Chapter 2: Fast Company
I can't remember anything about Becky and Dom going to meet Rich and one of Dom's other friends. All I know is that there's a big gap in between 'eating' breakfast and sat here in the hall at ten o clock in the morning. I have nothing to do right now and my cousin James is sat opposite me, with Sarah beside me and James's brother Albus beside James.
I thanked my lucky stars that Albus was here with us because Sarah and James find it hard to make conversation that isn't awkward for everyone else. You see, James is still absolutely smitten as a kitten
with Sarah, who is (you guessed it) completely oblivious.
Sometimes I feel like shouting at her when she introduces us to another of her boy toys and James holds his fork so tightly that his knuckles turn purple and interrogates the lad until one of us kicks James under the table, but then I remind myself it's not her fault that my emotional fuckwit of a cousin is completely and utterly in love with her. To the point of obsession.
Anyway, at this moment in time, Albus is telling me about Katy Cartwright, his latest flame, Sarah is applying lipgloss and James is watching her, gaping as he fantasises about kissing those lips just one more time. It's freaky how well I know my cousins, to the point of downright disturbing.
"…she's in the year below us, I'm sure you know her, mousy brown hair, honey-brown eyes and a figure to die for…" Albus gushes to me.
Of course I knew her: Sludgy brown eyes, limp brown hair with tacky bleach-blonde block highlights and straight up and down figure; no curves whatsoever. She's like a record, she gets around. Albus on the other hand is a smart, good-looking lad, tall with untidy black hair and bright green eyes, just like his dad, and James is the same, but taller, more muscular and with deepest chocolate eyes and without glasses. The only problem with Albus is that he goes for the completely wrong girls.
"Yeah Al, we know her. Total slag, like all the others. When will you learn that you're a gorgeous, smart guy and you don't need whores like Cartwright and...who was it last week?" Sarah sighed, shutting her compact mirror with a click and facing him.
I love her; she's not one to mince her words. James laughed heartily and clapped Albus on the shoulder. Albus didn't know whether to be depressed at her statement, or gooey at her compliment.
"Little bro, forget about her. She's not right for you." James said as Albus rested his head on his hand and rolled his eyes.
"I really was going to ask her out, you know."
"Yeah we know cous. Just pick a girl our age and who isn't a complete slapper." I said, smiling. Sarah grinned and James gawped at her, like he always does when she smiles. Or when she doesn't. Any excuse. He shook himself mentally after a second.
"By the way..." He said, dropping his voice as he leant towards us. Naturally, we all leaned in too.
"When are we changing next?" He asked, completely seriously now and changing the subject.
"Let's talk in the cabin, yeah?" Sarah said quickly. We nodded in unison.
We took advantage of the calm before the storm, when the hall would be full with screeching second years ready for a late breakfast, packed up our things and begin to make our way to the grounds. Becky and Dom joined us somewhere along the way and I saw Scorpius making his way from the other side of the grounds as we walked steadily over to the lake, at the part closest to the Forbidden Forest, where we've built a small hut, hidden in the thicket of trees (with the permission of Hagrid, who fawns over us, bless his heart.)
"What are we talking about?" Becky asked as we lifted the go-away spells around the tiny wooden cabin, only the size of a small broom cupboard and pile inside. Obviously it's much bigger on the inside, with 12 double bedrooms, a makeshift kitchen and a few bathrooms. We make our way to the kitchen, where James has strewn numerous beanbags and mini chairs.
"Shifting." Albus says shortly, throwing himself into the nearest chair.
"Aw honey which chick is it this time?" Dom asked, knowing he's upset over a girl and leaning into him.
slut? Forget her" Dom said casually, straightening up and dropping into a beanbag. I can't really blame her; she's got more problems after finding out Sean and Hannah Hamley are
an item again.
We all fell into seats and James conjured some hot chocolate just as Scorpius opened the door and slivered in through the narrow door, shivering. It's surprisingly cool for late September and we all begin to warm our fingers near the open fire.
"Yeah, so when do you think is a good time for all of us?" Becky asked from the seat she's sharing with Albus. He looks quite content as she drapes her legs over his lap and lies back against the arm of the chair.
