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Chapter 2 : The Laughing
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One day, I was going to find love. I would feel that special, tingling feeling that filled you up like melting chocolates and sparkled in your eyes. I’d dance with happiness instead of walk, sing in the place of talking and know that there was someone out there, who really, truly loved me.
It was an incredible thought really; a miracle. For two people to honestly want to spend the rest of their lives together? That must mean something good for the world; the fact that a bond so strong can even exist. Love seemed like such an adventure, a whirlwind, a crazy swept-off-your-feet dance that I longed to leap into.
And one day, I would.
But until then, I was just happy helping everyone else find love. Or at least setting them up with a cute, functional relationship. And in the meantime, I would eat. Because you need to eat to even live in the first place. On the subject of food though, maybe I should take up singing? Music is supposed to be the food of love…
I drifted off.
The pumpkin juice tasted a little odd this morning as I sat in the Great Hall, drinking it. I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep; none of us had. Savannah had been rampaging round the dormitory until the ungodly hours of the morning, looking for more stuff to break or yell at. Her idiocy amused me; she was shrieking curses at a pair of my socks at one point, pretending they were James.
But it didn’t look so amusing now, as I tried to un-blur my vision and munch at the same time. I reached out blindly for some coffee, accidentally digging my elbow into cold scrambled egg which wasn’t very pleasant. Next to me, Dom was impersonating a cave man.
“Wugyublurgh!” she moaned, flopping her head onto the table in distress. Her make-up was smudged horrendously, but I didn’t dare point it out in case she started crying. She cries when her make-up gets smudged, which is stupid because it makes it even more smudged. I pointed that out to her as well, but she glared at me and said that ‘crying was a fulfilling feeling, and not to be dismissed lightly’ which had a very thin connection to smudged make-up dramatics if you asked me.
In stark contrast to Dom and I, Eve was as bright and merry as Mary bloody Poppins. “Potions first!” she grinned, eating bacon delicately with a knife and fork. How classy.
I couldn’t be bothered to respond to her statement, preferring to slump onto my arm and daydream about a romantic tragedy I’d watched the other day. It had involved a horrible love triangle, several deaths and bucketfuls of tears. I’d enjoyed it.
I had just nodded off, when I was disturbed by an almighty scream of anger coming from further down the table. It sounded like a banshee; I hoped it wasn’t a banshee. I’ve heard that they’re quite dangerous. But no, I glanced up to see Savannah Woods storming out of the Great Hall, mysteriously covered in egg and porridge. She paused at the doorway, and the eyes of the school all fixed on her as a pathetic piece of butter dripped its way down her face.
We all followed its progress intently. It was sliding off her nose now, all buttery and gooey. Someone laughed. And then suddenly, everyone was screeching with mocking, taunting laughter and I briefly remembered wondering what a cruel place school could be, before turning back to my coffee.
However nasty Savannah was, she didn’t deserve school-wide humiliation, right? I glared at Dom, who was laughing as much as anyone.
“What?” she asked with a giggle. “It’s made my morning.”
“Yes, but…Oh, forget it.” I looked around, wondering whether anyone was actually going to intervene and save the poor girl. It’s not like I was planning on doing anything, which I suppose was as bad as being one of the people laughing.
Whatever. It was too early for any heroics. Plus, I had the excuse of being a cowardly little Slytherin. Blame the Sorting Hat!
Okay, now I was just trying to make myself feel like a vaguely decent person again.
I was literally getting out of my seat to go and…I don’t know, distract the entire population of Hogwarts by doing some sort of fake faint, when a creepy hush fell over the room. James Potter was standing next to Savannah, looking furious.
“Where the hell is your decency, everyone? Can’t you all just fuck off now?”
No-one moved, and James began to look a bit awkward. He flushed, “Joke’s over, okay?” People began to move away but Savannah, though, rounded on him angrily.
“Joke’s over? JOKE’S OVER?” she screamed, brandishing her wand. “This was never a joke, Potter.”
“I didn’t mean it like that, Savannah…” James ran a hand across his brow looking weary.
