Chapter 12 : The one with the graduation I
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“Yes,” She said, “You have too; otherwise I’ll have to find a new more interesting boyfriend,”
“Bloody cheek,” I said, grinning at that sound of her voice, pulling out an old check shirt and tossing it onto my bed with a grin. “Whose idea was fancy dress anyway?”
“Should have known,” I said with a sigh. “Why are you even friends with Vanessa?”
“She wants to be a healer too,” Jan said, “we’ve had this discussion.”
“What are you wearing Jan, just tell me.” I sighed.
“No,” She laughed. “You’ll like it, I promise,”
“That sounds promising,” I said.
“I borrowed it of Eleanor.”
“And now I’m worried...” It was hard to picture Jan in any of Eleanor’s outlandish and sometimes downright weird outfits. They often tended to be quite low cut, short, with no backs, or material... “Just give me clue as to what you’re supposed to be.”
“No,” Jan said cheerfully.
“But I haven’t got any ideas: this Hogwarts theme is rubbish. What’s everyone else going as?”
“Rose is going as Madame Pince, Scorpius is going as a Gargoyle, Vanessa is going as a slutty suit of armour – and no, I have no idea how that works Al, don’t ask me, Trish is coming as a Raven – as in, a Ravenclaw -”
“But she’s a Gryffindor,”
“Red isn’t her colour.” Jan said offhandedly.
“Why are you friends with these nut jobs?”
“Well I couldn’t spend all my time with you, could I?”
“Well why not?” I interrupted. “It would have been much more fun.”
“True,” She laughed. “Jess, Rubes and Emma are coming as slutty school girls,”
“So they’re wearing their school uniform.” I put in. “What about Eleanor?”
“Fuck knows,” Jan said. “She disappeared to Tina’s house to get ready with something made out of plastic and a tub full of body glitter – I decided not to ask. Anyway, you better hurry up – I’m coming over in twenty minutes.”
“But I don’t know what to wear?!” I complained. “It’s hard for guys,”
“What are the others wearing?”
“None of them have girlfriends that are making them dress up,” I muttered. “But they’re all coming as ghosts – the whole lot of them. Rich is the Bloody Baron, Rory is Nearly Headless Nick, ect...”
“Well, why don’t you just join them?”
“There’s only one ghost left,” I commented darkly.
Jan laughed a lot down the other end of the phone. “If you come as Moaning myrtle you will not regret it. You can have anything you want.”
“Anything?” I asked with a grin. I could practically hear Jan smiling on the other end of the phone.
“Get off the phone Al, I need to call someone!” James yelled from the room downstairs. “You can talk to Jan later.”
“Look, Jan, be here in ten minutes – I’ll probably still be wondering round in my boxers.”
“Excellent, that will save some time,” Jan laughed.
“Well that’s awkward,” James’s voice said down the receiver.
“Get off the line James,” I ordered.
“It’s all right, I’ve got to go put my eyeliner on anyway,” Jan said – apparently unabashed. “Have you got us some firewhiskey?”
“Covered,” I answered.
“Naughty Albie,” James said. I told him where to get off. Jan laughed before I heard the ‘click’ of her hanging up and was reintroduced to the dial tone. Ah, sod. “You’re a douche.” I yelled in the downstairs direction before wondering into James’s room and rummaging through his stuff in case there was anything in there...
For some reason that I wasn’t even going to question James had a pair of braces. I picked them up thoughtfully and... yes!
“... Why are you in my room in your underwear?” James asked from behind me.
“I thought you needed the phone.”
“Nah, I just thought it would piss you off.”
“I’m borrowing your braces,” I said, snatching them off the bed and adding them to the pile on my own bed. “Dad,” I called, wondering down the stairs. “Have you got a muggle suit jacket? For my costume. Oh, and a really shit looking tie.”
“I have a tie that sings?” Lily suggested, sticking her head out of her room with a grin.
“I’m not even going to ask.”
“Look in the wardrobe,” Dad called from where he was engrossed in some crappy muggle sport that he’d started watching so he could actually have conversations with the neighbours ever so often. Feetball?
“Mum, do you have any talcum powder?”
“Bathroom, cupboard under the sink,” Mum called back.
“Here’s the tie,” Lily said, wondering into the bathroom after me and watching as I sifted through all her face-washing junk that I didn’t understand to finally pull out a large bottle of talcum powder. I grabbed the tie before upturning a large amount of talcum powder onto my head and rubbing it in. “What the hell are you doing?” Lily asked, still standing in the doorway.
“Making my hair look grey,” I said. “Have you got any of that... spray stuff?”