"I'm free all this month, we don't have Quidditch tryouts until next month, do we James?" I said, looking at James. He's our captain and even though we've already played a match, it was using the players from last year since James was too disorganised (read lazy
) to arrange tryouts.
"Actually Ro, I think I'll have 'em next Monday, well before the match against Slytherin." All the Gryffindors in the room cheered while Scorpius and Albus sat and looked sullen.
"So that leaves us with two weeks free." Becky said logically.
"No, me and Scor have a match against Hufflepuff next week." Albus chimed in, never too upset to forget Quidditch.
"What about this coming Friday then?" Scorpius asked croakily. He looks pale this morning, and I know I can't look any better, but he looks a lot worse than he did when he was trying it on with me earlier.
There are no complaints from the crowd, so we put it in our diaries for Friday.
Maybe I ought to explain. See, me and everyone else in this cabin is an animagus. It took us about two or three years to get good enough at the theory to try and physically change, and we're seventeen (eighteen for James) now, and although there are a few flaws to work out, it came pretty naturally to us. Lily, Hugo, Lucy, Roxy, Molly and Louis are very interested in becoming animagi too but they've only been studying for about a year. This skill is exclusive to the Weasley-Potter clan (since no other students really know about animagi), except for Scorpius, Becky and Sarah obviously, but they've always been like part of the family. Fred, Roxy's brother, doesn't shift, he could never get the hang of it really, and he doesn't like the idea of it. Since he left school last year, it doesn't really affect us.
We know how rare it is but ever since our parents first told us the bedtime stories about Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs and their adventures, we were enchanted and all knew we wanted to keep shifting in our family. Our parents know about it and advised us not
to register on the list of known animagi because we'd get much more media hype if everyone knew what we could become, and we'd be hounded even more. Mum was so proud when she found out what I was, which was a better reaction than I could have hoped for, and Uncle Harry was really touched by the fact that we wanted to keep the Marauder's memory very much alive.
When we shift, I'm a fiery red fox, Sarah is a beautiful black fox, Becky is an albino arctic fox and Dom is a well-camouflaged grey fox. James is a huge
shaggy black dog like Sirius apparently was. James was so intrigued by his two namesakes that he decided to copy Sirius. Albus is a sandy coloured lynx and Scorpius is a magnificent red wolf.
Aren't we just the most normal bunch of teens you've ever met?
Don't answer that.
Sixdays passed as me and Scorpius did our best to put everything behind us. I found it comforting to be able to talk to him alone again, but it would be a while until we were as close as we used to be, cuddling up to each other in the same chair just because we wanted to read the same book.
Friday arrived after a long and mainly uneventful week. James asked a girl out on Wednesday and asked me to monitor Sarah closely for her reaction but she just smiled when I told her and said it was good he'd found a girlfriend. I wish I hadn't relayed her actual reaction to James; the look of misery on his face was enough to make me want to cry. I hadn't spoke to him much after that, which was really unusual for us since we're thick as thieves; he sat further up the Gryffindor table with his other mates to avoid watching Danny snake his arm around Sarah's waist and kiss her every five minutes. I saw James steal a glance whenever he felt he could get away with it, though, and I remember how I didn't think him capable of anything but casual flirting and drunken snogs until he met Sarah.
Friday at dusk I found myself making my way across the grounds, past Hagrid's hut, under cover of near-darkness. I could see Albus and Scorpius up ahead but I didn't want to draw attention to myself by shouting for them; I was probably... scratch that - definitely
-breaking curfew as it was. So I made my way alone, preparing myself for changing. Dom had walked with Becky, who had gone to see a teacher about some exam technique, while Sarah walked down with James, who had ambushed her as we came out of the common room. I had hastily made an excuse for James' sake and pretended to have forgotten something. So here I was, stood outside our 'little' cabin. I knocked once and let myself in to find everyone stripping down to the thinnest layer of clothing (t-shirt and trousers) because we don't have to be naked to change, but it helps to take as much off as possible.