“Well, keep your mouth shut then, you two-faced frog! And I don’t need you to fight my battles! I HATE you!” she half sobbed, half hissed before hexing James’s hair pink.
He groaned as Savannah ran out of the hall, her black hair dripping a slimy trail of porridge. No-one laughed at him, even though he looked just as ridiculous as Savannah had with his neon-pink hair.
“Let’s go guys, I don’t want to watch anymore of this,” my face was taut and upset as I got up. Even though Savannah and James had never been particularly well suited, I couldn’t help feeling distressed about the way their relationship had ended so abruptly. It didn’t make sense; I hated Savannah, and only knew James as an interesting acquaintance. But I felt as if it had been me up there just then, being embarrassed in front of the whole school.
I shook my head clear, and smiled again as soon as we stepped into the corridor with our bags on our shoulders. Relationship trauma always made me emotional. I was stupid like that sometimes; just a silly, angsty teenager thinking that the world revolved around the sexual tension of the latest couple. Or ex couple, as was now appropriate. I didn’t like it when people suddenly hated one another enough to hex their hair pink. Sometimes I wished…I wished that everyone in the world would just love each other. Surely that would solve the planet’s problems?
Dumbledore had had the right idea. I should start a club ‘The Dumbledorian Love Dove Club’. Our motto could be ‘No more angst! Spread the love, man!’.
Dom would disagree. She’d start a rival club with the motto ‘Embrace the angst! Feel alive!’.
And Eve? She’d probably go and find new friends.
Eve and Dom were squabbling next to me as we strolled through the corridors. They always bickered over stupid little things- today, it was the best nail varnish brand.
“But that blue one you have- the Enchantex one- is just rubbish! It chips after about a second.”
“Don’t be ridiculous Dom,” Eve snapped. “That’s impossible. Anyway, at least Enchantex have glowing nail varnishes, unlike the boring, mugglesque shop you buy from!”
“Mugglemop is retro!” Dom defended her favourite cosmetics store fiercely. “No insulting Mugglemop!”
“Even the name makes me want to die!” Eve smirked, and Dom went off into a huff. Seriously guys, French manicures obviously win.
“Excuse me, are you Hollie Parker?” a third year approached us warily.
“That’s me,” I grinned. “What’s up?”
“I’ve got some information you might be interested in…my friend, Ash, said to come and find you immediately…” Dom, Eve and I immediately perked up and hustled the girl into an empty classroom. Ash was one of our many ‘gossipmongers’. They were all younger students, all from different houses, who had sworn to come straight to us with any relationship gossip. It had proved itself as a very successful system.
Although, sometimes we had to bribe them with chocolate cookies.
“What’s your name?” Eve asked.
“Millie. Millie Webber.” The girl had overcome her shyness, and stared at us unabashedly with wide eyes.
“And Ash told you this information personally, did she?” I chipped in.
“We overheard it together.”
“Okay,” Dom rubbed her hands together, the familiar manic glint in her eye. “Tell us everything!”
“Well, we got caught behind in the Hufflepuff common room this morning, and we heard Lily Potter talking about her brother with one of her friends.”
“Which brother? James?”
“Nope, Albus. He’s in the year below you; sixth year.”
“We know who Albus is,” Dom snorted. “What happened then?” Millie blushed,
“Alright, just making sure. Anyway, Lily told her friend that Albus’s other friend told an acquaintance of hers how Scorpius and Albus are planning a ‘friendly’ visit to Rose Weasley’s dorm to play a prank on one of her friends.” Okay. There were way too many friend’s in that sentence.
“Wait, so…” Eve was translating the sentence into legible English. “Al and Scorpius are planning a prank on Rose Weasley and co.” Millie nodded. “Did Lily mention details? Times? We need data here, Millie!”
“Err, yeah…it’s happening at some point tomorrow. Don’t know when.”
