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Deteriorate by chocolate119
Chapter 15 : The Thing With Stacey
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 42

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Disclaimer: I don't own what you already recoginize.

Chapter 15: The Thing With Stacey


“Please stop it,” Stacey Hart dropped into the seat across from me in the library.

I looked up at her over my book and lowered it slowly.

“Stop what, exactly?”

“Messing with him,” she answered immediately, pushing perfect blonde locks behind her ear.

I raised an eyebrow.

“James is going mental enough as it is and with you guys falling out and you quitting over some grudge –“

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” I interrupted, trying my very hardest to remain calm.

“I do though,” she opposed, “You were good friends, I know, though I haven’t a clue what happened. What I do know is that he’s making himself mad, so just don’t make it worse. Your quitting is about as bad as it can get.”

I sighed. I probably didn’t owe her an explanation, but I was getting sick of this. “That’s not why I quit,” I told her.

“Then why did you?” she demanded.

“Think about it,” I snapped, slamming the book shut and suddenly glaring at her.

She was silent for a moment, and then her hand dropped slowly from her hair.

“Just watch yourself, please?” she finally spoke again and stood, “I try really hard to make him go to bed at night.”

I stared after her as she left and then closed my eyes.

Why, dear Merlin, does drama love me so?


Stacey Hart was only the start, as it turns out.

The fact that Slytherin had managed to beat Ravenclaw in their match last Saturday didn’t matters much either.

The Hufflepuffs were pretty upset because their season was over after their match against us in January, and, while they’d been in first with a total of 420 points, they dropped to third. And we dropped down to fourth with the only a match against Slytherin next month, coming off their win. Currently, they were second, a hundred points behind Ravenclaw’s final of 590, but they were confident enough in their seeker that they’d manage to pull ahead. James, meanwhile, wasn’t confident enough in Ericson, Allison, and his own ability to score even the necessary 60 points to pull us up to third at this point.

Of course, if I was still on the team, this wouldn’t be a problem. Forget those 60 points, we’d have massacred Hufflepuff and be in first without a doubt.

Even Ravenclaws were furious at me at this point, because there was apparently no way Slytherin would lose to Gryffindor without me.


This is why James is going so mental; if everyone didn’t think he needed me, neither would he.

Looking back on this fifty years from now, I will come off as the arrogant bint thinking she’s the one with all the skill.

(Just to clarify, I’m not).

Allison was once again reaching the point of furious with James’s practices. She claims he’s become “ruthlessly hopeless.”

Callie explained that this means he announces at the start of every practice that he doubts it’ll do much good before sending everyone off to run mental drills and ten hour weekend practices.

And just when I’d finally escaped the stresses of Quidditch, too, I was being dragged back in.

I couldn’t help it.

First there was Allison, entirely furious at James’s entire general attitude. The others agreed that she tried her best, but it was completely useless with Ericson being a halfwit and James half-assing everything.

Louis was always complaining about how useless keeping was with only Allison even bothering to try. Sure he could barely ever save her goals, but Ericson was so entirely predictable and James no longer tried to not be.

And then there was Austin and Fred, who’d decided the whole thing was a joke. Ericson was the only one who couldn’t avoid their Bludgers, the others knowing them so well, so instead, they were left to their own devices throughout the practices, beating the Bludgers around back and forth for the hell of it. Even James didn’t have the gall anymore to yell at them to try some target practice. If he did, they just knocked Ericson off his broom a few time and then went on with it when James went off to yell at the poor (dumb) bloke instead.

Then there was Callie. James had made it clear in no uncertain terms that he didn’t expect her to catch the Snitch anymore, leaving her in the same hopelessness he was flying around in. Her mind wandered too much now, and she couldn’t pay attention to the lithe little ball anymore. James didn’t even bother to check before summoning it at the end of a grueling practice now.

I groaned, dropping my quill on top of my pathetic attempt at starting my essay as my eyes and mind remained focused on the stupid Quidditch pitch out the window.

