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There's So Many Bitter, We'll Have to be Believers by StrictlyRude
Chapter 9 : Shake this Off, Pretend it's All Okay
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 2

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She banned him from quidditch. He didn't get to lay a hand on Malfoy, and she still kicked him off of the team. I knew I should have done something. I should have looked for him that night, tried to comfort him, told him how much of a troll Umbridge was, but I didn't. And I didn't the next day either, or the day after that. I was thinking all of the things that I should have been saying to Fred, but I just never actually said them.

The whole sharing emotions thing never made sense to me, so the idea of having to comfort someone else, well it was bloody frightening. Anyway, he had George. They would wallow in their misery together or more likely plot revenge. Fred was resilient, and he didn't need my sympathy. I'd reasoned that he probably didn't even want it.

Besides feeling extremely uncomfortable, I was carrying a burden of guilt around about the whole quidditch incident. That morning at dawn I was on my way outside to my usual spot, when I ran into Umbridge, almost literally as she was hurrying down the corridor in a haste.

The normal pit of dread developed in my stomach, but it just about swallowed every one of my internal organs as I saw her hair. It was a vibrant shade of pink, the exact same pink as a certain piece of candy I'd handed her the night before. I gulped loudly, trying to swallow the lump in my throat.

I dared a glance at Umbridge's eyes: her pupils were tiny and her eyelids were peeled back. "Do you know what this is about?" She screeched at me, all composure lost.

I shook my head furiously, chancing severe whiplash. Of course I hadn't known that's what the candy would do, but it wasn't hard to piece it together. Apparently, Umbridge hadn't had much difficulty either.

"Did that Weasely boy put you up to this?!" Her voice hit a new pitch bearing a striking resemblance to those of the cats that inhabited the walls of her office.

Again, I managed a very intelligent shake of the head, this time at an even riskier velocity. This only seemed to infuriate her more.

"You just wait. I will get to the bottom of this, and when I do, I'll have you all EXPELLED!" She bellowed the last part, and I really did stumble back in surprise. I didn't know who exactly 'you all' referred to, but Umbrdige didn't stick around to explain. She stalked off down the hallway, presumably to go find a professor who could change her hair back to its normal color. On top of being a total psycho, she was incompetent too.

The next time I saw her that day, her hair was back to normal (thankfully), so Fred and George never saw. I was caught between thinking they'd be impressed or furious with what I did, so I never got around to telling them before the match. After the match, telling them wasn't even a consideration for me; there was no use in making them angrier than I was sure they already were.

Three days went by before Fred and I shared a word, and when we did, I was on my way to Defense Against the Dark Arts. "Callaghan!" Fred had shouted down the corridor at me. I slowed my pace and allowed him to catch up to me. "Where have you been?" He asked curiously. I didn't answer for a few moments, in which time he did this odd stretching thing with his arms and then yawned.

"Around," I said simply. All book smarts. That's it; that's all that's up in my head, nothing else.

Fred looked down at me with his brows furrowed. "Where are you going now?" He asked.

"Defense Against the Dark Arts," I replied with an involuntary groan.

"Yeah, ok, alright. I'll just catch you later then?" He stuffed his hands into his pockets. "I try to avoid that place these days."

I nodded my head, and Fred turned around to walk the other way. "Hey, wait," I said. He spun around to face me once again, smirking. I almost said something, even a 'Sorry Umbridge is such a terrible, horrible woman' would have been sufficient, but all that I ended up squeaking out was, "Uh, bye Fred."

He gave me another confused expression before nodding and walking away for good that time. Fred never did 'catch me later' though. Actually, he didn't really bother to catch me at all. I caught him a few days later. Snogging Katie Bell.

We weren't together. Fred wasn't my boyfriend, nor did I want him to be, but seeing him snog Bell like that, well it pissed me off. It wasn't some long drawn out snog, but it was long enough, and he had the nerve to smile and wave at me and Mel as we walked past them. Katie did too.

I iced Fred's wave with a serious glare and didn't hesitate or pause, just kept walking. As I did so, I felt my chest tighten and my fists clench involuntarily. I didn't want to be upset about this, but clearly I was.

"Forget him," Mel said quietly, linking her arm into mine. It was little comfort though, coming from my notoriously unfaithful best mate.

"It's doesn't matter," I lied. "Really, it doesn't." I wouldn't let it ruin my day.

Once we were out of earshot, Mel let go of my arm and frowned at me. "You actually like him, huh?" She asked. I shrugged, sure that Mel would be able to decode the gesture. "What's that like?"

I laughed slightly and smiled at her. "It's weird." We were both relationship challenged. Boyfriends had always been more like experiments to us than anything.

"Hm, yes, it seems that it would be. You didn't tell me, though."

"Are you surprised?"

"Not in the least. Are you going to go hide out in the library, reading now?"

"Would you be surprised about that either?"

"Nope. If he comes asking for you, I'll tell him to shove it up it his arse," Mel said quite cheerily.

"Thanks, dearest Melvina," I said turning around to head towards the library.

She scowled darkly at me. "Watch it Finn Callaghan."

Mel and I split up, and I began the trek to the library. My solitary walk was cut short, though as someone came up behind me, tapping my shoulder. "Hi, Finn," said a bubbly voice.

I knew Katie Bell. We were far from best friends, but had always been friendly enough. She may have been in a different house, but we were in the same year and had had several classes together during our schooling. She'd always seemed like a nice enough girl, and I had never had a reason to hate her. Until now, and okay, maybe hating her is a bit rash, but I was feeling increasingly irrational these days.

When I didn't respond to her, she began to walk alongside me. "So, um, did I do something? You seemed pretty mad when we waved to you today and I didn't know if I'd offended you in some way."

Was this girl a total sarcastic witch or a blissfully, oblivious blockhead? Either way, I saw that my avenue out was to brush off the whole situation and pretend that I didn't care. "No, I was just...having a bit of a bad day. Didn't mean to take it out on you, Katie."

"Oh, alright then," She grinned at me, clearly relieved. "I'll tell him, too. I think he was just as confused as I was." I suppressed the urge to make a sarcastic remark, as she practically skipped down the corridor.

I'd be in the library all freaking night.

A/N: Swear, I haven't given up on this. Classes are over now! Summertime = Free time. Please review (:

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