“Thanks Millie! Tell Ash thank you too. We’ll drop by with cookies at some point,” I promised, and Millie hurried out without looking back. My brain was buzzing with this new information, but we were already late for potions so there was no time to discuss ideas. We skidded to a halt outside the potions class ten minutes late, and peered inside. The class was milling around all over the place; luckily, it looked like Professor Shoehorn was late today as well.
I swung through into the potions classroom, taking my seat at the back next to James Potter. Annoyingly, every class was made to sit in alphabetical order at all times. James wasn’t so bad, but the boy on my other side always farted.
I swear he ate baked beans for breakfast, lunch and tea. And he probably had bean smoothies if he was a little peckish. He was never going to get a girlfriend if he kept up this unhealthy bean obsession. Honestly.
Several people smiled at me as I sat down, and I nodded back. I hated to think about myself that way, but Dom, Eve and I were some of the most popular girls in the school.
I took a quill out of my bag, and prepared myself for an hour of happy daydreaming. I was very fond of my bag; it was creamy leather with gold studs on. Well, they weren’t real gold but unless someone was a goblin they wouldn’t know that. I hoped that no-one around here was half goblin.
Actually, that was a bit of a creepy thought. I looked around furtively, comparing people to goblins.
And then…I fell off my chair.
It happened so suddenly! One moment I was happily sitting there, and the next… OUCH! I never fell off chairs. I wasn’t clumsy like Dom, who walked into her bed at frequent intervals.
“You ok, Parker?” James Potter asked from my left. I turned to look at him; he was smiling slightly. I clambered up from the floor.
“Yup! I’m mega. Can’t say the same for you though,” I laughed, looking at his pink hair. “Attractive, Potter.” He ran a hand through his hair, momentarily looking sad, before bouncing back again.
“I’m thinking of keeping it like this for a while actually.”
“I bet Savannah’s the only person who knows the counter jinx, isn’t she?”
“Yeah.” We both turned to look as a newly showered Savannah herself slipped into the classroom with Rachael Adams, her best friend-stroke-minion, close behind. “How was Savannah yesterday?” James asked me.
“Violent,” I grimaced. “You’d better watch out- I think she’s trying to make a voodoo doll of you.” James laughed at that; properly laughed. I didn’t really find it that funny myself, but oh well. If he was feeling a bit better about the whole break-up, then that was cool.
The lesson passed in a blur. I partnered up with James for the first time in ages (the farting guy, Ed, had a crush on me and always came up to me before lessons and asked to be partners. I wasn’t the sort of person to put out crushes, so I always let it slide and endured), and actually enjoyed myself a bit. I usually hated lessons; I was so lazy.
“Aargh, James! It’s turning pink!” James turned round.
“No it’s not. It’s brown, you idiot- are you colour blind?”
“Oh, sorry. It must be your hair reflecting off everything and blinding me.”
“Ha ha very funny,” he narrowed his eyes, jabbing his chopping knife at me threateningly. Oh, I was scared.
“Mr Potter! Miss Parker! No waving knives about please,” Professor Shoehorn scolded, causing the class to turn and stare at us. I grinned,
“Sorry Professor. James has violent tendencies.” James glared at me. I stuck my tongue out at him when everyone had gone back to their work. I’m so mature.
In no time at all, it was time to go. And for once, I had managed an acceptable potion. You’d think I’d be able to ace potions considering all the time I spend on The Awesome And Supreme Brain Child of Eve, but we haven’t actually got to the potion making part of that idea yet. And when we do, Eve had told me that I was only allowed to be the stirrer. I was cool with that though. Stirrer power!
I packed all my things up, ready to go and rejoin Dom and Eve.
“That was a fun lesson, Parker. We should be partners more often, yeah?” James said.
“I know! I actually managed to make a proper potion!” I beamed. “And sure thing, I’d like that. As long as you get your hair back to normal! My poor eyes!” He laughed, and I gave him a little wave before setting off.
Well I never. I do believe I became sort-of-friends with James Potter today.
We were sitting in the common room that evening playing a game of chess. Eve was winning, as usual, and I was scowling at my Queen who had just been beaten up. Dom lounged on the sofa next to us, watching people come in and out of the room like the creep she was.