I was avoiding the library again as well. Sure, most of the Gryffindors were still furious at me, but at least I could avoid the glares of Ravenclaws and heckling of Hufflepuffs and Slytherins.

I closed my eyes, dropping my head down to my hands.

My life is becoming such a joke.


“Chin up, Zar.”

I allowed a mirthless chuckle to escape my lips as I looked back up to see Tristan dropping into the chair across from me. “Sure.”

“Want me to tell you a joke?” he offered with a smirk.

I couldn’t even help a smile as I shook my head.

“It’s a good one!” he wiggled his eyebrows.

“I don’t doubt it,” I assured, “I’m just not in the mood.”

“Wow, it’s serious,” he raised an inquiring eyebrow.

“You haven’t noticed?’ I raised an eyebrows right back. “The whole house is only falling apart all around you.”

“Dramatics,” he shook his head.

“We’re Gryffindor,” I reminded. “It’s what we do.”

“It’s Quidditch,” he corrected.

“It’s your best friend’s Quidditch career,” I shot back.

“Ahh,” Tristan nodded. “See, I knew it was more than Quidditch and dramatics.”

“It is –“

“No, see, that,” he gestured around the generally dismal room to a group of seventh years bemoaning a bottom finish in Quidditch standings for their last year, “is dramatics. This,” he pointed towards me, “is personal.”

I raised an eyebrow.

“You care about James,” he explained.

“Clearly,” I rolled my eyes.

“That’s why this is tearing you up,” he went on.

Clearly,” I repeated.

“Hush,” he waved a hand at me, “I’m trying to prove that I’m not stupid.”

I snorted.

He ignored me. “I think a viable solution –“

“Viable?” I raised an eyebrow; Tristan was never one for big words.

“Do you want my advice?” he sent me a glare.

I laughed a bit at that. “You were right; that is a funny joke.”

“Shut up,” he grumbled with another brief glare. “What I’m trying to say is that you should probably explain to him.”

I raised an eyebrow again. “What exactly?”

“Why his life is going to hell!” he cried in response. “Your quitting has, quite frankly, left him hopeless. If it isn’t petty grudges and you actually care for his success, maybe he’ll get his head out of the metaphorical fog. And the rain every now and then,” he nodded out the window to where it was pooring now while the team practiced.

I sighed, glancing out again. “Tristan…” I sighed, turning back to him.

“Rina,” he shot back with a surprisingly serious expression. Even the ghost of amusement had left his expression as he peered down at me through dark sapphire eyes.

I didn’t look away.

“We’re all starting to think leaving him in the dark was a bad idea. For your sake and his.”

“But –“

“What are you afraid of?” he demanded, crossing his arms. “Why can’t he know what you did for him?”

I felt my gaze wavering, but there was something about Tristan’s rare seriousness that kept my eyes locked on his.

What was it?

It was a while before I could figure it out.

“He’ll be mad.”

Tristan’s expression took an incredulous twist as he opened his mouth to retort, but I hurried on before he could.

“I mean, then he owes me, which sucks when he hates me, and then I’m holding it over him and quitting –“

“Rina, you sound ridiculous,” he shook his head.

“No,” I shook my head right back. “It’ll be his fault; either he’ll claim that I’m telling him that it is, or…”

Tristan raised an eyebrow as I trailed off.

“Or he’ll decided it is,” I sighed, tearing my gaze away from his again and back to the dark, rainy grounds.

“How so?” he asked after a few moments.

“You’re friends with him!” I cried, whipping back around to face him. “You know how he is; he twists everything to his fault. ‘I got drunk; she saved me; she got scared; she quit; I’m screwed.’”

Tristan blinked at me for a moment before opening his mouth again. “Well, that’s true –“


“It’s not your fault,” he went on.

“But…but I quit,” I reminded.

So?” he shook his head again, incredulously. “Were you supposed to do something you were terrified of for his sake?”

