At first, I’d figured that Rose and Scorpius were just special, but Callie and Austin turn me into a closet romantic as well.
(It’s a bit pathetic, actually).
“Don’t be such a bully!” Callie was laughing as she grabbed Austin’s wand and directed it away from Ericson, whose hair was flashing various shades of magenta and lavender.
“But he’s a git, Cals,” Austin reminded but didn’t redirect his wand.
“That’s still mean,” Callie insisted.
Austin snorted, shaking his head. “Prat doesn’t even know what he’s on about anyway,” he grumbled, glaring at the git-prat across the common room. “He almost took James’s head off with that Quaffle.”
“That could’ve been on purpose,” Callie pointed out. “He was screaming at him all practice.”
“That’s because the prat kept dropping the Quaffle,” Austin reminded. “What a useless piece of shit.”
“James should’ve told you off for Bludgering him,” Callie said.
“He can’t even catch a Quaffle!” Austin cried. “He had no right to criticize your seeking. You could chase better than him any day.”
Callie sighed dejectedly, dropping her head against his shoulder on the sofa. “Perhaps,” she conceded.
Austin rolled his eyes, glancing over to exchange looks with me. He scowled however, when he noticed me smiling at them from my armchair, and he promptly turned away when I sent him a deliberate wink.
“Thanks though,” Callie smiled up at him and kissed him briefly on the lips, entirely oblivious to my smirk.
Austin noticed, however, and scowled at me again over her head.
So entirely perfect and adorable.
“Bloody fuckers,” Allison suddenly collapsed into the armchair next to mine, grumbling as she sent the pair a glare.
Austin and Callie entirely ignored her or just didn’t hear, now caught up in their own quieter conversation.
“They’re not bad,” I glanced around to the blonde as Callie laughed again quietly.
Allison didn’t respond, just averting her gaze.
“They’re more stable than Rose and Scorpius, at least,” I pointed out.
Allison followed my gaze to the pair at a table by the window and snorted.
Rose was trying furiously to retrieve the beginnings of her Arithmancy essay from her blond boyfriend, but he wasn’t relenting. The essay wasn’t due until next week, and Scorpius felt that Rose’s time would be better spent relaxing.
She did not agree.
She was huffing at Scorpius, but he only continued to smirk and shake his head, ignoring her as he banished the essay all together.
As Rose opened her mouth, no doubt to scream at him, Scorpius took the opportunity to silence her with a kiss.
Allison rolled her eyes, but I smiled.
“It’s not bad,” I told her.
Allison shook her head. “I guess not.”
I didn’t say anything else.
I was proud to announce that Allison’s whoring had been receding over the past week.
She seemed more wary of the situation, at least, when she did run off to meet a guy. She hadn’t shagged a single guy today, and only one yesterday.
Allison’s eyes flickered once again to Rose and Scorpius, where the blond was prompting his girlfriend to offer a begrudging smile.
He seemed satisfied with that, however, and smirked triumphantly, saying something else that earned him a full out grin and kiss on the cheek. He responded by recapturing her lips, and even Allison was smiling slightly when she looked away.
“They’re really good together,” she conceded eventually, glancing back over to the couple before us where Austin was still talking and Callie was laughing.
“Hey, Harper,” Harrison Bay sauntered by.
I grabbed her hand as she opened her mouth, and she promptly allowed it to shut again, turning away.
“We have a History assignment,” I glanced briefly at Harrison before gripping Allison’s arm more firmly and pulling her up with me towards the dormitories.
She didn’t speak for a moment as I shut the door, just standing in the middle of the room as I watched her.
And then suddenly, she turned to me with an imploring expression. “Do you really think I can have that?”
I could see it right then, Allison smiling and Albus laughing, curled up in an armchair in front of the fire, so entirely lost in their own world that they were oblivious to the rest of the room.
“Yes,” I told her with more confidence than I’d felt ever before.
The sudden look in her eye told me that it was all downhill from here: hope.