You'd think this was weird, taking half our clothes off, but they're my cousins and they've seen it all before, and it isn't as if we're naked. As for the girls, I've shared a dorm with them for six years, and Scorpius has literally seen my all anyway, even if (and I hope) he doesn't remember. In any case, Sarah, Becky and Dom are in one part of the kitchen and the lads are in the other. Scorpius is shirtless and folding his top, Albus is in nothing but underwear and sat casually in one of the beanbags, while James is stood in his boxers, watching Sarah, who's in a vest and short-shorts out of the corner of his eyes like the pervert that he is, eyes wandering from her long, long legs to her generous chest and then to her beautiful eyes. As I walked past him I slapped him upside the head. She's one of my best friends after all, and if she takes any more clothes off it'll be Boob City Central and James won't be able to stop from humping her leg or something.
I undressed, noticing with some satisfaction that Scorpius was watching me over the top of his Broomstick Weekly magazine, trying to be inconspicuous and failing since the magazine was upside down. I finally got undressed and we filed outside, shivering in our winter underclothes (thin vests and shorts mainly) and huddling close together.
"Ready?" I asked through chattering teeth. Everyone replied either in the affirmative, or with nods. We each crouched on the floor in between the closely growing trees like athletic sprinters and James counted to three.
On three, we all took off through the trees, changing slowly as we run. We prefer doing this since we haven't had a long time to perfect our on the spot changing without moving, and this works fine for us anyway. Dom was a few feet away from me, Becky behind her slightly, and Sarah being closely tailed by James. Scorpius is always two trees away from me and Albus is flanking him. This is our formation.
Suddenly, Dom jumped in the air on two human feet and landed on the four paws of a fox. Becky sprouted fur everywhere and grew a snout and a bushy tail before suddenly in a burst of white, she's an arctic fox, Sarah was jogging alongside me now, I could feel the heat radiating off her human body as our feet carry us so fast through the trees that my eyes are watering, and suddenly the sleek tail of a jet black vixen is brushing against my leg. Up ahead a harsh bark that sounds strangely like a laugh informs me that James has shifted. Albus yelped back and padded across the clearing up ahead on huge paws.
I looked to my right to see Scorpius staring at me and we mouth the words 'One…Two…Three' at each other and shift, him becoming a medium sized red wolf and me a fiery red vixen. I could see from my lower viewpoint on the ground that Dom was sat, licking her paw on a felled pine tree, Becky beside her, panting. Albus was scrambling up the nearest pine tree, searching for birds to chase and Sarah and James were racing towards them. Sarah just won and James snapped playfully at her ankles, panting. Scorpius beat me to them and sat calmly looking around the woods. A unicorn bounded through the trees a few hundred metres away, faster than the speed of light it seems and I reached the slight clearing that we always come to. We're fairly deep in the woods, in a huge clearing and we know what kinds of creatures lurk in this gigantic forest. Thankfully we know enough about these woods to steer clear of the centaurs, acromantula, werewolves, trolls, giants (Yes, it seems Grawp found himself a female friend and they really hit it off…) and so on.
Sarah was pulling a pine needle that seems to have embedded itself into James' paw out, while he whined when I turned back to our 'pack'. Albus growled in a laugh and James barked warningly. Becky and Dom were lying on the fallen pine tree, heads on their paws, looking tired as old dogs. Scorpius came up to me, grey blue eyes piercing my own blue orbs as he panted and cocked his head to the side, looking even more adorable. James is now free of the pine needle that I'm sure
didn't get there by accident and he rubbed his big head against Sarah's, who licks his cheek affectionately.
Damn her kind nature, it always gets the better of her.
James looked right at me triumphantly and I rolled my eyes and turned my tail to inspect the area. This is the first time we've been back here since before the summer holidays.
We usually only change once a month, because we just love to lead different lives sometimes, feel the wind in our fur and scrap around with each other a bit. Scorpius and James were play-fighting and Becky and Dom were chasing squirrels while Sarah and I sniffed the perimeter to make sure there are no enemy foxes (or worse) in the forest.
Soon we're beginning to drift further from the group, our paws only making slight noises in the bracken as we made our way back the way we'd came. I had smelt the faint trace of a werewolf but had dismissed it, hoping whoever it was would keep their distance, and also had picked up on a fairy in the area, but again I dismissed it. Fairies wouldn't harm us. I turned behind me to see Scorpius trotting along at my heels and Becky and Dom behind him a few metres.
