Chapter 7 : Finally, Progress!
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“Agent Hiss . . . do you read me?” I whispered to Albus, who happened to be right next to me.
“I am not Agent Hiss!” My brother replied indignantly, and I snickered.
“No need to throw a hissy fit, dear brother,” I replied, and he smacked me.
Confused? Maybe I should start at the beginning.
“Fine. I’ll do it, but I hate you, James.” Al had finally agreed to be our little spy.
“Aw. . . I love you too, Allie,” I had replied, squashing him in a hug.
“If you call me that one more time the deal’s off,” he replied, raising an eyebrow at me.
“Fine. Now I don’t know about you lot, but I’m bloody tired. And we have Quidditch at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow, so you lot better sleep.” They all groaned. Laurel swore vividly.
“You’d think he’d give us a break, you know, with Charlie being in a coma and all,” she muttered, but didn’t complain further. I knew they’d thank my later; Quidditch would be an escape from thinking about it all. Also, Charlie would kill me if we lost the cup because we didn’t practice because of her.
“I heard that, Hales. Get your arse in gear; it’s going to be a conditioning day.” They muttered mutiny while I smiled. I personally loved running, and by the end of the year they would learn to love it as well.
“You know, you don’t have to be so hard on them,” my dear Alby pointed out, after my team begrudgingly went upstairs. It was just us two in the common room, and I turned around.
“I need to be tough on them. It’s the only way to win. Especially with you bloody snakes in the cup,” I responded icily. I may have been slightly defensive.
“No need to be so defensive, James. It’s just that maybe you should give them a break, with Charlie and all.” My brother needed to quit the ‘wise’ act. It was bloody annoying.
“Do you really think Charlie would forgive me if we lost the lead because we were worrying over her?” Charlie would bloody kill me with her beater’s bat.
If she ever woke up.
No. I don’t think like that. I’m James Potter. It’ll all work out. . .
“James-” Al started, and I was snapped out of it.
“Just go, Al. You don’t want to get locked out of your common room,” I dismissed him, but I felt bad. I couldn’t take my angst out on him. It wasn’t fair to the poor kid; he was just trying to help.
“Fine. See you later, James. I’m going to your practice, though, to make sure you don’t bloody kill someone.” And then he was gone. I trumped up to my dorm to find Austin and Fred waiting. I, however, wasn’t in the mood. I grabbed Rose’s plethora of plays, and slammed my hangings shut. I was incredibly angry when it took three times. Bloody things hated me after I accidentally set them on fire last year.
“Cut the crap, James.” Fred’s head poked through the hangings. “Yeah, I get some things aren’t that great right now, but you can’t bloody take it out on everyone else. It’s not fair to them.”
“Like he did to Charlie you mean?” Austin was a prat. He liked disrupting my practices with Char.
“I get it. I might have just made Albus cry. Believe me, I feel guilty. But it’s my first instinct to get angry. I really got the short end of the stick genetically, didn’t I?” Fred chuckled. He was so easygoing, he couldn’t be mad for long.
“Fine. Just watch it, mate. We’re pretty fed up with it at the moment, just to warn you.” Then his head disappeared, while Austin’s remained.
“Don’t worry, I’ll put all of the anger into helping Charlie. It’s the least I could bloody do . . .” I muttered, and I could swear I saw Austin smile.
“Just . . . watch out. Charlie’ll still be Charlie after she wakes up.” He was warning me that she’d still be undoubtedly angry at me. I shrugged; at least it would all go back to normal. Charlie’d try to kill herself every Quidditch practice, and I’d be forced to persevere her life. Dammit; the word’s preserve. I studied the plays once more, and by the time I was done it was nearly four in the morning. I knew sleep would never come; it hadn’t for a while. Charlie’s situation had just strengthened the insomnia. I wouldn’t be able to sleep for at least another night; I had slept at the hospital, I think. I wasn’t sure anymore, but I’m glad my roommates were such deep sleepers; I would have been sent to therapy long ago had they known about my inability to sleep.