“Hair spray?” Lily suggested, wondering into her room before presenting me with a bottle. I looked at her in confusion. She sighed and took the bottle out of my hand. “Not in here,” She said, pulling me out into the corridor. “The rooms too small. Kneel down.” I knelt as she took both the talcum powder and the hair spray and began greying my hair up with the expertise that only my beauty-obsessed little sister could manage to achieve.
Then the doorbell rang. James barged past the pair of us – knocking Lily so that she spilt a large amount of talcum powder all over my face – hurried down the stairs and threw open the door. “Hi Jan,” He said, nodding up to where I was knelt in only my boxers (and socks), with talcum powder all over my face, holding a singing tie and a brown suit jacket.
“Hey James, Al,” Jan said, serene as anything, as if this sort of thing was normal. Then I noticed what she was wearing.
“A catsuit?” I questioned, standing up quickly and finding a cloud of talcum powder blowing up in my face as I did so. “What is that even made of?”
“Leather,” Jan grinned, stepping through the door and shutting it behind her. She adjusted her cat ears and grinned. “I’m Mrs Norris.”
“Shit,” James said appreciatively. “Nice tail.”
“Thanks James, I appreciate it,” She said with an eye roll. “What are you supposed to be Al, a mental patient?”
“Jan!” Dad said warmly, suddenly appearing from the living room with a smile. “Lovely to see you,”
“Thanks very much, Mr P,” Jan grinned. Her expression froze a little as mum also appeared with a less warm smile and less warm greeting. “Ginny,” She said dutifully, smiling towards her uncomfortably.
“That costume is awesome!” Lily declared, skipping down the steps and making Jan give her a twirl. “You’ve got all the markings and everything!”
“And it’s not too short,” I added. It had these weird leg things, and she’d teamed it with a pair of thick brown tights which meant it was just the right amount of sluttiness. She also had one white sock on, which was entirely ingenious – as Mrs Norris had the exact same left paw...
“Can’t have anyone lusting after your girl, can we?” James grinned in a way that made me entirely sure he was planning something I wouldn’t like.
“Anyway,” I said. “Will you help me with my costume?”
“It needs help,” Jan laughed, following me up the stairs with a wave to Dad, a smile to mum, a mimed swear word to James and a grin at Lily. “God I’ve missed you,” Jan muttered the second I’d closed the door. “It’s been a week since we finished Hogwarts for good and it’s already driving me insane.”
After a couple of minutes of snogging on my bed in which the talcum powder that was supposed to be making my hair grey instead made my bed sheets significantly more covered-in-talcum-powder, Jan pulled away and got back to the matter in hand.
“What the hell are you trying to achieve with that look, anyway? It really is a terrible costume.”
“We don’t all have leather catsuits lying around, Jan.”
“Bloody good job too,” Jan added sagely, “I don’t think I could carry on dating you if you had a catsuit – it would be just that little bit too weird.”
“Let’s not go to the party, let’s stay here instead,” I suggested, flopping down onto my pillows and looking up at the ceiling. “I don’t want to go to a stupid fancy dress party.”
“Al,” Jan said, “you’re getting that talcum powder everywhere – and no, that isn’t a euphemism.”
“Let’s have a sleepover.”
“I didn’t spend an hour dressing up as Mrs Norris so that my boyfriend could flake out on me,” Jan said with an eye roll, “anyway, Al – this is our leaving school party! We’ve finished! Now, everything is going to get better,” and then she reached forwards and kissed me again. Her cat’s ears fell off. “Everythings going to get better.”
Or, I thought, everything was going to get much worse.
“So what is with the ridiculous costume?” Jan asked, grabbing my hand to prevent me from trying to work out the emergency exit from said catsuit. It wasn’t fair, I didn’t have a shirt on and she was woefully overdressed.
“Bah,” I muttered, standing up and grabbing the assortment of items that had fallen on the floor whilst we were making out. I attempted a grin and held up the old checked shirt, the muggle jacket, and the braces. “I’m going as... Professor Whatzit.”
I smile broke out across Jan’s face, which made her carefully drawn whiskers scrunch up and distort slightly. Not that I hadn’t already smudged her whiskers. And that was a euphemism. “Albus Potter,” She said, “you are my absolute hero.”
“Hold still,” Jan instructed. I was currently knelt on the floor whilst she, sat on my bed, was drawing wrinkles on my face with eyeliner to give my costume that extra ‘something,’ “I’m nearly finished,” She added, pursing her lips in concentration. Mostly, I wanted to reach forward and kiss her –but last time I’d tried that she’d got mad.
“We’re going to be late,” I pointed out, trying my best not to move my forehead as I did so for fear of angering her, causing her to slam down the eyeliner and declare she had to ‘start all over again’ for the third time. Ladies and gentleman, my woman.