I blinked at him for a moment.

“It’s not your fault,” he insisted again. “Even James can’t twist it like that when you say you’re scared.”

“And his fault?” I questioned after a few moments, meeting his eyes again.

They saddened as he held my gaze. “It’s James,” he tried. “This is what he does.”

“It’s not healthy,” I shook my head.

“He’ll try harder for Quidditch,” he tried. “That’s also James; trying to fix things that are his fault.”


I glanced back out the window, once again.

I could make out the pitch, but not the team through the rain. But they were there. Going through yet another mind-numbing practice on a Thursday night. They’d been out there since classes ended at three with a double free, through dinner, and it was nearing 10:00 now. He better let the team sleep through free first in the morning.

“He is my best friend,” Tristan spoke again. “I want him to be able to do what he loves with the rest of his life.”

I looked back at him again slowly. “Me too,” I admitted softly. “He deserves it.”

Tristan smiled in response, and I couldn’t help but crack a smile as well.

“It’s actually your information to do with what you will,” he conceded. “You saved him, so you can tell him if you want. Just…think about it.”

I nodded with another sigh as he stood. “Thanks.”

He grinned again and sent me a wink over his shoulder as he left, and I couldn’t help but smile after him as well.

And then I got a bit curious.


He turned halfway across the room with raised eyebrows.

“What was the joke?” I questioned.

He grinned wickedly, mischievously, at that. “What do you call a blonde that colors her hair?”

“What?” I asked, his grin once again contagious.

“Artificial intelligence.”

I burst into laughter as he sauntered off with satisfaction.


Fortunately, Tristan’s a generally funny enough type of person that his stupid joke made my night, and I was able to finish my History essay before going to bed.

Unfortunately, he’d given me so much to think about that I couldn’t actually fall asleep.

What was I supposed to do?

I couldn’t just tell him; I knew that.

What would I say? Hey, James, I know that you hate me and all, but I saved your life during Leap of Faith and you inadvertently caused my new found fear of heights.


That would go over well.


He’d lose his mind because, as many times as I may have mentioned it, James is a good person. When things go wrong, he always finds his fault in it, and this is definitely things going bad. This, James would decided, is why he’s not allowed to have fun; people who have fun cause a fear of heights in others.

And in an attempt to keep his head enough during difficult situations to not lose it and get drunk, he’d completely lose his head and go insane.

Not okay.

I hated seeing him suck the life out of himself.

It wasn’t fair.

James, the real James, was carefree and cheerful, and he smiled and breathed and told jokes and talked about nonsensical things for no reason at all; there was life in him.

This James was a hassled zombie, going insane with no time for cheer on his mind.

The closest I’d seen him to James was that night he was ignoring his Quidditch plays at 2:30 at night discussing bombs with Stacey Hart.

And I knew I couldn’t have the heart to hate her if she could put life into James again, however brief and dim it may be.

I could tell from my encounter with her in the library that she cared. She wasn’t stupid or petty like she’d come off as being; she actually cared.

I didn’t know whether it was a load off my mind knowing that someone else was trying; even more so was that it seemed as if she was succeeding. She got him discussing bombs.

And at the same time, I couldn’t help that silly, petty pang that it wasn’t me anymore that he was discussing stupid nonsensical things with at 2:00 in the morning.

That, I suppose, is why I can’t sleep at night.

How typical petty teenage girl of me?




I turned dejectedly to face Allison, who was giving me a knowing look.

Alright, fine, so maybe I was staring at James and Stacey in the library.


She was taking his Quidditch plays away from him during the day now, so he was helping her with Transfigurations instead.

I wish I sucked at Transfigurations.

Or that James didn’t hate me.

Either one.

Or both.

(Shut up, Rina).

“Come on,” Allison waved my Herbology book in front of me.

“This isn’t getting better,” I sighed, opening the book in front of me.

She snorted. “No kidding.”

“I told you it wasn’t a good idea,” Albus spoke up, not looking up from his own essay. “But you never listen.”