What should I do at four in the morning? Practice was in an hour, so I went down to the pitch to fly around a bit. I know I’ll sound like a girl, but the Quidditch is the one place I feel like a genius. It’s the one place I thrived, and I loved the thrill of flying. I just flew in endless circles, my thoughts finally clear. When the rest of the team arrived I put down my broom. I was going to make them run laps the entire time, but something Charlie had said when we had gotten along snuck its way into my brain. You need to be kinder, James. Have some fun; enjoy it. You never know which fly will be your last. I had never told her about my issues; she suspected from time to time, but she let it be. I sighed.
“Okay, let’s do fifteen laps around the pitch to start-” cue groans “-but then maybe we could play some games, you know? Maybe Hippogriff Bowl, or even Fairy Dust?” They all looked shell-shocked. I noted Al was in their midst, and he was smiling. Bloody tiredness and Charlie was turning me into a softie.
“Are you joking . . . or are we really having a fun day?” Lily asked skeptically. She was new to the scene.
“I figured one day wouldn’t hurt, and we have to initiate you into the team after all. Tomorrow we start practicing for real, though!” My team cheered; it was the first time every one of them was grinning at one of my practices. To be honest it made me smile a bit as well.
“I call being the Fairy!” Fred shouted after we had finished playing a game. Finally it was time for Fairy Dust. Our team loved it: our old captain would let us play it after we won a match. There were two people per team, with one fairy in the middle. The fairy would send bludgers hurling at everyone as hard as they could, after hiding a bunch of miscellaneous junk all over the pitch. There was one object that would cause you to win the game if brought to him, but if you got hit with a bludger, you were done. It was childish, yes, but for some odd reason we couldn’t get enough of it.
“OKAY!” Laurel yelled, pulling out her wand and giving Fred the customary pink tutu that comes with the job. “I call Skye!” So she and Skye were a team. This was going to be fun.
“Lily!” Louis called, and that meant I got Austin. He grinned; we were going to dominate.
“And then there were two . . .” Fred taunted, seeing that only Lily and I were left on the field. Austin had just gotten out, and he was currently swearing on the sidelines. Lily and I were used to dodging miscellaneous objects we threw at each others’ heads, so bludgers weren’t a biggie.
I mean, seriously. Who throws a chair at their brother?
Well, you did throw a handful of salsa at her.
Shut up. You’re letting your tiredness get in the way of the game.
Fine. So I searched the stands with my eyes. I may not be a seeker, but I had pretty good eyesight. I knew what the object he was looking for was; I just needed to find it. It was a picture of the team, as Freddy was really a big teddy. Hehehe, that rhymes.
Suddenly, Lily went into a dive. I shot straight up, suddenly seeing something hanging from the professors’ box. It looked like a picture. I heard my little sister’s curses all the way up there. Bloody twat had been trying to trick me. I was James Potter; you can’t trick me. I grabbed the picture and was about to hand it to Freddy when I felt a bludger collide with my elbow, and I grit my teeth against the pain. Lily held the bat, and she grabbed the picture (I had dropped it) and handed it to Freddy. I looked at him.
“Er . . . Lily. That was an illegal hit.” She cursed again. “JAMES! YOUR SISTER HAS A POTTY MOUTH! AND YOU WON!” Everyone groaned. I never lost at Fairy Dust. Austin whooped, but I was too busy trying to ignore the pain.
“OI! Hit the showers, people. Lily- go run five laps.” She looked like she wanted to kill me. “It’s only two bloody kilometers- get over it!” And so she did; I smirked. Laurel didn’t look too happy.
“That was a hard hit. You need to go see Mister Thomas,” she said, raising her eyebrows as I tried to deny it. (I tried to move it and it hurt) So I left the team, telling them good job, but tomorrow we would be back to normal. Albus was smiling as he oversaw Lily’s laps.
“James!” He called, seeing me leaving. “That was probably the sweetest thing I ever saw. You smiled like a little girl,” he jested, poking me in the arm. I swore and grabbed it. “You need to get that checked out, mate. Lily’s almost done; she feels bad about breaking your arm, if it helps.” I nodded and got ready to face the day. I was pretty sure my good mood wouldn’t last.
“Have you been sleeping well, James?” Mister Thomas asked, after healing my arm in a second. I nodded, but he pressed further. “You always seem to look tired; are you sure there’s nothing wrong?”