“Who cares?” Jan asked. The pencil thing felt weird on my face. I wasn’t entirely sure I was comfortable with this. It was only just shy of actually wearing makeup and James would never let me live it down. Although, saying that, James wasn’t exactly invited to our graduation party. Not that that usually made a difference to the state of affairs.
“Well, if Eleanor mentions you turned up late your parents will know you came over here first,”
“You’re a pain in my arse, Albus Potter. Right, you’re done.” I stood up and looked in the mirror. The grey hair, extreme padding, braces and wrinkles were actually quite effective. Effective in making me look like an absolute tosser.
Who’s idea was a fancy dress party, anyway?
“Now my boyfriend’s going to have the best costume,” Jan grinned, slipping her arms around me and looking at our reflection together in the mirror. I liked that. Admittedly, it was a slightly more surreal image in the mirror with Jan in a catsuit and me dressed up as a miserable old potions teacher but I liked the way we looked together. And I liked the fact that Jan’s lips tugged upwards into a smile as she looked at us, together. I reckoned it was worth it.
“Is that a good thing?”
“Yes,” Jan said, pulling a camera out of bag and fiddling about with the focus and other things. Why everything had to be photographed I didn’t know, but I’d become accustomed to her obsession, “because everyone knows it means I bullied you into it – it shows that you love me.”
“So it’s a visual demonstration that you control me?” I asked, wrapping my arm around her waist. She smiled into my shoulder. We stayed like that for a few minutes. Jan put the camera away without taking a photo and caught my eyes in the mirror. Then she drag her eyes away from our reflection, reached out and kissed me on the nose.
“When I get my own place,” Jan muttered, “you can just come over whenever you want and I won’t have to sneak out to see you because my parents won’t know.”
“Do you think you will then?” I asked, wrapping my arms around her waist.
“It’s difficult. I want too, but... I’m not going to be earning any money till Healer training’s over. I can’t live there until then though... Eleanor’s getting a flat with Tina and Becky,”
“Fuck,” I said, pulling away from Jan for a second. “The thought of that is terrifying. Anyway, we should get going.”
“Yeah, okay,” Jan said reluctantly, shoving half her things back in her clutch bag thing, “we won’t get any privacy when we’re there, will we?”
“Probably not,” I said, grabbing the bottle of firewhiskey from my sock draw and adding it to Jan’s bag as was the normal etiquette. I was hardly going to bring a bag, was I? “We can walk some of the way, if you like?” Jan nodded and took my hand. I blinked at her. God, I loved her.
“Mum, Dad,” I called down the stairs, “we’re off! See you in the morning!” And then I turned on the spot and apparated to Will’s street.
His house was obvious – it was the one that was currently playing very loud music and seemed to have a large cloud of smoke coming from the front garden where people were smoking god knows what. I had no idea as to what lengths Will must have gone to for his parents to be out of the country... thus allowing him to host the Hogwarts themed fancy dress graduation party.
I decided that Will must have a secret girlfriend or was trying very hard to impress Vanessa (why anyone would, I really didn’t know) because, why else would a guy pick fancy dress? Other than the fact it essentially equated to girls walking around in their underwear...
“So we’re staying the night at Will’s?” Jan asked, threading her arm through mine and pausing on the pavement so we could have a serious conversation/quick snog without being at risk of being eavesdropped on by James, or having either of my parents/Lily barging in for no reason other than to be very very annoying. Lily should know better.
“Well,” I said, “I wrote him a letter asking and he said that we could stay over... but that all bed’s rooms and sofa’s had been claimed.”
“So we’re on the floor?” Jan asked with a grimace.
“No,” I smiled, “I booked us a really crap hotel in some city nearby. I sneaked off and checked in this morning – I’ve got a key card,” I grinned pulling it out of my pocket and waving it at her.
Jan’s eyes widened comically for a second. She threw her arms around my neck and hugged me tightly.
“I wouldn’t get too excited,” I added hastily, “it’s nothing fancy – there’s no window and the smallest double bed you’ve ever seen but... at least we’ll have some privacy.”
“I knew there was a reason I loved you,” Jan grinned, kissing me properly and pressing her forehead against mine for a long time, just looking at me. I smiled back.
It was hard: being with someone for over a year but never being able to find enough time together to talk as much as you wanted, and kiss as much you wanted, and never being able to sleep in the same bloody bed. Admittedly, once or twice Jan had snuck into my dorm and proclaimed ‘to hell with what the others say’ but these occasions usually ended up in us been woken by one of my wonderful dorm mates chucking a bucket of ice cold water on top of us. It was not appreciated. But that was all over now: we’d graduated Hogwarts and we were adults now.
Except it meant we saw even less of each other.
“It’s a bit seedy, actually – me taking you to a hotel room in the night.”
“Ah, Al, be seedy all you like.” Jan said, “I give you permission.”
