Chapter 4 : Do I still like you?
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Isobel refuses to accompany me on my Hugo hunt (can that be an official mission name?) so I have to go solo. And let me tell you, it isn’t easy to search for him because who knows where he is? The most likely solution is the Gryffindor common room but there are numerous empty classrooms that they could be in. I hope they’re not in any of them because I don’t want to suffer the awkwardness of walking in on them doing whatever they do. That’s just embarrassing for everyone involved.
It’s almost curfew so I shouldn’t even be out of the common room but I am and there’s no turning back. Who knows when Eleanor’s ex is planning his attack? Hugo must be warned. Hopefully he’ll break up with Eleanor just in time. It’s not that I’m jealous of them but in my opinion, Eleanor is a bad egg. She’s like the egg Dad tried to cook for my breakfast once - not very nice.
So, in a nutshell, I have to find Hugo to warn him because that’s what best friend’s do. They protect each other. Fair enough, Hugo’s been a bit of a crappy best friend to me lately but five years of friendship can’t just be thrown away over some girl. At least, I hope it can’t. I’m confident mine and Hugo’s won’t be.
If, by some horrible chance, Eleanor did ruin mine and Hugo’s friendship then it would be a given that Isobel would hate Hugo even more. I don’t want that, I just want them to get along! And you can bet that by the end of Fifth year they’ll at least be civil with each other.
I’ll be the first to admit that their arguments can be funny and are the source of my daily entertainment but I never know what to say when they bitch about each other (yes, even Hugo does it). I think they fight a lot because they’re so alike.
But back to the current issue: finding Hugo. Sometimes I wish Hogwarts was smaller or stricter on where we can go in the castle because at least it would make finding Hugo easier for me. I’m feeling a bit panicked right now, actually. The clock is ticking away and soon the Prefect’s will be going on patrol. What if I’m caught? I promised Professor Kenwick I’d stay out of trouble and here I am, defying a teacher. I’ll probably get expelled or something for that. The things I do for Hugo.
Isobel is so much better at sneaking around the school than I am. She’s a little risk taker, she is. I, on the other hand, am not. I prefer to play it safe otherwise I go on panicky and overreacting rambles in my head.
…Like now, for example.
I put one foot in front of the other one and propel myself forward, away from the entrance to the Ravenclaw common room. This is good, I am making good progress. Maybe if I keep doing this I might actually get somewhere which could possibly lead me to Hugo. When I reach Hugo I can tell him the news and of course with everything will go according to plan. Then (huzzah!) everything is back to normal: I get my daily dose of Hugo banter and Hugo’s face remains intact.
Maybe Hugo’s nearby so I can be back in the common room by curfew however the chances of that happening are so slim you can barely see it due to its slim-ness.
Right now I know why I’m not rebellious. Walking the dark corridors of Hogwarts is actually scary without the added threat of prefects and teachers. Add those in and you have one terrified Tia. I’m half expecting an escaped Azkaban convict to jump out from behind a tapestry and end my short fifteen years of life right here and now. Oh bloody hell, why do I imagine these things? If I wasn’t so paranoid I’d be absolutely fine because tell me this, how many times have you heard of an escaped Azkaban convict jumping out from behind a tapestry and killing a student? That’s right, nevere.
Of course, there was that bloke who looked a bit homeless, Sirius Black, I think it was. Although he never killed a student and turned out innocent in the end.
But it’s possible, you know, it could happen. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an escaped Azkaban convict. It can be a teacher or even a student driven mad to the point they go on a rampage and here I am being the perfect target!
Was that a rustle in the tapestry I just saw? It can’t be; Hogwarts is the safest place a witch can be. There’s nowhere in Britain safer than Hogwarts – muggle or wizard. I’m just looking too far in to things, come to think of it there is a bit of a draft. My guess is that the windows have been left open (although what else could it be, really?).
Then it happens.
Mum, Dad, Hugo, Isobel, even Lewis Corner, I love you and I will never forget you. At my funeral I’d quite like something happy to be played, like the old song Mum likes by S Club 7. Reach for the Stars I think it’s called. Yes, play that because I will quite literally be reaching for the stars.
Two figures have just jumped out in front of my holding wands. Dangerous looking wands. Okay I can’t really tell that they’re dangerous but if you see a dark shadow in the night carrying a wand, it’s in your best interest to assume it’s dangerous because it probably is.
I don’t even have the opportunity to scream - to maybe have a chance of surviving this attack and being thought highly of by the population of Hogwarts – because someone has jumped out behind me and clamped a hand over my mouth. Well, isn’t this just the icing on the cake?
‘Crap, we got the wrong person,’ one of the dark figures in front of me hisses.
