with you?” Ivy asked bewilderedly, noticing his tightly clenched fists and grinding jaw.

“Nothing! What’s the matter with you?” Remus shouted back.

Ivy reeled for a moment before stalking towards him and jabbing him in the chest with an angry finger.

“What is your problem?” She shouted back, even though he was a head taller than her.

“My problem is Kale! I didn’t say anything, but I have to agree with the guys – he’s an arsehole!”

“Ryden is nice,” Ivy spat, “and he has never shown me otherwise. I’m think that you lot are the asses!”

“No one is that nice all the fucking time!” Remus roared.

“You sure as shit aren’t, I know that!” She replied scathingly.

“Well at least you always know where you stand with me,” he glared disgustedly.

“Yeah? Where the fuck do I stand right now? Huh? Where, Remus?”

They had just crossed over into entirely different territory. It was no man’s land. They weren’t friends, nor were they…not friends. When Remus simply shut his mouth and refused to answer, Ivy glared one last time and swept out of the owlry.

****

“Ivy?”

She turned away from the window in a corner of the dorm to find all three girls looking at her uncertainly. She hadn’t even heard them come in.

But they had certainly seen her from their seats around the hearth, as she stomped into the common room and loudly up the girls’ stairs without a word.

“What’s up?” Ivy tried to ask in an upbeat voice.

“You okay?” Amelia asked.

“‘Course,” she shrugged.

“Really?” Alice demanded, her face marked by shrewd impatience.

“Yes,” she insisted.

“Could we ask you something without you going mental?” Amelia asked tentatively.

“I’ll try,” Ivy said, her lips twisted into a wryly grim approximation of a smile. It wasn’t pretty, but it was the best she had to give them. She waited for the question, but it didn’t come.

It seemed that Amelia had reached her limit on bravery for the evening and looked to Lily imploringly. Lily pursed her lips and crossed her arms.

“Why Ryden?” She questioned bluntly.

“Why not?” Ivy replied, slight edge to her voice.

Lily sighed and dropped her bossy stance.

“You two just don’t…don’t fit, Iv. And I think you know that.”

Ivy clamped her jaw shut and turned back to the window.

“He’s nice,” she murmured.

****

Ryden was making his way out the front doors of the school to Herbology when someone shoved roughly past him. He glared at the other student as he scooped up his dropped books, but his face cleared when he realized who it was.

“How’s it going, Remus?” He asked amicably.

Remus scowled darkly at him until Ryden straightened back up to his full height.

“If you hurt her, I’ll hurt you,” he spat.

Taken aback for a second, Ryden’s eyes opened wide with surprise. Sure, he’d always had a rocky acquaintance with James and Sirius due to quidditch, but he’d never heard a word of negativity from Remus. Ryden’s jaw clenched so tightly that a nerve spasmed violently.

Remus saw the flash of an ugliness he knew the other boy to possess before the Hufflepuff could mask it. It both angered him and gave him a feeling of satisfaction. Pleased to know he’d been right, but annoyed that it had to be at Ivy’s expense, Remus knew that he meant his threat with ever fiber of his being.

“Noted,” the tall brunette nodded shortly.

“Good,” Remus nodded back, but it was such a forced bit of cordiality that it was more like a tick.

****

Hogsmeade Saturday was upon them, and Ivy sighed as she double-checked the back of her top in the mirror. The wisps of fabric were so stringy and ornamental that it had taken her 15 minutes of confusion for Amelia to take pity on her and untangle the pre-shredded mess.

She caught sight of the window’s reflection in the mirror, and sighed once more. Rain was coming down in unforgiving sheets, as if even the weather was attempting to punish her. Ivy would have simply cancelled the date, if she didn’t have such a big incentive to go on it. She frowned at her reflection slightly and resolutely ordered herself to man up. You’re going on this date, and you’re going to have fun, damn it!

“That’s a brill outfit,” Alice admitted, clearly begrudging her the fact.

“Thanks,” Ivy smiled grimly. She knew that Alice’s problem was not in the fact that she was going on a date, but the fact that it was not a date with a certain someone else.

Ivy had spent the past week dodging the other two because every time they caught up to her, they hounded her about her choice to date Ryden. At one point, Alice had bluntly said “Tell me that you want to rip is clothes off each time you see him, and I will shut up.” When Ivy repeated the line while looking her straight in the eye, Alice had shaken her head and given her a look beyond disgust. It was sheer disenchantment.