“Great,” I said, grinning as I reached forwards and kissed her properly, my hands on her hips so she couldn’t escape me.
“All right,” Jan said, kissing me again before pulling me back in the direction of the party, “I’ve smudged your wrinkles enough, let’s go before we miss anything. And Al?” She asked with another sly smile, “whenever you want to leave, that’s fine by me,”
And then we both headed off in the direction of the smoke, the loud music, and the interesting array of costumes that were just beginning to become visible.
I’d only disappeared for two minutes to go to the loo, but by the time I came back Jan had already been pulled into some kind of game with the Gryffindor girls. None of whom I particularly liked, other than Jan and Rose, obviously. Still, Trish, Jess, Ruby and Emma were not my favourite people in the world. Nor was Jenny, yellow hair or no yellow hair. “Al!” Jan yelled, beckoning me over, “come play!”
The trouble was, we’d neglected predrinking in favour of making out and drawing on wrinkles and when Jan turned up to a party late she always felt obligated to drink a lot of alcohol very quickly to make up for her original sobriety. And Jan had always been a terrible drunk. Particuarlly when she's emotional.
“Its girls only,” Trish said, thank goodness. There appeared to be quite a few shot glasses involved in his ‘game’ along with a bottle of firewhiskey and something that looked suspiciously liked Vodka. And, as a guy, I couldn’t handle vodka. I drank beer, for god’s sake. Clear things usually wound up with me trying to vomit in plant pots. “It’s only Al.” Jan pouted.
“Fine,” Trish said, and I was pulled down into sitting between Jan and Ruby. I wasn’t sure if I should be insulted or complimented about being considered an honorary girl, but after dating Jan for so long it was more or less commonly accepted that I didn’t count as a male presence. Just as an extension of my best friend. “Rose, it’s your turn.”
“Okay,” She said, from the other side of Jan. She drank three shots in quick succession before placing them back down on the floor with a grin.
“Three!” Emma and Ruby chorused in hyper girly-very scary voices that made my ears hurt, “you only kissed three boys at Hogwarts!” Oh sod. It was that kind of game. Where were my guy-friends at a time like this? Probably off somewhere being prats. I missed them.
“Well she’s been dating Scorpius since fifth year,” Jenny said fairly. “So the three are... Scorpius Malfoy, Derek Caudwell and...”
“Locran Scamander!” Jan declared, before putting a hand over her mouth as the other girls erupted into squeals. Bloody hell.
“Jan, your turn,” Ruby grinned devilishly. Even I couldn’t help but be slightly intrigued by this turn of events, I mean... how many people had Jan kissed at Hogwarts? If it had my way she’d only have to drink the one shot but...
Jan grinned, took a deep breath then looked at the filled shot glasses.
“Do you need me to fill up a few more glasses?” Ruby asked with a grin, refilling the rest of the glasses.
“Oh shut up Rubes,” Jan laughed, assessing the shot glasses. “All right,” Then she took one, two, three, and four... five... six.
She was going to be seriously drunk.
Everyone started clapping like lunatics. “Okay,” Emma said loudly, “So there is... Wood, Corner and Albus, obviously.”
“Those are the ones she dated.” Ruby said.
“That’s three,” Jess said, counting them off on her fingers drunkenly.
“Chris Taylor,” Jenny added in, “She went out with him in third year, if you remember?” Yes, I remembered. Tosser.
“So then there’s two more,” Jess said, genius that girl.
“Lysander,” Rose said with a grin – Jan temporarily looked scandalised, “In truth or dare. Seventh year.”
Several pairs of eyes moved to me at that point. “I was there,” I clarified. “It was a game.”
“Who’s the last one, then? Al, you should know this,” Ruby said.
“I do.” I said. Actually, I’d known about all of them – I supposed it helped that I’d been her best friend since first year and boyfriend since halfway through sixth. I was bound to know these things about her.
“Who?” Jess asked eagerly.
“Tell us,” I shook my head.
Jan grinned sheepishly. “Okay,” She grinned drunkenly. “I’ll give you a clue. It was... sixth year. Hufflepuff victory party.”
The memory of which I was still trying to shake. She grabbed my hand instinctively and squeezed it so tightly I thought it might fall off – at least she wasn’t too drunk to realise that I really did not want her to name this number six.
“I don’t even remember that party,” Ruby said with an eye roll.
“Okay,” She said, closing her eyes for a second, “James Potter!” Then they were all shrieking and squealing like right idiots.
“Oh my god!” Emma yelled. Even Rose looked shocked. Apparently that wasn’t something Jan went round telling people. Bloody good job too. “What? What happened?”
“Well,” Jan said, “It was before Al and I were dating.”