‘Who is it then?’ the other one asks.
‘I dunno, check.’
Dark figure number two whispers, ‘lumos’ and a spark lights up at the tip of his wand, illuminating the dark corridor we stand in.
I recognise him immediately and he does the same. Lewis Corner. I haven’t properly seen him since, well, since we were together really. I’ve seen him around – it’s hard not too – but I haven’t come face to face with him in such a long time.
This isn’t awkward, not at all. It’s not like I’m avoiding looking at him with my mouth still covered by a mysterious person and the other person with him is tapping his foot impatiently. Someone’s a little diva.
‘Tia?’ says Lewis sounding shocked.
Meekly, I look up and the hand is taken off my mouth. ‘Er, yeah?’
‘We weren’t, erm, supposed to get you…’ he says, mumbling towards the end.
‘Who is she?’ I take a better look at the other boy next to Lewis who just spoke and realise I don’t have a clue who he is. That’s not normal, surely. Although, judging by what I’ve seen of him, I don’t really want to know him.
‘Tia…you know, Hugo’s friend and my, er, ex,’ says Lewis, his face is getting more red by each word and by the end of telling the other guy who I am he’s flaming. It’s quite attractive, actually. He’s really adorable when he’s embarrassed but even when he’s red faced he’s still attractive. How is that even possible?
‘Oh, her.’ The boy I still don’t know nods in recognition. Well buddy, I can’t say the same for you.
Lewis notices my face of confusion (this is why we were so freaking perfect for each other, we are so in sync). ‘This is Birk,’ he says, gesturing to the boy who was previously unknown to me. ‘And that’s Banjo.’
Birk and Banjo? Are they even proper names?
‘Short for Benjamin,’ says Banjo as he walks into my line of view.
‘Right…’ I nod, pretending to get it but I don’t. I fail to see how Banjo is short for Benjamin and I’m a Ravenclaw so it’s not that good of an abbreviation if you ask me.
An awkward silence ensues which I’m dying to break. So I do.
‘Who were you planning to catch in the first place then?’ I ask.
‘We were trying to scare Hugo on his way back from seeing that Eleanor bird,’ says Birk, ‘but obviously that plan failed.’
I can tell Birk isn’t my biggest fan but I don’t mind because the feeling is mutual. Looking at all three boys I can’t help noticing how similar Birk and Banjo look. Maybe they’re brothers although all boys seem to look like that these days. They all have that same hairstyle. Whatever happened to originality?
‘Oh, well, sorry about that it’s not like I knew you were going to jump out from behind that tapestry and scare the living day lights out of me,’ I say to Birk sourly.
‘What are you doing out at this time anyway?’ Lewis cuts in before Birk and I can start bickering. We’re like a new Isobel and Hugo in the making. ‘It’s not like you.’
Cue internal swoon. Lewis just knows me so well; we’re soul mates I tell you. I don’t care if we’re over, we could always rekindle our previous flame.
‘I’m looking for Hugo,’ I tell him and all my previous angry feelings I felt when talking to Birk have disappeared into thin air. This is what Lewis still does to me.
Birk snorts before Lewis can say anything and I glare at him. Then Banjo (the nickname still confuses me) speaks up, also before I can hear Lewis’ melodic voice.
‘Good luck with that,’ he says in his deep voice, ‘it’s impossible to know where those two are, I reckon they’ve made it their mission to have secret little meetings in every deserted classroom, tapestry and broom cupboard in the school.’
‘If you know what I mean.’ Birk wiggles his eyebrows suggestively earning him a whack from Lewis: my knight in shining armour. Birk’s like the ugly troll in this scenario.
‘Shut up man, he’s her best mate I don’t think she really wants to know,’ says Lewis.
You see, this is why I loved him. Love, loved – I’m not really sure anymore. I know that I fancy the pants off him right now. This is just too confusing for me to think about right now. But he knows me so well. Hugo knows me well – better, even – but that is irrelevant because I don’t like Hugo that way.
‘Well, I’ll be going,’ I say a make to walk past them when my pathway is blocked.
‘We can’t just let you go alone,’ says Lewis.
‘Yes we can,’ Birk mutters but I block him out because Lewis is being completely adorable and chivalrous. It’s not just Gryffindors, people!
‘Nah mate,’ says Banjo to Birk, shaking his head disapprovingly.
‘She’s never done this whole sneaking around after dark thing, you don’t know what kind of trouble she could get in,’ says Lewis.
I can feel my intelligence being insulted with every word that leaves the three boys’ mouths. Even Lewis’, I feel like if this was a cheesy romance then this would be our ‘conflict’ to drive us apart for a few months.