The whole group of us soon reach the edge of the forest and realised it's become dark. The full moon hung over the lake, so huge and yellow that we all trotted to the water's edge and sat down. James lapped up some water and we sat on the sandy bank, watching the Giant Squid making ripples across the huge pool. After a few seconds of peace I felt Albus clamp my tail between his teeth and saw him grin up at me as I howled in pain. Scorpius snapped his jaws at Albus and the two began rolling on the ground, ripping fur from each other and chasing each other around the sandy bank, barking with laughter. I jumped into the scuffle and bit the scruff of Albus' neck before running a few feet and crouching. Dom jumped on Albus' back when he turned to pounce on me and then Scorpius sent Dom flying. She landed near Sarah's paw and Sarah growled terrifyingly, baring her rows of razor sharp pearly whites. She bounded over Dom, who was still down, and onto Albus, while I pinned Scorpius down. Scorpius struggled but even for a fox I have bloody strong muscles. Wolf boy grinned up at me and nipped at my nose. I yelped and scratched his cheek with my paw and began running over the grounds towards the Whomping Willow. Scorpius is thumping along the ground towards me; I can hear him as I dodged. He growled from behind me and I could hear snapping jaws from back down by the lake. Suddenly I'm on the ground, Scorpius on top of me and panting heavily, his furry chest heaving. I struggled but he's on top so he has the advantage. He looked down at me when I stopped struggling, knowing it's useless. Beautiful grey blue eyes meet my own and he got closer to me, his tail wagging. I don't move and his face is inches from my own; his whiskers are tickling my cheek as he gives me the sloppy equivalent of a wolf kiss, dragging his scratchy tongue over my nose and mouth. I barked threateningly and jumped up, catching him by surprise. I growled and he flattened his ears and his tail dropped between his legs. Literally. And so Scorpius does what he always does.
He runs away.
Next morning, after we had our fill of scrapping we made our way to the great hall. We were out so late the previous night that we slept in the cabin. Scorpius was in the next room to me and gave me a look that plainly said 'I'm sorry.' His expression was so plaintive that I nodded once and forced a smile, trying to forget about him for the time being. So we'd had sex and then may or may not have shared a canine kiss? There were no consequences that I could think of so far. Our relationship was back on track as it was. Time is a great healer and I was a great believer in our friendship and being able to patch things up. Maybe that was helped by the fact that I can't really remember many of the night's events except that I was the one to come to him in the first place and that he was really nervous when we actually got into bed. I can't remember what he looked like naked, or maybe I blocked it out. I do
know that it's not a big deal, I'm not going to make a fuss because I'm not going to pressure him for anything more than that and although I do like Scorpius a lot I'm going to keep it to myself.
And that's my genius master plan.
We walked across the hall as soon as we entered the building and Albus and Scorpius trailed back to the Slytherin table, waving at us as they went. James reluctantly met up with the girl he had asked out, I think her name was Amy, and they sat down opposite Sarah and Danny, through no coincidence I assure you. Amy was pretty, if you were looking at her from across a room in low light, but she was no Sarah and there wasn't much in the personality department so I was left to conclude that James had definitely only asked her out to see what Sarah thought. It just backfired on him when Amy said yes and Sarah seemed indifferent.
"So Amy, I haven't seen you around." I said politely from beside Sarah.
Becky sat beside Amy and Rich sat with his friends from Ravenclaw on their house table. He really promoted house unity, what with him being with us on this table most of the time. However, in this day and age at Hogwarts, we don't really care which table we sit at because we have friends wherever. Dom was currently over with Al and Scorpius at the Slytherin table.
"Well I would be in the year above if I hadn't been made to repeat this year, and I'm in Slytherin." Amy shrugged, dull brown shoulder length hair bouncing over her shoulders.
Sarah smiled kindly at her and James poked at his food sulkily. Danny seemed interested in the new girl and when Amy met his eyes, she dropped his gaze immediately. Sarah missed this while eating but Becky and I caught it and looked at each other quizzically. I know it's wrong to judge people before you know them, and Nana Weasley would lecture me about it, but I couldn't shake the gut feeling that this girl couldn't be trusted, and by the looks of it Becky shared my opinion.
Hmmm. It seemed we would have to do some digging on the new girl…
Thanks for the reviews! They mean a lot to me, please keep reviewing! I hope you liked the animagus idea... I decided to try something out...haven't seen it in any other stories of this kind :)