I scowled at the top of his head for a moment before conceding. He’d warned me about joining the team in the first place, too. I should know that no one knows James like Albus does.

I sighed, glancing back across the library to where James seemed to be explaining something, Stacey listening with rapt attention.

Stupid blonde bimbo.

Rina,” Allison sent me a look.

I groaned, dropping my head onto the table.

“What is it?” Albus finally set his quill down.

I turned my eyes up to him, my chin still on the tabletop, and sighed.

“That used to be us,” I pointed, “Until he started to hate me.”

“Oh, God,” Allison was already rolling her eyes.

“I remember the last time,” I went on, ignoring her, “I was trying to do Ancient Runes, and he was supposed to be doing Potions, I think, but I was drawing this ridiculously huge blank, so he was helping me through it. I just wasn’t feeling well; we’d just come back from break and my parents…” I trailed off slowly, closing my eyes.

It had been a bright afternoon with the sun reflecting off the white blanket of snow and lighting up the cold library. “It was lunch, and we were supposed to have practice that night, but James thought I should stay in or go see Madame Pomfrey. I thought he was being stupid because we had that match against Slytherin coming up. He was mad all practice.”

I didn’t say anything for a moment; it has been so long since I’ve had that anger directed on me like that. It was so terrifying at first. It’s still terrifying, actually, when James gets mad. When I think about it.

“I remember,” Allison was nodding. “That’s when practice started going really bad.”

“I told you to quit then, didn’t I?” Albus sent me a look, “But you’re too prideful.”
I opened my mouth to retort, but he went on before I could. “Quidditch was too much stress right after what happened,” he said. “That’s what happened.”

I closed my mouth.

“Or maybe James was,” Allison suggested.

I sighed, closing my eyes, dropping my head into my hands again. “He was always so mad at me, and I didn’t mean to be so terrible.”

“No, you didn’t,” Allison agreed as I looked back up at her. “Things were just bad.”

“I drove him away, didn’t I?” I turned back to Albus. “I got so terrible and he hated it. James could never stand bitchy people. Or selfish people or rude people or –“

Rina,” he cut me off sharply.

“It’s true, though,” I reminded.

Albus held my gaze for a moment before he sighed. “Things were bad.”

I nodded, turning away again to watch as James demonstrated the difference between wand movements and Stacey nodded, picking up her own wand.

“That’s how I know she can’t be a bad person,” I spoke again, “James doesn’t like bad people.”

Albus shook his head in agreement as I turned back at him.

“I always figured he was a good judge of character, too,” I went on, “Less quick than I was, at least, and he usually turned out to be right. It’s how you know if you’re a bad person; if James thinks so, you must be.”

“You’re saying you think you’re a bad person because James thinks so?” Allison checked.

I nodded.

“You’re stupid,” she shook her head.

“But I –“

“That’s dumb logic, and you know it.”

“But –“

I don’t like bad people, Rina.”

“James is human,” Albus added, “He makes mistakes.”

I shrugged. “I always trusted his opinion, though.”

“Yeah, and my opinion?” Albus raised an eyebrow.

As I looked at him, I knew that I trusted those sparkling emeralds as well; he was Albus.

“You can be both, can’t you?” I tried. “A good person, but…mean and selfish. I don’t want to be bad, so that has to be good.”

Albus sighed, shaking his head. “Don’t hurt yourself, Love.”

I sent him a mock glare.

“You’re dumb,” Allison decided, handing me my quill again. “Venomous Tentacula?”

I sighed, taking it from her and opening my book again.

And I tried my hardest to ignore James and Stacey’s presence as I began listing the properties of Venomous Tentacula.

By lunch, I was done with Herbology and proud to say that I’d succeeded.

That is, until I was leaving lunch with Albus, Scorpius and Rose while the others went out to Quidditch practice, and I heard Stacey Hart affirm, “Zar can go to hell.”