“And well I knew that I fancied him, but... he was being slightly...”
“Oblivious.” Three of them chorused. Jan grinned.
“And James said he’d help me. He said he knew that Al liked me back, but he wouldn’t admit that so... we formed a plan to get him drunk and then make him talk to me properly. I was really nervous so I was outside with Rose talking about what I was going to say when... Al bursts out holding hands with Becky Bones.”
“It wasn’t like that,” I interrupted, but no one seemed to care what I had to say about the whole thing.
So I stormed back in, livid, and I ran over yelled at James, explained what had happened then he was like... okay, well, we need to talk about this. And we couldn’t go outside because Al was busy getting with Becky -”
“Not true.” I added in.
“So we went up to his dorm to talk about it, but then... I was just so angry and pissed off that I kissed him.”
“And James let you?” Rose asked incredulously.
“It was in the middle of that stupid boycott, if you remember, he was absolutely gagging for it.”
“I don’t think I want to hear this,” I said stiffly, folding my eyes. The scene was just playing itself in front of me like some terrible horror story. It actually made me feel quite sick.
“Then we were making out for about twenty minutes,”
Shit. In my head it had always been a slight almost accidently kiss on the lips before it just stopped.
“And James had his shirt off.”
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
“Then we both realised what we were doing and stopped abruptly.” Jan finished. “James was a bit like... well, he felt terrible. I was too mad at Al to feel that bad, because... I thought he just didn’t care but James was adamant that it never should have ever happened. He said he was going to have to tell Al, and I told him not to be an idiot... and then he promised he wouldn’t. He did.” She continued, “But... that’s James for you.”
“Twenty minutes!?!” Jess exclaimed wildly. My heart seemed to have sunk in my chest slightly. In my head, Jan had always stopped it and the only reason James had mentioned it was to rub the whole thing in my face. It hadn’t crossed my mind that James had told me, albeit in not the best way, to stop himself from feeling so guilty. And now I was doubting Jan slightly. I didn’t want to doubt Jan.
“Albus, it’s your turn now.” Jenny said.
“Well, I haven’t kissed a single boy at Hogwarts so.”
“Well, do it for girls then.” Jess said.
Jan snorted. “You’re going to need more shot glasses.”
“Jan,” I said lightly, seriously beginning to worry about being involved in this game. It was not going to well for anyone. Rose exchanged a look with me. Apparently she had the same approaching disaster-vibe.
“So there’s... Jenny,” She said, beginning to count them off on her fingers, “Jess, Samantha, Tina, Lydia, Vanessa, Carla, Becky and... me.”
I swear it sounded a lot more when she listed it like that. Two of those were from truth or dares. I’d dated four of them... and Becky Bones had assaulted me.
“Then there was that Spanish girl in the summer,” Jan continued. “And that other girl that summer – the one you shagged, and then...”
“Jan,” I said, desperately trying to take her hand and squeeze it comfortingly.
“So that’s fourteen shots.” There was definitely something wrong with her maths and I was entirely sure the summer ones didn’t count (she hadn’t counted her summer flings, after all). “Drink up Al!” She declared.
“I don’t think that’s a very good idea,” I said. The whole thing had suddenly got immensely awkward. The others seemed to be waiting for one or the other of us to start yelling. I had a feeling it was going to be Jan.
“Why not?” Jan asked wildly.
“Because I don’t want to be as drunk as you are,” I said, “I’m getting you some water. Come on.” I said, standing up and offering her a hand. She stared up at me definitely.
“But its how many people you shagged next. And you’d love that round.” Bolloucks. She was going to make a scene. “If you were wondering – mine was two.” I knew that. I knew she’d lied about the whole Wood thing. Whatever.
“Jan, that wasn’t a request.” She glared for a few more seconds before I physically pulled her up myself.
“Sod off Al,” She muttered, following after me with her arms folded, “you ruined the game.”
“I ruined the game?” I asked.
“Yes!” She said angrily. “I was having fun!”
“I wasn’t.” I snapped back. “It wasn’t exactly enjoyable listening to you go on about how you snogged my brother for twenty minutes.”
Jan’s expression froze and she suddenly looked guilty. “Sorry,” She said. “I didn’t think.” She pulled me through a door into a large empty room with a snooker table. “I wish I hadn’t mentioned it,” She said, pulling me down so we were sat with our backs to against the wall. “It just got me thinking about how angry I was that you’d gone off with Becky, and how I used to hate you when you went off on all those dates and stuff...” She rested her head on my shoulder and sighed deeply. “It was the shots.”
“I don’t doubt it,” I replied. I conjured her up a glass of water and presented it to her. “It was a ridiculous game anyway.”