Allison didn’t shag a guy for the rest of the week.
I can’t remember the last time I was so ecstatic. This was my victory.
It was more than just that she wasn’t shagging; she was laughing.
That next Saturday night, at a time at which she’d usually be in a broom closet, she was instead laughing on a couch in the common room, sandwiched in between Fred and Tristan with a mirthful expression on her face all night.
I just couldn’t get over it.
“Didn’t I say?” Scorpius was smiling as well. “She had to do it herself.”
I only nodded, still flooded with excitement. This was good.
Louis was in a fantastic mood.
I smiled as I plopped down next to him Sunday morning at breakfast.
“I don’t remember the last time she looked like that,” he responded to my knowing look. “She’s been so busy being hot that I forgot how adorable she is.”
I nodded, glancing down the table a bit to where Allison was pouting at Fred as he held a plate of pancakes away from her. She grew bored of it eventually, however, and stabbed a fork into his arm, smirking triumphantly at his yelp as she caught the plate he dropped.
I shook my head, turning back to Louis who wore the same amused expression. “We used to have tons of fun always.”
“We still have fun,” I said, pouring syrup over my pancakes.
He sent me a look.
“Good times,” I corrected.
He raised an eyebrow.
“Sometimes,” I conceded with a sigh. “I think life is just getting to all of us.”
“It’s ridiculous,” Louis shook his head, turning back to his eggs.
“It’s us,” I rolled my eyes, “We’re generally mental and bipolar; we’ve never been normal. We’ll be fine.”
“No kidding,” Louis rolled his eyes again. “What with all the sugar Rina’s been getting hopped up on lately.”
I hit him upside the head but smiled anyway. Something about the look in Louis’s eye told me we were in for an interesting next few months.
Before I could question him, however, Rose had dropped into the seat across from me in a huff, ignoring her stupid boyfriend rolling his eyes in amusement as he took the seat next to her.
“What’d you do?” Louis raised an eyebrow with a similar expression.
“I told her that she doesn’t have to do her Charms essay until later tonight,” Scorpius answered.
Rose sent him a glare.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before, but Rose and Scorpius make my life.
They’re the definition of soul mates and meant-to-be. If I died an old cat-lady, I’d still believe in love, solely because of Rose and Scorpius.
Rose is consistently grumbling about him, complaining and yelling and generally claiming he’s a stupid prat and she hates him. But she’s never denied she loves him. I asked her once why she loved him, and she just stomped her foot and grumbled, “He’s a prat.”
And Scorpius takes it all in stride. He’s always so generally happy about Rose. No matter how much she complains about him and shouts that she hates him, he never gives in. He’s always trying to calm her down, taking away her homework, feeding her, getting her to bed on time, always being there. When Austin would snort at them or shake his head, Scorpius would always shrug and agree that she’s insane.
They’re the definition of love: in love without a clue as to why.
(God, I’m so fucking cheesy).
“What’s wrong with you?” Rose raised an eyebrow at me across the table.
I realized I was grinning like a fool at her and her dumb boyfriend and only shook my head.
“You love him,” I nodded towards the blond next to her.
Rose huffed and went back to her toast.
Scorpius glanced around to me with a roll of his eyes but with that same smile Rose always set on his face.
Fucking prats; I’m jealous.
“I better get them going,” Louis stood, and nodded towards where Allison was sat with Fred. “We’ve got practice starting now.”
I frowned down the table to where Callie and Austin were eating breakfast across from Fred and Allison.
“Where’s James at?”
Louis shrugged. “He’s always buried in plays by the time we get down there. Fred says that he was up around 6:00 last Friday for 9:00 practice.”
Rose snorted. “I cannot believe it’s Sunday and you don’t have to practice until 10:30.”
I frowned a bit at that as well.
“It was supposed to be 8:00, but James came around the dorm around 6:00 to say he was pushing it back.”
“He’s been up since 6:00?” I raised an incredulous eyebrow.
“Down at the pitch?”