I looked around in time to see Fred shaking his head before heading out as well and Stacey heading towards the marble staircase I’d turned on.

I’d even opened my mouth, too, my dark side starting to rear its ugly head again, when Rose grabbed my arms and dragged me away quickly.

“Come on,” Albus pulled us into a secret passageway up to the common room.

Rose released my arm and I sighed, following her up to corridor.

“Don’t worry about it,” Albus assured, “No one listens to her.”

“Except James, right?” I turned to him. ‘That actually explains so much.”

“No,” Rose shook her head. “James gets upset at her for picking on you as well.”

I stared incredulously at the back of her head as she marched on without turning.

“But, he hates me.”

Scorpius snorted, glancing over his shoulder at me. “Do you think I’d let some stupid bint talk about Rose just because we broke up?”

“When did we break up?” Rose frowned up at him.

“I’ve been meaning to talk to you, actually…” he trailed off slowly.

“Prat,” Rose thumped him on the head.

He chuckled and kissed her cheek, draping his arm around her shoulders.

“You’re not dumping her,” Albus pointed a warning finger at his best friend with a stern expression. “She might end up with some dumb-fuck.”

“Do you think I’d waste my time with some dumb-fuck?” Rose whirled around to him.

“Too late,” I pointed out.

Rose didn’t disagree.

“Thanks, Love,” Scorpius rolled his eyes, kissing her again as we reached the seventh floor.

“Love you, too,” she promised, pulling him out of the passage with Albus and I following behind.

“Sure about that?” Scorpius raised an eyebrow.

“Of course I am!” she whirled around to thwack him again as we approached the Fat Lady.

Albus and I exchanged looks, and I shook my head.

The Fat Lady wore a similar expression. “You’re lucky to have him, Dear,” she reminded the redhead.

She only crossed her arms. “He’s stupid.”

“You’re abusive,” Scorpius shot back. “They put people in Azkaban for this.”

Rose snorted while Albus rolled his eyes.

“Lace wings,” I told the Fat Lady.

She sent Rose and Scorpius another look before swinging open to admit us.

“I should probably break up with you,” Scorpius considered. “You’re terrible to me.”

“Try it,” Rose whirled around, narrowing her eyes.

“And you’re threatening me,” Scorpius went on. “That’s not legal either, is it?”

“You’re such a prat!” Rose groaned, turning on her heel and making to march away again.

“But I love you,” he reminded, grabbing her arm and yanking her back around.

She huffed until he kissed her.

Cue Albus making a face and stumbling away, muttering to himself.

Cue Rina’s closet romantic.

“You better not break up,” I trained my own severe gaze on the pair as they broke apart, attempting (and failing) to suppress a (huge, cheesy) grin, “I’ll lose all faith in the meaning of love if you do.”

Rose rolled her eyes as she pulled Scorpius down onto the sofa with her. “You’re ridiculous.”

You’re fantastic,” I motioned to them as I took an armchair to myself. “All perfect and shit.”

“Change of topic,” Rose shook her head, blushing, while Scorpius rolled his eyes.

I was still grinning like a cheesy nut as Rose pretended to care about Scorpius’s detailed explanation on the pros and cons of dungbombs.


Stacey turned on her heel ready to march away as soon as she caught sight of me Tuesday night in the kitchens.

(Yes, I’d had another bad day).

“Hold on,” I stood and stopped her. I was really starting to get annoyed with her shooting me nasty looks every time she saw me.

Stupid bint.

“What?” she raised an eyebrow, turning back to me with a look of contempt.

“Have I done anything to personally offend you?” I questioned a bit sardonically, raising my eyebrow right back at her. “I don’t see what my presence has to do with you obtaining food.”

“You know, Zar,” Stacey responded with a roll of her eyes, “Not everything is necessarily about you.”

“My bad,” I responded sarcastically, “I only thought that the reason for someone trying to kill me with her eyes might have something to do with me.”

Stacey only snorted and turned to leave again.