Lily and James had remained calmly neutral about the whole thing, because neither wanted to anger either of their friends. It didn’t make a difference to Ivy, though. She knew whose side they would have chosen if it came down to it.

Peter, angel that he was, had staunchly remained loyal to Ivy, telling the others to lay off her whenever things got too serious. Ivy also knew that he could afford to stick with her if for no other reason than the fact that Remus would forgive him if he asked him to.

Remus and Sirius were another story entirely. Remus was clearly blanking Ivy, which she could have handled if Sirius didn’t stand by him like a guard dog, sending her the furious glowers that Remus wasn’t. She’d had Remus angry with her before, and though it wasn’t pleasant, it was nothing in comparison to the anger that emanated from Sirius. Having gotten so used to Sirius’ silly banter and friendship, she hadn’t suspected him of being capable of such a thorough coldness.

“I’d better be off,” she said to no one in particularly when it appeared that there was nothing left for her to do in preparation of her date. Just as she suspected, neither Amelia nor Alice replied. Ivy hastily grabbed her cloak and a scarf and rushed out the door, only wanting to be free of the stifling energy in their dorm.

The common room was no better. It was a deeply somber atmosphere, as if someone had just died. The Marauders were holding a silent vigil of sorts, having commandeered the best seats right before the hearth. The rest of Gryffindor Tower who had decided not to brave the elements to go to Hogsmeade were eerily quiet, as if they could feel the tension coming off of the 7th years in hostile waves. Ivy only spared them a glance, but James caught her eye and gave her a singular nod, while Peter even managed a small smile and an inconspicuous thumb up for luck. Ivy gave them both a tiny wave and walked purposefully out through the portrait.

Ivy gritted her teeth when the Fat Lady slammed shut behind her. There was no going back now.

“Have fun, dear.”

Ivy turned to face the portrait, and were it not for the slightly smug gleam in her eye, Ivy would have been touched by the Fat Lady’s words. She pursed her lips and marched staunchly down to the entrance hall.

Ryden was waiting patiently with Filch, who was holding his clipboard, annoyed that he had to be there. It was clear that Ryden and Ivy were two of the few obstinate (and foolhardy) students that had insisted on going to Hogsmeade today.

“Hi,” Ryden smiled. “You look great.”

“Thanks,” Ivy mustered a blush.

“Erm,” he began uncertainly, clapping a hand to the back of his neck as he pondered his next words. “I’ll understand if you want to cancel the date. It’s pissing down out there,” he grimaced slightly.

This was it. The perfect out. Ryden was letting her off the hook, or at least giving her a slight reprieve. But there was no way that Ivy was going to be able to face the others so soon, especially after such a cold exit from the tower. So she did the only thing that she could and plastered an understanding look on her face.

“Did you want to cancel our date?” She asked with false trepidation.

Ryden played right into her hands.

“N-no! Of course not! I’ve been looking forward to it!” He rushed to say, and then colored embarrassedly at his own reaction. “I mean, you really look fantastic, and I just didn’t think you’d want to ruin your clothes with the weather.”

Ivy decided to put the final nail in the coffin and smiled brilliantly at him.

“It’s just a little water, and are you a wizard or aren’t you?” She teased.

“True,” Ryden grinned sheepishly.

“If you two are quite finished,” Filch suddenly grumbled loudly, making them both jump. It wasn’t their fault that he was so dour and gray that he melted into the background and they forgot about him.

****

Ryden held the door to the Three Broomsticks open for Ivy as she laughed at one of his remarks and rewound her scarf around her neck.

“I can’t believe we missed the carriages,” she smiled ruefully.

“I know. I’ve never stayed in Hogsmeade this late,” Ryden admitted. “But at least the rain’s stopped.”

“Yeah, it’s just completely freezing now.”

“Here,” he suddenly bent down and pick up a rock the size of Ivy’s fist. With a tap of his wand, he transfigured it into a glass jar and handed it to her.

“What’s this for?” She inquired bemusedly.

“You’ll see,” he grinned and shot violet flames into the container. “It’ll keep your hands warm and won’t burn.”