An owl suddenly flew through the window (or slimy, grilled hole- we were in the dungeons) and dropped a letter onto the chessboard, causing the rooks to get very angry and start fighting each other aggressively. I think I have a dodgy chess set.
Dom picked it up with interest, and opened it. “Oh, this is Errand, Mum’s new owl. I wonder what…” her eyes began to grow wide, and her face flushed as she read. Clear signs that something was wrong. I was a little distracted by my mental chess pieces though; my bishop now had a pawn in a headlock. This was so much more fun than the normal game!
“WHAT THE BLOODY QUEEN MARY OF HELL?” There we go. I knew it was coming.
“Wassup Dom?” I asked.
“WHAT’S UP? WHAT’S UP?” Dom yelled in response, attracting the attention of the whole of Scotland and then some. “MY PARENTS HAVE GONE AND TURNED MY BEDROOM INTO A STUPID GYM! WHAT THE HELL!? WHERE AM I SUPPOSED TO SLEEP?”
“Well don’t keep your emotions bottled up, Dom. Let it all out!” Eve gestured towards the scared first years. Dom glared at her,
“Well that’s just so hilarious Eve, because I DO have bottled up emotions. A whole cupboard full of them! AND I CAN’T LET THEM OUT!” she shrieked. I bit my lip.
Then I paused for an earth-shattering yawn that ripped my face apart, before standing up and taking the letter from Dom, who was seething. Dom was in fact, a world-class seether.
I quickly scanned what was written in her mother’s neat, floral handwriting. Yes, Fleur had floral handwriting. How perfectly quaint. It was true though; for some stupid reason, they were turning Dom’s room into a temporary gym until they could have a new one built. But that could take some time; Dom’s family weren’t particularly rich, despite being famous and all. They were sort of the smallest branch of the Weasley-Potter clan though, the most insignificant.
Not that anyone in the world was insignificant. Some people were just less in your face than others.
“Oh, Dom.” I comforted her with an awkward hug. “I don’t think they mean any harm. You know how insensitive your mum can be sometimes.”
“But Hollie, it’s always me. Always MY room, and MY things, and MY bicycle. Not Victoire’s; never Victoire’s. That must mean something! Can’t you see it?” Dom always got worked up about her parents’ apparent favouritism of Victoire. Everything they did had a subtext, a hidden meaning to it. By this point, Dom was under full steam; ranting and raving about her monstrous family. She jumped up and down with anguish, squishing my foot. I generously let it slide, refraining from squishing her own foot back in revenge.
“Dom,” Eve began. “Do you want to go get some ice cream to cheer yourself up?”
“NO!” Dom pouted for a second. “Well, actually…ice cream sounds kind of yummy.”
We went on an ice cream raid.
For those of you who don’t know, an ice cream raid is very different to a boring ‘let’s wander down to the kitchens and get some ice cream’. It requires wit, skill and a keen nose for danger.
The three of us painted warlord lipstick streaks onto our cheeks and did a battle cry in the dorm (“Yabadabadooo!”) before stealthily sneaking through the darkened Hogwarts corridors. Dom didn’t stop muttering about Victoire and her mother, and still had the letter clenched furiously into her right hand. I knew she was going to dunk it in strawberry ice cream now before ripping it up. That was her little ritual for when things went wrong, and Eve always stood tutting on the sidelines. Eve didn’t like unnecessary waste.
It sometimes scared me how well I knew these two girls.
We crept into the kitchens, hands formed into guns shapes and eyes narrowed with defiance. We were getting that ice cream, or prepared to die trying. I didn’t even feel like ice cream; but Dom was in need of sugar or she’d be grumpy all night. And a grumpy Dom wouldn’t paint my nails for me tomorrow morning (she’s the best nail painter ever! Not a single smudge). Maybe I’d be able to snaffle a chocolate croissant though. Yum.
And that’s when the universe exploded, and we were unexpectedly being ruthlessly attacked from all sides by screaming, custard-bearing…
“ABORT! ABORT ICE CREAM RAID!” I shrieked as cold custard rained down on the world and clumped my hair up over my eyes. I scrambled towards the door.