“No longer hungry?” I asked mockingly.

She stopped at that and looked around to the eager house elves eyeing her hopefully.

“Right,” she nodded, running her fingers through her hair. “May I have some leftovers please?”

“The same as usual, Miss?” asked an elf, bouncing on the balls of her feet.

“Yes please,” Stacey nodded with a smile.

The elves hurried away to prepare a plate as Stacey turned back with a suddenly weary expression.

Even I couldn’t manage to be annoyed with her as she sank into a chair to wait.

Stacey Hart at times seemed spurious, and at other times, she became a bit bipolar. It was a bit difficult to keep up, actually.

At the moment, she appeared tired and weary, and, close up, I noticed dark bags under her eyes and her usually immaculate appearance hassled. Her hair was unkempt, and she wore much less makeup than usual.

I frowned as I sat down in the chair next to her.

“Are you alright?” I asked carefully.

She looked up to send me a sardonic look.

Alright, so no.

“You don’t care,” she shook her head when I continued to watch her questioningly.

“I might,” I countered, “If you’d like to tell me.”

She met my eyes with a penetrating gaze and held it for a moment before sighing and looking away again.

“I’m really worried about him,” she admitted.

I blinked at her for a moment.

“James?” I frowned.

She nodded dejectedly. “He’s making himself insane.”

“That I know,” I agreed.

“It might be your fault,” she went on.

This, I did not know.

“How close were you two?” she asked suddenly.

I faltered a bit at that.

“I – well, we were friends,” I admitted, “Good friends.”

“You were best friends,” she disagreed, glaring at me again. “He was always with you, and if he wasn’t, he was talking about you. He never bothered with anyone else when he needed something, and he always went looking for you when he was bored.”

I stared wide-eyed at her.

“What’s wrong with you?” she shook her head. “Are you dumb?”


“You have to have known that,” she went on, waving her hands around. “It was clear to everyone else!”

“Was it?” I asked quietly after a moment.

Yes!” she cried, running her fingers through her hair as she shook her head. “You know, you really are the type of person I can’t stand.”

I raised an eyebrow.

“What happened to your sense of worth?” she demanded. “You can’t just go around pretending people don’t care; it’s selfish.”

“Here is yous food, Miss,” a house elf set a toppling pile of food (everything that I noticed to be James’s favorite) next to Stacey excitedly.

“Thank you,” she smiled tiredly, taking the plate.

“You is welcome, Miss!” The elf cried merrily, waving.

I, for my part, stared gapingly at the back of her retreating head.


James and I met on my first day on the Hogwarts Express.

He’d come by to see Albus, Louis and Rose, and Callie and I’d already joined them.

I made the mistake of introducing myself as Arabella before informing him that I preferred Rina. When he decided that it would be amusing to call me by my first name, I told him he was a prick and to go away. He obliged, but he’d taken to following my around just to bug me when his brother or cousins weren’t available. According to Albus, he lived for these types of things, finding people’s one pet peeve and using it.

My annoyance with his use of my first name was the first thing he found amusing about me. Soon, he’d also discovered my tendency to accidently injure myself and have frequent blonde moments.

By the time that he’d decided that he enjoyed my company, I’d grown accustomed to his use of my first name and put up with him. It was easy when talking to James for everything else to melt away; he made every conversation and every moment riveting.

A friendship with him was natural; we always had a good time without having to do much.

We never fought much either.

We were both stubborn and loved to hold a grudge, but each other had always been the exception to that rule. Perhaps it was because we both knew that the other wouldn’t apologize first, and we were both unwilling to go too long without talking. Or it could have to do with that we both knew each other well enough to see the other’s point of view and that remaining angry wouldn’t seem right.

Either way, we were good friends, probably best friends.

Which is why the sudden fighting was so terrifying.

Neither one of us knew how to actually handle a fight with the other, which is probably why neither of us knew what to do now. It was foreign, not knowing what the other was thinking and being unable to understand. We probably made up explanations because we weren’t willing to admit that we didn’t know, and it’s not like we ever had to talk before to understand.