Ivy smiled down at the jar, hoping that the purple glow masked her blush. It was a true blush. If she was perfectly honest, she had actually enjoyed herself.

She and Ryden had taken one step into Madam Puddifoot’s, looked at each other, and scurried back out the door, snorting with laughter at the pink candles that hovered so low that they occasionally bopped snogging couples on the head.

They settled on hot chocolates at the Three Broomsticks, which eventually turned into slightly several adventurous pints of Dragon Ale, followed by coffees to sober the up before returning to school. Ryden had kept the conversation lively and centered on her life back in America. True, it meant that she had spent the whole afternoon lying, but she far preferred it to the alternative. Letting…someone else into her life was out of the question. It just was. Besides, Ryden was sweet and friendly, not to mention universally liked, except of course by a handful of bullheaded Gryffindor boys.

“Can I ask you something?” He interrupted Ivy’s thoughts, startling her slightly so that her footing slipped in a patch of mud. But even the gentleman, Ryden caught her by the elbow and steadied her.

“Sure,” Ivy said, shooting him a grateful smile.

“If it’s too personal, you don’t have to answer,” Ryden began, “but I was wondering if you were alright after that whole thing with Lupin last week.”

Ivy’s heart suddenly beat erratically at the unexpected mention of his name. She had a deathgrip on the jar to keep her hands from shaking. This is insane! You were fine all day, and then one thought of him turns you to goop! Man up Marcell! Wait. Shelton. Ivy sighed. Hang on. What was the question? Damn you, Remus Lupin! Oh. Right. It was about Remus Lupin.

“Thing?” She finally replied, simultaneously trying to breath. The question ended up sounding like a breathy word of flirtation. God you sound like an airhead. Ivy hoped that Ryden would attribute her shortness of breath to their hike back up to the school.

“You know, the whole public break-up and all,” he prompted, sounding sorry for prying into her business.

“Oh,” Ivy said with some relief. Before she knew it, one wayward giggle at the thought of the scene in the Great Hall had turned into outright laughter.

Ryden watched her with alarm as she attempted to quell her amusement so that she could explain, but only ended up leaning against a tree with silent laughter.

“Do you need the nurse?” He asked worriedly, and Ivy shook her head with one final chuckle.

“We must have looked like a couple of maniacs. That was a joke; Remus and I never dated,” she admitted, and found that the words were surprisingly easy to say.

“Oh,” Ryden’s concern cleared and he grinned as they continued their walk. “That was one hell of a row,” he mused.

“I never do anything half way, a habit that sometimes makes a complete ass of me, but I’m used to it,” Ivy laughed. Then she remembered Ryden’s original reason for asking. “Thanks for asking after my wellbeing, though,” she said, looking up at him in the violet glow of the charmed flame. He smiled sheepishly and once again rubbed the back of his neck. Ivy was coming to realize that the habit manifested itself when he was uncomfortable, and found it completely endearing.

“Yeah, well, just wanted to be sure that dating you wasn’t going to be a safety hazard, Gryffindor and all that.”

Ivy’s amused smile turned into a flat frown.

“So you noticed,” she said grimly.

“Hard not to,” Ryden shrugged.

“They’re are just…loyal, is all.”

Ivy didn’t understand why she was defending them. After the week her friends had just put her through, it was a mystery to her why she was attempting to justify their behavior. Maybe it’s the Gryffindor in me, she thought sarcastically.

“I get it,” he shrugged again. They finally reached the school, and saw two shadows in the open double doorway. One looked distinctly irate.

“It was nice knowing you,” Ryden said under his breath as they began up the stairs.

“If it’s any consolation, I had a really good time,” Ivy said out of the corner of her mouth.

“Me too,” Ryden smiled warmly.

“Do you have any idea what time it is?” Professor McGonagall demanded with her fists on her hips.

Ivy suppressed a giggle, but by the time they reached the Deputy Headmistress, both of them were shaking with silent laughter, faces contorted by the sudden onslaught of inexplicable amusement. They both knew that they were in real trouble, but there was no way to take the situation entirely seriously. Professor McGonagall narrowed her eyes at them.

“Have you two been drinking?

 

 

 

A/N: Yes. Another author’s note. Just wanted to briefly apologize about the HUGE delay with this chapter. Brief enough?
Oh, and I’d really like to know what you thought. =)
~ally

 


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