“Yeah,” Jan agreed, drinking the water in three gulps and wrapping her arms around my neck drunkenly. “I only ever kissed one person at Hogwarts who mattered,” and then she attempted to demonstrate this point, but her breath smelt of alcohol and she was swaying all over the place – so instead I turned my face so she just kissed my cheek instead.
“You’re the best, Al,” She grinned half heartedly and we sat there for a very long time until finally it looked as if she might fall asleep and I picked her up and carried her back into the party. She wrapped her arms round my neck at that point and didn’t seem to mind very much.
“Rose!” I called, pushing my way past people in the kitchen to catch up with her. She was with Scorpius now, her face flushed and eyes shining. “You all right?”
“Great, thanks,” She smiled. “How’s Jan?”
I set Jan back down on the floor, and she leant into my side – swaying forwards like an idiot.
“Fine.” Jan practically sang.
“Much too drunk.” I countered, using my arm to steady her.
“We were just talking about our holiday,” Rose grinned, kissing Scorpius on the cheek. “It’s all booked and everything.”
“We should go on holiday or something,” Jan said, tugging at my sleeve. Shit, if she was going to be so annoying and needy the whole night I might just drop her off at the hotel and go home. Well, no, I wouldn’t do that. But still, “we never get to spend time together.” I looked at Rose desperately.
“Get her some water.” Rose suggested, raising an eyebrow with a worried expression.
“Jan,” I said, presenting her with another glass of water. She took it and spilt half of it over the front of my Professor-Whatzit costume. Bullocks this was going to be a long night.
“I love you Albie,” Jan said, wrapping her arms round my neck and grinning into my shoulder like a possessed lunatic. I had a feeling someone had given her more alcohol whilst I was talking to James (for unknown reasons he’d showed up as the ‘embodiment of Gryffindor’ and had been trying to chat up Teagan Reaves, who was also here, before I’d interrupted their conversation to demand why he was invading my space. Why did he always have to get up in my grill?
The offending alcohol-donator was potentially the Hufflepuff who was dressed up as Hogwarts, and had managed to make it so that firewhiskey came out of the astronomy tower if you tapped the roof twice. How he managed to find the time, I don’t know.
“I’m so glad that you’re my best friend.” Jan grinned, ruffling up my hair – I think it amused her due to the cloud of talcum powder that was omitted each time she did it, or maybe she just liked being an annoying tosser-type-person.
“Yeah,” I agreed, patting her on the back patronisingly. “Same.”
“I mean, we’re so good together. We’re much better than all the other couples.” I nodded again and patted her back as if I was actually listening to the dribble that was coming from her mouth.
I thought end-of-school parties were supposed to be fun? I mean, after you got past the fact that you were obliged to wear ridiculous clothes due to some stupid theme – but these were our classmates and after this night I might not see some of them for years. And instead of dutifully paying my last respects to school-dom by downing firewhiskey shots and doing stupid dares I was babysitting my whiny annoying girlfriend because she’d drunk too much.
No, I didn’t mean that – I was just bitter, because I’d wanted tonight to go so well.
“Have some more water,” I said, pressing another glass into Jan’s hands and watching as the Gryffindor girl’s game progressed into dares: now Jenny was kissing Ruby – and the others were all clapping and cheering like absolute lunatics. I never did understand why straight girls got drunk and snogged each other, but whatever.
“Hey, Al,” Rory said, appearing from nowhere with the detachable head stuck to his own, lolling sideways manically – he’d swung getting Nearly Headless Nick; somehow, “do you want to come outside for a fag? For old time’s sake.”
“All right,” I said. “I’ll be right back,” I told Jan – silently hoping she would not be roped into playing the game again – and following Rory outside.
“Thanks mate,” I muttered.
“I saw them start the game,” Rory said with an amused shake of the head, “girls and their vodka, eh?”
“Well, if she hadn’t snogged so many blokes there wouldn’t have been a problem.” I returned, throwing Jan another look – making sure she hadn’t fallen over or whatever – before stepping out onto the patio with a sigh.
“Before you tied her down,” Rory said with an approving nod, “Ah, well.”
“At least you managed to save me.” I said before glancing around at the others gathered on the patio.
It was very unusual to see my eight dorm mates all dressed up as various ghosts; some had gone no further than putting sheets over their heads, but several had progressed as far as glow in the dark slightly luminous face paint... and most of them were smoking. I very much doubted real ghosts could smoke. It was slightly surreal.
“Albus my man,” Rich said, with a grin. “Having girl troubles?”
“Somewhat,” I said, accepting the cigarette that someone past over to me and lighting it with Rory’s lighter. I was surprised he had one – party smokers. “She just drank too much,”
“What’s the plan with you and Jan?” Rory asked, we shared a grin over the impeccable wit he’d shown by making the question rhyme. “I mean, are you going to break it off now you’ve graduated, or go super serious like Rose and Scorpio.”