‘Look,’ I say and try my best to look intimidating but judging by their bored facial expressions, I’m not doing a very good job of it, ‘I just want to find my best friend and warn him about something.’
All three of the boys look at me quizzically. Apparently, gossip does not travel fast in the Ravenclaw house. That’s surprising actually because there are quite a few gossips in our house, Isobel being one of them.
‘Ooh, what?’ asks Birk. I should have guessed that he would be the nosy one, four for you Tia Birch.
I sigh, I don’t want to tell them but something tells me that they won’t leave me alone unless I tell them. Ravenclaws can be very persistent, you know, that’s why we’re so smart.
‘Eleanor’s ex, the big butch Gryffindor bloke isn’t happy with this new relationship and he wants to beat up Hugo,’ I say without taking a breath.
‘The keeper?’ asks Banjo. ‘He’s always been a violent one, he has. Remember that time when Gryffindor lost the Quidditch cup and he kit the whomping willow with his broom out of anger? Ended up in the Hospital Wing for ages!’
‘Oh yeah,’ says Lewis, ‘I remember that, he’s crazy he is.’
‘But you can see why the girls go to him,’ adds Birk. ‘Have you seen those muscles? Whoa.’
Banjo and Lewis nod in agreement and I can’t help but feel a little bit worried. I never knew that boys talked about this. I thought they talked about manly stuff like Quidditch and girls and things like that, not the butch Gryffindor keep’s muscles.
‘Can I go now?’ I ask wanting to get away from there as soon as possible.
‘No,’ says Birk bluntly, ‘you do not know the art of sneaking around after curfew young grasshopper.’
What is he? Is he some kind of sensei now? Makes a pretty rubbish one if I’m honest.
By now I’m beginning to get just a little bit annoyed. All I want to do is find Hugo and warn him about what big butch Gryffindor bloke is going to do but they’re seriously preventing. I doubt that I’ll even get to Hugo by the end of tonight at the rate I’m going. If only I could make a quick escape but as much as I hate to admit it, Birk is right. I know nothing about sneaking around after curfew because I’ve never done it before in my life.
‘Oh, like you’re some kind of professional,’ I scoff at Birk.
‘Hate to say it, but he is,’ Lewis tells me.
‘People come to me for advice about this sort of thing, love.’ Birk puffs out his chest proudly.
‘That’s bloody fantastic for you isn’t it.’ I scowl. ‘But I actually have somewhere to be and I’d preferably be back in my dorm before tomorrow if that’s all right.’
‘If I must, follow my lead.’ Birk sighs and begins to walk in the direction I was originally headed when I stop him.
‘What makes you think I want you?’ I ask.
‘God knows how you got into Ravenclaw,’ Birk mutters before speaking directly to me, ‘I am the master of sneaking around after curfew.’
‘What about these two?’ I ask, pointing at Lewis and Banjo.
‘They are nowhere near as skilled as me,’ cries Birk.
Says the boy making enough of a racket to attract a teacher. It’s lucky that old Filch is in St Mungo’s at the moment with memory loss. I guess the old age and out of control teenagers really got him. That or he tried out the squib magic again.
‘You two go back,’ says Lewis, I’ll take her.
This makes my insides turn to jelly. It is well and truly and ‘oh my goodness he want to walk with me’ squealing teenage girl moment. I can tell you now, it’s the first I’ve ever had and I never want to go through it again. Ever. Absolutely horrible I tell you, I swear I’m turning into my dad.
‘Right, now that’s sorted can I please just find Hugo?’ I say the last bit through gritted teeth to convey my point quicker and I can tell Banjo and, surprisingly, Birk get it.
‘You go have fun.’ Birk winks.
‘You’re an absolute idiot, you know that?’ I say.
‘The chicks dig it.’
I roll my eyes at this (what is it with the Fifth year Ravenclaw boys and thinking girls love all the stupid things they do? First Hugo and now Birk) and then Lewis and I are finally on our way down the corridor discussing where we think Hugo and Eleanor might be. We’ve ruled out the Seventh floor because according to Lewis, they’ve already ‘completed’ it. That just leaves just about every other corridor in Hogwarts, how helpful. That really narrows it down.
Alas, that does not dampen our spirits as we trek the floor we are already on only to find no sign of Hugo and Eleanor.
‘Shall we try the Sixth floor?’ Lewis asks and I nod.
We walk up the marble staircase and come out next the boys toilets which, to be frank, stink to the high heavens. They are revolting but the smell doesn’t seem to affect Lewis. Of course it wouldn’t, he is a boy after all.