“NEVER!” shrieked Dom happily. “Fight back! DESTROY THE ENEMY!” Then Dom became overwhelmed by chocolate éclairs, that were being catapulted from the depths of the kitchens. My loyalty defeated my cowardice, and I rushed in to help, slipping on a banana skin like something out of a classic comedy that no-one ever found funny. But Eve grabbed my arm, her face dripping with chocolate sauce, and pulled me to safety as Dom went down.
“DOM!” I yelled. “ARE YOU BREATHING? Bloody Gryffindors.” Well, I was pretty sure it was Gryffindor. I’d caught sight of a red and gold badge before the person with it was swallowed by the shadows of the Hogwarts kitchens at night. But suddenly, it all went silent.
Not even to breathe.
I really needed to sneeze; this custard smelt funny. But if I made a sound, Slytherin would have lost the… silence match!
“Dom? Is that you?” came a voice from the deep. HA! Slytherin win! Take that you Gryffindor pansies… Wait, that was James Potter’s voice!
“James? What the hell?” groaned Dom from her chocolate éclair mush-pile. “I thought we actually had a serious enemy to fight for once.” James strode into view, followed by Fred Weasley and a few otehr guys, all of whom were spotlessly clean and un-custardised. Damn them.
“Aw, you don’t mean that little cos!” he patted Dom on the head.
“I’m older than you, you prick.” James ignored her, looking at Eve and I who were fiercely glaring at the boys.
“Parker! Turner! To what do we owe the pleasure?”
“It’s not like you own the kitchens, Potter,” Eve snapped. “And why did you idiots attack us like this? We just wanted ice cream not a free custard bath.”
“Well,” James said sheepishly, “We might have been waiting for someone else to come down to the kitchens this evening.”
“Yeah…” Fred added, looking at the devastation surrounding us.”Wrong Slytherins!”
“Gah, you lot are idiots!”I licked the custard off my lips. “But now… you owe us one!” I smirked.
“What?” James frowned. “We do not –“
“Ha! Hollie’s right; you SO owe us one!” Dom laughed happily. “This is gonna be fun. What shall we make them do, girls?”
“Be our servants for the rest of the year,” grinned Eve evilly.
“No way!” Fred grovelled. “Don’t make me paint your nails and shit! MERCY!”
“Pull it together, man,” James kicked Fred in the shin. “Of course we’re not going to be the servants of Slytherins. In fact,” he grinned at me. “We’re going to walk away completely debt free. And you’re not going to do anything about it!”
“Oh yeah?” I stepped forwards so we were right in front of each other. “Don’t count on it. We know stuff about you. We know stuff about everyone, seeing as we run the gossip in this school.”
“Creepy,” Fred acknowledged.
“Why thank you Freddie,” Dom bowed. James looked a teeny bit worried; his brow was all scrunched up in a really cute way. Ha.
“Okay Hollie Sarah Parker,” he nodded. “Let’s not hold any hard feelings, yeah? We clean up this mess and get you whatever snack you came for. You don’t grass on us. We leave as friends! Okay?” He stuck his hand out for me to shake. I considered it, my head on one side. I glanced at Dom and Eve; they were shrugging, already looking bored with the whole thing.
“Whatever, James.” We shook hands.
“Brill!” Fred cheered. “Well isn’t this just spiffing?!”
“Get us our ice cream, and then it’ll be ‘spiffing’,” Dom demanded haughtily.
The ice cream they brought us was extremely delicious.
Author’s Note: I do not own Mary Poppins, Twelfth Night (‘If music be the food of love…’ quote), Harry Potter or anything you recognise!
I hope you enjoyed that second chapter everyone. I’ve literally been thinking about this story all week, even though I have exams and revision to do. It’s one of those plots- ones you can daydream about happily for hours :D. Oh, and also- this is one of the longest fanfiction chapters I’ve ever written! A review would make me extremely happy. -LWG
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