“Probably,” he shrugged again.
“Breakfast isn’t out until 8:00 on the weekends!” I cried.
Louis raised an eyebrow.
“James is an idiot,” Rose shrugged, agreeing with my sentiments.
I glared around the food-laden table, grumbling to myself.
This is what I meant when I said James makes himself insane. I’m positive this isn’t healthy.
I found my wand and began using it to stack a large plate with various foods until I had to use magic to keep everything from toppling over. With an apple on top of the pile, I nodded with satisfaction and handed the plate to Louis, Balancing Charm in place, as he walked by again with the rest of the team in tow.
“Breakfast,” I answered to Allison’s raised eyebrow. “Pushing practice back another half-hour won’t kill him.”
Louis sent me a look as he took the plate but didn’t comment.
Prat. I know I like the git; obviously, I’m going to care if James eats.
“Thank God we have you,” Rose sighed, reaching for the blueberries.
I turned back to her questioningly.
“It was getting annoying being the only one that cares,” she explained.
“You’re not the only one who cares,” Scorpius nudged her. “You’re just the only one who’s annoying about it.”
She humphed and turned away from him.
Scorpius answered with another eye roll and went back to his own breakfast.
Now I’m mad.
I guess James is still good at that.
“What do you mean he didn’t have time?” I demanded of Fred, arms crossed across my chest.
The Weasley shrugged with his mouth full of food. “Tha’s wha’ ‘e ‘aid.”
I made a face at him.
James had finally released the team for food at 2:00, and they were all wolfing it down in the kitchens.
I’d been working on my Potions essay when they all trooped in. (Yes, I did homework in the kitchens).
Apparently, however, this did not mean that James had released himself for food as well.
What a prat.
“We’ll take him back something,” Callie assured quickly.
“How much breakfast did he eat?”
Callie shifted a bit in her seat and looked back to her plate.
“He had the apple,” Allison answered, glancing up and rolling her eyes. “I told him I’d hex him if he didn’t eat anything else, but he threatened to kick me off the team and made me run laps for delaying practice.”
“Alright, Rina,” Louis pushed me back down in my chair. “Let’s not start acting like Rose.”
I sent him an annoyed glare.
“I understand how you feel about him – “
“Inexplicably,” Allison added.
“ – but you need to breath,” Louis went on.
“You’re cousin’s a prat,” I responded.
Louis rolled his eyes. “I know.”
“He made me run laps for ‘harboring interest’ in delaying practice when I told him Allison had a point that he should eat something,” Austin piped up.
I groaned, closing my eyes. I’d honestly thought that Quidditch practice would be better now that I’d quit, but it turns out that without me to direct his fury at, James was taking it out on everyone else now.
I sighed, glancing around to the team, all shoveling food, Ericson a little ways away at his own table. I looked back to Louis, who was watching me, and motioned to his plate, which he returned to.
Now, I know that James is still generally furious with me for ruining his future and being a bitch, but I do actually care for the prat.
He may hate me and treat me terribly, but I do know James, and I know how he treats everyone else. James is a generally good person, and while he may not necessarily deserve for me to care, he does deserve to have someone keeping an eye on him.
I know Rose is always pestering him, but Scorpius has been trying to get her to lay off because it’s stressing her out so much. Callie’s not nearly so assertive, and Allison just gets mad at him. Rachel and Emily try, but James tends to shut people out when he feels attacked. I know that he listens to Stacey Hart, at least, but she’s not here right now.
Which leaves Rina.
I pulled out my wand again and found another large plate, piling food and adding a Balancing Charm before I picked it up.
“He gave you guys an hour, yeah?” I glanced over my shoulder to the team.
Louis nodded. “Forty minutes now.”
I sighed and stepped out of the kitchens, heading up through the castle.
As I stepped out onto the grounds, I found that it was actually a rather nice day for Quidditch. The ground was a little wet from yesterday’s rain, but the sky was blue and the sun was out. The air felt cool and fresh in a way it could only after a rainstorm, before the heat had a chance to set in and the moisture remained in the air. Today, it smelled like spring.