“I’m fine!” I replied sharply, before leaving the Hospital Wing. I was already in bloody therapy; I wasn’t in the mood to talk about yet another thing wrong with me.
I quickly showered before heading down the breakfast. The team was there, and they were back to their somber moods. Quidditch helped them forget about Charlie, but now the realization had come crushing back. I was about to sit down when Rose stopped me.
“James, don’t forget we’re meeting in the unused classroom on the first floor tonight! Bring your Transfig and Potions stuff, okay, because you have exams and essays in those subjects this week,” she reminded me, and I nodded. “Hey! And I think you’re getting some work back in Potions today. Tell me how you do,” she added, frowning. She hated it when I showed her another D. It hurt her because no matter how hard she or Al tried, I still managed to fail.
It was quite a talent.
“Okay. Today I will pass back your essays on . . .” Professor Zabini already lost me. I zoned out, doodling on my parchment while my partner doodled on my arm. Her name was Ellie, Ellie Finnegan, and her grades were great yet she still didn’t pay any attention. It annoyed me to no end, but I let her draw the professor being chased by a rabid flower on my arm nonetheless. “ . . . and as I pass back the papers you should start brewing.” Ellie finished her drawing, stood up, and got the ingredients. I started the fire, waiting for the grade of doom. Eventually Ellie came back, her arms full of ingredients.
“So, Elyse, what are we brewing today?” She glared. She really hated her name. I loved calling her by her name, because it annoyed her so much.
“We’re brewing the antidote to the poison he’ll pass out soon. I know every possible ingredient that could help, so I grabbed them all so I wouldn’t have to bloody run back and forth. Plus, I think I saw a rabid unicorn or something in the cupboard.” I loved her randomness. It was quite refreshing, especially during first period. It was even more refreshing coming from a Slytherin. They weren’t all bad. She and her friend Maddy were actually quite tolerable, albeit a bit weird.
“Ms. Finnegan, Mr. Potter,” Professor Zabini said, handing back our papers. Ellie looked at hers. It had an ‘O’ on it. Of course. She was bloody brilliant, she was. She looked to her friend, (mouthing her score) and Maddy mouthed ‘O’ back. They both grinned. I hesitantly looked at mine. Rose and Al had spent four hours helping me write it. “Mr. Potter, I am quite pleased. I hope you can keep this up.” I GOT AN A! That means I passed! Wow, today was turning out to be all right. I might have done a little happy dance. I can’t help it; impulsiveness comes with the ADHD. Ellie laughed, snorting once.
“Please . . I beg you! Never do that again!” She managed to choke out.
“Would you rather I brew the antidote?” I was met with a glare. A few weeks ago I had accidentally singed off all of her very straight (and very long and somewhat shiny) brown hair. What? I was attracted to shiny things, therefore I noticed things about them.
“Point taken.” And so I watched as she brewed the antidote, helping occasionally. It was a wonderful day for once. Too wonderful. Something was bound to happen soon.
“I need your help.”
“The great Albus Potter needs my help? Whatever with?” I asked, lounging while waiting for Rose to tutor me. In truth, I hadn’t had a day this good in a while, which made me in a better mood, which consequently put my mates in a better mood. Still, Charlie was still in a coma, but my Quidditch team liked me and I got an Acceptable on an essay. What more could I ask for?
“I need your help with watching Montague.” I fell out of my chair. “For Charlie,” he said with a pained expression. It was hurting him more than he would let on.
“Fine, Allie. What do you need?” I had a feeling the day was going to go downhill. Fast.
That, my friends, is how we got here.
“Agent Hiss . . . do you read me?” I whispered to Albus, who happened to be right next to me.
“I am not Agent Hiss!” My brother replied indignantly, and I snickered.
“No need to throw a hissy fit, dear brother,” I replied, and he smacked me. He was the one who asked for my help, therefore I could be as much of an arrogant prick as I liked.
“Focus, remember? For Charlie . . .” My face fell. The bloody idiot always knew what to say to depress me.
“All right. Where is Montague?” I asked him wearily.
“He should be coming back from Quidditch,” Al asked, running his hand through his hair nervously.
“Then what are we going to do?” I asked, for once being the logical one.
“For now . . . just watch him,” Al replied, though he sounded unsure. He really was nervous.