In the end, we probably made true what we’d at first made up.

I don’t think James could’ve hated me if I hadn’t become a detestable person. And I don’t think I’d be so upset with James if he hadn’t become so insane.

When James sat down in front of me in the library, there was contempt written on his face.

“Why did you quit?” he demanded.

I set my quill down and stared at him for a moment. He was tired and spent and desperate.

It broke my heart a little.

“Why does it matter?” I asked after a while.

“Because Stacey thinks it does.”

I sighed, running my fingers through my hair. “Everyone thinks it does.”

“Does it?” he pressed.

Does it?

I wasn’t sure anymore.

No,” I decided firmly, convincing myself as I shook my head, “What matters is that I did and you need to work with that.”
He stared furiously at me.

“Honestly, I was hoping my quitting would help you get your head on straight without having to make yourself crazy trying to deal with me,” I admitted.

“Is that why you quit?” he demanded, almost shouting and attracting the attention of a few nearby students.

“No, James,” I rolled my eyes, “I was just hoping that it would be a positive consequence.”

“But what –“

“Shush,” I glanced around, but the librarian wasn’t in sight.

“But what was the reason that you quit?” he repeated.

“It doesn’t matter,” I repeated resolutely. “But you’re a good captain. Make it work.”

“What is wrong with you, Ara?” he groaned, running frustrated fingers through his hair.

“Oh, trust me,” I gathered my things and stood, “You’re lucky you didn’t stick around long enough to find out.”

I was gone before he could open his mouth.

And, for some reason, it was later that night that the past few months managed to catch up with me.

They were nightmares.

Bad nightmares.

First, I was watching James jump off the tower with everyone else, and I didn’t follow him. Then, I didn’t wake at all that night, not until my ears were met with screaming.

So the next time, I followed him, but I followed a second later, and I stared, horrorstruck, as rain pounded down onto James’s broken figure sprawled in the grass, rainwater washing blood down the side of his face.

The last time, I gripped his arm just in time, and his face was gushing blood over the white stone of the tower.

“Fucking God, James, are you dead?”

That’s when I woke up, my heart pounding as I stared out the window at the night sky.

I didn’t sleep for the next three nights.





A/N: I know! It's been forever! You wouldn't beleive how difficult it was to write chapters sixteen and seventeen, and I could bare to post this until I was sure those two were alright. I redid this one tons over the past couple of months, too, just so that it would work with the next two. This is why I like to be far enough ahead beofre posting a new chapter; I sometimes have to edit previous chapters after I write new ones, and I don't want to do that after I post something. 
So, first, I would love to hear your thoughts on this chapter! i was in love with Rose and Scorpius, and Rina was being...Rina. But I'm really interested in how you all feel about Stacey now. I know she hasn't had much love lately, but what do we think? And Rina and James? Best friends? Really? You'll see it soon, no worries. I guess I just wanted to portray all the different sides of an everlasting, unbreakable friendship. You're not supposed to expect it or believe it yet, so it's okay.
Second, the next two chapters. Warning now, the next one is a major cliffy, and I would hate to leave you for months with that one, so I'e got a propostition: if you don't mind me writting a couple more chapters until I'm sure chapter seventeen can be set in stone, I'd be much more comfortable posting the next one. Or else you're likely to be left with a bad cliff-hanger for a while. I promise to try my best, but I just finished chapter seventeen (I think; I've thought that before, but I keep making it longer). It's an important one, though, so I need to experiment with a couple more chapters beyond that to be sure that the details are alright. it's the beginning of phase four of the story, so I need to figure out the exact details of the plot beofre I can be sure. you all understand, right?
(God, look at those excuses! Inexcuseable!)
Seriously, though, thanks for all of your patience and support! I always read your reviews when I have writer's block and rereading previous chapters isn't helping. Thanks so much, you guys!



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