I grinned at the thought as I entered the Quidditch pitch.
And then I stopped.
I looked up at the towering goal posts and looming stands, and I remembered that this was the place I loved so much, spending nights and days suspended in the air on a broomstick. Those broomsticks that my idiot friends still couldn’t get enough of, up in the air hundreds of feet from the ground.
I took a shuddering breath and closed my eyes.
It’s just the Quidditch pitch.
The last time I was here, I quit.
I remembered that day, icy and cold with the wind howling. It seemed eons ago, but it was only months.
I didn’t even miss it. I didn’t miss my broom and the Quaffle. I didn’t even think about it.
Now that I did, however, I missed enjoying it.
I looked back up to the goal posts and shuddered.
It’s too high.
I wish I could love it again.
I looked back down at the plate and took a deep, steadying breath, before stepping towards the changing rooms.
I closed the door after myself quietly, looking around the small building.
A wave of nostalgia hit me, and I wished I could enjoy Quidditch again, just for this building with its lockers and benches and showers where I lived for two and a half years.
I probably showered more in these showers then the ones in the dormitories for those two and a half years.
I set the plate down on a bench as I stepped into the room, towards the lockers.
I reached my old one and pulled it open.
That scrunching gel was still sitting there on the top shelf.
Eyeliner and lotion sat next to it, along with shampoo and conditioner. The bottles were almost empty; I was going to replace them, but then I never had to.
Albus’s stupid giant sweatshirt was still hanging on a hook, and there was a folded stack of long-sleeved shirts at the bottom. A few mismatched socks sat on top of them, and folded yoga pants and sweatpants were stacked next to them.
“What are you doing here?”
I jumped and whirled around to find James at the doorway to the Captain’s office, arms crossed and eyebrows raised.
I blinked at him for a moment and shook my head quickly, closing my eyes.
I missed it so much.
I stopped the tears before they fell and remembered.
“Lunch,” I opened my eyes again.
James was still looking at me inquisitively, so I quickly motioned to the plate on the bench.
“They said you didn’t have time to come up and you barely touched breakfast…” I trailed off, my eyes wandering back to my locker.
James was silent.
“I don’t even know why your stuff is still here,” he spoke after a moment.
I took it all in again and shook my head helplessly. “Me neither.”
“Callie shouldn’t have bothered,” he spoke again as I turned back to him. “I’m not going to eat that.”
I opened my mouth, and then I closed it again.
I closed the locker quietly and sat down next to the plate on the bench.
“Why not,” I turned back to face him.
“I don’t have time!” he cried.
“For food?” I raised an eyebrow. “Are you a Weasley or not?”
“I can’t get anyone to play right and no one tries and no one’s paying attention and no one cares anymore!” James shouted. “No one cares and they don’t try and I’m so entirely screwed!”
I stared at him.
“My entire bloody future is three months away and I have nothing for it!” he ran frustrated fingers through his hair and then dropped his hand with a sigh. “What the hell am I supposed to do now?”
I looked at the pile of broomsticks in the corner and brushed my hair from my eyes. “They love you, you know,” I told him. “No one would’ve finished that game for any other captain. We would’ve forfeited after Louis’s hands and Fred’s arm, and Austin side. We wouldn’t have let you fly,” I looked back up at him. “I wouldn’t have played.”
James stared back at me with an unreadable expression.
“You quit,” he spoke eventually.
I looked to the broomsticks again and longed for mine. I wish I could get up there again.
I turned back to him with a helpless shrug. “I’m a pathetic Gryffindor,” I answered eventually, getting up from the bench. “You should eat.”
He looked at the plate again.
“Something,” I pressed. “I had to put two Balancing Charms on that to keep it from toppling over, and I know that you actually like every single thing I put on that plate.”
He turned back to me.
I met his gaze as he stared, his hazel eyes swirling ever so slightly. James was in there, his determination and his endless smile.