“We haven’t had a chance to talk about it,” I said truthfully, shoving my spare hand in my pocket. “It’s hard – we’re both going to be in training. We start in a couple of weeks. So there’s no time to go on holiday like Rose and Scorpius.”
“You moving out of your parents place?”
“Can’t afford it,” I grimaced, “and Jan’s parents are practically medieval – they never let her stay over.”
“No getting any then?” Rich asked loudly, clapping me on the back. I ignored him. At least Rory was capable of conducting a real conversation. There were some things I would not miss about Hogwarts. Spending excessive amounts of time with Rich and his vulgar way of thinking about anything with two breasts as sex objects, was one of them.
“Cut your losses mate,” Rory said. “You’re both starting new jobs, neither of you can afford a place of your own... you had a good run. A year isn’t bad.”
“I don’t want to.” I said, taking another deep breath. “It’s... I mean, it’s Jan, you know?”
“She’s your woman.” Rory said, nodding.
“Yeah, she’s my woman.” I grinned.
“Yuhh wommannn!” Rich said, attempting to clap me on the back with the hand he was currently holding his cigarette in.
“You’re a woman!” Rory said, knocking Rich’s cigarette to the ground and laughing. “Go find a nice drunk man to look after you.”
“I pick Al,” Rich said.
“Don’t they all?” I grinned, taking another drag of my cigarette and tapping away the ash.
“He’s got a woman.” Rory said.
“You’re right, I do have a woman.”
“Hell of a woman,” Rory nodded with a grin, stamping his own cigarette out and looking up towards the sky – his fake head lulling stupidly. “I need to get me a woman.”
“You just dumped Trisha’s ass,” I grinned. I’d miss this, messing about with Rory and, maybe, sometimes even Rich. We’d shared a dorm with each other for seven years of our life; it was a strange idea that suddenly we wouldn’t see each other every day.
“Had to,” Rory said, “no choice – she’s moving in with bladdy Vanessa. I don’t want to have to walk past that bint every time I go over there to get laid.”
“I hit that.” Rich said, “I think I’m the only person who can say that.”
“Unlikely,” I said, “but you might be the only one to admit it.”
“She’s a woman and a half, Vanessa.”
“Too much woman for me,” Rory said with a shudder, he pulled out the packed of cigarettes from his pocket and flicked it open. “There’s one left, my friends – would it be too gay to split it?”
“Never,” Rich said.
“I wasn’t asking you, you fat woman. What do you say Al? Let’s smoke to friendship, dying young and your woman.”
“All women,” Rich corrected, plucking the cigarette from the packet and dangling it from his lips, “light us up, will you?”
“Pleasure to, you great tosser,” Rory said, leaning forwards and flicking his lighter several times, “I’ll miss you, even if you are a woman Rich.”
“Now who’s the woman?” Rich said, passing the cigarette to me with a grin. “I don’t think you should dump Jan, Al.”
“I wasn’t going to.” I said, glancing at the cigarette between my fingers, “I do not wish to be without a woman.”
“So what you gonna do?” Rory asked, taking the cigarette and taking in a deep breath, “it’s not going to work if you’re both in training and living with your parents – my brother tried that. Messy, very messy. And my parents don’t give a shit if we’re shagging in our rooms, as long as they can’t hear it over the television.”
“Nice.” Rich said appreciatively, holding out his hand for the final cigarette.
“Nah,” Rory said, taking another breath, “this Al, this’ll be your relationship in a couple of months time if you don’t do something!” Rory said, holding out the cigarette as it slowly burnt out to ash. He nodded to it impressively.
“Don’t get all metaphorical on me, now.”
“Don’t waste it – I paid good money for those.”
“I paid, you tosser!” Rory said indignantly.
“I gave you some money!”
“Thirty pence you found on the floor – it was a ten pack, you arse! What’s thirty pence going to do? And I had to buy a lighter, shame on you!”
Rich reached forwards and knocked the still burning cigarette onto the floor.
“You great big woman!” Rory declared, elbowing him forcefully in the side, laughing. “You’re a woman! A woman I say!”
“And what, exactly, is wrong with being a woman?” Rose asked, stepping out onto the patio with her hand on her hip.
“Nothing, Rosie,” Rory said with a grin, “it’s a compliment meaning the height of all things awesome, like yourself.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Rose said, sniffing disdainfully at the stubbed out cigarettes on the floor, “no one would compliment Rich in such away.”
“Oohhh! Woman sent you down!” Rory grinned.
“You like nice, Rosie –where’s your boyfriend?” Rich grinned.
“I believe he’s currently hiding in that push pretending that he’s not smoking with you lot,” Rose said primly, “don’t worry, Scorpius, I’m just going to pretend I haven’t seen you for now. We can argue later.”