The corridor is entirely silent except for our footsteps walking across the stone flooring. I don’t know why but I have a feeling that they are on this floor and more specifically, this corridor. It’s just a gut feeling.
‘Are Birk and Banjo brothers?’ I ask; the question has been bugging me ever since I noticed how alike they look.
Lewis shakes his head. ‘No, they’re cousins.’
‘Oh, well, that makes sense,’ I mumble. ‘Also, and I know I’m being nosy here, but is Birk actually Birk’s first name?’
This causes Lewis to laugh although I can’t be sure why. ‘Nah, at least I don’t think it is. But I don’t really know his actual first name; everyone just calls him Birk – even teachers.’
We peer through the doors of each classroom we pass but with no luck. I’m beginning to doubt they’ll even be on this floor. At least that means I can rule out being a fortune teller with the travelling circus when I’m older. Always nice to know what jobs you can’t do.
But then Lewis grins at me and I begin to feel excited. It’s quite risky, actually. Bursting in on Eleanor and Hugo like this but I think the news I have to tell him is urgent enough to ruin whatever they might be doing. If I was Hugo and I had to choose between snogging Eleanor and being beaten up by the butch Gryffindor seeker or being interrupted to have the news told to me, I’d go for the latter.
I begin to hum merrily as I notice how close Lewis and I am – our shoulders are almost touching. Oh Merlin I must – not – turn – into – my dad. The only reason I’m humming is to take my mind off it otherwise I’m sure he’ll file a restraining order on me if I keep inching closer to him…which is what I’m doing. Oops.
Lewis quickly hushes me but he doesn’t push me away, I think that’s a good sign.
‘In there,’ he whispers pointing to the door we are stood outside of.
‘Really? I’m beginning to feel a bit giddy with excitement. I feel like a spy and we’re about to burst in on some unsuspecting criminals. Except these aren’t unsuspecting criminals, they’re Hugo and Eleanor but it’s still important.
Now I think about it, this would have been done a heck of a lot quicker if I was by myself. Sure I wouldn’t be able to navigate my way around as easily and would probably end up waking up the entire castle by walking into a suit of armour but I’m sure that without the interruption from Birk, Banjo and Lewis, I’d be doing one of two things right now. One, I’d be back in the common room or two; I’d be in a teacher’s office explaining why I’m out at this time.
Who cares though? I am with Lewis Corner and I don’t care if we’re technically over, people do occasionally get back together.
Slowly, I push the door open with Lewis behind me but before I have can step inside, the clacking of high heels and that familiar shrill, ‘excuse me.’
Groaning, Lewis and I turn around and come face to face with Professor Kenwick. This is the second time in one day for me; could I tarnish my clean record anymore? Soon I will be known in the staffroom as the Ravenclaw misfit, teachers will refuse to teach me! I might even be kicked out of Ravenclaw.
‘Care to explain yourselves?’ Professor Kenwick asks sternly with her hands on her hips, giving me a piercing stare – she remembers me from earlier as the girl who broke her promise, she must hate me.
‘We were…er…’ I’m lost for words, I can’t lie to a teacher but also, in the case, I can’t really tell the truth either.
‘I’m sorry Professor,’ says Lewis smoothly retaining his cool much better than I am, ‘we got a bit peckish and were on our way to the kitchens but we got a tad lost.’
He is lying to a teacher. Professor Kenwick will suss us out and put us in detention until we leave, I just know it. I don’t even know where the kitchens are.
‘Students aren’t supposed to be going to the kitchens, especially after curfew.’ Professor Kenwick gives us both a stern look.
‘We were hungry?’ I squeak.
Professor Kenwick shakes her head and sighs. ‘That’s ten points each off Ravenclaw and you’ll be serving detention with me tomorrow night. That is all; I’ll have to escort you back to your common room now.’
As we walk down past the boys’ toilets (I hold my breath just in case there’s anything toxic) and down the staircase I realise that I still haven’t told Hugo. I need to tell him before lessons tomorrow because who knows when the big butch Gryffindor bloke will get him?
I also can’t help thinking how different it would be if Eleanor had never come into the picture. I won’t tell this to Isobel because she’ll just say I’m jealous but I think that without Eleanor, everything would be how it used to be. How I like it.
So...how was it? I'm not really sure about this chapter because this wasn't really part of my plan but then it just sort of came. Birk, Banjo and Lewis were just begging to be written - especially Birk. What do you think of them? The next chapter should be coming soon because I'm on quite a roll with this stories right now because I've got massive writers block on my nano, ha ha. Please review and tell me what you think!
Disclaimer: I do not own S Club 7 and the song 'Reach for the Stars' is the property of S Club 7 and Polydor.
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