“Okay.” So we just sat there, not doing anything. Of course, that made my brain wander, which was annoying Al to no end. Yes, we were lurking in a dark corner of a corridor. It doesn’t make us stalkers, does it?
“Will you stop playing with my hair?” My brother asked indignantly. Oops, I guess I had been knotting it.
“Sorry, Al.” He took a deep breath; it must have annoyed him more than I thought.
“Just focus. We’re doing this for Charlie.” Damn. Why did have to bring her into this? That chica had my head going around in circles. I had no idea what to do about her.
“I hear footsteps,” I whispered, successfully avoiding the conversation. I guess Lady Luck was finally on my side today, because there actually were footsteps.
“Sh!” Al whispered, and we saw Montague walking down the hallway, talking to himself, though he was holding something. Maybe he was pretending there was a face on his hand?
“Did you do what I asked?”
“Y. . .yes.” Was Montague on drugs? He sounded dazed when he spoke from his point of view.
“Congratulations. The first part is complete.”
“Yes, my- NO! I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS! YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!” Why was he suddenly screaming? “Yes, my lord. I must bide my time before it takes root. Then I shall start the second part.” He was back in a trance.
“Good, little Rhys Montague. Good.” Was he crazy? Why was he talking to himself, much less fighting himself?
Eventually they left. I turned to Al, who looked just as confused as I was.
“What in the name of Merlin’s baggy Y-fronts was that?” I asked, but Al had no answer.
“Come on, maybe Rose knows.” We started to leave, when I heard a loud voice.
“OI! POTTER!” She shouted, and I whipped my head around. It was Ellie Finnegan, and she had dragged her friend, Maddy, into whatever it was she wanted.
“What, Elyse?” She immediately glared, while Maddy laughed. We exchanged high-fives, effectively distracted.
“I’m not going to tell you if you keep on using that foul excuse for a name.”
“Would you prefer Frankie?” I was feeling snarky. It came with confusion for me.
“That’s it!” She lunged at me, Maddy having stolen her wand, but I grabbed her fists with my hands. (I loved Quidditch) She kept struggling like a mad person, until her friend cut in.
“OI! Ellie, do you want to have to go with James, or will you calm down and act like a normal person?” She asked, and Ellie finally settled. I wonder when Slytherins had gotten so feisty.
“Huh?” I asked confused. Ellie still wasn’t looking at me, much less speaking, so Maddy cut in. Her hair was darker than Ellie’s, as was her skin, but it was still unbelievably shiny.
“McGonagall sent us to find you because you were supposed to meet your therapist half an hour ago,” she said, emphasizing the ‘therapist’ part. That was tonight? Oops.
“What’s up with your friend?” I asked her, as Ellie was now kicking a wall screaming obscenities.
“No one knows. It might have something to do with . . . nevermind.”
“What?” I pressed.
“No! Get out of here, you need to go!” She persisted, obviously mad at herself.
“Can I take her with me?” I asked, almost pleading. Maddy looked tempted, but said:
“If she keeps up like this . . . next week. Right now, though, you need to go.” And so I did. I ran, leaving my brother to deal with his loony bin of a house, because apparently he knew her secret. How come I never knew any secrets?
When I reached the classroom, Teddy was sitting there, just lounging. I immediately blurted out:
“Can I bring a friend next time? She has even more issues than me!”
Silence. Then . . .
Laughter. Teddy Lupin was laughing at me.
“I doubt anyone is as crazy as you. But if she has five recommendations, I will have to oblige. Now, let’s start this cooky castle so I can see if Pippa and Andie blew up the house.”
A/N: Hey all! There are some MAJOR plot developments in this chapter, though it may not appear just yet. Now, I wanted to say right here that I love all of your reviews and respond to every single one. Yes, EVERY SINGLE ONE. (There aren't that many . . . hehehe) Sooooo. . . because of that little fact in the parentheses, I am going to try something new. Since I love Ellie and Maddy, (me and my friend kind of [ish]) and they're important to the story [VERY], you can say ELLIE if you liked it, and MADDY if you didn't. One word. That's all I ask. (Though I do enjoy long reviews as well)
Please! I'm begging you! Review! :)Thanks!
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