“Jan doesn’t yell at you for smoking, does she?” Dave asked – Rose’s female presence on the patio had brought the attention of the rest of our roommates, plus a few extras (Scorpius apparently included).
“Nope, as long as I only do it when I’m drunk.”
“Hell of a woman,” Rory said, “she’s a keeper.”
“Chaser,” Martin added, “and hell of a Chaser too.”
“Speaking of Jan,” Rose said, “she’s currently having a very loud and public argument with James, thought you might want to know Al – if you’re not too busy talking about how you’re going to dump her.”
“Oi, how long were you eavesdropping?”
“I’m not going to dump her,” I said, putting my hands in my pockets again.
“Loud argument with James?” Rose said pointedly, “maybe you want to... come break it up?”
“Coming,” I said, ignoring the cat calls and yells of ‘go tend to yuhh woman!’ that were thrown after me.
“She walked in on James getting off with Eleanor in the bathroom,” Rose said, “and if you dump her I’ll kill you.”
“Get your nose out of my business, Rose,” I said fiercely, “you don’t know a damn thing.”
“I know that Jan is really angry right now.” Rose said, nodding to where Jan was standing – just about – with her face flushed with anger and her wand out.
“What are you even doing here?” Jan yelled, actually – it was more of a shriek than anything else. Everyone was watching and I felt my face burn slightly with the embarrassment of it all. Must James always stir shit up?
“You punched me you crazy bitch!” James said, bring a hand up to his face where his nose was bleeding.
Maybe it wasn’t completely James’ fault this time.
“You shouldn’t have touched my fucking sister then, should you?” She demanded, she brandished her wand awkwardly in his direction, “you’re always doing this, trying to fuck things up for me and Al.”
“Get over yourself!” James yelled. “I don’t care what you and Al do, for god’s sake!”
“James,” I said, pushing past people and into the circle, “maybe you should go home.”
“I’m not leaving just because you’re stupid girlfriend tells me too,” James countered. “She’s a psycho! She bloody punched me.”
“Don’t go near my sister!” Jan said, grabbing hold of me to make her stand up straight, “you’ve got no right,” She dropped her wand and nearly toppled over trying to pick it up again.
“You’re so drunk,” James laughed. “I’m not arguing with you, this is ridiculous.”
“Arrogant arsehole!” Jan yelled, throwing her wand at him. It hit his left ear.
This was ridiculous. James grabbed Jan’s wand form the floor and threw it back at her. It hit her near the eye and an angry red mark appeared. That was it. “James,” I said, stepping forwards and pulling my own wand out, “don’t hurt my girlfriend.”
“But, she -” James began pointing at his ear, which had started bleeding. The wand must have sparked or something as it hit, “this is stupid! What happened to you? I’m your brother!”
“Just go home.” I said. James glared at me for a few more minutes before breathing heavily and shoving his wand into his pocket. He pushed past me and slammed the door behind him. Dear Merlin, this was absurd.
“Are you okay?” I asked Jan. She nodded, “right,” I said, “we’re leaving.”
“You’re being ridiculous.” I said angrily.
“Hey, you’re supposed to defend me!”
“I did.” I said.
“He was snogging Eleanor!”
“I know,” I said, “But it’s not like Eleanor is the Virgin Mary or anything.”
“You’re talking about my twin!” Jan snapped angrily.
“And you just assaulted my brother!” I retorted.
Jan bit her lip, but it seemed like she wasn’t going to break down and start apologising anytime soon. I wanted her to apologise. I wished she hadn’t ruined what was supposed to be a really good night by getting absolutely wasted then acting like a psychopath. Rory, Rich and the others were just feeding in through the patio door. Rory raised his eyebrows at me.
I really didn’t want him to be right.
People were staring; probably expecting another post-graduation break up (they’d been several so far) with the added bonus that this one was public.
“This is a joke,” I said grimly, “I’m leaving, with or without you.”
I could barely even bring myself to blame James for this one.
“Kay,” Jan said quietly, stumbling forwards and hooking her arm through mine.
OHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Now, before you all get mad about how ridiculous Jan and Al are I feel the need to say that this is a TWO PART CHAPTER (hence why this chapter has a 'I' at the end) because it got looonngggg. So, don't go judging yet! Still, I thought this was a nice place to stop.
Apologies about how long the 'YUUH WOMMANN' but ended up - I like writing drunken banter and Rory/Rich weren't finished talking yet.
February is AZKABAN MONTH so I’d really appreciate it if you took a look at that story and, as always, I’d love to hear from you in a review. Tell me who you think is being most idiotic, whatcha think Al is going to do and the like. All very exciting stuff.
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