I turned away and stepped out of the changing rooms and onto the pitch.
“I miss you.”
Albus looked up from his Defense chapter with a raised eyebrow.
“Where have you been?”
“Library,” he answered, gesturing around to the surrounding bookshelves.
I rolled my eyes, plopping down into the seat across from him.
If it isn’t already, I’d like to make it general knowledge that I have a tendency to get involved in everyone’s lives. So, if I were to see the opportunity to meddle, I’d jump right in, no questions.
My plans, while usually being the halfway, as-I-go types of plans, are pretty damn clever and cunning, too.
Not to mention my generally flawless execution.
“How much have you missed me?”
He raised an eyebrow again. “What happened?”
“I talked to James,” I began.
Albus seemed to be suppressing a groan as he closed his book and set it down.
“No, really,” I insisted. “I talked to him, and there was no shouting!”
“Well, I didn’t shout,” I amended, “And when he did it wasn’t at me. He’s upset with the team. He’s probably still mad at me for quitting, but he didn’t yell at me!”
This is huge for us; really.
“And what did you discuss?” Albus inquired.
I’m not actually that pathetic over a conversation with James (even with the lack of shouting).
But he and Albus are best friends. (The brilliance).
Albus ran a hand through his hair and nodded with a sigh.
“I mean, he could do anything if he didn’t play Quidditch; he’s brilliant, but he’s an amazing Quidditch player as it is.”
Albus nodded in agreement. “He’s just James.”
“I wish someone would tell him that; that he’ll be okay,” I went on with a sigh, glancing out the window. The pitch was visible from the library, and I could just make out the team zooming around. (I’m not being spurious, I promise).
“You want me to talk to him?” Albus asked after a while.
I nodded, turning back to him. “He’s your best friend and your brother, and he knows you’re just like him.”
“In what way?” Al frowned.
“Making yourself crazy,” I explained, leaning towards him slightly as I rested my elbows on the table top. “You can’t control everything.”
“When have I –“
“That’s where you’ve been,” I interrupted. “This is what you guys do when you lose control; you shut out. James has been holed up in that little office, and you’ve been making yourself scarce ever since Allison and I.”
His emerald eyes met mine, appearing hard, like the stone itself.
They knew I was planning but they also knew that I meant it. I’m a genuine meddler, so I have to mean it, and he has to know that. It isn’t often that we reverse roles; he’s usually the one fixing me.
His emeralds continued to bore into me, searching. That’s another thing they both did a lot: denial. They wouldn’t even realize that they weren’t admitting something, so caught up in shutting down, and they instead searched for it with that intense, unending stare, just trying to figure out what they were missing.
“It really hurts to think that I’m such a shitty friend,” he finally spoke.
I closed my eyes, feeling myself deflate in my chair. “You aren’t,” I told him. “I’m just Rina.”
His hand covered mine on the table top as he spoke again. “You’ve always known that you’re like my sister. How could I ever dislike you?”
I opened my eyes to meet his again. The emeralds were melting.
“I don’t know,” I shrugged helplessly. “I – I get it now.”
Albus’s intent look remained on me for another moment before he nodded slowly.
“But you’ve still been gone.”
The melting emerald began to freeze again.
“I know where you’ve been, and I know you’ve figured it out in the past few weeks,” I went on vigilantly.
He tore his gaze away from mine, retracting his hand.
I didn’t say anything as he stared out the window. Getting through to Albus was always a precarious matter.
I reached out again slowly after a while, this time covering my relatively smaller hand over his. “It’s just an effect of her life,” I attempted tentatively.
“Like you?” he asked without a questioned, not turning his head.
He probably sensed my nodding however, because he turned back suddenly with a fire behind his stony eyes. “I was supposed to have a say in your life,” he snapped. “You and Allison. What does it say about my efforts?”
“What does it say how much you mean to Allison and I?” I countered. “Neither one of us would be the same people we are without you.”
“You make me feel like someone always cares,” I revealed to him. “And you’re her hope.”
Albus raised an incredulous eyebrow.
I snorted, attempting a bit of a smile. “Someone like her Albus is in love with her? She has to be the better person you know she is.”
The fire seemed to die.
“You’d be good for her,” I succeeded in a smile this time as he blushed slightly. “And she for you. You know how she is with prats.”
Albus snorted at that. “I’d predict a good amount of physical abuse in a future with her.”
“Only because you’re you,” I grinned. “You don’t seem to be able to tone down the Potter.”
“I’m proud of the Potter,” he defended.
I nodded. “It’s what makes you so good.”
His liquid emeralds now swirled.
Score for Rina.
“They have those…blowhole things.”
“If they lived on land, they wouldn’t need them!”
“They don’t have feet.”
“Neither do snakes!”
“Yeah, but bone structure and everything –“
“Evolution is stupid.”
“Don’t take it out on evolution, James,” Stacey Hart rolled her eyes but smiled.
“Did you know that evolution suggests that humans are generally afraid of the dark because the human trait to not fear the dark died out?” James questioned, leaning forward in his chair.
Stacey raised an eyebrow, brushing blonde hair out of her eyes.
“Seriously,” he propped his elbows up on the table, speaking with earnest. “It’s called nature’s selection or some – “
“Natural selection, James,” I corrected quietly, letting the portrait hole shut as I stepped into the common room.
He glanced into the shadows as I stepped further into the room until the firelight could reach me.
“Right,” he nodded once he could see my face before turning back to Stacey, “Natural selection. Whales that had legs and couldn’t swim died out, right?” he glanced back around to me, still halfway across the room.
I couldn’t help the small smile as I nodded slightly. “Something like that. I never liked muggle sciences.”
“Right,” he turned back to the blonde across from him, “It’s some pretty crazy stuff.”
“I survived the dying process because I’m afraid of the dark?” she raised another eyebrow.
James shrugged. “That’s what she says,” he jerked a thumb towards me.
But he didn’t look around this time; Stacey did.
Her icy eyes met mine across the common room for just a moment, except, they were like water, melted.
It was only a moment, and then she turned away again.
“Muggles are mental,” she spoke again.
“No kidding,” James was nodding again. “Fred takes Muggle Studies, and he’s always talking about bombs, I think it is. They use them to blow each other up.”
I hurried from the room quickly because I was smiling again, and then for some reason, I was upset.
I turned back from the first landing and looked down.
He was talking with his hands; in this moment, there wasn’t a care in the world.
The table they were sat at was strewn with charts and diagrams and plays and James’s reading glasses were set on top of a haphazard pile of playbooks. His hair was everywhere, distinctly hassled, and his eyes were tired.
“The Americans actually put a flag on the moon, you know…”
And he was wearing that same expression, fascinated, that he wore when we sat up late at that table years ago, homework forgotten as I told him everything that was now spilling from his mouth with the hints of passion that always spurred a debate or discussion in the dead of night.
And for a moment, the stress on his face was left behind his expression, a flicker of life in his hazel eyes and the ghost of a smile lingering on his lips.
And Stacey Hart was listening.
A/N: This chapter makes me feel all fluffy! Lol, I think it's Rose and Scorpius's fault:) I really enjoyed writing Rina in this; I'm trying to establish another side of her character. This one is very much girl-likeand protective and caring. I like her:)
And what about James? This was my favorite chapter to write him in. I particularly loved when they were in the changing rooms. Big moments, I felt like, as we'll see later;)
And then there was the conversation between Rina and Albus. That was just sweet, I thought, and a really good characterization of their relationship.
What 'm really curious to hear from you guys about, though, is what we make of that last scene. James and Stacey? They're relationship is intersting, too, I think, and so is Stacey's character. I want to know what you think of her no and in the next one, and later, too. The next chapter is devoted to Stacey's character development, so it's interesting.
But, I have to go to work, now, so review, please!
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